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Flash! WTR Programmer Gives Details! - The Atari Times

Flash! WTR Programmer Gives Details!

What's he got to say?
by The Programmer

February 2, 1997
Hello Jaguar users,

Image courtesy of Telegames.comWith luck World Tour Racing will be released in March by Telegames. The game was originally completed 12 months ago, but the release vanished with the demise of Atari.

Information about the product is quite scarce, so I would like to clarify a few things.

The game IS polygon based, the project was originally conceived as Virtua Racing on the Jag, but as the project progressed that look became dated and we received pressure to include heavy texture mapping. The game does contain some texture mapping, but also includes lots of tricks involving scaled sprites and bitmaps to make the screen look detailed and interesting, without anywhere near the same speed hit. It's not 30fps but it is a lot faster than Checkered Flag.

World Tour Racing was in development for almost 2 years whilst I worked at a company in Greenwich London. Since than I've moved on and now work at another company, but I'm currently helping to resolve a few technical issues so that the game can be published. I had to fire up a dev-kit for the first time in almost a year a few weeks ago to supply the screen shots which are now on the Telegames web site.

Image courtesy of Telegames.com I'm grateful to Telegames for releasing the game, as I and the rest of the team that worked on it were proud of the product and how well it played and looked when it was finished. The fact that it didn't go onto the shelves was a bit of a kick in the teeth.

The game has 16 tracks, 12 of which are based on real F1 tracks from around the world, and 4 fantasy tracks which we made up (I wanted pyramids in the game and Egypt doesn't have any racing tracks, so what the heck).

It has 10 cars in each race, at one point the game had as few as 6, it was part of the process of tweaking the game play so that you were always racing against someone. 10 cars worked well in the final product. The fact that you never really raced against anyone in CF was probably the worst thing about the game.

Image courtesy of Telegames.com The Jaglink is not supported, 2 player mode is via a split screen. What resolution does it run at? Erm.. most of them, this would probably take me quite a while to answer, due to a technique I used to to maintain acceptable frame rates at all times. instead I'll just point out that Doom is the lowest resolution game on the Jag, only 160 horizontal pixels, and I'm higher than that at all times.

The music was produced by the same musician who did the music for that French skiing game that I can never remember the name of. It's CD audio throughout and I was very happy with it, but you'll have to decide for yourself.

The early mock up pictures of the racing game had nothing at all to do with WTR, it didn't exist back than. The company where I developed the game was producing Brutal Sports Football at the time (the programmer who converted that game wrote the first level of Die Hard Trilogy on the Playstation afterwards).

Image courtesy of Telegames.com Well done whoever it was that said that the in cockpit camera seems slightly higher than the drivers head, it is, by about 20cm. Very few people noticed in testing and it does make quite a big difference to the games playability. You can set the camera to lots of different position, you can even race via the TV cameras if you really want to.

World Tour Racing was not a Domark project, and as a publisher I don't think they ever released any Jaguar software. As a side note, I now work for Eidos Interactive which owns Domark Software.

Sorry about the Checkered Flag spelling, but did you know that European and Americans pronounce Jaguar differently, we say Jag-u-ar, you say Jag-war.

Yes, the tracks do have tunnels and dips and bridges, it doesn't wildly undulate, which is mostly due to the nature of the real world tracks and the type of racing.

The computer cars do race against one another and have quite complicated AI. The car AI was originally developed on another machine before the Jaguar project began, so it was adjusted, refined and playtested over a considerable length of time.

Image courtesy of Telegames.com Yes the game does vary the resolution. It doesn't quite do it on-the-fly in the sense that it changes whilst your racing around a track, but it does change from section to section and track to track. It even changes res when the game is paused.

If things are flying past at high speed you can get away with lower res as the eye doesn't notice that sort of detail. Speed is all important in a racing game. I did at one point experiment with an engine that changed the base res on a frame by frame basis, but that makes simple things like screen overlays stupidly complicated.

The car is highly configurable, there is a workshop during qualifying which you can jump into at any time and adjust all the usual stuff. It has a fairly complicated vector force model driving the physics of the car, with a set of interpreter blocks put in to make it a fun game to play. Sliding is an important part of the game, simply because most testers found it a lot of fun.

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