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Proto:Daikatana (Windows)/Pre-Alpha

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Daikatana (Windows).

The Daikatana Pre-Alpha is a very early version of Daikatana that was released by John Romero himself in 2004. He claims that the Pre-Alpha is dated to 3-21-97, but the latest "Last Modified" date in the files is 8-22-97, a few months after his supposed date and the disastrous first E3 showing. However, it lacks the maps shown in the E3 demonstration, which is strange for something that is post-E3. It seems likely that this build was accidentally mislabeled.

No matter the date, the pre-alpha is from when Daikatana was on the Quake engine. Quite a few of the things from the final version are already present at this point, but look and/or sound vastly different from the final's. There are also a few items that don't appear in the final version, such as weapons. The art is of much worse quality than the final's; almost all of it looks like, to quote Romero from the readme, "pure shit".

Most of the models and textures at this point use formats (a heavily altered .mdl format for models and .skn for textures) that cannot be read in any model or image viewer, respectively. However, debug commands can be used to view every model when a level has a certain entity placed in it. There does seem to still be some sort of support for the Quake model format, as a few models used in the pre-alpha can be read by regular Quake model viewers. A few .bmp textures can be found in the texture folder \data\skins. Some of them appear to be slightly different versions of textures in .skn format, while others have no .skn equivalent.

The engine uses .dlls which, when opened as a .txt format, shows a lot of text for things that that aren't usable in the pre-alpha, such as items and full weapon names. There also seems to be descriptions of map entities and some error messages regarding things such as the AI.


Console Commands
All sorts of fun commands that can be used in the game's console.

The Pre-Alpha is filled to the brim with rough drafts of the final weapons.
A good chunk of the final's enemies are in the game, but with all sorts of sound and graphical changes.
Surprisingly, almost all of the final characters are in the pre-alpha.

Few items are in the game, but a ton of descriptions for items can be found in a .dll file.
All sorts of unused graphics for menus and some test models.
The Pre-Alpha has a lot of unused models in it that were meant to be used as decorations.

Different sounds everywhere, but a few are exactly the same as the final's.
Editor descriptions for enemies, usage of the phrase "Suck it down!", and death messages, oh my!
Two levels that are vastly different from anything seen in the final game.


Stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else.


A few variables regarding multiplayer (such as modem configurations) can be found in each .cfg file, but there doesn't seem to be any way to activate it.


This build of Daikatana is based on v1.07 of the Quake engine, as the console will state that it is running a "Version 1.07 Server" if you read the console while it's loading a map.

Broken Functions

The abilities to save, load, or type messages do not work. Attempting to use them will make a "fixme!" error message appear in the console.


There is a button (F11) for an inventory and an inventory is occasionally mentioned in items.dll, but attempting to use it by hitting F11 does nothing.


There is demo recording support in the pre-alpha: while not in a map, type in "record (demo name)", then type in the map name you want to go to. When you're done recording, type in "stop demo". If you want to play it back for later, type in "playdemo (demo name)".

The Infamous Arrow Texture

While this isn't super important, the fabled "hilariously large arrow texture" mentioned in Gamespot's Daikatana retrospective is present in this build's data\skin folder. While not as large as the article says, it is still far, far too large for a goddamn ARROW, especially for 1997-era computers.