Q&A

EDGE - - THE MAKING OF... - Martin Ed­mond­son Lead de­signer

Where did you first get the idea to make a game about de­struc­tion derby?

We’d seen Ridge Racer, which was al­ready out in Ja­pan, but we hadn’t taken any­thing from it. The game was a re­sult of a per­sonal pas­sion for stock-car rac­ing. In the ’80s I’d go and watch it live, or on Grand­stand or World Of Sport. The cour­ses were lit­tle more than these muddy bowls, but the sport, back then, was quite well known.

As first-time PlaySta­tion de­vel­op­ers, what tools, if any, were avail­able to you?

The first PlaySta­tion devel­op­ment kits were about the size of a pho­to­copier, but you couldn’t use them to build an in­tri­cate 3D mesh or a car model be­cause the only way you could in­ter­act with them was with a game pad. They didn’t have a be­spoke mod­el­ling tool ei­ther. So, Psyg­no­sis pro­vided us with a kit that came with a mod­el­ling tool, called Sof­tim­age. We used that to build the cars then ran the blank 3D mod­els through our in-house tex­tur­ing tool. It took a few days to build a model and you’d have to make a lot of op­ti­mi­sa­tions to save poly­gons. True cir­cu­lar wheels, for ex­am­ple, would waste lots of poly­gons. The tex­tures make them look cir­cu­lar but they ac­tu­ally aren’t.

Was there much se­crecy around the con­sole?

Our of­fice had to be se­cure. We had to sign a lot of stuff. The peo­ple work­ing di­rectly on the ma­chine had to be very clear about their obli­ga­tions and any other com­pa­nies they might be work­ing for. But it was only nat­u­ral. This was a ma­chine that for years had been kept un­der lock and key in Ja­pan, and sud­denly it was in an of­fice in New­cas­tle. It wasn’t an in­signif­i­cant thing to be re­spon­si­ble for.

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