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Influential video games, day 6: Hard Drivin'

2020-04-30 19:58:48.516941+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

Influential video games, day 6: Hard Drivin'

Of course there was Battle Zone, back in the day, for 3d using vector graphics. And Microsoft Flight Simulator (the successor to the SubLOGIC Flight Simulator) started to fill in the ground and sky colors. And there were driving games, from Night Driving on the Apple ][ to Pole Position on, but 1989's Hard Drivin' occupies a large space in my mind for a couple of reasons:

  1. It marked a certain point in the evolution of arcade game controls. For a long time, one of the things that made arcade games special was that they could have special purpose controls you couldn't get on home machines. Trackballs, free-spinning knobs, massive throttle controls, all things that you didn't have on your 2600 or your home PC. A full-on driving platform? I mean, sure, these things have evolved, but force-feedback steering wheel...
  2. Hardware accelerated graphics! This thing wasn't playing games with 2d or incremental fills of portions of the screen, that thing was refreshing the whole damned screen, and the camera and car could go anywhere. Drive off the top of the loop, and flying! And it used TI TMS34010 processors; I remember learning about rendering techniques by reading TMS34xxx assembly code in a couple of issues of Micro Cornucopia. This was not a game that translated well to home computers.

I was never a huge arcade game player, but I think I dropped a few dollars in the machine over at Hamilton Place Mall to play this thing on my way to and from buying computer books at Software Etc.

Of course by the time I was doing 3d video games, basic polygon filling had become a known science, and the tricks were about how we could light, shade and texture faster...


[ related topics: Apple Computer Humor Books Photography Games Microsoft Aviation Software Engineering moron Space & Astronomy Graphics Mathematics Automobiles Education Video Phreaking ]

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