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Pod (Planet of Death)- The buggiest, most flawed great game ever? (Pod Speedzone too)

Aug 6, 2006
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Perhaps not, but it's up there on the list.

Note: this is ver.2 of this article, done on 9/3/2012. I just learned about the GOG release of the game, PodHacks, and nGlide, and have integrated mentions of all three of these important releases and tools into the review. Most of the text is unchanged, but GOG and PodHacks particularly make some things simpler and fix some of the game's outstanding issues, so the game works even better now than when I originally made the thread. Links have been updated as well.

I'll cover Pod 2: Speed Zone in a later post (it isn't nearly as great as the first game)... but first, Pod.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOVyYY6o4sA -- The intro CG, watch this first!
It'll be over soon... it's going to be gone and this place will be forgotten.

It's too bad really, because the whole thing started out so well. Io is... I mean, was... one of the most successful new planets. It was colonized rapidly, industries developed, and people came from everywhere to take advantage of the work opportunities here.

For years, we all prospered. It was like living on a new frontier. And then... it all came to a halt. An accident in one of the mines exposed some kind of virus.

The press called it "pod" and it's practically destroyed everything here.

Everyone has left Io now, or almost everyone. Some have stayed behind, some by choice, some because they had no choice. Our days are numbered now. We're all doomed, all except for one person. There is one ship left, one of us will get away to safety. Pod is in the final stages of its destructive cycle. Planet Io and everyone left on it will die.

To kill time, we've been using parts from abandoned factories and forgotten equipment to transform cars into superpowered vehicles and race them around the empty streets of Io. Today's races aren't like the others, though. Today each driver is racing for his life. The winner will take his place in that one remaining ship.

The others? Well, well.

The game's name, by the way, is entirely appropriate, but you'll need to see the awesome ending to see exactly why. Don't spoil it by watching the Youtube video, play the game!


Pod 1.0 (OEM Edition) disc - the one I have.


Pod is a racing game developed and published by Ubisoft for the PC in 1997. It was one of the first games to support Intel's new MMX technology, and supported the 3d cards of the day too. After it came out, the game had a series of patches, updates, and fixes, and the number of game versions profligated from just a few at first to many.It supported DirectX 3, DirectX 5, 3DFX Glide, lesser cards like the S3's junk and whatever ATI had then, Matrox, and more, each with separate patches. Despite all the patches, however, some of the core issues were never fixed...

Time has, however, made things slightly simpler. Most of those patches I mentioned are now irrelevant. Also, they fall into two general categories, the 'lesser graphics' versions, and the 24MB 'better graphics' ones. Only two versions of the game are 24MB (referring to the size of the patch) better graphics versions -- D3D DirectX 5, and 3DFX Glide. Of those, the Glide version has better graphics, and supports 800x600 resolution, while the D3D 5 version is limited to 640x480. As a result, the best way to play the game now is with a Glide emulator. The game is now also available on GOG, and as expected they have fixed the worst problems, though there are still some things to know for that version, in particular for how to add the additional cars and tracks.

On that note, In addition to the patches, the game also had numerous official car and track downloads, as well as a few unofficial car and tracks that were made by users and are available. The results of this are that Pod folder in my Game Downloads folder being 715 files and 425MB large, though a lot of that is the track and car downloads. For a 1997 game though, that's a lot of stuff.


First, the many Good Points. This is why the game is so amazing.

+Pod is a pure racing game. There are no weapons or attacks of any kind, except for just bumping into the other cars. Weapons work in a lot of futuristic racing games, sure, but in this case not having them focuses the game on the racing, and it works really, really well.

+Physics -- you slow down on uphills, speed up on downhills. Some complain that the effect on your speed from going up a hill is too significant, and it makes the game feel slow, but while sometimes you are slowed down quite a bit on uphills, shouldn't you be? When a car goes up a hill, unless it can accelerate more, it loses speed. That's exactly how it works here. It is an arcade-style racing game, but it uses a very playable, and fun, driving model.

+The controls are very simple -- In fact, the game only has four controls: turn left, turn right, accelerate, and brake, unless you're using manual transmission, in which case there are also two gearshift buttons. Nothing more is needed. There are some configuration buttons and a pause button, but none of those are related to the actual gameplay... the actual gameplay controls are as simple as can be. You focus on the racing, not on trying to remember the controls.

+Those cars and tracks... despite the irritation of the CDPatcher (see below), how many racing games have this kind of variety? There are a huge number of available tracks and cars in this game! The game comes with 16 built-in tracks and 8 built-in cars that are always installed. The main Championship goes through those sixteen tracks. Beyond that, you can have up to 32 of the additional 20 official tracks available for download (in Europe most of these were originally available in an expansion pack, but the expansion didn't come out in the US. Instead, all of its tracks were put up for download, with regular new track releases (free of course) until they were all available.), and up to 32 of the and 44 official car downloads installed into the game at once. In addition, there are five unofficial car downloads, seven OEM versions of official original courses available (they were altered in the final release, but you can see the original versions with these tracks), two other beta versions of official courses, and a bunch of user courses -- 11 new tracks (some of which crash, and which do not have any AI so it's timetrial or multiplayer only), 8 reskins of official courses, and several reskins of user courses (some of which crash). Every track, original and expansion, looks completely different and has its own theme and setting, as well as layout an obstacles. I don't know of any other futuristic or arcade racing games with this much variety...

+The actual track DESIGNS are fantastic and unique. Pod has a visual style all its own, and unique track designs as well. The tracks are highly varied in locations, length (though overall race time is kept similar by having more laps on short courses and fewer on long ones -- a great system!), width, style, and difficulty, providing for greater variety than almost anything else in the genre. This is probably the greatest strength of the game, as no other racing game ever has tracks that have the feeling and design of Pod's. There are tracks for everyone here. The easy tracks are short (in lap length, not race length, thanks to the short tracks having more laps), the hard tracks long. The easy ones have no shortcuts, the hard ones many paths to find your way through. The designs are amazingly good and always interesting and go far above and beyond the requirements for courses for your average futuristic racing game. The harder tracks, in particular, are truly challenging, full of blind turns, dead ends, tricky shortcuts, mazelike arrays of passages you have to find your way through, traps, and obstacles you can bump into and push around. At times, when you're winding your way through a particularly hellish maze of corridors, such as the track of doom, Megapol (play it and you will understand how appropriate that appellation is...), the game can barely feel like a racing game at all... except for that lap time of yours, falling minutes behind the competition, that is. Of course, spend the time to memorize the course and you can do well too... but if this gets too frustrating, many simpler, but just as great, tracks are available.

+As I said in the previous point, the game has great art design, as you might expect from a French game. The abandoned, futuristic world of Io presented here is very well designed. Each track has a consistent theme and style which comes together very well. While all of the original courses and many of the addon ones have collapsing-world themes, each one has its own unique environment and design; they each look unique, and all are interesting. The cars are just as well done and also come in great variety. The graphics are admittedly a product of their time -- they have a similar '1997 PC' feel to, for instance, Jedi Knight 1 -- but while this means a very limited polygon count, it also gives them a distinctive style. Considering when the game was made the graphics are fantastic, and the texture work looks amazing in emulated 3DFX mode at 800x600 or higher. The textures are absolutely beautiful in emulated 3DFX mode. The game's interface theme also fits perfectly with the game's. Everything looks like it's on corroding metal plates, essentially. It fits the game perfectly, and I think the interface looks great. Oh, and no, the game's colorscheme isn't just brown and grey. There is a lot of brown, but there is also grass, lots of multicolored skies, brightly colored areas, flashing barriers, the works. It's not just brown.

+While all of the original tracks have a consistent overall theme, in the expansion Ubisoft went farther afield. As a result, many of these tracks have varied, non-Io themes -- a giant casino table (and spectacularly great course), an ice field with giant penguins, a halloween-themed course, a tropical island, and more -- these tracks offer some nice variety, and are some of the best looking, and best designed, courses in the game. The original game has a consistent story and plot; why not try some interesting, different things for the addon tracks? This variety makes you want to download, and try, every one of these great tracks. They really are some of the best in the game. Some even have themed vehicles to go with them!

