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The SNES CD is why we have Mario and Zelda on CD-i

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

The story behind the Nintendo-Philips-Sony triangle will always be a mystery, I will always wonder if Philips was the reason why Nintendo didn't continue on the SNES CD with Sony (because of Philips game patents thanks to their Magnavox acquisition) and how the SNES CD would have become the CD-i 2. Somewhere in between it all didn't happen, but the Nintendo games on CD-i are the only retail left-overs of this history. Nintendo and Sony were pretty far in the SNES CD prototype state of business as you can see in these pictures. With Philips I don't know if any prototypes were made, we've never seen them.

Interesting to read the Playstation was first a product between Sony (manufacturing), Nintendo (game copyrights) and Philips (CD and console patents): "At the end of 1992 Sony, Nintendo and Philips signed a deal whereby PlayStation would be able to run SNES CD-ROMs but left Nintendo with the sole rights to all its games. The version of PlayStation being developed at that time never made it into production."

Stories on the internet always tell you that both Sony and Philips went their own way after the Nintendo break-up: Sony developed Playstation and Philips the CD-i. That's a big mistake, CD-i was way older than SNES and Playstation. CD-i was developed by Philips AND Sony in the eighties. Sony developed their own CD-i player in 1992 but banned the format. My mystery conclusion would be that Sony stopped CD-i because of the SNES debacle between Sony and Philips with Nintendo. How about that? We've read before about initial similar file formats between Playstation and how CD-i was the forerunner of Playstation. Pictures source: Lost Levels


Happy Christmas!

>> Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We're proud to say our CD-i blog has survived its fourth year since our launch in 2005! The CD-i news was marked again with silence and news overload at the same time, just when MESS started to show interest in our format. Just when we're close to 2010 I want to say thank you again for your support and I'm happy to report we did it another year and will do again in 2010. Paying close attention to our visitor stats and the polls we did last year I noticed the majority of you are old-time CD-i buyers or brand new CD-i-googling-browsers but the ones who return frequently are all familiar with CD-i since the ninetees: interesting to see this blog serves as a nice memory trip while different game websites contact me about more information about a specific CD-i subject. It makes me feel warm we're doing something that's unique online, so thank you again for that. We'll be back next year to continue our line hopefully seeing the new CD-i Emulator soon!


Custom boxart of Hotel Mario CD-i

>> Monday, December 21, 2009

By: DuckD0nald


More sketches/art from Philips ADS (Redhill, UK)

Nice view on the archive tapes of Philips Media @ Redhill:


Random CD-i Quote (7)

"One of the projects I worked on in conjunction with Philips Research Labs UK in 1994, was the creation of an MPEG-video-based networked 3D car chasing game for CD-i. Two teams would compete against each other: the good cops and the bad villains. Each player would be part of one of the teams and through his car could see the whole city in 3D-generated MPEG video. MPEG seamless branching was going to be used to seamlessly arrange on the fly thousands of pre-produced road driving sequences (also played back at variable MPEG frame rates), in order to create the illusion of an interactive 3D of very high visual quality. Other cars were going to be shown as graphical sprites. The project did not get past the prototype stage because of its cost, but if it had been completed it would have been the most complex and ambitious CD-i game ever produced. Technically it was a combination of techniques applied in Kathy Smith Personal Trainer (seamless branching), Dead End (variable mpeg frame rates) and networked gaming (this was before the days of the Internet boom!). Too bad it did not happen. It was a lot of fun designing it though!"


Atlantis: The Last Resort CD-i: original concept sketch for the guns


Interview with Dana Hanna - The Crow CD-i game

>> Sunday, December 20, 2009

There were a few requests to find the interview about The Crow CD-i, which was published on The Black Moon Project but due to the server transfer has been lost somewhere. Read it below until Devin has found back the lost treasures we have on cancelled CD-i games.

