In Parts 1 and 2, I talked about the development of WTARG, the software I developed at Williams/Bally/ Midway to allow artists to incorporate digitized video of live actors in our games. My exploration into digitizing began in 1986, and the first version of WTARG came about a year later. It was crude, dependent as it was on available memory and the speed of both PCs and the digitizing hardware we used— Truevision’s Image Capture Board, part of its Targa line. In 1988, shortly after USSA was cancelled (a game I was working on with John Newcomer), I left Williams and developed a completely new video game system for Premier Technologies with the help of a couple of ex-Gottlieb colleagues, Kan Yabumoto and Jun Yum.
This new system had separate foreground and background planes which were each capable of displaying digitized images. The only game that came out of this endeavor was the unique and somewhat bizarre Exterminator, with graphics from my old Q*bert collaborator, Jeff Lee. The concept, surreal as it was, was that your joystick controlled a disembodied human hand which could squish bugs as well as shoot energy bolts. I digitized my own hands for this game, and Jeff created all the photo-realistic backgrounds and foreground sprites. The game was plagued with myriad problems, but as far as the digitized graphics, I was very proud of its look. It was eye-grabbing and really looked different from any other game in the arcades.
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