Grand Slam Baseball
Virgin Interactive may not be a name synonymous with sports titles as they only have NHL Powerplay '96 in their newly founded sports division. However, they hope to repeat their first title's success and perhaps forge some new ground in the process with their newest offering, Grand Slam Baseball.
At a glance Grand Slam doesn't look that much different than all the other baseball games on the market. Looking deeper, it becomes clear that several unique features separate this one from the 32-Bit baseball pack. To better understand these new and innovative features, Virgin took Team EGM behind the scenes for an in-depth look at the making of this interesting baseball simulation in progress.
Immediately evident from seeing the game, much time and care was taken by the development crew at Burst (the creators of the game) to create the most realistic on-screen players possible. To accomplish this, motion-capture technology was used to record all the movements of the players in a tedious process. The method involved human models executing specific movements until they were perfectly aligned and could be recorded for the final take. The actual process was done at a gigantic, vacant air force hanger just outside the San Francisco Bay area. Plenty of space was needed for camera crews to maneuver around in trucks, following the live models to get the perfect angle and distance for the shot. For the project, six different minor league baseball players were videotaped against a green backdrop performing all the vital moves used in the game. The videotaping was intense but only took about a week to complete. Once that process was finished a couple of months were spent digitizing and importing the images of the athletes into the computer and painstakingly placing them in the game.
Just as challenging as the video capture process was the stadium rendering. The graphic artists at Burst used loads of pictures, aerial photographs and architectural drawings of the actual stadiums as a reference for the modeling.
The rendering was done on powerful PCs using a 3-D modeling program called 3D Studio. Complex wire-frame models were computer generated to exact specifications and then filled in and shaded to match the real stadiums as closely as possible. In all, the game boasts 28 actual stadiums, all of which are very close to the originals not only in appearance but in scale accuracy as well.
With the graphical realism portion of the game taken care of, programmers were then faced with the challenge of making the gameplay and on-field action as entertaining and original as possible. To answer that challenge, the creative forces at Burst implemented an innovative power meter used for both pitching and batting.
With the arcade-like meter situated on screen, players can control the power and timing of their swing as well as the aim of the bat. On the mound players control power and the type of pitch as well. According to Executive Producer Jesse Taylor, the designers at Burst wanted players to have unprecedented control over the batter and pitcher and felt the power meter [modeled after a golf game's swing meter) would be the way to accomplish this.
Grand Slam Baseball also attempts to re-create the little things in the game that make it feel like an accurate simulation. For a humorous example, when a game becomes a blowout, bored fans progressively trickle from the stands.
Attention to detail such as this and great gameplay is what Virgin hopes will propel this game to the top. Baseball fans stayed tuned as we hope to have a review of this game in our April issue.
Forget the strike.
Sega Sports' Saturn is a major-league hit.
This revolutionary title puts video Sports in a whole new light with 3-D players, 360' stadium views, crystal-clear digitized voice, and scaling that gives the game visual depth.
The play is harder-hitting and much faster.
You can pitch, coordinate your outfield, throw to base, and tag a runner out in less time than it takes the pros—so can your opponents.
The icing on the cake: incredibly short load times.
your Sega Saturn accesses this speed-and-graphicks powerhouse faster than a Kenny lofton steal.
Pride of the Sega Saturn
Grand Slam Baseball is the Babe Ruth of video hardball: it's hefty (in graphics, options, and digitized voice), but it packs all the power and speed you need for a realistic, thrillpacked game.
You can slam it out through an entire pennant race, pit two teams against each other, or hone your slugging skills in a home-run derby.
If you want to test yourself against the load up an all-star game.
As for coaching, Grand Slam Baseball presents enough team-edit choices to satisfy any control freak.
The remarkably fluid camera pans follow the ball from behind home plate to deep in the outfield and back.
Individual images are equally impressive.
Just watch the batter's foreshortened shadow move and scale with him.
Factor in a high-energy rap tune at the front end and spectacular play-by-play speech, and Grand Slam baseball will have Sports gamers drooling.
Processor: PC compatible, P-200
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode