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 Post subject: Ask the M2 Developer
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Howdy everyone. It's great to see so much interest in 3DO and M2. I worked at 3DO from 1995 until its bitter end (by the time it closed down I was #7 or so in seniority). I started out in developer support for Opera (we called the original 3DO platform "Opera" because it would have been confusing as heck to call it "3DO"), meaning that when people at game companies were developing 3DO software and needed help, they would call in and ask us questions and we would answer them. I was fresh out of college at the time.

After a while (forgive me for no longer remembering an accurate chronology) I switched to developer support for M2, which at the time was under development, but had not yet been sold to Matsushita. In fact, for a long time there was a very strong possibility it was going to be sold to Sega, and would have been Sega's "next-gen" console in place of the Saturn.

While working in M2 developer support, I wrote the 2D shooter game that has been discussed at least some in these forums. I wrote it as sample code for M2 developers. It does some fairly neat tricks to get the many layers of scrolling to work, and shows off M2's impressive 2d sprite capabilities.

A while later, I started working on IMSA World Championship racing, which was 3DO's main internally developed M2 game. The director of the game was Ed Rotberg, an industry veteran who was responsible for such classic arcade games as Battlezone and Star Wars Arcade. The lead programmer was Chuck Sommerville, who wrote the original Snakebyte (you know, that game where you drive a snake around and try not to crash into your own tail) as well as the cult favorite Chip's Challenge.

Also on the programming team was one of my previous coworkers from developer support, who eventually left 3DO to join the FBI. Not a very common career path, as you might suppose.

The physics and driving engine for IMSA were licensed from the company that made the arcade game Hard Drivin'. The graphics engine was something called "Mercury" that an external developer had written and then sold back to 3DO, at which point it became our official graphics engine which we encouraged other developers to use. (Originally we had a 2-part graphics engine called "Pipeline" and "Framework" which was all feature-rich and object-oriented and had terrible performance.)

I personally worked on a variety of things on IMSA, much of it on the user interface. I think the detail I'm proudest of is that when you're choosing your track you can select a track runthrough mpeg (narrated by Ed Rotberg himself). This plays as an mpeg movie in a window. But note that the window it plays in is not a square one, but a blob-shaped one with alpha-blended feathered edges surrounding the playing movie. I also wrote all the little screen-transition effects, which took advantage of a little trick: Memory on the M2 was VERY tight (2 megs of RAM? 4 megs? I honestly can't remember), but to get the best possible performance we actually had 3 screen buffers during full 3D gameplay. So when doing a screen transition, we would have the final rendered frame of the previous state, the newly rendered frame of the next state, and then could use the third frame buffer to do any tricky effect we wanted with them. The best one involved a full-screen-height tire rolling across the old screen dragging the new screen behind it, but we ended up cutting it because the texture of the tire took up too much RAM.

I also made the tire-treads that show up in the world, and spent a lot of time working on speeding up the loading speed.

Also, we changed the art on the 2D shooter so that it was car-themed, with the faces of the IMSA team on the big indestructible balls that bounce by from time to time, and included it as an easter egg. (There's another easter egg, which is an extra track...) My high score on the shooter was somewhere in the hundreds of thousands... I would pretty routinely get up to 13- or 14- levels of shooting powerup.


After we sold M2 to Matsushita and IMSA ended up beta-but-never-shipped, I switched over to working on PC, N64 and PS2 games, and eventually 3DO went out of business. After that I worked at Capcom, and now work at Cryptic Studios.


Two anecdotes about my time on the IMSA team:
-Ed Rotberg, the later-on-FBI-agent (I'll call him "Mark"), one of the artists and I used to play a lunchtime game of hearts. At one point we decided to start keeping track of the results of the games and the combined standings, etc. Now, Ed is a very nice guy, but he's also VERY competitive and has a bit of a temper. And it happened that just when we started keeping track, he went on a huge losing streak. So "Mark" would send out the updated standings after each game, and as it got up to 15 or 16 games he started including the probability that Ed should have won at least one game, purely by chance, which got up to like 98 percent. So after lunch we'd get this email, and then 15 seconds later we'd hear Ed swearing a blue streak across the cube walls.
-Sometimes we'd come in and wouldn't see Chuck... and it would turn out that he was curled up on the floor under his desk taking a nap.



