Hydrogenese was yet another game to come from the excellent X-Ample, who produced many stunning games.
ASM magazine issue 7/89 had a short news feature that stated that Mario van Zeist and X-ample were hired to make games for Digital Marketing, followed by some information on both Hydrogenese and Bamboo. However, the BWB link was a red herring, and it was Joachim Fraeder who confirmed that it was X-Ample behind the game. Coder was Helge Kozielek, with graphics by Michael Detert and Thomas Heinrich. The sprites and backgrounds we later recycled and used in Parsec.
According to ASM, Hydrogenese was to be a shoot’em up similar to Armalyte or Menace and it was about four “heroes” with different strengths and weaknesses. The player could choose between these heroes and the task was to “clean up” the weapon systems of a space ship. The player was also supposed to also be able to remote control cleaning robots.
The original plan was to have a shoot em up section and then sections where you would have a full 4 way platform/scroller, like Hawkeye 2 (which Mario Van Zeist showed Helge how to do).
So what happened to the original game and why was it cancelled? Originally the game was planned to be part of a 25.000 DM contest by disk magazine “Game On”, but it wasn’t finished in time. As a result, Helge didn’t get to finish the game and it was split up into several other games and finished by other programmers.
Tales of Boon, Darksword and Greystorm used the jump and run levels. Parsec used some of the shoot em up levels, and Hyper Agressive used the puzzle sequences and some of the music. Thomas’ music was split across many other games in the end, but now thanks to Se7en/Digital Excess – you can download the original music demo that Thomas produced.
Sadly it is believed that the original incarnation of the game is fully lost, but we hold out hope that it may show up some day. But it seems that most of it did manage to sneak out in the above games, so check them out for a glimpse! And also check out Creator Speaks for words directly from the author!
Contributions: Jan Schulze (Overall game contribution + good chunk of the write up), Joachim Fraeder, Se7en/Digital Excess
Helge Kozielek speaks about work on Hydrogenese
“HYDROGENESE was supposed to be a big multipart game with huge Shot’em Up & Jump’n Run sections and more. While developing the game, we all made great progress in our skills, especialy the graphics of Michael Detert & Thomas Heinrich evolved in an impressive way. Hence the code, graphics and sound were changed every few weeks. And to be honest, I had some issues with the game play and lost a lot of time to find a solution for the RAM destruction problem on some C64 using DYCP.
On the other hand we needed money, so we developed some smaler games for Magic Disk in the meantime. HYDROGENESE were postponed over and over again. Our final effort made clear, we would had have to start from the very beginning, if the game sould have been ‘state of the art’. So we droped it. During that time Michael Detert and Thomas Heinrich worked on games on Amiga and finaly PS1, Thomas Detert made his first steps on producing music for the dancefloor. The C64 wasn’t ‘sexy’ anymore, the marked was shrinking and the prices in free fall. We moved on in different directions.
@Joachim Fräder: I’d like to correct one fact. Mario van Zeist didn’t ‘showed’ me how to do the parallax scroll. He just told me, that he used 4 charsets (wich were switched in each frame to simulate the background scrolling) in Hawkeye, what of course was another brilliant idea.
We had some very enlightening discussions about saving computing time and space, and programm architecture. Earlier Mario made some important suggestions within developing the XAP sound routine, wich finaly is a hybrid of Jeroen Kimmels (clever work on the register), Jeroen Tels (a reassembly of Rob Hubbard routine and a superb vibrato-module), Chris Hülsbecks SoundMonitor and the great echo-module of Markus Schneider. After Joachim Fräder engineered a good editor, the sound routine became a great success.
Unfortunately I can’t tell, if there is any “original incarnation” of HYDROGENESE left. Maybe my 1541 is broken or all my floppy disks are jammed. I’ll figure it out someday.
I’m glad, that Joachim Fräder could use some of the sprites and sounds in PARSEC, therefore not all is lost.”
- 22/05/16 – Author talks about the game’s development
- 07/01/15 – Original music demo added thanks to Se7en/Digital Excess
- 27/12/14 – Credits confirmed and BWB link removed, as it was an X-Ample game + other details
- 30/06/14 – Musician credit confirmed thanks to Jazzcat and http://www.atlantis-prophecy.