If you appreciate the work done within the wiki, please consider supporting The Cutting Room Floor on Patreon. Thanks for all your support!

Development:Hired Guns

From The Cutting Room Floor
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page details development materials of Hired Guns.

This cactus is UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
Hmmm...
To do:
  • Split out unused graphics section and finish off, Trees etc still needed
  • Development tools info - need to document fractal map generator
  • Misc files section - Bootblock from Walker, etc

In July 2021 the entire development environment for Hired Guns was uploaded to the Internet Archive. This included source code, game assets and related (and even some unrelated!) tools. The most interesting part of this release was a build of an unreleased CD32 AGA version of the game. In total the following was included:

  • Original Amiga Hired Guns Compiled Builds and source code
  • Unfinished but compiled builds of Hired Guns AGA version and source code
  • Game assets in pre-compiled form
  • Map Editor compiled builds and source code
  • Tech demos and code from other DMA Design games


Sub Pages

HiredGuns-DTS.png
Maps
Summary of cut/unfinished game maps found in the development files
HiredGunsDemo-portabledatabank.png
Document Library
Summary of documents and correspondence found in the development files

Game Builds

The following builds of the game can be found in the development files:

Hired Guns v37.14

Not actually present in the development files, but worth noting that it is the oldest known working version of the game, and used for the official demo. There are large changes made from this version to the first preview versions of the game and the source code and development files make constant references to ideas and items/assets that were in this version of the game but ultimately removed for the final release. Please see the Demo page for information on this build from 4th January 1993.

Hired Guns v39.10

Path: Test/HiredGunsEditor/

While this folder supposedly was created to host the map editor and related files, it seems to have been created on top of parts of an old build of the main game from July 1993. Checking the executable in a hex editor shows text strings for version 39.10, the earliest version listed in the official version history. It seems to be missing needed files/assigns however, and crashes when run. There are also four icons in the directory called "HG 1pl" through to "HG 4pl" that seem to try and start Hired Guns with the respective number of players. There are several maps in the folders and other game elements, including around half the enemies. Checking the installer for the Map editor shows this executable was part of a minimum install of the game used to test maps quickly through the map editor without loading the entire game. It would also have the password protection removed, so possibly this is why the full map editor package was never released (as it would give clues on how to remove the copy protection).

The executable ("Hired Guns") contains strings for player character Race, Sex and Class that are present in even the last build of the game. However, this version has the oldest set of these strings and contains some that were removed in later revisions. Judging by what they are, this was the executable used for the Amiga Format and Amiga Force magazine preview builds.

Character Race strings:

  • Human
  • Mech
  • Golem
  • Humanoid
  • Cyborg
  • Race 6
  • Race 7
  • Race 8
  • Race 9
  • Race 10

The above up to Cyborg are still present in the final game ("Golem" is present but unused for any character), but this shows up to 10 were possible.


Character Job/class strings:

  • Marine
  • Assassin
  • Combat Droid
  • Medic
  • Citizen
  • Pilot
  • UPBI agent
  • Engineer
  • Slave
  • Marksman
  • Trooper
  • UPBI Agent
  • Multipurpose
  • Pilot
  • Porn King
  • Borg
  • Early Cyborg
  • Barbarella

Most of the non-standard ones are actually joke classes created specifically for the Amiga Format and Amiga Force previews. However, the jobs of "Slave" and "Trooper" still exists in the final release of the game. The duplicate entries also exist in the final game.

Hired Guns v39.25

Path: HGCD32/hgdisk1-5.dms

These are just disk images of the retail game release in DMS format.

Hired Guns v39.26

Path: Test/HiredGuns/

HiredGuns-SplashScreenv39.26.png

This is a later build of the original retail game that will run on OCS Amigas. It's not clear exactly what is different to the retail release, but the game now has the build number v39.26 on display both on the splash screen, and also the pause screen. Changed files from retail:

  • Test/HiredGuns/HiredGuns - 15/12/1993 [main executable]
  • Test/HiredGuns/Front/intro.dat - 15/12/1993 [splash screen data]
  • Test/HiredGuns/Languages/ - 15/01/1994 [all language text files updated]
  • Test/HiredGuns/Game/Game.cpr and game3.cpr - 11/01/1994
  • Test/HiredGuns/C/SystemTakeover - 17/01/1994

This build was never released publically, but it suggests that there really was an intention to release a patch for the original game as per the version history file listed below, as well as an AGA version. It seems the BugsFixed documents apply specifically to this build, but of note is the fact none of the map files have changed, and these are where most of the fixes were reported. Errors like the typo in the "Unlisted" level description are not fixed in this build compared to the AGA one of the same version number.

