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A newer (2008) headythink on this game, with pictures, can be found here.
A PC game released by Disney and Infogrames in 1992. Stunt Island does not fit into any easily defined pigeon hole. For the most part the game is a flight sim, but there are other aspects to the game that make it more like a software toy. The game was developed (mainly) by Adrian Stephens, the 3D guru who created Interphase on the Amiga and ST, and Cybercon III on the PC, and who has since gone on to form his own developmeny company, Luxoflux (creators of Vigilante 8 and Star Wars Demolition).

Stunt Island simulates just that - a fictional island in the Pacific owned by the movie studios for the purpose of filming large-scale dangerous stunts. The island (a vast 3D model) contains many large "sets" including a chunk of San Francisco bay, a canyon, St. Andrew's Castle, Alcatraz, a mountain range, a farm, several highways and forests and loads more (as with Interphase, you can find loads of hidden touches dotted around). The game comes with a map with a lengthy list of coordinates of interesting things.

In the standard "game" modes, you can earn money by flying stunts. The predefined stunts are very varied, and include such classics as barnstorming in a triplane, as well as flying between pylons and under bridges, landing a parachute in a football stadium, and flying down a train tunnel with a train travelling in the opposite direction. Each stunt has lots of trigger points, timers and cameras set up, and once you successfully fulfill the stunt's conditions, you can view an edited movie of your handiwork. (If you fail, you wake up in hospital - and some of the stunts are so insanely dangerous you can expect this a lot.)

The second level of depth is found in the editing suite. Using footage created by one of your takes, you can splice together film from up to eight sources, add titles and a soundtrack (and if you can be bothered, dialogue).

The game's crowning glory is the stunt creation mode however. You can place objects, people, buildings and vehicles and cameras from a vast library and set up their behaviours, and then perform your stunt and edit the footage. With the supplied resources it's possible to make impressively staged pieces of machinima, albeit limited to a VGA resolution. Enthusiasts have hacked and tweaked some additional effects into the engine's repertoire to make up for its shortcomings. Of course, there is an external viewer program for trading movie files.

A final note should be made about the game's manual. It contains a wealth of information about film making, aerobatics and stunt direction in general, as well as an interview with a veteran Hollywood stuntman. Retailing at £50, this is one of the most expensive computer games I have ever bought, but I think that it was well worth the price. It confirms Adrian Stephens's status as a game design genius, and although I expect there will never be a direct sequel, I hope that he gets a chance to create a game of similar scope in the future.

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