Hello once again, dear readers. This time we again have something special for you. Even though it’s not a whole playable build of the game, this might amaze you even more than the previous part.
But a little bit of backstory first. FluorescentHallucinogen has once again sent us something special – a .rar archive containing 183 megabytes of very impressive images, to be precise. Without further ado, let’s take a look at them. This is going to be a long article.
Link to the archive is in the end of the article
I am going to start with the images that are likely related to the “aliens and dinosaurs” era of the game.
Remember that guy from the archived Crytek’s site?
This is what seems to be his complete render:
Apart from this weird fella, there were some “cold” aliens mentioned in some files in the final game or demos, like “Scripts\LANGUAGES\ENGLISH\MISSIONS\SANDBOX\sandbox.xml” (dating to 31.01.2002):
"This is a COLD ALIEN. It cannot sense you, so walk up to it and check out\nits texture."
It looks like they made it into this archive. These images are named “cold_power1.jpg” and “cold_power2.jpg” respectively and they show a large strange looking alien:
And this is likely his body texture (“clod_heavy_b copy.jpg”):
Impressive, right? And there’s more of them. There are others similar to its style.
These images are “scout2.jpg” and “scout1.jpg” respectively:
And these are “sniper3.jpg”, “sniper2.jpg” and “sniper1.jpg”:
(Notice the “cold_sniper” sign):
His body texture, “cold_sniper_b copy.dds”:
So there wasn’t just one “cold” alien, but at least three varieties! All of these pictures date back to 20.02.2002. Even though the “cold” and date parts seem to fit, these aliens look like nothing we’ve seen before. They don’t fit the style, so there’s a chance they are not related to the game at all.
By the way, speaking of “not fitting the style”. This image of an “E.O.D.” operative doesn’t fit either:
But let’s get back to the aliens. There also were “warm” aliens mentioned in that same .xml file:
"This is the AI DEMONSTRATION section of the Testbed level. Next to the large block are some Warm aliens\n If you move to within 30 metres they will attack without mercy."
The archive contains an image called “warms.jpg”. It also dates back to 20.02.2002 and shows renders of more human-like cyborg creatures:
One image also show them around various scenery (by the way, it’s the oldest image in the archive, dating back to 31.01.2002):
These creatures bear some resemblance in style to “characteroldalien2”…
…from Maxim Aristov’s website, which we have shown you in the 5th part. Perhaps they belong to the same “species”?
Now let’s take a look at various screenshots showing scenery and gameplay from 2002.
This image is a high-res version of a screenshot I posted in an older part of the article:
And this one has several striking features. First of all, it has a completely different HUD, not seen by us previously. The picture is called “Xisle11.jpg” and dates back to 07.02.2002 – earlier than any other HUD version we’ve seen before. This HUD also features a minimap. Secondly, the Jackhammer first person model is positioned quite differently in comparison to the final game:
More images showing this HUD (and a differently positioned DE model):
More beautiful outdoor landscapes, often featuring a quite realistic terrain:
(This screenshot is probably taken from the editor):
A hi-res version of the image you have seen before:
A screenshot showing some kind of a bunker similar to those seen in 2002 Gamestar review:
This is the earliest (17.04.2002) image showing the 2002 HUD we’re used to. Also, the boat seems to be an even earlier version of the patrolboat
And this is the later version of the patrolboat:
This (and V22) were not the only vehicles from that time. The Jeep from CryEngine SDK 1.4 was featured too:
Some screenshots show that some of the levels were inhabited by mercenaries (normal humans at least) and not aliens:
Apparently, they could fall down from a cliff:
This one is one that unidentified swamp level we've encountered before. It's from 15.10.2002:
One such screenshot of a mercenary is pretty interesting. That may be a coincidence, but the guy on the picture holds AG36 in his hands, and AG36 can be seen in the HUD, being held by the player. Could this be a player model of that time in third-person view?
