Nathan Atkinson is the PR man at Visions of the Impossible (VOTI), a major game and GFX Demo coding group. VOTI's recent games have included the excellent Super Foul Egg and the eagerly awaited Sunburst. Since VOTI's merger with DFI (Digital Fish Interactive!) they have aquired a rather nice 3D engine for use in their future games and demos.
Acorn Arcade: What can we expect from the co-operation between VOTI and DFI?
Nathan Atkinson: Well, VOTI seemed to have games with playability but 2D games are dying of death, everything is 3D. DFI had/have a 3D engine but haven't written any games themselves. When I contacted a few people for use of their 3D gfx engine it was only DFI that said yes, a few days later and we merged, basically because we could fill each others criteria and become a bunch of happy souls.
With a 3D engine that's probably one of the most advanced in the Acorn market and VOTI's experience with writing games, coupled with my list of helpful contacts we are going to be a winning team. We may not exactly be the Bitmap Bros' of the Acorn world but we'll hopefully come damn close :).
Games will be written simultaneously due to the fact that I have currently two teams writing games. Both teams have shared members but one of our projects has a list of some well-known Acorners in it, there are about 6 people working on this project and 2 backup gfx artists.
Acorn Arcade: Any plans for Revelation 98 ?
Nathan Atkinson:At present we aren't sure. We are trying to concentrate on our forthcoming releases and DFI are interested in games more than demos. You may see a demo but you are more likely to see game development if you peek behind the scenes. Basically we have to get a decent 3D game out for the NC before we get ousted by other companies.
I agree that it would be nice to have a demo out and the chance to win a Phoebe but it still hasn't won DFI over. They lost out on Rev '97 due to the lack of music in 'July', nothing has changed, we still don't have a proper musician, just Owain and he's more a programming dude than a Tracker King.
Acorn Arcade: What impact do you feel Phoebe2100 will have on the Acorn scene?
Nathan Atkinson:I am fairly sceptic. Look at the previous releases, they all had bugs to begin with:
- RISC OS 3.00
- RISC OS 3.70 + SA
The 3D gfx card will be most helpful for the Acorn scene. Its my belief that games do sell computers and with a 3d gfx card, games shouldn't really run out of power in the near future. However, it took an extremely long time for any games to actually use the potential of the SA (are there any at present?). The danger is that all new games will require a 3D card and therefore a Phoebe to run, a more dramatic scenario of todays SA RPC vs, RPC 600/700's.
3D gfx packages will also gain an advantage due to the card and the extra VRAM so watch out for better versions of DaVinci from Aspex Software and probably TopModel.
As for the name....I could live with Phoebe (much better than any of the Clan suggestions) but the number suffix is a bit cheesy.
Acorn Arcade: After the release of the Stunt Racer tracks editor - can we expect any more?
Nathan Atkinson:I have the Season 3 tracks on my HD at the moment. I'm going through them to check they are all right. They will be on my web-site soon.
As for the Editor, it's now at version 1.02 with a few bug fixes but instructions are still thin on the ground although I now know how to get collision detection working. I knew people would complain if I put it as its present state for download (as I did) but equally, people did complain that I hadn't put it up and said that they didn't care about the state of it. Thanks to David O'Shea and Peter Naulls for helping people out with their questions.
Hopefully, the editor will be entirely rewritten with some instructions and a nice GUI. When? Who knows? :)
Acorn Arcade: Is there a chance of any improvements to the game?
Nathan Atkinson: The game itself? Not a chance. 4D own all the rights to the StuntRacer game but not the editor and the season 3 tracks. If we improve the game then that may tread on contracts and we don't want to try that. There is nothing of significance that we could improve on the game without rewriting it all. New gfx would be the only thing needed to allow a re-launch but that needs a whole new gfx engine.
I have seen the StuntRacer that was being written on the Sega Saturn but was stopped when Fednet realised that the Saturn was a dead loss. The screenshots looked completely awesome. Nice textured, curved tracks.....nice and it was written in C, pity the C compiler looks archaic and if anyone thinks that Fednet will make a comeback then I will firmly stamp on them and let you know that they won't come back, Fednet are no more anyway :(