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Old 04-30-2001, 03:48 PM   #1
Zanzibar
 
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Post TPM Q & A

Well, things are slowing down here, so I guess I'll see if anyone has any long-standing questions about TPM. I can give you a little insight as to WHY we made certain decisions.

So if you have questions/comments, lemme have em, and I'm pretty thick-skinned and can ALSO admit that there were some serious probs with TPM, so don't feel like you have to hold your fire. If you liked or DIDN'T like something, bring it up and I'll blather on and on about it.
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Old 04-30-2001, 04:53 PM   #2
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*funny, bored noise* What the hell...

Zanzibar, where there any ideas abandoned from the game? Like, say, flying through the Naboo Core, weird stuff like that?

Also, did you plan to include secret levels and characters at any stage?

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Old 04-30-2001, 05:24 PM   #3
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Why did you decide on modeling the game for an above camera veiw instead of a veiw more like JK?
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Old 04-30-2001, 07:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Maul:

Zanzibar, where there any ideas abandoned from the game? Like, say, flying through the Naboo Core, weird stuff like that?

Also, did you plan to include secret levels and characters at any stage?

[/B]

Yes, a bunch of ideas got the axe. We were originally going to have a playable STAP and AAT. The STAP was actually built to be played in the Swamp level, and we actually had an area where you'd strafe a bunch of different areas for fun and profit. And, there was an additional level in between the Gardens and Escape from Theed levels, where Obi-Wan would pilot an AAT tank. One more: we were going to have an underwater section for the Naboo Core using the same sort of tech in the STAP section of Swamp, but we had no level built yet when we realized in Jan of '99 that we were running out of tuning time. So all those wound up being axed, because we had JUST gotten them working, they didn't 'feel' right at all in terms of handling.

As far as 'secret' levels, no, but playable characters were definitely a possibility, although they didn't come up until late in the production. In March or April, I had built a Mace Windu playable character, but LEC didn't think they could incorporate it into the PSX version, so unless we could get it into both versions, they didn't want to add it. Kind of like how the N64 version of Rogue Squadron already had a prebuilt N-1 Naboo Starfighter but the PC version required a download.
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Old 04-30-2001, 07:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boba Rhett:
Why did you decide on modeling the game for an above camera veiw instead of a veiw more like JK?
Long story. LEC was very insistent that we make this game MUCH more easily playable for a novice gamer than JK was, so that meant keeping the controls easy and the gameplay easier. We looked at Loaded on the PSX, which had an above camera angle, and realized that it sort of reminded us of Zelda. This reinforced the perception that a FPS game is more for the hardcore gamer, but 3rd-person games are more accessible to the casual gamer.

We (Big Ape and LEC) thought that the focus of the game should be on the 'look' of the game, to make you 'feel' like you're seeing some movie locations. The best way to do that is to keep the camera at some distance, so you can't see the pixelization of the textures etc. Anyone who has done the 'naughty naughty' cheat knows what I mean, we were able to get away with a lot with very few textures because the camera was so removed. Because of that, we were able to build levels that had a pretty good framerate because we didn't have to spend polys on making the levels look 'exactly' right, the camera distance let us cheat out a little bit of detail. For instance, chairs could be made out of 5 or 6 polys instead of the 40 or 50 that would be spent if the camera could be zoomed-in close.

Also, JK was VERY much being about blasters, and it was pretty clear to us that in the MOVIE, it was all about the lightsabers. In first-person, if you saw a Battle Droid standing WAY off in the distance, well, you grab your blaster and become a sniper. Kyle Katarn was primarily a mercenary, so it was completely acceptable for him to rely on a blaster. The Jedis were totally different, and from what we knew of the movie script for Ep1, they were really into close-combat. Thus, by keeping the camera looking down, we kept all combat fairly close. This is NOT to say that we didn't make a number of screw-ups with people firing at you while they were offscreen. We made a pass or two at adjusting the different 'active' ranges of the AIs, but while we got many of them, we missed a number of others.

