|★ GAMES ★ MAKING OF "STRIDER 1" ★|
|Games - Makingof - Strider 1 - Tiertex|
Strider the latest coin-op from Capcom should hit the streets sometime around October. For those of you who won't have seen the coin-op yet, Strider is a long legged, somersaulting, laser duelling hero from the 21st century whose sole objective is to rid the galazy of the evil war lord - and have a thrashing good time along the way.
The game is split over five levels which take you through deepest Eurasia, the Siberian wastelands, the Amazon jungle (with some vicious Australian sheilas!), the awesome war machine Ballog (ballet dancers to boot) and finally the core of the empire - the LORD'S Kingdom.
Coding of the Speccy version has been completed by Chris Brunning at Tiertex who previously coded the spiffy, scrolly shoot-'em-up Last Duel. The perennial problem with modern coin-op conversions is how do you get it all in the 48K Speccy? The problem was even greater than usual with Strider's extraordinary 6 megabytes of data and graphics. The game is huge! Big! Big! Big!
One of the strongest elements in the game is the number of manoeuvres that you can persuade Strider to perform. Apart from the usual running and jumping he can somersault, perform lethal sliding tackles (should've played for Millwall!), scale sheer mountain faces, and claw his way over. In converting the game Chris wanted to include as many of the manoeuvres as space permitted The main problem lay with the amount of space available for the graphic frames rather than coding the action.
We compromised by reducing the coin-op's six angles of incline to two. This actually involved extra work as it meant the mapping of the levels had to be redesigned. This still left enormous maps which had to be carefully split into sections and individually compressed before they would fit into the Speccy. Each section then contained a small duplicate of the previous "sub-map which was expanded as the new section was reached overlaying the old area without the need to stop the action.
The backgrounds and sprites were digitised directly from the Arcade board onto an Amiga. These were transferred onto an Atari ST and retouched by artists Andrew Ingram and James Clarke using the Degas Elite art package. The maps were drawn on an ST using an in-house map development system from the original digitised character blocks.
Some of the sprites in the game are extremely large - particularly the mechanical gorilla in level 2 being a whopping 96 pixels high by 115 pixels wide, filling over one third of the Speccy screen. Special techniques had to be used to allow such huge sprite to be stored and printed.
The 128K Spectrum version also features music from the coin-op arranged by Tiertex's in-house music maestro Mark Tait. Mark prepares his music using an Akai X7000 sampling synthesizer connected by Midi to the Steinberg 24 track recording package running on an Atari ST. Mark can then edit and mix down the tracks he has prepared. He then runs a program to convert the midi data into the format required for Tiertex's music driver on the Spectrum.
Strider is one of Capcom's largest grossing coin-ops at present and is eagerly awaited on the home formats. Tiertex have completed simultaneous conversions onto the ST, Amiga. C64, Amstrad and PC and we can expect to see these around October time.
TIERTEX was founded about two years ago by physicist John Prince and electronics engineer Donald Campbell. Their softography includes 720°, Thunder Blade and the new Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Last year the company took new offices in Manchester and now has eleven employees including programmers, artists and a musician.