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Proto:Hover! (1995)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Hover! (1995).

There were several Hover! prototypes bundled with Windows 95 betas. 19950420

Splash screen of this version.

As compared to the final version of the game, the following differences are found:

Debugging Material

  • There are a lot of debug menu items enabled, which are disabled in any later version. They are hidden by default, but can be put back with a resource editor. They also have hotkeys assigned, which work even without resource editing. See the table below about the IDs, hotkeys and the effect of the menu items.
  • The executable was linked with debug information, and the symbol file's path and name was D:\Work\Bambi\SRC\WinRel\BUMPER.pdb.

Level Differences

  • Small.maz: There is no wall behind the human car to hide the developer photos, as there are also no developer photos.
The blueish beta Small.maz.
  • Medieval: Some blue flag positions are exchanged with red ones. Some flag positions are changed and closer to the big areas, rather than in corners, and there are red flags on raised floors. Some waypoints are placed bad, causing opponent cars to drive against the walls of the stairs.
  • City (referenced as "Neon" in the Readme): A red flag can be placed on the purple, raised floor. Lowered step part is inaccessible from north and south, as there are raised walls around it where the steps would start. The north wall around it is buggy, and when jumping on it, the car might fall through it near one end, and the surface of the wall's top is buggy.
The different steps layout.
  • Sewer: Some blue flag positions are exchanged with red ones. Some flag positions are changed and closer to the big areas, rather than in corners.

Music Differences

  • City music is used in Sewer and vice versa.
  • Medieval castle background synth starts at different timing. The drumset is played differently and with another tune.
19950420 MUSIC1.MDS Final MUSIC1.MUZ
  • City has a different MIDI drumset (TR-synthesizer like instrumentation).
19950420 MUSIC3.MDS Final MUSIC2.MUZ
  • Sewer music drumset is played slightly differently. The background synth sounds more like a flute.
19950420 MUSIC2.MDS Final MUSIC3.MUZ

Sound Differences

  • Longer level starting sound.
  • Sound for flag removal of opponent team has a higher sample rate than most sounds, being at 22050 Hz rather than just 11025 Hz. In the final version, this has been downsampled like all the other sounds.
  • Green opponent car beeps with a much lower and weird sound if it sees the human car. It also already beeps even while cars are still locked when a game has just been started.
  • Win sound is the same as the one left over in the sound mix test application shipped with the final game.
  • Game over sound is completely different and sounds more dramatic.
  • The red light pod sound is played even if the player has shielding, however, the effect is missing as it should. This bug does not apply to map erasers. The motor sound isn't stopped when the win or game over sound is played. The motor sound can be heard while the level is starting, and acceleration can be heard if the player presses forward, even while the cars are still locked.

Graphical Differences

  • Different, simpler executable icon.
19950420 Final
Hover 19950420 Icon.png Hover Final Icon.png
  • Small.maz textures were all revamped later on: Blueish wall texture. Black, small tiled ceiling, no red borders on walls.
Hover 19950420 BACKGRND T.png Hover Final BACKGRND T.png
19950420 FBASE_T Final FBASE_T
Hover 19950420 FBASE T.png Hover Final FBASE T.png
19950420 CBASE_T Final CBASE_T
Hover 19950420 CBASE T.png Hover Final CBASE T.png
  • Medieval Castle has its dragon decal polished: More pixels were made transparent to make it look less cropped. The dithering of the image changed with it, as it was probably simply re-exported with a different palette / dithering outcome.
19950420 WBASE_06/07_D Final WBASE_06/07_D
Hover 19950420 TEXT1 WBASE 06 07 D.png Hover Final TEXT1 WBASE 06 07 D.png
  • City also has some textures changed, especially the heavy contrast black/white floor, probably to combat eye strain. The power-up wall had a colorful swirl at first. The pink carpet was just plain pink.
19950420 FBASE_01_T Final FBASE_01_T
Hover 19950420 TEXT2 FBASE 01 T.png Hover Final TEXT2 FBASE 01 T.png
Hover 19950420 TEXT2 FORCE FIELD T.png Hover Final TEXT2 FORCE FIELD T.png
19950420 STEPS_00_T Final STEPS_00_T
Hover 19950420 TEXT2 STEPS 00 T.png Hover Final TEXT2 STEPS 00 T.png

Other game engine-specific differences:

  • Object clipping like cars and pods near walls is bad and they sometimes disappear when close in front of walls or appear behind them near corners.
  • Small bugs with floor and ceiling painting due to the way the levels are designed (loading them in the final version still causes these bugs).
  • Shift+F4 does not switch to a high resolution full screen mode, just to an upscaled low resolution mode.
  • Sometimes, walls appear in the mini map earlier than in the final game, even though they weren't really discovered yet.
  • Small.maz shows a correct black minimap, but with some white walls visible.
  • The minimap already shows (randomly looking) recognized outlines while the level is still starting.