It's common place for game related projects to be cancelled without explanation as has been witnessed on occassion in the past including high profile titles like DiscWorld. Another trend which continues to this day in the video game industry is the film license. Philips Media was no exception negotiating the rights from Pressman to use The Crow license in a video game for CD-i. It was obviously quite a catch for Philips and would give increasing street credibility to the system as described in CDi magazine, David McElhatten President of Philips Media Games comments "I can think of no better property than The Crow to use as a basis for a game. It's a hit at the box office and a huge success in video rental stores. It is a perfect match between the interactive entertainment and film industries." Besides this press release and an earlier article in a video trade magazine from Novemeber 1994 with the article "With 'Crow' Game, Philips Flies Beyond CD-i" little else is known about the title. Fortunately Dana Hanna producer/designer of The Crow game was prepared to answer some questions about the project, yet it will still remain a mystery as to why Philips never fully developed such a highly marketable video game.

Black Moon Project: First of all, could you please tell us a bit more about yourself, your career at philips, any projects you've been involved with before and after "The Crow"?

Dana Hanna: I started my career in games at Philips. I didn't really think of it as something you could do for a living. But I had always loved games and been the weird little girl beating all the boys in the arcade growing up. I like a lot of folks who got into the industry a while back, kind of fell into the gig. I was working my way through grad school in film production / animation at UCLA, and I needed cash badly. I took a job as a temporary secretary and got sent to Philips. They liked me, and I just sort of...stayed.

I went from temping to doing cleanup animation on a children's title, to being the first hire in QA, to getting sent to front line QA a title in the UK, to somehow producing that title and living in the UK for a year. I still think QA is a great starting point for folks who want to be game devs. But now, universities offer entire programs for game development. I feel really old :)

BMP: The first press release on "The Crow" was in December 1994, and I believe the project was cancelled in 1996, is that correct?

Dana Hanna: Not sure when the press releases were, but that sounds about right.

BMP: Was "The Crow" being produced in house at Philips or externally?

Dana Hanna: Well, now, that's complicated. Here's where I have to haul out the history book.

Philips bought the license to do a game based on the motion picture "The Crow". They paid a pretty good chunk of money (for the time) for the rights. The execs originally envisioned it as a "mocap fighter" - a genre that never really went much further than Sony's Johnny Mnemonic game. The gig went to Philips POV, the folks who made the best-selling CD-i game "Voyeur". They were an external team, but obviously had very close ties to Philips.

POV was also doing Voyeur 2 at the time, and were stretched pretty thin. They did a prototype app for the mocap fighter, which worked well and demonstrated the basic game mechanic. It was quite an accomplishment, especially considering the workload they had at the time. I believe Philips decided to go a different direction with the game, though, and elected to start from square one. They let various external production groups bid on it, since POV was swamped with other projects.

At the time, I was running a small internal production team at Philips. We'd just finished localizing every flavor of Burn:Cycle you could imagine. We decided throw our hat into the ring on The Crow, and crunched out a pitch doc.

I knew we had an advantage over other bidders, because two of us on the team were bigtime comic book readers. Rantz Hoseley, our art director, was an experienced and published comic book artist. I'd been a reader since college, and knew a lot of folks in the trade through friends and animation work. We both loved The Crow. Our pitch really showed our appreciation and understanding of the material.

The execs reviewed our pitch and liked it. They tossed it over to Pressman Films (the owners of The Crow movie license) to get their feelings. Rantz and I met with the Pressman folks (as I remember, it was a meeting during the San Diego Comicon) to see if it was a good match. It was. We were two very happy campers. We were doing a game we really cared about.

BMP: How would you describe your role in the project?

Dana Hanna: I was the producer and designer on it. Pulled the team and the design together, and handled a lot of the client relations part.

BMP: What kind of game did you envision 'The Crow' to be, and how far from that was the project when it was aborted?

Dana Hanna: We were in the age of the "cinematic action adventure". Burn:Cycle had done that really well. The genre was more or less still viable. We were using the basic system that Burn:Cycle used, with some nice enhancements. Lots of full motion video (with hopefully nicer compression than had been done before), CG environments. The gameplay was an action / puzzle mix, with a heavier emphasis on action than Burn:Cycle had.

