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Old 17 September 2021, 01:49   #81
UnnamedCourier
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I did a bit of research, looking at what versions are shown in various games magazines. The oldest coverage I can find of Hired Guns is in Amiga Power issue 5, page 67 from 1991. The screenshot there is partially concealed but it's reprinted (complete but much smaller) in issue 12 on page 60. I've seen this on a website somewhere else and it looks like a mock up rather than a game. Familiar background graphics, and an unknown female character. From the pictures it looks like you could shoot anywhere on screen rather than in a fixed position forwards. It also shows bar charts for "Damage", "Oxygen" and it looks like fitness. Interestingly the weapon graphics shown are ones still in use in the final game.

The next coverage is from issue 16 on page 22 from 1992. This looks much more like the final game and more importantly more like an actual videogame instead of a mock up. This one's really interesting, first of all it shows the "Rest" tab that is mentioned in the "AboutGameSystem" text file in the development files, so it actually existed as a mechanic at one point, not just a (bad) idea.
Also amusingly all the characters at this point seem to be overdone scantily clad sexy ladies in bikinis and/or leather gear (one is called Rachel and is an Android... ).
It also shows two more of the final game's graphical tile sets were well under way at this point, but the one with the checkerboard floors has very different wall designs to the final, and the first tileset (the brown "wooden" looking one) is even more obvious it was from a fantasy game as the doors are shown to be made of actual wood in this version. It's quite odd as this point it seems the fantasy genre concept can't have lasted very long into development at all, but it dominated the visuals for a long time (even the characters in this version look more like rejects from say, Deathtrap Dungeon than a sci-fi game).

Last edited by UnnamedCourier; 17 September 2021 at 20:28. Reason: Added links to mag scans
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Old 17 September 2021, 16:00   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
Maybe "Ft Boost" means "Fortitude Boost" or something, like a leftover from the fantasy scenario. A sort of magic well that heals you or makes you stronger/more resilient

I think you're exactly right on this - if you look in HGEdit2.c in the editor source files it has a definition for something called "Fitness Boost". Presumably there would be tiles that would heal your characters. There's also a definition below it for something called "Psi Effect" that I guess would cast a certain psi effect on characters when stepped on?
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Old 17 September 2021, 20:14   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnnamedCourier View Post
I did a bit of research, looking at what versions are shown in various games magazines. The oldest coverage I can find of Hired Guns is in Amiga Power issue 6, page 67 from 1991. The screenshot there is partially concealed but it's reprinted (complete but much smaller) in issue 12 on page 60. I've seen this on a website somewhere else and it looks like a mock up rather than a game. Familiar background graphics, and an unknown female character. From the pictures it looks like you could shoot anywhere on screen rather than in a fixed position forwards. It also shows bar charts for "Damage", "Oxygen" and it looks like fitness. Interestingly the weapon graphics shown are ones still in use in the final game.

The next coverage is from issue 16 on page 22 from 1992. This looks much more like the final game and more importantly more like an actual videogame instead of a mock up. This one's really interesting, first of all it shows the "Rest" tab that is mentioned in the "AboutGameSystem" text file in the development files, so it actually existed as a mechanic at one point, not just a (bad) idea.
Also amusingly all the characters at this point seem to be overdone scantily clad sexy ladies in bikinis and/or leather gear (one is called Rachel and is an Android... ).
It also shows two more of the final game's graphical tile sets were well under way at this point, but the one with the checkerboard floors has very different wall designs to the final, and the first tileset (the brown "wooden" looking one) is even more obvious it was from a fantasy game as the doors are shown to be made of actual wood in this version. It's quite odd as this point it seems the fantasy genre concept can't have lasted very long into development at all, but it dominated the visuals for a long time (even the characters in this version look more like rejects from say, Deathtrap Dungeon than a sci-fi game).
Are these screenshots on the internet somewhere so they can be posted here? I only ever recall seeing one screenshots that shows an early build, but nothing like you decribed
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Old 17 September 2021, 20:29   #84
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Yes, they're on the Amiga Magazine Rack site. I've added links to the original post, and corrected the fact the first coverage was actually in issue 5...
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Old 17 September 2021, 20:42   #85
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Certainly some interesting stuff. I wish there would be high-res scans but I can see all the things you mentioned anyway. A strange choice of female charact4er sprites indeed but hey, it was almost 30 years ago and in the end we got something more fitting luckily.