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Old 04-30-2001, 11:32 PM   #6
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Zanzibar, tell me how it felt when you guys got the Episode 1 script before everyone in the world? What were your reaction to it? Did some of you didn't like the story? Or were you reading it kind of "Wow, this is amazing!"

Oh yeah, and did it spoiled the movie for you?
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Old 05-01-2001, 12:10 AM   #7
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i was wondering, was the last stage of the last level a last minute thing because i din't like it too much. It wasn't as suspenseful as the JK duels where you could block the hits and swings a little better, i found my self kind of pounding on the mouse button just swinging because there was no real Defense to it. you either kept swingin or died. In JK you had to protect yourself in oder to beat the dudes.

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Old 05-01-2001, 06:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
We were originally going to have a playable STAP and AAT...
Coincidence that both these ideas ended up in Jedi Power Battles? No wonder it says "Special Thanks to Big Ape" in the credits

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Old 05-01-2001, 08:05 AM   #9
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TPM would have been even cooler if a certain company didn't make up all these silly rules...

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Old 05-01-2001, 11:08 AM   #10
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I wonder which company that would be???

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Old 05-01-2001, 02:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bakudo:
Zanzibar, tell me how it felt when you guys got the Episode 1 script before everyone in the world? What were your reaction to it? Did some of you didn't like the story? Or were you reading it kind of "Wow, this is amazing!"

Oh yeah, and did it spoiled the movie for you?
I didn't actually get to see the script, but our project leaders got to spend a total of four hours or so with the script during the summer of 1997. They conveyed the storyline to the rest of us, and we were really concerned about the Midichlorians and Anakin's virgin birth and all that. Truthfully, we thought that church groups were gonna go absolutely bananas over that and make demonstrations, and so we decided we were gonna ignore all that, because we thought Lucas would come to his senses and amputate all of that stuff out of the movie.

We did get to see rough cuts and animatic sequences. In fact, one of the first things that we did was go to Skywalker Ranch, and they sat us down in this big conference room, turned out the lights, popped in a tape, and lo and behold, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." BOOM. Music. "Star Wars." "Episode I." (No 'Phantom Menace' official name yet, tho.) Text scroll. I looked over at my friend John, who I've known forever - to the point where he and my brother spent the night in line for "Return of the Jedi" - and he looked at me, and we both started grinning and shaking our heads, like "What the hell are WE doing HERE?" I'll never forget it.

Did it ruin the movie? I wouldn't say 'ruin,' but we knew the plotlines and all that, but it was still interesting to see the finished version of the movie after we had seen the rough cuts.

As for the story itself, it kind of meandered along, we knew Jar Jar was going to get longtime SW fans angry at his insipid cuteness, and Anakin firing one single proton torpedo to demolish the entire Trade Federation ship? Whooooo boy. (Why couldn't it just disable the shields, letting the rest of the squadron destroy it? Or the torpedo knock out the communications array itself?) So yes, we had problems with the story, but behind it all, we knew it was going to be visually incredible, and so we had a lot of work to do to attempt to match the locales in the game.


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Old 05-01-2001, 03:06 PM   #12
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Anakin firing one single proton torpedo to demolish the entire Trade Federation ship?...Why couldn't it just disable the shields, letting the rest of the squadron destroy it? Or the torpedo knock out the communications array itself?
Hey Zanzibar, you ever thought about writing a screenplay? Hey, look at Ep1. Poor script, loadsa cash! Plus, Big Ape could make a kickass game of it!

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Old 05-01-2001, 03:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt Kenobi:
i was wondering, was the last stage of the last level a last minute thing because i din't like it too much. It wasn't as suspenseful as the JK duels where you could block the hits and swings a little better, i found my self kind of pounding on the mouse button just swinging because there was no real Defense to it. you either kept swingin or died. In JK you had to protect yourself in oder to beat the dudes.

