>> Friday, July 30, 2010
Ash: I think it was Philips who instigated the Micro Machines conversion for CD-i. After the multimedia angle hadn't exactly put a CD-i in every home, they started trying to get deals together to get larger name game titles ported to the system. Micro Machines and Codemasters were pretty big at the time so it wasn't a bad idea. Actually, I remember speaking to Philips directly myself before I even moved to Codemasters, sometime in late 91 or early 92. They didn't seem so keen on games then, but I was looking for systems where I could possibly carve a niche for myself. When I caught wind of the possibility of doing Micro Machines I was fairly keen to get involved, which was fortunate because, no offence to Philips, but I don't think any of the other programmers were especially interested. Personally I saw it as a decent way to get some experience developing for a CD-based system, which were fairly new at that time. I think the deal pretty much happened early to mid 1994, so it was several months before the PlayStation surfaced.
Initially I had hoped it would be fairly simple from a code perspective, since CD-i had a 68000 series CPU and the Megadrive game had already been coded in 68000 assembler. Unfortunately, due to some rights problem (I still don't really know why) we couldn't use that code. So I had the original NES 6502 assembler code handed over, and I made a printout of the whole thing. I made a rough map of the code functionality (for example higher level processes and lower level detail) and decided on a rough plan of attack. During the development I basically took each part of the code in turn and re-coded it into 68000 directly from the 6502 reference. It wasn't the prettiest way to do it really, but time was likely to be short and at least it was methodical if not optimal. Philips had given us a useful base framework to get started with, as well as a development kit with SNASM tools and so on. What I remember most was how much I hated using a PC. Quite a few of us had used Amiga A4000 workstations for the Megadrive development, using a mix of off the shelf tools like DevPac, and stuff we wrote ourselves. For code editing, CygnusEd was simply the weapon of choice. By comparison, tools on the PC were like the dark ages. To this day I still can't really believe it!
[Thanks, Ashley Hogg, Devin]