Development:Alien Breed 3D
This page details development materials of Alien Breed 3D.
The complete development files for Alien Breed 3D II were officially released on the cover disc of issue 95 of Amiga Format magazine, in February 1997. While supposedly a release of the source code for that game, in fact the original game's code and assets are also in there (as the sequel was clearly built on top of it), and if anything, there are actually more unused files from the original Alien Breed 3D than the follow-up game included. This includes various old code and builds from demos, as well as lots of graphics for unused enemies. It also includes the original game's cut theme music. Alien Breed 3D (and its sequel) was mostly the work of one man - programmer Andy Clitheroe. As such the development files comprise of a dump of a directory from his hard drive.
The file abreed3d.med as referenced in the executable of the released game is present here.
Old logos and title screens
ABREEDLOGO - An aborted attempt at the game's logo. One that Twentieth Century Fox's lawyers would no doubt look at with great suspicion...
alienbreed3.128 - Early title screen. The red alien pictured actually exists as an enemy in the development files. Parts of this image are visible in the review of the game in the September 1995 issue of CU Amiga magazine which is clearly an unfinished build as it includes the early weapon graphics as seen below. It suggests therefore this image was the title screen for the game until late in development.
Panel - Very early control panel design, seen in some pre-release screenshots
panelraw - Despite the name, is actually another early logo design
faces - The first of two poor attempts at ripping off Dooms animated character head to show health, etc. There's another copy of these graphics in facesspaced, only that seems to be the exactly the same only with the sprites in a different order. This Doom head idea seems to have carried onto the final game with what would presumably be a beating heart in the centre of the control panel, but it was never animated and just seems to have been abandoned at some point.
faces2 - A slightly better attempt at ripping off Doom. This design can be seen in some of the early preview screenshots of the game.
Unused Enemy Graphics
Shark.anim - there's also a static sprite sheet for this cut enemy called just shark, but this animation contains those frames plus also more frames for diagonal movement, something that doesn't seem to be possible in the final game.
ReallyBigScaryAlien - Does what it says on the tin. The same design as visible in the early title screen. Possibly was adapted into the somewhat similar but smaller red "queen" alien in the final game.
Crawler - This is likely the enemy referenced in the text file finishgame. Apparently would be "big and slow, and difficult to kill, and breathes fire".
marine - The first of many variants of this generic space marine archetype, all of which were unused in the end.
mutatedmarine - The marine, only mutated! There're two versions of this, mutmarframes has different animations including death anims, whereas the first file has what was presumably a shooting animation with a glowing light coming from its chest.
mar - possibly an earlier marine variant? Looks more alien than human and quite crudely drawn.
HARDMUTANT - You better not spill this one's pint. Presumably would work like the darker version of the final game marine aliens and just be a tougher version of the basic design.
OTHERMUTANT - Yet another version.
changedmarine - the final game marine enemy with a brighter palette.
Eye Monster - A rather Doctor Who-esque enemy with a furry body and an eyeball for a head. Oddly also includes the graphics for yet another generic marine enemy in greyscale.
Player - Presumably intended as just that. In the final game there is no special set of graphics for the player, in multiplayer human players simply appear as the generic alien marine enemy.
My Alien - based on the name was likely created by the game's programmer Andy Clitheroe. What seems to have been the first enemy designed for the game, based on early screenshots. Appears in the early demos also. A clear attempt at bringing the actual Alien Breed enemies into the game that was oddly abandoned for the final game. Possibly not used because it was too similar to the design of a certain popular 20th Century Fox monster?
ScalyMonster - A weird mixture between a snake and a floating ball. Visible in the rolling demo of the game and cut after this phase of development, presumably to be replaced by the "Beholder" style floating ball enemy instead.
Alien1 - The red hellhound exactly as used in the final game. However, it also has some 45 degree angle frames here to move diagonally that are not used in the final game.
uglymonster - Only contains a single frame of animation for this enemy, which can be seen in the rolling demo. In the demo there is at least another graphic for this as a dead creature, which seems to be missing from the version here.
Three much more vibrant and rather Roger Dean-esque skyboxes than the deliberately drab Earth-like one used in the final game.
gunsinhand - Early versions of various weapons, all cut from the final game. Very Wolfenstein-esque submachine guns and other traditional ballistic weapons. These can be seen in pre-release coverage from September 1995
gunframes - contains all final weapon animation frames. However, also includes a cut flamethrower and knife attack graphics, which suggest these may have been weapons that were cut late on. There are also less complete separate sets of graphics for these in the files flamethrower and knife, but these only contain two of the four frames seen in this file.
plasma - two unused frames of the plasma gun that seem to show some kind of energy swirling around it.
raygun - An odd looking design for what was presumably a... ray gun of some sort
rocket1 - Early rocket launcher with a much smaller design than the screen-consuming monster that was used in the final game.
rocket2 - A rocket Launcher design very close to that of the final game, only with a smiley face sticker on the side of it.
ship - odd Galaga style small spaceships. Not known at all what these would be used for.
