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Prey [Beta – 1995 / 97 Version]

In 1995, the first incarnation of the game was announced. Prey was envisioned by 3D Realms as the first of a number of games to be running on unique, cutting edge game engine technology, developed in house. In this sense the project played the same role as Unreal did for Epic Games, and it would retain this role in the company’s strategy throughout its development time in the 3D Realms studios.

Prey as a game was to go through many different forms during this first development period. A rapid succession of different designs were outlined by Tom Hall (previously of id software and later of Ion Storm), who was at that time fresh off the Rise of the Triad team at Apogee Software. After about a year’s worth of work, however, Tom Hall abandoned the project and left the company to form Ion Storm with ex-Id compatriot John Romero. At this point 3D Realms brought on Paul Schuytema to begin the next phase in the game’s development.

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For more screens: www.apogeegames.com/prey/files/files.htm 

The new team would go on to create the most coherent design the game ever had. The alien abduction theme from Hall’s work was retained, but now the game was to be set on a massive, living alien space ship inhabited by a number of different alien races (three of them collectively known as the “Trocara” and a fourth called the “Keepers”), the player himself would take the role of a Native American hero, called Talon Brave.

The game was the first in the genre to make use of portal technology, a feature that allowed rips in space to be created, moved and reshaped in real time. This was to be a core feature of the gameplay, along with heavily destructible environments. It was also thought at the time this engine would be used for Duke Nukem 5 (the game after Duke Nukem Forever). Demonstrations of these features drew widespread acclaim at the 1997 and 1998 E³ exhibitions – the television program Infinite MHz was able to capture exclusive footage of the game’s private behind-closed-doors demo at the games both E³ showings.

However, despite the best of starts, Prey’s development was troubled. Seemingly insurmountable technical problems ground development to a near-halt, and this version of Prey too fell apart. Later, on an internet discussion board head engineer William Scarboro would comment that “In hindsight, portal tricks such as these should be used as tricks, not as an engine paradigm.”

Shortly after the Schuytema variant of Prey disbanded, 3D Realms attempted again to revive the project by bringing on tech programmer Corrinne Yu in November of 1998. Development of the game itself was not part of this effort, Yu was working by herself on the game engine exclusively. However, after a time, this iteration of Prey fell apart as well. 3D Realms and Corrinne Yu parted ways, and Prey began its long period of inactivity in 1999. The title was put on indefinite hold (although never formally cancelled, contrary to popular opinion).

On March 8, 2000, Prey.net (an early Prey site with a section about KMFDM) released a Real Audio file of a third KMFDM song: “Missing Time”, which was going to be part of the Prey soundtrack[10] but was featured in the movie Heavy Metal 2000 instead (under the name MDFMK which is a side project of KMFDM members during their temporary break-up).

In 2001, 3D Realms began development on a new version of the title. This time, with the advantage of the necessary portal technology already being a stable and functional component of all modern game engines, 3D Realms was able to license the necessary technology instead of having to develop it. 3D Realms chose the id Tech 4 game engine from id Software, and Rune developer Human Head Studios was commissioned to develop the game using the previous designs as a base.

Rumors of this new project leaked out to the public in 2002, through the website Evil Avatar, but were at that time neither confirmed nor denied. It wasn’t until 2005, when the cryptic clue “Keep your eyes open for the unveiling of our next game very soon. ;)” appeared on the 3D Realms website that the previous rumors were confirmed in any way. This was followed by a CNN article by Chris Morris, claiming that Prey was not only in development, but that it would be shown at E³.

Soon afterwards, the official Prey teaser site was launched, confirming the game’s existence, and hinting that more would be revealed in the June issue of PC Gamer, which indeed featured a seven page article on Prey. On April 26, 2005 Prey was officially announced in a press release by 2K Games. On June 28, 2006 it was announced that Prey had officially gone gold for PC and XBOX 360.

