>> Sunday, January 14, 2007
With the recent release of Micro Machines V4 Codemasters returned to the market with its original pocket racer with even a CD-i release in 1995. Some months ago we welcomed a special CD-i member: The producer of CD-i Micro Machines. Like with Creature Shock, Codemasters only put one man on the CD-i project, and he had to convert it from the original NES version. Actually, it very nearly didn't even happen as he was the only person in the whole company who was interested in taking it on - CD-i wasn't "interesting" compared to SNES, Genesis etc. :p
Micro Machines was almost entirely handled inhouse at Codemasters. He personally did the programming, converted from the original NES 6502 assembler code (there was some dispute over the 68000 assembler code for the Sega Genesis which would have been SO much more useful on the CD-i). The game graphics, extra level designs and audio were also done inhouse. The FMV sequences were handled by a couple of external graphics guys. Philips provided a lot of support via their team in London and their QA facility in Hasselt. But as far as development goes... Codemasters did it all. "I know it's not a perfect conversion, and is a little sluggish, but that machine was NOT designed for multiway scrolling. Philips asked a couple of times if they could have the source code for it, but I believe we didn't hand it over. I still have backups of the source, assets and master discs. Interesting. I didn't know the retail disc had the text "Special Edition" on it. This would mean that the disc image that got mastered was not the very final one we produced. There was I believe one further disc image produced within one or two days of that one. There would have been no game-related changes in those 2 days. So if anyone's hoping for hidden features or anything, then they'll be disappointed. Interesting detail to notice on the video extracted from the CD-online Issue 01 Disc: It appears that the footage has been speeded up so that it looks like a fast paced racer.There was only one version of the title and the 3D bits were included for all decks. It was a CD-i only feature. Altered Images were a couple of guys (based in Reading I think) who did the renders for us, it was one of the very first times Codies did this kind of thing so they wanted to test it out cautiously at first. Originally the sequences were intended for the DV card, but then it was decided we wanted to support base case. One of our other freelancers (smart guy called Jon Menzies) wrote a video packer and player just for this project. So the video ended up not quite as slick as we'd hoped, but as good as could be expected for CPU playback on base case."
Interesting detail to notice on the video extracted from the CD-online Issue 01 Disc: It appears that the footage has been speeded up so that it looks like a fast paced racer. As we know the final release was sluggish compared to other versions, but then again we never expected a multi scrolling racer to be possible in the first place!!
"Secondly, I'm pretty certain that *is* the CD-i footage, but simply sped up timewise. Shame the game never ran at 50/60fps... I do have the source code though, if only I had the time and motivation (and rights) to try to optimise it! I might also arrange to get a copy of the final bibliographic file on blackmoon that should have been mastered. For starters, it credits a few more people that deserved it, and it might also set this 'love story' thing straight. That comment is a little out of context so it's a bit unfortunate it got pressed.. Sorry to disappoint anyone, but it wasn't exactly what it may appear to be. That game was one of the oddest projects I've ever worked on!"