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Old 22 February 2013, 00:53   #1
Cherno
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Hired Guns: Your memories (plus some fun fan-created stuff!)

Another nostalgia thread by me, I'm currently on a Cyberpunk trip to please excuse my behavior

Hired Guns, of course every Amiga fan will know about this masterpiece of a game, to be honest I didn't really play it that much and certainly never got far as a kid, the levels were just too big and the puzzles too confusing. A few years ago however I sat down and played through it with the same party of characters I used back then: Cheule, CIM, Cim-Lite and Bonden. Having two Naomi IV Grenade Launchers from the start helps a lot, and Cheule is just badass

Things I remember from this game:
  • My brother playing it with a friend in deathmatch mode, there was one instant action level where I recall one of them running straight to a certain hallway and putting up a sentry gun there
  • Also, the level Lemming Wars (1 and 2) with the little buggers from hell!
  • One level was called "Big Cheese" and you actually needed a big cheese item to reach the exit. The level was filled with Raals (Those dragon/snake monsters) and was very hard to survive, especially with another player on your tail!
  • The thunder effects were extremely atmospheric, the sound was cool and the dark sky on the horizon even lit up. There were also other environment sounds like wind whistling, and that clacking sound like footsteps on marble floor in some levels, scary!
  • Speaking of scary, those wizards that attack by reaching out with their hands? Oh my god.
  • The little homages to movies of the time, like the sentry guns from Aliens and the RoboDyne 7000s that looked like Ed-209 from RoboCop, their name was obviously influenced by Terminator And of course the quotes from the characters were ripped straight from Aliens as well, like "I say we go back to the ship and nuke the size from orbit" and "Game over man, game over!" when they died
  • The first minute on a map were you never knew if there were enemies lurking in the shadows around you, and you had to equip your guns and find a good position as quick as possible.
  • The heavy machinegun CIM had, I could never figure out what it was supposed to be, "Mounted MG"? How can it be mounted if he carries it? Does he set up a tripod every time he fires? Or maybe it is supposed to be mounted on a vehicle due to it's size and weight, but CIM can handle it without problem?
  • Those "broken bottles" that were sometimes found underwater that inexplicably looked like laser rifles...
  • The Disruptor Cannon that was just a huge drum with a small display on one side that read "OK" (at least it looked that way).
Anyway, I love this game, it had an incredible style both in art and sound/music, and the levels were very well designed too. Too bad the story was only really present in the three manuals (!) that came with the game.

My obsession with it reached a point where I fired first played around with a boardgame version of it, and then even fired up 3D Studio Max and spend hours recreating the in-game assets as models, maybe in a parallel universe someone wants to program a 3D version of Hired Guns Gameplay could be like Legend of Grimrock.

Hydro Laser



Naomi IV Grenade Launcher



Mounted MG (I envisioned it as a futuristic version of the M2 HBAR or M1919A1)



Naomi Assault Rifle (It somehow doesn't work in 3D, a carbine-length weapon shouldn't have a fixed stock, and that sight is problematic)



Supercovert, one of my favourite guns.



A pillar.



Test map w/o textures



Texturerized. I need to find a good concrete texture tutorial.



Related links:

Hired Guns remake thread here on eab.

[ Show youtube player ] on YouTube

Hirex Guns Operation Center (translated from polish)

Right Brain rumblings

Last edited by Cherno; 23 February 2013 at 14:57.
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Old 22 February 2013, 09:11   #2
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I remember playing HG with my classmate in coop mode. In one level a hidden Rahl suddenly attacked him behind the corner with his typical scream. My pal was shocked so much he leant back violently from the monitor screen, broken the chair's back rest and fell down to the floor. We had a good laugh with it

BTW the story in the manual was quite interesting, but was written by 12 years old chinesse boy probably.
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Old 22 February 2013, 10:10   #3
roy bates
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i really liked this game played it a few times till it was beat,and then played it some more.

probably not as involved as dungeon master and not as large as liberation.
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Old 23 February 2013, 11:14   #4
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The magic of Google Alerts brought me here. I'm delighted to see that Hired Guns still has a lot of fans. I have a web site dedicated to the games made by DMA Design who created HG as well as other Amiga games (Lemmings especially).

