Atari 1984 Battlestar Galactica unreleased laserdisc arcade game.

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This is a direct copy of the laserdisc footage I archived several years ago, for Atari's unreleased Battlestar Galactica arcade game. This would have been a conversion kit game for Atari's Firefox game. The footage is basically test footage that used modified Firefox code. As far as I know, Atari dropped the project before any serious development started.

Near the end of the video is a frame of signatures from everyone who worked on putting this test game together. "Chris" might be Chris J. Horseman, who was the project leader for the unreleased Atari arcade game, The Last Starfighter. "Michon" is Ted Michon, another former Last Starfighter team member, "AJM" is likely graphics artist Alan J. Murphy. Unknown: the name in the top-left corner ("MShoo"?), the name in the bottom-center ("Rubin"? for Owen Rubin?) and "The Master" (?).

Ken Van Mersbergen has the source code for this test game, so should he ever decide to compile and release the ROMS for it, it might be possible to actually play it.

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From Owen Rubin:

I was sent to graduate classes at MIT by Atari to study laser disc technology. I spent two summer sessions at MIT in 77 and 78 (or maybe 78 and 79) in the Architecture Machine Group (later to become the Media Lab), and basically came back to Atari and suggested that we did NOT do any laserdisc games. Bottom line, the technology would not survive the arcade environment, was slow and unreliable, and was very expensive for what you really got out of it. And I was right, but we started several games anyway. One was the turd Firefox. I actually did not make that game, I just did some work on it to help the team out. Another one was Road Runner which was GREAT, and WAS tested in an arcade, and then redesigned to not have the laserdisc because it kept failing. Then we started Battlestar Galactica, for which an early laserdisc was made but not much else, and a preliminary test for Knight Rider, but nothing that was shipped. On Knight Rider and Galactica, we went to Universal and got to look through a LOT of footage, some aired, some not of shots from the shows Knight Rider and Galactica.

With Galactica, it was my idea originally as I was a Galactica fan obviously, (those are Cylon ships in Major Havoc, and the graphics displays in the tactical display were drawn like in Galactica as well), the guys who did Star Wars and Firefox started the project. I did a small amount of work as well. All that was really done was some footage on the laserdisc that let you land a fighter ship into one of the landing bays on either side of the large ship.

The video on the disc is recorded in such a way that playing it back would look like garbage. It is a bunch of still frames that you play out of order so that you can change what you are playing seamlessly. For example, the landing footage is one of 9 to 16 or so frames from different positions as you approach the landing bay. Imaging a 3x3 of 4x4 grid of possible positions you can approach from, with the center being straight on. If you fly straight, the program would display every 9th frame which was the video of flying straight. If you moved right, you would select the proper "frame view" and it would look like you moved in the video to the right, and now play every 9th "right position 1" video frame in order. With this scheme, you could fly in 2 dimensions with the joystick while the game pushed you forward in the third as well, controlled by a throttle.

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For more information, check out the excellent Dragon's Lair Project website: http://www.dragons-lair-project.com/games/related/prototype/atari.asp