Unused Game Features (Apocalypse)
List of known cut-features
... A lot of these things are known and documented, particularly well, here: https://tcrf.net/X-COM:_Apocalypse (A much better resource than UFOPedia for lost content)
Most other "cut" content is as described on "The cutting floor" wiki as i linked to above, but i thought it significant to post my knowledge of further details here if modders want to pick it up for additions to OpenApoc especially as i've found some things that flesh out the content even further.
Mythos Games said about X-Com Apocalypse
Below is an excerpt from the official Mythos Games website, stating how the game could have turned out very different!!
After completing this game I know how Francis Coppola felt after filming 'Apocalypse Now'. Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and the amount of effort required to pull it into shape was immense. After three years of hard work and five different producers 'X-Com: Apocalypse' finally hit the streets. The initial game design was definitely too ambitious and too complex. The aim was to recreate in some detail the events, organisations and personalities within a futuristic megalopolis. Each corporation had a leader who could be tailed, arrested, interrogated or assassinated. Organisations could buy and sell buildings as their financial fortunes changed. X-COM agents could spy on other organisations to gain valuable information. A sophisticated diplomacy display allowed the player to instigate aggressive or defensive alliances with other organisations. There were multiple alien dimensions, generated pseudo-randomly, and the aliens gradually expanded their empire as the game progressed. The game also featured a scenario generator and multiplayer options using a hotseat turn based system or a real time LAN option. Most of these features were implemented to some degree, but were finally stripped out due to the horrendous amount of work involved in QA and debugging. We decided right at the start of the project to include an option for real time tactical combat or turn based. This decision alone caused many of the headaches for the programmers, but the final implementation of the real time combat stands up as a truly innovative system.
Game Storyline The year is 2084 and human civilization has undergone some fundamental changes since the last alien incursion. In an attempt to overcome Earth's problems without abandoning the planet altogether, self-contained cities called Megalopolises were erected around Earth in the year 2046. Game Play The majority of the game play takes place within the largest Megalopolis on the planet, MegaPrime. This vast city, however, is more than just a combat zone. To play the game well, players must immerse themselves in the society of Megalopolis, learning key information through interrogation of suspects and the investigation of organizations within the city. At the start of each game, the city of Megalopolis, the character skill sets and the alien universe are all uniquely generated to increase game replayability. The in-game action of X-COM Apocalypse falls into three distinct phases. The player investigates many strange, inexplicable incidents throughout the city. Inevitably these lead to conflicts with alien entities and their servants, in all kinds of locations within the city. The second phase features aliens beginning to send their larger invasion forces into direct, real-time combat with X-COM attack craft above the city. The final phase involves real-time squad level combat action sequences using an updated version of the familiar X-COM combat system. The aliens invade the city, running amok in the huge buildings and drawing players into the strange alien dimension. Players can choose either turn-based or real-time combat. Additional Game Features The X-COM agents have the same abilities as in the earlier X-COM titles with many additions including interrogation skill, perceptive ability, biochemistry, quantum physics understanding, forensics, engineering, sanity, driving skill and flying skill. The action is more lifelike, featuring SGI-rendered agents and aliens that can crawl, jump, climb, kneel, stand, run and walk.
Currently, there are three known versions of pre-vanilla apocalypse.
- The "Debug" version; this was sent out to Q&A/Debuggers, it contains ALL of the cut functionality in the state it was prior to being cut. Includes cheats that the beta does not have to aid testing. The holy grail of Apocalypse development really; __would love to find a copy of this after losing mine with the First Beta back in 2001.__ No known copies exist in the public domain; PM me if you know otherwise.
- The "First Beta"; frequently crashes and puts up "blank prompts", most of the cut features are partially removed in this version, the game is not completable end-to-end due to a broken research tree but can be completed with the "beta cheats". It was only ever available internally to Microprose and Mythos employees but copies were leaked to friends and families. Both a working Skirmish Mode and a Multiplayer (P2P) mode are present, though the Multiplayer is prone to desynchronising and crashes, the Skirmish has lots of crash-to-prompt errors and missing tiles.
- The Demo Created in 15.04.97, demo allows you to play a single Tactical Combat Mission.
