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Proto:System Shock (1994)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of System Shock (1994).

Version B3.0S of System Shock (the "B" standing for "beta", whereas retail versions start with "F" for "final") was released by the scene group "The Firm" on September 6, 1994.

The latest datestamps on the game's files range throughout the last week of August '94, with the installer itself being dated August 30, placing this version about a month before the original floppy disk release.

Download.png Download System Shock vB3.0S (original installer)
File: System_Shock-FIRM.7z (12.5 MB) (info)
Download.png Download System Shock vB3.0S (pre-installed)
File: System Shock vB3_0S.7z (9.2 MB) (info)


Map Differences
Still wrapping up construction on Citadel Station.

General Differences


  • The security level seems to not be calculated properly in this version - for example, destroying all four CPU nodes on level 1 always reduces the remaining security level to 0% and opens up the secret room with the Magnum even if some of the cameras are still intact.
  • On Mission difficulty 0, elevator panels may give you the "blocked by SHODAN level security" message regardless of the current security level. This is due to a bug in this version where a related variable in the code is left uninitialized only on difficulty 0 - normally you're meant to be able to use the elevator at all times, but because of this uninitialized variable, it effectively either succeeds or fails at random. By interacting with the elevator panel repeatedly, you'll eventually get it to work. All other Mission difficulty levels work as intended.
  • Doors that are "broken beyond repair" or otherwise permanently locked (e.g. the doors on the other side of the grove elevators) can be opened on Mission difficulty 0 in this version. There's still never anything on the other side of them, though.
  • When lying prone, you move much more slowly compared to in the final. Your speed in this position is also not affected by the Turbo hardware at all.
  • When moving around with the Turbo hardware active, your head pitches and tilts much more dramatically compared to the final. Be careful if you're susceptible to motion sickness.
  • Colliding with enemies and other objects applies more force to them in this version, making it much easier to push around enemies.
  • If you somehow manage to get stuck in empty space, the game will display the message WARNING: Physics turned off! At this point, you'll be able to move around freely similar to when the debug mode is enabled. In the final game, this causes a fatal error instead.


  • The current full screen setting isn't stored in saved games, so if you play with full screen enabled, you have to re-enable it every time.
  • The parallax starfield effect isn't implemented in this version. Instead, "space" is just a static texture.
  • Sprite resampling isn't implemented either.
  • Force bridges appear and disappear instantaneously in this version, rather than gradually.
  • Renderer clipping seems slightly buggy in this version, with large objects (and sometimes walls) sometimes disappearing from view when near the edges of the screen, even when they should still be visible.


  • Starting or loading a game always plays the sound effect for turning on the Sensaround hardware, for some reason.
  • Dynamic music transitions sometimes seem buggy, with the music abruptly cutting out for a time rather than transitioning to a different part.
  • When receiving an email, the MFD icon blinks and plays the associated sound effect much more rapidly.


The main in-game menu isn't quite as polished in this version, featuring a slightly simpler appearance. Some options also aren't fully implemented yet - for example, sound volume and gamma correction can only be cycled between three presets, rather than having proper sliders.

Prototype Final
Sshock ingame menu beta.png Sshock ingame menu final.png

Game Settings

This version of the game has some additional variables that can be set in CYB.CFG:

  • throw_oomph: Controls how much force is applied when you throw objects (default is 5).
  • all_textures: Set to 0 to force lower-res textures, or 1 to force higher-res textures (default depends on available memory).
  • palette: Default gamma correction (0 to 2, default is 0).
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Objects

Security-3 Robot

Sshock sec3 frames1.gif Sshock sec3 frames2.gif Sshock sec3 frames3.gif Sshock sec3 frames4.gif Sshock sec3 frames5.gif Sshock sec3 frames6.gif Sshock sec3 frames7.gif Sshock sec3 frames8.gif

The Security-3 robot, an unused enemy which still exists in the final game with no graphics, actually has a full set of idle animations in this build. It makes the same sound when sighting the player as the Sec-1, but has no other sounds, no other frames, no attacks, and 0 HP.


Sshock target.png

This build has one unused cyberspace object that doesn't appear in the final game's data at all - a completely 2-dimensional target which, when destroyed by the player, can be set to cause another object in the map (such as a barricade) to be destroyed.

The target object actually has the same object type number as the cyberspace decoy in the final version of the game, and the final game still has code that allows the decoy object to remotely destroy another object when the decoy itself is destroyed, even though decoys are normally indestructible.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Enemy Differences

Edward Diego

Diego's default HP (as specified in OBJPROP.DAT) is 600 in this build, but was raised to 750 in the final. However, each time you encounter him in the game, he has a different amount of HP which is almost always different from the default, so this value isn't really used anywhere:

  • When fighting him on level 6, his HP is 720.
  • When fighting him on level 5, his HP is 900.
  • When fighting him on level 8, his HP is 600 in this version, and 1,200 in the final.