[Info from Wikipedia] 

Citizen Zero [Cancelled]

ENG: This entry in the archive doesn’t have a description yet. If you want to add some info about the beta / cancelled stuff that you see in these images, just write a comment or send us an email! We’ll add your info in this page and your name in the contributors list. Thanks a lot for your help! :)

ITA: Questa pagina dell’archivio non ha ancora una descrizione. Se vuoi aggiungere delle informazioni riguardo le differenze della beta o la descrizione di un gioco cancellato, lasciaci un commento o mandaci una email! Inseriremo le tue informazioni nella pagina ed il tuo nome nella lista dei collaboratori. Grazie per il tuo aiuto! :)

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BioShock [Beta / Concept]

Originally, BioShock had a storyline which was significantly different from that of the released version: the main character was a “cult deprogrammer”-a person charged with rescuing someone from a cult, and mentally and psychologically readjusting that person to a normal life. For example, Ken Levine cites an example of what a cult deprogrammer does: “[There are] people who hired people to [for example] deprogram their daughter who had been in a lesbian relationship. They kidnap her and reprogram her, and it was a really dark person, and that was the [kind of] character that you were.”

This story would have been more political in nature, with the character hired by a Senator. By the time development on BioShock was officially revealed in 2004, the story and setting had changed significantly. The game now took place in an abandoned World War II-era underground laboratory, which had recently been unearthed by 21st century scientists. The genetic experiments within the labs had gradually formed themselves into an ecosystem, centered around three “castes” of creatures, referred to as “drones,” “soldiers,” and “predators.” This “AI ecology” would eventually form the basis for the “Little Sister,” “Big Daddy,” and “Splicer” dynamic seen in the completed game. [Infos from Wikipedia]

In some early screenshots and concept arts, we can see different designs for “Big Daddy” and a removed “Garden Level” area.

In the beta videos there is a very early looking beta hud and a removed plasmid called Speed Boost that makes you move faster so you can avoid the turret. Also at one point near the end you see a little sister get killed by a splicer which can’t happen in the final game. At one point in development the developers wanted plasmids to have a more permanent effect and permanently alter your body much like the splicers. For whatever reason they decided to cut it out of the game, but you can still see it in the second beta video. You can see that after he uses that one gunk ball plasmid thing and switches back to his weapon his hands still stay altered from using the plasmid until he switches to a new one. Where in the final game if you use a plasmid that alters the way you look and switch back to a weapon your arms and hands instantly go back to normal.

At Irrational Games’ website they published even more info on the early / unused characters:

Frog with a Funnel in its Anus: Before BioShock’s “gatherers” became Little Sisters in an artistic process characterized by false starts and filled garbage bins, they were sea slugs. Nobody empathized with the creatures enough to care whether they lived or died. When the call went out to come up with a character that players would pity, Art Principal Scott Sinclair submitted this insipid image of a toad with a funnel and sun tea jug attached to its anus. Scott insists that fellow artist Shawn Robertson’s “dog in a wheelchair” is more embarrassing by far.

Stay Puft Bouncer: Initially reluctant to add a drill arm to the Bouncer Big Daddy variant at Creative Director Ken Levine’s insistence, artists Nate Wells and Robb Waters started exchanging a series of images in which they attached marshmallows, human butts, and other items to the character’s hand.

SloProFum: SloProFum, the studio’s internal name for this prototype Big Daddy variant that mauled players with an enormous hook and fired iron bearings from a barrel, stands for “slow projectile/fucked-up melee.”

Also, in another article they talks about an atmospheric pressure system and other things removed from Bioshock:

BioShock was slated to simulate deep-sea atmospheric pressure changes. In fact, the feature was functioning when the game shipped.

Technical Director Chris Kline explains: “Any area in BioShock could be associated with a ‘pressure region.’ Machines in each region allowed players to change the local pressure between low, normal, and high parameters. For each room in the game, there were entirely different light, fog, and HDR rendering setups, and when the pressure was changed, the whole atmosphere in the room would smoothly blend from the current setup to the new setup. In addition, every AI responded differently to pressure, meaning that, depending on the current pressure, the AI would have different animations, vocalizations, appearance, speeds, vulnerabilities to different damage types, and damage bonuses. […]

“In practice, the system was a disaster because it caused several gameplay and production issues. Most importantly — and this is the issue that put the nail in the system’s coffin — was that we never found a good way to clearly convey the effect of pressure through audiovisual changes.

Interestingly, some remnant of this system shipped with BioShock. “While we ‘cut’ pressure from the game,” Kline says, “the portion that controlled lighting and fog changes was left in the code. At one point, I discovered (to my horror, because the code hadn’t been tested in ages) that artists were hijacking the pressure system to script lighting and fog changes — most notably in the Arcadia level when the trees die and are brought back to life. So I suppose that the code was solid.”