These games dried up in the market pretty quickly in the mid-nineties. I think it was a good choice at that time for The Crow, especially considering the target audience. But the novelty of this genre wore thin. Nothing really changes - the Next Big Gimmick always comes and goes in games, but really, it's about whether the game is fun to play. Most of these cinema games honestly just weren't much fun. Great cut sequences don't make up for poor gameplay.

Of course, I think The Crow would have been a great game, too :)

BMP: How far in development did "The Crow" come, and why was it actually cancelled?

Dana Hanna: Oh my, we'd been crunching for about 6 months on it when it got killed. I believe POV had been going at least that long on it, too, and probably longer.

Saddest part is that we had *just* managed to assemble God's own dev team. We found a truly wonderful solution for getting top-notch 3D talent at a price we could afford by using the uber-talented Mr Daniele Colajacomo as a contractor. (Shameless plug: visit Dani's 3D artist resource site at Dani put together a team of artists that could work from home, managed by him, saving us a ton of overhead. And we had also *just* decided on a director - the incomparable Mr Gustavo Garzon. Gustavo and I were students at UCLA Film at the same time. His visual style was exactly the right choice for The Crow. He's gone on to direct music videos for everyone from Ricky Martin to Shakira to Gloria Estefan to... Johnny Cash. Really.

As for why it was canceled, well, I can only speculate. We'd recently had a management change. The person who killed the project had never actually talked to me about it - or anything else. I'm not sure if he knew much, if anything, about the game. I really didn't know him. Perhaps he thought it was the wrong time to do this kind of game. Can't really say, since I never got a chance to ask him.

It was the first project for which I'd ever had full responsibility. Rantz and I both loved the material, so it wasn't really just another job for us. We were both really disappointed on a personal level when we got the news. But it definitely taught me that if you want to survive in the games industry, you have to be able to live with seeing some of your babies strangled. First and foremost, it's a business.

BMP: "The Crow" was primarily developed for CD-i with CD-ROM and MAC ports planned as well. Did the PC/MAC versions ever see the light of day, and is "The Crow: Complete Interactive Collection" in anyway connected to all this?

Dana Hanna: Nope, no PC or Mac versions of our game, at least. No versions at all as a matter of fact! As far as I know, we had no connection to the other piece you mention. I left Philips a few months after The Crow was killed, so I'm not really sure what happened to Philips' rights to the license after that.

BMP: Was conversion to PC/MAC going to happen using Philips Media's famous XP platform?

Dana Hanna: I believe so, yes. (Memory foggy... too many years of crunch...)

BMP: How do you look back at working for Philips Media, any nice memories you wish to share?

Dana Hanna: Wow. What a question. :)

I wouldn't trade anything for my years at Philips. We used to call it Philips University, and for a good reason - many, many of the folks who started there are now making great games all over the world. You worked for Philips, you learned, and often, you moved on. And most of us didn't come in thinking of game dev as a real job. I still count lots of the Philips crew as close friends.

Many of the nice memories are not repeatable in polite company. I don't know which one to pick. But here's a random one I've always enjoyed...

When I worked in QA, we had one tester (who shall remain nameless... let's just call him Bob for the purposes of the story) who was a bit... gullible. We would test the games in desks that looked a bit like library carels - long rows of desks separated by little partitions. As you probably remember, Philips remotes were wireless gadgets with a little thumbstick in the middle.


One day "Bob" was testing a product, and someone decided to rib him by standing silently behind him and moving the cursor around the screen with their remote. Bob lifted his glasses to adjust them, and his cursor went up. Hmmm. He lifted them again. And the cursor moved the same way. Heavens! Stop the presses! A new bug!

The QA lead was called over. A group gathered around the machine. Somehow, everyone managed to keep from laughing and kept the Serious Face on. Wow! That's amazing! Do it again Bob! Move the cursor with your glasses!

