The God of Games Appears
What part of programming were you in charge of?
I did the test mode and programming of all the enemies. Rather transparent to the end-user, but I made out nicely on the graph based on
data from our beta testers. (laughs). Someone above me put togther the
player, boss character, and main system programming. The frame was quite
well done, so I was able to devote myself to the enemy AI.
But even so, it was a trial and error process from the start.
Any particular favorites amongst the characters?
"Graphically" I don't remember much. Personally
I only recall the enemies "thought routines" and the
essence of the programing.
Of course we received the character data from the
designers, and one by one separated them and started
putting together the animations, but felt it'd be
easier to convey to the end user nice character
movement rather than attractive animation. So, we
made changes bit by bit, changing flags, deciding what should move and when... like making a cogwheel toy or
something. I like playing with movements I don't
quite understand. (laughs).
This kind of off-beat programming and parameter layout
was quite fun. Something like that, I remember quite
Did it take a lot of time to program the enemies?
Yes. We did a lot of trial and error, thinking of
ways we could make individual changes to the AI. For
example, if there was an obstacle, the enemy should go
around it, and then head for the player. We had to
figure out ways not to make two enemies heading for
the same player do the exact same thing. To get that
right, took about a year and three months.
At the time, it was my first programming assignment,
so they were quite generous in terms of time. (laughs).
So it took a comparatively long time to make?
After the first 9 months, we had only completed
up to round 2. I myself was thinking about it
too much and couldn't make any progress. On the side, Altered
Beast had been completed, then suspicions were arising from the Alien
Storm teeam leader. So I had to leave some stuff
out because I didn't have any time. (laughs).
There was really "Ancient", "Early Modern",
"Medieval", "Future", as well as a "Modern" epoch.
The MegaDrive version has the Modern Epoch, but you'd
be right in saying that it's a completely original
scenario. In the beginning, we had 50 to 60 screens,
but my part of the work was always coming in late so
we pulled the Modern Epoch. (laughs). The Modern
Epoch designers as well only churned out about 3
stages, and they didn't have the enemy data, so we
were basically ordered to cut the game short at 40
Once we were ordered to make the deadline, I think we
did all of Epoch 4 in 3 days and 3 nights (non-stop).
There's not a lot of enemies in there with complicated
Could it be because of the harsh conditions that
there's that bug in level 4-8? (laughs)
We actually fixed that problem once, but when we
updated the master source file, we forgot to link it.
(laughs). We were all under such stress, we just
overlooked it. But, at times like that is when the
"God of Games" comes down and your body, even when
sleeping, is doing work. So, perhaps we hallucinated
the part about fixing the bug. Off-subject, but
you start seeing things after the 2nd straight night.
A hairy caterpillar... like electroplasma... you see
things you just can't describe.
Stepping away from the electroplasma
caterpillars, (smirks) is there a version that fixes
the bug in 4-8?
The 3-Player version did not have the bug. We didn't see any
damage to sales so only 2-player versions after that got the fix.
It's said that there was a dramatic "development"
about the 4-8 bug amongst the Gain Ground
Honestly, just a coincidence. We didn't expect
anyone would beat the last boss with Zaemon.
(laughs). We figured everyone would be having a hard time with the
game, then heard that end-users could whack him out
with one whirlwind shot. Finally tried it out and we
all thought, "Whoah! Wow!" I was truly thinking, "If
you design the game with freedoms, rules will be born
within the game."
[Whatever that means -- sorry for the weird translation.]
Is that what becomes part of Gain Ground's
There's various ways to defeat the enemies, and if
you change your timing, or move just a little, the
enemies move differently. Maybe it's the
unpredictability of Gain Ground that's it's most
attractive part. In those terms, I think I was able
to make what I had envisioned.
"We realized that we had to make the characters more human, and make
their movements soft."
"There were quite a few arguments with the planners on what exactly
the AI could and couldn't do."
"Modern Epoch" which made it to the MegaDrive version.
According to the arcade versions pans:
Epoch Setting = Modern
Enemy Types = Soldiers
Main Weapons = Guns
So a caterpillar is responsible for the 4-8 bug?!|
By changing the dipswitch on
the 3P version, you can play the 2P version. The only
difference is the bug in 4-8.
Zaemon can wipe out the last boss easily with his