The majority of good games has a lot of cut and unused content, which developers rejected for some reason. Far Cry 1 is not an exception; it has many interesting (sometimes fully realized) ideas left behind and forgotten: dinosaurs, aliens, greatly detailed maps, vehicles, species of mutants and other enemies not seen in the final game.
Unfortunately, FC1’s pre-release content is not so well-known.
I am going to tell about stages of Far Cry’s development. (Warning: a lot of text ahead. I’ll divide the article into parts)
I’ll begin with the Crytek’s tech demo called “X-Isle: Dinosaur Island” from 2001. The demo’s engine is the predecessor to CryEngine. This demo influenced many of Far Cry’s earlier concepts (especially the dinosaur part). Far Cry was known as “X-Isle” for some time until a press-release in May, 28 of 2002.
My source is the archived Crytek’s site:
Anyway, let’s admire the work of Far Cry’s developers:
By the way, the demo’s objects are saved in .cgf file format, but they cannot be opened in the Sandbox editor for some reason. This means that they might be later reconverted to be used in the final Far Cry.
Alright, let’s start with the main part.
The second thing I will tell you about is Far Cry’s “Pre-alpha”.
The pre-release data about Far Cry I found on some websites is self-contradictory in some parts, which might indicate that Far Cry’s plot was still being established:
1) An old Gamespot preview about X-Isle.
“Crytek has announced an upcoming squad-based tactical first-person game titled X-Isle. In the game, players will be pitted against an ancient alien life-form closely related to the dinosaurs. The aliens have re-created a colony of dinosaurs in an attempt to take back control of the globe. The player must overcome the advanced alien technology in addition to the brute strength and power of the dinosaurs in order to succeed.”
2) Far Cry (previously known as X-Isle) was even to be released for Xbox. Its preview from teamxbox has a lot of interesting details too.
3) An IGN article about Far Cry. Far Cry’s plot briefly told here is quite similar to the final one. Note that the game was to be set 10 or 15 years into the future (after 2002, by the way)
4) In another Gamespot article the told plot is slightly different from the final version’s
“In Far Cry, you'll play as a recluse who has retired to the game's tropical island area with his boat, wanting nothing to do with the outside world. At the start of the game, you'll meet a female journalist investigating reports of strange goings-on in the island area, and though your character simply wanted to be left alone, he'll be forced into conflict when the reporter is kidnapped and his boat is destroyed by an army of mysterious soldiers.”
Let’s explore the content of the “pre-alpha demo” and other stuff from this stage of the development.
Here are two exciting concepts of some aliens from the Crytek's archived site. They might have actually been implemented in the game. I’ll tell more about this further in the article. Besides, they have a “render” feel in them.
This is a page of some German gaming magazine with a concept of Jack Carver looking like a commando.
This is some hi-tech jeep, which is a predecessor to the Humvee in its role. It was later included in CryEngine SDK. It is implemented in mod, but not placed anywhere yet.
And here is a model (animated!) of a maintenance arm of similar design. It dates back to the 20th of November, 2002, like many files from pre-alpha.
Some mercs from that time were quite different from the new ones.
And some mercs were using Light Indoor Guard models and could almost exactly be replicated in editor. Their cap is absent though.
Patrol Boat had a number of different weapons installed on its hull. Their textures still remain in game.
Some kind of a handheld mortar was planned along with NTW-20 sniper rifle and HK G11 (included in SDK) assault rifle. The latter two are featured in our mod, though not placed anywhere yet. Models and animations are not ours.
Grenade as a separate weapon:
Old binoculars (remade in the mod)
- Level design:
Pre-alpha’s outdoor areas were quite picturesque despite not very detailed textures and objects
Some interesting somewhat futuristic fortified buildings on the background:
Pre-alpha also featured some cool DooM3-ish indoor areas
- In-editor screenshots:
There are some screenshots of the Sandbox (previously named CryEdit) editor. Notice the unusually accurately made terrain (it may have been made with some programs other than the editor).
- Analyzing xml files with hints from the game
In the folder Scripts/LANGUAGES/ENGLISH/MISSIONS/ there are some xml files (from 2002, the earliest dating back to 11.01.2002) with hints to various pre-alpha missions. Let’s take a closer look at the most interesting ones:
-SANDBOX/sandbox.xml: includes hints to “Crytek Testbed Level”
"This is the VEHICLE section of the Testbed level. Walk up to the jeep and Press E to get in and drive around.
Alternatively walk up to the turret and press E to use it." – this might prove that usable Jeep existed at that time
"This is the USEABLE OBJECTS section of the Testbed level. You can:
Climb the red ladder.
Shoot the bottles - they are breakable.
Fire your weapon (eg G11) at the walls - the wooden wall can be shot through (fire at the ground and walk to the other side), while the metal wall will not let bullets pass through and will spark with the impacts.
The concrete wall displays different decals to the others." – G11 might have existed. Besides, those bottles’ models were the unviewable vodka.cgf from Obejcts/Outdoor/HUMAN_CAMP/ as it is the earliest bottle model and there’s a script named “vodka.lua” in the “Breakables” group.
"This is the VISION section of the Testbed level. In the distance you can see a Warm alien, but he cannot see you unless you get too close.
Press B for binoculars, and scroll the mouse wheel or press + or - on the numeric keypad to zoom in and out.
The motion tracker follows the alien in the distance and attaches an icon to it as soon as it starts moving.
He may stand around for a while, but will eventually move on.
Toggle H for Heatview.
Press F2 and then N for night vision (green filter)" – this tells us that alien NPCs could have existed and Nightvision along with Heatvision were usable.