It would have been only marginally funny, if someone had not then convinced him that he could do the same thing by sticking out his tongue and moving it. After a few minutes of this, someone lost it and cracked up. End of joke.


Professional CD-i development of using the Digital Video Cartridge

>> Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"A lot of the development on the professional side focused on titles that made extensive use of the DVC, as we were essentially replacing touch screen / videodisc-pc combination systems with cd-i players and video was an essential part of that equation. There was quite a bit of development that went into dealing with proper encoding, mastering and playback of FMV, and we developed code to allow us to enter and exit FMV streams at specific I frame entry points and in some cases cache-ahead streams being switched between that allowed for seamless switching of fmv streams on the disc. I also developed a lot utilities for extracting and color-match-converting frames from the encoded FMV streams to DYUV/RGB888 and which allowed us to seamlessly transition to and from FMV between graphic frames for interactions. I also had developed capabilities for overlay popup controls for FMV which allowed forward/reverse scan, slow/fast motion, step, pause/play, and branching (i.e. back/next) within titles. I mentioned some other things I think in a post in another forum. I included some of these capabilities in CD-i capability demo discs we developed for Philips Professional Media.

One of the original demo discs that Philips produced for the FMV card had some source code embedded (intentionally, although not documented anywhere) as files in the file system that gave a leg up to developers who were developing code for the DVC cards. The Green Book extensions were not really very helpful always in terms of practical issues surrounding use of DVC capabilities. We also repurposed allocated FMV buffers when they were not in active use to be able to maximize the memory utilization/capabilites of the system for interactive/graphic content in FMV titles."


Programming on a CD-i 605 using a hard drive

>> Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"You can actually use the 605 without a disc emulator for program development. You simply burn your assets to a disc and run the software from a connected hard drive or the floppy drive - starting the software from the terminal connection. With the right software on the 605 hard drive and connecting the box to the pc with a terminal emulator you can transfer software to the box from the same session. We used it this way quite a bit as another (hardware) alternative to debugging on the I2M cards. At one point we had worked out how to share a drive on the SCSI chain between a PC and the 605 so that we could compile directly to the connected hard drive.

We experimented with sharing the hard drive between the 605 and the PC also and it works okay as long as you keep in mind the FAT and directory caching issues. You need a special SCSI cable and rejumper either the 605 or your PC SCSI interface, otherwise both end up using SCSI ID 7.

The OS-9 PCF file manager caches almost nothing, so using it for reading data written by the PC works fine (sometimes you have to force a cache flush but this usually happens automatically within a few seconds). However, if you want to write to the hard disk from the 605 and subsequently read it from the PC you have to flush the PC cache and reload it after the writing is done.

We initially used Windows 3.1 and found that we had to quit Windows and use SMARTDRV /F (or something). With Windows 9X it got easier: you could just take a full drive lock from a DOS box (I think we used the LOCK command).

The technique you describe for using an asset disc also works on most consumer players if you download the application using the serial port; we even went to far as to have special file open routines that looked for downloaded versions of specific asset files. This was sometimes necessary to debug player incompatibilities. You needed a DVC, of course, or there usually wasn't enough RAM for the downloading as our CD-i games had a tendency to use all of the available base-case memory for screen buffers, compiled sprites and sound effects.

At the time we used a crappy Philips tool called PCCDI to do the serial downloading (it had serial port bugs), but nowadays you could use my CD-i Link program (works on modern PCs and over an USB-Serial adapter).

Of course, you could also use CD-i Emulator nowadays..."

