So, this is the next part of my “research”. Let’s continue our journey into the development of the first Far Cry.
The content I told you about before didn’t really resemble the final game.
From early 2003 onwards (if to believe Gamer’s Hell FC screenshot gallery’s dates when screenshots were added, which seem to be pretty accurate) (actually, as later finds have shown, from late 2002) it starts to resemble the final game.
Screenshots and concept arts in (more or less) chronological order:
These are some early concepts of Jack Carver:
(There were also some really rare mercenary concepts on a russian FC fan site farcry dot ru, but it doesn't work now, and those concepts cannot be found anywhere now. - edit: found them anyway, check out the later parts for these concepts)
Here are some of the first screenshots from this new stage of development:
The game looks indeed much more similar to the final version. The Blackhawk helicopter is first seen, and the mercs are almost identical to the final ones. However, no HUD is seen at those screenshots. Also, this is the unnamed river level I told about which inspired me to remake the final River.
This is the first confirmed appearance of M4 in game:
And this screenshot shows all of the newer mercenary models:
Around the same time Humvee and Inflatable boat appeared for the first time..:
…along with the night vision mode (I don’t think it’s an edited screenshot because files left in the game indicate that it should have looked so):
Sniper scope and binoculars (although, as for me, the latter are worsened):
Almost one month later the new HUD emerges! The HUD in the mod is mostly (but not entirely) based on this version because it is the most unusual one and it has the most resources left in the final game (edit - new versions of the mod have all of the HUD versions restored and selectable in-game). The level on the background looks like the Steam. Look at the yellow indicator of being noticed.
It does not appear often on screenshots from the time unlike video footages:
Notice these features:
- message bar appears. I took the later versions because they look more complete and overall better, besides I still need something that will link the mod with later HUD versions
- different "Saving game" indicator, "Checkpoint reached" label on the messages display
- different heat vision mode
- a swamp level and a completely unknown level
- binoculars have an equalizer in some versions
- G36 now appears
- a skybox from the earliest stages of development of what would later evolve into Far Cry 1
- third person view camera turns on when player dies
The sound is most likely edited in this one:
The first versions of what would later become Treehouse,…
…, Steam (along with a similar looking concept art, thank Marek33 for providing link to it),…
…and Fort are seen for the first time on screenshots. Notice the lack of pre-generated shadows on some levels, especially Research.
Around this time some unnamed swamp level is seen (it is also seen in the video):
Look at its concept (uncropped version can be seen in later parts of the article):
The first version of the Falcon .357 is also seen during this time. I reskinned the final game's Falcon to make it look similar to this version. Notice the background looking like the first version of the Carrier:
There are more screenshots of the Carrier and the Fort levels. You will notice that for the most time of the development the aircraft carrier was originally placed on the Fort and radio tower stood in place of the satellite dish
(notice the detonated smoke grenade, probably to call for reinforcements)
A level that looks pretty similar to the camp area on the Pier is added.
Here is the original Buggy with a different dashboard, no mounted weapon and a tire mounted on the back (you will notice more of its screenshots later on the article) (edit - there seems to be an even earlier version actually - check part 7 for it)
Another version of M4's anims which did not reappear later, unlike the previous version:
The only screenshot of some level looking similar to the River:
The first time Jackhammer and AW50 reappear (notice the grenade model):
Getting fire from the carrier:
Objects are textured to appear staying underwater for a long time:
Another screenshot of a buggy:
A merc looking like being blinded by flashlight
A concept of some river level which also inspired my River redesign:
Screenshots of some unidentified level, the style of which looks similar to River and Catacombs (it might be the level described in ruins.xml text hints file, but I'll tell more about this later in the article). Notice a very cool feature of minigun's tilting up and down in first person view, which looks much more realistic in comparison to final's minigun being fixed in FPV. Also notice the pickup icon above the explosive which appeared for some time during development and the assets of which remain in the final game:
More screenshots of the Research level. Notice the G36:
Look at this bundle of "concepts" which were likely drawn (rather poorly) on top of in-editor or in-game screenshots
Or look at this concept with much more efforts put in it:
Look at a screenshot of a level looking surprisingly similar to the Boat:
The first confirmed appearance of OICW. It's placed differently compared to the final version. I've also repositioned it so in the mod:
Shotgun is placed differently too. I did not change its position though:
Look at the new version of the HUD. I tried to remake the compass from it because it's as functional as the final one yet still authentic, but failed at it and used the flat one from the previous version of the HUD (edit - implemented in the later versions of the mod, along with other HUD version):
Look at the video from this stage of development showing this HUD and some other details:
- HUD had a separate breath/stamina meter which I remade in the mod.
