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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

Work / Web

Remember PlayStation’s WipEout? You can now race round the tracks in browser

Dominic Szablewski is the kind of technological wizard who has a level of understanding so sublime that I imagine he might be able control the universe from his computer one day. He’s a digital designer who builds games – really, really cool games – and through means unknown to me, he has succeeded in porting levels from cult PlayStation racing game WipEout, which was first released in 1995, into a browser-compatible format.

“In 1995 one of my all time favourite video games was released: the original WipEout for PlayStation,” Dominic explains in an essay which accompanies the site. “The brand new PlayStation produced 3D graphics previously unseen on living room TVs and WipEout exploited its capabilities like no other game at the time. It was one of the pioneering titles of the fifth generation console era.

“I remember poking around on the CD of the PC Version of WipEout back in the day, looking for ways to modify the game. I was thrilled to find PCX images of all textures and tried to change one of the in-game billboard graphics to show my name. I wasn’t able to get it working. Now, almost 20 years later, I thought I’d give it another shot.”

This time around, he succeeded, extracting the 3D models and messing around with the textures, and somehow creating this beast of a project so that you can flow around the original tracks and explore them from various camera angles. It even works on your phone.

“All in all, I wrote about 800 lines of JavaScript to load and draw 3D scenes for a 20-year-old game,” Dominic states, explaining the process in depth in the corresponding blog post here. Didn’t I tell you? Wizardry.

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)

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Dominic Szablewski: WipEout (screenshot)