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BETA: Observed "Cut" functions, behaviours, items and units

Discussion in 'Data' started by FilmBoy84, Oct 24, 2017.

FilmBoy84
Best Answer FilmBoy84, Nov 26, 2017
From the Al Giovetti review of the game all the way back in late 1996: "Apocalypse adds many new skills, including interrogation skill, perceptive... Go to Full Post
  1. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    **If the admin/mods can add a "Beta" prefix to this to keep it separate i'd be really grateful.**

    So, delving around in the beta game a little i've naturally come across things that were cut from vanilla, a lot of these things are known and documented, particularly well, here:
    https://tcrf.net/X-COM:_Apocalypse (A much better resource than UFOPedia for lost content)

    Most other "cut" content is as described on "The cutting floor" wiki as i linked to above, but i thought it significant to post my knowledge of further details here if modders want to pick it up for additions to OpenApoc especially as i've found some things that flesh out the content even further.

    Currently, there are three known versions of pre-vanilla apocalypse.

    1. The "Debug" version; this was sent out to Q&A/Debuggers, it contains ALL of the cut functionality in the state it was prior to being cut. Includes cheats that the beta does not have to aid testing. The holy grail of Apocalypse development really; would love to find a copy of this after losing mine with the First Beta back in 2001. No known copies exist in the public domain; PM me if you know otherwise.

    2. The "First Beta"; frequently crashes and puts up "blank prompts", most of the cut features are partially removed in this version, the game is not completable end-to-end due to a broken research tree but can be completed with the "beta cheats". It was only ever available internally to Microprose and Mythos employees but copies were leaked to friends and families. Both a working Skirmish Mode and a Multiplayer (P2P) mode are present, though the Multiplayer is prone to desynchronising and crashes, the Skirmish has lots of crash-to-prompt errors and missing tiles.

    3. The "Second Beta", most widely available pre-vanilla apocalypse. Intermittent "blank prompts" few crashes, effectively a "complete game" only with placeholder graphics in some places. Very few of the "cut" functions are still in the game and even then are often damaged or stripped, all have been made inaccessible without some tinkering. The behaviour of both aliens and X-COM agents is much more detailed as i have documented elsewhere and gives a happy middle ground to ascertaining how Apocalypse was "meant" to work prior to it's release. It has an .exe date of 12/06/1997 (dated after the vanilla release because there was an intent to further develop apocalypse with patches so for a time, a beta development branch was retained and then leaked). Beta2 has a Skirmish mode, but it does not work resulting in a crash to prompt on mission generation. Multiplayer (P2P) has been removed.

    With regards to Items, here's what testing has discovered that adds to the wiki information above:

    1. Energy Pod: This does provide ammunition to the forceweb. It has no link to the Dimension Destabiliser as suggested elsewhere

    2. Forceweb: A weaker version of the Stun-Grapple, but has an area effect forming a 3x3 square. This allows for capture of multiple small aliens or used against the larger aliens that the Stun Grapple COULD NOT capture prior to vanilla. No animation effect is present in the beta, but it does seem to "stun" creatures within the 3x3 tile radius. It uses the Energy pod ammunition.

    3. Alien Detector: Allows for identification of "micronoid infected VIPs or brainsucked civilians/gangs/police" that are not hostile to X-COM in the Tactical game. It appears that the game was meant to allow, as part of the tagging model, some infected units to be in the tactical game but not attack X-COM or run away from them as they went about their missions in the Cityscape. This device allows X-COM to see infected units through a minimap similar to the Motion Detector that remains in game, but much more accurate. Different colours identify "safe" units and "hidden" aliens. X-COM can then be told to shoot the infected unit accordingly

    4. Dimension Destabiliser: Does not use ammunition as suggested, appears to draw energy from the alien dimension as the Disrupter and Devastator do

    5. Dimension Force Field: Appears to have no clear purpose, as per the wiki, though tinkering suggests it was more intended to form "barriers" on the Tactical game that agents could hide behind and shoot over. It's too large to be intended as a personal force field.

