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aqualizard

Who gets credit? Jim Simmons? Mark Lesser?

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NHL94 was the best game of the franchise, no one here will argue that.

NHL95 sucked. Everyone agrees.

But it was whoever programmed the original engine -- the physics of the skating and shooting and passing that made the game *feel* right on a Sega Genesis -- that should be heralded as the greatest videogame programmer of all time. Who was that guy?

I get the impression Mark Lesser came late to the game, and just made extra touches on what was already magic? So was it Jim Simmons that programmed the foundation in '92? (I don't remember if there was a '91?) Or someone else, before him?

Edited by aqualizard

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yah I think its based on the 91 engine.

Which was made up of international countries and no nhlers.

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Lesser was the lead programmer for NHL'94 and was on board through NHL'99, along with some of the early Madden games. However, he didn't design or create the games engine.

The credit belongs to this guy: Michael Knox

rrt56g.jpg

Michael and Troy Lyndon (Troy makes the much maligned Christian-based, Left Behind series today).

These two men created the original engine for EA / NHL Hockey that was the foundation for NHL'94. They also created the first games in the John Madden Football series.

He sold the rights to the two sports games he created; at the time no one thought of releasing sports games with updated rosters every year, and being the golden goose that keeps EA in the black every year, he lost out on millions.


You can read his interview on Sega16, Making Madden.

Sadly, Knox died of colon cancer in 2009.

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EA should build a statue of this guy, Rocky Balboa style.

RIP

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Lesser was the lead programmer for NHL'94 and was on board through NHL'99, along with some of the early Madden games. However, he didn't design or create the games engine.

The credit belongs to this guy: Michael Knox

rrt56g.jpg

Michael and Troy Lyndon (Troy makes the much maligned Christian-based, Left Behind series today).

These two men created the original engine for EA / NHL Hockey that was the foundation for NHL'94. They also created the first games in the John Madden Football series.

He sold the rights to the two sports games he created; at the time no one thought of releasing sports games with updated rosters every year, and being the golden goose that keeps EA in the black every year, he lost out on millions.

You can read his interview on Sega16, Making Madden.

Sadly, Knox died of colon cancer in 2009.

Just in case someone else googles and finds this, this information is not correct. Michael Knox and Troy London were involved, but the programming of the engine (and everytihng else) was done by Jim Simmons.

When I asked the question I did not know that, and in fact this thread threw me off the trail. But in fact the answer was easy to come by: the sole developer listed on the early EA hockey games (up until NHL'94) was Simmons. As noted, for '94 Mark Lesser took everything over.

Edited by aqualizard

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Hm so maybe it's more that Knox and London made the Madden engine, then Simmons modified it for hockey?

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Well, isn't me-from-six-years-ago red in the face. I haven't been this embarrassed since that long walk from the 'adult film section' to the counter of Video Tape Library.

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Well, isn't me-from-six-years-ago red in the face. I haven't been this embarrassed since that long walk from the 'adult film section' to the counter of Video Tape Library.

LOL!

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Hm so maybe it's more that Knox and London made the Madden engine, then Simmons modified it for hockey?

Nope. Jim Simmons did the Madden engine -- and all programming -- too! Then he modified it for hockey. Knox and London and Scott Orr (and others I am sure) were involved in some way, but all of the code was Jim Simmons.

I am sure all of this and a lot more is going to be covered in the documentary Mikey is making! :)

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Exactly! The dude has got to be one of the all time greatest coders!! Now we just have to get him to redo this masterpiece in a modern language and make the code public domain! (Let's kickstart it!)

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I'd chip in a twentyspot.

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As the internal lead producer for NHL Hockey Genesis and Madden at Park Place Productions (owned by Knox and myself), let me clarify some things for you all here - read to the end to get the full scoop. I probably wouldn't have written anything here, but seeing my former partner Michael Knox maligned as a "black Bernie Madoff" couldn't be further than the truth.

Quoted from Wikipedia:

Due to the success of Monday Night Football on the PC (a game Knox and I created that was more successful than EA's PC version of Madden), Electronic Arts sought out Lyndon and his partner Knox to develop a football game which became the first 3D Madden Football game ever developed. Lyndon originally opposed the idea of a 3D game by his lead programmer, Jim Simmons (a friend of Lyndon's who had never developed a professional software product before), but empowered him to create the display engine if he could meet certain timeline deadlines, while Steve Quinn developed graphics. Lyndon and Knox embedded everything they had learned in developing two previous football games into Madden with countless hours with programmer Simmons describing how to make computer animated objects appear as though they were as smart as humans in determining how to play each of the different positions played by football players in real life. Lyndon credits Electronic Arts' producer Richard Hilleman for his countless hours spent with Simmons bug-testing and refining the game which was developed on the new Sega Genesis platform in record time; 6 months in-time for the product launch.

After Madden Football's success, Lyndon and Knox with programmer Jim Simmons went on to create the first NHL Hockey video game for the Sega Genesis platform. Utilizing green-screen video capturing equipment, Lyndon and his developers went on to create technologies to rotoscope real-life imagery of NHL characters directly into characters which appeared in video games. As a result, Lyndon built the video game industry's first dedicated filming studio (sound stage).

