|★ GAMES ★ MAKING OF "THE RUNNING MAN" ★|
|Games - Makingof -The Running Man||Emerald Software|
Grandslam Entertainments took on The Running Man project in the late summer of 1988. The main idea behind the game was to ensure that the player felt they were actually taking part in the film. Clearly the Spectrum had to be pushed as far as possible - this is evident given the existence of a dedicated 128K version of the game.
The basic brief was to produce a game with superior graphics using as many animation frames as possible to achieve a smooth and realistic looking game. This itself caused quite an amount of bother. Each character within the game has a minimum of 20 frames. However, some characters use as many as 30. This meant that at any time there were over 100 sprites in memory. Along with this the background graphics and the layering system occupied most of the remaining memory. Memory constraints were overcome by using special encryption methods.
The standard sound effects utilise an in-house sound processor. Basically this system allows the user to set up sound such as an explosion playing on the interrupts, thus not slowing the game down. Each sound was built up with an in-house micro language. Sounds also consist of between one and 50 sections.
The major problem here was to achieve a smooth fast scroll. The best way to achieve it was with the use of a monochrome screen.
To prevent an irregular animation rate an animation scheduler was incorporated. This allows the game to control the standard animation rate and adjust itself as necessary, regardless of the number of sprites on screen. The animation of the main character Ben Richards caused some problems as his movement was tied into the movement of the background graphics.
TRICKS AND PROBLEMS:
Collision caused an unusual situation as different classes of object needed to be detected. A linked list of queue structure allowed the amalgamation of different collision types, thus the appropriate action could be taken. The only other problem was getting the intro into the game. The decision was taken to incorporate a separate load, which of course meant that it would be much more exciting and include a little digitized speech, large sprites and special 128K music. Another programmer was needed for this, but it appears to have been more than worth it.
Much of the code was quick enough to remain intact after the first few test runs. However the generation of background graphics with the constant movement of characters led to a visible slowdown.
This problem was solved by arranging alternate screens in a more efficient manner. The predetermined animation rate was then achieved.
THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM:
James Poole - Software Development Manager at Grandslam.
THE PROGRAMMING TEAM:
Jonathon Broggy - Senior Project Leader.