    6. Tracker Gun, Tracker Clip & Multi-Tracker: Probably the coolest feature cut from the game. In the second beta it's still there but has been drastically hacked to pieces since the first beta (presumably as they started to cut features). The tracker gun was used in the tactical game to "tag" civilians, VIPs, Aliens and gang members. These units, if allowed to flee the tactical game, or left there as X-COM withdrew would then appear on the cityscape in a similar manner to X-COM agents. Confusingly, when i've been able to tag and track units historically (prior to losing my debug copy) the units appear using the Red man and Yellow circle, in debug, X-COM were green men with a yellow circle. Civilians appeared as a grey man with a yellow circle. For some reason, by beta, the colours were reversed. You could follow them around the cityscape and capture them with stun weaponry in the tactical game. There was a bug where units had to be tagged before they could be captured; you couldn't capture a VIP just by stunning them. The tag indicated that they were to be sent to the X-COM cells after a battle and not returned to the parent organisation. In effect "tagging" a unit gave X-COM permission to arrest and hold for interrogation (giving details of alien infection, organisation relations, other organisation units locations, etc.), ransom (yes, this was a thing that X-COM did to raise funds) or execution (that antagonised the parent organisation).

    7. Psi-Grenade: When exploding, this caused units to "panic" or "beserk" and even "flee" by knocking their psi-defence and psi-strength as well as bravery right down. It was most devastating against high-psi or bravery units as the mechanism worked on a "percentage damage" model. A great weapon against Psi-morphs and Micronoids.

    8. Dimension Shifter (CRAFT EQUIPMENT): Back in debug there was provision for NINE (Yes nine!) Alien Dimensions, these were procedurally generated with the buildings linking in different manners for each dimension. From what i can recall from the debug, only dimension IDs 0 through 4 were used (0 being Mega-Primus, plus four other "alien" maps; there were preliminary plans for expansions that added more up to the 9 threshold). The dimension shifter allowed for X-COM to select which dimension they travelled to. If X-COM did not research this item, they could "win" the game by destroying the first dimension, but there was a twist ending by which the aliens would keep invading Earth and X-COM actually lost (In short, there were "alternate endings" planned for apocalypse, much in the same way that Dreamland Chronicals [UFO Aftermath] had). The only way to truly win apocalypse was to complete ALL of the alien dimensions and this is why the "ONE WAY TO WIN" piece of research can still be found in the vanilla game! The "One way to win" image is of a special building that grew the technology to allow the aliens to settle in different dimensions; this was later made into the building that grew new buildings for the aliens (as it is in vanilla). There was a significant story change from the aliens being from a vast multi-dimensional empire to that of the micronoids effectively invading other dimensions to escape the death of their own (as is the case in vanilla).

    9. Structure Probe (CRAFT EQUIPMENT): This was intended to allow X-COM to probe the next building in the alien dimension, this could only be found on the dimension probe and gave it it's purpose. After successfully completing a building mission in the alien dimension X-COM had to fly a probe over the next building and scan it before returning to earth. This unlocked the research for the next building. Of course, in vanilla, this was automatically granted and the dimension probe remains as a useless vehicle in the research tree.

    10. Vortex Analyser (CRAFT EQUIPMENT): If X-COM had successfully worked out that there were multiple alien dimensions, this piece of equipment would be made available to "look"/"scan" for "vortexes" between the different alien dimensions within each alien dimension map. These were hidden in normal play and moved (like the dimension gates) over time. Once found, a vortex could be traversed using the "Dimension Shifter" to one of the other alien dimensions. Only when the "One way to win" research was completed did vortexes to the "final" alien dimension start to open. This allowed X-COM to "skip" some of the dimensions and truly destroy the alien threat if they were quick to research the "Real Alien Threat" and "One way to win" in quick succession.

    11. X-COM could "capture" alien buildings in the debug version, it was unclear if this was a bug as it allowed X-COM to manufacture the aliens UFOs for example (which also provided the Dimension Shifter) or if it was a test feature.

    12. All Aliens and UFOs have their own "inventory" screens because multiplayer was intended for Apocalypse and X-COM could capture and use both aliens and UFOs as above.

    I'll make further posts here regarding Alien unit behaviour in combat as time allows.
     