Anyhow, it's really gratifying to see the level of interest that M2 and the IMSA game still generate, and I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can (within reason, of course).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:43 pm 
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First off I'd like to say thank you very much for coming here to talk to us. It's not an everyday occurrence that someone of such high standing makes himself available.

That is a lot of info and very entertaining. I especially liked the part where you mention the e-mail of the probability that Ed should have won by chance. :D I'm sorry all your work on the M2 never made it to the store shelves, it must have been a sad day for you.

So my burning question is: Did you ever get to test play "D2"?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:53 pm 
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3DO Experience wrote:
First off I'd like to say thank you very much for coming here to talk to us. It's not an everyday occurrence that someone of such high standing makes himself available.

You're quite welcome. Believe me, it's fun to be someone who people are excited about :)

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So my burning question is: Did you ever get to test play "D2"?

Sadly, no. I knew it existed, but that's it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:42 am 
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1) Who do I have to talk to about that one shooter, Requiem? I bought the hype and the game, then immediately reached a boss that showed no indication of how to defeat it. Gah. I have this permanently raised vein in my forehead for over ten years now.

2) In your own opinion, 3DO went down becauuuuuse....

3) E3 1998, I think it was. If you were aware of some drunken idiot yelling dirty things about his own, "personal" Uprising outside 3DO's booth... well... sorry.

4) I have a friend who was a former staffer and he shall remain nameless. He found 3DO to be disorganized. He says Trip Hawkins, while certainly charismatic, had a "reality distortion field" and was highly unrealistic. Your opinion?

5) Laserdisc gaming! The 3DO didn't rely as heavily on this as the Sega CD, but it was still very much there (Strahl, anyone?) What was the ultimate direction the M2 was going in?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:54 am 
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Vance wrote:
1) Who do I have to talk to about that one shooter, Requiem? I bought the hype and the game, then immediately reached a boss that showed no indication of how to defeat it. Gah. I have this permanently raised vein in my forehead for over ten years now.

I vaguely remember its existence, but I didn't work on it or know anyone who did. Sorry :(

Quote:
2) In your own opinion, 3DO went down becauuuuuse....

4) I have a friend who was a former staffer and he shall remain nameless. He found 3DO to be disorganized. He says Trip Hawkins, while certainly charismatic, had a "reality distortion field" and was highly unrealistic. Your opinion?

I think these are related, and that's a reasonable description. I always liked Trip, personally... he was in fact charismatic. But the fact is that the decisions that he and/or his top guys made were just terrible. And the one-level-below-Trip guys, people like Richard Hicks and Paul Grace, never really impressed me at all. One thing that really hurt 3DO was how incredibly successful the first Army Men game was for PSX. The trouble was that we got the idea that we could cheaply make quick and dirty games and make a profit. It worked once because it was such a great idea for a game, but then didn't work any more. We also spent a fair amount of time dedicating resources to the wrong project. For instance, I worked on World Destruction League Thunder Tanx for the PS2. It was our first PS2 title, and had some really good tech (the building destruction system, for instance). But the design team worked on the project for something like 3 weeks because they'd all been assigned to the PS1 version which was terrible and was clearly destined to be terrible from day 1. So we never really had the resources to make a fun game, and despite an incredible amount of passion from the programming team, the game just wasn't very fun. That was pretty typical for 3DO.

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5) Laserdisc gaming! The 3DO didn't rely as heavily on this as the Sega CD, but it was still very much there (Strahl, anyone?) What was the ultimate direction the M2 was going in?

M2 was supposed to have DVD support, which would have been a bit like PS3 having blu-ray... very early synergy where people could buy the game system instead of an expensive standalone player.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:26 am 
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Wow, totally unexpected thread! There is a lot of great information in here. Thank you! :)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:34 am 
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Appreciate your time, thanks for the answers.

As for 5), I was more wondering what kind of thematic direction the thing was going. One thing I think that made the system special is that they were kind of doing their own thing in a lot of ways. FMV game show party games, etc.

So more accurately, I mean to ask if the M2 would have been fairly typical of its gen, or if you felt 3DO was still trying to break weird and sometimes wonderful ground.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:49 am 
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Thank you Mr. Werner für being here and your trust.
I have a question:.
Is this the Mercury you are talking about:

Image
Image
Image

I can make more screenshots soon.
I had e-mail contact to Mr. Ed Rotberg two years ago. But he never told me, that he was the director of the IMSA project.
Does IMSA have a two player mode? I have two controllers, but I don't know if it is a good idea to connect both.
I've made videos, on 1.) how to find the easter egg "2D shooter" and the "Psychedelia" bonus track:
http://3do.cdinteractive.co.uk/viewtopi ... 4&start=30

The video preview of the track is on the right and loads very fast. But some to have FMV place holders with an alien in the bg.