Credits: cdifan and sfetchit


Defunct Games reviews Dragon's Lair CD-i

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

It's been a long while since Defunct Games introduced CD-i reviews on their website and recently Tom has put up his latest review of Dragon's Lair CD-i. A few quotes: "I didn't expect much of it, since I always found it hard to appreciate the "gameplay" aspect of laserdic games in general. But to my surprise I enjoyed this game more than I thought beforehand."
"The CD-i version of Dragon's Lair looks quite impressive -- very close to the original and much better than the PC/Mac editions. Also the control of this edition is a little more forgiving than in other versions. If you do an action too early you don't die instantly this time."
"Most annoying is that every time Dirk dies (which is very, very often) or when he accomplishes a scene or a sequence of scenes the player has to face a high score screen - which really interrupts the flow of the game. The scores aren't even saved when you turn the game off, making it totally pointless. Besides that this game is almost impossible to finish. You only get three lives and no continues. "

Read more here.
Thanks to Tom Lenting from Defunct Games


CD-i in the US Army

>> Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The US army is very close to using war games as a tool to recruit new people nowadays. Recently this disc was offered which is indicated as a CD-i disc from the US Army Infantry School (The US Army Training Support Center). It is called "Bradley Fighting Vehicle Operation Desert Storm Sustainment Training". So it could be a slideshow, but it could also be something more interesting. But, as there are no CD-i logos or brands printed on the picture, I'm sceptic that it might not even be a CD-i at all (it wouldn't be the first time). But I'm eager to find out more info if anyone can offer. You know this title? Please let us know.


Which CD-i players have a replaceable battery?

>> Friday, November 27, 2009

Almost every CD-i player has a 'baked' Timekeeper battery soldered on the PCB. When the timekeeper battery is dead, it's difficult to replace it.

"All CD-i players except the Portable SONY IVO-V11, Portable Philips 370, DVS DVE-200 and the LG GDI 700 which all used CR2032 batteries which could easily be replaced. Otherwise it's a matter of taking apart the CD-i player once the battery is dead and doing a little DIY to install a replacable battery the hard way! When following guides just make sure not to mix the + with the - and you should be okay."


The Bang & Olufsen TV CD-i set

>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009 full glory. I can't imagine this TV set is around 15 years old. More info about this BeoCenter AV5 you can find here.


About professional CD-i applications

On the CD-i Forum an ex CD-i developer talked about his experience: "I was a CD-i professional developer. I started as chief engineer for a video-disc manufacturing facility where we were heavily involved with the automotive industries and military which were using laser discs for training. I developed recording technologies, including as an adjunct requirement interactive level 1 and 2 capabilities for video disc. We obtained the Philips CD-i Green Book standards as part of our development of CD/CD-ROM recording capabilities at the time and I was fascinated with Philips vision of a "standard" multimedia system.

When I left there, I started consulting and set up a company to do development of training for automotive companies in conjunction with advertising agencies. They were doing it all on touchscreen / computer / videodisc systems and I bought development systems for CD-i and introduced that to one automotive company. I created a "student course management" system which connected with their satellite-based in-dealer training network through the CD-i serial port and developed proof-of-concept training programs for CD-i and actually obtained and programmed for one of the first MPEG cartridges which hung off the back of the CD-I player with a big fan cooling it - I still have some of those original units. I merged with another development company as CTO and we ended up co-developing hundreds of CD-i professional titles (and a few small educational games as well) for Philips, Chrysler, GM, gaming systems for EDS, Sealy, Sears, etc....

There was rudimentary authoring available (Media Mogul) but I developed my own software using C/C++ on the platform as well as techniques for doing hi-color animations/etc. on the platform to achieve much higher performance in the applications which was a part of getting acceptance - we were able to largely duplicate and better the applications that were being done on multi-thousand dollar videodisc/touchscreen/computer systems on CD-i for around $500 per unit including the MPEG cartridge. These were put into thousands of auto dealerships (and eventually into lots of other professional applications).

We were very disappointed when Philips elected to exit the CD-i business (we were hoping for a next-generation system) but understood the decision. It is amazing that there is still to this day really no open-standard api/accessible/commercial system that can duplicate the functionality of CD-i in a simple package for a low price. I've done a lot of programming of digital signage using embedded linux systems as well with display chips/etc. - better video but the graphics/overlay/performance generally sucks unless they are much more pricey/complicated units."


