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I was looking at LEGO Chess videos on YouTube when I came across a comment on this video.

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In LEGO Chess (which the clips are taken from), there were 'stories' you could play. In each of the three chapters an intro anim would play and then, as the characters fought, a chess game would start: if you won you got the 'good' outcome anim and the game continued; if you lost you got the 'bad' anim and had to try again. this vid confusingly shows both good and bad anims. As it happens, I was the game's Producer! ;) Nice to hear people enjoyed it back in the day.

DaveTheHutt1966 2 months ago

Let's see...

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Producer:

Dave Upchurch

I'm assuming that this is him.

EDIT: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, website (on Wayback Machine)

XBOX: DaveTheHutt66 (Can't verify.)

 

Interview: https://www.maximumpowerup.com/episode-83-dave-upchurch-interview/

EDIT 2 03/07/2020: Fixed the links. Can't verify LinkedIn one because I don't have an account.

Fairly sure I got the video link correct too. Again, can't verify, but only because YouTube disabled comments on videos marked as "for kids".
Added what I assume could be his XBOX name. Can't verify that either.

 

EDIT 3 03/07/2020: Added an interview I found.

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His website's got some really interesting info...

http://dupchurch.com/?portfolio=lego-island-2-various

http://dupchurch.com/?portfolio=lego-rock-raiders-ps1

http://dupchurch.com/?portfolio=lego-chess-pc

http://dupchurch.com/?portfolio=lego-mindstorms-droid-developers-kit-pc

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I noticed he mentioned more than once the pressure of LEGO Media getting a game out on a date, regardless of product quality by that date.... this is not how you make successful games. I can understand why he didn't like it, especially when he knew they could have been so much better.

These posts a very recent.... and he helped work on LRR for PS1, some interesting insight here!

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I had no idea LRR had a PS1 title. :gasp:

OpoQQ.jpg

And actually, LRR essentially has two PS1 games - there's major differences between the NTSC and PAL releases, like entirely different levels and altered gameplay mechanics.

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On 11/27/2012 at 5:03 PM, jamesster said:

And actually, LRR essentially has two PS1 games - there's major differences between the NTSC and PAL releases, like entirely different levels and altered gameplay mechanics.

Last time I was in one of the charity shops here, I found LRR PS1 for £3.

Is it worth picking up, even if it's only to fill my collection?

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And actually, LRR essentially has two PS1 games - there's major differences between the NTSC and PAL releases, like entirely different levels and altered gameplay mechanics.

Last time I was in one of the charity shops here, I found LRR PS1 for £3.

Is it worth picking up, even if it's only to fill my collection?

The PAL version is much better if thats the version you saw. To complete your collection, yes, you should. The game is OKAY if you can handle loading times and other annoyances.

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The PAL version is much better if thats the version you saw. To complete your collection, yes, you should. The game is OKAY if you can handle loading times and other annoyances.

I'm in the UK, so it is most likely the PAL version.

I'm going into town later today (currently 4:32AM here) so I might stop in the charity shop and get it if it's in good condition.

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  • 2 months later...
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I had an email conversation with Dave back in December, he's a really nice guy and had lots of cool stuff to share.

Some info on the crazy development of LEGO Island 2...

 

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As I say on the website, the original brief was for a game linked to the TV show about three children and their dog who could enter LEGO world. IIRC, the characters were a blond-haired teenage boy, a black teenage girl and a younger teen red-haired boy (complete with back-to-front baseball cap - I said it was pretty generic stuff!). The dog was a lanky labrador-like comedy hound, always getting scared and whimpering... you know the sort of thing.

They had wristwatch-like devices that they could use to warp into LEGO world, whereupon the kids would stay human but the dog would turn LEGO-y.... don't ask me why.

The original design was a sort of Mario 64 / Zelda-esque 3D adventure, with the characters viewed in third-person.... like, er, Mario 64 and Zelda. You could only control one character at a time but was able to swap between them, and each had different abilities that you had to use at the right time and in the right combination to solve the action puzzles you encountered.

You also had indirect control over the dog, which would follow your hero. If you spotted a suspicious bit of ground you could tell it to dig and maybe discover a secret, tell it to attack baddies, sniff out hidden characters/items, that sort of thing.

A lot of the game centred around finding torn pages from the Great Book Of Building, that the Brickster had stolen after his escape. He'd ripped up the pages, causing vehicles and buildings to deconstruct. By finding the lost fragments and piecing them back together, you could rebuild the smashed items and then use them to get further in the game.

There was also going to be a time element (inspired by Day of the Tentacle and, yes, Zelda) - the different themes were set in different eras, so Castle theme predated City theme, and Space theme was in the future, etc. So if you saw a river you needed to cross in the City, if you travelled back to the Castle era you might see a tree that you could cut down - this would then form a wooden bridge in the future. Get the idea?

I worked with a company called Krisalis in Rotherham, UK, to generate the prototype - after about 6 months all we had was the younger boy running around a test environment with the dog, and you could tell it to dig in certain areas... pretty basic stuff. Before we could really start fleshing stuff out the project was canned when it became clear the TV show wasn't going anywhere.

Someone obviously saw the resemblance between the boy and Pepper, as that's when the idea of using the work as the basis of LEGO Island 2 was suggested.

So we change the kid to Pepper, dropped the dog, added a skateboard (there was going to be a Tony Hawks lite element to the game, performing stunts and so on - don't think that was in the final game), changed the plot to pretty much what it is now, dropped all the time-travelling puzzle solving and added mini-games - basically made it a lot simpler.

