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Creative Media - CD-i developer

>> Thursday, December 1, 2005

With Philips being a dutch company, it may not surprise you The Netherlands was one of the most succesful countries for CD-i. When the format was already abandoned in the USA, the dutch CD-i love flourished a lot with a crave for new games. When most companies who produced CD-i games were involved with the format from the beginning, in the Netherlands there were several parties who started just a tad after the ‘hype’. Ofcourse it should be noted Philips was the big spender and most CD-i projects were funded and initiated by Philips…

One of these ‘dutchies’ was called the ‘Dutch Interactive Media Associates’. With the same approach as with the Philips in-house studios like Sidewalk and Artspace, the main objective of DIMA was to produce relatively cheap CD-i games in a relatively short period. They gave us the well-known Family Games, a great game collection of classic small games which was a give-away with european CD-i sets in 1994. In 1995 they released a christmas surprise: Christmas Crisis. Without any preview this title hit the market and hooked the CD-i fans to their screen. With Christmas around the corner this is the perfect chance to relive a CD-i classic with excellent digital video.

When Philips pulled the plug out of their own studios, DIMA people took a step and got totally independent. Being the first company to publish their own CD-i games, this was a big step for the CD-i community. These were the days of ‘Creative Media’, a small company who brought to you Christmas Country, a true follow-up to Christmas Crisis but without the help of Philips digital video encoders… When you compare these christmas platformers you’ll notice the last one was more rough but it supported horizontal scrolling which was a real difficulty on CD-i.

One of the test prototypes was a conversion of Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario Bros’, which is a perfect example that CD-I was capable of playing original NES games. The ‘brains’ of Creative Media were headed in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. With all classic consoles around, they were fanatics of classic games. “With Cd-i you don’t have the perfect game console; Other game consoles win easily when it comes to speed and graphics.The amount of memory is just too low for that to compete. On the other hand it is a real challenge to get out of it what is possible to the max. That’s what we did with Christmas Country: Good graphics with loads of enemies on screen and with a solid framerate. The downside was a lack of music in the game but believe me, the framerate would drop enormously if we would have used in-game music. To add, the game had to be finished in a relatively short period. Ofcourse it’s great when you’re allowed to work on a game for a year but it costs too much money. It’s just not profitable for a small company in a small country. Along the years things are getting easier to develop. The development time of Family Games and Christmas Crisis took around 6 months each, Christmas Country only took us over 3 months to finish.”

Christmas Country was a winner of the International CD-I Association Awards in the category “Home Entertainment Children”. In 1996 Creative Media started developing games for both the PC CD-ROM and the Sony Playstation, but ofcourse they didn’t forget the CD-i. In 1997 they were planning a remake of Christmas Country (The Lost Levels). This game would incorporate more scrolling effects and background music, including all-new levels. A classic remake of Break-Out was developed with the name Whack-a-Bubble, which was released in 1997.

More plans …

Four new games should have been released before 1998. ‘Mr. Miner’ was a classic remake of ‘Dig Dug’, You had to dig down in vertically stretched levels, kill enemies and gain the bonus items to get into the next level. ‘Atomic Shift’ was a remake of the classic ‘Asteroids’. In this game you were flying in a space ship and you had to shoot atoms in parts which would melt together again and again… Very addictive and very high-score-minded! ‘Haunted Pyramid’ should have been a remake of ‘Lode Runner’, which was a perfect classic for primitive platform and puzzle action. ‘Marchin’ Ants’ was based on ‘Centipede’, a classic shooting game.

Unfortunately none of these games saw the light of day, but they sure have a lot of CD-i gems in the vault. One of them is a conversion of Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario Bros’, which is a perfect example that CD-I was capable of playing original NES games. I’m always thinking that, with the Nintendo license Philips had (thanks to their ‘Philips Odyssee Console’ patents), they would have been able to release a remake after the cancellation of the highly anticipated Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds.

With this potential they also developed a four-player adapter for use with certain CD-I players. They designed games for multiplayer action like this with ‘Taco’s Toyroom Troopers’, which was displayed on the back of Christmas Country. The main problem was the incompatibility with different player models. In the end the project was too expensive and neither Philips nor Creative Media wanted to invest more money in the ill-fated CD-i. If the internal issues of the different players were minimized from the beginning, the chance we got to see another third party controller would have been realistic. The four player controller prototype is on our agenda to investigate in the near future so check out the resources regularly!

See you next month!

Copyright & content belong to the respective owners.


Rastersoft CD-i demo video

>> Saturday, July 9, 2005

In this post I collect the videos I make of the homebrew CD-i projects. For now, we only have one homebrew project on CD-i: Frog Feast. Recently the creator of Frog Feast posted a demo of the upcoming CD-i game, our test results are posted below.

July 9th: This is a test video about the Chaos89 CD-i demo which was made in June 2007 by Rastersoft, the creators of Frog Feast. I used a CD-i 490, which you can see in the video. After starting the CD-i, the Chaos89 intro is loaded with a turning text on screen. That's the only thing available. You know what this means? New CD-i programming in 2007!