Volvo CD-i Catalogue

>> Monday, November 23, 2009

All over the internet you'll find stories where CD-i is titled as the least succesful console, mainly because in the eyes of consumers the amount and quality of games was too low. From a different perspective, the professional market is where CD-i eventually peaked. Especially as tools for education (elementary school, driving license tests, School 2000). In other businesses, you'll find a lot of brands that used CD-i to promote there products in kiosks like we saw with K'Nex a few weeks back. Normally, collectors aren't able to get a lot of these because these discs were only used for promotion. Moreover, they are not published by the same company like Philips media handled most CD-i games. But once in a while a rare title like this pops up on ebay. Like today, with the Volvo CD-i disc. I was aware that Peugeot did a CD-i program at that time but I've never seen it from Volvo too. "Rare Volvo cars Philips CD-I disc. From the ill-fated Philips video disc format... there can't have been many car manufacturers to have done marketing on this format so this is a rare bit of Volvo and Philips history! From memory (not being able to actually view the disc) I'd say 1992/93 which dates it to K reg and the introduction of the 850."

For the coming week, you can find it here.


CD-i Video Review of Tetsuo Gaiden

>> Thursday, November 19, 2009

Source: Sebastiaan / HalfBlindGamer


Burn:Cycle running in CD-i Emulator 0.53


The Ultimate Goal of CD-i Emulator

>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009

There's no harm in thinking what would eventually be possible in CD-i Emulator. The program is getting better and better lately and while there's no DVC emulation yet, cdifan is working on it and he showed some first very primitive progress. Where will it end? Would CD-i Emulator be able to exceed the possibilities of a CD-i player? I was thinking, once The Lost Ride is running in CD-i Emulator, would it be possible to get it to run without the crash bugs it currently has? I remember it depends on the type of player how much the game crashes, on my 490 the game is hardly playable because it crashes so often (while other games run fine). That sounds like the ultimate goal.

Or how about running RAM RAID while cloning the CD-i modem environment so we can again play it online again each other. RAM RAID was the online equivalent of Atlantis: The Last Resort which was released with the second CD-Online disc in 1996. Would it technically be possible to run this online? THAT's the ultimate goal!


"I've started putting together the first v0.5.3 beta distribution"

>> Monday, November 16, 2009

The upcoming vo.53 release of CD-i Emulator will see the light of day soon: "Finally, I've started putting together the first v0.5.3 beta distribution. It will be mostly identical to a v0.5.2 one, with some updates in the sys directory, updated cdiroms.ini and cditypes.rul files and of course an updated executable which will be named wcdiemu-v053b1.exe (for beta 1) to avoid accidentally overwriting an existing v0.5.2 executable. I've also taken a first crack at a release notes document (very descriptively named BETA1)." This will give us the possibility to capture audio and video from CD-i titles: "I continued working on the WAV / AVI writing front. I have this essentially working now; both types of files are correctly written (the AVI files now include both audio and video). There are new options -writewav and -writeavi to invoke these functions from the command line." More when it develops.

from: CD-i Bits


CD-i Video Review of 'Voyeur'

>> Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sebastiaan (Halfblindgamer on youtube) put up a new video review of a CD-i game: This time it's Voyeur that is done. His CDI video series is getting more professional every turn, now with a new intro tune!

Thanks to: Halfblindgamer


"We can pack our bags: job done!"

Noted as 'Game of the Decade' I agree with Devin that the biggest news today is that Burn:Cycle is now compatible with CD-i Emulator: "Well it's been a long old road but now that CD-i Emulator can operate Burn:Cycle perfectly (Read Here), the ultimate goal of the CDinteractive Support Network has been achieved thanks to CD-i Fan. The next milestone in my view is getting a VCD to play, after that a DVC game like Brain Dead 13. If you can get Atlantis working then I'll pack my bags, job done!" For the full story, see CD-i Bits later today, the night's still young..., according to cdifan.


