Unseen News

Random Facts & Rumors from the Unseen World | Volume 2

Our friend Ross Sillifant send us many contributions every week, with info, images, videos and interviews about lost videogames and their development, from popular and obscure software houses, for old and new consoles and PC. It would take years to properly organize this huge amount of info, but we’d like to save these random memories on the site, to be sure that they will not be lost while we wait for dedicated articles. Do you remember those “news and rumors” sections in gaming magazines? That’s exactly what this section is about! Every attempt was made where possible to check claims made by the gaming press, but as it stands, magazine claims should not be treated as fact and even memories could be washed out by the passing of time. This is the second collection from this series (here you can check the first one), it’s another part of a huge section that had to be cut from our book and in the following months we’ll add even more of the missing book content to the site.. enjoy!

Company called Photo Surrealism were showing video footage of texture demos etc for planned multiplayer space game on Jaguar called Galactic Gladiators, which promised Modem+JagCom support. I’ve never seen said vids, so no idea if coding actually started on game proper.

I asked John Romero about Jaguar Quake: “Hi Ross, I can’t really say whether the port started because I left id only 6 weeks after shipping Quake. If a Jag port was started it would have been after I left, and I never heard any rumors about it. Practically speaking, there’s no way the Jaguar could have done it. It could barely handle DOOM. Best, John”

doom-1-cover

Comments by John Carmack about how he’d of done Jaguar Doom differently: he talks also about Jaguar’s hardware limits, but there’s no mention of Quake being started on Jaguar as some have claimed over the years:
“The jaguar CANNOT make a fully textured, full screen, full resolution game that runs at 30 fps. The bus will simply not take that many accesses. The 64 bit bus will let you do really fast shaded polygons, but texture mapping is done a single pixel at a time. DOOM had to be significantly reworked to get good performance, but it wasn’t designed from the ground up to take advantage of the Jaguar. If I was designing a game from scratch for the Jag (I’m not), I would target 20 fps with a 256*180 view window in 16 bit color as a reachable goal. Doom runs 15 fps at 160*180 because the basic design is non-optimal for the jag’s characteristics. I wrote it for the pc.”

Prolific’s Return Fire 2 was also planned for Playstation 1 as well as PC. Edge Issue 58 has it previewed under PC / Playstation. PSX version was never released.

 

Unseen Interview: Sean Kord (Paradigm Entertainment)

While working on our book about lost video games, we were able to interview many developers who worked on cancelled projects, but we had to cut some of these interviews from the book because of the 480 pages limit. As promised, we are going to publish all the missing articles directly in our website, and the following interview is one of these! During his career Sean Willsey Kord has worked at Paradigm Entertainment on such games as Duck Dodgers, Mission Impossible: Operation Surma, Terminator Redemption, Stuntman Ignition and on the cancelled Snoopy VS the Red Baron (GameCube).

Unseen64: To start this interview, we would like to ask you to introduce yourself to our readers: we’d love to know more about your career in the gaming industry and what you are working on today.

Sean: Definitely and thanks for keeping game developers hard work in the history books of electronic entertainment :) I’m Sean (Willsey) Kord and I worked at Paradigm Entertainment from 1998-2005 as primarily a character and cinematic animator. While there I modeled and animated for Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century on N64. After Duck Dodgers I animated and modeled characters on an unreleased title for GameCube that I will elaborate on later. Next I created in game cinematics for Mission Impossible Operation Surma. After MI, I was lead in game cinematic artist for Terminator Redemption and finally I created some preliminary work for Stuntman Ignition before leaving Paradigm to relocate with my wife in Denver Colorado area. Due to this move I went into an entirely new career path in forensic animation but having a game development background had its advantages when I utilized the Unity 3D engine for real time feedback on a critical case. Currently, I just relocated back to the Texas area with my 6 year old son and wife and excited to start a new career path in my old stomping grounds!

sean-w-kord-interview-unseen64-duck-dogers

Unseen64: Can you name some of your favourite videogames? Have you been playing anything lately?