However, there is a second copy of this build in the archive Unused/DiskData.lha. This is comprised of the files for this build laid out as they would be to fit on the original game floppy disks. More importantly, many of the map files in this build have later timestamps than the original game, and testing shows for example the "Unlisted" level has its typo fixed. That suggests these map files are bugfixed just the like the AGA version ones. Even more interestingly, the altered map files still have timestamps before those of the AGA version and different CRCs, so they are not the same as the AGA versions.

Oddly there is further work done towards the 39.26 OCS version that is not included in the assembled release(s). Most notably the Sub-Machine Gun weapon was created for this release for parity with the AGA version, but it is not in the assembled game files. This may simply be an oversight as only the main executable seems to have been rebuilt for the disk images and not the entire game (see below for more details). The locations.dat file has also not been rebuilt, so e.g. the map description typos that were fixed in the map files themselves are never seen because the locations.dat (which is built from the map files before a release and is actually the source of that text in-game) is still the old incorrect one.

Based on the files unused/Docs.lha/FinalCopy/BugsFixed and Sources/BugsFixed the following things seem to have been fixed in this version of the game:

*Password protection for "declination of star 200" did not accept printed figure.
*Text in time out message was garbled.
*Item at end of teleport maze in "Log entry 8: Unlisted" level during campaign game was corrupted.
*DTS range to exit in "Log entry 4: Temple" during campaign game was wrong.
*"Log entry 20: Desalination Plant" was impossible without spare "Bridge" psi-amp
*DTS range to exit in "Log entry 20: Urban Development" during campaign game was wrong.
*Spelling mistake in "Log entry 8: Unlisted" level intro during campaign game
*Spelling mistake on credits screen
*Dead end on "Log entry 9: Tomb"
*Second mouse pointer would flicker and disappear

Hired Guns CD AGA v39.26

Path: Test/HiredGunsCD32/

This is an unfinished build of the unreleased so called CD32 version of the game. Most files are different in this build, including all map files. See the prototype page for more information on this build of the game. The .iso file distributed on archive.org is simply the contents of this folder assembled into a ISO image.

Magazine Preview Builds

Special preview builds were made for two Amiga magazines, which replaced characters in the game with specially drawn caricatures of magazine staff(!). Unused/Makedisks shows the build information for these, including which levels were removed compared to the final game (a lot), and which characters were added. The files used are some of the custom characters from the "Fungraphics.lha" archive, but the character select portraits are missing. It's not clear which version of the game was used as the base for the preview as the executable for 39.10 contains the custom classes, but the Amiga Force review shows build 39.12.

Amiga Format Preview Build

Character graphics:

Name Filename Job/Class Replaces character Image
Andy Nutall Andy.gfx Early Cyborg Rorian HiredGuns-Andy.png
Julie Tolley Julie.gfx Assassin Desverger HiredGuns-Julie.png
Marcus Dyson Marcus.gfx Borg Clavius (But has an Assault Rifle instead of a Blaster) HiredGuns-Marcus.png
Sue White Sue.gfx Barbarella Bonden HiredGuns-Sue.png


Pictures from this build can be seen in the Amiga Format Preview on the game.[1].

Amiga Force Preview Build

Character graphics:

Name Filename Job/Class Replaces character Image
Ian Osborne Ian.gfx Assassin Desverger HiredGuns-Ian.png
Miles Guttery Miles.gfx Slave Bonden HiredGuns-Miles.png
Milo Jackson Milo.gfx UPBI Agent Rorian HiredGuns-Milo.png
Phil King Phil.gfx Porn King (has the same number as Marcus but I think this is right) Clavius (But has an Assault Rifle and landmines) HiredGuns-Phil.png

Notice all the artwork files for the Amiga Force team are named Ugly 1-4...

The Amiga Force review actually had screenshots of their custom characters on display. The review also uses a capture of the splash screen of the game that shows it's from game version 39.12.[2].

