Hyper Image Productions, based in Maryland, is one of the many new programming groups developing for the Atari Jaguar as well as many of the new next-generation systems on the horizon. I would like to thank the staff at Hyper Image for taking the time to do this interview.
R.I.P.:Who is Hyper Image, and how did everyone get together?
Jeremy: Uhh, I'll take this one.
Hyper Image is myself, Paul, Otavio, and Matias... Andy Carlson is currently doing sound for Hover Hunter, he's pretty damn good, so I think we'll keep him. ;)
Currently we have Sterling Krauss, and Bill Lanides helping out, as well as some intern type stuff by Damian. Otavio and I met at the University of Maryland, and I met Paul through him. Paul moved into my apartment, and through lots of Mountain Dew we decided to make Hyper Image Productions. Otavio naturally joined, and we became Hyper Image, Inc. And I've known Matias since high school, so we seduced him to the dark side of the force....
R.I.P.:What is Hover Hunter?
Jeremy: That would be a Paul question...
Paul: Thanks =]
It's a networkable hovertank combat simulator. It will be heavy on action, but have some strategy elements too. You will see the terrain from a first person perspective as it would be projected into the visor of your combat helmet...
Uhh... take it Jer =]
Jeremy: The graphics are based on our nifty spin on height fields...
Jeremy: Height fields are basically like large maps,
where every square on the map has its own height... It's very similar to the effect used in games like CyberRace or Commanche on the PC.
Paul: Every pixel on the map has a color and a height, and they are independent.
Jeremy: The effect is a very highly detailed landscape that has lots of little cragglies.
The neat thing about this particular implementation (on the Jaguar) is that we are using lots of colors, and the maps are large.
R.I.P.:Is this Hyper Image's first project? (I've heard rumor of a Pong game?)
The Pong thing was an experiment in Jaguar networking and will never be released.
R.I.P.:Do you have any other titles in development? (CD?)
Jeremy: Nothing to announce yet,
Paul: No, we will stick to one project at a time.
Jeremy: We are constantly working on new techniques,
and new ideas, but Paul took the words right out of my mouth, we pretty much stick to one project at a time. the Jaguar CD looks pretty cool though.
Paul: We have plans and ideas for things we would like to do,
but they are all just ideas right now.
R.I.P.:How about other platforms, any plans?
Paul: Oh yeah. =]
Jeremy: Well, we are licensed on the PlayStation and 3DO...
but we are not actively developing for other platforms at this time.
R.I.P.:Why did you choose the Jag to work with first?
Jeremy: When we started development,
the Jaguar was the most powerful system available to the average consumer, and to a large extent, it still is.
R.I.P.:What is the overall impression of the Jaguar Developer's kit?
Jeremy: ...it's pretty cool, the software tools are for the most part, very nice.
I just can't say enough good things about Brainstorm, who are the developers of the Jaguar tools. The hardware is OK, it definitely has some advanced features. In our case, it does more than we need it to for this project. Otavio, any comments?
Otavio: The hardware is way cool. I love the RISC chips.
Jeremy: No, no the hardware of the development kit...
Otavio: Ohhhhhh... Nothing amazing.
Development kits kind of have a limit on how cool they can be.
Jeremy: The Jaguar hardware is definitely cool. ;)
R.I.P.:What type of hardware/OS do you do your developing on?
Jeremy: We use both PCs and Macs, both Linux and Windows.
We are just starting to use Windows NT/Win32s for our own tools, but nothing that exciting yet. Paul and Matias are getting a new toy though, I'm sure they'll love to go off about it. ;)
Paul: Heheheh... I'll love to go off about it when we get it =]
Matias: When it gets here. (pout)
Paul: It should kick ass, I'm looking forward to using an SGI... and GameWare.
Matias: We played with them very much at the WCES.
Jeremy: Linux is way cool btw. ;)
Paul: Matias likes Alias paint programs cause they run way faster than Photoshop...
We'll have to get one of those.
R.I.P.:How are your music and sound FX being created?
Jeremy: Ok, I can speak for Andy here;
The music starts out life as a ScreamTracker S3M file, gets massaged by our sound tools, and comes out in surround sound via Otavio's cool sound driver. I believe that Andy is currently tracking on a PC with a Gravis Ultrasound. He's got some synths, but I'm pretty sure that he's about to grab a Kurzweil K2000. He's (really) good. ;) We're pretty lucky... The music is different than most game/demo stuff,
Paul: The tunes will rock.
