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.
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 "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:
- Energy Pod: This does provide ammunition to the forceweb. It has no link to the Dimension Destabiliser as suggested elsewhere
- Forceweb: 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.
- Alien Detector: 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
- Dimension Destabiliser: Does not use ammunition as suggested, appears to draw energy from the alien dimension as the Disrupter and Devastator do
- Dimension Force Field: 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 Clip & Multi-Tracker: 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: 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): 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).
- Structure Probe (CRAFT EQUIPMENT): 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): 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.
- X-COM could "capture" alien buildings in the debug version, 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 because multiplayer was intended for Apocalypse and X-COM could capture and use both aliens and UFOs as above.
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/