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  2. Best Answer:
    Post #2078 by FilmBoy84, Nov 26, 2017
  3. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  4. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    Also Skin36 (Yuri) find in beta files images of planets 0 to 8 in PLANET.PCK old archive type
    but to convert need correct palette
    there 9 files so its can be 8 planets of our system and earth moon
    and also you say
    "Back in debug there was provision for NINE (Yes nine!) Alien Dimensions"
    so i gues this is it

    [​IMG]
     

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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  5. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    Thanks @makus for formatting my thread correctly, i shall try to keep the formatting structure for future posts

    The planets thing is interesting; i had forgotten about this, and early design concept was to have multiple cities i believe which covered mankinds expansion to mars and beyond. The transteller spaceships moved goods between the different cities on different planets and after a certain week, dimension gates would appear on other planets so X-COM would be forced to fight across multiple cities and dimensions.

    I don't know if basic functionality was even added? The fact that @Skin36 has found stuff indicates that something must have been done towards this end? Sadly i can't claim to know much about the planets aspect of early apocalypse.
     
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  6. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    No @Skin36 just mention this =] so i write about this
    also @Skin36 say that its not linked to anywhere in the game
    And yes like you said its will be intresting but heavily load gameplay i think...
    but if its will be builded in some larger concept wich some smart mehanics...
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  7. Yataka Shimaoka

    Yataka Shimaoka Well-Known Member Tester Translator/Writer

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    This, is too much to take in! Thinking that our vanilla Apocalypse (the released one)
    Is largely incomplete! And thinking about all of the content mentioned, well, what I wouldn't give to experience it!

    You rock Filmboy84!!!
     
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  8. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    Thank-you, XCOM3 has been in my top three games for some 20-years now (The others being Transport Tycoon and STALKER), from being given debug and beta versions back in the day to hearing that all the mods and devs here were making a remake i've always been fascinated by "what could have been".

    OpenApoc is the best chance in a generation to actually make a game like this and I hope that, as it's open source, my knowledge of the early game will help those who can code make the appropriate mods

    I really should learn to code =]

    In other news, here's another playtest in the beta raiding the CoS. Chaos ensues as the cult members not only spawn within 7 squares of my agents but spam incendiary weapons as they always did before vanilla made them explosive obsessed. Also note the sheer numbers of cultists in beta missions (This game is running in "easy" mode)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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  9. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    Maybe Jacob you yourself do not know how much this can be a great idea =3
    i mean in general that can change your life)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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  10. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    At initial stages of the development was created real models of alien "dog" and other alien creatures like a meat machine with sonic weapons, possible demonic creature, and maybe more but i can save only this
     

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
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  11. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    Well found @makus love the dog and sonic alien particularly :)

    These must be some of the 3D models made for apocalypse with an eye to scaling them down for use in game. I can remember the Gollop's complaining that whilst the designs looked amazing when large, they turned into a mess when reduced to sprite size which is why even the vanilla aliens are "noisy" in their appearance and changes were made to most sprites between the 2nd Beta and the Vanilla release (beta aliens are very mottled, dull and grey).

    You also appear to have an early multiworm egg and an early brainsucker there too.
    Great stuff!
     
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  12. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    well yes should be but we dont find it )

    This topic will help us to form a slik concept
    yet we can probably use something from the X-Com alliance documents to expand the vision of the future image of the game (concept)
    so i leave this here
    http://www.terrygreer.com/xcomalliance.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  13. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    OK, i've found the artist who made these. Amazingly they are SCULPTURES and not 3D computer models! The artist is Tim White and he was commissioned to make the monsters for apocalypse. I'll see if i can make contact with him...

    We also have a name for the daemonic creature; "The Demonoid"

    There was also a return for a "Carnosaur" as well as a poison bat!

    His page can be found on the wayback machine at:
    https://web.archive.org/web/2010081...-white.co.uk/pages/sculpturegallerypage1.html

    Acoustic Creature

    A predatory creature which uses sound waves at a disrupting frequency to disable its victims. One of a series of 3D models created by the artist for a small computer software company.

    Alien Wolf
    Another alien creature for the same project mentioned above.

    Brain Parasite

    One of a series of 3D models created by the artist for the computer game 'X-com Apocalypse' by 'Microprose'. A sinister creature, which springs onto human heads, attaching by suckers on its legs. Using a trunk like appendage it penetrates the skull and sucks out the brain of its victim. Then the creature inserts its own brain into the body, which then becomes an alien!

