Realtime Games Software
From Sega Retro
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Realtime Games Software was a video game development company founded in Leeds, United Kingdom on May 8th 1984 by Ian Oliver, Andrew Onions and Graeme Baird. It was the very first third-party software developer hired by Sega of America, for developing games, especially for porting the MS-DOS version of M-1 Abrams Battle Tank to his 16-bit console (Realtime Games Software founders had been making games since college having developed a wireframe tank simullation called 3D Tank Duel for ZX Spectrum based on the Atari arcade game Battlezone).
It was during the development of M-1 Abrams Battle Tank, that Ian Oliver, facing dificulties in porting the MS-DOS version of the game to the Mega Drive (according to Ian Oliver's testimony in the book Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games, his main problem was the fact that the MS-DOS version of the game had been coded in C and there wasn't a way to port it over with the cartridge size and RAM available), created the command-line assembler SNASM68K (the original SNasm, acronym for Spino Norman's Assembler, created by Martin Day (a.k.a Spiny Norman) of SN Systems, while a programmer at The Assembly Line, was at the time licensed to and already being sold by SNasm co-developers Ian Oliver and Andy Craven through their company Cross Products for the Atari ST and Amiga computers, however, it needed some modification for use with the Mega Drive, which overall wasn't much different from an Atari ST computer, save for a lack of RAM for screen buffering) which made porting games more easier and gave developers high speed download to target machines and remote debugging (replacing developers reliance on the limited PDS Programmers Development System, developed by British programmer and software engineer Andrew Glaister, and sold by his company Programmers Development Systems Ltd (based in London, England) which was originally created for 8-bit computers (PDSZ80) like the Amstrad CPC, C64, MSX and ZX Spectrum and 16-bit computers (PDS68000) Amiga and Atari ST and was pratically obsolete, however, this was not a problem when Realtimes's founders adapted it for being used on a Apple Macintosh, despite not having been made for this computer when they developed the Macintosh version of the video game Carrier Command, in 1988), thus expanding his relationship with Sega, which turned out to be the largest costumer of Cross Products, a company founded by Ian Oliver and Andy Craven of Leeds based video game development company Vektor Grafix in 1989 that Sega ended up buying in 1994, as part of his ongoing development tools strategy at the time.
Realtime Games Software was hired by Sega for two projects, though only M-1 Abrams Battle Tank would see completion. The other, a racing game based on 70's police show The Streets of San Francisco was cancelled because developers couldn't get the frame rate to a level high enough to make it enjoyable. The game was 75% complete when it was discarded for not meeting Realtimes's standards for quality.
- M-1 Abrams Battle Tank (1991)
- File:AmigaComputing UK 005.pdf, page 20
- Interview: Ian Oliver (2012-05-10) by Bohemia Interactive
- Interview: Ian Oliver (1998-01) by World of Stuart
- Interview: Realtime Games Software (1989-08-12) by ST NEWS Disk Magazine
- The One, "June 1990" (UK; 1990-05-28), page 23
- http://www.snsys.com:80/snsys.htm (Wayback Machine: 1997-07-09 12:39)
- The One, "May 1989" (UK; 1989-04-xx), page 28
- The One, "May 1990" (UK; 1990-04-xx), page 85
- The One, "May 1990" (UK; 1990-04-xx), page 86
- File:AmigaComputing UK 005.pdf, page 21