Oh, by the way, I am that 12 year old Chinese boy*! I wrote the Hired Guns story (even if the typesetter managed to screw up all the punctuation). The site has a rather long article about some of that background.

Cherno, I'd love to have permission to put some of your 3D renders on the site


* While being 23 and Scottish.
 
Old 23 February 2013, 11:40   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snap2grid View Post
Oh, by the way, I am that 12 year old Chinese boy*! I wrote the Hired Guns story (even if the typesetter managed to screw up all the punctuation). The site has a rather long article about some of that background.
Welcome here then.

Feel free to share any related memories that you have, I am sure many people will be interested.


I'd be especially interested to know how far your writing was involved in the game. In the manual you are credited for "Story and other fantastic words".

So did you "just" write a story around elements that were given you by the other creators? Or did you have a part in the whole creation of the game universe (for instance name of the characters, weapons, etc....)?



Another thing I'd like to hear about is which sci-fi works influenced your work.

While I read it a few years after playing HG and reading its manuals, I had the feeling that Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga shared some similarities with HG (especially when it involved Admiral Naismith).



I am disappointed however that Google Alerts did not bring you here when I posted a link for my fantastic Melody of Rhals video :
[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 23 February 2013, 12:00   #6
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I was quite heavily involved. Originally Hired Guns was a fantasy game, but I thought that there were too many fantasy games at the time and pushed for making it Science Fiction. That explains why the monsters retain a fantasy look to them. It helped that Scott - the designer/programmer - was a fan of Aliens.

I created the characters, came up with the background for the HG universe and wrote the intro story. The story within the game was originally quite different, but we ran up against memory limitations. (Katrina was the only character I didn't create.) Incidentally, I planned the story to continue after the game and that Cheule was very much the key character in the whole thing. I named most of the objects and wrote the descriptions, though Scott created the weapons.

I had some very specific influences in the writing, mainly Iain M Banks Consider Phlebas and a non-fiction book about SETI called First Contact.

If I was writing it again today, I'd probably do a lot of things differently. The dialogue in the game was very simple, just triggered when any character hit a particular spot. I tried to put in hints of the bigger picture. I'd love to do that properly with genuine back and forth conversations!

Still, glad to be here!
 
Old 23 February 2013, 13:59   #7
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Hey! I am glad to see that the author of that story is aboard! Hired guns is my most beloved computer game ever on any platform (which is well known among lemonamiga community). Although I still think a lot of sentences in the manual just dont make sense. I will read that story behind it on your website. Please, keep in touch with us and do not feel offended by me.

BTW - Aliens influence is visible in the game in the form of AVT-789 Sentry guns, that were just the part of unused scenes in Aliens (later released in directors cut version).
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Old 23 February 2013, 14:35   #8
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Cool to have you on board here

I own the German boxed version of the game and obviously the punctuation etc. was done right for this edition. I quite liked the backstory, pretty deep and also a nice amount of info on the star systems, corporations etc. It shows how much work has gone into this game, seriously how many other games are there that have three freaking manuals?

I read about the game being fantasy at first, it certainly explains the skeletons with sword that were made into robots that have this form to scare their opponents, ingenious! If the game were to be remade I'd love to have them look like Terminator Endoskeletons.

Cheule's role was also hinted at in her epilogue story about she leaving the crew for a long time to travel to earth and coming back with galaxy-shattering changes in her wake.

I also heard before about Consider Phlebas being an influence and I promptly put it onto my Amazon wishlist

I think I read through all your website a while back, especially the long series of articles concering Lemmings development, I was actually searching for every tidbit of information of HG I could find and here and there the game was mentioned

So if you can share any other interesting facts (well, just EVERYTHING!) about Hired Guns development I'd love to hear it! And please do tell us what the REAL backstory behind the ill-fated mission on Graveyard is! Bio-weapons proving ground? Hostage rescue gone wrong? I know that you wrote about it on your blog but I have trouble fitting the pieces together.