Jeremy: It has lots of double bass drum stuff,
and cool bouncy things that go in surround, pretty industrial sounding. It's all about 22khz stereo audio, have I mentioned surround sound?
Otavio: It should be 16-bit stereo using 8-bit interpolated samples.
Kinda like the Gravis Ultrasound interpolates. It sounds really good because it is not just FM synth crap.
Jeremy: Which is cool, because it smoothes out the samples as it plays them,
avoiding the tinny broken radio sound that Sound Blaster/cheap sampled sound tends to have...
R.I.P.:and sound FX?
Jeremy: Lots of bass. ;)
Lots lots lots lots lots of bass.
Paul: Yeah, cool explosion sounds =]
Jeremy: Basically its mostly samples manipulated by synths,
Otavio: My (sound) engine should have different effects like doppler shifts
to make sounds more realistic.
Jeremy: Then brought back into PC's and further manipulated,
dopplers are pretty easy to code, but are a nice touch,
Paul: Otavio programs all the low-level engine code stuff...
Otavio: Also I am trying to implement delays to simulate the speed of sound reaching
your hovercraft. The sound effect routines are not finished yet, so we don't know 100% yet.
R.I.P.:And now some less taxing questions for everyone...
In your spare time, what games do you like to play?
Paul: DOOM! VF2!! Cybersled
Jeremy: Virtua Fighter! Riiiiiiidge Racer...
Matias: For now , Panzer Dragoon!! (ooooooh!) (boom missiles!)
Otavio: F-zero. Street fighter. BOMBERMAN!!!
Matias: Virtua Fighter IS more fun than TohShinDin,
(just got introduced to fighters at WCES), but Ellis is MUCH cuter than Pai. TohShinDin's design and Panzer Dragoon's are wonderful; HIGHLY EDUCATIONAL.
Paul: Red Planet and Battletech, whenever I get somewhere there's a center,
Jeremy: Yes, we have spent way too much money on red planet.
Paul: No, we haven't had the chance to spend enough =]
Matias: Tempest 2000.
Jeremy: Battle Tetris Gaiden...
Otavio: BOMBERMAN!!! :)
Paul: BATTLE TETRIS!!
Matias: X-Wing was cool Star Wars but the original Wing Commander will always have
a place in my heart.
R.I.P.:Out of all the new games coming out this year,
are there any titles each of you are looking forward to playing (aside from your own (grin))...
Jeremy: Ultra Vortex should be cool. Anything Ultra-64 would be my vote.
Paul: Robotech on the U64. Battle Sphere on the same Jag Net as our game.
VF2 on the Saturn!!! Defender 2000... that's all I can think of... Quake maybe, but doesn't everybody...
Matias: Jumping Flash! on the PSX! AVP2 if done right!
Battle Sphere will be a blast and of course D2K.
R.I.P.:What types of music do each of you listen to most?
Paul: Techno, bouncy happy hard Techno.
The Tempest 2000 Soundtrack gets a lot of play. =]
Jeremy: Depeche Mode, Pantera, Sepultura, Nightmare Before X-Mas,
Satriani, Michael Manring, Michael Hedges... Jane's, Alladin...
Matias: Everything, but while Paul is my fourth roommate I do get a lot of Techno!
Jane's Addiction, Pink Floyd, Tempest 2000, and Bach.
Otavio: Jane's Addiction.
Paul: Just got a new Prodigy CD, that's getting lots of play too.
Jeremy: Yeah, that one is kewl.
R.I.P.:What do you think of the Internet (all aspects),
does being "On-Line" help your company?
Paul: =] Yes!
Jeremy: Our connection is too slow. :(
We get lots of web page hits... and it's very helpful.
Matias: Being on-line is a great productivity killer. ;)
Paul: We got a lot of contacts and meet lots of people in the industry over the net.
R.I.P.:What are your future plans as a company? (world conquest?)
Paul: YES! Actually, that's my personal goal, the company is just a tool. =]
Jeremy: Global domination... Really? Stay small, make cool shit.
Matias: Very cool shit.
Otavio: Make cutting edge games for cutting edge systems.
Paul: Make games that are fun to play. Money is not my driving force...
R.I.P.:And lastly, any closing comments you would each like to make to everyone reading this?
Paul: Ummmm... buy our game? =]
Jeremy: Programming is cool. Money sucks. Toys are cool.