"This is the AI DEMONSTRATION section of the Testbed level. Next to the large block are some Warm aliens
If you move to within 30 metres they will attack without mercy." – something about aliens’ AI
"This is a COLD ALIEN. It cannot sense you, so walk up to it and check out its texture." – there were probably different kinds of aliens
"This is an object. You have collected it"; "This is the TRIGGERS section of the Testbed level. Walk to a Waypoint, Object or Usepoint." – some collectable objects existed.
-POWERSTATION/a7.xml, b10.xml: hints for some singleplayer level
"I`m Dr Burnett. Follow the subwaypoints to the next nav point." – some “radio-advisor” like Doyle.
"Go to Waypoint B on your HUD - that`s the burnt out Powerstation complex you destroyed earlier. Or, you could just follow the smoke plume on the horizon!" – about our previous activities.
"Infiltrate the damaged structure. Inside is a substance that sends out a sub-meson resonating alpha wave (anti-refraction suit) wave when destroyed. The plan is to visit the lowest - storage level of the Power Station and retrieve some of this substance. Perhaps we can jury-rig some kind of weapon from it…" – I don’t know what does he mean, but it’s interesting.
"Use this jeep to go to Waypoint C now." – again about Jeep
"We'll simply bond this gel to one of your standard grenades. The energy released from the explosive should trigger the anti-refraction suit field. Now you must go to the Space Dock to get medic supplies for my brother Warm" – more about the storyline
"Get on the Stealth Boat" – some new transport. Maybe patrolboat?
"EMP Mines" – unknown weapons
" ot…return to the surface…we'll bind the cubes to hand-gre…should set em off. To aid your escape, we`ve dropped a jeep nearby. Its position has been marked on your HUD as Waypoint B1." – more about the storyline
-MULTIPLAYER_1/test_mission.xml: judging by the folder name, hints to a MP mission
"Infiltrate the Helipad and get on board the V22"; "Waypoint Reached. You'll need a uniform to be able to sneak on board the V22...theres one at the harbour."; "You got the Uniform!. Now use it to sneak on board the V22" – cool things like using disguise and stealth mission (the game’s gameplay was planned to be more straitforward than in the final version, so this mission uncommon, and even more for a multiplayer.)
-FOREST/forest.xml: hints to the “Crytek Forest Level
"Welcome to the Crytek Forest Level. Make your way to the Crashed Plane and see if you can find any survivors.
Use your Motion Tracker and Heat View to watch for aliens."
"Hmm - no humans here...Kill any other aliens you can find." -- just more info about aliens and SP missions.
- Analyzing SCRIPTS.dsp
This file from Scripts folder appears to be a list of scripts as of January 10, 2002.
Interesting script files (they might not be finished and working):
-.\Default\Entities\AItest\WarmSniper.lua – may be that “brother Warm” character, may be someone else
-.\Default\Entities\Aliens\Alien\Alien.lua – aliens likely existed
- .\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_ag36.lua – G36’s grenade launcher’s ammo, I suppose
-.\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_at4.lua – AT4 rocket launcher’s ammo?
-.\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_aw50.lua – AW50’s ammo
-.\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_g36.lua – G36’s ammo
-.\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_mach.lua – SMGs’ ammo
-.\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_pistol.lua – 3 different pistol ammo types
-.\Default\Entities\Breakables\vodka.lua – mentioned breakable vodka bottles
-.\Default\Entities\ClimbableTrees\ClimbableTree01.lua – speaks of itself
-.\Default\Entities\dinosaur\Iguan.lua – dinosaur NPCs might still have existed
-.\Default\Entities\Flags\... – different flags for MP
-.\Default\Entities\Others\TestWall.lua – something interesting
-.\Default\Entities\Particle\Smoke.lua – the only script in the “Particles” group
-.\Default\Entities\PLAYER\car.lua – driveable car?
.\Default\Entities\PLAYER\tree.lua – tree in the “PLAYER” group?
Triggers existing at that time. Might be interesting for modders.
-.\Default\Entities\Vehicles\car.lua – another car script
-.\Default\Entities\Vehicles\jeep.lua – Jeep script
-.\Default\Entities\Vehicles\quad.lua – a quadrocycle script?
-.\Default\Entities\Vehicles\turret.lua – a script for vehicle turrets?
Weapon scripts of that time
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\AlienRocket.lua – some alien weapon/projectile?
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\Barett.lua – second high-caliber sniper rifle, might be NTW-20
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\Binoculars.lua – binoculars as weapon.
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\BiPod.lua – script for bipod
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\DroppedWeapon.lua – a separate script for dropped weapons
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\G11.lua – G11 script
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\Mortar.lua – handheld mortar script?
-.\Default\Entities\Weapons\mounted.lua – mounted turret script
.\Default\Entities\Weapons\smount.lua – what is this?
Binoculars, heatvision, nightvision
-.\GameStuff\TeamGame.lua – MP. Coop or missions with AI team script?
- Analyzing gameplay footages
Here are the two videos of the pre-alpha stage.
-mercs were already using team tactics, could be transported via V22 and call reinforcements with a smoke grenade and dodge attacks with rolling. They were also voiced.
-Some idols, models of which still remain in the game
-grenades were not a separate weapon
-V22 was much faster than in final version
-MP5, P90 (named FP-90), RL, Jackhammer and AW50 existed for sure.
-AW50’s and RL’s original scopes (I remade them in the mod more or less accurately)
-static forklift existed
-There was a nice underground area with an enclosed lava pool, a barrel with spilled acid/wastes and some acid in pools following the walls of some corridor. Some voice was talking through a radio.
So, that’s all for now. More parts coming soon. I hope this will attract more fans to studying FC1’s beta content.
P.S.: is there someone who knows German? It would be very nice to translate the magazine article and the reviews as it might give a plenty of information.