Archive entry by Ste Pickford on Fri, 29 May 2009
Subject: Venom Spirit
This is a sketch from the design work we did on a game called Venom Spirit in the mid 90s, which was never developed.
The whole game was designed around massive set-piece battles, the first of which was a raid on a massive airship. This would have been several screens in size, and the player would have been attacking from below, climbing from rope to rope, eventually reaching the ship and destroying the engines.
We were inspired by the spectacular set pieces in SNES games like Contra as well as Capcom stuff like Strider.
The switch from the NES to the SNES, the new larger cartridge sizes, as well as some of the tech ideas we were working on at Software Creations, gave us the ambition to try to work with massive graphical elements - screen sized platforms and doorways and engines and pieces of scenery etc., rather than making levels out of tiny repeating 16x16 pixel chunks as we had been doing previously.
It was becoming possible at last to draw massive graphics, and they would be relatively quick and easy to create as we wouldn't need to do the labour intensive work of making everything fit into efficient, repeating character sections. We could just draw a big piece of scenery without worrying about RAM efficiency, use it once, then move on to the next section of game.
We had both the RAM to store massive graphics (on the new bigger cartridges) and the grunt to move them around the screen quickly (on the SNES).
I think Venom would have been a great game if the studio had got behind it.