Yes it was, absolutely, good observation on your part. We originally had built an auto-blocking system that we were going to hard-code in to Darth Maul, and thus have a more interesting battle. Maul himself was supposed to be specially-coded by our programmers for both the Hangar and into the Power Core, but as we slipped closer and closer to when we had to have the game done, our programmers were mired in other problems, bug-fixing etc, so in anticipation, our level designers put in some placeholder "standard" AIs for Maul - meaning we used the same AI system as for all the other characters in the game. This was SUPPOSED to be replaced by a specially-coded AI with blocking capability, but, you guessed it, the decision was finally made in April that we needed to scrap it, and spend a little time making the existing AIs challenging enough.

For whatever reason, the Hangar AI for Maul turned out to be MUCH more entertaining than in the Power Core. Most of that came from having to have Maul dance around the pit and over the bridge, whereas in the Hangar there was quite a bit of room to move around. Maul felt really insanely difficult in the Hangar because he was so free and loose, but in the tight constraints of the Power Core, he had to adhere to a pretty tight set of places where he could fight. So yes, it was indeed a letdown.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and if we had decided from the outset that the standard AI system would have to do, we could have budgeted a lot more time for tuning etc for that final battle.

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Old 05-01-2001, 03:43 PM   #14
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Why not 'pull a Lucas' and release the "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - Special Edition" game?

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Old 05-01-2001, 03:50 PM   #15
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Hey Zanzi, nice to see you again. It's always kewl having you answer some questions.

Oh before I ask, I noticed that the save games are all like Zanzi01.sav or something. Pretty kewl (ur idea?)

Speaking of Maul: Why the lightning? Was he too easy to beat without it?

Also, the Queen in the Gardens is retarded! She doesn't follow very good Was she hard to "write"?

Oh and finally is Jar Jar invincible? It seems I can hide behind him in the Swamp level and he doesn't die.

Thanks!

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Old 05-01-2001, 04:24 PM   #16
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This is kind of off topic but oh well. What do I need to do/learn in order to work for a gaming company such as Big Ape, Lucasarts,etc.?

P.S. Does it require selling my soul?
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Old 05-01-2001, 05:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jedi SuperBuen:
Hey Zanzi, nice to see you again. It's always kewl having you answer some questions.

Oh before I ask, I noticed that the save games are all like Zanzi01.sav or something. Pretty kewl (ur idea?)

Speaking of Maul: Why the lightning? Was he too easy to beat without it?

Also, the Queen in the Gardens is retarded! She doesn't follow very good Was she hard to "write"?

Oh and finally is Jar Jar invincible? It seems I can hide behind him in the Swamp level and he doesn't die.

Thanks!

'Zanzi.sav' comes from the project name, which was, you guessed it, Zanzibar. And yes, the project name comes from my online 'handle', not vice versa

Yes, Maul was too easy to beat without the lightning. We needed him to have something long-range to prevent you from firing rockets at him etc, even though he deflects most of them, he still was a bit vulnerable to grenades etc.

Yes, the Queen gave us FITS to get her AI to work properly. A lot of it had to do with our AI routines for wall-following...they were hell. If someone got bumped off their walking 'track', then we had a predetermined routine to see if they could get back on track. Well, it NEVER worked right, anyone who got off track would run around bumping into walls, turning 90 degrees, running again, hit a wall, repeat ad nauseum. We lovingly termed that such character was 'looking for Robert', who was the programmer for the routine. It was basically a black hole, where once you went in to that mode, the character was DONE in terms of future functionality. So, we had to hard-code the Queen to stay on track, and it was hell, because she was so rigid that she couldn't deal with ANYTHING out of the ordinary, and would have severe problems of following Obi in a straight line, yet not be able to recognize she was hitting a wall, because she could still 'see' him.

Jar Jar, as I recall, CAN be killed, but it takes a while. Why we made him so tough, I have no idea.