(by the way, it is also the oldest image of a mercenary from 18.04.2002):
More renders for this old variety of mercenaries:
Oh, and more about the player character. Jack Carver (or a prototype character) did exist by that time (12.09.2002, to be precise). Here’s an image showing him on a boat that is being steered by some unnamed character:
Carver has blond hair, like he did in the concepts. He didn’t wear the armor though:
And the unnamed character bears some resemblance to an islander (one those who likely lived on the islands where the game takes place, seen on the texture “Objects\Indoor\props\signs\photo1.jpg” and “samepath\photo2.jpg”, which date back to 20.11.2002)”:
Another similar picture with Jack:
This picture, however, shows a quite different texture of Jack’s model. His t-shirt is now greenish-cyan (not that he was always planned to be dressed in the red one, as we can tell from the concept art above). His boots are similar to those mercs wear:
Notice that he’s in the very corridor from the indoor area seen in the 2002 Gamestar review (this one). Another picture of that indoor area in high resolution:
And more nice pictures of some other indoor areas:
Alright, we’re done with the “aliens, dinosaurs and bare-chested mercs” era. Some of the images are still from 2002, however, they have some features that clearly made it into the final game. This one, for example, shows a merc that seems to have the release Merc Cover model, even though it dates to 06.11.2002:
More screens from that day:
All of the familiar mercenary models too were present at least by that date:
Notice, however, that Sniper doesn’t have the yellow T-shirt (Scout's and OffCom's shirts are different too, and Cover looks different as well) seen on (pretty much) the same screenshots I already posted, like this one:
The Scout, seen through binoculars:
And this Scout's render shows him wearing a bandana, like in the concept:
This image is particularly curious. It dates back to 07.11.2002. On this image, a helicopter, a HEMMT truck and a buggy (with an older different model) show up for the first time! And there’s more – one of the two mercs walking in the background has a newer Rear model, and the other one has the old model:
Hi-res pictures of the Humvee and Helicopter you have already seen in the previous parts:
These two images show the visual effects of Heat vision and Night vision googgles:
The next series of images will probably be one the most interesting. Why, you might ask? Well, because it shows another cut mutant, whose only traces are a static prop model and the name of the entity for Mutant Big - the Mutant Cover:
(these images date back to 10.01.2003)
(I am still surprised that we managed to recreate this HUD version quite accurately)
This image of the mutant seems to be taken in the level editor (it was still probably named CryEDIT by that time) and the helper models for dynamic lights are different:
On this image Mutant Cover seems to be moving just like a Mutant Big with a rocket launcher. I suppose Big’s animations were originally the Cover’s, and they share the role – a big, hulking and very dangerous (and apparently not very smart) monstrosity:
(By the way, this area is similar to this area on the Control level, albeit with much less decorations:
On this image, however, Mutant Cover is squatting curled up. Is he depressed and crying? We can’t say anything for sure.
But don’t forget about another cut mutant, Mutant Rear! Here’s one more image of him standing by a table with no texture:
(By the way, I’ve noticed that embryorear’s texture has the same layout as the “adult” Rear’s, but differently coloured. This suggests that embryorear was probably made from a Rear’s model, and that it can probably be “reverse-engineered”, although this would be no small feat at all. Not sure if we will even try that.):
Also, it’s about time I show you the final game’s texture of some lab displays with a clear picture of Mutant Rear. This, along with embryorear’s texture, comes straight out of March of 2003:
Some unidentified cave area:
A very nice picture of a beach:
An image from 16.04.2003 that probably serves as the prototype for the unused menu background:
(Couldn't upload this one to ModDB in full resolution)
These images are quite notable. First, they show a modified version of a HUD with a circular health bar, this time with a round radar above it. Probably Crytek were experimenting with implementing a radar at the time:
Secondly, mercs driving vehicles could be seen now:
Thirdly, there is a scope of some unidentified weapon. AG36, I suppose:
Some high-resolution screenshots of the old version of the Fort level. The majority of these screenshots come from 2003 and some of the feature a square radar version of the HUD:
(Notice the Carrier):
(Couldn't upload this one to ModDB in full resolution too)
(Notice the radio tower on the place of the satellite dish):
(This one also shows what seems to be a real-life prototype for the place):
Indoor areas of the Fort (as of September, 2003):
An indoor area on Cooler:
A release Chimp and old animations of the M4 (it is still September of 2003):
Apart from the images, the archive also contains a couple of presentations. They just show these same screenshots. However, the presentations also contain this text:
We actually stopped making any progress… The X-isle demo was amazing, but when it became a real production, it was too much for us to handle. The tools were not ready
for that kind of project. We did not make any progress in terms of game-play, we couldn’t even do basic things that you absolutely
must be able to do to make a game. Graphically we have achieved much better results since the demo was released, but it was still not enough. In 10 months the situation became really dangerous, it has become clear that we are not capable of finishing this game in time (it was scheduled for X-mas 2001) And at that time came the decision that changed everything.
We were forced to dramatically change the story and the characters, that meant no more dinos, no aliens.
We had very limited time to come up with something and save our project
You can not call FC success purely
technological.We could have achieved the same result
if we had to release on console as well. May be not to the same scale, but definiterlly to the same quality.
Our biggest challenge was a productice pipeline ant tools towards creating this artwork, the shaders and technology that we used to render trees is nothing special that no one else can do.
To finish this article I'd like to show you a cover of a magazine with a high-res picture of the “camouflaged” Jack Carver:
It seems to be the cover of March, 2002 (the date can be seen in the top-right corner, and it's in Dutch, if I'm not mistaken) issue of PC Zone Benelux magazine. It might very well contain an early playable demo, judging by that DVD sign. Note that this isn't just PC Zone -- I found the corresponding issue of PC Zone, but there were no mentions of "X-Isle" at all. And I couldn't find any of the Benelux versions on the Internet. If some of you, readers, happen to have this issue at your disposal or at least have an idea how to get it, please, contact us! It will be much appreciated.
A-a-nd that’s all for now! I hope you liked it. Stay tuned for more parts of the article!
Link to the archive download:
P.S.: edited the older parts. Changed some info that is obsolete as of now (like Minigun tilting having something to do with C++ - the "eyes" bone of the model was the actual culprit) and updated the design a bit. Check them out!