Sean: Favorite video games? Wow hard one to narrow down as I have been an avid gamer since the 80s arcade boom till now. For retro arcade, I have much love for Galaga, Spy Hunter, Frontline, Sinistar and Star Wars. For somewhat more recent titles it is Conkers Bad Fur Day on N64( loved the humor and Rare did such an amazing job) and even more recent would be Assassins Creed. As of now I have been obsessed with one game on PC… Mechwarrior Online and mainly cause I have been a fan of the Battletech universe since it was introduced in the 80s.

Unseen64:  You worked for about 7 years at Paradigm Entertainment, while we know a lot about their released games during those years (1998 -2005), unfortunately some of their projects were canned: did you worked on any of these or maybe seen them in motion? Do you remember anything from them? (Pilotwings 64 II, Harrier 2001, Skies, Magik Karts)

Sean: As far as unreleased titles you listed, I had not even recalled Harrier 2001 until you listed this title. I was not a developer on this title but can say that from what I saw it had amazing graphics for an N64 title ( like you display in your images ) and very polished sim controls due to the fact that one of the lead programmers had been an original founder for Paradigm Simulations. As far as Skies, this was another title I was not directly involved in but saw plenty of preliminary gameplay. I remember there being issues with the scale of the environments and characters. Namely the structures had to be so large so the characters could fly and battle and this resulted in characters feeling like small fairies rather than human scale. Still it had such great potential and promise and unfortunately the publisher decided it could not continue development. One title not on your list that I worked on personally was a GameCube game based on Snoopy (Peanuts character ) and his fight with the Red Baron. The basic premise was you would be Snoopy flying his Doghouse in 3rd person and battle multiple enemies in the WWI aerial setting leading to the  final confrontation with the Red Baron. It would also have power ups involving Woodstock in turrets and multiple Woodstocks to enhance your firepower. The game utilized a cartoon shader and we had concepts for enemy planes that would have crazy elements like 10 wings layered on top… think Dick Dasterdly and his Flying Machines cartoons ;)  I have fond memories of this unreleased title due to the people  involved and the passion we all had for the content of the Peanuts universe. It was a very small team as many were back then ( might have been 2000-2001?) and we were prototyping the content and gameplay. Many of these developers on this project have worked on very high profile games since then. My tasks involved modeling Charlie Brown, Woodstock, and Snoopy as well as animations. We were all sad when this project was cancelled early on since we had such amazing chemistry but all enjoyed every minute of our time creating content for this project. I noticed years later a similar game was released on PC called Snoopy and the Red Baron and appeared to have many of the same elements we had planned in our game. I would like to think our early work somehow influenced this future game but you never know ;)

You can see some of the very early gameplay ( I mean very early prototype ) here:

Unseen64: Talking about all the games that you worked on and that were released in your career (Duck Dogers, Mission Impossible, Terminator 3, etc.), was there anything major that had to be cut or changed from the final versions? Is there anything that you wish it would have not changed, even if you were satisfied with the final product?

Sean: Hmmm… Really I don’t remember much other than the usual iterations you do to get the best game play possible. I guess Duck Dodgers had the most change since at first it had many levels in alpha stage that just didn’t make the cut. Very early in development we even had a gag similar to the Wiley Coyote pause in air, pull sign out saying “Help” and falling to the ground with a big poof except Daffy Duck was in the gag instead of Wiley Coyote. Mission Impossible had a difficult time in the early stages for what was the gameplay actually going to be? All action or stealth. In the end we followed the route taken by another well known game that you probably know all too well and made it primarily a stealth game with quick takedowns for action. I do however love the drone camera controls sequence since it has the best polished controls due to the fact that our programmer was experienced in simulation development.

Unseen64:  Is there anything in particular that you learned or that you like to remember from your time at Paradigm Entertainment?

Sean: While game development can be rough at times with long hours and late nights, I wouldn’t take any of it back for the world. Paradigm Entertainment gave me so many great times and friends. I miss them all and its so nice to see all of them succeeding in other game studios or even large VFX studios for movies. It’s interesting to see some of the indie games returning to smaller teams and for me that was where Paradigm shined in its peak. There were times when we had 5 or more projects going on and each project had a dedicated office area separate from the rest. It allowed for great camaraderie and special moments that you don’t feel in 100 man teams. Our teams back then started out at 8 or so and then in full swing hit 20 at the highest point of development. I think we did some amazing work back then and it’s still warms my heart to read reviews or love for our games years and years later.