The point here is that both Madden and NHL Hockey, both great versions first on Genesis, we developed by a team. No one person deserves all the credit. For example, on Madden, Lyndon and Knox had previously published 3 football games - and in their wisdom, they recognized Simmon's programming talent and hired him, while teaching Simmons everything about how to create a solid football game - otherwise, there is no way Simmons could have completed the game on a new piece of hardware in 5 1/2 months. Seriously. However, to Simmons credit, Lyndon recognizes his innovation in developing the 3D view - that part was inspired by Lyndon's former boss, Scott Orr. Lastly, Rich Hilleman spent every waking moment near the end to fine-tune the play-ability of the game. So in fairness to the entire team, not a single member could have been omitted without the game turning out so well - that includes Michael Knox, Troy Lyndon, Jim Simmons, Scott Orr and Richard Hilleman, period. On the EA side, there was also the technical expertise of Scott Cronce (now Director, Software Development at Amazon) who supported us in developing one of the first Sega Genesis titles to be released. And I'm sure there were more at EA, including the team that created their awesome development systems.

Now as for NHL Hockey, Lyndon and Knox are to credit for the innovative green-screen techniques they utilized (as do filmmakers today), but remember this was back in 1991. Those innovative techniques combined with specialized code written to assist artists in "roto-scoping" were responsible for the fluid animations which had never been seen before in a sports game. With that said, Simmons is to credit for the awesome physics built into the engine which gave the game such a realistic and great game play feel. But he may not have been able to develop it so quickly without Lyndon input as the developer of Capcom's Hat Trick hockey game, which he brought from the arcade to the C-64 and PC. Scott Orr may also have been involved, as was Hilleman again who worked relentlessly with Simmons in the final days before release to fine-tune the game. So again, without the expertise of every team member, no one can say with assurance that they could have built these rockin games, unless they have an inflated view of their capabilities.

As for Mark Lesser, he was an unknown at this time when the first award-winning games (Madden and NHL Hockey for Genesis and SNES) were developed from 1990 through 1992. It is my understanding that '93 and '94 versions of both games were not new innovative games. However, they were clearly well-done derivative sequels of the originals which faithfully continued the legacy forward.

Perhaps the most evidence we have about the uniqueness of this amazing team becomes clear when the moment EA cut-out Lyndon and Knox in future work, which they did with Lyndon's approval (Knox begrudgingly went along), this same team never worked together, collectively, again - and accordingly, never innovated again in their entire careers to the degree that these two games changed sports simulation games forever.

I am forever grateful for having been on this team. Richard Hilleman deserves the most credit for having brought us all together. Had he recognized the importance of the collective parts, I'm sure there would have been many more hit games thereafter.

Very kindly,

Troy Lyndon

Edited by smozoma
Delineate quote
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Wow, thanks for joining and posting! We really appreciate one of the big contributors to this magical game posting here! I sure hope you stick around.

It is unfortunate that it was an offensive post that prompted you to post, but I guarantee that clockwise was just kidding around (and meant no offense) with his Bernie Madoff comment. I am going to read what you wrote in more detail, but I just wanted to say Thanks and Welcome!

Edited by aqualizard

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One quick comment. I just realized I am the guy that began this whole thread back in 2010.

It goes without saying that no one person made this game. There was a team of people involved, and we know and don't want to short change any individual's contribution. But...

In the original post I call attention to the programmer. My feeling is it is the programming that made this game magic, and brought it to life, separating it from the multitude of other hockey games that have been made. When I made the post, I was seeking to find out who the programmer was that deserved the credit for this game. Now I know the history, and know it was Jim Simmons that was the sole programmer until NHL94, when Lesser took over, adding some nice extras to Simmons's masterpiece. In my opinion, Jim Simmons should be up there with John Carmack, Shigeru Miyamoto, Notch Persson, and the dude who made Tetris, which is to say, he is one of the greatest videogame programmers of all time.

Edited by aqualizard

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I guess we now know who Plabax father really is smoz ur officially off the hook

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With that said, Simmons is to credit for the awesome physics built into the engine which gave the game such a realistic and great game play feel. But he may not have been able to develop it so quickly without Lyndon input as the developer of Capcom's Hat Trick hockey game, which he brought from the arcade to the C-64 and PC.

C64 Hat trick was one of my favourites. Excellent 1on1 hockey action with goalies. Really addictive and genious in simplicity. Wasted many hours on that before games like nhl hockey and nhl95 onwards on PC.

Edited by Depch

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Awesome insight, thanks for that Troy.

I think we all knew that many of the great parts of the game were hold-overs from previous versions - including much of the sprites/animations.

So if I'm reading correctly, many of those were done via green-screen?

Jer

Edited by jer_33

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Thank you Troy for logging in and providing us with that insight. It does sound like the core of the game -- the up/down skating, the physics, AI, etc. was mainly Simmons, but of course he didn't do it alone. Stick tap to the entire team, and again to you for sharing this with us.

Also, just wanted to second that Clockwise is a super-amazing bud who loves this game more than anyone. His comment was meant as a complete joke, and would earnestly feel bad if it were construed in any other way.

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When I made a joke about a black guy being Kevin Weekes, I remember getting flagged by all the moderators. When clockwise makes a similar joke... "it's just a joke".

lol!

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Troy,

Thanks for coming to the community and sharing your insight. It was a great read!

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Quoted from Wikipedia: Due to the success of Monday Night Football...

Regarding the quote, can you share the actual link where the quote is from?

I was having trouble determining where the quote ended and you own words kicked in again.

Thanks, Troy! :)

Edited by aqualizard

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Regarding the quote, can you share the actual link where the quote is from?

I was having trouble determining where the quote ended and you own words kicked in again.

Thanks, Troy! :)

I edited the post to put the quote in a quote tag

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Thanks for the knowledge Troy!

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go in your garage, find your old floppys and give the community the source code.... that it all

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Thanks Troy. Amazing info!

Seconding 77 (78?), it would be truly a gift to get our hands one the source code or even better open source it!

Atomic

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Thanks Troy. Amazing info!

Seconding 77 (78?), it would be truly a gift to get our hands one the source code or even better open source it!

Atomic

This would be outrageous and amazing.

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