>> Monday, December 3, 2007
Interactive Dreams traced a former employee of Valkieser Multimedia, who were responsible for several CD-i titles like Tim & Beer and responsible for other CD-i productions commissioned by larger companies including Philips, Motorola and T1 New Media (professional and consumer titles). He is introduced as following: "I facilitated design and development of several award winning interactive productions for Valkieser Multi Media BV, for international clients including Philips Media and many broadcasters like NOB." Valkieser also developed applications based on Amiga 4000 (MC68000 assembly) for television game-shows.
Unlike other contacts, he does not remember CD-i through pink glasses: "I used to develop software on CD-i as a software engineer at Valkieser. And I can tell you why CD-i never made it to a success. Philips made it nearly impossible to write games on CD-i. The big problem was because Philips designed the whole CD-i system around the Green Book, so every CD-i program had to be tested on all aspects and it should be compatible with all varieties of systems that were available. There were actually a lot of different players around and the more that were developed, the harder it got to get the software compatible with all systems. Along the years, the situation only got more complicated, and it seemed that older software wasn't compatible enough so we had to re-issue one as well.
How nice it was that Philips 'standardized' the hardware, but unfortunately you weren't able to control the hardware at low-level. Everything had to be done via the Operating System (CD-RTOS, that's simply OS/9 with loads of extensions for CD-i). Every title went to Philips first to be tested. And when your title didn't pass through their tests, you were simply not allowed to publish it. At CD-i development it was far more tight than it has ever been for Nintendo publishers on Nintendo systems. And you can imagine it cost more money than necessary to make all your software compatible on so many fronts so in that respect it was very difficult to get something done on CD-i. For example, the simplicity of the Tim & Bear games made them popular but it could be a lot better...
With this in mind, it was never possible to get the maximum out of CD-i, while the hardware of the CD-i was actually better than that of Amiga (both were 68000 machines). That was very unfortunate to Philips en very sad for developers. Because of this attitude by Philips, developers like us were not very enthusiastic about innovating our own software. That's because, when you didn't walk the line of the Philips people, your project could easily get delayed for months and the money cost raised a lot instead of that it gained money for you (and that was still the most important thing). I sound like I didn't have a good job at Valkieser but that's definately not the case, I had a lot of fun at Valkieser, it was just that we had a lot of problems when programming on CD-i.
And then, the Sony Playstation arrived. First, the design of the Playstation was far more simple so it was cheaper. Along with that, Playstation had 3D hardware, which CD-i lacked. And the developers were allowed to program the 3D chips directly. The whole hardware was also standardized by Sony, but far more simple to get the max out of it. The Playstation allowed for much more freedom to create games.
Did you know Philips shared the copyrights with Sony of CD-i development?" Yes, we know that, it's a lovely history!
Valkieser also developed applications for gameshows on the dutch television (Like NOB). For example, Valkieser excecuted the computer desk and animations of Lingo (the television show a CD-i game was also based on: Lingo by SPC Vision (not te be confused!). Those were all rendered on a Silicon, and assembled on a Amiga 4000. The pictures in this article show some of the titles Valkieser was responsible for during their CD-i period: Mega Popclassics was a gift of the dutch "Platen-10-daagse"in 1995. It's a well-known CD-i title though because it shows two unreleased games on CD-i: Discworld and Voyeur 2. Tim & Bear was the most profitable and most successfull series of Valkieser and very popular with children. Over four different themes (Hospital, Airport, Harbour, Movies...) were developed. Valkieser was also responsible for the Digital Video gift with new CD-i players: Director's Cut: Rosebud was a videoCD single featuring their clip and it was the very first digital video title available on CD-i for the consumer market. Finally, they were responsible for some reference titles on CD-i like "In the wake of Captain Cook" and "Journeys through 19th Century London"
Thanks to a former Valkieser employee