Among the file are several text documents used as notes and reminders during development
Ideas - A presumably early list of ideas for the game
Alien Behaviour Ideas ===================== 1. Control points around a level, together with a table of 'nearest pt in direction of one point from another' values can be used for the following purposes: a. To give a direction for sounds to come from when a noise is made in a remote location. b. To give aliens a means of tracking you by sound alone. To allow aliens to 'know' their way around and so, in later levels, fight more intelligently. Expansion of ideas: 1b: Aliens can 'hear' a noise coming from the nearest point, and head towards it. They will remember, until another sound distracts them for example, the way they have come, and so not retrace their steps. So if they are in a corridor, they will continue until they are unsure of which way to go. Then they will either decide to guess, or stop and wait for another sound to give them a clue as to where you are. Levels of difficulty: Easiest: The aliens have no memory of where they have been and behave in a purely reactionary fashion; they either have to hear or see something to move, and do not remember the last seen position of the player. Hardest: The aliens have a good memory for where they have been and can decide to guess or wait at crossroads or points of uncertainty. If a guess is made and a subsequent noise makes them retrace their steps, they will continue to the last point of uncertainty and make another guess. They can also look ahead to the next point of uncertainty, and see if they could send another group to the same point via a different route. To make sure the game does not become impossibly hard, it is important to balance the intelligence and teamwork of the aliens with devastating firepower and the ability of the player to 'fool' the aliens into doing things wrong. For example, leaving time-delay bombs around will distract them, setting off sirens will draw them into killing-grounds (hopefully) and setting pressure mines in corridors and then making lots of noise at the other end will blow them up as they come charging to attack. Access to the computer will become more important tactically, to close doors, activate robot or turret sentries and so on. Say you have a large room with two dormant turrets, and sealable doors. Careful scrutiny of the map via the computer will reveal this fact, and the player could arrange to lure a large number of aliens into the room, seal the doors and activate the sentries, which would eliminate a good deal of the threat. The aliens would also be guarding certain important areas such as egg-chambers, and sending in robot attack drones would cause marauding aliens to retreat and defend. Certain objectives would need to be accomplished before a level could be left successfully. Example Mission objectives: Retrieve a communications device from the inoperative command centre. Attract minimum of alien attention and get out as quickly as possible. This mission could be played in many ways; for example there could be security zones the player could either try and bypass, obtain clearance through hacking of a terminal (which happens to have some aliens lurking nearby) or just plough through, activating the alarms and the robot sentries and attracting the attention of the aliens, and try to blast a path back to the exit. Clear out a section so medics can get through to attend wounded people on the other side. First the area must be sealed from further infestation (By accessing the computer terminals and getting clearance) and then you must wipe out the aliens already present. Act as an escort to some people (Techs or medics or survivors) to get them out of a section alive. You can tell them where to head for and try to keep them out of trouble (seal them in rooms so the aliens cant get at them, then try and clear a path) or just run through as quickly as possible, blasting away. People might panic and run away; you have to decide whether to go after them and try and save them, save the rest and then go back and rescue the others before implantation, or whatever. Take too long and the aliens will find you and ambush you, killing everyone. You might have to seal areas to restrict the movement of aliens around the ship, by closing and welding shut doors or whatever. The alien queen will obviously come into things at the end, and will be really hard to kill, really clever and able to control things like doors and so on, so it will be a challenge trying to weaken her with different tactics before going in for the kill. Different types of alien will be around; humanoid aliens, four-legged small but fast types, large and really thick-skinned, and so on. The best way is to use the kit-form aliens with heads, arms and so on applied seperately. That way huge numbers of frames are possible (Say 25 frames for running, special moves for when they are looking around, uncertain of where to head next), leaping attacks and feasting on victims, dismembered aliens lying around, injured aliens with arms blown off and screaming defiance. Aliens can also 'play dead', waiting until your back is turned or you step too close before attacking.
ALIENDESIGN - design notes for AB3D monsters. This seems to be from fairly early on as it still lists the pink version of the flying monsters, but more pertinently the various "mutant marine" enemies that were all abandoned in the end.
