Post feature RSS Exploring development of Far Cry 1: part 1

This is the first part of my article dedicated to telling you about Far Cry's cut content.

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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.

  • Concepts

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.

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This is a page of some German gaming magazine with a concept of Jack Carver looking like a commando:

  • Entities

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.

maint arm

Some mercs from that time were quite different from the new ones:

screenshot far cry 1600x1200 200

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And some mercs were using Light Indoor Guard models and could almost exactly be replicated in editor. Their cap is absent though.

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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.

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Grenade as a separate weapon:

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  • Items

Old binoculars (remade in the mod)

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  • Level design:

Pre-alpha’s outdoor areas were quite picturesque despite not very detailed textures and objects

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Some interesting somewhat futuristic fortified buildings on the background:

bullet impact

Pre-alpha also featured some cool DooM3-ish indoor areas

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  • 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 (more about it further in the article).

"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 multiplayer 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

-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

Ammo types:

- .\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, probably

-.\Default\Entities\Ammo\ammo_pistol.lua – 3 different pistol ammo types



-.\Default\Entities\Breakables\vodka.lua – those breakable vodka bottles mentioned before

-.\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 a 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.

Farcry Gamestar Pre Releae Video August 2002 - Mod DB

Interesting details:

-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.

P.P.S.: Gamershell, the site where I have taken many of the images for the articles, went down, so now most of the pictures are gone too. Fortunately, I have some backup images, so "repairing" the article wouldn't be a problem.


Goddammit, guys. I've never been a huge fan of the first Far Cry game, but I seriously admire your work. I've never seen someone dig so deep into beta content of games, and this mod has become my favourite one for now.

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changeroftheways Author

Pre-release versions of some games (for example, Half-life 2) are pretty famous and many people dedicate a lot of their time and efforts to remake them, often more than me.
But thank you anyway, hearing such words is heartwarming.

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The above video only gave me one association - Carnivores in CryEngine ...

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changeroftheways Author

Yeah, it looks somewhat really similar to Carnivores (if you are talking about the game series), especially the Dinosaur Hunter after the graphics update.

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Yep ... I played Carnivores long ago , when I was a kid ... nice nostalgia from Golden Age of gaming . I didnt knew at all about Dinosaur Hunter , thanks for that , will check it . ARK : Survival Evolved is to some extent covering this to me ( mainly just playing as solo , that adds to atmosphere )

Still waiting on remakes of :

Urban Assault , Gangsters Organized Crime , Delta Force , Shogo , Blood 1 & 2 , Recoil , Battlezone 2 ... etc.

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changeroftheways Author

Yeah, I used to spend a lot of time in Carnivores and still play them sometimes.

I am talking about Android one, not the Reborn (it's nice too, but DH is more look-alike to the X-Isle demo). Dinosaur Hunter is basically Carnivores 2 port to phones and so on with even more stuff like dinos, locations and weapons.

The planned X-Isle game would be a jewel. Basically, Far Cry 1 with dinosaurs, aliens and team gameplay.

Also, what Delta Force you are talking about? As for me, BHD is one of my favourite games. It has some nice pre-release thing too, BTW.

Yeah, Blood remake would be marvelous. Don't know about the second part, I haven't played it yet.

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Im thinking on first Delta Force - the Art of War , but also on Delta Force 2 . Voxel Space in that time was capable of making wonders ( including Outcast , forgot to mention it ) . I loved unforgiving action in Delta Force , everything needed to be planned - unlike many other shooters in that time . I think I recall there is one author here on moddb making Blood 1 remake , pretty interesting :

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changeroftheways Author

OMG man, thank you for the link, this looks absolutely awesome.
BTW, Blood has nice alpha too. Old sawed-off was much better than the final one.

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changeroftheways Author

Oh, I forgot to tell that weapon scripts list is not full. I've not included some technical scripts like "BasicWeapon.lua" and "FTBSniping". And in the case of the latter this is bad, 'cause the fact that breatholding and stuff during sniping existed is pretty interesting.

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If multiplayer missions were planned and scrapped at some point, then I'm totally not surprised that I could place NPCs and stuff in my MP maps. :D

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changeroftheways Author

They can be placed on any maps, it's not the true reason, I think.

Reply Good karma+4 votes

Well, the Sandbox Editor manual mentions that you can place NPCs in MP maps, and I also remember seeing a trigen in a vanilla FC MP map, in a cage. It's been 9 years, though, so I can't remember which map it was.

