Random bits

Some games that didn't quite make it...

Published , updated by Richard GoodwinFiled under Projects

Cracker demo (March 1995)

The company I was freelancing for at the time had ported Simon the Sorcerer to RISC OS, and had worked with the author of some of the novelisations for Cracker - a very popular TV show at the time.  So they wanted to pitch using this engine to create a point-and-click Cracker game.

I remember getting into a bit of an argument over this.  I needed a loading screen so tried to get the iconic black and white image of Robbie Coltrane smoking from a video box(?).  I didn't have a scanner myself - way too expensive at the time - so I tried to get a print house to do it for me, who refused for copyright reasons.  Which is fine, but it was a demo for the copyright holders... Anyway I ended up having to draw it myself, couldn't get the hand quite right, and had to put the "logo" text down the side to cover the hand instead of straight across.

My computer got stolen in a break-in not long after, so my version of this iconic image from the series vanished.  A shame as I remembered it as, bar the slight hand problem, a damn near perfect rendition of the photo. Many, many years later I found a backup on a disk somewhere and realised it was not so great...

I built a very crude previs of the main character walking across a room full of bookcases, but again, computer stolen, so all I have left are the test frames.

Letts educational demo (January 1995)

Another spec demo, to be shown to Letts.  It was actually a working mini-game, which displayed a random number of red and blue boats and asked the user to count them.  There was even a loading screen and music.  There was also a high-pitched voice saying "How many red boats?" "How many blue boats?" and a "YEAH!" if you got it right - the voice was mine, sped up, and I came to hate it as I heard it sooo many times as I debugged the code. Using BBC BASIC, I had to plot the boats on to a blue background at random but without having any boat overlap.

Thank goodness I never have to touch that "game" again... Fuck. I'm going to have to run it several times to get screenshots, aren't I?  And the voice timings will be all wrong on this super-fast emulator... ARRGH!


Underkill (1993)

A top-down science fiction shooter in an Alien Breed style.

A test of animation frames, working up from small weapons to large. It uses a limited number of frames because of possible memory restrictions (see: CyberApe)

Miniskirts (unknown)

Single-person hovercraft, which of course just happened to be piloted by women (very Captain Scarlet!).  Start with three pilots - which gives you three lives - but as you succeeded more would flock to your cause, giving you extra lives.

As well as physics for the craft to drift around obstacles, the pitch required the ability to throw the craft around with explosion splash damage, gun recoil, winds, magnets etc.  It seems to have been a fairly serious pitch as there's a long text file detailing all sorts of ideas such as set-pieces and power-ups (which are illustrated!), but it never went anywhere.

A lot of ideas from this were obviously recycled in other projects, such as Underkill (above) and the levels in CyberApe - minus a final moon section!.