Enemies to design: NB * = already used for something else so no more memory used. Overall guidelines: 32 colours 3 directions to draw: front view, right view and back view. 4 frames of animation on each view + a single front frame with gun firing or spitting etc. 4-frame dying animation. Aliens can be of any size but unless VERY big+important should be no more than 64*64 pixels. Large impressive ones can be 128*128 but it should be noted that using these in a level may restrict the variety of other aliens available for that level. No aliens should be entirely robotic- if they are, we will design a vector object version (less memory+better looking) Any bullets required for the alien to fire must also be drawn. If a seperate palette is necessary, draw on a seperate screen; don't use 64 colour screen! Any 'special moves' the alien does can only sensibly be drawn from front view + no more than 4 frames. Would be possible to construct longer anims from those four frames (eg pulsing before shooting). If animations are of any form other than 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 etc, could you make a list of the order? Red aliens: First Generation Breed Cannon fodder to force usage of ammo! Change palette slightly? NEED DYING FRAMES. Mutant marines Hybrids same as ordinary marines but with some sort of mutant growth on head etc. Fires a rifle-type weapon (no bullets visible) so a single frame with small gun flash and front illuminated. Also in a different pallete to the player 2 graphics. Use existing marine graphics as basis for this enemy. ALSO NEED DYING FRAMES FOR PLAYER 2 AND MUTANT MARINES. Sounds: gargling dying sound (avail) shooting sound (avail) * shuffling walk (?) Scream of pain (muffled) Gurgling sound (as he wanders around) Flying pink balls: Floaters Palette redesign needed. Need other anim frames (only one in each direction at the moment) + dying and shooting. Large humanoid with blade hands: Second Generation Cyborg Hybrid 128*128 pixels? Probably, for detail. Special move: blade slash close up. (3 FRAMES) Firing: At range, points other arm and fires volley of automatic fire. (1 FRAME) Also: pushes back arms (like someone skydiving) and fires large burst of plasma bolts(1 frame) from face/chest area NB: Frames for this alien should be RUNNING not walking. Very hard to kill, this one. Also very big and tall. Probably used for a mid-game big baddie (perhaps two or three of them in a specially designed level)
Milestones - Notes on important goals for the project
Develop preliminary map editor (Define floors, walls, rooms and positions of objects) Introduce collisions with walls and corners. Add early enemy intelligence and test collision routine. Introduce map control points, modifying level editor. Use map control points to guide aliens to the player. Add sound effect routine and develop a triggering routine so events can cause noises. Replace simple directional sound with control-point directional sound Generalise object drawing routine to handle a database of objects which the game logic can manipulate, allowing the introduction of new objects (Eg player and enemy bullets). Introduce 'hot spots' to the map, defining areas which trigger things like opening doors, logging on to computer terminals, activate alarms and so on. Modify map editor to include hot spot definition
newideas - Some odd notes for things that never made the game, clearly at some point there was the potential for there to be people who could be rescued, and Andy Clitheroe really likes "glass balls".
Use glass balls for holding the people you have to rescue; shoot them and they fall out to the ground And how about putting the powerups in little glass balls just for effect? OR you could have benches in the labs with bottles and things on.
SampsNeeded - Sound samples needed for the game at some point. These all got satisfied in the end, save the "burning sound".
Samples required for AB3d: Shotgun + Reload Three footsteps: muffled (eg for carpetted areas) normal (For stone or whatever) Ringing (For metal gantries) Thump of something hitting the floor Burning sound.
thingstodosoon - apparently once important ideas. The final game has no in-game map at all, let alone one from "find computer on wall". The sequel did, however.
Fix that bloody problem with z=0 on walls. Map display when find computer on wall
FinishGame - notes on what was left to finish the game
STUFF REMAINING: Level Design: 6 more levels. Put in Mike's level, and two more of Ben's levels. This leaves THREE to be designed on paper before entering. REMEMBER DESIGNS: Admin Block: Lots of intersecting passages, very few rooms, lots of stairwells and overhead bits. Good place for the sentry droids, marines, eyeball monsters. The Abyss: deep pit with lift slowly going down it. Holes in the walls let in aliens and have goodies in them too. Could have more than one joined by a narrow passage uncovered at the bottom. NEED ONE MORE DESIGN. Guns: Put in shotgun code. This requires firing several shots each with a chance of hitting dependant on distance (use alien code for this). Include miss/hit code all the time for other instant effect weapons too, so accuracy is affected by distance. This means shotgun simply fires more bullets in one go to achieve effect desired. Flame thrower. Not much to do here. Fix noise. Grenade launcher: Make bounce noises off walls and make an explosion noise occur too. Aliens: Put in crawly spiky thing (large). Is quite big and slow, and difficult to kill, and breathes fire. Underwater monster: Fires twin energy pulses from eyes. Cannot leave water. Red marine: fires shotgun at you (multiple bullets) and does quite a bit of damage. Also harder to kill. Misc: Option screen needs doing. Known Bugs: Duck and fire sometimes fails. Move up bullets?