Oh, and of course you may publish those renders on your site Maybe I'll work some more on some weapons or map elements, even if a proper HG2 will never see the light of day it's still fun to imagine how it could look today.
One day when I'm a billionaire I'll pay all the DMA people a hefty sum of money to assemble the team again and finally make Hired guns 2
Here's a link to the blog if anyone is interested.

http://snap2grid.blogspot.de/

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilalurl View Post
I am disappointed however that Google Alerts did not bring you here when I posted a link for my fantastic Melody of Rhals video :
[ Show youtube player ]
That's simultaneously the most bizarre and ingenious video on YT I have ever seen!

Great choice of characters by the way :P

Last edited by Cherno; 23 February 2013 at 14:58.
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Old 23 February 2013, 15:19   #9
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I used the same characters, but Myriel insetad of Bonden.
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Old 23 February 2013, 16:07   #10
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Thanks for the pieces of info snap2grid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
If the game were to be remade I'd love to have them look like Terminator Endoskeletons.

That reminded of your other thread about ripping sprites:
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=62980

Although it was not his department, maybe snap2grid has some info about how the monster graphics files were compressed?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
That's simultaneously the most bizarre and ingenious video on YT I have ever seen!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
Great choice of characters by the way :P



Btw, since you were not a member of the board at that time, I hope you have not missed this thread:
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=23656



Which made me think of another question for snap2grid:

Were you involved in the unreleased Hired Guns sequel? I guess not since Cheule is not present and there were some radical changes to the characters (including the change from Desverger to Osverger )
What was your opinion when you heard about it?
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Old 23 February 2013, 17:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilalurl View Post
Although it was not his department, maybe snap2grid has some info about how the monster graphics files were compressed?
I did manage to rip all monster sprites from RAM, that's how I made my paper miniatures

http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=40766.0









I knew about the Hired Guns sequel, even read a report on it in an old gaming magazine, it showed a cyberpunkish bar where the characters interact and stuff.. Suffice to say, I was pretty disappointed when I played the alpha/beta version. The Unreal 1 engine is just too blocky, Unreal and Deus Ex have the same issue, without lots of detailed models (which only got used from Unreal 2 on) the levels just look bland. Add to that the low-res textures and weird colors and it was obvious that the game needed a lot of development, although it had some nice ideas like the Cyberspace mini-game and the platform creator gun.

Last edited by Cherno; 23 February 2013 at 17:11.
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Old 23 February 2013, 17:31   #12
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Yes, but I was thinking that we would get some hints on how to extract the sprites from the files (not rip them) and therefore perhaps also be able to put modified versions back into the game as we can do with the characters via the Convert program.
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Old 23 February 2013, 20:50   #13
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"Some leaked screenshots from the upcoming Hired Guns 2"





If only...
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Old 24 February 2013, 11:51   #14
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Were you involved in the unreleased Hired Guns sequel? I guess not since Cheule is not present and there were some radical changes to the characters (including the change from Desverger to Osverger )
What was your opinion when you heard about it?
Oh boy. Yes, I was involved. I left DMA to become freelance so that I could work on the sequel. This was 1997. The US office split to become Devils Thumb Entertainment and they ended up with the HG sequel. Worst decision I ever made.

I wrote an intro script which was rejected for being "too cinematic", their writer added a transparent glass plate to Cheule's head because he thought it was cool. And the Desverger/Oesverger thing came about because the CEO - get this - misread the name!!! This CEO didn't want a female lead character which was bizarre, since she was the central character.

After three months we parted company.
Not one of my happier times.

I've had the sequel on my HD for about four years now, but still can't bring myself to install it.
 
Old 24 February 2013, 11:54   #15
snap2grid
 
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Although I still think a lot of sentences in the manual just dont make sense. I will read that story behind it on your website. Please, keep in touch with us and do not feel offended by me.
Nah, no-one's going to offend me.