Diego's armor value was also increased from 55 to 70, and his chance of flinching when hit was decreased from 5 to 0.


Like Diego, SHODAN's default HP was changed from 2,750 in this build to 9,750 in the final. However, this value also isn't used in-game - the instance of her avatar that you actually fight has its HP set to 750 in this build and 4,000 in the final.

More interestingly, while her HP is lower in this version, SHODAN also has more evasive combat behavior - when hit, her avatar briefly disappears and then reappears in another location nearby. Unfortunately, it seems to be possible for her to softlock the final battle this way by reappearing somewhere slightly out of bounds (although this may be a relatively rare occurrence).

There's an additional, alternate set of sprites for SHODAN's cyberspace avatar in this version - the version used by the game (both in this version and in the final) is essentially the same but with some additional transparent pixels.

Unused Sshock shodan avatar unused.png
Used Sshock shodan avatar used.png

Other Enemies

Both of the Exec-bot's pain/damage frames are different in this version. Several of its front-facing sprites are missing the bottom row of pixels.

Prototype Final
Sshock execbot pain beta.png Sshock execbot pain final.png

The cyborg elite guard's corpse has a different sprite in this version.

Prototype Final
Sshock dead elite beta.png Sshock dead elite final.png

The cyborg drone's corpse frames are also noticeably smaller here.

Prototype Final
Sshock dead drone beta.png Sshock dead drone final.png

The virus mutant, plant mutant, and zero-G creature's projectiles have slightly different appearances in this version.

Prototype Final
Sshock virus projectile beta.png
Sshock plant projectile beta.png
Sshock zero-g projectile beta.png
Sshock virus projectile final.png
Sshock plant projectile final.png
Sshock zero-g projectile final.png

Cyberspace enemies that use 3D models also seem to always have different coloration in this version.

Non-graphical differences:

  • The mutated cyborg's projectile attack also spawns at a different height in this version compared to the final.
  • The maintenance robot has no death sound in this version.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Object Differences


Two weapons had their delay between shots adjusted between this version and the final:

  • The Mark 3 assault rifle's delay between shots was increased from 15 in this version to 17 in the final.
  • Conversely, the riot gun had its delay between shots decreased from 8 in this version to only 3 in the final.

The Plasma Rifle's maximum charge setting was increased from 100 in this version to 130 in the final (and then reduced again all the way to 50 in the CD-ROM version, most likely to avoid a damage calculation bug). The "attack mass" value that affects impact force was also increased from 0 to 10 in the final. In this version, the Plasma Rifle's projectile also doesn't bounce off of floors or walls.

Various weapons had their ammo properties adjusted:

  • Both types of ML-41 pistol ammo had their attack mass decreased from 20 to 15 in the final.
  • Both types of Magnum ammo had their attack mass decreased from 45 to 30 in the final.
  • Both types of Mark 3 assault rifle ammo had their attack mass decreased from 35 to 20 in the final. In addition, Penetrator clips hold 15 rounds each in this version but only 8 in the final.
  • The riot gun's ammo had its attack mass decreased from 120 to 70 in the final. Combined with its increased rate of fire, this gives the riot gun in the final version of the game much faster shots but less impact force with each shot.

The stun gun's projectile sprites are shaded slightly different in this version, though this really only amounts to a few pixels that have slightly darker shading.

Grenades all have a "hardness" value of 0, as opposed to 15 in the final, which causes them to bounce further when colliding with other objects or surfaces in this version. In addition, grenades have different mass values per type in this version:

  • Gas grenades have a mass of 30.
  • Frag grenades and land mines have a mass of 50.
  • EMP and concussion grenades have a mass of 60.
  • Nitropacks have a mass of 70.
  • Earth shakers have a mass of 100.

In the final version, all grenade types have a mass of 50.

Cyberspace projectiles also don't properly deflect each other in this version.

Other Objects

The same item differences seen in the demo are also present in this build. In addition, the Skorpion's large slag clips are displayed as "BIG SLAG" in the MFD in this version.

The Berserk patch is still known as "Craze Hallucinogen" in this build, a name that is referred to in one of the unused logs and which can also be seen in some promotional screenshots.

Prototype Final
Sshock berserk mfd beta.png Sshock berserk mfd final.png

The description in the MFD also doesn't mention Berserk's strength-boosting primary effect, although it already seems to be implemented at this point. According to the developers' 20th anniversary commentary stream, this was eventually changed because the distributors of the German release of the game objected to the idea of being able to use hallucinogenic drugs in the game, so they added the strength-boosting effect in order to give it more of an actual gameplay purpose.

The cyberspace decoy item isn't fully implemented yet - you can pick them up in cyberspace, but attempting to use one just adds the same item back into your inventory without actually doing anything.

The 3D cart model is missing one of its faces, meaning you can look up at it from below and see directly through the top of it.

