Joe Adzima Interview
mm3guy: Hey! So, to fire off this interview, could you describe what you did you help the development of Midtown Madness 1 & 2?
Joe: I designed and implemented all of the AI for Midtown Madness 1 & 2. This included the ambient traffic, traffic controls, pedestrians, the opponents that you raced against, and the police that would try and chase you down.
mm3guy: If you were aware, what did you think of the fact that Midtown Madness 2 still has a thriving community? (Midtown Madness 1 is essentially dead, sadly.)
Joe: I'm surprised, but very happy and proud. It's great to see something that I played a part in, still giving people a fun and interesting experience. I never thought that we'd be in 2008 and still have people playing it. It's sad that MM1 is dead since MM1 was first and I personally liked MM1 and little bit more than MM2, but nothing lasts forever.
mm3guy: Did you excpect it to have modifications made for it?
Joe: No, although at the time I knew we had made something special because the team continued to play the game for fun, for months after the project was finished. Usually after the game is completed, no one ever wants to touch or even look at the game.
mm3guy: A couple people asked me to ask you this: Are there any Easter eggs in Midtown Madness 2? We are aware of the cheats that manipulate the AI in MM1, to go backwards for example (cheat: amizdA eoJ ), as to this date, none ave been found.
Joe: Not that I remember. It's been a long time since I've looked at that code. I vaguely remember something about the publisher clamping down on easter eggs for MM2.
mm3guy: Which MM game are you the most proud of the way its AI turned out?
Joe: Definitely MM1 since everything was brand new. There was so much excitement about that game when we launched. In MM2 there weren't as many new features Mostly optimizations and subtle improvements.
mm3guy: We are aware the answer will likely be negative, but may as well ask it: Do you still have the Midtown Madness 2 source code? If the community were to modify the game at source code level, its life span would increase dramatically...
Joe: I'm sorry, but I don't have access to any of the code.
mm3guy: As of this interview, the 8th anniversary of Midtown Madness 2 is 2 months away. MM1 is already 9 years old. What do you think of that?
Joe: Midtown Madness was a great game, that was totally family friendly. I'm not surprised that people are still playing it. I talked with many families that played it a lot as a family and loved it. I loved that you could never hit the pedestirans and that there was practically no vilolence. On the other hand, with the way graphics have improved, it is a bit surprising that people are tolerating that level of rendered graphics.
mm3guy: The Angel Studios website is long gone. But a while ago, I went through an old archived version of it, and discovered that before MM1 came to bear fruit, you showed microsoft something called "The Truck Demo". Did you have a part in its creation, and if so, what can you tell us about it?
Joe: I had no part in the creation of this demo, and have no idea who did.
mm3guy: To this day there have been only a few games that are even remotely similar to Midtown Madness. Did you feel it was risky to build a game around this concept?
Joe: At the time of development, there were a ton a racing games out on the market. Just like today. So I think that any foray into that genre is risky. Now and Then. At various times during Midtown's development, the project was almost canceled. Luckily we had a great producer at Microsoft who fought for us, and kept the project alive.
mm3guy: Do the city making tools provided by the community compare to the tools you used in the process of creating the cities in-house?
Joe: When we were making Midtown, the tools that we created were very impressive and did a great job. Since then, the tools have evolved quite a bit. The tools that exist today are very impressive, and it many ways surpass the original tools.
mm3guy: Do you have a favorite add-on vehicle and/or city for either game?
Joe: My favorite city of all time is Chicago. I think all of the add-on cars are excellent. I'm blown away at how fast the fans of Midtown are able to make full blown cities and cars.
mm3guy: Of all the games you helped develop, which was your favorite project?
Joe: Midtown Madness I of course. Everyone was very excited about the game when it released. More so than any game I've had to date.
mm3guy: When was the last time you played one of the MM games?
Joe: Wow!.. Unfortunately, it's been a long time. Maybe since I left Angel Studios in 2001.
mm3guy: Now, onto some other things: What do you think of Microsoft's decision to pass the torch from Angel Studios (now, and at the time aswell, a part of rockstar) to DICE?
Joe: I don't know anything about this, but in general I don't see any problem with transfering the franchise to another developer..
mm3guy: It was confirmed that a PC port of Midtown Madness 3 was in the making. But, mysteriously, it dropped off the radar. Do you think another PC-based Midtown Madness game should be made, or are you a part of the gaming world that thinks the concept has run dry?
Joe: I don't think the concept has run dry at all, in fact I think that another Midtown Madness game would be great, just not on the PC. I would go with PS3 or XBox. Something with tons of realistic city life, and illegal street races around every corner.
mm3guy: Well, this interview is nearing its conclusion. Is there anything else you would like to add before this is wrapped up?
Joe: Some interesting things happened to me when making the Midtown series. For instance I never had a speeding ticket before working on the project, but while I was on the project I got three. Since, the projects conclusion, I've had none. Spooky huh? Also, I attribute Midtown to saving my life twice while driving on the freeways in southern California. After years of virtual driving with the Midtown Madness driving simulation I was able to narrowly miss an accident which occured right in front of me, and another time I narrowly missed another cars brake drum which came off its car, and came right at me at 65 mph. So I thank God for Midtown Midness. Anyways in all seriousness, working on Midtown Madness I and II was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The other developers of the project were all great people and extremely talented. Maybe some day we'll get the team back together for an encore performance.
mm3guy: Well, thank you for participating in this interview! I am very pleased that you didn't reject me, considering the unusual manner I used to contact you in the first place...
Joe: I guess that's just the century we live in
Joe Adzima is currently working as a Lead Programmer for Sony Computer Entertainment, and has been since October 2004. Before that, he has worked for 5000ft Inc., Motocentric Inc., and of course, Angel Studios. His most recent game, which as of the writing of this article, been announced at E3 just a day or two ago, is "Resistance: Retribution" for the Sony PSP handheld console. It was the biggest reveal of any game he's ever experienced.
- Joe Adzima - MobyGames Profile
- Resistance: Retribution - Wikipedia Article on Resistance: Retribution
- AI Madness: Using AI to Bring Open-City Racing to Life - Gamasutra article written by Joe Adzima
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