Monthly Archives: January 1995

Under A Killing Moon (Macintosh Port)

Title Movie Screenshot

  • Full Name: Under a Killing Moon
  • Original Developer: Access Software
  • Original Publisher: Access Software
  • Original Release Date: 1994
  • Port Comissioned by: Green Dragon Creations, Inc.
  • Mac Release Date: 1995
  • Mac Publisher: Access Software

Excerpt from PC version review at Programmer in Black's Web

Back Alley Screenshot

You control the actions of one Tex Murphy, a down-and-out detective. The time is the future, the things Murphy will say reminds you of old detective movies.

The game is based on a *very* good virtual reality engine. You can do things like turn your head while walking forward, look up or down, stand on your toes or – very important – crouch down. My first impression when I started this game was wow. My second was “Why can't I be working on something like this?” Some people may find controlling all the movements of the character distracting or even disorienting though. Especially when you need to move quickly to a hiding spot.

The cast for the game is good. My favourite is James Earl Jones as The PI in the Sky, and having him remind you of the “Rules of a PI”. In fact, because of this, it does tend to be fun to die in this game. Though at a late part in the game, death gets a bit too frequent to be as much fun.

I must admit though, not all of the acting was enjoyable. I didn't really like Tex's ex-wife scene, it was just *too* much. I mean, a bit cheesy is one thing, but I found this excessive. The same goes for the 'valley girl' girlfriend you talk to later in the game.

Newspaper Screenshot
Were I to choose one project I am most proud of from my early years, it would be this one.
This DOS game was written entirely in assembly, to try to get every bit of speed they
could out of their machines. We chose not to do that for two reasons: we had two architectures
to support (68K and PPC), and we didn't have the same considerations for our processors (no
64k address space limits). By the time we got the project the compilers were already sufficiently
advanced to take our suggestions rather than create very bad code.

3D Temple Environment Screenshot
My focus on the project was the virtual reality engine. I had never seen anything remotely like it,
and even today I have seen nothing like it. The original creators had decided in a stroke
of genius to setup actual rooms with the items inside and digitize them directly where they were.
As opposed to the 'artist rendition' version that is, even now, only has a vague resemblance
to reality.

So my task was to take an assembly language program and line by line work out what it was doing, so
I could replicate it in C. Never having handled something this big, I got the idea to first
make a map of all the functions, who called what,
what were they called, and what functional groups were there.
It was to lay the foundation of how I approach every project since that time. With this knowledge,
I planned out the first steps of things to tackle.

Full Motion Video Screenshot
There were three development phases going on at
the same time. As it turned out, my phase was completed long before anyone else's. The original
team lead chose to move on after completing his phase, and I took up the reigns behind him. This
was quite a jump for me, as this was literally my first project after leaving school, and I was
already in a leadership role. Therefore I helped bug-fix and wrap-up the rest of the project until
completion.

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Blown Away (Macintosh Port)

Opening Movie

  • Original Developer: Imagination Pilots
  • Original Publisher: IVI Publishing
  • Original Release Date: 1994
  • Port Comissioned by: Green Dragon Creations, Inc.
  • Mac Release Date: 1995
  • Mac Publisher: (Couldn't find)

Excerpt from PC version review at Mac News Network

Following the movie of the same name, Blown Away reaches players with an Interactive game developed by Imagination Pilots and published by IVI Publishing. The program runs under Windows and uses the new WinG library from Microsoft, designed to speed up graphics as Blown Away makes an extensive use of video animations.

Game Scene w/ movie
This was a project that I completed while attending college in Wisconsin. It made my life very
interesting, trying to work and attend an engineering college at the same time. I had been a
generally “B” student most of my life, but college really took all I had. As it turned out, I felt
that college wasn't as important to me as to some others, since the gaming industry didn't really
seem to care if you went, just how good you were. Fine by me, I'm not an academic anyway.

 

map puzzle scene
This was the first port I ever did. It was already entirely in C, so I believed it would be easy.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. Getting it to compile was already handled for me. But when
I got it, I found it to be a very difficult project. It was designed as a massive list of tables
of function pointers. It was very difficult to be certain what the program flow was, since you
couldn't know the table indexes until runtime. This made debugging quite interesting. I would
never have made it through without Jasik's Debugger (the best debugger I have seen to date).
Instead of using part of your display screen, it literally swapped in it's own screen so as to not
interfere with what you were doing. On top of that, it could disassemble anything, including the
OS itself, and make it make sense, so you could track things down.

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