- The "Second Beta", most widely available pre-vanilla apocalypse. Intermittent "blank prompts" few crashes, effectively a "complete game" only with placeholder graphics in some places. All of the "cut" functions are still in the game and as complete as they ever were (excepting the tracker stuff that appears to have been partially cut), but have been made inaccessible without some tinkering. The behaviour of both aliens and X-COM agents is much more detailed as i have documented elsewhere and gives a happy middle ground to ascertaining how Apocalypse was "meant" to work prior to it's release. It has an .exe date of 12/06/1997 (dated after the vanilla release because there was an intent to further develop apocalypse with patches so for a time, a beta development branch was retained and then leaked). Beta2 has a Skirmish mode, but it does not work resulting in a crash to prompt on mission generation. Multiplayer (P2P) has been removed.
With regards to Items, here's what testing has discovered that adds to the wiki information above:
Accidentally left in game, you can find it or add by editing
UFOpaedia: The Mind Shield is an expensive, clumsy device which protects the wearer from Psionic attacks.
Notes: A clunky Mind Bender-lookalike that increases an agent's psi-defense when held and activated, as the half-assed UFOpedia page says. The effect is bugged so that any agent leaving the battlefield with it still armed and running will have the +30 bonus permanently added to their stats. They were officially removed from the retail version, but some are still lying around on Marsec property.Were officially removed, but someone forgot to purge the loot tables for a few raid targets.
Notes: A large energy cell that looks like two laser rifle magazines stuck together. Its mostly purged UFOpedia entry suggests it's a magazine for a man-made Devastator, the market entry connects it to the disabled ForceWeb weapon and they can be found in Transtellar facilities. Pick a theory. Were officially removed, but someone forgot to purge the loot tables for a few raid targets.
Advanced Alien Containment
UFOpedia: "Due to the size of the Megaspawn we need a lot of free space in the Alien Containment facility to hold it and an advanced Bio-lab to study it."
Notes: A large 2x2 version of the Alien Containment to complete the set of advanced science facilities. Since the tiny holding tank in the retail version holds as many mooks as this quad unit, the whole rigamarole of researching bigger containment areas might've been cut as pointless. The basic room took the capacity that the game was designed around and these assets were left behind. Still in the vanilla game and can be added by editors. This facility was simply a larger version of the existing alien containment, capable of holding 3x the capacity of the smaller sibling. It was necessary to own this facility to hold the larger alien creatures such as psy-morphs and Megaspawn as well as parts of the living tissue of the City-scale Overspawn (Another cut set of missions). More critically, it was the only Alien Containment facility that allowed X-COM to barter with the Aliens, the normal facility allowed for capture of the smaller creatures, but had no capacity for forensics or interrogation of sentient aliens.
UFOpaedia: NOT USED!
Notes: Holding cells for human prisoners! Blackmailing corporations with infiltration evidence or hostages, undermining criminal organizations, interrogating Sirius cultists... who knows how much the developers promised to deliver with this system. The flags in the building tables hint that this was unlocked through research. Still in the vanilla game and can be added by editors. Functionality was similar to the lab/workshop facilities and agents could be assigned to the cells to oversee a host of options in terms of diplomacy and subversion. This facility also allowed X-COM to hold on to agents, spies and VIPs from other organisations [Capacity of 10 plus 5 assigned agents]. X-COM could even capture civilians (though at a cost to popularity) and force them to train as new agents for X-COM; this allowed X-COM to recruit via kidnap if willing agents were not forthcoming due to organisation issues or alien control.
Not in the game but in texts,sprites and UFOpedia images (some can be edited)
UFOpaedia: An energy beam device which can render a target immobile for a short period of time. The target remains conscious but is unable to move or use equipment.
Notes: A weaker version of the Stun-Grapple, but has an area effect forming a 3x3 square. This allows for capture of multiple small aliens or used against the larger aliens that the Stun Grapple COULD NOT capture prior to vanilla. No animation effect is present in the beta, but it does seem to "stun" creatures within the 3x3 tile radius. It uses the Energy pod ammunition.
Notes: Allows for identification of "micronoid infected VIPs or brainsucked civilians/gangs/police" that are not hostile to X-COM in the Tactical game. It appears that the game was meant to allow, as part of the tagging model, some infected units to be in the tactical game but not attack X-COM or run away from them as they went about their missions in the Cityscape. This device allows X-COM to see infected units through a minimap similar to the Motion Detector that remains in game, but much more accurate. Different colours identify "safe" units and "hidden" aliens. X-COM can then be told to shoot the infected unit accordingly
UFOpedia:An X-COM developed Disruptor Beam weapon based on Alien technology. It is a faster firing and more effective weapon than the Devastator Cannon.
