March 1996

Eidos Interactive

Core Design

Graphics and Design (Sony PlayStation, SEGA Saturn)

After working on a number of 16-bit projects that got cancelled in the changeover to the new wave of machines such as the PlayStation and SEGA Saturn I found myself a lone graphic artist/designer with no team and a great desire to break into the world of 3D. So, armed with a brief to have a go at making a ‘tank game’ and access to the 3D scaling sprite engine that was previously used on the PC version of Core’s prehistoric driving game ‘BC Racers’ I began work on ‘Shellshock’.

Intended as a ramped-up version of the classic ‘Battlezone’ the game design itself was a relatively simple affair but with plenty of time and a Silicon Graphics workstation on my desk, it seemed only logical to make as much use as possible of it by applying it to the presentation and cockpit graphics.

The only difficulty was deciding on what to do about the presentation – how to make a relatively straightforward military game stand out from the shelves. At the time, most games of this type would be expected to have a picture of an M-1 Abrams tank on the cover, a stencil font logo and very little personality. And personality was something that I and my co-conspirator on the project, Guy Miller were determined to imprint on the game in any way we could.

Back in the 90’s $5000 would buy you a surface to air missile, a decent cup of coffee and you’d still have enough change for the taxi ride home…

The result was the creation of ‘Da Wardenz’ – a group of ex-soldiers, who, like the A-Team many years before had left the military to fight for justice with their own brand of outlandish hardware and secret base that the Thunderbirds would have been proud of. The real departure, though, was to use Hip Hop culture as a springboard for the style – everything was as big and loud as we could make it. And oh, did we make it loud…

The intention was to make as many things in the game world destructible.

My involvement in the project lasted some nine months, completing the design and all graphics – from the in-game tanks, objects and textures to the hangar set, characters and the minute and a half MTV video- style intro that proved to be the most complex and involved animated sequence I have ever created.

Aside from the visuals, the audio had a great deal of effort put into it – the voice script was written in the UK and then passed over to writers in the US to give it the authenticity it required. Musically it was the task of Martin ‘AtJazz’ Iveson to dig up the scratchiest, nastiest beats he could to create a Hip-Hop soundtrack to accompany the mayhem and destruction. In an odd, but pleasant twist, two of Martin’s tracks were turned into raps by William ‘Bar None’ Floyd – a San Francisco 49’ers player with aspirations to becoming a rapper, these being used to back up the title page.