Four Days With A Jaguar (Nov.23,1993)From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/20/94-01:44:15 AM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Four Days With A Jaguar (Nov.23,1993) Date: Sun Feb 20 01:44:15 1994 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Volume 2 - Issue 20 ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE 23 November 1993 :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ||| Four Days With A Jaguar ||| By: Albert Dayes / | \ CIS 70007,3615 GEnie: AEO.1 ------------------------------------------------------------------ JJJJJJJJJJ AA GGGGGGGGG UU UU AA RRRRRRRR JJ AA AA GG UU UU AA AA RR RR JJ AAAAAAAA GG GGGGG UU UU AAAAAAAA RRRRRRRR JJ JJ AA AA GG GG UU UU AA AA RR RR JJJJJJ AA AA GGGGGGGGG UUUUUUUUU AA AA RR RR 64-bit Interactive Multimedia System After hearing about the Jaguar I was skeptical about the system. After hearing the phrase "It's just like the arcade!" I became even more skeptical. (I've heard that ever since the Atari 2600 (Video Computer System, 1977) days.) Especially when someone talks about a Missile Command being "just like the arcade" I just laugh. Owning the real arcade game version of Missile Command, I know nothing will ever come close to being the real thing. For one thing, a trak-ball of that size has never been duplicated in the home video game environment and the game play always suffers tremendously because of it. One thing I always enjoyed about Atari's arcade games were the military simulations. Games like like Missile Command (1980), BattleZone (tank simulation, 1981), Red Barron (World War I style bi-plane, 1981), and my current favorite Steel Talons (a one or two player helicopter simulation with rockets, 20mm cannon and Hellfire missiles) are just some of great ones. They key point across all of Atari games is the game play. They always did an excellent job with the design of the controllers and how they interface with the game itself. That is something I can always count on with Atari coin-ops. Their outstanding graphics is just another reason to play. NOTE: These games were/are from Atari's Coin-op division which is now Atari Games corporation. Atari Games corporation is a private company and is not related to Atari Corp (which manufacturers computers and home video game systems). After looking around Comdex I found the Jaguar in the IBM OEM (original equipment manufacturers) section. There was a crowd around the machine so I had to squeeze in and get a good look... =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Evolution Dino-Dudes =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This version of the popular caveman survial game combines 50 of the best levels from the previous version with all new 3D true-color background graphics and CD-quality music. In this multi-platform puzzle, caveman must survive by avoiding man-eating dinosaurs, discover the spear, making fire and physically running, jumping and climing their way up the evolutionary ladder. The background is a partly darkened cave that has reddish color walls. It's amazingly detailed and is definitely awe inspiring. One can see that the texture mappping capabilities of the Jaguar are very impressive. Basically, the game takes place in the beginning of time and one has to discover a spear, fire and a few other things. This was the one game I did not try hands on. This game is a platform puzzle type and it's supposed to have a man-eating dinosaur. This game was not in the console long enough to even come close to seeing all the levels. This was created by Imagitec Design and is available now. As one looks at all Jaguar games one is impressed by the brillance of the colors. In most home video games the color has a washed out look compared to their arcade counter parts. =-=-=-=-=-= //// Raiden =-=-=-=-=-= The player pilots the aircraft over enemy territory, shooting realistic military tanks and other aircraft while avoiding enemy gunfire and hidden missiles. This is the ultimate arcade game conversion, allowiing the player to use a vertical scrolling motion to simulate aircraft flying. This is a game that really shows off the brillance of the colors involved. This is a one or two player game similar to Xevious (Namco-Atari, 1983). An arcade conversion from a 1990 game of the same name, this is a very fast action game and it's great with two players. In most arcade games if too many objects are on the screen at one time they slow down. These arcade slowdowns are very annoying since the screen can jerk by 1/4 screen increments. On the Jaguar version, there is no slow down at any point even with two players blasting away. In this game one can fly all over the screen while the landscape scrolls downward. As one looks at the game one can see how much colorful detail is on every object. To notice this one can not be playing the game. <grin> With all of the colors the depth perception of the different objects is very, very clear. This one should be great game for those who love shoot-em up style games. This was also created by Imagitec Design and is available now. