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Learning more about Phear


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#1 Clint Thompson

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 06:30 PM

This may not be new news to anyone, I'm not sure, but I had the opportunity to speak with one of the guys recently that was working on the project with them. Turns out that Tetrisphere really is a'bit of a different game than what was originally being made for on the Jaguar. Some things to highlight or note:

 

-Game play on the Jaguar version is bolder and simpler, which makes it more entrancing and faster-paced than Tetrisphere.

 

-It uses all flat-shaded polygons and the frame rate was always about 60.

 

-The game play is faster on the Jaguar because you could not/did not produce 'combo chains' or drag pieces around, you just focus on moving the sphere to align with the current piece. Part of the reason this changed for the N64 is because the producer, who was of Killer Instinct fame, seemed to be obsessed with 'combo' move game play. As a result, the game play has to be slower as a result to provide enough time to move pieces around to align before dropping a piece. It takes away from the core mechanics a bit. Also, since it became a more complex game, it almost couldn't be played without some sort of explanation to a new player where as on the Jaguar version, you can just pick it up and go!

 

-Graphics - the textures got a bit noisy and heavy on the N64 - there is something much punchier and clear about the flatter style of the shaded polygons for the Jaguar version.

 

-The team continued working on Jaguar stuff for a bit during the development of Tetrisphere but more because it was a pet fascination given the imperative to ship Tetrisphere. They had a very interested and talented programmer at the time that found the Jaguar to be really powerful for making sprite based games but felt it was oversold as a 3D platform - they kept experimenting but never settled or committed to anything else.

 

-Music was done in XM format ( fast tracker ) and was roughly around 75% accurate and sounded all kinds of messed up. Soundtrack would have been very similar to what was in Tetrisphere but more constrained in terms of number of voices due to cartridge rom size. XM could have up to 64 channels vs MODs being limited to 4.

 

Maybe said person I spoke with may find their way here to further elaborate and share even more detailed experiences/memories.


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#2 Lost Dragon

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 10:36 AM

Fantastic information my friend, just fantastic.

 

Delighted to hear you managed to get hold of someone who worked on the game and was willing to provide so much insight.

 

 

Are they prefering not to be named? from my own experience, i've had insights from developers that can never be shared as they did not wish to be publically quoted, for numerous reasons, which i fully respected, but given there are so many cynics out there at times in the Reto Community at large, it does help to have a name to put to the quotes...hopefully you can convince them to join here?

 

 

 

Not doubting your claims, but given in past i've had to have likes of Mike Diskett join a forum just to confirm replies he gave me came from him, were really from him, you start to wonder sometimes how information shared is going to go down :)

 

 

Very interesting to hear the comments about how they felt Jaguar was over sold as a 3D platform..i totally agree....

 

Jaguar was a superb 2D machine (Rayman looked gorgeous) and fantastic for "2.5-D " games like Wolfenstien, AVP, Doom etc, but it was never going to match 3DO for texture-mapping etc but then 3DO wasn't so hot in 2D, hardware differences etc.

 

 

I've always felt the Jaguar was kind of like a really, really powerful Amiga or Genesis...games like I.S which mixed polygon 3D with bitmapped explosions, music from Jaguar games felt very Amiga-era etc etc.

 

 

Just delighted and astounded that yet again, it's the COMMUNITY making these finds, sharing them for FREE, not the mainstream press/media personalities out there.

 

 

Really appreciated, i'll be passing thread onto Unseen64, sure they'll welcome the info.


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#3 Clint Thompson

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:36 AM

Really cool stuff!

 

phear1.png phear2.png

phear3.png phear4.png


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#4 Lost Dragon

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 11:39 AM

Out bloody standing Sir :)



#5 AtariHero

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 02:21 AM

This may not be new news to anyone, I'm not sure, but I had the opportunity to speak with one of the guys recently that was working on the project with them. Turns out that Tetrisphere really is a'bit of a different game than what was originally being made for on the Jaguar. Some things to highlight or note:

 

-Game play on the Jaguar version is bolder and simpler, which makes it more entrancing and faster-paced than Tetrisphere.