Edit: UnnamedCourier's next post is in response to a post by me which mentioned the classes and jobs (and a reference to "DragonGrumble" sound effect) that were found by me in a savestate. I deleted the post shorty afterwards when I found them already listed on the TCRF article, and in the meantime UnnamedCourier posted

Last edited by Cherno; 18 September 2021 at 00:50.
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Old 18 September 2021, 00:31   #86
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Yeah, I knew about those already, see:
https://tcrf.net/Development:Hired_G...ed_Guns_v39.10


They're the internal class/job names. These are what you see in game and are sometimes different from the select screen. They are defined in sources/data/characters.s, e.g:


Code:
dc.b    "003E origin unknown",ENDTEXT,"             "    ;char 1
        dc.b    "Clavius",ENDTEXT,"                         "
        dc.b    "Humanoid, 176 years",ENDTEXT,"             "
        dc.b    "Pilot",ENDTEXT,"                           "
        dc.b    "Clavius",ENDTEXT,"         "
        dc.b    "CharactersGfx/Clavius.gfx",ENDTEXT,"  "
        dc.b    2        ;gender (0=male, 1=female, 2=n/a)
        dc.b    3        ;race
        dc.b    13        ;class
        dc.w    65535        ;fitness
        dc.w    152        ;physique
        dc.w    150        ;agility
        dc.w    0        ;experience
        dc.w    360        ;footstep sample period
        dc.w    609        ;grunt sample period
        dc.b    28,0,66,0    ; blaster (item num,damage,ammo,potency)
        dc.b    35,0,0,0    ; explosive
        dc.b    35,0,0,0    ; explosive
        dc.b    62,0,0,0    ; rations 2
        dc.b    60,0,0,0    ; flask
        dc.b    40,0,150,0    ; 9mm thv
        dc.b    40,0,150,0    ; 9mm thv
        dc.b    47,0,250,0    ; 9mm aet
        dc.b    79,0,0,0    ; dts module
        dc.b    27,0,6,0    ; grenades

(See the race, class and gender bits)



The older build here had even more of them in there as they were joke ones for the Amiga magazine preview special versions. I'll look up the DragonGrumble thing when I have time.
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Old 18 September 2021, 00:42   #87
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After reading your TCRF articles, I noticed the magazine preview chararacter graphics. Some of the designs were very familiar, even with the comically large heads.

Alien / Xenomorph


Judge Dredd


Not entirely sure, looks like a mixture between Star Trek Borg (there is a Borg class in the previous builds) and the Predator.


These would certainly make good foundations for custom enemy sprites, if the heads are replaced.
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Old 18 September 2021, 20:43   #88
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That guy with Alien body - could be this one? Not DMA Design guy probably, but Wiz n Liz has the same publisher

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Old 18 September 2021, 21:19   #89
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Nah, the alien guy is Milo Jackson who worked on the various "Force" magazines, Amiga Force in this particular instance. I don't think he had anything to do with DMA or Psygnosis, he was a journalist.

In more on topic news I found that the map in Hired Guns actually isn't a Vista Pro image, there is actually a custom fractal landscape generator in the archive written in HiSoft Basic that was used to make it.
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Old 18 September 2021, 22:37   #90
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Intersting. So they had a heightmap and ran this throught the generator?
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Old 18 September 2021, 23:57   #91
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Quote:
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In more on topic news I found that the map in Hired Guns actually isn't a Vista Pro image, there is actually a custom fractal landscape generator in the archive written in HiSoft Basic that was used to make it.
More info please. Years ago I make some changes on world map, but make new one will be great.
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Old 19 September 2021, 02:00   #92
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Don't get too excited on the map generator stuff, there are several sets of source code but only one compiled piece of code that lets you generate maps (seems to be version 7). I don't know how'd you get something as good looking at the one in the game though, and also it seems to only use a random map it generate, I don't think you can handcraft one. Of course the source code is all there, so you could use that if you know what you're doing...