+Even if they only work in multiplayer or timetrial and some crash, the user-made tracks that don't crash are interesting and can be as well designed as any of the official courses. There are still Pod websites active on the internet (yes, it had a real fanbase, and this has lasted. There are still Pod fansites on the internet. ) and you can find other timetrial times to compare yours to if you wish. Timetrial mode was very popular in Pod, like it would later be with Trackmania. You can save and load ghosts in order to compare your times to those of the best players who have played the game. These ghost downloads can be found on fansites, which also provide a place or link to places to download all of the patches, emulators, track downloads, and car downloads that I've talked about from.

+There is an optional car damage system. You can set it to Off, Global (a simple model where the whole car takes damage when you get hit), or Sector, which breaks the car down into six parts which take damage separately (the most challenging form of damage modelling). While cars cannot be destroyed (unlike in the intro... ), and there is no visible car damage, just an on-screen graphic, damage affects top speed and performance, making avoiding it a very good idea. Each track has a repair zone to stop in that will slowly repair car damage, but they are always on sidings and are sometimes well hidden, so taking one WILL be a delay. Deciding to go fix your car will usually lose you some time, but will fix your top speed. It's a tough decision on some courses... Oh yes, and car damage carries over from race to race. If you finish hurt, you'll start the next race the same way. You cannot be destroyed, though; the main effect is that your top speed will go down.

+The championships use a flat point system, no disqualifications. There are eight cars per race. Eight points for first, seven for second, etc, to one point for last. You only win if you finish in first overall at the end of the championship, but how you get there doesn't matter. Except for the only-every-four-races save system, it's pretty much the ideal championship design. There are also random championship and custom championship options, in addition to the default one that goes through the base 16 tracks, and single race and time trial modes, as well as multiplayer. You can restart any race in championship mode after you complete it, so though you can only save every four races, if you are patient and restart races when you do poorly you will do well anyway. It's best to just run through and see what place you get, but when you have a particularly bad race, having a redo option is fantastic.

+Despite the loss of online play via the gameservice, the two-player split-screen multiplayer mode works great. If you have another copy of the game, you could also try the IPX, direct-modem (cable), or direct IP (Internet, type in IP address) play options.

+That aforementioned intro is really, really awesome. At four minutes long, it's very long for a racing game, and it does a really good job of setting the theme for the game and giving you a feel for the location. The graphics of the various tracks all fit in with the game's general themes of decay and ruin within interesting surroundings, and the emptiness and abandoned equipment in the middle of once-populated areas helps remind me that I'd better win the championship... :) The story isn't utterly amazing or anything, but it's rare for a racing game to have one at all, much less one done as well as this. I mean, F-Zero GX is definitely better than this game, but its attempts at storytelling failed pretty badly... this does much better. Simpler, but better.

+The music is great. It's fantastic futuristic racing game electronica, but with a unique sound to it... watch the intro video and the race videos at the end of the post, they have a good amount of it in it. It's a soundtrack I have no problem listening to over and over and over... great stuff.

+It'll bring you back to the days when MMX was supposed to be the next great thing... (and darnit, after playing this game, I still thought it would be... oh well. )

+Ingame map code. While racing, type "map" (no need to let off the accelerator, just press the keys in that order). Presto, the tachometer was replaced with a map. Now, the F9 key will switch between this simple map (which changes color based upon where you are) and another one which shows the exact locations of all eight racers. This second map is great, I never race without it!


Second, the Minor Problems. These don't hurt the game too much, but can be annoying.

-If you want the intro and ending videos to play, figure out a way to get Intel Indeo to function on your system. Otherwise just watch them externally and skip them ingame... the video files are in an open format, so you can watch them in any video file player. (I thought I'd gotten Indeo working on this computer, but running Pod yesterday it clearly isn't working...) Modern computers and OSes don't exactly like Indeo... Annoying. The great PodHacks user patch tool (link in the Links section below) can fix this problem. GOG fixed this issue in their version.

-You need to set Windows to 16-bit graphics for the game to start, even if you have dgVoodoo set to 32-bit color (which would be a bit odd given that 3DFX cards can only do 24-bit color...). The PodHacks user patch file can fix this error too. GOG fixed this as well in their release.

=On the note of PodHacks, it can not only fix those two issues, it also can fix any CPU detection problems easily (below), allow users of the GOG version to use alternate Glide wrappers such as dgVoodoo or nGlide, and even redirect calls to the c:/windows/ubisoft/ubi.ini and CD file locations, so that you can copy that data somewhere else if you wish.

-Ubisoft shut down the online system years ago, meaning that all that's left for multiplayer is IPX, modem, 2-player splitscreen, or direct cable link. You can, I believe, do stuff like combine splitscreen with modem though, I think. I've only ever played it online (when that was available) or splitscreen.

-The game occasionally freezes for a moment, like a sudden drop in framerate that it quickly recovers from.

-The save system is a bit wonky -- save data has been known to disappear or corrupt. In addition, in championships you can only save after every four races, which is annoying at times when you keep doing badly at the last race before the save point... though if it won't save anyway when you get there, there's no need to worry about it. :) Most of the time it saves properly, though; this is a rare issue.

-There's an odd black space between the sky textures and the track, like a black ring in the lower edges of the sky between the ground and the sky... I would bet that this is an artifact of the fact that the sky was designed for 640x480, not 800x600, and in the higher resolution, there is a gap between the sky and ground. Not that annoying, just kind of odd sometimes.

-The game can be hard, even frustrating. It often feels like once you pass someone they stay on your tail forever, but once they pass you they quickly zoom far ahead... even on Normal, you will lose, a lot, until you get pretty good. This is even more true on the more complex tracks; don't expect to do well your first few tries. You will need to learn them. However, there are some good sides, too -- the AI is not perfect. The other cars will crash, run into walls, get stuck on corners, take damage and need to use the healing areas just like you do, spin out on the slime, and more. Even so, it always feels like the computers are faster than you... this game can be hard. There is a difficulty level selection, and Easy is suggested for beginners, but for veteran racers, you win far too easily, and even there, they bunch up behind you quite a bit. There is a solution, though: Just learn to race better. The challenge level is always pushing you to find a better path and improve your driving skills.

-In order to get the game running in 800x600 (assuming that you are running in 3DFX mode, as described below; D3D mode, or any of the lesser patches, do not support 800x600), you need to edit the game's config file, in C:\Windows\Ubisoft. Once there, edit the ubi.ini file as described. The ingame interface has a "graphical options" button, but that button doesn't work; instead, to change the resolution, you must edit that file. But that's simple enough. GOG's release of course comes prefixed.

https://www.murmuran.net/pod/viewtopic.php?t=607
Under the [SYSTEM] heading, set the line MMX=1 if you have a Pentium MMX or Pentium II CPU.
Then, under the [POD2_0] heading, set the following lines:
SizeView=0
DisplayMode=6
ModeCameraSingle=6
BkGround=1

Through dgVoodoo you can actually raise the resolution above this (for widescreen for instance), but this is what the game will actually be rendering.


And last, the Major Problems. These mostly relate to the long and complicated install procedure anyone wanting to play the game needs to follow, as well as a few other significant flaws.

- The sound effects are broken. The CD audio music is fine, but the sound effects are broken. Voices ('3-2-1-go') crackle and break in and out, engine noises stutter loudly often nearly drowning out the music for the whole duration of the race... it's really annoying. It's kind of a blessing when the sound breaks completely... I want to listen to the music, not that staticky engine noise. I don't know if GOG fixes this or not.

