Post Posted: 19 Dec 2011, 23:00
An interesting read. Actually, I quite like the fantasy elements of the game concept we are offered here... changing into monsters, collecting artefacts etc... it's a pity so much stuff like this got cut, as it could really have enriched the game... but, on the other hand, who can say whether the game would have had the same enduring appeal if it had been built along these lines?
The "artifact" stuff clearly plays out in the design of many of the older beta maps, which are set up to reward you at the end with an item of import (in LH's RTNPUE, this tends to be a dispersion pistol powerup), and many of which would otherwise be entirely pointless detours.
I'm surprised nobody's attempted to match the levels set out in the UNBIBLE to what eventually emerged in the retail game or the beta. Here's my take on it.
Level 1 - Player's ship - Clearly Vortex Rikers
Level 2 - Mine - Presumably Rrajigar
Level 3 - Ruins 1 - Sounds like Velora Temple
Levels 4-7 - Castle - Sounds like it might have turned into the actual Nali Castle
Level 8 - Ruins - Nothing obvious; Temple of Vandora by elimination.
Levels 9-11 - Alien Spacecraft - Possibly the ISV-Kran from the description of the crash
Levels 12-14 - SkyCity - Sounds like the grey stone city seen in early alpha screenshots
Levels 15-16 - Decayed Spacecraft - Nothing obvious, but it sounds like it led to the brief for DecayedS.utx. Maybe Terraniux replaced it.
Levels 17-18 - Crypt Pyramid - Sounds a lot like Chizra, given Chizra's extensive flooded passageways and the recurrence of pyramid shapes in the design of the maps. The volcanic core sounds like the optional shrine area with the bottomless pit in the Ceremonial Chambers.
Level 19 - Mountain ruins - Nothing obvious
(Fhub4 seems to correspond roughly to the above section.)
Levels 20-21 - Crypts - Possibly Soledad
Levels 22-23 - Skaarj Mines - Could have morphed into Foundry, but it's a bit of a reach
Levels 24-25 - Decayed Ship - If Terraniux took the place of the first one then maybe this one turned into Cryox
Level 26 - Skaarj Fortress - Nothing obvious. I kind of want to say Bluff Eversmoking, because we know from "Blinded by Reality" that there was a fortress-style map of this name at a very early stage of the design of the game... it looked nothing like what we eventually got.
Levels 27-31 - Skaarj MotherShip - well, yeah...
(Fhub5 seems to correspond roughly to parts of the above section)
Sunspire... unless it evolved from the "castle tower" idea for the first "main map".
Na Pali Haven sequence... but it clearly replaced SkyCity
Dark Arena and Velora Pass... who the hell knows!
Dasa... but it feels like a later addition to me
Nexus & Jrath
UB, you've studied this document more than I have. What do you think?
EDIT: Made a few additions above.
Life is what you make of it.