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Seite 2: Interview mit Realism über Super Monkey Ball


Autor: Sonic

Kategorie: interviews
Umfang: 2 Seiten

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Game Boy Advance Artikel vom 23.10.2002

Hier die englische Original-Version:

- Could you shortly present Realism Studios to us ?

Please check out our website at for information about Realism (company), its employees (team bios - only 6 of us) and Super Monkey Ball (games, then click on Super Monkey Ball link). It's taken us from May to now to complete the full US version and do the 5 language conversion. We
'inherited' about 4 months worth of effort from Software Creations who
started the game. We all used to work for them, but started Realsim when
they became bankrupt. In total, the game has taken about 6 man years to
complete. It's been programmer heavy (not artist) because there are so
many minigames and the artwork is relatively simple. We've finished it
one day ahead of the original deadline in spite of the fact that there
was two weeks lost in the middle of development.

- As far as I know, Super Monkey Ball Jr. is the first title to be
ported from the Gamecube to GameboyAdvance. As the GBA´s specs are
obviously much more limited, which drawbacks did you have to make
(besides the graphics)?

The processor is substantially slower than Gamecube. Fortunately, to
capture the essence of SMBJr, we don't need to run at the same frame
rate, we don't need to texture map as much, we can simplify graphics, we
can restrict draw distance and we don't need to draw as many pixels. Put
all these things together with the right balance and you can just about
make SMBJr work on AGB. We hope everyone thinks we've done a good job.
As always, there a few things we may have done differently with a little
more time and money, but we've worked successfuilly to a budget and to

- Super Monkey Ball Jr. is your very first (GBA-) game but it already
looks incredible. Was it difficult to create this engine for SMB and
could you name its outstandig features ?

We're very fortunate that we've got a lot of very clever guys here. I
(Andy Onions) come from a software rendering background (Startstrike on
Spectrum, Carrier Command on ST/Amiga and Elite on PC), so I know one or
two tricks of the trade. The lead programmer (Dave Reed) knows his
stuff and implemented some of the PSX1 hardware tricks in software. I
optimized a few bits of his code into ARM assembler (like the polygon
rasterizer) and the results speak for themselves. The engine will draw a
few thousand polygons per second, it can linearly texture map, it can
flat light polygons and it software renders all the sprites.

- 60 stages and all those original mini-games like Monkey Golf, Monkey
Fight, Monkey Bowling and Monkey Duel are definately very much for this tiny cartridge. In your own words, why will SMB have such a high replay value and be as addictive as the Gamecube-version ?

There are a further 3 sets of 3 levels for the three main difficulty
levels plus a 5 level 'Master' mode, which can all be unlovked with
good gameplay , so that's 74 levels, plus 2 golf courses... Pretty much
everything that can be compressed is compressed icluding some code
overlays too! I used to get stuck at level 10 (Easy:-) but we've made it
easier. It would still take me months to complete the game. It's starts
off very easy and just gets harder and harder but it's definitely not
impossible. The minigames are fantastic fun. You can play some of them
as pass around multiplayer games, so you don't need a link up cable to
be able to play with friends. Others need the link up cable. They're all
very slickly presented and play well. People will find hours of gameplay
in the minigames and the special challenges let alone the 74 levels of
main game. You can even play the credits game... There's just no way
you'll finish this game by new year's day if you get it for Christmas!

- Could you present the Multiplayer-mode to us ? Which games will be
included and will there be a Single-Pak Multiplayer ?

Multiplayer mode is with multi cartridges. I'm not actually aware of any
multiboot games out there. Although it's possible to do multiboot, the
problem is that all level code and data has to be downloaded to the
'slave' machines from the 'master'. This takes time and you've only got
256Kbyte of memory to use compared to 4Mbyte (16 times as much) ROM. We
need a lot of the RAM to run the game anyway... There is Monkey Duel - 2
person race on the main levels - needs link up cable; Monkey Fight - 1
to 4 player with link up cable. One player plays against the computer;
Monkey Bowling - 1 to 4 player with linkup or pass around; Monkey Golf -
1 to 4 player with link up or pass around.

- Could you present the controls to us ?

Controls are simple. The direction pad controls the tilt of the table
relative to the camera view, so down will always tilt backward no matter
what's happening and up will tilt forward. To add a little flexibilty,
pressing 'A' at the same time allows for further and faster tilting and
'B' reduces the speed and size of tilt. I need to use 'A' sometimes.
I've never used 'B'!

- If Super Monkey Ball will meet your and THQ´s expectations
concerning its sales (what seems to be realistic), will you make a
sequel ?

I've really no idea of what THQ are expecting to sell. It would be
fantastic if it sold over a million units, but that's a very large
quantity. I guess anything over half a million won't be too bad. We've
just ordered a US Gamecube and SMB2 to take a look at it. We're told
that it may be too difficult to convert, but until we see it we can't
tell. I'm not sure who has the rights to the license. I guess if SMBJr
does well, then THQ would be interested in another conversion. I hope
so. We want to do SMB2Jr.

- What else can we expect from Realism in the future ?

More games. We're looking at an action adventure at the moment for AGB,
but I can't say what it is. Longer term, we'd like to do SMB2 if it
turns out to be possible and then we need to seriously consider doing a
next generation project. Fortunately, we have the 3D programming and art
skills available to us. So if there's any publisher out there looking
for a next gen conversion, we'd like to here from them:-) Even longer
term, we have a lot of original ideas that we'd like to implement across

- A little bit of humor at the end: Don´t the monkeys get dizzy all the time being caged in tiny balls and rolling around ?

We've tested this out on Neil (our smallest programmer) in a concrete
mixer. He wasn't dizzy after half an hour, so I guess the monkeys are
OK. Don't try this at home kids!

- Is there anything else you want to tell our readers ?

Ya voll. Frohe Weinachten.

The entire team wants to thank you very much. Best wishes to you and Realism.

Any time. We love the press!

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