Logic Differences

  • Refuses to start on systems newer than Windows 95, but can be tricked with compatibility mode.
  • Ctrl+IBMAB in Small.maz does not work, as there is nothing hidden in it yet.
  • There is no green opponent car accompanying the blue car in the first level.
  • Opponent cars are placed even higher while the level starts with their cars are locked (they are still slightly raised in the final version).
  • Opponent cars often drive backwards right at the start, as if they got hit and are confused.
  • Abusing the collision bug with walls is easier, and throws cars under the maze, not above the wall. This is also stated in the Readme coming with this version.
  • It is almost impossible to bring the car back to zero speed by braking, especially in Difficult mode.
  • There are more pods in the level in general, causing them to be placed at the same spot again where they were just collected, which in effect gives the player the same item twice. This still happens in the final version, but more rarely, as there are less pods in a level.
  • The higher green and lower red light speeds are reset to default maximum velocity after the player drove over a sled pad (the maximum velocity of the green light is used internally to control the speed of a sled pad).
  • When driving backwards and placing a wall, the car will drive into it.

Textual Differences

  • The splash screen states "Look for even more exciting game play in HoverHavoc!". There are also minor other text differences throughout other message boxes.

File Differences

  • Sounds are all put directly under SOUNDS rather than sub-classified as MIXED. There is an UNMIXED folder in SOUNDS however.
  • Music is included in the SOUNDS directory as MDS files, rather than in the MUSIC folder disguised as MUZ.
  • A ReadMe is included with the game, stating this release is still a prototype. It also contains a chopped off sentence saying that flags should be collected before the timer runs out, but there is no timer in this version at all anymore - on the other side, the final game says that the "robot's timer malfunctioned", giving you infinite time to collect flags. The timer idea was probably scrapped early.

Debug Menu Items

There are quite a lot debugging functions callable by adding back menu items with a resource hacking tool like Resource Hacker. The following MENUITEM IDs are known:

ID Hotkey Description
-32763 None Enable sticky pads (Checkbox). If disabled, the player still sinks temporarily when hovering such a pad, and the sound is heard, but does not stop moving.
-32762 Ctrl+T
Hover TuningParameters.png

Tuning Paramaters (sic) dialogue. It sets up the duration of power-up effects as "Speed", "Slow", "God", "Smoke" and "Tmp Wall" and jump physics as "Accel", "Velocity" and "Velocity Deg", but the jump physics seem to have no effect.

-32730 Alt+F11
Hover PlayerMotionPhysics.png

Player Motion Physics dialogue. It sets the HXxxParams registry keys which remain working in the final version, but can be set here with the comfortability of a user interface to configure them. According to this window, they map to "Max Velocity", "Normal Accel", "Turn Rate", "Friction Constant", "Turn Lag Factor", "Rotation Stability", "Rotation Kick", "Rotation Accel", and, for the speed manipulating pods, to "Speed Multiplier" and "Slow Multiplier". There is even a button to clear the custom settings called "Clear Registry".

-32729 Alt+F12
Hover DroneMotionPhysics.png

Drone Motion Physics dialogue. Same as the Player Motion Physics dialogue, setting the RXxxParams registry keys. They affect the opponent team cars, including "Acquire Velocity" to set the speed of drones targeting something.

-32716 None
Hover RobotAITuning.png

A "Robot AI Tuning Parameters" dialog allows the modification of the AI behavior as "Backup Turn Rate", "Backup Game Cycles", "Backup Speed Factor", "Max Target Angle Adjust", "Max Angle for Acceleration", "Max dist to acquire human", "Max dist to acquire flag", "Max beacon distance", "Max beacon height difference" and "Beacon search depth", in different sections for each difficulty mode.

-32760 Ctrl+P
Hover SetPosition.png

Set New Position dialogue, teleports and stops the human car there, with the fields "X Position", "Y Position" and "Angle".

-32745 Ctrl+F1 Get jump power-up.
-32743 Ctrl+F2 Get cloak power-up.
-32742 Ctrl+F3 Get wall power-up.
-32740 Ctrl+F4 Get red light power-up.
-32739 Ctrl+F5 Get green light power-up.
-32738 Ctrl+F6 Get shield power-up.
-32737 Ctrl+F7 Get map eraser power-up.
-32719 Ctrl+I Enable shield / immunity effect (checkbox).
-32733 Ctrl+M
Hover MinimapTestMode.png

Minimap test mode, scales the minimap up to fill the whole screen.

-32731 Ctrl+B Show minimap drone waypoints and paths.
-32718 Ctrl+F Freezes HUD timer bars, but not their effect.
-32720 Ctrl+1 Increase brightness of far-away objects.
-32727 Ctrl+2 Decrease brightness of far-away objects.
-32726 Ctrl+3 Increase red amount of far-away objects.
-32725 Ctrl+4 Decrease red amount of far-away objects.
-32724 Ctrl+5 Increase blue amount of far-away objects.
-32723 Ctrl+6 Decrease blue amount of far-away objects.
-32722 Ctrl+7 Increase green amount of far-away objects.
-32721 Ctrl+8 Decrease green amount of far-away objects.

Additionally, the statusbar and WavMix32 menu items already work as in the final version.

The effect of following IDs is unknown:

ID Hotkey Description
-32764 None Checkbox, set at level start.
-32761 Ctrl+R No effect seen.
-32732 None Checkbox, near the IDs of minimap debugging options, but no visible effect.
-32718 Ctrl+F No effect seen.
-7868 Shift+F1 No effect seen. Near the help topics, and hotkey is similar to help hotkeys as it includes F1.