I'm going to upload a small e-mail interview I did with Mr. Phil Burk three years ago. He described himself as an M2 audio guy.

Mr. Werner, another question:
He told me, that an engineer did something wrong with the Chip / layer - and as a consequence of that the SEGA presentation failed, because the polygons had no textures. Do you know anything about that?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:29 pm 
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Hi MaxTheVool, that's very interesting, I really appreciate it. Thank you for coming here.

I heard rumours that Trip had made comments about flooding the market with cheap games and the like, and it always seemed at odds what he said publicly and the games that were coming out of 3DO, which were often the jewel in the crown of the 3DO. Killing Time springs to mind, so does BattleSport, Blade Force.

IMSA Racing looks awesome by the way. As a died-in-the-wool 3DO fan from the days before the machine was released, I'm really thrilled to be able to see this game (albeit on Youtube). So, thank you, and thank you NikeX :)

I have a few questions for you:

What happened on the day Matsushita pulled the plug on M2. Were you guys sad (as 'we' all were)or angry or was there some other hope, or didn't you care?

I've debated on this forum many times that Mortal Kombat 3 or a decent port of Doom wouldn't have made much difference to 3DO, it would have been nice but ultimately didn't matter. What was the view at 3DO of these titles? Were they critical?

Was 3DO very disappointed at ADI for what they did to the Doom port?

Was an M2 version of KillingTime planned and did it get anywhere?

The writing was clearly on the wall when 3DO Studio announced it was going to produce multi-format games. I remember reading that in the UKs 3DO Magazine at the time, and my heart sank. What was it like for you guys? Was there any love lost over the original 3DO units when that announcement was made, or were you glad to see the back of it? Or were you just focusing on M2 and the M1 was the past?

Do you know if Trip Hawkins really does still play Twisted on the 3DO today? (or is he making that up?)

What's your favourite 3DO game?

Do you know where I can get a cheap M2 pre-release unit (Hey, I've got to ask -- right? :) :) )

3DOKid.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:33 pm 
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Hi MaxTheVool , it's awesome to hear from someone who had such an integral role in 3do . I have a question I've been trying to get a straight answer on for years . Were you aware of killing time ever being released on psx ? I've seen it listed before in video game price lists but I've been looking for it for a good 10 years now and have yet to find any proof that it exists on anything other than the 3do and pc .


Oh , and how close did ultimate mortal kombat 3 ever come to being in production , I remember pre-ordering it from 3do direct , and then it never came out . I don't think I ever got my money back either lol . Even still I badly want to play it on 3do .


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:43 pm 
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Glad to have you here MaxTheVool...welcome! 8)

I would be very interested in any stories hardware related,prototype photos or anything if possible. I know it wasnt your job but maybe you know sth we dont! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:48 pm 
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Awesome MaxtheVool came on here. Is it just me, or in the last 2 weeks did M2 related info just fall from the sky?

My question : What other software do you know of is out there? I'd love to hear more about betas, planned games, ect ect.

Man I was sooo pissed when the M2 was cancelled back in the day. I was a day one 3DO owner, and still own a system to this day (and no less than 4 different versions of Killing Time)

They werent making an M2 sequel to killing time were they? haha I can only wish


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:38 am 
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3DOKid wrote:
I heard rumours that Trip had made comments about flooding the market with cheap games and the like, and it always seemed at odds what he said publicly and the games that were coming out of 3DO, which were often the jewel in the crown of the 3DO.


Keep in mind that PR is often different from reality. Apparently half the lawsuits within the industry are just for show (according to my sales rep, who is about the king shit of extra supply for Gamestop and Wal-Mart.)

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:59 am 
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Hey all, sorry, for some reason I didn't get email notifications about the last few posts. I'm going to be out of town this weekend, will try to respond to everything ASAP.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:14 pm 
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Vance wrote:
Appreciate your time, thanks for the answers.

As for 5), I was more wondering what kind of thematic direction the thing was going. One thing I think that made the system special is that they were kind of doing their own thing in a lot of ways. FMV game show party games, etc.