Version History

There is a version history for Hired Guns in the file sources\versions:

3910 Amiga Format Special Edition
3910 on picture, 3912 in game - Mikes version 14th July
3912 Amiga Format Special Edition 22nd July Preview
3913 Psygnosis French Office 22nd July
3914 Amiga Action Special Edition 30th July Preview
3915 Amiga Power 2nd August Preview
3916 The One Amiga 2nd August Preview
3917 CU Amiga 19th August Preview
3920 Psygnosis playtesters 9/9/93
3922 Psygnosis master test 21/9/93
3923 Psygnosis France master test 22/9/93
3924 Psygnosis France preview 22/9/93
3925 Psygnosis master 24/9/93
3926 Patch

In addition to the above:

  • The playable demo released on magazines such as Amiga Format and Amiga Action shows version 37.14 on the splash screen and reports Revision 0.7 in the start-up sequence text. This pre-dates all above versions of the game listed in the version history.
  • The retail game shows version 39.25 on the startup splash screen and game files are dated 17th of August 1993
  • The later OCS build included in the files reports version 39.26 as the version and files are dated as late as the 15th December 1993
  • The AGA version reports version 39.26 on the title screen and game files are dated 27/01/1994.

The file "startup-sequence" in the 39.26 disks includes the text

"*N HIRED GUNS*N  by Scott Johnston*N  Release 1.09*N  Revision 39.26"
Echo "  18th November 1993*N*N Copyright ¸ Psygnosis 1993*N All Rights Reserved*N"

This is also included in the AGA version, but the above seems to refer to the OCS build.

Suggesting version 39.26 was started straight after the retail release with a completed version by at least the 18th November 1993. Going by timestamps on source files, work was started on the AGA version around this time in November after the intial 39.26 OCS build was complete, and work finished (or rather, was abandoned..) on the AGA project by the 27th January 1994. Timestamps for the original Amiga game's code seem to be from the 17th of August 1993, which seems to be when work ended on the game. This matches with the timestamps of the files of the retail game as well. It's not clear how this tallies with the dates shown above which indicate the final build as being created slightly later. Correspondence to testers suggests in the documents archive suggests that QA work was still continued after the retail release, so presumably the 39.26 OCS release was bugtested etc.


Map Editor

The official map editor was already previously released to the public outside of the development upload. Apparently it was originally available in the mid 1990s from Scott Johnston's long since lost personal website and can still be found on fan sites to this day. Comparing the old download to the files in the Map Editor/ directory show that the internet release was literally just all these files from the exact same directory compressed into an LHA archive, source code and all. However, this is not the complete map editor, only its executable and the minimum to use it.

There is another directory Test/Hired Guns Editor/ that contains what looks like an attempt at creating a more professional official package for the map editor, rather than the hastily put together mess that was released in the end. The editor is actually included in this directory, but oddly its icon has been snapshotted way below the other files in the Workbench view. When the editor is run from this directory a new splash screen appears on startup, and choosing the help option will now load an AmigaGuide file called help.guide that comprises the much missed official manual for the complex editor. This manual file was not included with the previous release of the editor and the help option would simply fail to load the missing file. Checking the help file it is dated 26th November 1993 (as is the Map Editor program "About" information), so the tool and documentation were updated beyond the original game's release. Choosing the "Display" option from the menu also passes the current map to the program HG_Display to create solid isometric reprsentations of a level and export these models to iff images. Invoking the viewer this way doesn't actually seem to work properly, unfortunately. The editor itself is identical to the version publically released, and supports loading both the AGA version maps and also the original retail game maps. It cannot however, properly load the maps from the earlier Amiga Format demo (version 37.14). Attempts to do so will appear to work, but both the map itself and its text description fields are mostly corrupt gibberish.

HGViewer

Included inside the Test/Hired Guns Editor/ directory is a file called HGViewer, which is a previously available third party freeware tool known as "Hired Guns Map Viewer" by "Max". The program allows viewing map files and exporting each floor as an iff image file. It has the same icon as the official map editor here, unlike the commonly found version of this tool that came with a generic Workbench tool icon (suggesting DMA must have changed it for inclusion in this release), but seems identical otherwise. Note this tool doesn't seem to work properly on modern Amigas (i.e. AGA, Workbench 3.0+), and the map graphic will be corrupted. Running it on an A600 with Kickstart/Workbench 2.1 gets it working correctly.