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Old 05-01-2001, 05:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boba Rhett:
This is kind of off topic but oh well. What do I need to do/learn in order to work for a gaming company such as Big Ape, Lucasarts,etc.?

P.S. Does it require selling my soul?
Depends on what you want to do. If you want to build models, go get a copy of Hash and go nuts with it. I believe it's at www.hash.com and costs maybe 200 bucks. It will give you some insight as to how to build characters and models in 3D.

Character animation is a specialized field, and I basically lucked into this job, because I have no 'official' character animation training, and it shows. I am wishing right now that I had taken some time to become more proficient with my character animation, because it's not up to par with some of the studs coming out of animation school. If you can draw, start playing around with flip-book animation. It's all about timing. Here, check this out:
http://games.sohu.com/fightgame/fight3.swf

This is someone who REALLY knows animation timing and control. Whoever put this together could get a job ANYWHERE for animation, because they understand moves and timing. Tools can be taught, but having clear-cut understanding of character timing is REALLY, IMPOSSIBLY valuable. Quite simply, I'm probably going to have to focus more on model-building and rigging for this next project than doing any animation, simply because my animation skills aren't up to par.

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Old 05-01-2001, 05:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Maul:
Why not 'pull a Lucas' and release the "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - Special Edition" game?

It just so happens...

Well, no, not really. I toyed around with the TPM-Zanzibar tool a bit to see if I could make a Gungan Battle level, with Captain Tarpals as the main character. He would jump like a Jedi, and his shield would reflect laser bolts like the Lightsaber, but his offensive weapon would be his cattle-prod-like thingy. What I realized is that the TPM tool was NOT very good at making terrain. As such, I gave up soon after I started some preliminary building, and now it's too late.

Anyways, LEC IS re-releasing TPM PC under their low-price "Archive Series" label, and it's selling on Amazon for 15 bucks. It won't have any bells and whistles, because they haven't even contacted Big Ape about adding anything, and we've got all the source code. But, it may include a CD with demos or something. No idea.

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Old 05-01-2001, 05:47 PM   #20
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This is fun; don't think I've seen as many posts in such little time before

What if...: Big Ape is hired by LEC to make another game for Episode 2. Would you use the same engine, or go for something completely different? Are there any ideas that you wanted in TPM that you would add in an Ep. 2 game?

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Old 05-01-2001, 07:16 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Maul:
This is fun; don't think I've seen as many posts in such little time before

What if...: Big Ape is hired by LEC to make another game for Episode 2. Would you use the same engine, or go for something completely different? Are there any ideas that you wanted in TPM that you would add in an Ep. 2 game?

We've already re-written our tool from scratch so that it doesn't rely on cubes for our world building, so in terms of engines, we'd use a new one. Whether we would use the same TYPE of game, meaning a third-person view instead of first-person, quite probably another third, but definitely with a 'look forward' feature to let you see what was coming.

Also a lot of cleaning up of the AI system and waypoints systems, also do something more interesting with the in-game cutscenes and dialogue.

But trust me, it ain't gonna happen. LEC will probably put out an Ep2 game, perhaps even one going for the same casual gamers that TPM went after, but my guess is that they'll do a better job of marketing it. One of TPM's great blunders was with its marketing, where first it was given a working title of 'Ep1: Adventure', making the adventure game nuts excited, then it wasn't made clear at ALL that the game was geared towards the casual gamer, so the hardcore people who thought they were getting another JK were pissed, not to mention anyone who doesn't like console-game jumping puzzles were in for a rude surprise.

When TPM was first announced by LEC, the game magazines asked "Is it like JK, or like Grim?"

A (Right answer): "It's neither! It stands on its own, it doesn't compare to either genre. It's not adventure like Grim, it's not FPS-ish like JK. It's a scrolling top-down game!"