So more accurately, I mean to ask if the M2 would have been fairly typical of its gen, or if you felt 3DO was still trying to break weird and sometimes wonderful ground.


I don't think we really cared. We provided the system and it was up to external developers to do what they wanted with it. Certainly Opera (the original 3DO system) had a fair number of fairly bizarre titles, but if 3DO as a company encouraged that, it was before my time.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:18 pm 
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NikeX wrote:
Thank you Mr. Werner für being here and your trust.
I have a question:.
Is this the Mercury you are talking about:

Yes indeed. There was an Opera title called something like "3DO toolkit" or something like that which let you see what files were on your memory card and so forth and do other system-y things. It was written by the same guy who wrote Mercury.

Quote:
Does IMSA have a two player mode?

No

Quote:
Mr. Werner, another question:
He told me, that an engineer did something wrong with the Chip / layer - and as a consequence of that the SEGA presentation failed, because the polygons had no textures. Do you know anything about that?

If so, that's news to me. But that was all VERY top secret back when it was happening, so there's no reason I would have heard about it at all.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:38 pm 
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3DOKid wrote:
Hi MaxTheVool, that's very interesting, I really appreciate it. Thank you for coming here.

I heard rumours that Trip had made comments about flooding the market with cheap games and the like, and it always seemed at odds what he said publicly and the games that were coming out of 3DO, which were often the jewel in the crown of the 3DO. Killing Time springs to mind, so does BattleSport, Blade Force.

Thing is, Killing Time and BattleSport and BladeForce were great games... and they didn't sell well. Army Men for Playstation was a crappy game developed in an incredibly short period of time... and it sold like hotcakes. From which Trip (and we) learned exactly the wrong lesson.


Quote:
IMSA Racing looks awesome by the way. As a died-in-the-wool 3DO fan from the days before the machine was released, I'm really thrilled to be able to see this game (albeit on Youtube). So, thank you, and thank you NikeX :)

You're welcome, and thanks for the compliments.


Quote:
What happened on the day Matsushita pulled the plug on M2. Were you guys sad (as 'we' all were)or angry or was there some other hope, or didn't you care?

Honestly, I don't remember that being a particular day at all. The "big day" from our perspective was they day we sold M2 to Matsushita in the first place, which was a good news/bad news kind of day. The good news was that we sold M2 for a ton of money (100 million dollars) so we all had jobs. Trust me, that was very important and welcome. The bad news was that we were all hoping to see it to Sega, a game company, not MEI, not-a-game-company. So we knew that we had jobs, but didn't really know what was going to happen to M2, and to projects like the racing game. So (as I recall) there was a period of confusion during which we stopped active development on IMSA and I moved over to work on PC games, and if there was one single day on which it became official that IMSA was never going to see the light of day, or that M2 would never be released in the US, I certainly don't remember it.

Quote:
I've debated on this forum many times that Mortal Kombat 3 or a decent port of Doom wouldn't have made much difference to 3DO, it would have been nice but ultimately didn't matter. What was the view at 3DO of these titles? Were they critical?

I'm afraid that my answer to this, and a lot of other questions relating to third party titles, is that you guys who are passionate 3DO fans/arguers probably know better than I do. I never really had any insider view or knowledge about such things. Certainly the consensus viewpoint at 3DO is that what killed Opera was how much it cost initially. By the time the cost came down the momentum was lost. Obviously a few more killer titles couldn't have HURT, and certainly a few killer titles really early in the product's life cycle would have helped a lot, but that's nothing you guys didn't already know.

Quote:
Was 3DO very disappointed at ADI for what they did to the Doom port?

Was an M2 version of KillingTime planned and did it get anywhere?

No idea on either.

Quote:
The writing was clearly on the wall when 3DO Studio announced it was going to produce multi-format games. I remember reading that in the UKs 3DO Magazine at the time, and my heart sank. What was it like for you guys? Was there any love lost over the original 3DO units when that announcement was made, or were you glad to see the back of it? Or were you just focusing on M2 and the M1 was the past?

I think "We were just focusing on M2 and Opera (we never really called it M1, and I have no idea where "M2" came from) (although the next NEXT generation console was going to be called MX) was the past" describes it most accurately, at least from my perspective. Certainly, at the point in time when I joined the company, I think it was fairly fait accompli that Opera was not going to be a massive success.