To quickly experiment with the debug options, add this POPUP menu section back into the menu resource of the games executable:

POPUP "&Debug"
 MENUITEM "Unknown (enabled at game start)", -32764
 MENUITEM "Enable Sticky Pads", -32763
 MENUITEM "Tuning Parameters", -32762
 MENUITEM "Player Motion Physics", -32730
 MENUITEM "Drone Motion Physics", -32729
 MENUITEM "Robot AI Tuning Parameters", -32716
 MENUITEM "Set New Position", -32760
 MENUITEM "Show Status Bar", -32717
 MENUITEM "Give Jump Power-up", -32745
 MENUITEM "Give Cloak Power-up", -32743
 MENUITEM "Give Wall Power-up", -32742
 MENUITEM "Give Red Light Power-up", -32740
 MENUITEM "Give Green Light Power-up", -32739
 MENUITEM "Give Shield Power-up", -32738
 MENUITEM "Give Map Eraser Power-up", -32737
 MENUITEM "Enable Shield Effect", -32719
 MENUITEM "Minimize Game", -32736
 MENUITEM "Minimap Test Mode", -32733
 MENUITEM "Unknown (Minimap Stuff?) ", -32732
 MENUITEM "Show Minimap Waypoints", -32731
 MENUITEM "Freeze HUD Timers", -32718
 MENUITEM "Decrease Brightness", -32727
 MENUITEM "Increase Brightness", -32720
 MENUITEM "Increase Light Red Amount", -32726
 MENUITEM "Decrease Light Red Amount", -32725
 MENUITEM "Increase Light Blue Amount", -32724
 MENUITEM "Decrease Light Blue Amount", -32723
 MENUITEM "Increase Light Green Amount", -32722
 MENUITEM "Decrease Light Green Amount", -32721
 MENUITEM "WavMix32 Settings", -32715
} 19950427

Just a week later (according to the build date), the game almost completely transformed to the final version. Compared to the previous version, this build differs in the following:

Debugging Material

  • All debug menu items have been disabled, except for the status bar and WavMix dialogue.
  • All debugging dialogues have been removed. However, the functionality behind the registry keys for manipulating the car physics and drone AI still remains up into the final version.

Level Differences

  • Small.maz: Developer photo locations have been prepared - a wall has been added right behind the start position of the car to not be able to see them. However, the photos sprites themselves don't exist yet, and are generic decals seen in Sewer (like a trash can, a snake or warning signs), and are also referenced as DECAL in the maze file. Only the walls visible in the start view are blue, while all others are green bricks. The floor tiles are still black-white.
The area behind the wall in Small.maz.
  • City: The large lowered steps are now closer to the final version, as they are accessible from north and south. However, these ends are too close to each other, making a fast car unable to walk them up, and just crash against them like a wall.
Steps are smaller on two sides.
  • Flag positions are final (no differences found in tests).

Music Differences

  • Sewer plays the Sewer music now.
  • The drumsets and background synth in any music is now like in the final version of the game.

Sound Differences

  • All sounds are now the final ones.

Graphical Differences

  • Textures are now final, especially "fixing" the pink steps and black-white tiles in City.

Logic Differences

  • A green car now starts together with the blue car in the first level.
  • The wall collision bug now behaves as in the final version, causing the car to drive on top of it, rather than being lowered to the bottom of the maze, and is harder to cause. The included Readme has not been updated at all, still saying the bug is worse than it is in the final.
  • Typing Ctrl+IBMAB in the Small.maz level now works, but crashes the game as the car physics have not been loaded yet, causing a division by zero. The level can be loaded in the final version to inspect it, however.

File Differences

  • Music and Sounds are now in subdirectories as the final version. 19950510

Splash screen of this version.

This build is even closer to the final, mostly just being polished rather than developed. Compared to the previous version, this build differs in the following:

Level Differences

  • Small.maz is now final (including the developer photos).
  • City is now final, having the lowered steps issues fixed.

Graphical Differences

  • The splash screen subtitle text with the note about "HoverHavoc" is in a larger font now.
  • Floor and ceiling painting and object clipping glitches seem to be fixed.
  • City: The custom placed power-up walls now have the final texture.

Sound Differences

  • The red lights pod no longer plays a sound when the player has a shield. The motor sound is no longer heard when the level is won or lost and the cars frozen.

Logic Differences

  • Ctrl+IBMAB now works correctly, no longer crashing the game.
  • Opponent cars no longer drive backwards at the level start.
  • It is now possible to bring the car to zero speed by braking exactly.
  • Resizing of the window now behaves more ugly. Its border is seen while dragged, and can be scaled to larger sizes than the maximum allowed resolution. This bug is still seen in the final version.

File Differences

  • The Readme has been removed. 19950517

Compared to the previous version, this build differs only in the following:

Graphical Differences

  • The program icon is now final. 19950524

There does not seem to be a difference compared to the previous build. Most prominently, the "HoverHavoc" notification on the splash screen is still there.