Unfortunately, that's where my involvement ended - basically with the game still at prototype stage. After I left, LEGO took the game away from Krisalis and gave it to Silicon Dreams, plus they expanded the platform range - when I was involved, it was intended just for PC and PS1.

I'll be honest, I haven't played the finished game that much - just tonked around the first couple of areas. But it feels like the game I worked on - or certainly, the game I intended it to be. I don't think the cut content relates to the old game - I imagine Silicon Dreams would've dumped everything that Krisalis had done and started again; far easier than picking through other people's code. Also, no speech was recorded on my watch - tbh, it's not the sort of thing you'd do early; best to leave it until later when it's clearer what the game will contain. I suspect the reality is they ran out of time and slashed content to get the game into releasable state..

Rock Raiders PS1...

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Oh man, what a project! Still gives me nightmares... ;)

The US version was basically the game that I delivered in 6 months - a painful, short birth! SCEA signed it off but SCEE refused to release it until some fixes were made... I think LEGO took the opportunity to tweak the levels and gameplay. They only had three or four months, so not enough time to go too crazy. So basically the Euro version is the more finished one - sorry, America! :( Still a pretty poor game, though - it's such a shame, because the theme deserved far better treatment than we gave it.

There was a canceled Technic video game:

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I remember working on a LEGO Technics game featuring vehicles exploring an alien world. You collected bricks and used morphing stations to change your vehicle between different forms, each of which had different abilities, and used them at the right time and place to get past obstacles in your way. It didn't get very far - just an early demo. We lost confidence in the developer to deliver, so canned it.

Also, it was DDI who originally pitched the idea of a LEGO soccer game, but like LI2, LEGO took the project from the original company and sent it over to Silicon Dreams for actual development - the result being Soccer Mania.

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  • 4 years later...
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lol username

Hm, apparently I left a few small bits out when posting that... Well, better late than never, a few more parts from our conversation that have some interesting stuff:

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I knew Wes! Nice guy! He was like the gatekeeper on all things LEGO Island, so I spent a while with him trying to understand what he was trying to achieve with the first game, and trying to get some of that in the second.

 

I remember him showing me that video - that was from an earlier aborted concept. The thing I worked on was much later - around 1998, IIRC. There was a demo reel of that too, though I never had a copy. It was pretty cheesy stuff - typical cheap Saturday morning kids show animation. It wasn't a full episode, just footage of the kids travelling through the warp into LEGO world, using their watches to construct things and the dog doing 'funny' stuff.

 

I don't know anything about the Mindscape stuff - that was from before LEGO Media existed. I think LEGO saw the success of LEGO Island and thought "We could do that ourselves!"

 

(The video mentioned was the other TV show pitch that never happened - the one Wes was involved in, with the pirates stealing a kids' bricks and all that. I asked him if it had any relation to what he'd worked on, which, as you can see from his reply, it didn't.)

 

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I'm sure there were other ideas - I know the idea of a LEGO Soccer game was mooted at one point - but can't remember much about them now.

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The Technics project never got beyond a design doc, some concept art and a rudimentary landscape routine - progress was ridiculously slow, hence the canning.

 

I didn't know that a soccer game eventually came out - the original pitch was by Data Design who did Rock Raiders. Obviously LEGO like the idea but not the dev... ;)

 

I'd seen Xtreme Stunts but not played it.

 

Also, in 2014 I briefly got in touch with Antony Ward, a 3D artist who'd worked on "LEGO Fantasy" at Krisalis:

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Hi Jamie,

 

I remember Dave, and LEGO Fantasy, or Island, or whatever it ended up as.

 

From what I recall I worked as part of a team developing buildings, vehicles and environments for the game. I have some screenshots and animations knocking around somewhere...

 

Let me know what you need, and I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

Ant

 

But sadly never heard anything more than that - ah well, maybe he wasn't able to dig anything up.

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  • 4 months later...

Dave and I had a talk recently. (Please forgive the Gmail formatting)
 

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> 1.       What themes were panned? (I’m curious to see if some were removed
> and have suspicions that Rock Raiders was planned)


DU> IIRC, Rock Raiders wasn't on the slate, simply due to its newness
and the fact it had its 'own' game. Instead, the game was going to
deal with more 'classic', long-standing themes including City (which
has a pretty broad remit itself), Space (+ City space elements like
the Shuttle et al), Castle, Pirate...
>
> 2.       If  Rock Raiders was could you tell me a bit about it  (Such as
> how it was going to fit into the story)


DU> As I say, I don't recall any plans to ever put it in LI2. Sorry to
smash your theory! ;)
>
> 3.       What company was making the TV show (LEGO Island 2 was going to be
> based off) that you mentioned on your site?


DU> Sorry, can't remember. They weren't 'top tier', that's for sure -
I know my animation and I remember thinking that I'd never heard of
them before. BTW, if there had been a game based on the TV show it
would've been named after the TV show; when that project died, some of
the concepts were carried across into LI2. Nothing is ever wasted... ;)
>
> 4.       Also do you remember the name of the show?


DU> That was never finalised. It was just called 'The LEGO Animated
Show' as an internal working title. Ultimately it never went further
than a pitch concept and showreel, so no-one ever invested time in
properly naming it.
>
> 5.        Awhile back a website was found that mentioned LEGO Chess
> expansion disks, what themes were they going to be based off?
>

DU> Really? Ha, that's news to me. It may have been discussed but I
don't think ever went beyond that. There was certainly nothing ever
officially scheduled. The game was originally going to have three
themes, Wild West, Pirates and Castle, in addition to a 'proper' chess
set, but we had to drop Castle due to time. That happened pretty early
on when setting out the schedule, so that never existed as anything
other than thoughts in a design doc.

 

 

 

 

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