 

-It uses all flat-shaded polygons and the frame rate was always about 60.

 

-The game play is faster on the Jaguar because you could not/did not produce 'combo chains' or drag pieces around, you just focus on moving the sphere to align with the current piece. Part of the reason this changed for the N64 is because the producer, who was of Killer Instinct fame, seemed to be obsessed with 'combo' move game play. As a result, the game play has to be slower as a result to provide enough time to move pieces around to align before dropping a piece. It takes away from the core mechanics a bit. Also, since it became a more complex game, it almost couldn't be played without some sort of explanation to a new player where as on the Jaguar version, you can just pick it up and go!

 

-Graphics - the textures got a bit noisy and heavy on the N64 - there is something much punchier and clear about the flatter style of the shaded polygons for the Jaguar version.

 

-The team continued working on Jaguar stuff for a bit during the development of Tetrisphere but more because it was a pet fascination given the imperative to ship Tetrisphere. They had a very interested and talented programmer at the time that found the Jaguar to be really powerful for making sprite based games but felt it was oversold as a 3D platform - they kept experimenting but never settled or committed to anything else.

 

-Music was done in XM format ( fast tracker ) and was roughly around 75% accurate and sounded all kinds of messed up. Soundtrack would have been very similar to what was in Tetrisphere but more constrained in terms of number of voices due to cartridge rom size. XM could have up to 64 channels vs MODs being limited to 4.

 

Maybe said person I spoke with may find their way here to further elaborate and share even more detailed experiences/memories.

Awesome stuff Clint. That's more info than we've ever heard about the game in 20 years. I like the sound of a faster (i.e. more arcade like) game that they had going on. I really hope some build of this shows up in the near future. 


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#6 Lost Dragon

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 06:01 AM

One of the many things i feel Atari I.O should be bloody proud of, is the fact the Community here are constantly sharing new finds on Lost and commercially released Atari games and it's just done for the love of the subject material and for benifit of all.

 

 

The site is slowly but steadily building up an archive of historical data, from press coverage, Atari P.R statements, speculation etc at the time, to what's been discovered since and from those who worked on the games and hardware.

 

For years things seemed to of gone cold on things like Phear, Conan, Freelancer 2120 etc on Jaguar, magazine claims passed around as fact, screenshots taken at face value etc and that was it, lines drawn under all of it.

 

But thanks to the efforts of the community on here, we now have a far greater understanding of just how early various Jaguar games were canned and why, just how split the development community was on the Panther hardware and we aren't afraid to challenge the established claims of some of the more vocal figures in the wider Atari community and say, woah hold on, you missed this aspect and having spoken too..they put forward....

 

 

Clint has done outstanding work, not just on Phear, but it giving his time to host up various UK based material i keep drowning him with and everyone here just keeps on giving and building this forum into something that strongly believes in simply giving people what's been uncovered and letting them decide for themselves.


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#7 A31Chris

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:01 AM

Awesome thread!
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#8 Clint Thompson

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:44 PM


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#9 A31Chris

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 03:09 AM

Wow it scales in and out as smooth as I've ever seen on the Jag.

Edited by A31Chris, Yesterday, 01:36 AM.

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#10 atarilbc

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Posted Yesterday, 11:16 AM

This looks fantastic and truly "next gen" for the time. It would be great if a playable rom was released to the community. Especially as the team apparently kept working on the Jaguar version for fun even after the exclusive rights were sold to Nintendo.
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#11 Clint Thompson

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Posted Yesterday, 11:33 AM

yeah, it really does move around super nicely in full speed! It's not exactly the prettiest looking or most polished but it excels where it should first and foremost and that's the gameplay, something Atari didn't really seem to grasp.


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