- The process of properly installing the patches and emulator needed to run the game are a big hassle. The process, for a disc-based release: To run the game on a modern computer, first install the game from the CD, in normal DirectX3 mode. Then install the 40MB OEM-to-Retail patch if you have the OEM version CD (as I do). Next install the 24MB 3DFX patch. Then install it again; it's buggy and needs to be ran twice. Next install the Force Feedback patch if you either have a force feedback gamepad or joystick or an ATI CPU, because for some reason that patch fixes the game for them. Next, if you have a Pentium 4 (and only that, not any other Intel CPU) run the unofficial Pentium 4 exe patcher and patch the EXE to get it to run. Alternatively just run PodHacks after installing the 3DFX patch properly, and the Force Feedback patch if you have a directinput force feedback joystick (though is there an xinput-to-dinput mod, like there is for the reverse, for using a 360 controller with this? I'll have to look it up.) -- PodHacks can also fix these CPU detection issues. GOG's version of course prefixed to work.

-Next, copy a Glide emulator and its files (I use dgVoodoo, it, nGlide, or the GOG built-in one are by far the best options for this game) into the Pod folder and configure the emulator to your liking. This emulates Glide so you can run Pod in higher resolutions (or 800x600, at least, maybe higher) and with better graphics than you can get in the second-best graphics patch, the (640x480-limited) D3D DX5 one. Test the game until you find settings that (hopefully) get the game to actually run on your system. dgVoodoo requires at least a GeForce 3 video card -- I could not run Pod on my old computer because my GeForce2 wasn't good enough to display anything ingame. This shouldn't be a problem for many people anymore.

-Alternately, instead of the Glide patch, if you want worse graphics but no emulator, you can install the D3D DX5 patch, if that still works with modern versions of DirectX (I have no idea). This will probably require installing the two Gameservice patches (in the correct order) to fix speed problems, as without the emulator the game tends to run too fast without the Gameservice patches.

-There is also a newer Glide wrapper that can be used instead of dgVoodoo that's called nGlide. It has more accurate Glide emulation than dgVoodoo. It's used as with dgVoodoo -- unzip it into the Pod installation folder, and set it up there. It does come at the cost of not working with the FMVs, sadly.

-For the GOG Release things are simpler, but there still are some decisions to make. GOG includes a built-in Glide wrapper (emulator) with the game of course, and that works okay, but there are however other options, dgVoodoo or the newer wrapper nGlide. See below for the links. nGlide has more accurate Glide emulaton than dgVoodoo or the GOG wrapper, but comes at the cost of not working with the FMV files, so the intro, ending, and credits won't play. dgVoodoo is compatible with the videos, however, so it might be the better choice. In order to use alternate wrappers, first install PodHacks by unzipping it in the GOG ver. Pod installation folder. Then run PodHacks and select which options you want to use. Next do the same two steps with the wrapper you want.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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-Whatever version you're playing, the game is buggy -- it can crash, even after all this. The window-switching that it does in between the menu and race is also annoying, though it's obviously an artifact of the emulator. That window-switching is also a cause of some of the crashes, I'm pretty sure... Task switching out of the game is also generally not a good idea, as you might not be able to get it back.

-The game has a lot of tracks and cars -- in total, 49 cars and 56 or 57 tracks, counting ones that don't work right. 36 of those are official courses that generally work correctly. The others are user-designed ones that are more limited in function -- many have crash bugs in them, user-designed courses have no AI unless they're reskins of official courses, so they're only usable in multiplayer or timetrial modes. In addition, the game only allows you to add 32 cars and 32 tracks on top of the base 16 tracks and 8 cars. This is enough for all of the official tracks, but not all of the cars. To change which are installed you use the POD CDPatcher program, an official app that lets you install and remove extra cars and tracks. The program doesn't tell you when you get over 32, so you just need to keep track (it'll be obvious, the game will crash when next run). Ingame, while the tracks are easy to choose, broken into three 16-vehicle pages, the cars are a bit more difficult, as only eight can be selected at a time, and they are the eight that you select between and that will show up in-race. In a sub-menu you can switch which eight vehicles are selected among the up to 40 available (32 + base 8). There are no names or indicators here so you just need to select them, and no 'reset to default' option, so you need to remember which are the originals if you want to go back to the default, or uninstall all add-on cars. Blah. Note: the CDPatcher should be able to find CD installs of Pod, but it might need to be run in Win95 compatibility mode. For installation in the GOG release, see the next point.

-The CDPatcher and extra tracks and cars are NOT included with the GOG release, so anyone with that release will need to download the CDPatcher and tracks from the links below. One of the links explains in detail how to do this in the GOG version, and the process is slightly different from the CD as the install autodetection won't work. To use it, first download the CDPatcher 2 file and the track and car files into a folder anywhere on your hard drive. Then, download the "CD Patcher 2 POD Install Config" file from the noted link below, and unzip it in your C:\ root directory. It will automatically put the files in C:\Windows\Ubisoft. If you have PODHacks redirecting c:\windows\ubisoft\ to somewhere else, put the POD Install Config files in that folder instead. Now extract the track and car file zips into the CDPatcher directory; they'll autocreate the correct subfolders they go into. Now, run the CDPatcher. Note: This patch assumes that GOG Pod has been installed to C:\UbiSoft\Pod2_0\. If it is anywhere else, you'll need to edit the correct location into the proper line of the ubi.ini file in the download. It's easy. Once that's done, run the CDPatcher and add in those tracks! It's worth it, many of the best tracks and cars are among the additions. Run the CDPatcher2 in Win95 compatibility mode.

-Some people have issues with starting the game in 64-bit Windows 7, but others can get it to work, at least with the GOG release, so it is possible to run but some may have issues.


But to conclude on a positive note, one final good point...

+When fully patched and with dgVoodoo or nGlide installed, the game WORKS on a modern, Windows Vista PC! Sure, there are issues, as I listed, but the game WORKS. Considering the game's age and problems, this is amazing. In fact, in some ways the game works better on this PC than any previous one we have owned... it didn't run at all on my last computer, a P4 1500 (could get into the menus, but ingame all textures were black thanks to my videocard not being fully compatible with dgVoodoo); it did run on the two before that, a P3 800 and a P1 233, but on the P3 800 you had to run with the D3D DX5 patch, not 3DFX, so you were limited to 640x480 and not quite as good effects. The 233 did have a Voodoo2 card in it, and ran the game well, but I had saving problems more frequently there than any previous system... but perhaps it would be most accurate to say that Pod will run on a modern computer just as well as it would run on a contemporary, Voodoo graphics equipped, late '90s PC. And that's fantastic. Not every game from that era works as well... but here, all I need to do is put the disc in and click the link. The emulator doesn't need to be started separately or anything, it just automatically runs whenever the game does, converting the Glide to D3D stuff the video card can understand. The difficulty is setup; once you're configured, playing Pod is very simple.

In conclusion, despite more (quite) major and (relatively) minor flaws than probably any other game I like, Pod is one of my favorite racing games ever and has been a personal favorite of mine for ten years now. I still use a Pod-themed Winamp skin, in fact... It's a great, unique game, flaws included. There's really nothing else quite like it, though that point is very hard to make clear to someone who doesn't have knowledge of the game's greatest strength, its track designs and styles. From the narrow tunnels and cool shortcut of Canyon to the long two-way road in Beltane to Skyrace's cool style and Downtown's short, twisty route, or that island Beach, icy Iceberg, awesome Hellway, the abandoned bridges and construction machines in tracks like Pompeii... Pod's tracks are unlike anything else. And that's only a few of them...

Videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY3mgbGdHSQ -- Canyon, one of the original 16 tracks. Also shows off the great music and stuttery sound, as well as how many tracks have multiple paths. The video quality is pretty low (very artifacted)... it's the same for all of these videos, but it's all I could find.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGtGA7RXcIc -- Galleria, another one of the original 16.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rDjyCbzN_g -- Spin, one of the downloadable tracks. The downloadable tracks generally look better than the original ones, so the artifacting affects them even more -- this track actually looks great. Even in this video, though, you can tell how cool a track it is, if not how nice it looks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhpaFTh0KC0 -- Parking, download track. An example of one of the game's more confusing courses. Indeed, in the video, the person gets lost... :)


Screens

This is Pod, the way it looks ingame when you patch it properly, as I have described. Nice, crisp textures, sharp lines, clear picture... it looks fantastic, particularly for a game from 1997. The track is a download track, the ice one (obviously). The vehicles on screen are a mixture of original and download cars. The yellow truck, for instance, is a download vehicle. It's of the German version obviously.