I guess it's for those reasons, and maybe some technical reasons (but I assume it's not too hard to code a filter for MP maps which removes all NPCs upon loading or something). Who knows. :P

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first some infos about me, so you can maybe weight following informations better:
i'm a german, live not sooo far away to crytek, was from beginning 2000 a freelance musician and soundeffect designer and in hmm, ~2005 i got a personal offer from Yerli by a phonecall, to work InHouse for Crytek (Fulltime), but i denied because i always wanted to running my own business and does not wanted move home.

now some additional info's:

X-Isle was not really planned as a combat simulator where you fight against Carnivores / Dinosaurs.
Crytek tried to sell engine licence's running the first 2002 Demo of X-Isle which must be done in 2001. This Demo was shown under the Nvidia label on a Computer Game Fair. The Idea was, to sell this simulation for Edutainment in Shools.
Rumors said, that "someone was adding quick for fun the AI system and a Weapon and looked how this would be work". this should have happened in 2002, but due to the amount of work which is behind that, (KI, WEAPONS, BONESYSTEM, THIRD PARTY tools for 3DSMax and and and), this is for sure not true.
So the next Idea came in: getting no success by selling the X-isle Dinosaur idea/Engine, they simply tried to go the way with the military setting: The Yerli -Brothers got a Financial... help, hmm, does not know the right words for... they got Money from a Fond (a french one if i remember right, but i'm not sure, could be also from Their Hometown Coburg), which allowed them to finance the further developement the military systems (KI, WEAPONS... and so on).
Then there must be a very short Time where it was planned to make a Game like Jurassic Park. A Island with Dinosaurier and you with a weapon.
I'm not sure about the year but somewhere between 2003-2005 they got a very big Deal with the German(???) Army (Bundeswehr?), which bought the Cryengine as military Training/Combat-simulation. I'm not informed if other (like US army) bought it. I have seen Videos where, for example, Tank/ Panzer trainees have used a special Cryengine with tanks and german landscapes to train driving, combat and tactics.
This gave some more Financial Resources so FarCry could be Developed and FarCry2 was started.
Crytek got a Pulbishing Deal with UBI Soft, and "Accidentally" sold the whole Engine and the FarCry Trademark to them. It seems the Yerli-brothers was not really aware of that and got really really angry as UBIsoft ripped them off in some parts, but i dont know exactly why but what happened:

Crytek gave the 1.6 version of Cryengine (FarCry used 1.4 !) to Ubisoft, but they denied to deliver the whole lua Frontend, so UBIsoft have had to recode this part totally new.
Crytek have had to create a new IP, called CRYSIS and got EA as Publisher, and we all know what UBIsoft have done with cryengine 1.6: they developed the new lua frontend, called it DUNIA and released up so far Farcry 2-4 and FarCry5 is in the Pipe.

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changeroftheways Author

To say I'm surprised and happy to receive this is to say nothing...

>I'm german
Do you speak german? Translating info in german would really help.
The story about you is also interesting.

I know about the demo's presentation. Demo greatly impressed the viewers.

I constantly think I said something in a wrong way or musunderstood something. The "X-Isle" demo from 2001 certainly wasn't planned to be a combat simulator, but the future FC was referred as X-Isle multiple times.

The parts about funds, Bundeswehr contract and so on did shock me.

I'll write you something later.

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> Do you speak german?

native :D

>and so on did shock me.

oh, then read here how it is to work for crytek, and you will be even more surprised

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@changerofthe ways,
That is a great collection of original material, well done by you to collect it up.
Like a museum and history combined.
Be good to see it used in your mod one day.
I hope you have it all archived and backed up in several places because I don't think many of those files are available anywhere else now and be a disaster to lose them.

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changeroftheways Author

Thank you for your comment!
Yeah, someone already deleted a channel with a huge number of beta videos. I'm so happy I have them (the most important of them at least) stored on my computer.

Reply Good karma+3 votes

I heard that the pistol was going to have a suppressor but I am not sure that it is true

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changeroftheways Author

In HUD textures there were icons for silenced fire mode, but there were no screenshots of supressed pistol in beta (G11 and NTW20 also did not appear on screenshots, but they were going to be implemented).

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This material is a signature part of the CryEngine history. Hat's off to you sir, you've done the great job!

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