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2021.06.21
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Research

The “lost” art of Mega-Corp

Illustrations and graphics created for Mega-Corp (Dinamic/Aventuras AD).

After the development of Mega-Corp for Spectrum, Amstrad and Commodore was completed, Dinamic informed Nicolás Lekuona and Luis Franco of the initial intentions to publish new versions for the 16-bit platforms.

Dinamic had the contractual possibility to develop its own versions if we declined to make them. We were asked to do the PC one and we declined because we thought they wanted x86 assembler. Seeing a BASIC listing full of IFs gave me the creeps! And I said that I’d do the ST and Amiga ones…

Truth is that this was a clause that I added to our contract, Dinamic’s standard one did not contain it. They could thus make versions without having to ask the author’s permission, who was then charged with the development costs. Since Mega-Corp PC never came out, we didn’t pay for the BASIC!

Of course, since all 16-bit versions were canceled, I was also unable to develop the Atari ST and Amiga versions beyond a few simple tests.

Nicolás Lekuona

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1207764727843217408
https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1207766084868345858

In order to improve the quality of the graphics which would accompany the text in these new editions, Dinamic had hired an illustrator who would take inspiration by the original graphics and the reference material created by Nicolás.

The authorship of these illustrations is currently unknown, although it is suspected that they could be the work of José Antonio Calvo, after ruling out Rafa Negrete and Ricardo Machuca.

Another rescued curiosity: this is the digitized sample that Dinamic sent us to show what Mega-Corp’s graphics would look like in 16-bit, captured using a video camera connected to an Amiga.

And yes, they touched up the image to replace the foliage seen from the cockpit with an outer space background. No idea why…

This process is the same they later used for the images in the PC version of Carvalho: Los Pájaros de Bangkok (“The Birds of Bangkok”), but using the horrible CGA palette 🤮

Nicolás Lekuona

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1056844241769521152

To Nicolás’ surprise, the supposedly canceled PC version would be later finished and published under IBSA’s “Serie Leyenda” (“Legend Series”) label.

This is the original CGA version, unpolished, by Luís Franco. Without polishing because, before being able to do it, Dinamic said that they wouldn’t be releasing the PC version nor, in fact, any on 16-bit. It was a surprise to discover, years later, that a “budget” version was released, with new graphics…

Nicolás Lekuona

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1292546030811086849

Scene gallery

Illustrations for the PC version of Mega-Corp which Luis Franco began to work on before they told us that they were going for digitized captures, and which were later reused by R. Ortega.

The funny thing is that the PC CGA graphics were designed on an Atari ST, using only four colors from the 16 palette. Dinamic then processed those graphics for the PC…

Comparing some of Luis’s unfinished designs with those that Raúl Ortega later made from them, I agree with many of his modifications, and disagree with others. But we weren’t asked, because the PC version wasn’t supposed to see the light of day.

Nicolás Lekuona

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1056604721761447936
https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1056615776944304133
https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1056618659152564224

Following is a comparison of the illustrations, the discarded PC graphics (made by Luis Franco) and those that finally saw the light a few years later (by Raúl Ortega Palacios).

The ship’s cockpit

Ship in the forest clearing

Herd of Ziths

Kryyx couple

Ynnh’Arr village

Elder Ynnh’Arr

Lake in front of Nyhmir

Altar of the Forest Temple

Police Control at Nyhmir’s entrance

A busy city street

Ahmi Gosh, the fur trader

The tavern

Temple of the god Soth

Prison sentry

Robot sentry

Archive room

Sewers

Videophone booth

Rebels’ den

Other graphics

Loading screen

Loading screen made by Luis Franco for the Spectrum version of Mega-Corp which Dinamic, however, decided that Javier Cubedo would do instead. Note that it uses the Dinamic logo, because AD hadn’t been conceived yet.

Nicolás Lekuona

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1060162398735265793

Final loading screen by Javier Cubedo, the original by Luis Franco and an incomplete version for the Atari ST, along with Azpiri’s cover on which they are based.

Passage screen

Atari ST, PC original and PC final:

Another handful of half-baked graphics, made with the Atari ST palette already in mind. A conversion of one of the CGA graphics to color, a hint of a loading screen for the game, and a first screen for the game; the panels opened to unveil the illustrations…

Nicolás Lekuona

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1056606906695987202

User interface

PC original and PC final:

Fonts:

https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1292549605222211585
https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1200848179220172800
https://twitter.com/Old_Atarian/status/1060162398735265793


Images provided by Nicolás Lekuona.

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