HG_Display

There is yet another map tool in here with no icon called HG_Display. This seems to be an official DMA Design attempt at the same kind of viewer functionality as HGViewer, as running it shows it to be a program called HiredGuns Display by DMA's own Mike Dailly. However, this actually is a more ambitious program that creates isometric 3D models of created levels. It does not seem to work properly on modern Amigas (i.e. AGA, Workbench 3.0+) where it will hang when loading a file requester, but running it on an A600 with Kickstart/Workbench 2.1 gets it working correctly. If the viewer is invoked from the editor directly via the "Display" option it doeesn't seem to work properly regardless - it will grey out the load map option and simply say "No Map Loaded" with seemingly no option other than quitting.

If the viewer is loaded directly from Workbench it will run fine and allow loading of maps. Once a map is loaded nothing seems to happen, but if the user clicks on the number next to "level" and deletes and replaces it with a new number it will draw the chosen floor of the map in isometric 3D blocks. The L and R characters at the bottom right of the screen can be clicked on to rotate the model 90 degrees left or right.

HiredGuns-HG Display.png

There is a "Tools" menu with the only option being "Resize". This lets the user determine how much of the map is drawn. Invoking this option, a wireframe is placed over the main view, and clicking and dragging the left and right handle points allows drawing more or fewer floors of the level at once, while the top and bottom handle points reduce the area of the model drawn to e.g. show tunnels or parts of the map that would otherwise be occluded. Clicking "Done" regenerates the model using the set parameters. There is an option to "Save Screen" which presumably would make a screenshot, but this does not seem to actually work.

Old Game Build

The map editor files seem to have been placed on top of the files of build 39.10 of the game. See the builds section for more details. Possibly this was used as a quick and dirty way to test levels created in the map editor, but it doesn't seem to work now.

Editor Installer

Path: Unused/HDScripts.lha/Editor.script This is the script file for the hard drive installer for the map editor. This shows that in fact the Editor was supposed to be shipped on two floppy disks. The script shows that all the files present in the folder in the development files are supposed to be there, including the old executable and included map files. The installer has two options "Install Editor" and "Install Game System", so possibly the latter was the minimal install of the game for testing purposes that the 1-4 player icons would be used for. Of note is the fact that only four character GFX files are included, and that the fifth graphics tile set (Style04.gfx - the files are numbered from 00) is missing.

Unused Graphics

Unused Enemy "Flinching" Animation

The archive Monsters\CD32Monsters.lha contains ilbm sprite sheets for some monsters in the game. Their timestamps are mostly from 1992, but this is possibly just because they were edited on a computer without a Real Time Clock. Only the Hoverbot and Hadrahl characters have different timestamps from 1994. However, in the actual game files included with the CD32 version, all monstergfx files match those in the original retail game so have not been changed meaning these new graphics are not used.

The images in this archive contain a new frame of animation for these enemies. It appears to be a flinching or defensive animation presumably used when taking damage at close range. It's not clear if this is an old feature that was cut early in the original game's development (possibly it was to be used for taking damage from the cut melee weapons), or a new feature for the AGA version that was not finished in time (The filename at least suggests it was being considered for the new version). In all versions of the final game monsters simply flash white when damaged - if this "flinching" feature had been completed it would require more memory and potentially a lot more frames of animation if it was needed for all distances from the player.

The image "temp" has two different attempts at a flinching animation for the "Hadrahl" enemy and some leftover parts of that enemy's graphics.

HiredGunsAGA-TempCharacter.png

Wall Graphic Tilesets

The development materials contain the original graphical sheets for all tile, object, and sprite graphics in ILBM format. These reveal unseen graphics that seem to have been part of the final game all along.

Path: Graphics\Style1\ILBM

Style1 was the first set of graphical tiles designed for the game as evidenced by their appearance in early magazine preview pictures.

PanelButIn.ilbm / PanelButOut.ilbm are the wall button graphics for the tileset. These actually still contain the old stone wall button graphic as seen in the old demo. It seems the actual tileset graphics for buttons are overwritten in the game for all level tilesets with the ones from the Style3 tileset (the futuristic set used for the first campaign level).

