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A moment with Aaron Fothergill -Zoop, Magic Carpet

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:20 pm
by a31chris
Aaron Fothergill was the audio engine man for Electric Spectacle.(Zoop) They were also contracted by Virgin to convert Demolition Man and by Atari to convert Magic Carpet. to the Jaguar.

I had a quick brain pick with him about Atari support, Electric Spectacle, Magic Carpet and Demolition man.
Aaron Fothergill wrote:I only just remember looking at [Magic Carpet] as part of our eval. In fact I had totally forgotten about it until I found my old notebook. Mostly I just remember playing it(PC version) a lot.

Electric Spectacle was a great little company (technically the only job interview I've ever done). I didn't deal directly with Atari's support, but from what I gathered from the other members of the team they were fairly responsive. No idea on the specifics of ESP folding, basically we were bought out by Cranberry Source and became Cranberry North for a while. We were actually porting the 3D0 version of Demolition Man for Virgin. The deal was that they were providing us with all the resources for the game, but the original team wasn't available (we think they'd left Virgin).

My first task was decompressing the audio files for all the speech as the 3D0 version was in a custom format we couldn't use or even listen to. What happened was, I managed to crack the format so we could actually hear the audio and it turned out that Virgin had only supplied the Japanese audio for the game.

As the project was massively overrun and losing ESP money, they were able to use that to drop the project without penalty as Virgin hadn't supplied all the assets.
I liked Magic Carpet a lot. Demolition Man was actually kind of fun but not a brilliant game.

Demolition man was nearly completed by ESP (the full game was pretty much running) but it couldn't be completed because virgin hadn’t supplied all the assets
When asked how it compared to the 3do version.
Aaron Fothergill wrote:Absolutely no idea. I remember it being playable but mostly I was working on the audio file conversion.
Mike Diskette wrote: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[this has been confirmed] 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)'
In your eval of Magic Carpet and the possibility of porting it to the Jag would you agree with Mike Diskettes evaluation above?
Aaron Fothergill wrote:Pretty much from what I remember (I wasn't involved in that part of the code though as I'm not an engine coder). No idea what specifically would have caused Atari to give up on it. They were busy going bankrupt at the time though, so could have been a lot of factors.
When was the last time you played Zoop(Any version) and do you still have a Jaguar and/or any of the development equipment?
Aaron Fothergill wrote:Zoop was also a lot of fun, played it a *lot* while we were porting it but not played it since then. Likewise not touched a Jaguar since ESP days
Well that's not right.

I will try to get in touch with the then owner of Electric Spectacle and see if I can find out some more. I'll go gentle. Us Jag/retro fans can be annoying.

The memo made it sound like Atari had screwed him.
MAGIC CARPET/Electric Spectacle: Ted Hoff considering status of 'restart' funding required to bring Electric Spectacle back to working force. They are broke, apparently in part due to Atari's four week pull-out/Notice of intended termination. Recommend we decide future of this project asap and close open issue of Bullfrog late payment[below]

MAGIC CARPET/Bullfrog [EA]: Attempted termination refused - castiron contract that Atari has to pay $425k regardless of if completed game. Atari has determined to complete game to minimize loss - $150k November 10 payment overdue and Bullfrog is demanding it. Recommend Sam reconsider sending it on pain of being in breach -- we owe it...

Max Fagan memo to John Skruch; Friday, December 15, 1995.
Aaron Fothergill wrote:Yeah, Atari were screwing a lot of people at the time
A special thanks to Aaron Fothergill for his time. And please check out Aaron's new mobile game company, Strange Flavour:

IOS - ... F0HGU&ls=1 ... LWjcY&ls=1 ... yRsALEwLpk

Max Fagan memo courtesy of Retro Impressions.

Re: A moment with Aaron Fothergill -Zoop, Magic Carpet

Posted: Sun May 17, 2020 5:48 pm
by Martin III
Very interesting stuff! Thanks for sharing. The stuff about Demolition Man's development is intriguing. I'm personally glad it ended up staying 3DO exclusive. For one thing, the game would not have been done justice without a light gun. Additionally, I feel like Demolition Man is a defining title for the 3DO, in part because it's a perfect example of a game that both couldn't be done on the Sega CD and would have looked dated on the Saturn or PlayStation.

I too am kind of astounded in how much Atari invested in bringing Magic Carpet to the Jaguar. Even the Saturn and PlayStation were pretty overloaded by that game. I wonder what made them think that could work.

The bit about "the gourad shaded look that jaguar was famous for" startled me a bit. It's been a while since I binge-watched videos of Jaguar games, but I thought most polygonal Jaguar games were flat-shaded, not gourad shaded. Iron Soldier and I-War at least look primarily flat-shaded. Someone set me straight here.

Re: A moment with Aaron Fothergill -Zoop, Magic Carpet

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:19 pm
by a31chris
Well Atari has to try I guess.

I believe they would have had a better chance of success of they'd had access to the tools HVS had developed.

Re: A moment with Aaron Fothergill -Zoop, Magic Carpet

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:21 pm
by a31chris
Cybermorph, Battlemorph and T2K I believe are gourad shaded.