Quote:
Do you know if Trip Hawkins really does still play Twisted on the 3DO today? (or is he making that up?)

I don't know. I do know that he is a super-competitive gamer and at one company meeting there was a heavily advertised match of Return Fire between Trip "The Hammer" Hawkins and Karl "The Vandal" Fischer, who was something like one of the QA leads. Karl was crushing Trip, and blew up every single one of his tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters, leaving Trip with nothing but jeeps. But Trip didn't give up, took a jeep all the way into Karl's fortress, got the flag, and made it almost all the way back home before Karl caught up and blew him up. Truly nearly an absolutely epic comeback.

Quote:
What's your favourite 3DO game?

The reason I bought a 3DO in the first place, which got me reading the old rec.games.video.3DO newsgroup, which got me my job, was purely to play Super Streetfighter 2 Turbo. Which I did. A LOT. (Including building my own joystick with real arcade parts.) But as that's not really a 3DO-specific game, I will say Return Fire.

Quote:
Do you know where I can get a cheap M2 pre-release unit (Hey, I've got to ask -- right? :) :) )

I really really really don't. For years at 3DO after Opera and M2 were both things of the past and I was working on N64, PS2 and GameCube games, I had a cabinet full of old M2-era stuff, which is why I still had the IMSA disc that has now been uploaded various places. One thing I had was a standalone M2 unit. Except that many years later I attempted to plug it in... and discovered that it was not, in fact, a standalone M2 unit, it was just an external drive to hook up to a dev card in a Mac. D'oh! Feel free to cry some tears for a cabinet containing a Mac with an M2 dev card and all the M2 dev software, an external drive, and a bunch of steering wheels hooked up through custom build hardware so you could drive IMSA with them, which were presumably just tossed by whoever was clearing out the building after 3DO went under.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:38 pm 
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Beef Supreme wrote:
Were you aware of killing time ever being released on psx ? I've seen it listed before in video game price lists but I've been looking for it for a good 10 years now and have yet to find any proof that it exists on anything other than the 3do and pc .

No idea, sorry


Quote:
Oh , and how close did ultimate mortal kombat 3 ever come to being in production , I remember pre-ordering it from 3do direct , and then it never came out . I don't think I ever got my money back either lol . Even still I badly want to play it on 3do .

Again, no idea, sorry.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:10 pm 
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That is brilliant mate thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to get back to us and for putting up with my dumb questions :)

I was a big fan of SF2 (with the capcom pad) as well, but the game for me in '94 was Need For Speed. I think some of my course times are still up on rec.games.video.3do :)

So it was the cost thing. I guess the UK follows the US on these things. I personally never felt the original 3DO was all that expensive, it was £399 which is what I paid for an Amiga and what I paid for an ST, but i suppose coming from a SNES or a Mega Drive (Genesis) background / expectation $600/£399 was a lot.

Rec.games.video.3do? Rick Reynolds (is that right?) Marketing guy? He used to be on there quite a bit rebutting the reviews that 3DO games used to get, answering questions about release dates, rallying the 3DO troops and the like. I remember badgering him to find out when the FMV module was going to be released in the UK :)

I always look back on that 1992 - 1996 era as my personal golden era of gaming, and I was a dyed-in-the-wool 3DO fanboy, so thank you for that :) Although its time was short, I think the 3DO was the brightest amongst that generation, and definately the most exciting :)

As for M1 and M2? 3DO magazine used to refer to the original 3DO machine as the M1. I have no idea why :) Neatness I imagine :)

All the best,

Will / 3DOKid

PS: Atari Jaguar did suck though -- right? And when I say 'suck' I mean really sucked. Just rubbish wasn't it? :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:17 pm 
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3DOKid wrote:
Rec.games.video.3do? Rick Reynolds (is that right?) Marketing guy? He used to be on there quite a bit rebutting the reviews that 3DO games used to get, answering questions about release dates, rallying the 3DO troops and the like. I remember badgering him to find out when the FMV module was going to be released in the UK :)

Rick was a super-nice guy. He was also openly gay, which was quite a bit more unusual even 15 years ago than it is now, particularly for someone who was the public face of the company. Here's a story for those of you who are familiar with Magic: The Gathering: Rick was an enthusiastic but casual magic player who once made the following utterly insane opening play... turn 1 land, black lotus, sac the lotus, cast 2 samite healers. Bam!


