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Development:Alien Breed 3D

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This page details development materials of Alien Breed 3D.

Hmmm...
To do:
  • There's loads of source code to go through, especially separate directories for old demo builds
  • Skyboxes and other cut graphics still
  • There are complete tile sets for Alien Breed 2 in here (that seem to have been used for inspiration) that might be revealing for that game
  • Of course there is also the code/assets for Alien Breed 3D II as well

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.

Unused Music

The file abreed3d.med as referenced in the executable of the released game is present here.

Old logos and title screens

AB3D-ABREEDLOGO.png

ABREEDLOGO - An aborted attempt at the game's logo. One that Twentieth Century Fox's lawyers would no doubt look at with great suspicion...

AB3D-alienbreed3logo.png

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.

AB3D-Panel.png

Panel - Very early control panel design, seen in some pre-release screenshots

AB3D-panelraw.png

panelraw - Despite the name, is actually another early logo design

AB3D-faces.png

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.

AB3D-faces2.png

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

AB3D-sharkanim.gif

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.

AB3D-ReallyBigScaryAlien.png

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.

AB3D-crawler.png

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".

AB3D-marine.png

marine - The first of many variants of this generic space marine archetype, all of which were unused in the end.

AB3D-mutatedmarine.png AB3D-mutmarframes.png

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.

AB3D-mar.png

mar - possibly an earlier marine variant? Looks more alien than human and quite crudely drawn.

AB3D-HARDMUTANT.png

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.

AB3D-OTHERMUTANT.png

OTHERMUTANT - Yet another version.

AB3D-changedmarine.png

changedmarine - the final game marine enemy with a brighter palette.

AB3D-eyemonster.png

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.

AB3D-Player.png

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.

AB3D-myalien.png

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 becase it was too similar to the design of a certain popular 20th Century Fox monster?

AB3D-ScalyMonster.png

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.

AB3D-alien1anim.gif

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.

AB3D-uglymonster.png

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.

Unused Skyboxes

Three much more vibrant and rather Roger Dean-esque skyboxes than the deliberately drab Earth-like one used in the final game.

ALIEND AB3D-ALIEND.png
ALIENF   AB3D-ALIENF.png
ALIENS5 AB3D-ALIENS5.png

Cut Weapons

AB3D-gunsinhand.png

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

AB3D-GUNFRAMES.png

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.

AB3D-plasma.png

plasma - two unused frames of the plasma gun that seem to show some kind of energy swirling around it.

AB3D-raygun.png

raygun - An odd looking design for what was presumably a... ray gun of some sort

AB3D-rocket1.png

rocket1 - Early rocket launcher with a much smaller design than the screen-consuming monster that was used in the final game.

AB3D-rocket2.png

rocket2 - A rocket Launcher design very close to that of the final game, only with a smiley face sticker on the side of it.

Misc Graphics

AB3D-ship.png

ship - odd Galaga style small spaceships. Not known at all what these would be used for.

Text Files

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?