>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Viridis was a development company that set up shop right across the street from Philips. I was one of the testers lent to them to help with pre-testing of some of their titles. They were really nice people, with good ideas. Unfortunately they couldn't write code to save their lives. Most of the staff seemed like they had just graduated from college with some sort of computer programing degree and not much experience in multimedia. So their stuff was very buggy. The main title I worked on was a diet program called "Stay Healthy For Life." Most of it was a series of slide shows explaining food nutrition, but the heart of the title was something called the "Foodulator." It was basically a monthly food planner, you punch in your diet for the week or month and it would tell you if you diet was too high or too low in certain key elements, like salt, sugar, carbohydrates, etc. Unfortunately it never worked. I remember one time I typed in just water as my only food source for a whole week just to see what happened. Well the thing came back and said my diet was too high in salt! I also found this amazing bug that would cause the player to eject the disk just before the program crashed, I've never seen anything like that before or since. Anyway, Viridis produced around 6 or 7 titles for Philips but I can recall only two of them ever being released, the rest were just too poorly written to be released and are now probably sitting in some vault in Inforgrames. But the out come of all this was in Product Test Viridis became so synonymous with bad programing that if a program came into test that was really buggy we referred to it as having Viridis Syndrome.
Viridis is a design and production service aimed at the development of CD-ROM, CD-I, 3DO and interactive broadcast television for its clients. It showed its own authoring system, called CyberCad, an inhouse system for the use of Viridis clients only. The interesting thing about CyberCad is that it creates routines and elements as callable objects in the CyberCad system. Each of these objects has its own properties, which can be defined in a menu-like form to set its personality.
The advantage, Viridis says, is that the programmers can now work separately from the creative folks. The programmers make new objects available; the creative staff works in a friendlier environment. One of the advantages Viridis claims for its object-based approach is access to the y-axis. That is, any object can be gone under, around or whatever-preposition-you-like. Other systems would have to be explicitly programmed for each direction the user would have as an option.
Another advantage Viridis claims for CyberCad is that the client ends up paying, not for programming capability, but for the content of the production.
The projects that Viridis was showing were Sesame Street Numbers, done for Electronic Arts, Zelda’s Next Adventure, for Philips CD-I, and AnnaTommy, a children’s adventure done for IVI Publishing.