And THIS is Pod after IGN gets its hands on it. Blurry, muddy textures, no sharpness in sight... awful, IGN, just awful. Oh, this is Downtown, one of the original tracks.



:lol No wonder IGN hated the game when they "retro-reviewed" it in 2000, when properly patched the game looks two or three times better than this! I might like the game less too, if it actually looked this bad... fortunately, it doesn't.

This track, Pompeii, does have one of the worse "black border between ground and sky" issues even in 3DFX mode, but even so, it should look a lot better than that. (though on that note, supposedly in Pod Gold there may be improved versions of the original courses that reduce or eliminate this problem... I only have Pod OEM, though, so I don't know for sure.)



I'd post more good pictures, but I can't find any on the web and am not sure as to what the easiest way to take some myself would be -- the game has no ingame screenshot function.

It would be nice to have some actual good pics of the other tracks, though, and some showing the map+F9 ingame map. What can you use to get screenshots in a fullscreen game that doesn't have the function built in?

Links (most of these sites have French or German parts as well as English, as the game was popular in Europe)

https://www.murmuran.net/pod/ - Pod Forum. The best Pod forum on the internet, go here for help or info.

http://dege.freeweb.hu/ - dgVoodoo, the vitally important Glide emulator.

http://berlinrc.de/pod/ - Bandie's Pod page, a classic Pod site. Has a timetrial time archive, among other things. Timetrial mode was very, very popular; indeed many Pod fans went on to play Trackmania.

http://bandies-racing-board.de.vu/ - Bandie's forum. This is current, not essentially an archive like the site linked above. Very good Pod forum. The previous forum was at http://bandie.ba.funpic.de/phpBB2/index.php?c=14 (now dead; web.archive.org might have something).

http://www.thebasingers.com/0706milbs/pod/ -- Pod Phreak, a great site with download links to all of the Pod tracks, cars, and patches. Download any needed other patches, the CDPatcher, and then all of the car and track files for use with that CDPatcher!

http://www.gog.com/en/forum/pod/planet_of_death_hooks_podhacks - PODHacks information can be found here, with a download link too. PODHacks is a very useful tool, as described above. This is a direct link to the download download: http://svn.nicode.net/podhacks/bin/

http://www.zeus-software.com/downloads/nglide - nGlide itself can be downloaded here, if you wish to use it.

http://www.thebasingers.com/0706milbs/pod/goginstall.html - CD Patcher 2 Pod Install Config downloads and install instructions, for using the CDPatcher and the additional tracks and cars in the GOG release. This page has the CDPatcher 2 itself as well, but not the tracks and and cars themselves -- get those at Pod Phreak. That site is on the same site as this one, but the two pages don't link to eachother so both links are necessary.

http://www.bredel.homepage.t-online.de/POD/POD-English/pod-english.html - Another Pod site with info and installation help. Source of that third screenshot. Has some additional info on hardware problems, if one arises.

Sites for groups that worked on user Pod content: http://witnessteam.free.fr, http://membres.lycos.fr/skubidou/Pod/, http://www.angelfire.com/wa3/riffraff1/XPTracks.html
 
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... And that shows what GAF thinks of any arcade-style racing game not made by Sega.

Pod: Speed Zone was on Dreamcast...

As for Pod: Speed Zone, it is a highly disappointing sequel to the original Pod. Essentially, the entire game system and concept was drastically changed.

What is similar:

+Futuristic theme

+It's a racing game

+Online play (which, like the original's, is now offline -- but unlike the original, there are no modem-to-modem, IPX network, or direct IP options here.)

+Two player splitscreen multiplayer (fortunately)

+Cars take damage (but the system has changed, as described below)

+Tracks are long and have multiple paths. The track designs are quite good. They feel a little different from the original game's tracks, but they are very well designed and interesting, and all have multiple routes. This is the one thing that saves the game from complete irrelevance -- the track designs are interesting enough for me to want to play the game anyway, despite its numerous, crippling flaws. Pod 2 may have a lot of problems, but track designs are not among them. It's obvious that a lot of attention went into the track designs, and all six are well designed, fun, and challenging. The tracks do still have many shortcuts and alternate routes, which is great. They're not entirely straightforward.

+One of the tracks looks very much like the road type from the first Pod's intro video. That's awesome, because despite the intro, that type of track wasn't actually present in the original game. That track is one of the best tracks in this game, too.


What is different:

-Number of tracks -- 5 (6 with online or a downloaded savefile), not 16 base + 20 downloadable + user maps. Absolutely pitiful in comparison. The tracks are really cool, though, as I said above. But there are FAR too few of them! And there are no downloadable courses, either. All six tracks have similar futuristic-world themes; there are none with the interesting, varied craziness of some of Pod's downloadable tracks.

-Number of cars -- 6 (8 with online or a downloaded savefile), not 8 base + 44 downloadable. Yeah, that's not good. Oh, and the car styles are COMPLETELY different -- the concept here is that the cars themselves are infected with the Pod virus, or something, and you have to race against them... why? I don't know, the story doesn't go anywhere and has no ending. But anyway, instead of cars made from industrial parts and junked vehicles, like the original game, here the cars look semi-organic. It's kind of a cool look, but makes for completely different types of car designs from the original game. And there are only six or eight, no downloads or variety (like the set of eight bike vehicles in the original Pod, or the pirate cars, or the haloween cars, etc...). They're all based on this one theme.

-No single player championship mode of any kind and no ingame story. The game's intro is very short and has no words (the Pod virus is on another planet now or something? I don't know). There's a bit of backstory in the manual, but that's it. As far as I know there is no ending. The only single player mode is single race -- choose a car, choose a track, and see if you make it into the top times list. It saves the top three lap and race times for each track, that's it. The other modes are online and two player splitscreen. Ubisoft did this with both Pod 2 Speed Zone Multiplayer Online and Speed Devils Online Racing, but at least in the case of Speed Devils you can always go back and play Speed Busters (PC), the original game, or Speed Devils (DC), the first DC version, either of which have full single player modes. The only thing Pod 2 has over Speed Devils Online is that Speed Devils Online didn't even have a two player splitscreen mode, something the original Speed Devils does have, so now it's a single player only game. At least Pod has a two player splitscreen mode. But still, having no single player mode is the single greatest flaw with the game. All there is to do here is race the tracks and try to improve your times... and that's not enough.

-You needed to access the gameservice (online server) in order to unlock one track and two cars. Given that that is now impossible, the only way to use those now is to download a save file with them unlocked onto your DC. This means you need either online access on your Dreamcast (have dialup internet or a DC broadband adapter?) or some way of getting files onto a DC memory card. This is possible thanks to fanmade Dreamcast CDs that are full of savegames. Download one with Pod 2 saves on it, and upload one of those saves to your memory card; this is by far the easiest way to get access to those two hidden cars and that hidden track. They really are essential for anyone who likes the game, so burn a save files CD! The alternative is actually getting your DC online and getting the files from the internet, but that, of course, is much more challenging.

-The game has weapons and powerups now. Many Pod fans were greatly disappointed by this, because they loved the game as a pure racing game. I don't really mind, but it does make it feel less like Pod, and more like some generic futuristic racing game...

-You now have a boost button. Again, complicating the controls and changing the feel of the game.

-Cars can be destroyed -- run out of shields and you lose. Damage is global only, no off or sector options. This can be very frustrating -- in some tracks, it's actually hard to finish without dying because of all the near-unavoidable damage you take. Look out for those shield recharge powerups!