Playing 'Connect Four' on a Videotronic CD-i 470 Touch Monitor


A whole lot of CD-i titles now work better/perfect in CD-i Emulator

Emulating Lemmings on both CD-i Emulator and MESS CD-i was a tough job. "No matter what I do, I can't seem to please Lemmings, but it all boils down to the BIOS's communications with the CDIC. I get the feeling it's some kind of timing issue, but I just can't put my finger on it. Currently, in MESS, the "Let's go!" sound effect plays, followed by the sound effect that corresponds to the door opening, then background music starts to play, but dies". Thankfully cdifan worked this issue out in CD-i Emulator and it even improved the compatibility of a lot of other CD-i titles. "Yesterday I did some thinking about the Lemmings sound issue and concluded that the soundmap interrupt timing of the hardware was very different from the one in CD-i Emulator (and MESS CD-i). Today I set out to correct this. A whole lot of titles suddenly work much better or even apparently perfect:

- Lemmings now has background music and appears to play perfectly.
- Burn:Cycle appears to play perfectly.
- The professional title that was my 05140000 crash testcase plays perfectly.
- Sargon plays much better (it has frameskip issues).
- Escape from CyberCity menu screens now work (the actual game doesn't start).
And several soundmixing titles still appear to work okay!"

As CD-i Emulator 0.53 hasn't seen a release yet, I assume these improvements will also be implemented in the next release, which would make a minor update into a big update. Perhaps 0.53 isn't covering all the big updates CD-i Emulator has seen in the past weeks!

Info from CD-i Bits and the WIP CD-i thread.


Tiny CD-i MAME build and why look these images sharper than before?

>> Monday, November 9, 2009

Forget the last download link: Progress goes fast and this one is even newer: This is a ‘Tiny’ MAME build containing the CDi code from MESS as it is on 28th October 2009 using a fixed gamelist like MAME. Most games will lockup or crash at some point due to imperfectons in the emulation, a couple of them do however play well: Hotel Mario, The Apprentice (no sound), Dimos Quest, Alien Gate, Jokers Wild, Tetris and a number of others seem to be perfectly playable.

Digital Video titles won’t work because MESS doesn’t emulate the MPEG card. For most games only one revision has been added for testing purposes, while multiple revisions exist in the TOSEC dats. Non-games haven’t been added at all for now. I haven’t marked games as working / not working because most of them haven’t been tested far enough to make a good judgement on that, the main guarantee this tiny build gives however is that if your CHDs match the expected ones, you’re getting the same results as everybody else; something which is hard to know in MESS which lacks any kind of fixed set list. I (Haze) take no credit for the work here, I’ve just been converting images and testing them. The driver is mostly by ‘Just Desserts / Harmony’ and progress can be followed at the MESS forums. The CHDs used by this should be compatible with future versions of MESS. The package is provided as a ‘tiny’ package which extracts over a full MAME source. Have fun, I don’t personally want any bug reports for this, you’re on your own ;-)


Is it me or do these screenshots look very sharp? Ofcourse, I'm used to play CD-i on a conventional CRT screen, and I'm suprised how good these games look!


MESS CD-i ported to MAME

Multi Emulator Super System (MESS) is an emulator for many game consoles and computer systems, based on the MAME core. Wikipedia explains it at follows: "MESS is not an actual version of MAME, but it has the distinction of being born from, and based entirely on, the same emulation engine as MAME. While MAME emulates several different arcade systems, MESS uses the same architecture as MAME to emulate several different home console and computer systems. In addition to selecting a system to emulate, it is also usually necessary to select a piece of sotfware to work in conjunction with the system."

Now Davind Haywood ported MESS with the 'CD-i build' over to MAME. David: "There are two diff files included, one patches against the current MESS cdi.c file (which you can grab from the MESS SVN if you so desire) This clearly shows which lines need changing to make it work with MAME. The other is a patch against current MAME, containing the current MESS code for the driver. There are still bugs, as expected (they exist in MESS too) but this allows people to see the progress at least, without having to figure out MESS. I take no credit at all for the driver, nor do I want any reports on the instability of the emulation in it! Have fun, and be sure to check out the MESS SVN and update / patch the driver yourself with the diffs included if you want more up-to-date code. Likewise, if you want to add extra games, you’ll have to add them yourself. I may decide to integrate more console systems from MESS into HazeMD at some point, but I’m not decided on that one yet."