July 14th: This is the first demo fully playable: Our conclusion: It plays perfect! No slowdown, it's as fast as the other versions, the loading times are short. No complains here. Tested on a CD-i 490/00 player. Just excuse me for the terrible video quality, my camera had some troubles following the television screen ;)

rdjnl also tested the demo with the following remarks:
1 If you let the frog jump to the left, from the leaf on the left, then the frog 'moves outside the screen'. Does this have to do with differences between PAL/NTSC and/or 3:4/16:9 ?
2 It seems that it is impossible to pause/end a game, and to exit the disc.
3 The game over screen in two player mode shows a dark green computer frog.

Thanks to Charles Doty


CD-i Gamepad Adapter Review (Paul Hackmann)

>> Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bet you weren't expecting to see a new piece of CD-i hardware in 2002 huh!! Well you can imagine my surprise at finding this bit of kit through the CD-i News Group ( The hardware in question is the CD-i Gamepad Adapter and the site Paul Hackmann's Electronics, the mastermind behind the technology. CD-i Gamepad Adapter and PC PROPAD The package includes a comprehensive instruction sheet which is also available on-line at the following link, the adapter itself and a PC PROPAD (model SV-230) so it's playable straight from the box (pictured left). Apart from a minor problem slotting the PC PROPAD into the adapter the set up was straight forward and the connections all fit correctly. The adapter is not only compatible with the PC PROPAD, any analogue joystick/gamepad should work as long as it is a PC analogue controller.

So why on earth would you want to buy this adapter opposed to the official peripherals such as the touchpad or game controller. After all they work perfectly well and provide the best experience in gameplay value...don't they? Well, not entirely, now that i've had a chance to give the adapter a full play test it actually has some interesting enhancements over the standard controllers.

All the standard buttons are present and work perfectly including the directional pad, button 1, button 2 depressing both 1 + 2 emulates button 3 as with the official controllers. The adapter itself contains a variation on a feature that comes in the form of cursor speed control which is completely variable compared to the few settings available on the official gamepads. By rotating the speed control you can either make the on screen cursor move faster or slower. On face value you wouldn't have thought it would make that much difference and if you just use your CD-i for VCDs, educational or reference software then it won't. This feature really comes into its element with games, especially shooters like "Mad Dog McCree" and "Chaos Control". If you felt the cursor was to slow in these games a small rotation of the speed control will make the cursor zip across the screen, rotate it in the opposite direction then it will move at a snails pace. Certainly a feature that should add new elements to the gameplay value of various CD-i titles. Even the auto fire option on the PC PROPAD functions which should save some wear and tear on your thumbs!!

The beauty of this adapter is that any PC analogue controller will work with it. As the instruction sheet states "With the CD-i Gamepad Adapter, you can enjoy CD-i gaming with the controller of your choice". So I put this to the test with a PC QUICKSHOT JOYSTICK (QS-209) which has always been a pain to calibrate on a PC. Initially I was skeptical about it working with the adapter but surprise surprise after connecting it up with no problem, it functioned perfectly first time. Even trying to upset the calibration then re-booting the CD-i had no effect, time after time the adapters automatic calibration was flawless. A complaint commonly recieved from the readers of CDi Magazine (UK) was that the CD-i had no Joystick controller. When I was doing a little research for this article, I came across a CD-i Joystick advertised in CDi Magazine (UK) Issue 20, on the back page which can be seen by clicking on the following link. Apparently it wasn't particularly that good and didn't add much to the gameplay of CD-i software. With this adapter you can finally link up your nice new PC Joystick for a better gaming experience than Philips official controller could provide!!

At $35 the CD-i Gamepad Adapter doesn't come cheap, but considering it is made by Paul Hackmann in his spare time and at his own expense the price is hardly surprising. The adapter is professionally made robust and shows quality workmanship.

As CD-i collectors or new enthusiasts should know the official gamepad is becoming increasingly difficult to find, even through the on-line auction sites. This adapter provides the perfect solution to this problem and gets "The Black Moon Projects" seal of approval.

Unfortunately, as of 2005, the controller is no longer available. Paul's own reaction: "'s been a loooooong time since I have made changes to the site. I have rearranged the home page a bit(not quite done). Furthermore, the CD-i Adapter is no longer available. It was getting hard to get the parts I needed. I tried a USB version of the adapter, but there is no such thing as a common controller interface for USB Joysticks. Every manufacturer seems to follow their own rules in that regard. So, unless I have a brilliant idea, the Adapters are off the market. Sorry.

The CD-i Gamepad Adapter is a cable designed to connect an analog PC joystick or gamepad to a CD-Interactive (CD-i) player. The cable handles the necessary calibration of the PC joystick or gamepad, and converts the data from the joystick or gamepad to a format understood by the CD-i player. With the CD-i Gamepad Adapter, you can enjoy CD-i gaming with the controller of your choice.

NOTE: I am currently OUT OF STOCK of the CD-i Gamepad Adapter. At this point, I don't expect to be making any more of them. I have had requests to release the design for public use. I have decided to open some of the documents to the public. There should be enough here for someone to recreate a working adapter (thought not necessarily exactly the same as mine), assuming they have the ability to make circuit boards and compile some software. You can download a zipped version of the documents here. Also note that it lists the PIC16C710 on the schematic, but I actually used a PIC16C715. They are pin compatible."

Reviewed by Devin


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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