Magic Carpet [Beta – PC, PSX, Saturn]

Magic Carpet [Beta – PC, PSX, Saturn]

Magic Carpet is a shooter / action game developed by Bullfrog Productions and designed by Peter Molyneux, released in may 1994 for PC, Playstation and Saturn. As we can read on Wikipedia, in the game player plays a wizard (on a magic carpet) flying over water, mountains, and other terrain while destroying monsters and rival wizards.

Pcloadletter found an old beta screenshot of Magic Carpet in Edge magazine issue 1 (october 1993) with different hud and 3rd person view. The final game can only be played in first person view so we never seen the main character on the playing screen before (thanks to Aybe for the confirmation!). Also, it seems that the game was planned for the 3DO too..


Here’s a video from the final version:

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9 thoughts on “Magic Carpet [Beta – PC, PSX, Saturn]

  1. Ross Sillifant

    Just posted this on an Atari Age thread (basically asking where the claim came from that it was headed to Jaguar CD came from, as i’ve never seen any such claim meself :-) ).

    ‘The team talk a lot about Magic Carpet in Edge Jan’94 (Funtime at Bullfrog) lot of talk on planned 3DO version and how it’d use the (planned) High-Quality, LCD 3D Glasses (another lost peripheral) this at a time when game was using a 3rd person viewpoint, same screens cropped up in Amiga Press with talk of plain polygon A1200 version, texture-mapped CD32 version.’
    Game was said to be 60% complete on PC at this stage.

  2. Ross Sillifant


    Looks like any claims of Jaguar CD version can be put to bed, i asked games Lead Designer, Alex Trowers what he knew, over to Alex:

    “We definitely had a Jaguar kicking around – but it didn’t really have
    the legs (or install base) to warrant a version of Magic Carpet.
    I think most of us were Amiga, although the ST had it’s champion in
    the form of Glenn. Personally, I preferred Commodore’s offering, right
    up until we made the move to PC. Sean, crazy weirdo that he was, even
    had a soft spot for the Archimedes…”

    And have enquired about Commodore A1200 and CD32 versions, along with 3DO version.

    Will ‘Report Back’ once i hear ‘owt.

  3. Ross Sillifant

    As promised here’s what Alex said about the 3DO/A1200/CD32 versions:

    By the time of 3DO and A1200, we’d moved to PC almost entirely, so they never really got the time of day. I remember seeing an early 3DO dev kit in the office and wondering what the point was. But I think we still squeezed out a copy of Theme Park on it. I know Disky put Syndicate on an A1200, but after that he was put on the PC version of Syndicate Wars.

  4. Ross Sillifant

    Update on Jaguar Version from Alex himself, who kindly put the word out to his contacts:

    Jaguar stuff was done by Mike Diskett (Syndicate – now working on Satellite Reign for Five Lives) and Alan Wright (Theme Park – no idea where he ended up). It turns out that Atari were trying to port Magic Carpet but they couldn’t get it to work.

  5. Ross Sillifant

    Update:Mike Disk.has very kindly shared his recollections with me, few snippets from main email i had from him regarding Jaguar attempt at Magic Carpet:

    ‘The Jaguar arrive at Bullfrog, and nobody was especially interested in it
    except me.’

    >’ I tried (in my spare time) for a while porting magic carpet to jaguar, but
    > it just couldnt handle texture mapping, and the gourad shaded look that
    > jaguar was famous for just didnt cut it. (I believe and this is rumour that
    > Atari payed Bullfrog half a million for the rights to magic carpet on
    > jaguar to make themselves, which I shook my head at, at the time due to the
    > impossibility of the task, and of course Magic carpet for Jaguar never
    > materialized)’

  6. Ross Sillifant

    More from Mike:

    I spent a couple of days evaluating Jaguar for magic carpet before later moving onto porting Theme Park /Syndicate to it.
    This evaluation was done in my own time and wasnt anywhere near as complete as I would have liked but I did at least get all the gameplay and render code running without any texturing. Zero optimisation and the 3d projection was all running on the 68000 (which is probably what you would have to do in a final build because the GPU would be busy drawing polys).

    While I was porting theme park, atari bought the rights to magic Carpet (so I was told) to produce the game themselves, they could have been working on it internally or have hired a third party, at that point it was totally out of Bullfrogs hands.

  7. Ross Sillifant

    The Jaguar struggled with Texture mapping because the blitter wasnt designed for it, even a gourad shaded poly needed the blitter to be issued draw commands line by line 
    With texture mapping you would have to do it all in Software, on its ‘GPU’ processor, this processor only had 4k for code and data and only had indirect access to main memory, it would have to keep stopping and dma’ing memory into its work buffer.

  8. Ross Sillifant

    I put some online critiscm of Mikes attempt at converting Magic Carpet to Jaguar CD..

    Claims were that judging by slowdown etc in his 2D work.. Syndicate and Theme Park, he should of spent more time learning the hardware before attempting it and perhaps asking a more experienced coder for help/advice..

    Over to Mike:
    Atari payed a lot of money for the rights to port magic carpet to Jaguar, and could not do it themselves or find anyone who could do it..

    Syndicate and theme park are both very simulation heavy games designed to run on a high end 486 (at the time) and even on PC suffer slow downs, without a major simplification of the game it was never going to run at a constant great framerate. With more time we could have made it run better, but I guess projected unit sales were so low it wasnt worth the business guys at Bullfrog have us spend more time and maybe make a loss on making the games..

    Very grateful as always to Mike.

    People sometimes seem oblivious to the fact the Jaguar was struggling at retail and no publisher was going to have teams of people writing code that really took advantage of the hardware when doing a conversion, who’s sales projections were low..

    And there weren’t coders lining up to code for it.

  9. Ross Sillifant

    I wrote the 3 DDA (U, V and shade) affine texture mapper for Magic
    Carpet to replace my original vertical scanning voxelish engine (never
    released but there is a movie of it inside the flight simulator ride in
    Theme Park if anyone is sad enough to look). It was reused for
    Hi-octane, slightly upgraded for Magic Carpet II and Syndicate Wars and
    rewritten with optional PPro optimisations and a few new modes for
    Dungeon Keeper. At some point along the way it should have had subpixel
    accuracy added (very easy to fix, and probably responsible for your
    use of the word ‘wavery’). IMO the way the lack of z-buffer forced us to
    use smaller polygons paid off pretty well in making Dungeon Keeper at
    least look different (if out of date). Carpet 2 used an updated version
    of the carpet engine, Hi-octane used an early version of the Keeper
    engine but apart from that there is no common code outside the polygon
    routine. Populous 3 uses another variation of the same texture mapper
    but also uses D3D for anyone with a decent hardware. There will also be
    a D3D patch for Dungeon Keeper RSN. All of our future 3D games are D3D
    only or D3D first with the software version a secondary consideration if
    we bother at all.

    Glenn Corpes on how the M.C engine was used for later Bullfrog games

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