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Crescent Galaxy =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The player, Trevor McFur, and his sidekick, Cutter Lynx blast through five worlds filled with asteroids, horrific creatures and digitized protagonists. The game features full textured 3D rendering of creatures and planets with nine levels reflecting five different worlds. This game is a sideways shoot-em up style game. If anyone remembers Space Duel (a one or two player asteroids style game with color vector graphics and 3D rotating rocks, Atari 1982) this has similar features. The rocks are really outstanding texture map creations. Some of them look like polished marble while others look just like black lava. They tumble so gracefully through space - its really incredible. The background looks just like the Great Nebula, in the constellation Orion. I wonder if they digitized that picture from an astronomy book? The monsters look very well done and it's amazing how many different ways one can modify an object. For example there is a dinosaur like creature with wings (in a dull blue-grey color) while the bottom is that of a snake. The tail snake like section looks just like a normal snake on a coil. (Editor: This was what shown on a monitor in the CBS This Morning segment in October that many people asked about) The amount of colors and texture mapping gives one a very good idea of what the Jaguar is capable of. This one is created by Atari and is available now. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Cybermorph =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Cybermorph, which is bundled with Jaguar, makes the player a One Man Rescue Probe sent into an interplanetary battlefield to rescue stranded survivors of a dying war. As the player files into a real-time, light shaded, polygon-based world, his craft, the Cybermorph assumes differnet forms to blend into the landscape below. A Holographic face speaks to the player, giving him information as he races toward all 50 moons to save final survivors. I spent more time with this one title than all of the others put together. With this game I will also illustrate the different features of the Jaguar itself. It was created by Attention To Detail and is available with every Jaguar system. //// Boot Up When the Jaguar is turned on with a game cartidge installed, the screen turns jet black and the blood red Jaguar name appears on the screen. This is also accompanied by an audio roar. An interesting feature about the Jaguar is if the cartidge is not inserted properly, the machine boots but the entire screen is a dull red. This is great so one has a visual clue immediately when there is a problem. In continuing with the normal bootup sequence the white letters "A t a r i" fall from the top of the screen to the bottom. A short tune plays... I think it's "Have you played Atari today?" The red Jaguar name moves from the center of the screen to the top. Then a rotating, texture mapped cube of the Jaguar appears in the middle of the screen. After this the Cybermorph game starts. A craft appears on the screen and then it morphs into the word Cybermorph. One then chooses which planet he/she wishes to visit. The planets are arranged around the outside of the screen. Moving the joypad controller to the appropriate planet selects it. This selection is signalled by red square brackets around the planet. By pressing the fire button one jumps immediately to the planet itself. //// The Controller Before the game itself is discussed, let's look at the controller. At first glance the controller seems very big and bulky. But after picking it up, one realizes how light it really is. It seems like it should be very hard to adjust to, but it's very easy. ___ | | XXX -- -- XXX | JOY | XXX -- -- P O XXX | | P O XXX --- P O XXX KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD KPAD The cross in the upper left is the joypad controller. The three Ps are the pause button. The three Os are the option button. The three groups of X's represent the three fire buttons. And lastly the 12 KPADs represent the 12 keys on the keypad. The feel of the controller is supposed to be similar to the Lynx, when held. Since I have never used an Atari Lynx myself, I can not make a judgement on that point. The 12 keys of the key pad can handle overlays. This will be most useful in sport simulations, but I'm sure its not limited only to that. One nice feature about the Jaguar is that one can remap the keys to their own preferences. For example in the game Cybermorph the three group of X's represent a forward thrust, fire button, and reverse thrust. One can change this to any possible combination that he/she feels comfortable with. The combination I used was the top, outer right button signifies the fire button, the middle for forward thrust and the bottom for reverse thrust. The game starts out with a large polyhedron flying out of the top left corner of the screen and unfolding, unveiling the ship, Cybermorph. (This is difficult to describe - you have to actually see it.) One can think of a clenched fist unfolding, and then opening to display an object. Then the SKYLAR apprears and says "Good Luck." SKYLAR is a green, bald, female face that speaks to you during your mission. The phrases she speaks are crystal clear too. One of the first things most people who played that game at Comdex wanted to do was to fly at top speed. This is accomplished by pressing your forward thrust button, and flying into your "virtual" world. It's amazing that you are not stuck in a rails-style game with only one direction. Everything moves very fast and very smooth - its really an incredible experience. It's great to be able to over fly a target and then just swing all the way around to make another pass. As one flies into the turn, one can notice how the light sources change on the wings of your craft. The shading goes from light to dark to light again. As one flies around searching for pods the terrain moves by very smoothly. The shape of the craft changes as one speeds up, slows down, flies backwards or turns. The shading of the terrain changes are subtle and very fluid. There is no jerking or slowdown at any time during the game due to objects being created on the fly. //// What you see.... Before