Click here to read more (including the download link)


Kyocera CD-i knows what title you want to play

>> Sunday, November 8, 2009

Interesting to see in this screenshot that the shell of the Kyocera CD-i player shows you the title of the CD-i that is inserted. I've never seen this in any other CD-i player!


The CD-i keyControl was not the first keyboard for CD-i

Another interesting bit of information posted on the CD-i bits blog today about the first (professional) keyboard for the CD-i. It's the first time I see this on a big picture! It was released in 1993 for use with the professional CD-i player. The later released CD-i KeyControl used a different protocol for transmitting the 'key events'. cdifan posted the background on why this was needed.


The latest MESS includes reasonable CD-i emulation

>> Saturday, November 7, 2009

MESS version 0.135 is out and includes a very reasonable CD-i emulation (it is not bug-free but neither is CD-i Emulator).

MESS CD-i requires one of the following CD-i system ROM (a.k.a. BIOS) files:

cdi200.rom - Magnavox CD-i 200
cdi220b.rom - Philips CD-i 220 F2
This is because it only handles the Mono-I board and these are the only two CD-i players using that board.

You also need to have CD-i disc images in CHD (Compressed Hunks of Data) format, these can be created from CDI/2352 raw disc images with the chdman tool included with MESS/MAME. If you have disc images in another format (supported by CD-i Emulator), you can use the new CD-i File Extractor tool to convert them to this format; it can even invoke chdman for you.

Public beta versions of CD-i Emulator version 0.5.3, incorporating most of the compatibility bugfixes learned during the MESS effort, will start being released soon.

Thanks to cdifan


Do you want a portable CD-i 370 player?

>> Friday, November 6, 2009

This might be the best CD-i player after all: portable, replaceable battery, great design, including lcd screen. What do you want more? It doesn't require a lot of space either if you are a collector of retro consoles. The only thing is that these portable 370 players are very expensive. And that's because Philips never sold these on the consumer market (apparently except for a small amount in Korea, but who can confirm that!) which was in my opinion a big mistake. These portable players were unique in its kind and I would definately be interested at that time to pick one up. Oh well, look at this baby.


Keyboard control in CD-i Emulator 0.53

>> Thursday, November 5, 2009

>cdifan just announced keyboard support to the upcoming CD-i Emulator 0.53: "Today I finally added keyboard support to CD-i Emulator, in preparation for the upcoming v0.5.3 release. You can now use the arrow keys and the numeric keypad for movement (the latter allows diagonal movement as well). You can use Space bar and both Enter keys for button 1 and the Shift and numeric keypad "+" keys for button 2; the numeric keypad "-" key acts as button 3 (both buttons simultaneously). I've tested a few games and it seems to work okay." More info here.


1993 press release of Link: Faces of Evil

Spoonman from Videogameobsession has updated his CD-i collection more; now including more contributions of his review time at CD-i World (1991). Read more here.


high res boxart of the Oldergames CD-i games

We've talked a lot about the CD-i prototypes that have been released by Oldergames/GoodDealgames back in 2002, but always without some proper scans of the boxart. Now, Thanks to Spoonman from Videogameobsession, more high res pictures of his CD-i collection are available.
Space Ranger Alpha

Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost
Go: Special Edition


K'Nex used Videotronic and CD-i to promote their products

>> Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There are far more professional CD-i applications compared to the amount of games on CD-i. This is an example of the K'Nex CD-i unit which was used in the Toys 'r US stores in the USA, provided by Videotronic.


Better pictures of the Videotronic CD-i Touch Monitor

Click on these pictures for high resolution. Pictures courtesy of Marcels TV Museum


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

  © Interactive Dreams Version 5 by The Black Moon Project 2013

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