-While adding weapons could have worked, it doesn't becasuse the weapon/powerup system is pointless and lame. The powerups are mostly useless, essentially, except for healing and boost recharge. There are five powerups: shield recharge, boost recharge, boost item, mine item, and attack wave item. You can hold three of the latter three types of items; the recharges are instant-effect. The mine and attack wave are pretty minimally useful. Why bother putting in weapons when they are so pathetic? The shield and boost recharge items are vital, though. You take damage every time you bump the walls, and need frequent recharges to survive; tracks do not have healing areas, the only way to heal is via pickups.

=As for the graphics and sound, they're okay, but nothing amazing. The soundtrack is largely unremarkable, unlike Pod's amazing, addictive soundtrack. The graphics work, but aren't exactly some of the better graphics on the DC. Like many DC games, it looks like it wouldn't have been hard to put this game on the N64 or PSX too. It does have some nice effects, and nice car models, but the graphics could definitely have been better. For the most part the tracks do not have the character of the tracks from the original Pod, artistically. A few manage a nice look, but overall they look blander than Pod tracks do.


So yeah... Pod 2 was a failure. It's all Ubisoft's fault, of course, for putting it on a console while the fanbase for the original game was on PC, and for changing the game so much by having only a few tracks (really well designed, interesting branching tracks, but only a few) and cars, for adding weapons and boosting in an attempt to attract console gamers more, and, of course, for not having a campaign mode or decent story (or any sort of ending). Still, it is worth playing for genre fans. In fact, wanting to play this game was a major factor in why I finally bought a Dreamcast last summer -- it's DC exclusive, and despite hearing a lot about how poor it was, as such as huge fan of the original Pod, I simply had to play it sometime... and that meant getting a Dreamcast, so I did. :)

And now that I have, I don't regret it. It is a fun game to play for a while, as you explore the tracks and try to improve your times. I actually like the game --when not compared to the original, it's a good game. It's a shame that they didn't include a full single player mode, but it is a good game. It's just a very poor sequel to the amazing original game, and because of that it's a serious disappointment even if it is probably one of my favorite DC racing games.

Screenshots:








IGN has some videos.
http://media.dreamcast.ign.com/media/014/014680/vids_1.html
 

MThanded

I Was There! Official L Receiver 2/12/2016
Apr 16, 2007
37,206
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You can get saves onto your memory card by burning a CD. I did that when my memory card with MVC2 save went bad. I forgot the name of the program. You burn the iso then you put the saves on another cd and load them onto the dreamcast memory card from an interface on the dreamcast. You can get your track 6 for all of your POD love.
 

Blimblim

The Inside Track
Jun 8, 2004
17,966
16
1,750
I spent hours playing this game back when I was at the university. Awesome graphics for its time, and the downloadable content was something on a level never seen before.
 

gbovo

Member
Jan 8, 2006
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0
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I loved the hell out of this game back in the day. So much so that I recently re-bought Pod on eBay, only to find out that it wouldn't run on my PC because XP couldn't emulate some drivers that were integrated with MMX technology back in the day :(
 

Euphor!a

Banned
Jan 15, 2008
2,114
9
980
I came in here to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.

It was probably the buggiest mess of a game I have ever played, but my god it was amazing.
 

gwiz210

Member
Apr 8, 2006
1,894
0
0
Oh snap, POD. I got that with some desktop I bought back in the 90s and loved every moment of it.
 
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MThanded said:
You can get saves onto your memory card by burning a CD. I did that when my memory card with MVC2 save went bad. I forgot the name of the program. You burn the iso then you put the saves on another cd and load them onto the dreamcast memory card from an interface on the dreamcast. You can get your track 6 for all of your POD love.

That's a great idea, I should do that. I tried to do a DC-to-WinME network (via modem) thing (as described on dreamcast.onlineconsoles.com, I think), but couldn't quite get it working... I don't care as much about the cars, but I really want to play that last track. When a game only has six tracks, you want to be able to play them all!

Blimblim said:
I spent hours playing this game back when I was at the university. Awesome graphics for its time, and the downloadable content was something on a level never seen before.

Indeed... the game was really a pioneer in the downloadable content and online gaming fields. Sure, before then MMOs and strategy games and such were online, but a racing game? Had there been any? Pod broke new ground... indeed, online modes still aren't in all racing games. Yet Pod had it back in mid 1997. Amazing.

And offering not just a few, but TWENTY downloadable tracks? You can more than double the size of the game, for free (poor Europeans, paying for that addon that contained tracks later released for free...)? So great... even today, very few games have downloadable content on this scale, free or pay. MMOs do, but other than that... the closest thing I can think of is something like how Blizzard had Starcraft and Warcraft III Map of the Week/Month features, which brought us whole bunches of new official maps for those games.

gbovo said:
I loved the hell out of this game back in the day. So much so that I recently re-bought Pod on eBay, only to find out that it wouldn't run on my PC because XP couldn't emulate some drivers that were integrated with MMX technology back in the day :(

Read my post and check those links, you CAN get Pod running on any modern computer, assuming that you have a GeForce3 or better video card.

There's a reason I spent so much time in that post talking about how to get the game working on a modern PC, it's vital information for anyone who wants to play the game!

What you need to do is patch to the 3DFX version of Pod and install a Glide emulator like the one I linked to. I linked a site with all the relevant downloads.

Oh, do you have a Pentium 4 CPU? That requires an additional patch that I think I mentioned. Core 2 CPUs won't have that problem, though, nor will AMD (though AMD ones may need the Force Feedback patch installed to work correctly).
 

Dr. Zoidberg

Member
Nov 6, 2004
8,240
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I used to love this game back in the day.

And back when it first came out the Voodoo GLIDE mode was drop-dead gorgeous. Like others I tried to boot it up after XP or something and never could get it to work. I don't feel it's worth all the trouble to get it working but kudos to those that have done it.
 

YakiSOBA

Member
Aug 17, 2005
3,437
0
0
Canada
mangareaders.com
The buggiest game I've ever played was RISK for PS2. I played with my cousins, and the game was so glitched.

IE:

-It would give random players like +50 more soldiers than they were supposed to get.
-Sometimes it would skip someones turn entirely... for like 4 turns, and then all of a sudden it will let the player play again, but only give them half of the men they were supposed to get.
-Sometimes if a player captured Europe, the game would just boot back to the main menu.
-The game will randomly end and say -random player name goes here- has won! This has happened on numerous occasions, even once after the very first turn!

Terrible, never buy HASBRO games for consoles!!!
 

human5892

Queen of Denmark
Jun 8, 2004
7,000
1
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Could we talk about other buggy-yet-awesome games in here too?

If so, for recent software I nominate Civilization: Revolution, which at times makes me feel like I'm playing a beta copy with its chugging framerate, skipped animations, and seizing up for a few seconds before something major happens. But it's soooo good.
 
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Dr. Zoidberg said:
I used to love this game back in the day.

And back when it first came out the Voodoo GLIDE mode was drop-dead gorgeous. Like others I tried to boot it up after XP or something and never could get it to work. I don't feel it's worth all the trouble to get it working but kudos to those that have done it.

Probably the P4 problem then, I'd bet. Assuming you have a newer computer now (Core 2), just patch it up with the 3DFX patch, put dgVoodoo in the folder, and you shouldn't have those problems.

On my old computer, as I said, I couldn't run Pod. This meant that from late 2001 all the way until early 2007, I couldn't play the game on my PC... it was pretty sad, considering that it's one of my favorite racing games, but I got used to it and said 'oh well' pretty much. But now that I have a newer computer, and can run dgVoodoo, it is so, so awesome to be able to play the game again... it's still amazingly good. It's still one of my favorite racing games ever. :)

Euphor!a said:
I came in here to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.