Notes:Does not use ammunition as suggested, appears to draw energy from the alien dimension as the Disrupter and Devastator do.The only handheld human replica of the alien disruptor tech. It fires 5 shots in the time a Devastator can manage two and sits between the two alien guns in terms of power. A probable pair to the Energy Pod, but the discrepancy in numbers and the fact it recharges like the alien units might mean that this rifle was complete enough to have its stats balanced before getting cut.
Dimension Force Field
Notes: Appears to have no clear purpose, as per the wiki, though tinkering suggests it was more intended to form "barriers" on the Tactical game that agents could hide behind and shoot over. It's too large to be intended as a personal force field.
Tracker Gun, Tracker Gun Clip & Multi-Tracker
UFOpaedia: NOT USED!
Notes: Probably the coolest feature cut from the game. In the second beta it's still there but has been drastically hacked to pieces since the first beta (presumably as they started to cut features). The tracker gun was used in the tactical game to "tag" civilians, VIPs, Aliens and gang members. These units, if allowed to flee the tactical game, or left there as X-COM withdrew would then appear on the cityscape in a similar manner to X-COM agents. Confusingly, when i've been able to tag and track units historically (prior to losing my debug copy) the units appear using the Red man and Yellow circle, in debug, X-COM were green men with a yellow circle. Civilians appeared as a grey man with a yellow circle. For some reason, by beta, the colours were reversed. You could follow them around the cityscape and capture them with stun weaponry in the tactical game. There was a bug where units had to be tagged before they could be captured; you couldn't capture a VIP just by stunning them. The tag indicated that they were to be sent to the X-COM cells after a battle and not returned to the parent organisation. In effect "tagging" a unit gave X-COM permission to arrest and hold for interrogation (giving details of alien infection, organisation relations, other organisation units locations, etc.), ransom (yes, this was a thing that X-COM did to raise funds) or execution (that antagonised the parent organisation).
Psi-Grenade, Psionic Blast
UFOpaedia: A device which causes a Psionic disruption blast. Any target with high Psionic capability is particularly vulnerable to Psi-grenades. The blast will drain Psi-energy and possibly render the target unconscious.
Notes: When exploding, this caused units to "panic" or "beserk" and even "flee" by knocking their psi-defence and psi-strength as well as bravery right down. It was most devastating against high-psi or bravery units as the mechanism worked on a "percentage damage" model. A great weapon against Psi-morphs and Micronoids.
Dimension Shifter (CRAFT EQUIPMENT)
UFOpaedia: NOT USED!
Notes: Back in debug there was provision for NINE (Yes nine!) Alien Dimensions, these were procedurally generated with the buildings linking in different manners for each dimension. From what i can recall from the debug, only dimension IDs 0 through 4 were used (0 being Mega-Primus, plus four other "alien" maps; there were preliminary plans for expansions that added more up to the 9 threshold). The dimension shifter allowed for X-COM to select which dimension they travelled to. If X-COM did not research this item, they could "win" the game by destroying the first dimension, but there was a twist ending by which the aliens would keep invading Earth and X-COM actually lost (In short, there were "alternate endings" planned for apocalypse, much in the same way that Dreamland Chronicals [UFO Aftermath] had). The only way to truly win apocalypse was to complete ALL of the alien dimensions and this is why the "ONE WAY TO WIN" piece of research can still be found in the vanilla game! The "One way to win" image is of a special building that grew the technology to allow the aliens to settle in different dimensions; this was later made into the building that grew new buildings for the aliens (as it is in vanilla). There was a significant story change from the aliens being from a vast multi-dimensional empire to that of the micronoids effectively invading other dimensions to escape the death of their own (as is the case in vanilla).
Leaders and Vips
Notes: Text lines from game:Squad leader, Gang leader, Cult Leader, Gangster, #Psiclone gang, Alien attacks VIP, Crazed VIP attacks VIP, VIP spotted:, Do you wish to tail this VIP?, Observe VIP's. Mythos Games said: "Each corporation had a leader who could be tailed, arrested, interrogated or assassinated. X-COM agents could spy on other organisations to gain valuable information."
Notes: Diplomacy interface that was exctracted by Skin36 and presented to Apoc community
UFOpaedia: NOT USED!
Notes: Somthing with walls...part of a UFOpaedia article about the walls in the city.
UFOpedia:"This enormous creature is deposited by an Alien Mothership. Its primary objective appears to be destruction of the city and annihilation of X-COM bases. The terror and panic that it causes amongst the population indicates a change in Alien strategy. It is possible that they have abandoned their attempts at infiltration and are now only concerned with revenge and retribution against X-COM."
