Crystal Beacon

Thalamus

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Esprit Software seem to have a extensive track record of trying to produce games which pushed all the barriers to the limits. First with Search For Sharla, then with Flonk… now with this particular little game. And with one common shared element, they now sit in the GTW archives.

Crystal Beacon was another title in development for the C64 by Esprit Software. This was to be a kind of 3D Paradroid style of game, with some very impressive precalculated and lightsourced walls running at 50fps. And it would have been full screen too.

So as you can see, some fairly impressive details already..

The game was to involve running around a 3D maze, chasing after robots and hunting them down. Apparently with the light sourcing effects, the game looked stunning.

The C64 conversion was in development by Pete Dabbs, while Lance Mason handled the ST conversion which was also in production.

Interest in the game was quite high, with a number of publishers looking keen to take on the game, but sadly ESP did not have the funding available to continue the project, and so they had to take on some conversion work. The game as a result was shelved, and after all the commotions of other releases, it remained shelved.

Pete Dabbs recently spoke to GTW about the game and originally informed us of its existance. He offered also the possibility of the game still existing in some form on disk at his house, though there is to be confirmation. Pete last time was rumoured to be obtaining a XE1541 cable to check some of his old disks.

Paul Crawley recently added about the game:

"Another one of our games that never quite made it, mainly because Thalamus didn’t want to pay for it, they wanted the game they just didn’t want to pay any development costs, the game was called “The Crystal Beacon” the concept if expended today would still make a hell of a game!"

If anything is found, then hopefully GTW will be able to bring you the remains of this very promising game. Maybe even Shara too if there is anything.

More soon we hope!…

Contributions: Pete Dabbs, Paul Crawley

Supporting content

Pete Dabbs speaks to GTW about work on Crystal Beacon...

"The only other game I can think of that never got released is Crystal Beacon (or crispy bacon while we were working on it). It was a 3d maze game where (if I remember correctly) you had to hunt down big robot things. Quite a lot like Paradroid but in 3d. Once again, not an actual 3d engine (too slow on c64) but full screen, precalculated (with light sourcing) and built out of character maps so it all ran 50fps.

I think there was an ST version as well, seem to remember Lance Mason working on the ST while I did the c64 code.

It looked really good and we had a fair amount of interest but when it came to the crunch we just didn't have the spare cash to continue on it so we had to take on some conversion work. I think it was after touting it around lots of software companies and none of them seemed too interested in funding us to finish it (typical, they'll take it off you when its 100% complete but won't pay a struggling group of devs to actually work on something).

It's quite possible I've got code/demos of Crystal Beacon somewhere but I can't be sure because most of the dev work was done on PDS and I certainly don't have any of those disks any more. Sharla on the other hand hmmm probably not but you never know. The trouble is by that time I'd moved on to 16bit machines almost exclusively soon after. "

Pete Dabbs.

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