PanelButIn.ilbm also features an assembled piece of wall tiles at the bottom that exhibit some kind of device with a computer screen. It's not clear what this was for (an alternative button graphic?), but several other of the tile sets have this same image included in them still showing the first tileset walls (e.g. PanelButIn.ilbm in Style3). There are also parts of random wall graphics joined together at the bottom of this set that just seem to be temporary tests of how the wall parts join.


HiredGuns-Walldevice.png


Light.ilbm - This contains graphics for the ceiling lights. These are changed for all tilesets in the AGA version, and the timestamp shows this file in ALL sets is this new version. The old non-AGA graphics source files do not seem to be included in the development files.

Stone.ilbm - This contains the regular wall graphics for the set. These seem to be identical to those in use in the final game, but have a newer timestamp than the retail release. It is believed this may be due to fixing a bug in the original where enemies on floors above the player could be seen through a one pixel offset in this tileset.

Tree.ilbm - This has been changed from the original design that had three different kinds of tree graphics into a single new design with only different colour palettes for each set of trees used in the AGA version.

Tree_old.ilbm - The original retail tree graphics set. Frankly these look better than the new AGA ones. These don't seem to be included in the AGA game, they are just retained in the development files.

Path: Graphics\Style2\ILBM

This is the white stone cliff tile set. PanelButIn.ilbm / PanelButOut.ilbm - as with the first set there are buttons graphics in this set that are never seen in the final game.

Path: Graphics\Style4\ILBM

This is the dark H.R Giger style tile set. PanelButIn.ilbm / PanelButOut.ilbm - as with the first set there are buttons graphics in this set that are never seen in the final game.

Path: Graphics\Style5\ILBM These are just exact copies of Style4. In the final game there are 5 different style.gfx files (0-4), so it's not clear what the final one contains, as the final game files are different sizes and none are identical.

Unused Interface Graphics

Path: Data\GameFast.dat\Windows.ilbm

This file contains various graphics used for the in-game GUI. However, it also includes some very old versions of the main interface, specifically that seen in the pre-release coverage of the game.

  • The D.T.S Screen isn't that interesting, other than the cut Rest tab being visible on it. It does however, also have an early smaller version of the character's health bar. This seems to have been overwritten with the real bar at every stage of development, and even in the pre-release screenshots the game uses the same health meter as the final game and not the simple one shown here.
  • The Statistics screen is more interesting as it shows the old design visible in early coverage with an outline of a man and woman in the background, as well as the abandoned "Weapon Skill" and "Intelligence" attributes. The Rest tab is also visible here.

In the same file there is also this pair of male and female symbols, that presumably were also located in the background of the stats window at some point of development:

HiredGuns-Sexicons.png


(Source: Cherno)

Unused Weapon Graphics

The AGA version of Hired Guns includes a new Sub-Machine Gun weapon. This is not present in either the retail game, or even the OCS build 39.26. However, graphics for it do exist for the OCS game in the Graphics/Misc/items.ilbm file. The AGA version has its own separate item graphics sheet with higher colour depth, so it's no mistake the gun is present in the OCS version, just very strange that it was not included in the 39.26 version of the game. Even odder is the history of the weapon - it was intended to be included in the retail game, as the file ItemIllustraions.pp - created before the game was even finished - marks out the empty spot in the inventory where the gun would go with a label for "Sub-Machine Gun". However, there is no weapon defined in the game at that slot in the retail or 39.26 OCS games, and it seems the newer graphics sheet was not used for that newer build either.

HiredGuns-SMG.png

Misc

  • Unused\Illustrations.lha has the original hires scans of the hand painted character portrait artwork used on the character select screen in 800 x 1280 jpg format
  • Unused\funcharacters.lha is a set of replacement custom player character graphics based on staff at DMA and also staff at various Amiga magazines.
  • Unused\PCGraphics.lha - Contains the graphics used for the MS-Dos port's new front end menus. Disappointingly this does not include the PC version's recoloured in-game player sprite graphics.

Unused Music

While the game itself does not include any unused .mod music files, the accompanying material includes an archive called "unusedmusic.lha" that includes a single OctaMED module called "Rap.mod".

Rap.mod

Playing it reveals it's definitely another Brian Johnston composition. It's not clear what it was composed for, but its short looping nature suggests it was created for the between level static screens. It's got a looser, more upbeat feel than most of the intense music used in the game, which was probably why it was not used.