we get more into the game the screen needs to be defined. At the bottom of the screen is the cockpit console. It indicates the status of the following: A) Shields B) Weapon Systems C) Energy D) Pods remaining When one loses all of the energy the craft crashes and even the console looks smashed. The screen is defined below. R G SKYLAR's Radar --------------------> R G FACE (transparent) R (your best friend, RRRRRRRRR only on screen when R speaking ) R /\ R A A ALTITUDE indicator ---------------> A (transparent) A A CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC C C E S C C N H CCCCCCCCCCC E I R E The console area which indicates the status of the G L different weapon systems, energy, shields, etc. Y D S The face in the upper left corner is SKYLAR's (she is your best friend). One can not really turn her off completely since she does give important messages like: "Portal Open" "Only one more" The radar and altitude display are transparent so one can still see the game beneath it. It similar to a HUD (Heads Up Display) found in many of today's modern aircraft. When pods are in range they are indicated on the radar screen as yellow V's. When one gets very close they change to diamonds. Enemies are indicated by different colors. Cargo carriers are green while fighters are red. Also some enemies do not show up on the radar screen at all. //// Keeping SKYLAR silent? As one attempts to fly around at top speed a lot, one will hit the ground at some time. When you do hit the ground you lose part of your shield (indicated by a yellow bar). To the immediate left of this bar is a green one that indicates the entire craft's energy level. These items are on the console which lies across the bottom of your screen. In addition to losing part of your shields, SKYLAR starts nagging you. At first, she says. "Avoid the ground." If you hit the ground more than a few times consecutively SKYLAR gets sarcastic. "Where did you learn to fly?" There is a solution to the problem of this pesky face however and its a great feature I hope a lot of developers can copy. To turn off SKYLAR, first press the pause button on the controller. At this point, one is given the option of adjusting several different things, the first being SKYLAR's voice. By moving the joypad up or down the loudness of the voice changes. The next option is to change the loudness of the engine and finally the loudness of the effects. The best part is these options (in addition to the top 10 scores) are saved to the cartridge. So the next time you play the game these options are still the same. There is some SRAM in the cartridge itself to accomplish this feat. There are several things you can do in this game: A) Fly around avoiding all contact with the "bad guys". B) Fly around collecting pods and advance to the next planet. C) Fly in very agressive manner and destroy anything in your path. D) B and C. One can mix and match any of these options at any time. The D option is one of the most exciting! The planet itself is a very exciting "virtual" world. It's a complete sphere and one can fly in any possible combination of directions. Each planet has a complete different combination of terrain. The following is a short list of some of the non moving objects you will see. These are my own names and may be termed differently in the manual. //// "The Virtual World contains...." 1) Mountains (too high to fly over) 2) Rivers 3) Trees 4) Canyons 5) Bridges 6) Small towns 7) Plains (a great expanse of flat land) 8) Energy Rings The moving objects differ from "virtual" world to world. 1) Cargo Carriers 2) Defense Fighters 3) Harrassing Scout Fighters 4) Pods (a golden, dual tetrahedron shaped object similar to a solid 3D diamond ) 5) Kidnappers 6) Fixed Weapon emplacements 7) Flying Worms 8) Ground Poisoners 9) ?????? //// "Cargo Carriers" In the default planet the cargo carriers can go over any of the mountains. On this planet Cybermorph can not obtain that altitude. When a cargo carrier starts up a steep mountain, one can fly around it at full speed and attack the cargo carrier as it comes down the other side. If one fails to destroy it, then one can either go backwards and make another attempt. Or one can make a half circle and take another shot. Unlike other games your shots do not follow where your craft flies. Each shot once it leaves your craft is completely independent of you. Cargo carriers contain special items such as speed boosters, missiles, or energy. After one is destroyed the contents are left floating in the air. Running into these objects will add them to your current inventory. When one runs into any of these particular objects a "gulp" like sound is heard. These objects do not last forever when exposed (floating in the air) and will disappear after a given length of time. The Cybermorph is very fast already, and I have never found a speed booster to see how much faster one can go. There is no method to determine what is in a cargo carrier before destroying it. Also, cargo carriers do not carry any weapons for defense against your attacks. Cargo carriers change in shape and size depending on which world one is currently on. //// "Fighters" There are two types of fighters in Cybermorph. Scout types and Defender types. Scout types fly all over the world and just show up in the most difficult times. They fire shots and leave but may turn around and attack your or continue on their predestined path. These craft vary in shape and size as well. Some look like low sillouette style triangles, while others look similar to X-wing craft from Star Wars. The defense against these is to change altitude often. These craft fly at the altitude that you fly at the most. So if