    Demonoid Model
    An alien predator from the same project as the 'alien wolf' mentioned above.

    Egg
    Another life form from the 'X-com Apocalypse' computer game. The egg from which the killer 'multiworm' emerges.

    Multiworm

    A giant killer worm from the computer game 'X-com Apocalypse'.

    Venomous Bat
    A poison bat life form for a computer game project.

    Funnel head Alien

    One of a series of 'aliens' made for the computer game 'X-Com Apocalypse' by 'Microprose'. The model was painted mat white for scanning by a 'rotary laser', to enable 3D computer meshes to be made from it. All the models for the Microprose project were made this way.

    Popper
    An alien creature design called a 'Popper' for the computer game 'X-Com Apocalypse'. The highly dangerous creature runs up to earthlings and then detonates in a violent explosion. An alien bio weapon. A plastic toy 'Popper' version was also made as a promotional item connected to the computer game

    Mega Carnosaur
    A massive carnosaur life form for a computer game. The huge and weighty head counterbalanced by a large mace ended tail complete with spikes.
     
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  14. makus

    makus Designer, forum admin Administrator Designer/Artist

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    I try contact wich him via FB but its just page that was created by his fun she say that

    and yes im also fan of STALKER =ъ
    Code:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbbqlvuovQ0
    but its in 2018(
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  15. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    @makus, Metro:Exodus does look incredible, can't wait to get my hands on it. Looks more "open world" than the previous games too.

    A great shame we don't seem to be able to get hold of Tim, with him being in the UK i would love to arrange a meeting with him to try and take some photos of the Apoc sculptures.

    In other news, here's the Beta2 Alien dimension from dimension code 2
    No umbical is present
    No "entrance caves" are present
    Throughout the map, there are MULTIPLE copies of each building
    Buildings regrow if you take too long to destroy the next building and haven't destroyed the building that controls growth of new ones. ufo2p_000.png
     
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  16. Yataka Shimaoka

    Yataka Shimaoka Well-Known Member Tester Translator/Writer

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    That confirms the myths about the alien dimension, nice find!
     
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  17. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    Here's a video look around of the Beta2 alien dimension, note the multiple dimension gate generators that would have linked to other alien dimensions :Popcorn:

     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
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  18. Yataka Shimaoka

    Yataka Shimaoka Well-Known Member Tester Translator/Writer

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    MMMMM! I'm craving to have that cut functionality back! Loving it!
     
  19. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    From the Al Giovetti review of the game all the way back in late 1996:

    "Apocalypse adds many new skills, including interrogation skill, perceptive ability, biochemistry, quantum physics, forensics, engineering, sanity, driving skill, and flying skill. Another problem with the original game was the inability to move other than walk, turn, stand and run. In the new game the Silicon Graphics Incorporated rendered agents will be able to swim, crawl, jump, climb, and run in addition to the other movements."

    Also listed on Microprose's own website here...
    https://web.archive.org/web/1996122...se.com:80/corporatedesign/press/xcomapoc.html

    Would love to see those skills back in the game. :glasses:

    Originally, craft would have to be assigned agents to fly, not the autonomous craft we currently have in Apocalypse. Choosing an agent for flying ability was as important as combat ability and X-COM would effectively be forced to recruit "pilots" as well as agents.

    Also, water, what happened to this function? Why else would agents need a swimming skill :facepalm:
    --- Post Merged, Nov 26, 2017, Original Post Date: Nov 8, 2017 ---
    From Julian Gollop himself (April 2001):

    "Each corporation had a leader who could be tailed, arrested, interrogated or assassinated. Organisations could buy and sell buildings as their financial fortunes changed. X-Com agents could spy on other organisations to gain valuable information. A sophisticated diplomacy display allowed the player to instigate aggressive or defensive alliances with other organisations. There were multiple alien dimensions, generated pseudo-randomly, and the aliens gradually expanded their empire as the game progressed. The game also featured a scenario generator and multiplayer options using a hotseat turn based system or a real time LAN option. Most of these features were implemented to some degree, but were finally stripped out due to the horrendous amount of work involved in QA and debugging."
     