Source Code

The development files archive contains source code for two builds of the game. The code in sources/ is from the AGA branch of 39.26. In the archive Unused/Oldsource.lha is the contents of that directory from the end of development of the OCS build 39.26.

Code seems to have been written in an SAS C dev environment and compiled using Devpac 3.02. The archives include all files needed to successfully recompile both versions of the game.

Files Of Note

Main.s

As the filename suggests, the main source code block for the game that generates the executable. A number of compile time flags can be set here, to create different versions of the game and enable various debug features:

  • Download - it's not clear what this option does. Checking some of the If statements that use this flag there are settings in the graphics creation scripts that use this to only build the figure graphics for the four characters used in the demo, so perhaps this was used in conjunction with the demo builds.
  • Rolling_Demo - Puts the game into rolling demo mode as seen in the "attract mode" included in the game's demo.
  • Demo - Presumably used to build the demo version.
  • Editor - This requires Demo to be set as well, according to the comments. This builds a simplified version of the game executable designed to be included with the Map Editor package so that created levels can be quickly loaded and tested without going through the final game's entire front end. Accepts various arguments from the icons included in the map editor to start in that mode (e.g. number of players).
  • CD32 - only in the later AGA version source. This builds the AGA/CD32 version of the game. Removing this flag does not seem to successfully build the OCS game, however.
  • SE - a comment calls this a "special edition". This seems to have been used for the preview builds sent to magazines to remove most of the levels and also include things like the Amiga Format special characters.
  • SKIPCHECK - This removes the password protection from the game. This is always forced on during an AGA build, but can be set for OCS builds using the OldSource.lha source code.
  • Savegame - enable the ability to save the game.
  • CHEAT - This is very interesting, and not to be confused with the known cheat codes. This puts the game into debug mode and allows certain debug functions. Debug information is shown including frame rate and the player's position in the map, and a set of extra key commands on the keypad are enabled. These seem to allow limited live editing of a map file that can be saved using the keypad enter key. It's also possible to record an attract mode .dat file for use in a rolling demo in this mode, which is saved using F6. The game can also be toggled between PAL and NTSC screen modes using F8 and F9.
  • DOUBLE_BUFFER - unexplained but presumably double buffers the screen to prevent tearing etc. Is on by default.
  • MINIMAL_REDRAW - Unexplained but presumably used to minimally redraw the screen based on contents having changed or not for greater performance. On by default.
  • CHECKSUM - Unclear, possibly store/look for checksums of newly generated files? Disabled by default.
  • BLITQ - "enable blit queuing". Unclear what this actually does, compiling with this flag on the CD32 version fails. Disabled by default.

Equates.i

This contains definitions of variables used in the game. This includes structures for map objects/cells, resolution/size of graphical objects as well as all item and container types in game.

Item types:

  • There is an item type called CAT_HAND2HAND that conclusively proves there was originally going to be melee combat in the game, along with the non-functional melee weapons that were in the demo version. However, this item category bears the comment "does nothing" in the source. It's also the second item type defined, so this must have been included early in development. It's worth noting however, that item type 1 is "CAT_GUN" so it was added after firearms were already defined.
  • There are still definitions for the cut plot item types that were present in the demo: CAT_UPLINK, CAT_CAMCORDER, CAT_DATABANK.
  • There is an item type called "CAT_SENTRYCNTRL". This marked as "not used" but suggests possibly a device to remotely control placed sentry guns?
  • There is an item type called "CAT_CORPSE". This is also commented as "not used" but suggests it would originally be possible to carry either enemy or player corpses as objects

Player stats:

  • The player_agility stat definition has an interesting comment - "psi/1000 = spell potency multiplier". The agility stat replaced the old Psionics stat seen in the demo build, so this must be a leftover. This comment shows the formula intended for the abandoned psionics skill mechanic.

The below lines from the file demonstrate how the EXP stat is calculated based on actions in game (according to the manual from the demo this stat is purely informational with no effect on gameplay and works effectively as a score for each character):

EXP_NEWBLOCK		equ	1
EXP_KILL	    	equ	10	;(monsters physiqe/10 for every hit on monster)
EXP_UNLOCK	    	equ     15	;door unlocked
EXP_PSI		    	equ	5	;every psi used
EXP_EXIT		equ	500	;first into exit
EXP_MAX		    	equ     60000

NEWBLOCK appears to be the score added for a character exploring and seeing a previously unseen block of the level.

