Originally released in the arcade in 1989, Hard Drivin’ was pushing polygons, speed and a sexy sports car-inspired cockpit. The gameplay was fast, fun and influenced a ton of games afterwards, especially the Cruisin’ the World series. Essentially running on 32-bit hardware, Hard-Drivin’ was the equivalent of a Sony PlayStation game, more than a half-decade before the console was released. For that reason alone, it was a sexy beast of a driving game and a success in the arcades.
“This was an extremely difficult title to convert to Genesis, and frankly I can’t say that I’m 100 percent satisfied with the result. First of all, the Genesis hardware was designed to do 2D character-based games, not 3D; it not only doesn’t have any help for 3D calculations, but it also doesn’t even have a bitmap. So, we had to do 3D calculations on a pretty slow processor using as few multiply instructions as possible (very costly in terms of cycle time) and never a divide instruction (prohibitively slow), then map the resulting display information onto a matrix of ‘stamps’ that Genesis used for backgrounds, which due to the need for double buffering and relatively small amount of RAM had to be handled by a custom memory manager we wrote. In other words, it was a total nightmare. The resulting average frame rate was way below what we would have preferred.”
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