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One of the worst games ever made during the 1990s was the SegaCD game Night Trap. It's one of those games that's so bad it's good. Well, a fan of the game is reviving the project so it can run in an internet browser.
Night Trap was a game about some vampires attacking young girls at a sleepover. The job of the player was to “trap” the vampires. The game's full-motion video depictions ended up seeing the game banned after politicians flipped out over the game, not unlike Target banning Grand Theft Auto V in Australia.
Eurogamer spotted a post on Gamasutra, where fan of the game Dan Voyles managed to get the game running in a browser over on a tentative Night Trap website. It's actually a really cool concept. Voyles writes...
A few days ago I built a quick prototype for getting Night Trap running in the browser. It’s rough, but hey, it works. Right now I am streaming the assets from Azure Media [Services] and playing them through the open source video.js player as a .mp4. I also converted all of the video to adaptive streaming and am now in the process of using the Azure Media Player.
It gets a bit technical, but the core gist of it is that Voyles ripped the video tracks from the Sega CD 32X game and has them switch through cloud feeds as players switch cameras. Think of it as being able to switch to the appropriate tracks on a multi-CD changer all playing the same song, and switching to each track keeps the song playing smoothly.
Unfortunately, this doesn't work so great in a browser because Voyles explains that the cloud (yes, the Azure cloud that Microsoft has been touting as the next big thing since 2013) has trouble streaming eight video clips simultaneously. Voyles was going to try to brute-force the game to run each of the clips asynchronously. The original concept of the game is that everything was happening in real-time and players had to stay keyed in to the right rooms to find and trap the vampires. You can see how the game works in a long-form playthrough below.
It seems like a more resource-efficient method would be storing each file on the cloud and calling it to play at a specific time when switching rooms; sort of like calling up YouTube video to play at a specific time when copying the URL with the time code. It would be tedious setting up the parameters of the videos to coincide with the timing of the call function(s), but the short length of the game might make it a little less painful.
What's more is that cuing up media based on time codes is oftentimes used for dynamic soundtracks; where an event happens in a game and developers will skip to a specific music cue to match the onscreen action. You're likely familiar with this method in games like Journey, Uncharted or Call of Duty to name just a few.
Nevertheless, Voyles wants to take a different approach to the recreation of the game by deconstructing the files from the Sega CD 32X ISO. He plans on reconstructing each of the small video clips to play and sync with the icons in the game where players could filter through the video feeds around the house. To be honest, that seems like a far more tedious task than just assigning each video tab in the game a specific time-frame location on the game's video track. Then again that would probably be the lazy man's route to the problem and he wouldn't have a very interesting series of articles on Gamasutra if that method was used.
Anyway, it's really cool seeing how Voyles is attempting to deconstruct how the game is made and put it back together as a browser title. The game failed on Kickstarter when the original creators tried getting a hold of the license to remaster the game. As a browser title it would be cool if Night Trap lived on as a cheesy, B-movie quality FMV game for gamers to experience for years to come, recognizing just how crappy some of the FMV games from the 1990s were. Heck, maybe someone will put Plumbers Don't Wear Ties in a browser next.