Quote:
As for M1 and M2? 3DO magazine used to refer to the original 3DO machine as the M1. I have no idea why :) Neatness I imagine :)

I think that Opera was only called M1 after M2 was announced and named, at which point it seemed logical.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:38 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:

Do you know if Trip Hawkins really does still play Twisted on the 3DO today? (or is he making that up?)


I don't know. I do know that he is a super-competitive gamer and at one company meeting there was a heavily advertised match of Return Fire between Trip "The Hammer" Hawkins and Karl "The Vandal" Fischer, who was something like one of the QA leads. Karl was crushing Trip, and blew up every single one of his tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters, leaving Trip with nothing but jeeps. But Trip didn't give up, took a jeep all the way into Karl's fortress, got the flag, and made it almost all the way back home before Karl caught up and blew him up. Truly nearly an absolutely epic comeback.


This is a really great story, thanks for sharing it! :)


Max, if you had to summarize the relatioship between 3DO & Matsushita following the sale of the M2 technology how would you? Was it out of your scope at that point, or were there grumblings being whispered throughout 3DO hq?

Was it obvious from the start that Matsushita were out of their league for game consoles and that it would be destined as a kiosk unit? Or did they just have overly ambitious plans that got away from them?

Did 3DO (and possibly Konami) have game demos planned for the 96 E3? Did Matsushita axe that idea?

Really enjoyed reading your previous replies ... needless to say, as a 3DO fanboy, this is crazy exciting! :D

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:08 pm 
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MaxTheVool wrote:
NikeX wrote:
Thank you Mr. Werner für being here and your trust.
I have a question:.
Is this the Mercury you are talking about:

Yes indeed. There was an Opera title called something like "3DO toolkit" or something like that which let you see what files were on your memory card and so forth and do other system-y things. It was written by the same guy who wrote Mercury.


Thanks. Is this the 3DO toolkit? It's called Storagemanger, it's inside the SDK 3.0: remote/rommapps/storagemanger/storagemanger. Via M2 pad:

Image


edit: How accurate is this list:
http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.ga ... f9ed2e03bf


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:47 am 
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pitsunami wrote:
Glad to have you here MaxTheVool...welcome! 8)

I would be very interested in any stories hardware related,prototype photos or anything if possible. I know it wasnt your job but maybe you know sth we dont! :)


I can't think of any good M2-related ones. I do remember one day when I was still doing developer support for Opera and someone was poking around in the very low memory addresses, where the ROM is, and found a message like "ask about the time the cops showed up at 3 a.m." or something like that. If someone has an Opera ROM image (which someone must if there's an emulator) you can probably find it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:50 am 
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awbacon wrote:
Awesome MaxtheVool came on here. Is it just me, or in the last 2 weeks did M2 related info just fall from the sky?

My question : What other software do you know of is out there? I'd love to hear more about betas, planned games, ect ect.


D2 is the only one that I ever heard of as being anywhere near close...


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:58 am 
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Beef Supreme wrote:
Were you aware of killing time ever being released on psx ?


It wasn't, by the way.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:01 am 
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NikeX wrote:

Thanks. Is this the 3DO toolkit? It's called Storagemanger, it's inside the SDK 3.0: remote/rommapps/storagemanger/storagemanger. Via M2 pad:


No, I'm thinking of an Opera (M1) title that I'm 95% sure was actually released. Except that some googling doesn't find it at all. Maybe it was close to release, so I saw a finished version, but then it never actually made it out?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:02 am 
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MaxTheVool wrote:
I don't know. I do know that he is a super-competitive gamer and at one company meeting there was a heavily advertised match of Return Fire


HELL YES. One, this story rocks.

Two, I will take ANY of you on in Return Fire. Also, Battlesport. You'll have to bring the 3DO and the game and an extra controller to the shop, though.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:03 am 
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Trev wrote:
Max, if you had to summarize the relatioship between 3DO & Matsushita following the sale of the M2 technology how would you? Was it out of your scope at that point, or were there grumblings being whispered throughout 3DO hq?

Boy that question is about 8 miles above my paygrade :)

Quote:
Was it obvious from the start that Matsushita were out of their league for game consoles and that it would be destined as a kiosk unit? Or did they just have overly ambitious plans that got away from them?

I remember it being fairly obvious fairly quickly that they weren't going to release a console to compete with saturn and playstation 1 (assuming I have the time frame right). But I really can't give any more detail than that, sorry.


