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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:38 am 
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Hey, so I haven't been active on this forum for about ten years, but more recently I've checked back in. I've been pleased to find out about the recent discoveries the community has made, with things like the E3 demo and other assets that you've managed to get a hold of in the last few years. This has gotten me very interested in the developers' plans for how the game would have looked had they gotten everything to work the way they wanted it to.

I wanted to put my two cents into the Plains discussion and see if anyone else has similar thoughts. I was interested to see how the retail IT level matches up with the positions of the Plains scene we have. It looks like others have done something similar. I think it was mentioned that the southern-most stream bed in PL seems to hook up with the stream at the end of IJ3 and goes through part of the town itself - possibly intended to go through the culvert on the north wall. I have a comment about that I'll make later.

What seems confusing to me is how the stream bed "meshes" with the positions in the earlier versions of IT from June 1998. It's been noted that the terrain of the early versions compared to the retail version of IT seems to be shifted 256m northwards, which means the position of the town has changed relative to the PL objects. This seems counterintuitive and I wonder if much thought has been put into why that might have been. The retail IT was shifted 256m south from its position in the June 1998 versions - apparently to accommodate the additional level space for the dam that had originally been intended for PL. So why is it that the PL locations link up so well with the retail IT, which was made AFTER PL was cut, and yet the earlier IT locations DO NOT match when that version was clearly intended to mesh with the Plains as a separate level?

Or could it have been that the version of IJ that would have gone with the early IT versions was ALSO shifted 256m north compared to the retail positions? Could the version of PL we have have been from after the decision to shift the positions 256m south was made, for whatever reason? This implies there may have been an earlier version of PL with the positions shifted 256m north, and we just happen to have a later version. Or perhaps the earlier versions of IT were found to not mesh with IJ or PL, and so the positions had to be shifted to fix it. Maybe it was a continuity problem from different teams of designers working on the early versions of IT and it had to be fixed once it was integrated with the rest of the island? Any thoughts on this?

Let's suppose that the positions that we have in PL were meant to complement the early versions of IT. That means the NW end of the south-most stream bed in PL is positioned about at the town square with the statue in the earlier IT versions (near the NE corner of the square, to be precise). I can't think of any particular reason that it might be there. It also raises the question of why the terrain decals for the stream, regardless of where it was positioned, were not present in any version of IT that we have (unless I'm mistaken about that - correct me if I'm wrong), since if the stream exists in PL at coordinates that also coincide with the town, it would stand to reason that the stream must be in IT also.

Now, about the culvert. I'm sure I can't be the only person to have tried this, but it's worth noting that in retail, the culvert in IT is at X = -229. In PL, going to the stream that seems to cross the wall in IT at that X coordinate is between about Y = -62 and -83 (at the closest to the culvert - the east edge of the stream's terrain decal), yet the culvert's Y coordinate is -110. Is this an error they hadn't smoothed out yet, or was the stream never intended to go through the wall at the culvert? Along the wall in the retail IT, Y coordinates between -62 and -83 put it right about over Wu's pool or thereabouts. Has there been any theorizing for this discrepancy? Or perhaps the culvert was repositioned in retail? It seems to be at the same location relative to the rest of the town in the early IT versions, however.

I also wanted to comment about the shorter central stream in PL. You'll notice that it sits right next to the two washouts along the road going up to the dam in the retail IT. Someone else has probably noted something similar, but I wonder if that stream bed didn't have something to do with the washouts - to represent a mudslide or something to explain why the road was washed out at those positions.

There's also another observation that might be worth mentioning, but I don't take it very seriously myself. So, knowing that the retail IT terrain was shifted southwards 256m, if you note the locations of the walls and then shift it back north 256m to match the positions of the earlier IT versions, you'll notice that when the stream bed from PL is overlaid, it now crosses the southern wall of the town. What I thought might be noteworthy about this is that the location the stream crosses the south wall seems to be more or less directly south of the position on the north wall where the culvert currently is. Could it have been that the culvert was originally intended to be located on the south wall instead? Or going even further, I seem to recall some earlier discussions about the town maybe having been rotated in earlier builds. Is it feasible that at one point the entire town was flip-flopped north-south in a mirror image to its position in the retail game for some reason? That would make the "east gate" that you exit the town from in the retail version now positioned at the same location of the SE gate in the earlier IT versions - which seems to have been how the player would have accessed the Plains level. I guess that doesn't really make any difference, since there's a gate at the NE and SE corners of the town regardless of whether or not it's been flip-flopped.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:50 am 
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The edges of the Town level area were shifted 256m, but the town itself wasn't; it's just that instead of being centered, now it became shifted towards one edge, so that the other edge ould cover the area occupied by the dam.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:37 am 
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Quote:
machf said:
The edges of the Town level area were shifted 256m, but the town itself wasn't; it's just that instead of being centered, now it became shifted towards one edge, so that the other edge ould cover the area occupied by the dam.