Prototype Final
Sshock cart beta.png Sshock cart final.png

The ceiling lamp sprite has different shading in this version.

Prototype Final
Sshock lamp beta.png Sshock lamp final.png

Energy drain mines have a clearly unfinished sprite here, though it still uses palette cycling effects. The mines themselves also don't seem to do anything.

Prototype Final
Sshock energy mine beta.png Sshock energy mine final.png

The largest variety of crates don't play the same animation when destroyed as the other crate types in this version.

Waste barrels are solid in this version, but can be freely walked through in the final.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Other Graphic Differences

Video Mail

The video mail that shows the jettisoning of Beta Grove still has the laser attached to the bottom of the station in this version.

To do:
Comparison images for this.


The conversion chamber texture was made more detailed in the final, including more usage of palette cycling effects.

Prototype Final
Sshock conversion texture beta.png Sshock conversion texture final.png

Two textures used exclusively in the inner part of the bridge on level 9 were replaced in the final. Both the new and old textures can be seen in action on the level differences sub-page.

Sshock neural bud beta.pngSshock overgrowth beta.png
Sshock neural bud final.pngSshock overgrowth final.png

One of the grating textures was redesigned to be easier to see through in the final.

Prototype Final
Sshock grating beta.png Sshock grating final.png

The two Diego face animations were both tweaked slightly - the color version has some miscolored pixels (probably due to the game's palette being modified at some point during development), and the monochrome version has slightly different shading.

Prototype Final
Sshock diego screen beta.gif
Sshock diego screen bw beta.gif
Sshock diego screen final.gif
Sshock diego screen bw final.gif

MFD Graphics

The MFD portrait that shows the laser striking Earth is noticeably unfinished.

Prototype Final
Sshock laser mfd beta.png Sshock laser mfd final.png

Robin Kell has a completely different MFD portrait in this version, as well.

Prototype Final
Sshock kell mfd beta.png Sshock kell mfd final.png

One of SHODAN's MFD portraits is mistakenly set to have a transparent background in this version. This is especially noticeable when playing in fullscreen, since there's no MFD background behind it and you can just see whatever's in front of you through the transparent parts.

Prototype Final
Sshock shodan mfd beta.png Sshock shodan mfd final.png
(Source: Original TCRF research)


Several of the 3D models, primarily ones used in cyberspace, had their vertices shifted along the Y axis in order to center them on the origin point. This isn't usually noticeable in-game, but can be seen in the placement of things like navigational arrows in cyberspace.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Audio Differences

The sound effects for turning the shield hardware on and off are different in this version.

Prototype Final

The TriOptimum V-Mail jingle is also 22 kHz in this version, but was downsampled to 11 kHz in the final. The sound is otherwise the same in both versions.

Prototype Final
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Text Differences

Various text strings were tweaked or corrected between versions.

Prototype Collide with cyberpace item to %s
Final Collide with cyberspace item to %s
Prototype Final
Vital Signs Stabilized
Red Blood Cell Count 100% Normal
Cybernetic Life Support De-activated
Brain Activity Satisfactory
Recovery Complete....
Prototype Objsys Eited! Save anyways?
Final Objsys Error! Save anyways?

("Objsys" refers to the current level's object table; "eited" is probably a misspelling of "edited".)

Prototype No time limit,easy control and combat.
Final Very easy time limit,control,combat.

The description of Cyber difficulty 0 is different in this version. Despite what it says, the default time limit is still 30 minutes like in the final.

Prototype Deaths: $D
Final Regenerations: $D

"Deaths" was changed to "Regenerations" on the final score tally. The "Hit ESC to view credits." prompt was also added in the final.


The French and German translations aren't quite finished in this version - various things in the respective string resource files have formatting differences, things that got reworded, and in some cases, things that haven't actually been translated from English yet.

To do:
Maybe break this down at some point - there's probably enough minor-but-noticeable textual differences in the translations to warrant a sub-page, eventually.


Prototype Final
Sshock credits1 beta.png
Sshock credits2 beta.png
Sshock credits3 beta.png
Sshock credits4 beta.png
Sshock credits1 final.png
Sshock credits2 final.png
Sshock credits3 final.png
Sshock credits4 final.png
Sshock credits5 final.png

The credits sequence is mostly the same in this version - complete with elevator music - aside from a few changes made by the time the final was released:

  • Kurt Bickenbach's combination artist/designer credit was added.
  • Laura Feeney's library development credit was removed.
  • The spelling of Carl Muckenhoupt and Tim Ries' names was corrected.
  • Two additional playtesters from Origin were added.
  • Vinay Pulim, Seamus Blackley, and Sean Barrett were added to the programming credits.
  • The final version adds an additional page of credits for the translation staff.
Prototype Final
Sshock credits end beta.png Sshock credits end final.png

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, Bart's haiku is missing from this version.

(Source: Original TCRF research)