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FAQ

Welcome to Unseen64! If you are new or don’t have much knowledge on this site or beta games, we recommend you read this first. If you have any questions not answered here post them on the U64 forums or send us an e-mail!

What is the purpose of Unseen64.net?
Unseen64 is an archive of information, pictures and videos concerning the development of numerous games. It also deals with games that never made it to store shelves. We believe that every change has a drastic effect on the game experience. We would like to save some materials on the evolution of every game for curiosity, historic and artistic preservation.

Is Unseen64 a hacking website?
No, however, if you are interested in hacking games we know some places where you can learn how to hack.

What is the history of Unseen64?
You can read more about how U64 was born in here.

What kind of people are Unseen64 members?
Unseen members are people with a deep passion for all things video games. The forum is replete with people from around the world, but English is the site’s main language. We also have a (mostly bad) sense of humor. Most of it is gamer and Internet humor though.

Why does the site have so much “Engrish”?
The majority of the articles are written by the founder of Unseen64 who is Italian. He is not very good with English and doesn’t have much time to make corrections. You can help us improve Unseen64 by fixing grammar errors.

How can I help Unseen64?
www.unseen64.net/how-to-help-u64/

Why does a game get cancelled?
The most common reason is because the developer ran out of time or money.

Why do the final games often have some worse aspects than the betas?

It’s a difficult question, sometimes it’s just us that see those “beta” things more appealing than the ones in the final game, but maybe in reality those things were not that great if we had a chance to play them. An example could be a removed level that looked good in screenshots, but it had too many slow-downs or bugs in the game. Another reasons could be that developers had not enough time to add everything in the game, and they had to cut some stuff, even if it was good. Developers cut and alter things because they do not like them or can not make them work. Personal taste is a big factor and people might become attached to the style or feature a game only had while in development. People sometimes think that prototypes must be superior to the final version after they watch a trailer or look at some concept art but this is often not true.

What is a prototype game?
A prototype game is an unfinished product that was constantly under testing and construction.

What does alpha and beta mean?
Alpha (α) and beta (β) are two different Greek letters that are used sometimes to refer to different stages in video game development.

How is a game developed?
A video game goes through a few stages while being made. It begins in the pre-alpha stage where most of the engine is finished but most of the game’s features are not. A pre-alpha build is usually very buggy, full of errors and sometimes hardly playable. It usually contains only a few levels, and (if it was based on an older game) might have maps and items from the previous game. Placeholder items are most plentiful in this build.

Next a game moves to the alpha phase. Here is where most games take dramatic turns. Many levels are made, the art style may shift, non playable characters are coded (usually with basic A.I. and some with no A.I. or models at all) and some soundtracks and sound effects included. Developers experiment the most during alpha stage and program lots of different things and test them. An alpha prototype is generally stable but can have various bugs and glitches and be prone to crash from time to time.

The game stays in alpha for some months (rarely longer) until it makes the transition to beta. The beta phase is all about polish. Here the developers already know how the game will be like. Programming errors are fixed and improved graphical effects are added. Finalized music, sound effects and voice acting are implemented at this point. A number of levels made during alpha are abandoned, those that are not are improved upon and a handful of new levels may be created. Rigorous testing is made on the game to get rid of imperfections. A game may stay up to a few years in beta. After beta the game is wrapped up, and the final product goes on sale.

What is so interesting about a video game prototype?
People like older builds of games for different reasons. Some want to see what their favorite game once looked like or how it was made. Others are curious to how games are developed. Prototype builds can have features not in final versions of games that some would find entertaining. Humans have a natural interest for things unknown.

Why are prototypes so expensive?
Just like diamonds, prototypes can be very rare and come in exclusive cartridges or discs. Companies tend to either destroy or store these materials.

How does a prototype get leaked?
Former employees occasionally steal some of these assets and sell them, or “hackers” hack a company’s website and download them. From there they are shared with people, and eventually they become available to the public.

What is a debug menu?
A debug menu is a tool that a game tester uses to easily access individual parts of a game. This feature can be a fun way to play a game as it allows accessing any level, jumps of ridiculous heights, control of non playable characters and other cheats not available without the menu enabled.

What is the job of the game tester?
They get paid to play games. Although that may sound like the best job ever it is a monotonous task. A tester is given a prototype build of a game and asked to do meticulous actions like jumping on one spot for an hour or shooting every inch of a level. Wages aren’t very good either. The point of this is to discover any bugs and report them so that they can get fixed.

Why do final games still contain data from prototypes?
Developers erase almost everything from an old build, but they frequently leave some obsolete materials because disabling or not using it is more convenient than deleting it. Skilled hackers can dig out and enable some of the old bytes and give us a glimpse of the game’s original look. There are communities on the web dedicated to doing this.

What is concept art?
Art that is used to illustrate various concepts, ideas and characters during development.

Is the possession of a prototype game illegal?
The possession of a prototype is probably illegal, at least until the original owners of the copyrights are still in business. So if you have a prototype from a company that does not exist anymore, and that has lost all of their copyrights, maybe it’s not a problem. It’s a complex topic. Since copyright law is primarily about the making and distribution of copies rather than sheer possession, we’d hazard a guess the legality of possession would hinge at least as directly on the circumstances of the leak: in particular, whether any NDAs were broken, and whether the prototype was given away – as sometimes happens with demos made for journalists – or ‘taken’ in other circumstances. But you’d need someone with suitable legal expertise to give a proper answer.

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