you are flying low most of the time to gather pods when they attack they will be at the same level. When you're stuck in a dead-end canyon, picking up a pod, one of these scouts always seems to fly into the area. The other type are defender type of fighters. When large groups of pods are gathered in one place, these defender fighters can also be present. These fighters just fly around in a circle guarding their bait. It's possible to fly in at high speeds and snatch a pod or two before the defenders even notice. Also one can hover (or fly) at a great stand off distance and fire into these fighters without a counterattack. Once within range however, they will all open fire and a retreat is the best option. The shots that these defender fighters shoot look like a long, barbed tetrahedrons. These shots come fast and furious so be careful. The problem with using only stand off techniques to attack defender type fighters is scouts always seems to end up behind you. Since scouts can fly anywhere one has to be very careful not to get stuck in the crossfire. Fighters (scout and defender) are present on all planets in Cybermorph. //// "Pods" Finding a pod is usually straightforward, using your radar as your guide. But when flying at high speeds (around mountains, over rivers, under bridges, and through mountain passes) one can easily overshoot a pod. There are several options to choose in this case. One can make a 180 degree turn and make another pass, or they can go backwards and then make another attempt, to rescue the pod. To control the speed of Cybermorph the one uses a combination of forward and reverse thurst. To go backwards one presses the reverse thurst until the desired backward movement is achieved. To pick up a pod one just runs into with the craft. A single clink is heard when this is successfully accomplished. SKYLAR sometimes appears and says "Well done." //// "Kidnappers and Poisoners" These are present on some planets and take completely different forms depending on the planet. One one planet they looked like a crab with three or four long legs. The legs are about twice as long as the body and the unit moves erratically across the planet surface. Actually they remind me of Jellyfish or Portuguese Man-O-War in their looks. These kidnappers grab pods and carry them to different locations on the planet. One of the locations is where the "Ground Poisoner" lives. It looks like 7 or 8 solid, 3D triangles or rather tetrahedrons piled on top of one another. The area that is poisoned looks like a very jet black oil slick. To reduce its activity one fires at it until it disappears back into the ground. With each hit it changes color until it descends back into the ground. It reminds me of a morey eel in some ways. One strategy is to wait for the kidnappers to bring all the pods to this place and pick them up as they are dropped. It's more exciting to race over the planet's surface looking for kidnappers. Also in some locations, kidnappers have pods tied down on the ground and these must be liberated. Unfortunately I do not recall if these imprisioned pods show up on the radar or not. Probably not. //// "Fixed Weapon Emplacements" These are standard AA (anti-aircraft) style weapons that either alone on the ground or in groups. High speed passes are the best way to deal with these. These can unleash a huge volume of firepower very quickly. //// "Flying Worms" Flying worms stay in their specific areas or so it appears. These are very difficult to destroy, if they can be damaged at all. My best solution was to avoid them. The Worms look like a large string of cubes and are very unpredictable. Beware, these are very dangerous and are not intimidated. //// "Energy Rings" There are several type of "energy" rings. Some replenish lost energy to your craft while others provide some sort of transport. The solid ring versions provide energy and can be found by flying around the planet (or "virtual" world). The second type are transport types. The type of different colors are portal to leave the planet. These appear on your radar screen as a pod when you have completed your mission. SKYLAR also informs you that a portal is open as well. This are made up of rotating triangles of red and blue usually. After one flies into this a polyhedron envelops your craft and it goes off the top of the screen. Then the player chooses another planet to rescue more pods from. The other transport types are of the same color (usually red or blue rotating trangles), and take you instantly to different parts of the planet. In many cases this is the only way to get to a pod, which is completely surrounded by mountains (which are too high to fly over). Scout fighters always seem to be in these areas as well, so watch out. //// Cybermorph weapon systems The available weapon systems include bombs and missiles. To switch from your normal cannon to a different weapon, one uses the option key. Several types of items can only be destroyed by such weapons. Buildings which contain pods are the best candidates for these weapon types. Many times there are groups of buildings with many pods scattered around them. It takes a skillful hand to navigate between to reach them all but it's not too difficult. In many games in the past, I've noticed that sometimes when one attempts to perform such an operation it's near impossible. The software's collision detection of where the game (computer) sees an edge is way off. (Compared against what a player sees on the screen.) Cybermorph DOES NOT have this flawed characteristic. One can fly full speed out of a mountain place, gracefully glide in between the buildings to rescue pods, and come out the other side completely