Quote:
Did 3DO (and possibly Konami) have game demos planned for the 96 E3? Did Matsushita axe that idea?

Again, no idea :(


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Interview with Mr. Phil Burk

NikeX: Mr. Burk, do you have any information about 3DO and your former time at that company?

Mr. Burk: I was one of two people in the company with an office. It was because I was an audio guy and made lots of strange sounds that would disturb other people. 3DO was the first 32 bit game console with CD-Rom, 3D graphics hardware, and an audio DSP. But it is often overlooked in the history of game hardware.

I started NTG (New Technology Group) in September of 1992 when there were about 2 people. By the time I got there they had built the 3DO prototype using wirewrap technology. It consisted of 14 boards and ran at 1/4 speed. I worked on the audio DSP and was able to make a few changes to increase performance. I also developed the audio software which was a unit generator based library.

Once could create oscillators, filters, envelopes and other audio units on the DSP and connect them together to make complex sounds. All this was controllery by a 'C' API.

NTG merged with 3DO and we shipped the 3DO Game Console. I then started working on the new M2 product, which was code named Bulldog. It was named after John Sell who would not let go of an idea after he got a bite of it.
(Mr. Burk uploaded a picture of the first Bulldog design team. From left to right are John Sell, Phil Burk, his Boss RJ Mical, (?), Peter Broadwell, Don Gray and Dale Luck.

M2 had a new design for the graphics engine and an enhanced audio DSP. It was used in some arcade machines but was not shipped as a home unit. We then spun out as Cagent and designed the MX system. MX had high performance graphics engine and a new RISC style DSP. Nintendo liked it and almost boght it for their console but they could not reach a deal with our new Korean owner Samsung.

(Mr. Burk uploaded some photos) of one of the first dev kits and a later dev kit and one of the wirewrap boards after the PALs had been removed. He wrote: Note that MADAM and CLIO on the first kit are up on a multi-layer riser. That is because AT&T wired the silicon backwards in the first chip that we got from the fab. They rotated it 180 degress. So we had to create a riser board to map the wrong pins to the right pins.

NikeX: Many people didn't understand the philosophy behind the 3DO. But maybe you have heard such things often.

Mr. Burk: 3DO was both underestimated and over-hyped, if that's possible. The 3DO was a technical success and we dominated the market for about one year.
But, in my opinion, three things killed it. One was the high price of the unit which orginally cost about $600. 3DO was trying to make money on the console sales. That high price limited our market penetration.
Second was the stock market bubble. 3DO was over-hyped by Wall Street. Reporters were outdoing each other to praise 3DO. One analyst wrote a story right after CES that burst the 3DO stock bubble. After that it became hard to sell stock to raise money and the stock options were not useful for attracting new hires. A more realistic slow ramp up in stock value would have been better for us.

Third was a fab disaster. SEGA was very interested in buying our M2 chip for their next console. But when we got the first prototype chips back from the fab, they were missing a layer of metal. Some engineer at the fab left a line out of a script. This killed all the on-chip RAMs including the graphics texture RAM and the DSP RAM. So, the demos we showed to SEGA did not have any textures and ran very slow. The next chip worked fine but it was too late.

NikeX: Only because of the layer and the script. A whole system development, and a deal with SEGA for nothing. What were the feelings of the M2 dev. team?

Mr. Burk: We were bummed but the new fixes chips came out a couple of months later. We just concentrated on getting the software working. We figured out there would be other buyers.

NikeX: What happend then? What did 3DO tell you?

Mr. Burk: Everything. Trip Hawkins was honest with the employees.

NikeX: Mr. Burk, you are the founder of Mobileer, and Mr. Hawkins founded Digi-Choc. But he is not a rival in business, isn't he?

Mr. Burk: We are not rivals. I sell ringtone player software. He sells video games.

NikeX: Samsung and 3DO cancel MSP project - what does that mean?

Mr. Burk: They talk about forming a new company. That was Cagent. We developed the MX chip, the successor to M2. When that closed, Microsoft bought the technology and hired many of the engineers for WebTV. They tried to hire me but I wanted to do contracting.

NikeX: 3DO sold the M2 technology to Panasonic. And the CORE M2 / Bulldog team? What were they doing: New projects, making updates?

Mr. Burk: By this time we were already starting MX. I was developing a RISC style DSP for audio synthesis.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:57 am 
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Nice! :)

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