B (Wrong answer): "Well, it has aspects of both, but if we had to choose one, it's more like Grim." (presumably because it's third-person, but who knows.)

Of course, LEC chose answer B, and by not being specific of what it was and wasn't, there were all kinds of expectations from different gaming communities. You'll notice that LEC learned its lesson from TPM, and starting with JPB's announcements, they were VERY careful to correlate JPB with Super Star Wars, and also to who the audience was supposed to be.

And, I know I've said this before, but there's a very important distinction that quite simply did not occur to us while we were making TPM. Yes, we included a little bit of everything - action, adventure, shooting, puzzle-solving, jumping - in an effort to make the game interesting to gamers of all genres. There's a REALLY IMPORTANT corollary to that thinking, something we NEVER realized until we read the reviews: IF YOU LIKE ONE kind of gaming genre, you are more likely to NOT LIKE other genres. Like, JK fans like FPS's, so they got frustrated and bored with the adventure parts. Or, adventure fans like thinking puzzles, and so got overwhelmed by the umpteen thousand Battle Droids firing at them. And just about NOBODY likes jumping puzzles except folks who like Mario games. Live and learn, I suppose.
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Old 05-01-2001, 10:06 PM   #22
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Hey Zanzibar, that animation you mentioned, it's mindblowing! Wow, I'm going to watch it again

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Old 05-03-2001, 03:39 AM   #23
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Here's a question, Zanzibar:

What do these codes really do? ( )=message displayed

brenando ("Tech bonus" message appears )

oldcode (Debug mode 1, enter again for debug mode 2 )

I've never been able to figure those out.

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Old 05-03-2001, 09:32 PM   #24
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Well, I believe you may have stumped the panel on that one.

Brenando is after our graphics programmer, Brennan, and it was one of his goofy tests. Usually, when we changed code of some kind, the programmers would put in a cheat that toggled between the 'old code' (which conveniently answers your other question) and the 'new code' so they could check memory allocation, framerate etc. Some of them apparently never got taken out. Like, the '60fps' code alters the speed of the rendering engine to go up to 60fps if it can do so - otherwise the game caps out at 30fps for stability's sake.

So specifically, I am not sure what they did, but the 'brenando' had something to do with a toggle between 2 types of graphics code, and 'oldcode' I believe had something to do with 2 types of object collision. I'll see if I can dig anything up.
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Old 05-04-2001, 05:42 AM   #25
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I wonder how they were discovered...I don't think they would have been actually released...

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Old 05-04-2001, 05:50 AM   #26
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Hello, Zanzibar! First of all, both my girlfriend and I LOVE The Phantom Menace! We think it's a great game and, unlike Jedi Power Battles (which I also like), she can actually play it. Yes, there are some glitches, but it's otherwise great, so not only do I think you should make an Espisode 2 version, I think you should also make Phantom Menace-style games for Episodes 4-6.

There is one thing I don't understand. What is the basis for the scoring system? Is it purely speed, or is the quality of game play a factor? For example, I can get through some levels even though I've killed some non-combatants. Will this affect my score?

Does giving the water flask to the injured soldier in Escape from Theed do anything for me?

Does collecting and keeping as many items as possible in Mos Espa help me? Does stealing items from the Jawas hurt me? I usually try to collect everything, but I don't know if it's necessary? What I have noticed is that I've gotten the Jedi Master rating when my time was somewhat poorer than other times when I received lesser ratings. That's why I'm guessing that the quality of game play must be a factor?

But speaking of time, how good does your time have to be to get Jedi Master rating? Also, how is time calculated?

On an unrelated topic, there's a room on the same street that Watto's shop is on (Orange Street?) that has five flash grendades on a bed. It's extremely difficult to jump on this bed. Sometimes I do an sometimes I don't. I haven't found any pattern. Is there a secret or is this just a glitch? I've also found that it's very hard to talk to Matt Rags. Sometimes he'll talk and sometimes he won't. The best I've found I can do is to walk up to him, approaching him on his left side, and his "o" as soon as I'm in range.

