The Exigent Duality
Ego - 12:25 CDT, 9/14/20 (Sniper)
I just watched another one of those interviews, this time with Andy Gavin, and found it to be pretty subpar.

While there's no doubt that he's a creative problem solver, and allegedly a talented programmer-- I'm not sure how much of "Crash" he himself wrote, I'd need to do some further investigation-- the interview was rife with technical inaccuracies.

He starts out by incorrectly describing the 3DO as a "half-3d machine": I'm assuming he's referring to how the "Cell Engine" uses quads instead of triangles. While acknowledging that he's written a game for that hardware and I haven't, the Sega Saturn and certain period PC graphics cards also used quads: the result is still polygons-- i.e. "3d"-- regardless of what primitive types those surfaces consist of. The "OptiDoom" guy, who does contemporary 3DO programming, fully agrees with me.

He then describes PC games as needing "custom config.sys and autoexec.bat files", while trotting out that age-old cliché of PCs being difficult to play games on-- total ignorance: I played hundreds of DOS games from 1985 or so all the way through to the shift to Win95, and the only time I needed to use a custom config.sys file for a game was Megazeux, which utilized XMS. Games "just worked" in those days, way moreso than during the later Win98 era, and probably even moreso than today.

On that note, he then explained-- complete with an interviewee-provided graphic-- that PCs "basically only had 640k of memory." Uh, was he working on an IBM XT, and had never heard of EMS? My dad and I built a 486 in 1992 or 1993, and it had 16 megabytes of RAM. With a cheap product like QEMM, you could basically render the base 640 limitation irrelevant with a few keyboard presses and a reboot.

I also chuckled at his marveling at modern graphics cards doing gigaflops' worth of calculations! Oh my! Not sure where he's been the last odd-decade: even the humble Xbox One GPU is a teraflop chip. Further, his continued referral to the PSX's video chip as a "GPU" is a pet peeve of mine, for the very reason he acknowledged in this very interview (no hardware transform and lighting).

He also made it sound like the use of an SGI workstation was an innovation for "Crash"-- when in a period interview of him in my 3DO hint guide, he explains how they used just such a workstation for "Way of the Warrior" too: very misleading. He also brags about being one of the first people-- "I have patents!"-- to figure out how to stream stage data from slow-ish storage, when people were doing stuff like that on the Amiga in the 1980s, much less on the 3DO way before he did it on PSX ("Immercenary", "The Need for Speed", "Blade Force", etc.).

My impression of him overall is that he's pretty arrogant: his view of himself is inflated versus his actual accomplishments and knowledge. Interestingly, his "soft skill" game design chops seem much stronger than his technical aptitude: his explanation of the principles in "Crash" level design was the most astutely-stated part of the video.