- We began the Carrier awaking with our hands tied with rope and Doyle telling us some hints by the radio which haven't been preserved (edit - found a cleaner version of this cutscene later).
- Jack's no-vest model featured no gloves up to the FC's demo.
- Pickup icons are featured.
- The binoculars featured an equalizer and looked more like the final version.
- Water splash sound is different. Restored in the mod.
- P90 sounded like the future G36, the latter sounded more like the future M4 would.
- AW50's scope looked a bit different. AW50 in the mod uses an older version, and I'll recycle this version and assign it to NTW20
- The end of the Fort showed us an epic cutscene of Jack running from the explosion, flying on its impact wave and falling into the water. The end was also very different and did not look like Pier's beginning.
More pics of the old Buggy, Humvee and also Pier.
Look at the concepts for Carrier and Fort:
More screenies of the Fort level. It's late 2003 already:
Concepts showing some ancient ruins:
Notice that helicopters' MGs are placed under the cockpit:
A screen with a rocket launcher shooting a missile smoking differently:
And during late 2003 the new version of the HUD emerges:
It is shown on numerous videos too. Some interesting details from the videos:
- The skybox on the Research has been changed to the final one
- The minigun is able to tilt up and down in first person (this feature remained in the game up to FC's demo)
- The M4 still has the old position in first person mode
- Jackhammer's shooting anims were different. It was featured earlier in the game.
- Info about pickups was shown on hints menu
- There was a "load last checkpoint menu"
This screenshot shows the almost finalized M4's position on the screen:
Some lab concepts:
The aforementioned "load last checkpoint" menu:
As my co-author, @mxlnnm noticed, all beta screenshots have "more matted" render than in final version.
Later there's no really interesting (semi-)official screenshots and concept arts. The game becomes almost identical to the final version, it's the very end of 2003. Some cool things still remain in the files of FC's demo, you will read about them down in the article.
There are some interesting videos from an unidentified time period, some are from the middle of development and some are from the end:
And they are found pretty easily.
However, much more info dwells in the game's data.
Let us start with scripts:
- Playable Demo's HudCommon.lua had pieces of code for stance indicator and compass. Too bad I had already created them before I found this code.
- Playable Demo still had older water splash sound assigned in the corresponding script
- The demo still had the mounted weapon tilting feature. It has to do with the presence of the "eyes" bone in the weapon's model. If it is present (like in the final game's mounted weapons), it sets a fixed postition for the camera and locks the weapon in place in first person view. If it isn't present (like in the demo), the weapon tilts. BTW, Mk.19 also could tilt in the first person view and had a higher-quality model.
- Demo's AI folder contains loads of scripts not found in the final game. It would take too much to list them all. The majority of them is incomplete.
- Comments in many scripts state that corresponding scripts were created in 2002 or even 2001
- Final game's AI folder contains behaviour templates for some Baboon mutant and "LANGUAGES" folder with text hints for some very old levels (mentioned in the first part) along with some unused stuff
- Remember the SCRIPTS.dsp file mentioned in the first part
- Shark was planned to be added to the game as entities.
- Mutant Omega and Mutant Slug (or Worm) are mentioned in keyframes.lua and soundtables.lua
- There's a number of working mine scripts left in game. I don't remember them to be used anywhere, let me know if I'm wrong.
- CTF was a planned game mode, but at it's current state it's broken. There are some mods restoring it.
- BasicPlayer.lua contains a script for playing heavy breathing sound when being exhausted. I remade and tweaked it in the mod.