“Early on during BioShock’s development, we went through a phase that placed much more emphasis on biotechnology,” says designer Alexx Kay. “Audio logs, instead of being tape recorders, would be squishy, organic things, with lips and ears. Machines that seemed mechanical on the surface would actually have mutated humans operating them behind the scenes — something that players would only come to realize partway through the game. There is a small remnant of this notion in the hacking mini-game; originally, the fiction behind it was that you were increasing the flow of Adam to this addicted, mutated slave, and he was giving you extra benefits in gratitude.

BioShock’s insect-based ecology: According to designer Alexx Kay, “One of the original inspirations for BioShock was Ken Levine’s belief that it was getting too hard to create meaningful human interactions in games. His first take on a solution: model meaningful insect interactions, like you would see on a nature show. BioShock would feature a complex ecology of creatures that interacted in simple, easy-to-get ways. Harvesters would gather resources and bring them back to Queens. Aggressors would attack the Harvesters, Protectors would guard them. (The Queens were large, immobile creatures, with lots of Adam, who could summon Protectors if attacked.) There would never be any speech, or any indication of higher intelligence.

BioShock’s navigation robot: During the middle stages of Bioshock’s development, the team realized that due to the complex connectivity of Rapture, players needed assistance in order to navigate the city and complete quests. Technical Director Chris Kline says, “We wanted a map, but were concerned that this would take too much programming and design/art time to implement. So I came up with the idea of Nav-Bot: You could press a controller button to summon your Nav-Bot, activate him with another controller button, and then select from a list of destinations in a 2D user interface. You could then follow him to the designated location.

Thanks to Earthwormjim and Robert Seddon for the contribution!

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Tonic Trouble (ED) [Beta – N64 / PC]

Tonic Trouble (also know as ED or HED during the early development) is a 3D platform game created by Ubisoft for the Nintendo 64 and PC. As you can see from the beta images in the gallery below, the developers tried to create a character design similar to Rayman for the main hero. Rather than rely on exploration as in Mario 64, Tonic Trouble proposed a rather linear gameplay, which was a direct translation into three dimensions of the traditional two-dimensional platform concept.

In the early beta images released on various magazines and websites, we can notice a graphic much more detailed than the final one on the Nintendo 64, as probably these screens were taken from various target renders and tech demos. We dont remember the game very well, but it’s also possible that some of the places seen in the beta screens were not in the final game.

The N64 version had many noticeable differences from the PC version, like a substantially different opening due to the lack of processing power needed to render cutscenes and different music in certain places. The game was going to be released before Rayman 2: The Great Escape but eventually was released months after. [Info from Wikipedia]

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Shadowman [Beta – N64/PSX/DC/PC]

ShadowMan is an action adventure game developed by Acclaim Studios Teesside and published by Acclaim Entertainment. It was designed by Guy Miller and Simon Phipps. It is loosely based on the Shadowman comic book series published by Valiant Comics and was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast and PC. [Info from Wikipedia]

In the gallery below you can see a series of beta screenshots from a very early version of the game: the 3D model of the main character was still incomplete and different from its final one, the tree looked nothing like the final ones and even the scenario shown in these images seems to have been removed or changed in the released game. Probably Acclaim worked a lot on the game, to create a title that was really good for its time.

Below you can also see a video from a leaked early beta demo of  ShadowMan:

For anyone interested here’s a very early shadowman demo from 1997, its really basic, has differerent models/ sounds to the game. If you burn it to a disc and run it you get to here the ingame audio,
* To start press space on title page
* space to jump cursers to move
* W – wireframe on/off
* H – get lighter
* Y – get darker
* R – respawn
* F6 – free cam on
* F5 – Free cam off
* esc – to quit

 for best results burn it to a CD and run it from there

Credit to the following pages:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/15818496890/
There you can find some of the original developers of the pc game, as Tim Haywood (composer of the awesome music of the game) and Trevor Storey (game designer)

http://shadowman.freeforums.org/index.php
It´s a forum create by Tim Haywood, good things in there.

As BO3000B wrote as a comment to the beta video on Youtube:

I just recently played through it and don’t really recognize anything in this video. Louisiana is the only part that looks vaguely like the final game. This must’ve been really early in development.

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