I'm sorry that I'm asking so many questions, but I really think this is a great game and I just discovered this forum.


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Old 05-04-2001, 02:28 PM   #27
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There's a file somewhere, a text file, that has to deal with displaying the "Tech Bonus" messages on screen, and it matches up the entered code (Brenando, for example) with the message it is supposed to display. I'm sure some enterprising hackers out there pulled apart the program's BIG.LAB and other compiled files to take a peek, and thus they came up with a complete list of cheat codes.
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Old 05-04-2001, 02:52 PM   #28
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Mace Koon, thanks for playing the game, it was an absolute blast to put together, and I'm glad that people still play it.

As far as an Ep2 game, it won't be through Big Ape, but I'm sure that LEC is working right now on an Ep2 project (or two, or three...) to coincide with the release of the movie in Summer 2002, but nobody knows if it will be TPM-style. Eps4-6 probably won't happen, LEC is more or less gearing towards Ep1-3 exclusivity over the next few years.

The rating system is much simpler than you think. It basically determines how many times you DIE or RESTART during the level, and that's about it. If you die often on a level, your score goes down, and we have an 'accuracy' variable that determines how well the enemies fire at you that is directly related to your score. It's sort of an in-game difficulty system. Time has nothing to do with the score.

The water flask to the soldier doesn't do anything except give you the power shield. We put that little side-quest in there so that you stop focusing on getting past the Tank, and look instead for a little water for the soldier, then wind up finding something that would be useful.

And don't worry about 'stealing' from the Jawas, oh sure they'll be mad, but they're kinda foul-tempered critters anyways

AHA - the famous Flash Grenades On The Bed glitch! I'm assuming you have the Playstation version, as I have never seen the bug happen on the PC version. Yes, the collision code on the PSX was substantially different than on the PC because the processing power of the PSX was so comparatively low, that's why you'll find yourself falling out of the world with an alarming frequency on the PSX version. Anyways, the difference in the collision code made it damned near impossible to jump in that room without the code telling the player-control module that "you can't jump high enough to get up there." Because the item was so out-of-the-way, LEC's bug testers didn't discover it until we had already submitted the PSX version to Sony. So, we fixed the bug in case Sony rejected it (for that bug or perhaps other undiscovered bugs) so we could resubmit. To EVERYONE'S surprise, Sony U.S. approved it, and started pressing copies immediately. We gave them an updated version for future pressing, and they did start using the update, but only AFTER they did an initial burn of CDs. That's what's called a "Rolling Revision," and so, yes, there are 2 versions of TPM PSX. You've got an early version, and as I recall, they're fairly rare, but as to exactly how many Rev1 copies were made, I have no idea.

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Old 05-05-2001, 05:40 AM   #29
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You're not saying that time doesn't matter, are you? Because I read that it did in one of the earlier posts, and time is of course in the score sheet at the end.

So are the factors just (1) time and (2) staying alive? If so, then I assume saving the game has no impact. I like to save it just before anything difficult, or sometimes I just get tired! It takes about four hours for me to play the game all the way through.

I'm sorry to hear that you won't be doing any more Star Wars games. It's a shame. I think it comes down to the fact that most gamers don't want to bother with a game they have to think about. They just want to sit down and start shooting or slashing bad guys / droids.

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Old 05-06-2001, 02:51 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mace Koon:
You're not saying that time doesn't matter, are you? Because I read that it did in one of the earlier posts, and time is of course in the score sheet at the end.

So are the factors just (1) time and (2) staying alive? If so, then I assume saving the game has no impact. I like to save it just before anything difficult, or sometimes I just get tired! It takes about four hours for me to play the game all the way through.

I'm sorry to hear that you won't be doing any more Star Wars games. It's a shame. I think it comes down to the fact that most gamers don't want to bother with a game they have to think about. They just want to sit down and start shooting or slashing bad guys / droids.