- Storm.lua for making rain and thunder. As @pvcf said, it's "a hardcoded particle spawner"
- Lots of unused trigger scripts are present
- A broken patrolboat script lies in the "Vehicles" folder
- Lots of unused weapons scripts:
- Binoculars.lua — not really a separate weapon, it's a prototype for item system, as @pvcf speculated
- Some scripts for a bipod and a tripod
- A script for a smoke rocket projectile
- An unfinished NTW20 script. Now functional in the mod.
- GlowStick projectile script (restored in the mod).
- Unused Mutant Big's weapons (MutantMG, MutantShotgun)
- A Proximity Mine projectile
- A Sentry Drone projectile
- A NERVgrenade, some kind of a neurotoxin gas grenade
- In later game versions Machete has only one animation. I uncommented the remaining string of code for another animation
- In later game versions ScoutTools look like explosive pickups. I returned the original ones.
- Some Concussion grenade was planned to be added
- Some unused HUD scripts in "Default/Hud" folder like AimModeZoomHUD.lua and TargetLocker.lua
- Huge chunks of the old code remaining in the Binoculars.lua. Restored and tweaked in the mod.
- Originally, Breath and Stamina were two separate values.
- Routine of choosing one of the multiple demo video files in DemoLoop.lua in "MenuScreens" folder
We will continue with examining unused shaders. There are many unused shaders in the game, but I'll tell about the most interesting ones:
- OceanWater water shader with sun reflections and CloudsSky1 with animated clouds:
- The Fur shader:
- I tried to remake one of the old skyboxes from its very low-res icon:
Now let's have a look at FC's Textures folder:
- It contains unlistable loads of unused content, but most notably there is a lot of assets for the older HUD versions. I used "Textures/Hud/Sneakbar.dds" texture instead of a number indicator because it looks and fits nicer.
There is a lot of info about completely cut (or transformed levels) in mission hints xml and sound files in the "Localized/*your_language*.pak/Languages" folder:
- mutant.xml — this level was set around the time of the Rebellion level, maybe even being its prototype, it's vastly different though:
"There is no water pressure"
"Find the pump house and turn on the water supply"
"Extinguish the fire in the control room"
"Escape from the mutant training area"
"The system is now pumping water"
"Water pressure supplied to the sprinkler system"
"The electric fence has been deactivated"
"Unlock the main door"
"Enter the complex"
"Find the officer and take his key"
"Open the door"
"Take the key to the bridge of the ship and USE it on the infra red transmitter"
"Press USE to open valve"
"Press USE to pull switch"
"Theres no water pressure, look for the pumping station"
- ruins.xml — some level set somewhere around Catacombs and River. Not really much is known about it:
"Find the satellite uplink truck"
"Find the command laptop"
"Bring the command laptop to the satellite truck"
"Find the truck and upload the PDA"
"Exit the ruins"
- compound.xml — this would evolve into the Factory level. Sound hints indicate that player should have escaped via a plane from the nearby airstrip (its remains are still on the Factory level). Player would also encounter an unconscious "Omega-strain trigen" in the complex (the cut Omega trigen, I presume).
- There is a lot of unused dialogs besides that
Levels also contain something from the pre-release- but I won't tell much about it. I know for sure that there is an unfinished area on Volcano level
And let's end with Far Cry's objects:
- Demo contained the old model of Jack with no fingerless gloves on hands
- I've found unused and forgotten Mutant Omega and Mutant Slug textures in the Demo! Look for the posted images of them!
(now their ccgf cache models and animations are found in the leaked MP demos)
- The final version contains loads of unused content as well, but I would not emphasize on them in this article, besides it's already too large.
- Almost everyone knows about the planned but scrapped Mutant Bezerker/Screwed. Just remember him. His model has a .cal file describing anims he originally had which were scrapped (later found in the leaked MP demos' files).
That's not all, I'll add and correct something later, so expect more! I've found some people who worked on FC1 and I might "interview" them later. I also ask everybody reading this and speaking German to translate the info about the game written in German.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about it.
Gamer's Hell Far Cry Screenshots gallery -- my main source of screenshots, feel free to look for more screenshots from there Gamershell.com
- Abcgames.sk — a site with some very rare concept arts
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.
P.P.S.: repaired the article