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Sinister Developments Still Slammin - The Atari Times

Sinister Developments Still Slammin

Gordon Gibson of Sinister Developments
by Gregory D. George

January 1, 2002
Recently, myself, Loseathon, and some other visitors of The Atari Times Chat Room met with Gordon Gibson of Sinister Developments. There, he talked about some of his games including Painter and Slam Racer for the Jaguar.

Sinister DevelopmentsSinister Developments, who was on the original Atari Developers List, was shut down when Atari closed their doors. "They started to shut everything down when we were about 2/3 complete on [Slam Racer]. I had spent a year developing it with no financial backup, and really we were looking to Atari for some kind of advance to finish it. That never happened..." Since the Atari debacle, Gordon Gibson is the last remaining member of Sinister Developments. But even through the disappearance of Atari, Sinister Developments continues steady work on Jaguar games.

Gibson, who has recently moved from the UK to Colorado, is finishing up Painter, a game which is a hybrid of Pac-Man and Qix. "I just need to add music and design some new levels." He said. "It's available already, but only if you have a BJL Jag or a devkit. It's a really cool little game and many people should get to play it."

As for Slam Racer, an overhead racing game similar to Power Drive Rally, it still has some more work to be done on it. When asked about the computer controlled cars, Gibson mentions the trouble he's had in implementing the AI. "The problems start with the computer cars, they just don't work right, needs [to be] re-written. They just look horrible when they're going down a diagonal bit of track as they swerve back and forward across the line of direction."

"Then there's a bit of a problem with collision detection," Gordon continued. "You can get stuck in walls." But if there is a bit of good news in the fact the Slam Racer has a few problems, Gibson offers up this brief reminder: "If I'd coded the computer cars, I'm sure they would have followed a straight line."

The animation, graphics, and track editor are complete and all fit within 2mb. "That's all compressed," Gibson said. In addition, there are four different cars available for the player to drive giving Slam Racer greater depth and playability.

Other tidbits offered by Gibson include an Intro that he is proud of, some cool technical details, and special effects. "It always runs at full framerate even if every background block is animating. The neat things about the game are that you can drive under bridges and behind billboards and go off-road. It's not on-the-rails in any way." Gibson also hinted at the one-time possibility of including networking code. "The idea was to develop some networking code for Slam Racer... but I didn't get to that..."

Gibson is hopeful that Painter will be available soon after Songbird Productions releases Protector SE with the JagFree CD Bypass code. "Well, I hope to finish it pretty quick and have it ready to put out on CD for use with Carl's Protector SE." He's not as optimistic about Slam Racer however. "It could potentially take a very long time to finish Slam Racer. It's playable at the moment, but there's so much stuff needing to be done. I'll make it work on CD so any Jag owners that are left can at least see it."

Lastly, since Gordon has moved from the UK to the United States, we invited him to come to JagFest 2002 to be held in St. Louis, Missouri. "Hey, if there's food involved there's a good chance I'll be there. :)" he said.

You can find out more about Sinister Developments by visiting the official website at http://sinister.kewlplace.com/

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