Top Dog Software, Inc. November 1995 - January 1997 Senior Programmer
(Company Out of Business)
I was hired to lead up the project of porting the game from the PC to the Sony Playstation. The project was being developed for Origin and was cancelled a few months later. A deal worked out between Sony and Electronic Arts dictated that their Playstation titles being developed be thinned down. Since Origin was owned by E.A. our project was one of those put on the chopping block.
I was the Project Lead for the software development of the game for the Win95/NT platforms. It was designed to take advantage of the DirectX environment. The game was being developed for Berkeley Systems to be just like one of the top golf games at the time but they delivered no Game Design Document. In fact they gave us a compressed schedule with a demo expected for 1996 E3 and to our credit, we delivered a demo that was declared a star.
To start the ball rolling I wrote the Technical Design Document, which was used on the project until it was cancelled and I was laid off. The two programmers initially assigned to me for the project had programming experience but no game programming experience whatsoever which posed a problem. My solution to all this was that due to time constraints, they would build the game and I would build the low level game modules, sprite engine and tools. Since the tools would use the same modules as the game this would help accelerate the development time. Later in the project two more programmers were hired for the project increasing the staff to five.
I still think the game should have been Martian Golf instead, but I with the help of the team built some really cool tools and a playable hole.
Since we were suppose to have a fish bowl view where we could rotate a pre-rendered spherical view of the world in 360 degrees we had a problem. An 18 hole golf course with pre-rendered views required a lot of storage space and as such they just wouldn’t fit on two CD’s so I devised a variety of compression algorithms.
A ‘GeoTool’ terrain mapping tool, which imported data from 3D Studio files and used by the game. These mathematical models were then projected upon rendered art for setting physical object properties such as terrain type, elevation, frictional characteristics, script associations, etc. A ‘Keyscript’ would then be exported in a feedback system to ‘3D Studio’ for camera/object calibrations and art rendering.
The ‘Gscript’, a scripting engine/tool which contained a programmable RPN calculator which allowed scripts to be passed stack arguments, process data, chain/spawn/manipulate other scripts and manipulate the multimedia interfaces.