Indeed, time has NOTHING to do with the final score, the time is just there as an 'alternate' scoring method, like if you've completed the game in 4:02 with a score of 9, then it gives you a 'time to beat' for added boasting potential. Yes, time has nothing to do with it.

As for saving, you can save as many times as you like, but the system does keep track of how many times you RESTART or RELOAD, which generally indicates that you died. I think you can die or reload twice before your score is affected.

As for future Star Wars games, I think LEC is more going for the console systems than the PC, and console games are much less likely to be as complex. TPM wasn't even all that complex in terms of controls and gameplay, but compared with Rogue Squadron and Battle for Naboo and JPB, TPM seems very complex in comparison.

You can't blame Lucasarts for going heavy on the consoles. "Hardcore" PC gamers number maybe 1 to 2 million, with maybe another mil or so outside the US. The Playstation 1 sold 50 MILLION UNITS during its lifespan, and with the PS2 currently at the 10mil mark and growing, and with the Xbox on the horizon, you can bet this trend will continue.
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Old 05-06-2001, 05:48 PM   #31
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Is Big Ape doing anything yet for Xbox?

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Old 05-06-2001, 10:15 PM   #32
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Hey Zanzi, just a few more:

What other games have you worked on?

Are there any other good Big Ape games I should buy?

Any games that use/look like TPM from BA that I should get?

Thanks dude, I appreciate it... This is by far one of the most interesting/instructive post on JK.net (not including General Paulb's monkey posts of course)

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Old 05-07-2001, 05:49 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jedi SuperBuen:

What other games have you worked on?

Are there any other good Big Ape games I should buy?

Any games that use/look like TPM from BA that I should get?

(And one from Dave Maul
Is Big Ape doing anything yet for Xbox?

I did some spec work for some of the graphics for Herc's Adventures, a Playstation 1 scrolling cartoony adventure/action game published by Lucasarts. Virtually nothing I worked on even made it into the final version; the 3d stuff I rendered out looked out-of-place compared to the hand-drawn look. I wound up doing some sprite textures for some of the powerups.

Herc's Adventures is, coincidentally, another good Big Ape game. Lots and lots of humor, lots of quick action with LOTS of world exploration. Another fun game that Big Ape did was Zombies Ate My Neighbors for the SNES, and also Metal Warriors. All of these games are sprite-based shooters, maybe a bit like the old SNES Zelda games.

There aren't any Big Ape games using the TPM engine apart from TPM and to a MUCH lesser extent, Simpsons Wrestling. We only used the TPM tools because, well, they were usable, and Fox Interactive wanted Simpsons Wrestling out ASAP...which, NOT so coincidentally, is why the Simpsons game is lacking in so many areas. Funny, if you think about it, the BEST thing about TPM was the huge levels to explore and interesting world backgrounds, while the worst things were the character control, collision problems and stiff animation. So what contract do we wind up getting? A game that has NO worlds to explore (everything takes place in a ring), and RELIES on solid character collision and fluid animation (as all fighting games do). Go figure. As a result of the short development cycle, we didn't have a lot of time to rebuild the TPM code, so those same problems went lock, stock and barrel into Simpsons Wrestling.

As for the Xbox, we have a few ideas for games that I can't share, but rest assured that everyone who is anyone in the games industry is at least getting the Xbox specs and programming tools in-house for review.
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Old 05-07-2001, 09:38 AM   #34
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Thanks for the replies, Zanzibar!

I've been reading the posts on here and I noticed that several people were discussing how to beat Darth Maul. I found that to be one of the easiest things to do in the whole game (PlayStation).

