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Dead End CD-i

>> Monday, March 26, 2007

When people saw the rolling demo of this game for the first time in 1995, Dead End shot up to the top on many people’s wish-list for CD-i. A driving game based on MPEG footage of a futuristic city, combined with intense shooting made for a mouthwatering prospect. Finally CD-i would have a game to go alongside with the graphic speldour or Playstation’s Ridge Racer. So understandably it was a big disappointment when the game was ultimately cancelled.

The demo many people saw was actually quite different from what the project was originally planned to be: an actual racing game based on MPEG footage, where the driver would actually be able to accelerate and brake. This was made possible by a revolutionary technique called ‘Continuously variable MPEG video frame rates’ developed by Philips Media Los Angeles’ software engineers. What this technique basically did was to slow down and speed up the video stream the CD-i player would play, based on the player’s commands (accelerating and braking). The MPEG stream was the pre-rendered streets the player would be racing on. The fact that the graphics would be pre-rendered (just like Chaos Control or Solar Crusade for example) would guarantee spectacular graphics for this racing game, probably even better than Ridge Racer, since the Playstation game would rely on real-time rendering of the graphics.

Cryo Interactive worked closely with Philips Media to incorporate this technique, but in the end decided it would be a lot easier to have the MPEG video play at a fixed rate instead, since they were having difficulties incorporating the ‘Continuously variable MPEG video frame rate’s. It would take away the racing part of the game, so they decided to name it a ‘driving game instead of a ‘racing game’. Of course it’s not much fun to merely have to drive around streets dodging cars and objects, so that’s probably when Cryo thought of mounting a gun on the top of the car to make at a driving / shooting game. This final specification was then developed into the game which was first demo’ed at E3 in 1995 (in a playable form) and in this rolling demo (april 1995).

At present no reasons are known for the cancellation of Dead End. Speculations range from the came being too difficult to develop, too expensive to finish or a lack of worldwide CD-i sales which made the project commercially less attractive.

A spokeperson about Dead End: "Dead End is a game I got involved with from the very beginning, when Philips Media was still going strong, and again it was going to be based on another technique I invented: "Continuously variable MPEG video frame rates" (a subtle variation around seamless branching, at the frame level). It was not going to be implemented directly by Philips though, and I only served as a consultant to the company that owned the project. Believe the project went through several restarts because of technical difficulties in the implementation (engineers were having problem grasping the technical concept of fooling the MPEG decoder into playing video at unusual frame rates), and the last version I saw had been scaled down quite a bit: it was playing the video at a fixed rate, which kind of defeats the purpose of a racing game. I remember seeing some really cool MPEG footage of Highway 1 from Malibu to Santa Monica, created by a production studio in Paris (France) for this game, and it looked great on CD-i. I believe there was also an arcade version of Dead End under production by that same company, with dedicated hardware for accelerating/decelerating the MPEG video playback rate, but I never saw it finished either."

8 reacties:

Corey,  March 26, 2007 at 6:58 PM  

Wow... this is a tease lol.

Darn it I wish someone would find that demo from E3

This really looks amazing.

Any videos of this?

Dave,  March 26, 2007 at 7:18 PM  

Kudos, on the great article. I'd love to see you keep digging into this and expand on it. Those screens are kinda small and they only seem to be previews. I'd really like to see the details of the graphics abit more.

I doubt you have the videos of this game handy.

Wonder what became of that demo. this would definitely be a title I'd love to try.

Bas March 30, 2007 at 3:32 PM  

thanks all of you for the words! I've included a preview video of Dead End as you've probably already seen. I also hope one day we will find a playable demo of Dead End just like we did with Microcosm last year. You never know.....

Corey,  March 31, 2007 at 6:07 AM  

Bas, Thank you so much. The footage was overwhelmingly good. Though I do wish there was a non-youtube version of it (for obscurity and "preservation" reasons).

I was amazed and am really happy you posted it. I really do hope that if someone does find a playable demo though, they'd be kind enough to share it as many have done for SMWW at least somewhere.

I don't mind not having a playable image of microcosm simply because it was a multiplatform release. But, with something so unique as dead end I seriously hope we come up with something for the community.

Anyways, I am still in awe that you got the footage up so fast. Thanks so much I definitely appreciate it.

Merijn,  April 1, 2007 at 2:59 AM  

Ehm... Bas.. very nice read... looks vaguely familiar.. But thats ok. Kudos on posting it though, good that its out in the open though:-)

Bas April 1, 2007 at 7:06 AM  

I wouldn't expect anything different from you Merijn :) Seriously, sources like blogger and youtube reach a far wider audience, and new people might trigger new contacts which is what I want to reach with "dead end" topics like these games. plus I do it for my own fun ofcourse ;)

Kim,  April 7, 2007 at 6:57 PM  

finally a true racing game on cdi! can you make more videos of this game?

Bas April 8, 2007 at 6:11 PM  

There is another one, but I have to dig the internet for that one. The one I posted is definately the biggest and most beautiful.

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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

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