Indeed, anything from Troika would be a perfect game for a "horribly buggy but so great" list. Their games pretty much define that concept... but at least with those games, the patches actually fix most of the problems. With Pod, the patches pretty much just added features or improved the graphics, they didn't fix the bugs... apart from the fanmade P4 patcher, of course.
 
I played this SO MUCH on PC back in the day. I associated Ubisoft with this game for a long time because I really didn't play many of their games except this one at the time.

EDIT: Also, I really don't think I knew until now that the full title was actually "Planet of Death."
 

Dr. Zoidberg

Member
Nov 6, 2004
8,240
31
1,300
A Black Falcon said:
Probably the P4 problem then, I'd bet. Assuming you have a newer computer now (Core 2), just patch it up with the 3DFX patch, put dgVoodoo in the folder, and you shouldn't have those problems.

I do have a Core2 now, but unfortunately I sold/gave away POD a long time ago when I couldn't get it to work.

C'est la vie!
 
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Chris Remo said:
I played this SO MUCH on PC back in the day. I associated Ubisoft with this game for a long time because I really didn't play many of their games except this one at the time.

Yeah... between this and Rayman 2, I had a good view of Ubisoft for some time. Later on that would slip, of course...

EDIT: Also, I really don't think I knew until now that the full title was actually "Planet of Death."

I'm actually not sure where the term comes from, it may have simply been attached to the game considering how much sense that name would make as an acronym for the game's title. The logos say "pod", in lowercase script, as with the box shot (so that it reads the same upside-down... :)), while in in the readmes and such it is always capitalized, as POD. The game itself does not refer to itself as "Planet of Death", not on the box or readmes or ingame. (Though I don't have the box, of course, because I have a version 1.0 OEM version that came with our computer that we got in mid '97, scans of the American, French, and German boxes are on Mobygames.)

So where does the "Planet of Death" thing come from? I don't know, but IGN, Wikipedia and Mobygames all call it that.

... hey, woah, there's something that calls in Planet of Death...

http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/planet-of-death/cover-art/gameCoverId,87264/

Magazine demodisc though, but the logo looks at least semi-official.
 
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I loved this game back when it was fairly new. I got it with a video card purchase, I think a Voodoo 2 (?)...can't totally remember. I think I have more fond memories of playing this game than any other futuristic racer, even F-Zero and Wipeout. Very intense shit. Too bad about that sequel.
 

Haunted

Member
Nov 16, 2006
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20
965
Pod was good, but it doesn't hold a candle to Dethkarz. Now that was a slick racer.
 

Waluvil

Banned
Jul 10, 2008
73
0
0
Holy shit PoD, I thought I was the only one that loved this game. Thank you for this post! Probably tied with Rush:The Rock for my favorite racing game ever...

Best thing about it was all the ridiculous tracks! Parking may still be my favorite track to this day... and then there were the insane ones like playing as a shrunk down car in a giant Casino. There was just something compelling about the tracks in the game that created a true "atmosphere". There was something special about the sense of desolation and isolation in the world, I don't think any racing game has matched that sort of ambiance since then.

Man oh man, such good times. I actually got this game working on my laptop and enjoyed the hell out of it not too long ago, so it IS still possible to get this game working!

The Dreamcast sequel was such a disappointment to... it didn't compare to the original in any shape or form =/
 

agrajag

Banned
Apr 3, 2008
17,728
0
925
man, were FMV's that shitty back in the day? Or was the intro using the in-game engine?
 

dark10x

Digital Foundry pixel pusher
Jun 9, 2004
51,621
2,195
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Wow, I can't believe how large of a post you made for such a game.

I actually own this game as well and did quite enjoy it. Of course, I've only ever played the 3DFX version, but I do remember it standing as a poster child for MMX. You're right in noting that many PC games of 1997 had a very similar appearance.

I must say, despite all of the emerging 3D standards at the time, the Voodoo concept was brilliant and Glide was just an awesome API for its day. It took a long time for D3D to even begin to come close. I believe 3DFX may just have held on a bit longer if they had continued to allow 3rd parties to manufacture cards. By joining with (I believe) STB and releasing their own cards, 3rd parties suddenly started to search for other solutions to combat them. Glide was fantastic in that it brought an almost console-like compatibility to PC gaming. If you had a Voodoo card and a game supported Glide, you were going to see great visuals at a smooth framerate 99% of the time. Games customized for Glide always tended to offer the most polished visuals and smoothest performance. Even other custom APIs really couldn't compete. I remember originally playing Unreal on my PowerVR card before switching to 3DFX. The difference between the PowerSGL version and Glide version of the game was massive. This was true for nearly every game.

I suppose everything has been sorted out with modern cards and D3D works just fine, but 3DFX was WAY ahead of the game back then. I know it was nothing more than a take on OpenGL, but it really allowed developers to push the PC.

I do miss those days in a way. With modern video cards, you pretty much only gain performance with upgrades. Back then, it was so exciting to see a game transformed through a video card upgrade. I mean, Crysis on my 6800GT/P4 system can look pretty much the same as my Core2/8800GT system...but the performance gap is huge. Back then, many people were switching from either software rendering or lower end 3D cards to Voodoo and the results were breathtaking.
 
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cjelly said:
I played POD Online on the Dreamcast.

Nobody else did.

I would have, if I'd had a Dreamcast at the time... But I didn't, oh well. :(

Really, it should have been on PC too.

agrajag said:
man, were FMV's that shitty back in the day? Or was the intro using the in-game engine?

What the... you DO know that this is a 1997 PC game, right? For then, that intro CG looks great!

The ingame graphics were some of the best ever when the game came out, but they certainly couldn't do THAT.

Haunted One said:
Pod was good, but it doesn't hold a candle to Dethkarz. Now that was a slick racer.

Pylon_Trooper said:
I remember this one. Good times. It was this, Ultim@te Race Pro...then Powerslide came along and blew all that came before it out of the water. Or off the tarmac, as the case is.

I have all three of those games... well, lost my Ultim@te Race Pro CD some years ago, but I had it anyway. They are all good games, but I definitely like Pod more than any of them, no question.

Ultim@te Race Pro: Not a futuristic racing game, this one is a Ridge Racer knockoff. Its main problem is that it has no championship mode, like Pod 2, so the only single player mode is single race. There's nothing to unlock or do other than filling up the best times table... plus, there are only four tracks, really.

Dethkarz: Pretty good, but it's lacking Pod's depth. The tracks are much simpler and less interesting -- they are just suspended road surface loops. Kind of like that in the Pod intro video, really... :) But not like in the Pod game, which has none of that.The walls and stuff around the track aren't real, it's just track or off... it is a fun game though, though I've always had some annoying problems with it randomly crashing (at least Pod is consistent in where it messes up). Dethkarz is very pretty and fun, but simplistic. Pod has more depth.

Powerslide: Yeah, that one was great. Futuristic racing game from realistic racing game developer... its driving model is quite challenging for a futuristic racing game, much more realistic than average, but it's a very good game. Like Pod, it has no weapons. I do like Pod a bit more, but Powerslide is fantastic.

Wow, I can't believe how large of a post you made for such a game.

I wrote part of that a while ago actually (not on this forum), but decided to finish it up, improve it, add the screenshots/videos/links section, and write something for Pod Speedzone... but yeah, in the rare occasion that I make a thread, I want it to be worthwhile. Just look at my others, like the Turrican one...

I actually own this game as well and did quite enjoy it. Of course, I've only ever played the 3DFX version, but I do remember it standing as a poster child for MMX. You're right in noting that many PC games of 1997 had a very similar appearance.

Most certainly, when it came out its graphics were its biggest selling point, not its gameplay. That's why Intel packed it in with so many new computers, to show off that new MMX technology. Fortunately it had great gameplay too...

On that note, the OEM version. OEM Pod has no multiplayer and only 12 tracks instead of 16, and seven of those 12 are different from the versions of those tracks in the final game. Downtown particularly is a lot harder in the OEM -- no cones on the dead ends, and the entrances to those dead ends are wider...