Items.s

This file collates all items in the game and their relevant attributes (Item name and description, Strength and ammunition types if a weapon, number of uses for psi amps, what graphical icon to use, etc). What is most interesting are the leftovers from earlier builds of the game.

  • All Psi-amps still have their "Level" stat from the demo defined, even though this doesn't do anything and cannot be seen in game anymore.
  • Each item has a container type attribute, which determines the graphic used to represent it when it's laying on the floor. The comment to describe this field seems to be from an early, probably fantasy genre version of the game: "2=treasure,3=green,4=red,5=BIGCRATE". In the actual files numbers are not used as the variable, items instead have descriptive named variables such as "CONT_SMALLCRATE", and none really match the descriptions here save for "BIGCRATE".
  • Remnants of one of the old Jar items from the demo is still defined in the code here - item 69. It has no name, icon or decription, but it still boosts stats. Interestingly it is defined to boost physique and agility by 200, when in the demo these items only boosted stats by 100, which suggests they were further tinkered with before they were cut from the game.
  • Both the Brick and Broken Bottle items have the item category of "HAND2HAND" weapon. This means they were originally intended as weapons and not just useless flavour items (the original Broken Bottle description text from the demo also implies this). They both have a "hand 2 hand modifier" stat of 100, whatever this would have meant.
  • Both Sentry Guns have a "shoot players flag". This is set to 1. Presumably it would be possible to have sentry guns that would only shoot at enemies and not player characters as well.
  • The mystery of the Banana and its pieces is solved by looking in this file. As expected, the Banana Pieces are clearly supposed to be extra ammunition for the Banana weapon - they are set as an item type of ammo. However, the "clip type 1" (i.e ammunition type) for the Banana is set to item 54. Item 54 is.... Cheese. The actual Banana Pieces item is number 52. This is why it's impossible to reload the Banana.

ExGfx.s

From the name and its contents this seems to stand for Extra Graphics. The Grenade Launcher and Sentry Gun items were both relatively late additions to the game as seen from the fact they are not present in the demo and how their items replace many of the cut demo items in the final game. This file was made to define their graphics after the bulk of the game was already done. What's far more interesting about this file is it has one of only two references to an item called "stungrenade". It's not clear how these would work in the game, and the definition here is blank, so there are no graphics for them in the final game.

Misc

Takeover\BootCode\WalkerBootBlock2.s contains the source code for the disk boot block of the DMA Design game Walker. The actual compiled boot block is also present in the same directory.


The file Help.txt in the same directory also details a struggle with the CD drive on the CDTV (which could be expanded with a floppy disk drive and essentially used as an Amiga 500) using up RAM that stopped Hired Guns from having enough to load properly:

Hi there.

I've got bit of problem. :-(
Basically Hired Guns ain't working on the CDTV from floppy.

Its works fine with the HD installed version (being OS friendly),
but as soon as I kiss exec goodbye then those damn level 2
interrupts keep on comin'.

At the moment I've bodged a fix. A custom bootblock that
dismounts CD0 from the expansion.library mountlist.

This seems to works fine. The only snag is that I can't search
for the "CD0" name explicitly. The dn_Name entry of the device
node structure looks like it contains a pointer to a BSTR name
but it doesn't (or at least I think it doesn't). At the moment
the code just removes whatever volume is at the end of the
mountlist whuch just happens to be CD0 on the CDTV, but this is
not very 'nice', can anyone help?

(Jolyon's cdon/off code in the flist works fine but takes up too
much space. Yes my disks ARE that full. Value for money or what!)

I'll binmail the code, smakes and all for any kind souls perusal.
:-)

Thanks in advance,

    Scott J.

This problem seems to be referenced throughout the boot code directory and files, but looks like it was solved in the end.


HGCD32\Soundplayer.lha is an archive containing Scott Johnston's Amiga sound player code. According to the readme inside it was used in the games Lemmings and Lemmings 2.

Original Fantasy Game Concept Art Files

One aspect of the game that had been known for some time is that Hired Guns was originally conceived as a game in a traditional fantasy setting, much like its inspirations Bloodwych and Dungeon Master, and the change of direction to sci-fi is why the game had a strange mixture of futuristic enemies and old D&D staples like skeletons. An online interview with the one of the graphical artists for the game, Graeme Anderson, talks about this process, and describes an elaborate animated intro sequence that was made for this version of the game[3].

