Morgan Kuno's interviews with various SHAR staff

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Edit from admin:
Just a reminder to all community members: Please don't reach out to the developers if they do not seem to want to talk about these things. Some of them do not want to discuss a game they made over 18 years ago.


Sometime in the last two years, user @Morgan Kuno conducted interviews with three people who worked on SHAR/RR (Cary Bruisebois, Greg Mayer, and Jeffrey Pidsadny) about some unused or early game content and such. At his request, I've (finally) reworded his own questions (but left the answers intact) and placed these into a written form so that they exist beyond DM sessions and some screenshots of. Enjoy!

Cary Bruisebois
There's an unused yellow flag model as well as an early Head-to-Head mode file which contains spawns for two vehicles and six of that flag. What were the purpose of these?

Yeah I don't know for sure. Someone else asked once and I think I said it was either part of a split screen head to head race or a precursor to the mini game race mode.

There's also the star wipe thing mentioned in the Boundary Break video on SHAR.
Haha classic. Attached directly to the camera.

What's the purpose of A.p3d?
That is pretty weird. I wonder what we were trying to do.

If there's an A and an X then that suggests we were trying to do something with 3D button icons for the XBOX. The game came out with the original XBOX and we might have been experimenting before they came out with their standards for button icons which are very strict. I'll bet we then abandoned the 3D idea and then forgot to delete the letters.

NOTE: There IS an X.p3d as well.

I'd love to be able to play the non-E3 alpha build of RR.
Oooh those voice lines. Haha yeah that's a synth voice that just read the file name for the sound. Totally a placeholder thing.

Was this synth voice also used during SHAR's development?
Yes.

Apparently you ported the entirety of SHAR to the GameCube. How long did it take?
Yeah, I did. I can't remember exactly how long since it was all part of the whole game. Maybe a few weeks? We also had a team of engineers working on the core P3D tech so they did some of the work on the rendering and low level file systems. I mostly wrangled the art pipelines, script bindings (in assembler code) and platform requirements.

Back in those days, the GameBoy Advance was a big deal and they had all kinds of cables and Japanese games that would connect your GameCube to your GBA. I wrote a custom GBA cart that had the radar on it so you could play SHAR with your friend holding a GBA plugged into your GameCube and they would find the hidden things. I think we took the radar out of the final game, but I might have the GBA cart in a box somewhere.

From what I've heard, compared to the Xbox, developing PS2 games was not easy back in the day?
Yeah, it was very very challenging. The manuals were all in Japanese for a long time. The hardware was a massive departure from normal architecture which was cool unless you wanted to make your games cross-platform. PS2 outsold everything so you always did PS2 as your primary SKU and then ported to XBOX (easy since it was just a Windows PC) and then GC if you had the budget. Only Nintendo exclusives or first party games really made money on Nintendo for the longest time, so if you could port to GC cheap enough you could get good sales and make it worth but most games didn't really consider it as an important platform.

How did you feel about the cancellation of a SHAR sequel?
It wasn't that devastating. We were exhausted from crunching for months and were glad it was done. The games industry is really fickle. By the time I had started even working on Road Rage I had worked on three cancelled projects. It's just the nature of things. So you pick something else and you keep rolling.

About the dev kit with an early build of RR on it?
It was stolen from the floor of E3.

Was SHAR the same case?
Yeah. People stole stuff all the time. Pull the disc out of the ps2 on the show floor and run.

SHAR has sound effects for car statup and gearshift. Were there plans for more realistic driving?
Yeah that was the plan. Marc Baril was the sound designer and he had some ideas that we just never managed to do.

Do you still have any early builds?
Nope, when I left Radical I had to turn in and/or delete anything I had.

You were mainly responsible for scripting missions in SHAR?
Ah, no. I was the lead programmer. So, system architecture, script code, platform code, camera, art pipeline, AI. I did everything except physics and rendering effects.

On Xbox, did you originally use the 128 MB of RAM in the dev units but brought it down to 64 MB when preparing for the retail units? Or use any virtual memory trickery?
There were all kinda of tricks we had to use to fit. The best one is on the GC where I used the 16 meg audio RAM to store all the animations and wrote a system to unpack animations as I needed them. In general we had complete control over the memory with a sophisticated (for the time) memory management system so we could make sure we stayed in the limits even if the dev kits had more. It had a really good system for detecting writes in bad places or for visualising the use for detecting fragmentation.

The GameCube P3D files contain a history chunk with some info about being compressed by "nbrooke" with something called "ATG 2.0". What was this?
ATG (Advanced Technology Group) was the name of the group making Pure3D so that means it was p3dcompress using the ATG core libraries. Nbrooke (Nigel Brooke) was one of the lead developers for ATG.

What's the purpose of Black Magic in RR's map P3D files?
Hahaha, that's something I hacked into the P3D files when we load so we can update the loading screen. The loads were no A-Sync so Bart just be frozen so it looked like a crash, so I peppered the P3D files with those too trigger an update to the loading screen so Bart would stir pudding.
Greg Mayer
Do you still have the entire vehicle physics code for both SHAR/RR? What language were they written in?
I do not. The code is property of Radical. Not even sure if it is accessible anymore (maybe some Perforce archive somewhere). The knowledge is all in my head though :) It was written in C/C++, as essentially all high-performance game code is.

What was the whole origin behind the Red Brick Car, was it something you quickly made in MAYA to use as a test car?
^ Exactly :)
Jeffrey Pidsadny
Were the level preview images in the Scrapbook screenshots of early layouts for the levels?
Nope, they were staged shots. Composed for the photos.

What happened to the old Level 7 with the other side of the map intact?
Level 7 was a repurposed Level 1. Rather than a loop we wanted a linear experience from the PP to the School, hence the bridge being out at the doors to the PP closed. The other side was never considered or designed.

There are still draw/audio triggers over there.
Sloppy audio design work and nobody updated the audio designer. There was never intention for a map there.
Just a reminder to all community members: Please don't reach out to the developers if they do not seem to want to talk about these things. Some of them do not want to discuss a game they made over 18 years ago.