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Unseen64:  As most of the Unseen64 Staff is italian, we just LOVE to eat good food :) What is your favorite food ever? Any secret recipe that you would like to share with us?

Sean: Hah! I’m probably the worse person to ask this question as I am not a good cook and tend to eat more unhealthy than healthy but my favorite food is Tex Mex meals (Texas and Mexican food combined). I love tacos and enchiladas and fresh flour tortillas with cheese queso dip ;). Of course I love Italian food just as much and can’t resist spaghetti or pizza any day of the week :)

Unseen64:  Well, that was the last question, thanks again for your time!  

Best Video Games Books: Our Top 100+ List!

best video games books list

To celebrate the release of our book “Video Games You Will Never Play” (published in September 2016), we would like to suggest to you even more amazing video game books you can read while trapped at home during the upcoming cold winter or to buy as a Christmas present for your nerd cousin who loves video games. There are already many “top 10 books” lists with some nice suggestions (such as the ones at Goodreads, Wikipedia, Games Radar, Heavy, PC Gamer and The New Yorker), but those usually don’t have less known titles we love and often they list the same books over and over. We’d like to suggest many more books related to games, with the help of our readers, like you!

This long list with all our favorite games-related books (available in English) was originally meant to be added as a bonus in our own volume, but as we had to cut a lot of content to fit our articles in the 480 pages limit, this “best video game books” list had to be canned too. In the end we decided to still finish this huge article and to publish it on our website, so here it is!

We also asked to some of our favorite authors and gaming historians (such as Bob Pape, Brian Schrank, Chris Kohler, Clyde Mandelin, Felipe Pepe, Gabe Durham, Jeremy Parish, Jesper Juul, John Szczepaniak, Nathan Altice, Nick Montfort, Rob Strangman and Sorrel Tilley) to suggest a book themselves and in the end, we collected more than 100 titles. We would like to add even more videogames books, to create the most complete list ever to help people to find the most interesting ones. Each book is listed with details, price, number of pages, size and average price on Amazon, so you can easily compare them (remember: always check the current price on Amazon, as they often change day by day and could be on sale!).

If you know of other great video game books that should be added, please leave a message below with a short description to explain why you loved that book, so we can include it in our list! Thanks a lot for your help :)

Jump to:

 
Video Games You Will Never Play: the Unseen64 Book is now available!

Video Games You Will Never Play: the Unseen64 Book is now available!

It’s finally here, after almost two years of work: our book about lost videogames! In this volume you can read about more than 200 cancelled games, starting from early ‘90s computers, to 8-bit games and all the way through to the 7th generation of consoles with Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. In this book you can find the most interesting cancelled games from the Unseen64 archive plus a few previously unknown lost games, new screenshots and details. For example, in this book you’ll find the full story about the mysterious game cancelled by Bungie because of Halo, concept art from the unseen version of Maximo for Nintendo 64, what happened to Jade Empire 2, the truth about Halo DS, the ambitious action RPG in development by Junction Point Studios before they were acquired by Disney to develop Epic Mickey, the story behind the unreleased Virtual Reality console by Hasbro and a few more surprises. To celebrate this release we also published a huge list with our favorite video games books, check it for more interesting reads!

Here you can download the table of content for our book: Index PDF (400 kb)

video-games-you-will-never-play-unseen64-book-color video-games-you-will-never-play-unseen64-book-blackwhite

Also included are essays about the preservation of unreleased games, articles about how we do researches for Unseen64 and 20 interviews with museums and developers who worked on lost games. This is a crowdsourced book by the whole Unseen64 collective: more than 45 contributors from all over the world worked on the project. The book is almost 500 pages long and the physical cost to print the full-color version is quite high even if we kept the price as low as possible, but we also released a much cheaper black and white version. The black and white version of the book is identical to the color one, the only differences are the cover and the interior color: this black and white version is less than half the price of the full color book (we also earn more on the b/w version!).