Notes: As with any creature, even the Overspawn has its "live" analysis with less anatomy and more motive and function. Of course, since you can't exactly capture this thing, you'll only ever see the "autopsy" results of bombarding one into pieces.Only visible by flipping the "unlock" flags with an editor.
One Way to Win
Notes: This is the very last discovery in the Alien Dimension category, even beyond the Real Alien Threat. Before the endgame consisted of gradually slaughtering the alien war machine one organ-building at a time, the original design might have involved a climactic "Cydonia or Bust!" type no-turning-back invasion in the vein of the first game. The picture seems to depict an immature pod in the Megapod Chamber, the last alien target before the final battle to destroy the dimension gate generators.Only visible by flipping the "unlock" flags with an editor.
Notes: The game data contains sprites for what appear to be android civilians (there are no sprites for crawling, kneeling or using weapons). It seems they would all have had the same body, but four different head designs.
Notes: Tim White, artist who create at initial stages of the development phisical models of aliens. Artist page that contains in archive.org contains some images and descriptions for almost all aliens that he create for Apoc.
A predatory creature which uses sound waves at a disrupting frequency to disable its victims. One of a series of 3D models created by the artist for a small computer software company.
Another alien creature for the same project mentioned above.
An alien predator from the same project as the 'alien wolf' mentioned above.
Another alien life form for a computer game project.
A poison bat life form for a computer game project.
A massive carnosaur life form for a computer game. The huge and weighty head counterbalanced by a large mace ended tail complete with spikes.
A 3D study of an alien big cat for a computer game.
Items not cuted but many peoples dont know about it
Alien Gas Grenade
UFOpedia: A grenade which releases the X-COM developed anti-Alien gas. It does not harm humans or terrain but will be lethal for any Alien remaining within its dense gas cloud.
Also maybe linked from UFOpedia "There is a possibility that a multi-toxin can be suspended in gaseous form, which would increase the efficiency of our Biological weaponry."
Heavy Launcher AG (Alien Gas) Missile
UFOpedia: This conventional missile contains a highly effective gas which targets Alien life forms. The gas is harmless against humans and structures making it ideal for forcing Aliens to flee from cover.
MiniLauncher AG Missile
UFOpedia: Developed by X-COM to target Alien life forms. When the warhead explodes it releases a cloud of gas deadly to Aliens but harmless to humans
X-Com Apocalypse Map Editor
File:CITydemo.zip Notes: You can turn Map Editor on by using hex editor and edit UFO2P.EXE and then add CITydemo to UFODATA folder. Actually, this is an editor that developers used to create maps, it has full functionality and can be used to edit any map or create a new one.
Agents skills and abilities
- All agents had an "Interrogation" skill
This skill affected how easy it was to enter interrogation/diplomacy with captured units and organisations. Similarly to the Labs/Workshop pool, the player could assign units with higher skills to the "cells" facility where they would be used to gather information.
- All agents had a "Perception" skill
This affected how much information the agent could "see" in the battle-scape or compliment "interrogation" skills in other dialogues in the cityscape. The higher an agents perception the more likely they would find forensic artefacts in missions, discover other capturable equipment in missions (a boost to the recovered kit on successful mission) and also compliment other things such as accuracy and reaction skills.
- All agents had a"Forensics" Skill
This was essential to finding all the little clues that allowed X-COM to succeed in the "One Way to Win" story arc cut from vanilla. It was used in all battlescape missions creating a chance of finding clues and artefacts that would lead to the discovery of not just one, but multiple, alien dimensions and the method to close them all down or destroy them. It could also be used to find evidence of alien infiltration of organisations and infestation of buildings as well as gain evidence for extortion and interrogation via a series of "stealth" missions. It was absolutely critical for X-COM agents to have this skill when exploring alien buildings to find their intended purpose (also missions cut from vanilla - see screen from Beta2 below) as well as the means to bring those buildings down or disable them.
- All agents had a "Sanity" Skill
This was separate to the existing psi-abilities and present on all agents. Sanity affected an agents willpower, their ability to resist interrogation by other organisations, their ability to remain safely undercover, as well as influencing how susceptible to psi-interference the agent was. Oddly, the worse an agents sanity, the harder it was for psi-abilities to affect them directly - though this was most likely a bug or points that a more detailed psi-sanity mechanism was planned but never fully realised.
- All agents had a "Driving" Skill
Vehicles were not autonomous in early Apocalypse, every agent had a driving skill that affected how fast the vehicle could be driven, how high a chance of a crash was en-route to a destination and a host of other things such as evading fire, how successful drive-by shootings would be, and so on. Every vehicle had a box to which an agent could be assigned as a "driver". The player would generally be best putting the agent with the higher driving skill there before setting off into the cityscape.