OEM Pod was upgradable to Pod 2.0 (full retail Pod) via a patch, but it was 35MB, very, VERY large for 1997 (dialup internet)... I didn't download it for quite a while because of its size. Once I did I was very happy with the improvements (as I would again be later when I upgraded to the 3DFX patch and 800x600 resolution), but I spent a lot of time on OEM Pod...

I must say, despite all of the emerging 3D standards at the time, the Voodoo concept was brilliant and Glide was just an awesome API for its day. It took a long time for D3D to even begin to come close. I believe 3DFX may just have held on a bit longer if they had continued to allow 3rd parties to manufacture cards. By joining with (I believe) STB and releasing their own cards, 3rd parties suddenly started to search for other solutions to combat them. Glide was fantastic in that it brought an almost console-like compatibility to PC gaming. If you had a Voodoo card and a game supported Glide, you were going to see great visuals at a smooth framerate 99% of the time. Games customized for Glide always tended to offer the most polished visuals and smoothest performance. Even other custom APIs really couldn't compete. I remember originally playing Unreal on my PowerVR card before switching to 3DFX. The difference between the PowerSGL version and Glide version of the game was massive. This was true for nearly every game.

I suppose everything has been sorted out with modern cards and D3D works just fine, but 3DFX was WAY ahead of the game back then. I know it was nothing more than a take on OpenGL, but it really allowed developers to push the PC.

I do miss those days in a way. With modern video cards, you pretty much only gain performance with upgrades. Back then, it was so exciting to see a game transformed through a video card upgrade. I mean, Crysis on my 6800GT/P4 system can look pretty much the same as my Core2/8800GT system...but the performance gap is huge. Back then, many people were switching from either software rendering or lower end 3D cards to Voodoo and the results were breathtaking.

Yeah, I agree. We got a new computer in July 1997, which had MMX, came with Pod (as well as Earthworm Jim 1 for Windows 95, MechWarrior 2, and Eraser (a miserably awful movie game lightgun (mouse) shooter)) but for a 3d card, it just had a S3 ViRGE... ouch.

I wouldn't get to upgrade that until December 1998, when I finally saved up enough to buy an 8MB Voodoo2 card. It was such an amazing, AMAZING upgrade... the difference was unbelievable. I knew the ViRGE was awful, but the comparison was just so stunning... and you're absolutely right, Glide was easy. It had standards and 3DFX wasn't releasing new cards every six months, so there was a longer-term period of holding standards for graphics and for the API... I loved that card. I still don't like NVidia nearly as much. And yeah, no modern upgrade comes close...

Though I will admit, I did have a pretty massive upgrade last year, when I replaced my 5 1/2 year old PC with a new one. 32MB GeForce2 GTS to 300MB GeForce 8800 (and P4 1500 to Core 2 Duo 6600 (2.4Ghz), 384MB RDRAM to 2GB RAM, etc...)? Yes, that's going to make a difference. :) But that was after skipping many hardware generations; the Voodoo was a product that came out and instantly obliterated every other card on the market, graphically, and stayed that way for a couple of years. There's been nothing else quite like it. And Glide did look great...
 

faceless007

Member
Mar 11, 2008
10,277
0
0
Man, what a blast to the past. This game came with our Compaq Pentium II-266 w/ PowerVR graphics--the advertising said it was the fastest thing out. :lol

I remember spending countless hours trying to figure out how to get the CDPatcher to work or downloading tracks from the website; neither were very well designed, and I was like 12 at the time. But the game was fascinating; even though I'd never played any real PC games before, I knew there was something special about the apocalyptic theme, corroded art design and danger-laden tracks.

I wish I knew what happened to our POD CD...I think it was lost years ago. This thread sorta makes me wanna try to get it running again.
 
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faceless007 said:
Man, what a blast to the past. This game came with our Compaq Pentium II-266 w/ PowerVR graphics--the advertising said it was the fastest thing out. :lol

I remember spending countless hours trying to figure out how to get the CDPatcher to work or downloading tracks from the website; neither were very well designed, and I was like 12 at the time. But the game was fascinating; even though I'd never played any real PC games before, I knew there was something special about the apocalyptic theme, corroded art design and danger-laden tracks.

I wish I knew what happened to our POD CD...I think it was lost years ago. This thread sorta makes me wanna try to get it running again.

I knew there was something special about the apocalyptic theme, corroded art design and danger-laden tracks.

Quite true, there are other apocalyptic games with corroded art designs, but even so, Pod is unique... and the complex track designs aren't matched by about anything else I have played. San Francisco Rush is about the closest thing I can think of, because that also has complex tracks with some dead ends and lots of alternate paths. And I also really, REALLY love the three Rush games.

Yeah, you need to set up the CDPatcher properly... in the CDPatcher folder (which can be anywhere on your hard drive), track folders go in the "Circuits" folder, and car folders in the "Voitures" folder. Each track or car will have a folder with its name within the track or car folders, and then inside those folders will be the files for that track or car. Many have two versions, .BV3 and .BV4 or .BL3 and .BL4; the BL3/BV3 versions are older, graphically inferior versions for the lesser graphics patches and aren't really needed unless the track in question has no .BV4 version.

As for the rest of your post... Once you have the folder tree straighted out (it's not that hard, most track/car download zips come with the folder tree aligned right, so if you just unzip them in the CDPatcher folder they should all go into the right place), run the CDPatcher. Click on a "new proposed data" listing, then press "Prepare Installation", then press "Install New Data", and repeat for each car and track you wish to add. You can add into the game, as I said, up to 32 new cars and 32 new tracks at once.

Oh, I made a few lists of the download cars/tracks a while ago (I make lists of stuff for fun sometimes)... why don't I just post them. :)

A Black Falcon said:
Official Cars (44)

Adeo (25 normal vehicles)
Akura
ALIEN
Arakn
Atlas
Buffo
Catamax (player designed)
Crow (player designed)
Dalton
Deuch (player designed)
Eagle
Frazer
Fuego (player designed)
HLRazor
Jaero
Locust
Loris (player designed)
Mirage
Shane
Shark (player designed)
Stealth (player designed)
stinger (player designed)
STINGER_BETA (beta of Stinger car) (player designed)
Truck
Twin

AKIR7 (set of eight motorcycles)
ECLYPSE
IRX
Nocte
Onyx
RAZOR
RM667
Xira

f1 (three Formula 1-style racers)
f2
F3

Darksmil (grinning car!)

Baboss (four pirate-themed vehicles)
Breton
Kaizer
Pirate

Bat (two fantasy-themed vehicles)
Witch

User-Made Cars (5)

Akir6 (bike)
homard
Turd
BANANA (as its name suggests...)
ED
Panther

A Black Falcon said:
CDPatcher-format courses

OEM Version Tracks (7) (user edits to recreate the original official versions)

AlderOEM (Alderon OEM)
CanyOEM (Canyon OEM)
CityOEM (City OEM)
GalOEM (Galleria OEM)
PlantOEM (Plant 21 OEM)
PompOEM (Pompeii OEM)
SewerOEM (Sewer OEM)

Offial Download Courses (20)

AZTHEC
BABELWEB
BEACH
FACTORY
HELLWAY
ICEBERG
LAKE
LOON
Magnetic
MEGAPOL
MINE
NIGHT
PARKING
PIPELINE
ROAD70
SKYRACE
special
SPIN
WEST
ZED

Official Beta Courses (2)

HellwayOEM (Hellway beta)
Aztec (Azthec Beta) (has AI) (Official)

Beta User Courses (3)

ECocoon (Extended Cocoon. Crashes during loading)
Fallen (beta)
Forest (beta)

User Reskins of Official Tracks (9)

arcane (Beltane Arcane)
Colony (Veitland Colony)
Discover (bank_discover)
Heaven (pipeline_heaven)
Hive (cocoon_hive)
Vger (canyon_vger)
Rayway (pompeii_rayway)
Hive (cocoon_hive)
Zion (DownTown Zion)
Twilite (Reverse Canyon reskin)