    FilmBoy84, Nov 26, 2017 Best Answer
    #18
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  20. Yataka Shimaoka

    Yataka Shimaoka Well-Known Member Tester Translator/Writer

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    I think why the "Lan" function was cut because of the huge time and effort to make it. But what the heck is the swimming thingy for? Swim through alien's poo tunnels?
     
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  21. FilmBoy84

    FilmBoy84 Administrator Administrator Tester Researcher

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    Looking at @Ankor's Reddit thread with Julian Gollop Apocalypse was intended to have "Oceans" which implies lakes, rivers and other water related fun would appear in apocalypse too

    Also, your swimming through alien poo thingy may not be too far from the truth... Remember the infiltration and stealth abilities of agents? The concept was meant to allow the player to have agents placed deep in other organisations and the alien empire for espionage purposes ;)

    Julian also said the LAN was dropped due to synching issues with the Peer-Peer networking used at the time.

    It was in beta1 and the debug version. beta2 only has a malfunctioning skirmish mode
    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 27, 2017 ---
    Giving this thread a bump with another round of updates on cut features and behaviours

    Days without Dimension Gates: The dimension gates were not always present; the aliens could choose (often in response to X-COM aggression in their dimensions) to close the gates. This could leave X-COM craft stuck in the alien worlds, or in Mega Primus...


    Landing in the Alien Dimensions: Craft would "land" next to Alien buildings to go on missions... There was no umbilical and the aliens could "grow" multiple copies of each building...


    Uncut Alien Life Cycle: In early versions of Apocalypse the Alien Life Cycle was strictly enforced. UFOs dropped Eggs, Chrysallis and Brainsuckers into Mega-Primus and rarely other life forms (unless it was late game and organisations had come under alien control or the aliens had moved over to destruction and bombing missions). This allowed them to evolve undetected (unless X-COM searched) for many days as they spread throughout the city... It also forced X-COM agents to regularly check buildings to control the spread of Micronoid infestation.

    Here, X-COM is near the end of a mission in which they have faced more than 30 brainsuckers and no other mobile lifeforms!


    Alien Craft "Crashed" in their own dimensions allowing X-COM to raid the crash-sites
    :

    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2018 ---
    To destroy alien buildings, you first had to land agents there and scout out the place for clues as to the buildings purpose: Later in the BETA game you also got access to a "Structure Probe" bit of craft equipment that could be fitted to the Dimension Probe and allowed you to scan buildings without risking agents. The information returned however was less accurate.
    tacp_005.png
    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2018 ---
    High Tier Aliens and Terror Weapons could be dropped into the city: When the aliens stopped following the strict alien life cycle to begin terrorising and not just infiltrating the city, they could drop larger units such as Psymorphs and Megaspawn into the game

    tacp_004.png
    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2018 ---
    Alien Bombing Runs were terrifying and not limited to a couple of craft; if they wanted they could send EVERYTHING in the alien dimension at once: Aliens in BETA could go on massive bombing runs, destroying whole sections of the city. This behaviour was nerfed in Vanilla to the aliens bombing only one or two buildings, but the destruction that used to occur needs to be seen to be believed...

    --- Post Merged, Mar 29, 2018 ---
    Agents Climbing Ability: Agents could be told to climb objects, walls and vertical surfaces
    (Image sourced from Archived Spectrum Holobyte website)
    upload_2018-3-29_0-51-3.jpeg
    --- Post Merged, Mar 29, 2018 ---
    Procedurally Generated Alien Dimension and Mega-Primus Maps: Both the alien dimension and Mega Primus itself were procedurally generated, leading to all manner of different maps to play on
    (Image source Spectrum Holobyte Archive)
    upload_2018-3-29_1-0-12.jpeg

    Vehicles in Repair Bays showed up in Combat AND Could receive further damage or even be completely destroyed:
    (Image source Spectrum Holobyte Archive)
    upload_2018-3-29_1-1-47.jpeg
    --- Post Merged, Apr 10, 2018 ---
    (From a post I made on the BETA: Of spies, Interrogation, Forensics, Extortion, Agent Skills & VIPs thread regarding the cut endings of the game linked to the "One way to win" story arc)

     
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