Visual Concepts

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Visual Concepts
Founded 1988
Headquarters California, USA

Visual Concepts was an American video game developer founded in California in 1988. They developed their first game in 1991 (NES Trog!) and later developed Lester the Unlikely for the SNES, one of the worst known titles for the console. They are also known to have developed many sports games, namely the SNES adaptations of the Madden NFL series. When Sega bought Visual Concepts for $10,000,000, they wanted the company to develop sports games for the Dreamcast. In 2005, the company was bought by Take-Two Interactive which eventually evolved into 2K Sports.


Music Development


The company's only game for the NES was Trog!. The game was programmed by Scott Patterson. However, he had no musical experience, and so the music was contracted to Interplay. The game's audio was most likely adapted from the arcade score (Chris Granner) by Scott La Rocca. The game uses Rebecca Heineman's sound driver, which allowed its users to create their own instruments and convert MIDI files.


Jason Andersen and John Schappert programmed the SNES sound engine at Visual Concepts. The engine was mainly used by Brian Schmidt, but was also used by other composers as well including Matt Scott and Russell Lieblich. The name of the sound engine was SMSG (SNES Music and Sound Generator). Jason said this about the sound engine:

Our driver could play MIDI. I think 8 simultaneous voices from a custom made wave bank. Audio format was Nintendo BRR (Nintendo's flavor of ADPCM), 64k bytes of audio ram, our audio driver could stream a single channel of audio out of ROM using HDMA. Most companies had their own custom solutions for SNES audio.

For the developer's first two games Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (SNES) and Harley's Humongous Adventure (SNES), the company used a custom sound engine, possibly by Rob Hubbard himself, using a variation of the Kanichi-kun driver used by Nintendo itself. The instruments are taken from various samples, including a Korg M1.

For Claymates (SNES), the company is using a sound engine provided by Interplay Productions.

Audio Personnel