During the early days of the Nintendo Ultra 64, many racing games were announced for the console, including this Top Gear Rally, sequel of Top Gear for the Super Nintendo. The early images released showed a stunning graphics for its time, with wonderful light effects, high definition and good polygonal models: obviously, all these screens were taken from a target render, as the Nintendo 64 was never able to do such kind of graphic detail. The real Top Gear Rally is actually very different what they wanted us to believe, with more rough graphic, blurred out scenario and without all the lighting effects that made the tech demo so impressive. Some of the cars that we can see in the early screens seem almost cut and pasted in there with Photoshop.
We can also notice a different HUD and a smaller map. Probably these screenshots were created with the sole purpose of giving an idea of the look of the project, but without taking into account the actual technical features of the N64, not powerful enough to run a 3D engine too much complex for its time.
Also, ezri85 noticed some beta differences in the second video below:
The differences between it and the final version are subtle, but they are there. Not to mention the unused musical score that plays over it. From what I can see, the differences between this beta, and the release game are: some unfinalised vehicle textures, physics appear to be different/incomplete, track map is visible and some minor HUD differences.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Durante i primi mesi di vita del Nintendo 64 furono molti i giochi di corse annunciati per la console, fra cui questo Top Gear Rally, seguito dell’omonimo Top Gear per Super Nintendo. Le immagini precedenti all’uscita mostravano una grafica davvero straordinaria per l’epoca, con effetti luce e modelli poligonali che lasciavano a bocca aperta, promettendo qualità estetiche davvero realistiche.
Come ben sanno tutti i giocatori che hanno potuto provare la versione finale, l’aspetto di Top Gear Rally è in realtà molto diverso da come volevano farci credere queste foto del suo prototipo. Il gioco completo presenta una grafica decisamente più approssimativa, sfuocata e poco definita, senza tutti quegli effetti luce che rendevano impressionanti le foto beta. Osservando meglio il prototipo, è facile capire come questa versione di Top Gear Rally non girasse in tempo reale sul Nintendo 64, ma fosse solamente un concept in computer grafica, tanto che molte delle auto sembrano addirittura ritagliate ed incollate con Photoshop sui disegni poligonali delle piste.
Confrontandolo con le immagini della versione finale (a destra), possiamo notare anche la differente disposizione degli HUB con le informazioni della gara ed una mappa più piccola. Probabilmente questi screenshots erano stati creati con il solo scopo di dare un idea del proggetto futuro, ma senza tenere conto delle reali caratteristiche tecniche del Nintendo 64, non abbastanza potente per far girare un motore 3D di questa portata.[/spoiler]
I keep hoping that there might be a working beta of this early version of Top Gear Really that may be dumped one day for all to enjoy… but the more I watch the videos the more I think the footage shown here is nothing more than a camera flowing down a track modeled in some 3D software with cars following pre-programmed pathways without any kind of physics engine. In other words, what’s shown here is nothing playable.
It’s nice to think that there just might be a working game out there despite the obvious fact that the N64 couldn’t possibly render these kind of graphics. Is it possible that perhaps the N64 could render these graphics? Even if it would run at 1 fps?
Imo that video was just a target render and it was never playable on any hardware :P
I remember an interview with the developers which talked about being an offshoot of a cinematic special effects production house, and even borrowing rendering time on the film people’s hardware–so quite possibly they put together a target render using whatever rendering setup the film studio already had.
Here are some beta images from the sequel Top Gear Rally 2:
You can see a different HUD including changes of the map and missing red on the tachometer. Also the guide arrows are 3D style where as in the final game they used flat 2D sprites. Edge (73, July 1999)
Check out this video on youtube of Top Gear Rally in beta form (possibly a final beta?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwt8wZTwoeY&list=FLsL1CUAampGQ6Yu2DO7SxaA&index=19&feature=plpp_video
The differences between it and the final version are subtle, but they are there. Not to mention the unused musical score that plays over it.
From what I can see, the differences between this beta, and the release game are: some unfinalised vehicle textures, physics appear to be different/incomplete, track map is visible and some minor HUD differences.
Supposedly this was uploaded to the Boss Game Studios website back in 1997 prior to TGR’s final release.
Nice! Thanks Ezri, i’m going to update the page :)
Oh, and also the two player mode is full screen, not cropped down like the final release.
This was probably done to keep the frame rates up as I remember reading in magazines back in the day that Boss was unsure if the game would even be two player in the final release due to frame rate problems.