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SPC Vision: CD-i at its best

>> Thursday, May 10, 2007

Below you will find a short history of SPC as a CD-i developer. This is a much abbreviated version of the full story, which probably won't ever be written because the company doesn't exist anymore and its people have dispersed wildly.

All CD-i titles marked "SPC Vision", "The Vision Factory", "SPC Codim" or "SPC Group" were in fact produced by the same relatively small group inside SPC. At its peak, the CD-i developers (programmers and graphical artists) numbered somewhere around ten, but at least three times that number of people has rotated through this group.

SPCC

SPC originally started as SPCC (rumored to stand for Sergeant Pepper's Computer Company); it was a split from Stebis (which still exists, I think) when the founders disagreed about wanting to sell hardware or develop software. You can guess which business went to SPCC Smile

Originally SPCC did mostly business-to-business software, usually in C or Informix using SCO Xenix (later SCO Unix). The software was either administrative in nature or involved controlling devices; this peculiar combination has always been typical of the company. At some point, SPCC partly expanded the acronym and started calling itself SPC Company, probably motivated by the creation of SPC Training, which gave computer training courses.

SPC Training at some point acquired some computer courseware guys who developed LaserDisc courses and things like that. Another company was created to hold them, SPC Vision. It became customary to use a slash in the names, e.g. SPC/Company, SPC/Training etc.

CD-i

When CD-i came out (at that time still spelled CD-I), the SPC/V people somehow got the specs of the system (perhaps they were approached by Philips, but I don't know this for sure). Since all the SPC companies where at that time closely intertwined (several people worked for more then one), these specs got to the programmers of SPC/C. Two of them were part of the Atari game community, and they went "Wow! There's an 68000 in this thing! We know how to program *that*!".The last games were released in 1997, with Golden Oldies I and II. Unfortunately the name isn't mentioned in the credits anymore, as the SPC group re-organized to a more (independent) teaching business. A nice memory is the logo crafted in the background of the golden oldies games.

Somehow this developed into Alien Gate. It is rumored that the first sprite demos blew away the Philips people, who at that time where accustomed to seeing things like Compton's encyclopedia. Alien Gate was actually a very primitive game according to later SPC standards, but it surpassed anything else that existed on CD-i at the time.

After Alien Gate came Dimo's Quest, Steel Machine, etc. The computer-training people left the company and the SPC/Vision name went to the CD-i developers (still intertwined with SPC/Company, for a time some people did both B2B software and CD-i games). When a separate game label was desired, the Vision Factory was born (it was never an actual company, only a publishing label).

Codim

At some point there was an attempt to join forces with Codim Interactive Media and so SPC/Codim (tentative name) was born. The SPC Vision people moved into the Codim building in Eindhoven because it had room to spare and the SPC building in Oss was becoming very crowded. But the merger didn't pan out, there were differences of opinion at the shareholder/manager level and both companies went their separate ways. A few people shifted companies (in both directions) at this point. I think there's only a single disc out there marked "SPC/Codim" (bonus points if you can name it)!

The SPC/Codim episode had (for various reasons) demoralized many game programmers and one by one they left for greener pastures, leaving SPC without the specific "game" expertise but with all its technical CD-i knowledge intact. Many other large and small projects followed, e.g. the Standaard Encyclopedia, Het Staat in de Sterren, Sport Freaks, including a number of professional titles. These were mostly realized in C++, in contrast to most of the game titles that had been written mainly in assembly language.

Two of the game people had gone off to form their own company, PixelHazard, and SPC contracted them to produce Lucky Luke using the SPC software library and CD-i development equipment. Accelerator had been written by a summer intern during the SPC/Codim period and was finished by other SPC people; if memory serves right it was the last "real" CD-i game ever released by SPC.

SPC Group

When the other SPC companies moved to a larger building in Den Bosch, SPC Vision (the slashes had been dropped from the names) rejoined them, once again bringing all the SPC companies under one roof. Sometime later it was decided to "lift" most of the software development activities into the parent holding, SPC Group. CD-i titles were still being produced, but CD-ROM and Internet were growing fast and SPC Group started developing for those platforms to. The Standaard Encyclopedia was ported to CD-ROM; later the Medical Encyclopedia was developed for both platforms simultaneously. A few game-like titles were also produced (e.g. Uncover Tatjana) in this period.

Finale

Eventually CD-i titles stopped being produced by SPC Group and it focused on CD-ROM and Internet. When the Internet bubble erupted, there were a few internal shuffles and a big layoff about halving the company, but it didn't work out and early 2002 SPC Group, after briefly going under the name Aebly, went bankrupt.

Thanks to: cdidev

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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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