Interview with Oskar Burman, Main Programmer of Ignition


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CSM What was your objective when you started working on Ignition?
OSKAR Ignition was created to fill a hole we found in the car-racing genre. We felt that there was no racing game that had extreme action and being fun. At most cars tumbled around a bit and we wanted to make a game that had so much more, like explosions, obstacles like falling rocks and huge jumps.

CSM When you look at the final product, do you feel as if you have succeeded? Are there any other elements you would have liked to implement in the game but couldn't because of time constraints?
OSKAR As always when you have completed a game you have lots of ideas that had to be removed due to deadlines and a concerned president of publishing, we had a few more game modes to be in the game and a few more tracks was originally planned, but we're happy and proud of the final game!

CSM I understand that there were only three people involved in the project. What were the advantages and/or disadvantages of working with such a limited developing team?

First of all: It's correct that we were only three people in the core, working full-time on the project. But we had one other guy making the whole menu system and the AI for the computer controlled cars. And of course we had the LISA team which made the 3D engine, the sound system, and the network basics of the game. So in fact we were a lot more than three people! A total of 15 people has been involved, everything from the core team to the production assistant.

Advantages of being a small amount of people:

Of course the communication, the fewer people you have in a project the lesser time you have to spend trying to get a shared mental picture of the game. The fewer programmers you've got, the easier the bug hunts gets, you know that the bug is in your code and you cannot send it to some other person, which is sending it to another and so on...


More overtime work and more individual responsibility!

CSM What is exactly the LISA engine?
OSKAR The LISA engine is the system that we base all our games upon. It includes for example the 3D engine, the 2D engine and the sound system.

CSM How different is the LISA engine from another 3D engine, such as for example the one used in Quake?
OSKAR The LISA 3D engine and the Quake engine are quite different since they both are geared towards two very different purposes. The Quake engine is more of an all-round engine, while the LISA engine is more geared towards handling a few specific tasks as good and swift as possible. It is a bit like comparing a Ferrari to a Rolls Royce, they're both good cars but for different purposes.

CSM When you started the development of Ignition, 3D accelerator cards were not available on the general market. Today, a 3D game that doesn't feature Direct 3D or a popular API is most likely to be snobbed by owners of such 3D cards. How is Ignition positioned in this market? Will it feature generic Direct 3D support or do you plan to support a specific rang of 3D accelerators?
OSKAR Ignition is a extremely fast game even without a 3D accelerator, while a lot of games today requires a 3D accelerator (if you want decent speed), Ignition runs smooth even in 640X480 on a P133. But of course the game would be even better with 3D-accelerator support, and that's why we will do a 3Dfx patch to the game that'll be released later this fall.

CSM What were the technical difficulties you encountered while developing Ignition?
OSKAR We had definitely most problems to get the network part of the game together since the network in the game was added pretty late in the project (after half the project time). Otherwise we had no major problems except that we enjoyed playing Ignition all the time :-)

CSM In your opinion, what are the features of Ignition that make the game stand out among the competition?
OSKAR The view we've chose in the game (top-down view) really shows off the gorgeous view's that our graphics artists has created with a full and solid landscape to race around with no pop up in the distance. And also, as I said earlier, the action, the narrow bridges, the steeps, the shortcuts and the speed of the game (especially when playing in pro division!)

CSM Will Ignition feature hidden tracks and vehicles?
OSKAR We won't answer that question! Play the game and see yourself!

CSM Ignition features over 10 very different vehicles ranging from police cars to school bus. How realistic are the physics and how many polygons did you use for the vehicles?
OSKAR The different cars has their own acceleration, top speed and so on but they also differ in weight, so it is much easier to ram people with the school bus or the truck than with the jeep or police car. We used around 150 polygons to each car including the wheels.

CSM How fast is Ignition? What will the system requirements be for the game considering you can play with a resolution of up to 800 by 600?
OSKAR The minimum req. is a P90 with 16Mb memory, but in that case we only recommend 320X200. But with a P133 with a good graphics card 640X480 is no problem. To run in 800X600 a P166 or above is most suitable.

CSM Ignition exists in two versions: DOS and Windows 95. Was this choice deliberate?
OSKAR Well, DOS maybe seems unnecessary but there still are a few DOS users out there and as we already had the DOS drivers working in LISA it was no major work to make the game a DOS game also.

CSM Do you think you will re-use the LISA engine for another game in the future? If yes, do you already have a new project in mind?
OSKAR Ignition is the second game using the LISA engine and for our new projects a new engine is almost finished, using the fast routines from LISA with a lot of new improved ones.

CSM If there would be just one word to describe Ignition, what would that be?
OSKAR You might have heard this one before, but in this case it's true, the word is GAMEPLAY!

CSM Thank you.

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