These documents are converted from the contents of Eric Smith's development hard disk, originally written in AtariWorks STW format.
File dated 5.12.1993
ARENA BATTLES and NETHERWORLD
(1) ARENA BATTLES
This is a 1st person fighting game, in a 3D world, with a
mythic/fantasy motif. The 3D world is a very simple one: an "arena"
with a limited number of objects, and perhaps with 2 or 3 distinct
levels (somewhat like the arena in the Virtuality virtual reality
system). Texture mapped polygons would make the world seem more
realistic. Stereo sounds would provide valuable clues (e.g. footsteps
behind you mean "turn around fast!").
There would be two combatants: one controlled by player1, and the
other controlled by either the computer or player2. The goal is, of
course, to either immobilize or kill the other combatant, using
whatever weapons and magic spells are available. Different sorts of
characters would be available for combatants: humans (of different
skills, e.g. a Wizard or a Fighter), elves (particularly good with bows),
trolls (very strong and dumb), gargoyles (able to fly -- a big
advantage!) and dragons (they can fly and can breathe fire).
Gameplay would be varied and interesting. Since the arena is a truly
3D world, players would have to take into account various tactical
elements such as positioning (it's better to attack from above,
usually) and timing. Some "healing potions" or similar items would be
available, but would require time to act; injured players would thus
have incentive to run away, hide, and heal themselves, whilc the other
player searches for them. Ranged weapons (bows and arrows, thrown
daggers, and magic wands) would add another interesting gameplay
element: some characters would be particularly good at using such
weapons, and their strategy would be to attack from a distance,
while the other player might prefer to attack at close range.
Arena Battles would go far behind Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat,
and similar games. No other platform can offer the 3D interaction
that Jaguar can, and Arena Battles would take advantage of this to
the maximum degree possible to create a realistic virtual world. And
no other game would offer the thrilling chases, pounding battles and
general mayhem and excitement!
Netherworld would take Arena Battles one step further, moving from
a small fixed arena into a detailed underground dungeon, filled with
magic items, monsters, traps, and puzzles. The basic idea is that the
player would be on a quest to recover the valuable "magic sword of
Irata" which is needed to save the kingdom. To accomplish this quest,
he or she will have to descend through many dungeon levels, each
successively more difficult. Some of these levels will be mazes; some
will have hidden doorways; and others will have "only" fierce monsters
guarding the stairway to the next level. The levels would be generated
at run time, i.e. every time the game is played it will be different; this
prevents the game from becoming stale. Certain special levels (like a
"shopping mall" level containing stores where you can buy weapons,
armor, food, and magic) will be precalculated and loaded from
cartridge or CD-ROM; but these need not always appear at the same
The best simple description of Netherworld is "3D NetHack."
Interactive adventure games such as "Rogue", "Hack", "NetHack",
"Omega", and "Moria" have long been popular on minicomputers and
(more recently) personal computers. (I was the developer of the ST
version of NetHack, and can give a demonstration to those who aren't
familiar with it).
Game consoles have generally not been powerful enough to play such
games; and conversely, the larger computers on which the genre was
developed did not provide more than very minimal graphics or sound
capabilities. With Jaguar, we should be able to have the best of both
worlds. The GPU will do the 3D graphics rendering. The DSP can
provide interesting (and useful) sounds to make the world seem
complete (for example, if a monster opens a door somewhere in the
dungeon, you'll here the squeak of the hinges; on some levels, you
may hear the running water of a stream, or the roar of an angry
dragon). And the 68000 will be free to keep track of the many
monsters and items filling the Netherworld. This should be a game
that will push the limits of what is possible on Jaguar.