||LOOKING GLASS STUDIO
||1 - 2
WildWaters was first announced at E3 back in 1999. It was to become a water based arcade-type racing game which would offer 6 different characters to choose from and three types of kayaks, each with various
strengths and weaknesses. It would also support two player mode where a race would be devided into six different courses.
Ubi Soft promised no less than five different play modes, Arcade, Time Trial, Championship, Finals
and Versus Battle and would have support for both the RumblePak and ExpansionPak.
According to the E3 press material, Wildwaters, codenamed X-Stream, would've hit the shelves in Q4 of 1999. However the game was still very early in development in May of 1999, so the game was only shown to
members of the press behind closed doors and not on the show floor.
Development of Wildwaters took place at Looking Glass' Seattle office, with some QA being done at the Cambridge office, and development was running concurrent with the development of Destruction Derby 64.
Carl-Henrik Skaarstedt joined Looking Glass in January 1999 to work on water rendering, animation system, water/light effects, project setup for project X-Stream. Another guy on the team was Les Betterly who did character graphics. He was moved from the Destruction Derby 64 development where he modeled and
textured cars and an arena. Lorian Taylor was another artist who worked on Wildwaters, creating 3D models, textured models and lit environments. She also worked on Mini Racers.
Project director was Phil Honeywell and Steve Pearsall took part in the project as QA testing and he had the following to say
MY recollection of the project was that it was somewhere between alpha and
beta. It was definitely playable and quite fun to play but there was a
limited amount of content (whitewater courses to run). |
Although we had weekly management teleconfereces where we went over the
status of each project from every office, I don't really recall too much
about the development process of the game itself.
Quote from "motorfish" at assemblergames.com
I didn't think anyone remembered that game! I was involved in WildWaters design, yes. The final character designs were done by me. I was fairly fortunate on this, too, as the Art Director decided to quit abruptly two weeks after I came on full time. That left the Art Department rather screwed, as WildWaters was still in the design phase at the time. The game didn't even have a title yet, much less any characters outside of basic mesh and poly models. |
The characters in Wildwaters were the product of myself being allowed to be as diverse as I wanted, within reason, without any restrictions from an Art Director, since, well...., we didn't have one. Funny thing is, that they never replaced him after he left either.
I remember looking at a lot of Miyamoto reference when I did the characters for WildWaters, especialy in terms of colors. Colors I thought would be the most important aspect to the game because, well..., the N64 wasn't the best system for displaying nice, crisp, graphics at the time, and even back then, I knew that.
Luckily, I did manage to keep just about all of the files I had at the time for the WildWaters characters, although, I did lose a lot of the screenshots that I had due to poor hard drive backup practices.
In the pics that you can find online, the character seen is Katana (I didn't make up any of the names ^_^) A Japanese girl with black and orange hair.
I do know that David Sears did manage to squeek a copy of the what-was-finished-at-the-time game out of the office on one of the N64 flash ROMs after the doors to the Redmond site closed. I myself was tempted, as it would have been easy to do, and it was somewhat chaotic in those final months, but the fear of legal retribution kept me from doing so, and the fact that each one of those flash ROM carts cost the company somewhere between $300.00 to $500.00 to RENT from Nintendo.
I'd say all in all, the game was about 75% to 85% complete, and had juuuuust started to be bug tested at a base level by QA.
I do remember E3 '99, when Looking Glass presented a playable demo of the game. They printed out these enormous posters of Katana in her kayak,
and hung them around the Looking Glass booth. I would have liked to have gotten one of those after the show, but man, were they huge. I'd say over 12' x 12' easy, bigger than my wall....
I have a lot of WildWaters character reference on my DeviantArt site here at this address, in case any of you were interested in taking a look. Also are some character designs I did for other games that were pitched from Looking Glass, but never made.