Atari Explorer Online - Soul Star - Andrew Smith Interview
Inside The Core
As you may have read in AEO_0402, Core Design have signed up and are developing the Mega-CD classic, SoulStar, for the Jaguar. Considering this game was one of the best on the Genesis's CD unit, it seems logical that it could be a corker title for the Jaguar CD.
Core Design's Andrew Smith revealed all the juicy details exclusively to AEO this past Thursday.
AEO : Well Andrew, how is SoulStar coming along?
ANDREW : Very well indeed actually, we're approximately a few weeks away from completing the game. However, it is a JagCD game and the production of the CDs doesn't seem to be arranged yet. At least we are almost finished, it shouldn't be too long now.
AEO : What was it like converting the Mega-CD game over to the JagCD? Was it an easy task, or did you have any trouble?
ANDREW : Actually, our programmers found the Jaguar to be quite difficult to use. We have had to learn its architecture very fast to get the game done with such pressing deadlines. We basically ported over main game code from the Mega-CD version, so all the game mechanics are identical on the Jag version. The game visually is far more impressive though.
AEO : I'm sure we all want to know what has been done to the Jaguar version to make it so superior. Can you tell us what has been improved over Mega-CD game and have you put the Jaguar's power to good use?
ANDREW : Most definitely! We have totally new space ships and objects that all been SGI rendered to produce some excellent sprites that are far better than the old ones. The backgrounds and scenery have all been redrawn with the help of one of our best graphic artists, and all the main game GFX are in 16-bit CRY color mode so it looks very impressive.
AEO : Does the game move as smooth as the original?
ANDREW : Better in fact. The game has full rotation of all scenery and sprites at an extremely fast frame rate [Ed: Frame rate not given] and moves smooth and fast throughout. We have done our best to ensure there is no slowdown at all and the games moves as good as it looks.
AEO : How about the pre-rendered intro sequences from the old version? Have you got any info on the Jaguars sequences?
ANDREW : Oh yes, the intro and in-game sequences are very impressive indeed. We have changed the animations from the Mega-CD game and done the sequences from scratch for the Jag. The intro is a 3 minute long pre-rendered Cinepak story, in 24-bit color mode. The JagCD is well suited to such intros and they have a high resolution that rivals any other CD system. Also, the between-level sequences have been vastly improved and all add to the atmosphere of the game.
AEO : Is there anything in this game that isn't improved? It all sound too good to me! How about the sound FX and the speech during the mission briefings?
ANDREW : Well, what do you expect with the Jaguar's excellent soundchip. I think it's the most impressive part of the Jaguars architecture. The sound and speech have all been improved and is sharper and clearer than the Mega-CD game. The tunes are pretty much the same though.
AEO : How about the poor people who do not get a Jaguar CD unit, how are they going to live with this game out of their reach?
ANDREW : It is up to Atari to decide if a cartridge version is viable. We are not opposed to doing a cart version, but it would have to be cut down somewhat. The CD version has 21 levels you know, and over 6 minutes of FMV sequences which would be difficult to fit on a cartridge. We could do a good version if we got the go ahead though.
AEO : Have you got any other plans to convert your games to the Jaguar, or maybe even an original title for the Jag?
ANDREW : Not yet actually, we did have a few of our titles on the list to convert, but some have been cancelled as they may prove too difficult to port over. You can expect more of our titles for the Jaguar in the future though.
AEO : That's all we ask! Thanks very much.
Well people, if that's not interesting news, I don't know what is. Soulstar will hopefully be out March/April to coincide with the release of the JagCD.