Here is an example:


First you have to set your options in the right hand menus. The most important thing I found to set is the last menu. This defaults to "mounts" which is the second biggest mountain size, but actually it seems to make near flat fields, so something's wrong there. If you use the "Alps" setting you get weird dagger looking super tall mountains. Using "Hills" you get the reasonable results below. So you first need to generate a map using the second menu from left:






You then use the next menu option along to actually generate the mountains on top of it:





You can also choose how many pixels big you want the map to be, etc. It also has a thing called "Rugd" I can't work out - how rugged the map should be? I should probably read the source code.
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Old 19 September 2021, 03:29   #93
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Cool. Looks like they added reflection and water color afterwards. They probably just generated random images until they found one that looked good. I believe the maps for Hunter were made in a similar way, without a hand-crafted heightmap.

Another thing that I thought about today concerned the character grapic converter. If the source code for that program is included, wouldn't it be possible to find out how the character and monster graphic files are assembled? So maybe there is a way to convert the graphic files to a normal bitmap format by a small windows app.
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Old 19 September 2021, 12:19   #94
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Hi.

Can't find this file on archive.org or on the ftp, any one got a link?
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Old 19 September 2021, 13:45   #95
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Another thing that I thought about today concerned the character grapic converter. If the source code for that program is included, wouldn't it be possible to find out how the character and monster graphic files are assembled? So maybe there is a way to convert the graphic files to a normal bitmap format by a small windows app.
You don't need all that, the source contains the original graphics sheets for all enemies, and even versions with extra "flinching" frames of animation that are not used. It also includes all the convertor tooling to turn an ilbm sheet into an in game enemy. You could use it to make a new enemy right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redblade
Can't find this file on archive.org or on the ftp, any one got a link?
Looks like it's been taken down. Uh oh...
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Old 19 September 2021, 13:48   #96
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Looking for this too. Can someone upload it to the Zone please?
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Old 19 September 2021, 23:59   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnnamedCourier View Post
You don't need all that, the source contains the original graphics sheets for all enemies, and even versions with extra "flinching" frames of animation that are not used. It also includes all the convertor tooling to turn an ilbm sheet into an in game enemy. You could use it to make a new enemy right now.


Looks like it's been taken down. Uh oh...
Alright, but what about other graphics, like the wall sprites?

Edit: Just saw the these are include as ILBM files as well. Now where did that archive go?!?

Edit2: Here: Hired Guns Amiga CD32 Beta and Development Files

Last edited by Cherno; 20 September 2021 at 01:03.
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Old 20 September 2021, 01:34   #98
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Digging through the resources, I came upon this weapon that is on the items sheet. Looks like an early-model MP5, but I can't recall ever having seen it in the game:



Other things I found out:

The lighting system works like brightmaps, they are masks overlaid over walls and floor/ceilings to determine what to make brighter. Apparently, they just cover the whole part of the graphic, but could theoreticaly be made to only cover certain areas. The brightmap sheets consist of one each for ceiling/floor, walls (facing), and wall(side). It is unclear how those floor/ceiling graphics that go beyond the normal graphics (grass, in particular) are lit. If the system works as I understand, the parts not covered by the brightmap won't be lit, so the upper parts of a floor grass graphic, where some blades/pixels go beyond will be at normal brightness.

More interesting graphics I found:

CD32 fire effects


Status effect indicators. Last one might be poison. Not sure about the bat-like icon, maybe dead?


Planets


Character sex icon
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Last edited by Cherno; 20 September 2021 at 04:20.
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Old 20 September 2021, 08:03   #99
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That gun is definitelly not in the final game.
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Old 20 September 2021, 12:34   #100
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Are we sure? I know for a fact that you get them as starting equipment on the new map "Clight.map" but I guess that's not the original game.. Have to look through my old saves and see if I had it.



Quote:
Status effect indicators. Last one might be poison. Not sure about the bat-like icon, maybe dead?
I definitely remember seeing that when I played through back in the day, but can't remember what it is. Also reminds me, in the demo there is a "Psi" status effect that is enabled when you use the psi booster items that was removed for the final game.
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