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Carmageddon

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Overview

Carmageddon is the first in a series of graphically violent driving-oriented video games produced by Stainless games and published by Interplay and SCI. It was inspired by the 1975 cult classic movie Death Race 2000.
Carmageddon's Front cover art work
Carmageddon's Front cover art work

Carmageddon started out as "3D Destruction Derby", a banger-racing (stock-car) sim prototyped by Stainless. This was signed by SCi in 1995, but the banger-racing angle was quickly dropped and for a while the game was going to use the Mad Max license. This also fell through, and was replaced by the Death Race 2020 license, as a sequel to the original film that was being planned at that time. This is what introduced the running-over of pedestrians into the game.

When this license also fell through, SCi and Stainless took the decision to carry on with the game anyway without a license. The name "Carmageddon" was though up, and development carried with the designers allowed unusually free rein with the content of the game, this could be why the game became so bloody.

Gameplay

At the start the player must choose between to drivers. Each has their own cars which are essentially the same except on is yellow and one is red. The yellow is slightly faster than the red, wich in turn is slightly tougher that the yellow.

In Carmageddon, the player races a vehicle against a number of other computer controlled competitors in various settings, including cities, mines and industrial areas. The player has a certain amount of time to complete each race, but more time may be gained by collecting bonuses, damaging the competitors' cars or by running over pedestrians.

The player running over a pedestrian
The player running over a pedestrian

Races are completed by either completing the course as one would in a normal racing game, "wasting" (wrecking) all other race cars, or running over all pedestrians on the level before anyone else.

The game was notable for its realistic and ground-breaking physics and for its in-game movie making features. It was also one of the earliest examples of a sandbox 3D driving games, and may have influenced later games including Driver and the GTA series.

Each of the games levels had a pun in the title. For instance, "I Scream in the sun".



Controversy

In many countries including Germany and, for a short time the UK, the game contained zombies or robots with green blood instead of people, as running over the undead was considered more acceptable by their respective ratings boards. In the UK SCi wanted to gain publicity for the game by submitting it to the BBFC to get an 18 rating, even though this was not necessary as the game contained no video footage. This backfired when the BBFC refused to certify the game unless all blood and gore was removed. After 10 months of appealing, the BBFC certified the original version.

Some of the games bloody content
Some of the games bloody content

Technology


Carmageddon was developed using the Blazing Renderer ( BRender ) from Argonaut software.  BRender was a 3D graphics engine that could be used to develop games for the Windows, MS-DOS and the Sony Playstation.

Notable features of the BRender engine


  • Z-buffer and scanline renderer
  • Hierarchical, linked objects
  • Goraud shading
  • Multiple cameras and light sources
  • Collision detection
  • Sprite scaling and deformation effects
  • 32-bit libraries for Watcom and MS Visual C
  • Support for hardware accelerators such as GLiNT

Soundtrack

The game's soundtrack was a mix of 3 instrumental tracks from Fear Factory and 4 from Lee Groves. Fear Factory provided heavy metal while the Lee Groves songs were ambient tracks.

The CD-ROM on the game had Track 1 as the game data, while Tracks 2-8 provided the game's soundtrack while playing randomly through the game or playing in a CD player:

Track Listing:
1) Data Track
2) Fear Factory - Demanufacture (instrumental)
3) Lee Groves - Industrial
4) Lee Groves - Coastal
5) Fear Factory - Zero Signal (instrumental) [intro cutscene song]
6) Lee Groves - Desert
7) Lee Groves - Winter Wonderland
8) Fear Factory - Body Hammer (instrumental)