Obsession - Falcon Version

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catmando
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Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by catmando »

Did the Falcon version of Obsession ever see the light of day?

According to STF (issue 79 p10) there were meant to be 2 Falcon versions being made by Merlin?
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by EvilFranky »

Nope, nothing ever came out. Remember seeing a screenshot of Falcon version (probably AGA also) of the Aquatic table in STF many years ago.

Wonder if any of the UD guys still have any of the code and GFX for the Falcon version...
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by Marakatti »

Here's the scan for Falcon version table.
http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st ... 29958.html
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by catmando »

Who was Merlin? Maybe we can dig someone up if they took over the project?
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by CiH »

I've actually got some information on this! (Assumes smug mode..)

From my interview with 'XIA, Excellence in Art' from July 2013.

You were part of a one-off team called Unique Developments early on. Holy cow, you were helping to make proper games like Obsession and such! Could you tell us a bit more about those days and about some of the other people involved?

Well, technically, "Unique Entertainment" had released a couple of games as freeware/shareware, they were just two Atari friends who enjoyed making games, very much like an indie team today, no money (neither in nor out) changing hands. Then suddenly they had this idea to step it up and make a pinball game, maybe even a commercial-quality one, like Pinball Dreams on the Amiga!

So, they got hold of an extra programmer to handle the physics bit (PQ Lear/Zeal), and then they decided they wanted to be able to use "real" music (which at this time meant .MOD music as opposed to YM bleeps), so they got in touch with Blade/New Core, and he phoned me up to ask if I would be interested in doing music and sound effects for them. And boy, did I ever!

And as the project progressed, more people got involved, and as far as I can recall the only non-demo people involved in those days were the two founders!

Obsession was eventually released by Unique Development Sweden (UDS), and soon after came SubStation, a Wolf3D-like shooter, and Obsession was ported to the PC and released by 21st Century as "Absolute Pinball", and about this time I was working less and less with them, not least because of the physical distance (they all lived in the same city, I was 4-5 hours away).

Just to linger on this one a bit longer, back in the day we heard stories about further developments for Obsession, an add-on disk for more tables, even a Falcon enhanced version in the works. Was there any substance to these stories as far as you were aware? Whilst we are on the subject, were there any other projects suggested or started after Obsession and Sub Station?

I know the original Obsession game had a little hook-thingie to allow for more "table disks" without having to rerelease the entire game, but to the best of my knowledge, no additional tables ever got past the "idea" stage.

The Falcon version is something we discussed off and on, but by the time we finally managed to release the STE version, not even the most adamant Falcon fanboys among us felt a Falcon version was a risk worth taking. I know someone (and I can't even remember if it was a commercial company, or just a bunch of guys) licensed the rights to making a Falcon version, and they got the full source code, but nothing ever made it to market.

So UDS hired a PC programmer to help us make Absolute Pinball (which is more or less what the Falcon version would have been; multi-ball, 256-colour tables, improved physics etc), and at the same time the whole company were migrating to the PC.

I'm pretty sure other Atari projects were discussed, but I don't think anything ever got beyond brainstorming status. Well, with the exception of the Jaguar version of Obsession - one of the tables (Aquatic Adventure?) was ported 100% (minus audio) in a couple of days (!), but if my memory serves me correctly, Atari didn't want to publish it.

The SubStation team went on to make Ignition, a really nice racing game, that might have done better if all the advertising hadn't been pulled at the last minute; Virgin had taken out large ads with a juicy car crash with the copy "Drive like a nutter" (it was a different age) ...and then the Princess Diana car crash happened. So the whole marketing effort stumbled and fell.


The 'bunch of guys' you described could well have been Merlin PDL, who distributed the original STE and Amiga versions of Obsession in the UK. I recall they were very keen to do a Falcon version, but also that the source code was sent to them and apparently lost in the post! Maybe someone should have reworked the Amiga or PC graphics in a speculative Falcon version?

Lost in the post, eh? Wouldn't "the dog ate our SCART cables" be a better excuse? Actually, now that you mention reworked graphics, I seem to remember Mic/Dune sending us one of the tables retouched and up-coloured" to 256 colours completely out of the blue, I think he was offering to do Falcon-updated graphics. I don't know how the conversation actually went, I just remember seeing the image and being blown away by it. If it *was* unsolicited, he must've spent a bit of time ripping the graphics out of the game, since it's not in a standard format (336x600 pixels and raster splits replacing most of the palette every 50 scan lines as I recall it).

I'm *pretty* sure the Amiga version has its graphics updated from 16 to 32 colours (5 bit-planes instead of 4). Fun fact about the Amiga version: while the graphics are improved, the audio is arguably worse; on the STE the sound system uses 6 channels; 4 channels for music and 2 for sound effects - on the Amiga (which "only" has 4 channels in hardware) the sound effects are "stolen" from the music, so if you listen carefully, you can hear the drums dropping when a sound effect plays. Some poor bastard spent a day documenting all the in-game music detailing which hardware channel to be dropped at all times in the music - the names have been withheld to protect the no-longer-innocent.

And while I'm on the subject, one of the really clever bits Blade/New Core added to the Obsession sound engine is the ability to jump into a jingle and the come back into the background music at the exact point it was when the jingle triggered. It's technically nothing very advanced, but for me personally it made a big difference, and it's another thing the STE version does better than the Amiga one (to the best of my knowledge this would be close-to-impossible on the Amiga, short of doing all audio mixing in software).


So I think you can take this pretty much as 'Word of God' :mrgreen:
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by EvilFranky »

Thanks for that Chris, very interesting. So a Falcon version never really got started then.
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by spiny »

Didn't know the atari link with Ignition - it's a brilliant game, I spent far too long playing it when it came out, nearly beat it, but couldn't quite win the reversed japanese city level I think. I still have the cdrom, might spin it up in an XP vm :)
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by Marakatti »

Thanks CiH. Very interesting interview :cheers:
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by catmando »

Thanks CiH, good read. Maybe the source code still exists?
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by CiH »

If you want to read the whole thing..
http://files.dhs.nu/party/sillyventure2 ... gfront.htm

And to go straight to the interview.
http://files.dhs.nu/party/sillyventure2 ... ntvxia.htm

Enjoy :-)
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by mic »

Hi, i can probably give some details on this Falcon version. At that time Evil Metal/Dune started his own atari business (Frontier Software) and ended up distributing Obession in France. The Falcon version was something we were keen in doing and Cortexx/Dune actually did an update of one of the table to show what it could look like. I think it might still sit around in Cortexx's harddrive (granted he has kept his computer of course).
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by CiH »

Interesting. Is this a graphics only mock up, or was it an entire table, game play and all? Would be great if something turns up either way.
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Re: Obsession - Falcon Version

Post by calimero »

I made small Obsession fanpage: http://milan.kovac.cc/atari/wet/obsession/

and sometimes ago Michael Sundell (a.k.a Michael Brunnstrom) wrote me:

"I found your fan page about Obsession. This game is still what I'm most
proud over and it took almost 200'000 lines of assembler code and a lot of
long nights to complete.

Thanks for a great web page!"

and also Peter Zetterberg wrote me email:

"Hi,

My name is Peter Zetterberg and I’m co-founder of UDS. It was kind of fun finding this web page. Who are you? Kalle, Tord, Empa, Oskar, Jimmy, Hans? I get the feeling from reading the story that you lived in the “hell hole”.... J

Looking forward to hear from you,

Peter"

I replay to him and asked what happened with Falcon version but never got replay. It was back in 2008.!
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