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The Lost Ride - CD-i

>> Saturday, April 1, 2006


To continue the line of stories about the last generation CD-i games, the title ‘The Lost Ride’ brings back lots of memories. We all remember the game to be relatively buggy, but the graphics were fantastic and the technique behind the title was nothing short of revolutionary: Seamless Branching (playing different MPEG sequences without any pause between). This was a long story for Philips and had great potential to several software developers wanting to implement this technique in their digital video project. However, it looked like nobody was able to spec out the conditions of seamless branching MPEG sequences eventually, and after Philips shut down every CD-i development house this was handed over to Lost Boys in Amsterdam, 1997.

It’s not like seamless branching wasn’t used in other CD-i titles though. SPC Vision (known from the various colourfull platform and puzzle games on CD-i) experimented the technique in the Main Menu of the Philips Media Encyclopedia (dutch release). However, the guys at Philips were supposed to handle the technique in a seamless way, and the loop in the main menu was meant to be seamless, although neither of the developers was able to get it right.

A famous example using the seamless branching technique is the Kathy Smith’s personal trainer CD-i. It actually allowed a continuous video/audio MPEG stream to be displayed, even though it is made of a multiple of very short clips (about 7 seconds).

Before The Lost Ride was in the pipeline there was Cryo developing a high action racing game called Dead End featuring only full motion video using seamless branching. Little is known about this project but the clips available from preview discs look top-notch! Unfortunately Dead End was cancelled for reasons external to Philips (it was not a Philips project).

Other than these examples I don’t know of any other projects involving the seamless branching technique. To know what happened with the knowledge behind this technique we contacted the developers of The Lost Ride: Lost Boys.

Actually, the connection of Lost Boys to Philips already was well established. They developed the online tools for CD-i and supported various projects from various developers. Their involvements with CD-i started with a service to convert your old VHS tapes to digital MPEG VideoCD discs which was a revolutionary service back in 1993. However, after Philips decided to stop development in CD-i, Lost Boys got the rights and knowledge to use the seamless branching technique in shifted CD-i project coded Lost Ride from 1996. I can easily explain you now why the end product was full of bugs: Lost Boys didn’t have the experience to build upon the existing research, so they could either throw away a lot of work done by Philips or continue on the project which was initiated and funded by Philips in 1996, may it be with little restrictions.

They collaborated with NeoGeo (A small animation studio in Eindhoven) to develop the game. NeoGeo was another known name in the Philips CD-i network, having created lots of animations for Philips and Codim in various CD-i projects developed internally. For example, NeoGeo created the “Morkramia” animations showed at the worldwide Customer Days from Philips in the early ninetees. NeoGeo had its own Games department called Enji Games. It was also based in Eindhoven with only a few people, but with a lot of experience in 3D graphics.

NeoGeo developed their own software tool to create these graphics: Blender. NeoGeo was sold right after they finished Lost Ride to Alatis Patent. Alatis Patent went bankrupt 3 years later… However, the main developer behind the Blender tools started a spin-off project simply called “Blender” (LINK) with the same tool. It is an open source project building upon the engine which was used in the Lost Ride and is still active nowadays.

In the end Enji Games developed the graphics for the Lost Ride and Formula (this was the games department of Lost Boys which is now called Guerilla, part of Sony) compiled an interactive roller coaster using the seamless branching technique. After NeoGeo was sold, Formula had no more intentions (and no experience) in creating 3D games, and went on creating retro styled games for the Nintendo Gameboy. Later on Formula was formed into Lost Boys Games and expanded with another studio to form Guerilla.

The game was a project initiated by Philips Media Publishing Benelux. In 1997 the dutch part of Philips Media Publishing (All that was left of Philips Media at the time) was liberated (!) from Philips Media, starting the new SoftMACHINE Publishing company. Interesting fact is that SoftMACHINE published The Lost Ride in 1998, without any involvement of Philips Media. (It even has the SoftMACHINE logo on the back) The copyright belonged to Philips however because the project was initiated in 1996. That's why Philips remained on the box. It was 'a leftover from the CD-i era which had been under contract with Lost Boys'.

In the end the Lost Ride was published by SoftMACHINE and remained an exclusive release for the Netherlands. Now you know why the title is this rare!

Some movies from the game are still being used in the demo regression tests of Blender which you can download here
If you have any comments about the subject please do not hesitate and drop a line at the CDinteractive Forum .

See you next month!

The copyright belongs to the respective owners.


Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

  © Interactive Dreams Version 5 by The Black Moon Project 2013

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