If there's any part of the story I could clarify or explains, I'll try and do that.
 
Old 24 February 2013, 12:19   #16
snap2grid
 
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Cool to have you on board here

I own the German boxed version of the game and obviously the punctuation etc. was done right for this edition. I quite liked the backstory, pretty deep and also a nice amount of info on the star systems, corporations etc. It shows how much work has gone into this game, seriously how many other games are there that have three freaking manuals?
I'm just happy that people still remember it! I was pretty lucky in that Scott Johnston, who coded it, basically liked some of the stuff Id written and told me I could write it any way I wanted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
Cheule's role was also hinted at in her epilogue story about she leaving the crew for a long time to travel to earth and coming back with galaxy-shattering changes in her wake.

I also heard before about Consider Phlebas being an influence and I promptly put it onto my Amazon wishlist

So if you can share any other interesting facts (well, just EVERYTHING!) about Hired Guns development I'd love to hear it! And please do tell us what the REAL backstory behind the ill-fated mission on Graveyard is! Bio-weapons proving ground? Hostage rescue gone wrong? I know that you wrote about it on your blog but I have trouble fitting the pieces together.
There may be some spoilers if I do that In the game you had to collect four nukes and blow a lot of stuff up. In the original story you had to collect evidence on video that there was a lot of illegal bio-engineering going on (plus blow a lot of stuff up.) They had been lured there with hostage rescue mission which proved to be fake, to test the bio-weapons against a live mercenary team.

Cheule returned to Earth. Some years earlier all communication was lost and it was assumed that a civil war had destroyed civilisation on Earth. But that's just an assumption of course...

I'll try and dig out some of the notes I wrote.

Quote:
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Oh, and of course you may publish those renders on your site Maybe I'll work some more on some weapons or map elements, even if a proper HG2 will never see the light of day it's still fun to imagine how it could look today.
Well, it's good to dream. Thanks for that, I'll write up a post.
 
Old 24 February 2013, 15:04   #17
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Nah, no-one's going to offend me.

If there's any part of the story I could clarify or explains, I'll try and do that.
I remember that I couldnt understand properly some parts, as they were really hard to read for non-english native speaker. So I brought the manual to my English teacher few years ago, and we tried to decode it together. The sentence about 12yrs old chinesse boy is from him. He was born in Australia, btw.

I will send you a PM.
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Old 24 February 2013, 15:24   #18
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I wrote an intro script which was rejected for being "too cinematic", their writer added a transparent glass plate to Cheule's head because he thought it was cool.
Now I know how Jar Jar Bink's character got added to the new Star Wars films... "Let's add that annoying bumbling sidekick to the franchise, it'll be cool!"

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And the Desverger/Oesverger thing came about because the CEO - get this - misread the name!!!
Oh
My
God

Quote:
Originally Posted by snap2grid View Post
This CEO didn't want a female lead character which was bizarre, since she was the central character.
I love these little behind-the-scenes tidbits, it must be horrible having to deal with these kinds of coporate decisions when you are just trying to make a good game
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Old 24 February 2013, 21:27   #19
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What I always felt odd in Hired guns were some enemies. In my opinion HG was a serious game and I didn't like much those squirrels, puppies (!) and lemmings that were trying to kill me. They were ruining the overal atmosphere and didnt fit among Rahls, sentries, various robots, skeletons and other scifi and fantasy creatures.

BTW - I use this avatar since the beginning of lemonamiga.com, which is now almost 9 years



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Old 25 February 2013, 01:20   #20
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Two more questions:

1. From the blog " (In fact, as part of the plot I'd even managed to come up with an invention that wasn't realised in the real world until 2007, but that's for another post.)"

Which invention would that be?

2. Who came up with the idea of the Psi-Amps? I could imagine the dev team having taken the step from a fantasy to a sci-fi game and in order to have something akin to magic spells, the Amps got introduced as a futuristic substitute for spell scrolls. However they came to be it's a cool idea and something no other game has in this form.




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