You can buy our book on Amazon and Createspace:

Createspace:
If you want to support Unseen64 and you live in USA, Createspace is the best place to order your copy of the book, as we earn more from their shop! For the first two weeks you can also use this code for a 10% discount: FCCLKBKZ)
Keep in mind that usually Createspace ships books from USA, so it could still be cheaper to buy it from your local Amazon website.
Full-color book
Black/White book

Amazon:
USA, Full Color Book
USA, Black / White book
United Kingdom, Full Color Book
United Kingdom, Black/White Book
– Brazil, Full Color Book: coming soon?
Brazil, Black/White Book
Canada, Full Color Book
Canada, Black/White Book
Germany, Full Color Book
Germany, Black/White Book
France, Full Color Book
France, Black/White Book
Italy, Full Color Book
Italy, Black/White Book
Spain, Full Color Book
Spain, Black/White Book
– Search your local Amazon website to see if it’s available! You can search for “Video Games You Will Never Play” or “Video Games You Will Never Play Color” for the full-color version.

Please keep in mind that:

  • The lost games featured in this book are just a small sample of all the titles we will never play. It would be impossible to list them all in just one book.
  • This book is published in Good Faith and under Fair Use.
  • This book is fully in English, but most articles were written by Italians and people from other non-English countries. Each article was proofread by English native speakers, but there could still be typos and random engrish.
  • This is a 100% independent project, we worked on this book with our own efforts, time and energies, with a super small budget supported by our Patrons! The book was self published thanks to Amazon’s print-on-demand service (Createspace).
  • Originally the book was meant to be more than 700 pages, but Createspace has a limit of 480 pages, so we had to resize the fonts and space layout, cut images, interviews and articles. Everything that was not included in the book will be published on this site in the following months!
  • We know that it would be impossible to satisfy everyone, so there will be people that will complain about not enough images, not enough space between paragraphs, not enough interviews, not enough games for a console or another, typos or layout colors they don’t like. Don’t worry, if there will ever be another Unseen64 book, we’ll follow your advice, for now we are just happy to finally publish the book after all the work and efforts we put into it :)
  • Feel free to record video reviews of the book, write a sincere review on your website or on Amazon, take photos, share what you like with your friends! Just consider to support Unseen64 on Patreon or buy another copy of the book as a gift if you want to help our mission to remember lost games :)
  • Let us know if you find any print issues or other errors! Each printed book has slightly different colors and placement, each copy is unique!
  • This book was made with love and sleep deprivation.

The main objective of this book is to let our readers to support Unseen64 by buying a copy for their collection and the earnings will be used to keep working on Unseen64 and make it even better in the following months and years! Now that the book is finally published, we have many new things planned for the future of Unseen64 :)  If you have any question about the book, let us know in the comments!

Unseen64 summer break to complete our book!

no-mans-unseen64-summer-break

It’s super hot here in Italy, our PCs are melting down while we are working 9+ hours a day to complete the Unseen64 book, but we really want to finish everything in time to publish it in September! Will we able to finish it in time? Fingers crossed :) There’s still a lot to do, so to rise our chances to reach our objective we will pause new site updates for a few weeks, and we’ll be back with new articles when work on the book will be done!

We are really excited to finally publish this huge volume, it’s even bigger than what we planned, with more than 700 pages full of lost games we had to resize the font and margins with smaller ones to be able to fit as much as possible in the 480-pages limit to publish it through Amazon’s print on demand service. What will you find in Unseen64’s first book? Among updated versions of many articles already published on Unseen64 during our 15-years of existence, there will be new interesting researches, interviews, screenshots and exclusive details: we don’t want to spoil the surprises or to hype our project too much, so you’ll find out when the book will finally be available :)

We put a lot of time and efforts into this book, probably it will not sell much (how many people are interested in games they will never play?) but if you want to support us buying the book will be a great way to do it, as all revenues will be used to keep the site online and to improve our archive in the following months.. we have some nice plans for Unseen64 in 2017. While you wait for the site to be back in full, here’s a few things you can do:

Look and read: Check our archive with more than 3.000 beta and cancelled games.

Contribute: Would you like to help the U64 Archive? Read how you can help us to preserve more screens, videos and info!

Interact: Join the U64 FB Forum to discuss about unseen games with other geeks!

Donate: if you want to support our daily work to archive unseen games, please consider to donate 1$+ on Patreon, to help us to keep the site online and to improve it even more! As we wrote before, there will be some changes in our Patreon goals as soon as the book will be released, following what our current patrons want more of :)

Thanks to everyone that supports Unseen64 with love. See you all very soon!

The Unseen64 Staff – 

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