All I did was stand behind the last energy door, position Maul in my line of fire, and let him have it! Although I found the proton torpedoes to be the best weapon for this (and definitely the best opening salvo), the light repeating blaster works great too. Depanding on how effectively Maul blocks, I found that I could kill him in 200-400 shots, but I never had less than 1200-1500 shots. Another trick I found was to run past the battle tank on level 4 because it saves about 15 proton torpedoes (the number needed to destroy the tank - or it could be 13?) that I can use against Maul. This strategy works perfectly and Maul will never attack so long as you DO NOT CROSS the final energy door!

An unrelated question: I found it difficult to talk to Matt Rags. It seems easier if I walk towards his left side while repeatedly hitting "o." Is this another glitch or is there a special trick?

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Old 05-07-2001, 03:31 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mace Koon:
...I've been reading the posts on here and I noticed that several people were discussing how to beat Darth Maul. I found that to be one of the easiest things to do in the whole game (PlayStation).

All I did was stand behind the last energy door, position Maul in my line of fire, and let him have it! Although I found the proton torpedoes to be the best weapon for this (and definitely the best opening salvo), the light repeating blaster works great too. Depanding on how effectively Maul blocks, I found that I could kill him in 200-400 shots, but I never had less than 1200-1500 shots. Another trick I found was to run past the battle tank on level 4 because it saves about 15 proton torpedoes (the number needed to destroy the tank - or it could be 13?) that I can use against Maul. This strategy works perfectly and Maul will never attack so long as you DO NOT CROSS the final energy door!

An unrelated question: I found it difficult to talk to Matt Rags. It seems easier if I walk towards his left side while repeatedly hitting "o." Is this another glitch or is there a special trick?

Yes, Darth Maul was supposed to be basically invulnerable to weapons other than the lightsaber, but range-weapons like the Flash Grenades and the Thermal Detonators and Missile Launcher gave Maul a headache. And the light repeating blaster fired too fast for Maul to block every shot, so he did get damaged that way. Come to think of it, the perfect solution would be to use the 'perfection' cheat hard-coded into Maul, so that if he reflected a shot, it damned sure would come right back at you

As for the tank, it was actually made that way, so you didn't have to kill the tank if you didn't want to. If you keep moving, yes you'll take damage, but it's actually more of a challenge to do it that way than firing, hiding, repeating ad nauseum.

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Old 05-08-2001, 07:09 AM   #36
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I appreciate you answering my questions. I have one simple one: Is it possible to get a higher score than 9?

Also, what about Matt rags?
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Old 05-08-2001, 03:10 PM   #37
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DOH - forgot about Mat Rags. Sorry.

Mat is sort of a weird placement. He's the only one in the game whose capability for talking to you is utterly random. When you enter within a certain range, he makes a decision as to whether he's going to talk to you or not. You have to leave his range (which is I believe about 5 meters) before he resets to a point where he'll make that decision again. Since what he gives you is a 'bonus' side quest, there's no guarantee that you'll get the quest.

And, 9 is the highest possible score.
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Old 05-09-2001, 01:50 AM   #38
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Hey, I wondered why Matt was so rude... BTW, who put in the thermal detonator in the second box by the door generator room on level one (that you push onto the lift to get) and are there any similar weirdly hidden stuff in the game? (I mean, the detonator ends up floating in the air!)

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Old 05-09-2001, 10:20 AM   #39
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I've noticed what seems to be a philosophy to TPM. You don't have to destroy every enemy, and brute force isn't the answer. With virtually every Boss there's some trick to beating him. For example, with Darth Maul, you can hide bhind the last energy door. With the Krayt Dragon, you can attack him from on top of the cage. With the Battle Tank, you can just run past it. That's one of the things I liked most about the game. It has a message other than, "See how many points you can get by slashing or shooting everything you see!" Unfortunately, this definitely hurt the game's financial success...

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Old 05-09-2001, 08:01 PM   #40
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Sure Darth Maul can be easy to beat that way, but what's the fun of that? I like going one on one, mano a mano, duel to the death! Now that's playing the movie!

Thanks for the replies Zanzi!

As far as I know there's no cheats for level skip, right?

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