>> Saturday, January 27, 2007
Dorking was home to the European Headquarters of CD-i, just at the west side of Redhill (London, UK). Ofcourse Redhill is the base of Philips Research were a lot of CD-i software (mostly dev tools and standardization) was being developed, and a fast road between these villages ensured a close communication. During the CD-i era, there were actually two CD-i Studios based in Dorking. The first Dorking Studio was based in the Freeland Building, and Philips called it "Philips Freeland Studios". This amazing studio was responsible for the rise of Digital Video in user concepts, which resulted in game projects like The 7th Guest and Microcosm. Although games were not the biggest deal of Freeland, it is still the most remembered part. The 7th Guest offered amazing graphics, especially for 1992/1993. It really showed the capabilities of the machine. Freeland went to the max, and both games reached the ultimate CD-i was capable of. Unfortunately Microcosm was cancelled in 1994 partly because of technical difficulties. You've seen all the details about the Microcosm CD-i proto here before, and if you've watched the videos, you will know this version was going to have the best graphics of all conversions of this game! In the end, these projects cost a lot of money and they shut down the Freeland Studio in 1994.
One year later, Philips once again started a CD-i development studio in Dorking, known by "ADS", which stands for Advanced Development and Support. Credited as "CD-i Conversions", it took The Black Moon project a lot of time to uncover the real story behind this. ADS was a small development house, and as you've read in the Johhny Wood interview, the people were around in the scene for a long time doing compatibility and encoding jobs for several CD-i projects. 1995 was the year of release for their first CD-i conversion: Pac-Panic. Again one of the finest conversions around. they continued with Arcade Classics, and ofcourse the high profile title Atlantis, created in close co-operation with the Philips Redhill people. Currently The Black Moon project is hosting the extensive history behind this Atlantis project, and it's the most beautiful piece of history I've ever read about CD-i in a long time! The best thing is, we didn't even have to dig into contacts: They contacted us :D Thanks to all the people involved and I hope we'll uncover more and more and more ;)