Unused\Graphics.lha contains image files from this very early period of development. Unfortunately it seems no actual code for this version survives.

The files included in the archive are arranged in the following directory structure:

Death

Presumably intended as a Game Over screen with a leering skull blended over an image of the moon in a darkened sky. Two versions of the same image are included, both of which would display in the Amiga's HAM mode, and one of which is a huge 24 bit ILBM version of the file.

HiredGuns-Death.png

Figures

Digitised pictures of DMA Design staff's heads! These make more sense when taken in the context of the development history outlined in the file DevelopmentHistory.txt, from the "December '90 - January '91" entry:

The game now has four players (this was easy thanks to some forethought with the games internal structure). Players can see upper and lower levels as well as each other. At this time instead of having figures for other players we had digitised heads of guys in the office!

There's also further discussion of this period of development on the now defunct DMA Design Blog website: "For the moment, only temporary character graphics were in play and those were the giant floating heads. Scott had digitized some of the other DMA staff. Russell, Gary and Biscuit – in disembodied head form – were now chasing each other around a 3D maze." [4]

FrontEnd

Pictures of an Amiga computer and a mouse presumably for the menu screens. Possibly used for choosing between keyboard and mouse controls?

Intro

These are image files that make up the intro sequence detailed in the interview with Graeme Anderson. It's not clear what order they should be in or the purpose of many, as some seem to be mask images or fragments of a bigger scene that would be composited together probably by the intro code itself, so make little sense out of context. Also included is an early Hired Guns logo with a metal portcullis style design. Quote from the interview that puts the below images in context:

"The intro was fairly short. There was a parallax shot with a gothic castle at the end, then a close-up of two gargoyle statues at the entrance to a long staircase leading to the castle. One of the gargoyles' eyes open. There is a shot of a dragon flying through the sky (the sky is cloudy red and angry-looking), followed by a swarm of other flying creatures. Then there was a shot of a long stone tunnel with a light at the end. A gate slams shut at the end of the tunnel, casting a shadow for it entire length, then a portcullis slams down in the foreground with the rusted metal letters spelling "HIRED GUNS" bolted to it."[3]

A single HAM image of a different Hired Guns logo. This is in more of a Western (as in cowboys) style font so it's not clear how this fits into the other images in this archive or if it came later.

HiredGuns-OldLogo.png

Dungeoneer Tech Demo

Archive HGCD32\Dungeoneer.lha This is an intriguing tech demo of a Dungeon Master style game. All the demo consists of is an engine that lets you walk around a very small dungeon in first person, with no enemies or actual gameplay to speak of. What is most interesting about it is that unlike most games in the genre (and Hired Guns itself) is that you turn in increments of 45 degrees rather than 90. There are no 45 degree corridors to walk around in the demo, it simply means you see the existing map at unusual angles at times. You can however, walk diagonally in areas with enough open space. Possibly related to this tech demo is a quote attributed to Scott Johnston discussing the AGA version of Hired Guns in a post on the English Amiga Board: "The best bit (the only unfinished bit) [of Hired Guns AGA] is the 45 degree rotation, thats where all the extra memory goes." There's no evidence of any ability to turn 45 degrees in the CD32 build of Hired Guns released, and neither do there appear to be any extra frames of animation for enemies or objects to be displayed at 45 degree angles. Perhaps "Dungeoneer" is a glimpse of what this feature would have been like in Hired Guns?

From the Startup-sequence on the Dungeoneer disk:

Echo "*N DUNGEONEER*N  Release 0.1*N  Revision 00.01*N  Date 23/8/92*N*N Copyright ¸ 1992 by Scott Johnston*N All Rights Reserved Worldwide"
Echo "*N Concept by Jamie Grant & Scott Johnston*N Coding by Scott Johnston*N Test Visuals by Scott Johnston*N"

References

  1. Amiga Format Hired Guns Preview - Amiga Format Magazine, issue 51, October 1993
  2. Amiga Force Hired Guns Review - Amiga Force Magazine, Issue 10, October 1993
  3. 3.0 3.1 Graeme Anderson Interview - Lemon Amiga, August 2016
  4. Monster Floating Heads of Doom! - DMA Design Blog, October 2011