- All agents had a "Flying" Skill
Vehicles were not autonomous in early Apocalypse, every agent had a flying skill that affected how fast the vehicle could be flown, how high a chance of a crash was en-route to a destination and a host of other things such as evading fire, accuracy of the craft, ability to make special manoeuvres, drop agents stealthily into buildings, land in the battlescape (another cut feature), and so on. Every vehicle had a box to which an agent could be assigned as a "pilot". The player would generally be best putting the agent with the higher flying skill there before setting off into the cityscape.
- Agents could "Swim"
At one time Apocalypse had water, from "oceans" (as Julian Gollop put it) to small ponds, agents would have to be able to swim. How effective they were depended on other skills, but in the battlescape and stealth missions this ability was critical for traversing some obstacles. By pre-release, no oceans had appeared but some reviewers such as Al Giovetti in late 1996 (who had been granted a copy of debug) commented on the agent swimming ability:
- Agents could "Climb"
Even in the literature and screens for the vanilla release, several showed agents climbing in the battlescape. This feature was cut very late in development and was essential for Stealth missions and covert operations as well as making the standard missions easier
"Apocalypse adds many new skills, including interrogation skill, perceptive ability, biochemistry, quantum physics, forensics, engineering, sanity, driving skill, and flying skill. Another problem with the original game was the inability to move other than walk, turn, stand and run. In the new game the Silicon Graphics Incorporated rendered agents will be able to swim, crawl, jump, climb, and run in addition to the other movements."
Text remnants in files
- Structure Probe (CRAFT EQUIPMENT)
Notes: This was intended to allow X-COM to probe the next building in the alien dimension, this could only be found on the dimension probe and gave it it's purpose. After successfully completing a building mission in the alien dimension X-COM had to fly a probe over the next building and scan it before returning to earth. This unlocked the research for the next building. Of course, in vanilla, this was automatically granted and the dimension probe remains as a useless vehicle in the research tree.
- Vortex Analyser (CRAFT EQUIPMENT)
Notes: If X-COM had successfully worked out that there were multiple alien dimensions, this piece of equipment would be made available to "look"/"scan" for "vortexes" between the different alien dimensions within each alien dimension map. These were hidden in normal play and moved (like the dimension gates) over time. Once found, a vortex could be traversed using the "Dimension Shifter" to one of the other alien dimensions. Only when the "One way to win" research was completed did vortexes to the "final" alien dimension start to open. This allowed X-COM to "skip" some of the dimensions and truly destroy the alien threat if they were quick to research the "Real Alien Threat" and "One way to win" in quick succession.
Notes: Sits right next to Elerium-115 in the market list, with double the value. Before the dimension gate disruptor dimension energy hooplah went in, the game probably followed the tradition of discovering an alien magic substance that powered their supreme alien magic tech. The numbers can be tweaked to "stock" it in the open market, but it's so inert that nothing happens.
- X-COM could "capture" alien buildings in the debug version
Notes: It was unclear if this was a bug as it allowed X-COM to manufacture the aliens UFOs for example (which also provided the Dimension Shifter) or if it was a test feature.
- All Aliens and UFOs have their own "inventory" screens
Notes: because multiplayer was intended for Apocalypse==== and X-COM could capture and use both aliens and UFOs as above.
Technical staff skills
Viewing game files reveals that Quantum Physicists, Biochemists and Engineers possess some skill in fields other than their own. Since they cannot be assigned to work outside their specialization, these skills are never used in-game.
- Quantum Physicists have 10-30 skill in Engineering and 10-50 in Biochemistry.
- Biochemists have 10-50 skill in Quantum Physics.
- Engineers have 10-30 skill in Quantum Physics.
Differences between versions
It appears that only certain versions of the game have what is described in the Apocalypse Technical Manual as a "Learning AI". Currently only the UK/EU Original CD-ROM and the 1.03 version of the North American / RotW release are known to employ this functionality. Digital Distributions such as Steam and GOG.com include the files but they do not appear to have an effect on the gameplay.
The OpenApoc Project maintains a thread dealing with cut functions of X-COM: Apocalypse on their forums here: http://openapoc.org/threads/beta-observed-cut-functions-behaviours-items-and-units.241/
Additionally, a detailed documentation of the cut "Spy/Interrogation/Diplomacy" features can be found here: http://openapoc.org/threads/beta-of-spies-interrogation-forensics-extortion-agent-skills-vips.278/