unscathed. The best weapon system is just being to handle the craft speed and direction. This makes a big difference between "players" and "outstanding players." One such outstanding player is Jay Patton (Projects Manager) at Atari. He was watching over the Atari exhibit in the IBM OEM section most of the time, but when he was demonstrating Cybermorph it was awe inspiring. He could make the most incredible moves to accomplish the necessary goal. The reason this is important is that players are not hindered by the controls when playing the game. With the right touch, one can really do some incredible things. Everyone gets turned off by a game if the controls do not allow you to perform what you need to. Cybermorph has excellent handling characteristics and no one will be hindered in what he/she can do. //// "????????" According to the literature there are 50 planets (moons) to "fly" on. There are about nine different planets to choose when one first starts out. After these planets are cleared then another group will appear. On one planet I was flying around and suddenly, this brillant red laser beam just destroyed my ship. Unfortunately I never saw the source of this beam so I do not have any idea what it was. And I do not remember which planet it was on either. So as SKYLAR would say "GOOD LUCK!" =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Alien vs Predator =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This game IS NOT FINISHED yet. So this is just a preview of what will be coming in first quarter 1994. This tunnel/maze game has texture-mapped walls and striking renderings of monsters. The player selects to be the Alien, the Predator or the Marine Corporal. The Alien, complete with a tail that whips around and nasty jaws, smoothly scales walls to pounce upon his unsuspecting prey; the Predator uses sophisticated weaponry and superior infrared night vision to seek out his victims and the Marine Corporal depends on his piles of ammunitions and sophisticated military combat computer skills to hunt and defend. Camera speed races at a high frame rate to create the ultimate in chase sequences. The amount of time I had with this game was limited but it was very impressive nonetheless. The speed of going through the maze is incredible with the hallway getting lighter and lighter as one approaches the end of the hallway. The walls differ in different parts of the maze with a very strong green metalic look. In other places it a brownish tan look. The real-time scaling and texture mapping capabilities of the Jaguar really come to life in AvP. In addition to the texture mapping, there is a transparancy overlay that show weapons, ammunition and other important status indicators. As one goes through the ship at full speed, it feels just like running. And run you should once you (as a Marine) see either Predator or Alien. Imagine this: as you round a corner there stands the Predator: a large menacing monster, and as soon as you turn to run it is on your tail. As you turn around to see how close it is behind you you can see him running at full screen after you. You suddenly turn around and realize that Predator took a short cut and cut you off completely. Turning around you face the evil looking Predator. Firing your weapon, the Predator disappears into thin air. After you catch your breath, you continue down the different halls. Past the elevator, into the armory, and then... lost. The scheme of the ship lightens up as you run into the medical lab and there you find a Predator again. He is behind some glass and follows you as you move around within the medical lab. By going to the exit, Predator jumps through the door and starts chasing you again. Turning, you fire your weapon and Predator disappears for a season. Upon entering a dark, green metalic room you notice dark, large oval shaped objects. They appear to be hatching eggs (that bring forth Aliens). You wander aimlessly throughout the ship, cautiously looking this way and that. You open one door and reload your weapon looking for the second door. The second door opens and Alien surprises you. As you run backwards down the hall you see Alien coming full speed after you. Its gleaming white teeth increase in intensity as it closes in. While its tail whips from side to side, you fire your weapon with no effect. The fire belches from your weapon as you attempt to at least slow down the monster. Finally you run into a wall and see that you are trapped. Alien slows down and stops in front of you. You muster your courage and charge directly at Alien, firing your weapon. You go right through Alien unscathed... sorry, collision detection was not completed yet! Neither was the sound, so you'll have to look for this completed title in first quarter 1994. This one is going to be hot! Written by Rebellion Software. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Checkered Flag II =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Jaguar Formula Racing hits its peak using real-time 3D generated action that allows the game player to customize racing cars. Cars, buildings and roads are rendered in real-time 3D. Racing speed is intensified by 100 percent-true sound effects; crashes are realistic in both sound and imagery, with parts flying and tires screeching. With this sweaty-palms racing racing game, players will practicallly feel the wind in their hair. This one still has some work to do like collision detection and sound effects also. Also the graphics needs to be improved in some places. Since this is a work in progress, it was expected to be in this format. Look for this in early 1994, from Rebellion Software.
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