Unfinished User Tracks - Broken AI (racing vs. AIs is pointless)

Antipod
bender
Earth (Earth/Kanale)
Eiscave
Enneade
escape
Everest
Forgetit
Nadir
Natura
Unight (Redcave Night) (Untitled/Redcave Reskin)
Untitled (Untitled1) (Redcave)

Buggy - crash, use not suggested

Arcade (Arcade+) (official?) (Crashes during loading)
Arcade (Arcade-) (official?) (Crashes during loading)

Forest (Crashes during loading)
Tron (Forest Reskin) (Crashes during loading like Forest)
Slimepit (original_slimepit) (Beta) (Crashes early in race)
Down (slimepit_down) (Slimepit Reskin) (Crashes early in race like Slimepit)
Parc (slimepit_parc (Slimepit Reskin) (Crashes early in race like Slimepit)
Newsance (buggy - crashes at warp)


Non-CDPatcher tracks (see folder for instructions) (4)

HellwayOEM (beta Hellway? User mod?)
Cave
Forest Beta
Numerous Test reskins

The notes say how the tracks in question run on my system. Your milage will vary, try them all and see. I'd love to see Arcade, it sounds like a cool track... it must work on someone's system! :(

In order to use tracks that aren't in CDPatcher format: The CDPatcher doesn't work with these. You must rename them as the name of one of the main 16 tracks (or Test), and then rename the original copy of that track and copy the track you want to play into its place. Then run the track that you named the new track as and it'll load. This is a hassle, I tried the courses but don't use them. They have no AI after all, unless they're just reskins, and I like the original versions of the tracks too much to want to replace them, and prefer normal race to timetrial... but that's how you use them.
 

pn18

Banned
Oct 8, 2006
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I remember playing it online aaaages ago. Was one of the first online racer back then IIRC and I really enjoyed it.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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MThanded said:
You can get saves onto your memory card by burning a CD. I did that when my memory card with MVC2 save went bad. I forgot the name of the program. You burn the iso then you put the saves on another cd and load them onto the dreamcast memory card from an interface on the dreamcast. You can get your track 6 for all of your POD love.

Just wanted to say, a few days ago I finally gave up on my on-and-off hopes for getting my DC online and looked up how to do this. I can now say that I have a save file on my DC that includes track 6 and cars 7 and 8, which is awesome... I can finally play the rest of the game! :)

The sixth track, Oddrock, is about as good as any of the other five I'd say. It's a good track, and I'm happy to have it... with only six tracks, you want to be able to play them all. It's not spectacularly amazing or anything, but it's a very nice, fun track, like most of the tracks in the game. If only there'd been an actual, oh, GAME built around these well-designed tracks... you know, a story, championships, and the rest... it should have been there, there's no question about it. The game feels very incomplete, and it's really too bad, considering that actually playing it is fun. Sure it's not as good and certainly not as fun as the original Pod, but it is fun. There just isn't much there...
 
Jul 4, 2008
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Im trying to install pod on my laptop but it keeps giving me error messages. After 2 attempts it seemed like it installed fine but now when I try to play it an error mesage comes up and says "a priveleged instruction was executed" and closes the program. I checked online but I can't find a patch to play it on Windows 7. Anyone know what to do?
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Anticitizen One said:
Im trying to install pod on my laptop but it keeps giving me error messages. After 2 attempts it seemed like it installed fine but now when I try to play it an error mesage comes up and says "a priveleged instruction was executed" and closes the program. I checked online but I can't find a patch to play it on Windows 7. Anyone know what to do?

Hmm, I don't know. What install procedure are you using? 64 bit or 32 bit? The game installs fine on my system, which is Vista 32-bit. You then have to follow the install procedure of course, which I think I listed in the first post in detail... in short, install the OEM to Retail patch if you're using the OEM version disc as I am, then install the 24MB 3DFX Voodoo patch (install it twice because of a bug), then the Gameservice patch if you're using an AMD CPU, then the Force Feedback patch if you're using a force feedback controller, that other fan-made patcher for Intel Pentium 4 CPUs (not Core 2 or beyond, only P4), then put dgVoodoo in the folder and configure it, then just use the CDPatcher to add the custom cars and tracks you want and you should be set. :)

... Complex I know, but once it's all set up it works... and the game is so good it's worth the hassle, in my opinion.

Don't try to run the D3D DX5 version native or something, that won't work. You need to use Glide emulation. Are you doing that?


I actually ran into someone else who liked Pod several months ago and got it running again on his computer, we played a few network games... one of the only times I've played multiplayer Pod since the Gameservice was shut down. Pretty cool stuff, Pod is still a great game... it is hard though. I didn't do great, I'd need a lot more practice, particularly on the add-on tracks. The original 16 are simpler than most of the download tracks.

Neuromancer said:
I remember trying to run this game, it sounded really cool. But my computer wasn't up to the task.

Black Falcon have you tried Powerslide? That was a fun game, sounds similar to this a little.

I have Powerslide, it's pretty good but frustrating. The game's so drift-heavy, you have almost no control over your car... Pod isn't like that. So sure there are some thematic similarities, but the car controls are very different. So yeah, Powerslide's good, but I've never gotten very far in it... Pod may be hard, but at least I can beat the main championship and such. With Powerslide it'd probably take a lot of time getting used to the skid-focused control scheme, and I like tighter controls better than drift-heavy stuff, usually. (Though I admit that sometimes drift-focused controls can be fun, at least as often they're frustrating)
 

Bernbaum

Member
Oct 28, 2007
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Jesus holy fuck that's a lot of written work you gots there, A Black Falcon.

And rightly so, POD was fucking rad.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Yes, buy it.

As for the thread, as it says at the top of the first post I updated the posts last month once I realized that the game was available on GOG, so it's all up to date. I considered bumping the thread then, but didn't do it... well, it's been done now. But yes, all the information is up-to-date, with correct links and everything. GOG makes things a lot easier in many respects (since they packed it in with a Glide wrapper and all the needed patches), but the part for the additional tracks and cars is particularly important to read -- it's actually a little more difficult to use those on the GOG version, since the CDPatcher isn't included and won't recognize the GOG install without some help. See the first two posts for the details on how to get it working -- and anyone with the game should consider that absolutely essential. The main game has 16 tracks, but there are 20 more full tracks to play, plus 44 cars to download on top of the original 8. There are some multiplayer/timetrial-only user-made courses as well.
 

2+2=5

The Amiga Brotherhood
Jul 28, 2011
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I played pod at its times and it was AMAZING, i still have the cd, probably my favorite racing ever, so much nostalgia damn you :(
Ubisoft why don't you give me another pod? :(
 

2+2=5

The Amiga Brotherhood
Jul 28, 2011
12,405
2
0
I'm sure there was a pod 2... on Dreamcast and PC? Not sure if it was any good or not, though.

It had only the name, it was not pod. I want a real new pod, or even an hd remake, i don't mind.
 

gururoji

Member
Jun 8, 2004
459
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Portland, OR
Oh man, I might have to try this again...

I played Pod incessantly back in the day--few other games have I poured so many hours into the multiplayer over the years. The team I was on ("podboq" if I remember correctly?) did quite well for a while there, though relative to a few on there I was kind of a scrub with heart that occasionally helped us out. I wish my memory didn't suck so bad so I could shout out to some of my old teammates. For some reason I feel like A Black Falcon rings a bell, dunno what handle you went by back then...I don't remember what I went by! Probably elumelum...
 

Shaneus

Member
Jul 26, 2004
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It had only the name, it was not pod. I want a real new pod, or even an hd remake, i don't mind.
Yeah, that's what I figured. I hate games that do that... unless it's for the better a la MDK. Come to think of it, there was basically an entire period of games around then that had different developers each iteration.

So it's safe to say that the pod on GOG will be (near enough to) the same version I played on my PC all those many, many, many years ago?