That's... not what I've been finding when I compare the IT positions of key buildings and locations. Maybe there's some confusion about what we each mean. I'm referring to the IT_015N and IT_015R versions, said to date from June 1998. By looking at the levels in TresEd, or using fly mode in the ATX patch with the location cheat on, I can confirm that the positions in the retail version of IT of certain key buildings have been shifted 256m south compared to the locations of those same buildings in the IT_015N and IT_015R versions. What I did was just position the camera above an object I wanted to note the location of, and then noted its X and Y coordinates. There has been a shift between the early and retail versions.

Examples (I rounded the coordinates to the nearest whole number):
North Gate: -232,-5 in retail, but 24,-5 in the June 1998 versions. That's an X shift of 256m south for the retail version.
Hammond's House: perched about on the center of the roof gives -260,38 in retail, but -4,38 in the early versions - also 256m shift.
Wu's House: -249,-56 (retail), 7,-56 (early IT).
The Church: -373,71 (retail), -117,71 (early IT).
The Ops Center: -537,-5 (retail), -281,-5 (early IT).
West Gate: -526,89 (retail), -270,89 (early IT).

So when I say that the town positions are shifted south in the retail version, even if those positions have not changed RELATIVE TO THE TERRAIN itself, they still are shifted from their corresponding positions in the early IT versions - at least as those coordinates are reported in game and by TresEd. As a result, overlaying the coordinates of objects from PL produces different positions relative to the IT objects and terrain depending on if you use the retail IT or the early IT. That's what I mean. That's why I say if you compare the positions of PL with the retail IT, the stream connects with IJ3, but if you compare it with IT_015N or IT_015R, the stream starts at the town square. Or is there something I'm not understanding here?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:51 am 
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Yes, that's what it looks like when you examine those files, but it makes more sense that instead of having the terrain (together with everything else) centered at (384, 128), it would actually be centered at (-256, -256), which is a 256m shift relative to the retail's IT terrain which is centered at (0, -256).

It's not only the streambeds from PL and IJ but also other features of the neighboring levels (including PH, PV, AS, JR and BE) that hint at the physical location of the Town being the one it is in the retail. Keep in mind that the export MAXscripts the TresTeam worked with would rearrange the coordinates of whatever they had in the MAX files to match the predefined coordinates for the corresponding level, so the coordinates in the MAX files aren't all that definitive, after all...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:22 pm 
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I would like to point some notes about the Town versions we have in Max Scene format.
Both versions is lacking most of any $ physics objects along with any invisible walls. It also lacks any triggers except I believe some magnets for the trucks. This points to the level at this point to not be any version that have been or was ready to get exported into a playable test version and therefore it is very likely it had never been exported as well.
The terrain (along with all the objects) is not placed in the location the terrain is supposed to be, probably due to that is what the Terrain Export script would do, and therefore the level is in the position it is in.

It is also possible the Town terrain was created from scratch and that is why it is out of place, as not even the end of IJ (from versions that predates the Max Scene) matches the one in the Town files. So personally I don't think they even moved the terrains, it is just the Town one have not been switched to the correct place.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Maybe I need to step back a bit to understand everything. I had the impression that the coordinates in the IT_015N and IT_015R levels, as well as the PL reconstruction that has been made available, were the original coordinates of those objects. It sounds like the early IT versions were converted from a MAX file. I had the impression that those files were taken as they were directly from a build the developers made instead (the .grf, .scn, .wtd, .pid, and .spz/.swp files, I mean). The PL reconstruction I know was converted from a MAX file, but I didn't realize that the early IT levels were or that their coordinates were just "off" compared to where they were supposed to be. Are the MAX files for PL or the early IT files available to look at? I've only ever known about the PL reconstruction that was made and the IT_015N and IT_015R files that tatu made available. Are we sure the object coordinates from PL are correct relative to the retail IT?

All that said, I'm still interested to hear what others think about the current placement of the culvert relative to the stream bed, and theories on if the stream was meant to go through it or not, and if so, why the coordinates of the stream don't match it perfectly. I also still wonder why that stream bed doesn't exist in any version of IT that we have (unless I'm mistaken on that point).

The short stream by the washouts also has my interest, so I'd like to hear what ideas anyone has regarding that too.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:23 pm 
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I was puzzled at first, too, but as I said, if you move the 015N/015R terrain (together with the other objects) from its location at (384, 128) to (-256, -256), then the terrain matches the features of the terrain of the neighboring levels. So, either all the levels were originally at different coordinates, or thay just didn't care about the coordinates in MAX since the export scripts would automatically re-locate everything depending on which level you selected on the drop-down menu when exporting...

Once that point is settled, what remains is that in the 015N/015R files, the town itself is more or less centered within the terrain's area, while in later versions the terrain area has been displaced 256m so that it covers the area around the dam and the gate into PV, and the town doesn't lie at the center anymore...

Regarding the PL file, either the giant plane for the terrain area already matched the coordinates we had for PL, or displacing everything in a similar manner made the objects match the terrain features form the various other levels in that area.

EDIT: I just realized you're saying that you're looking at the levels in TresEd and not in MAX... well, my guess is that whoever converted the MAX files into loadable/viewable Trespasser levels assumed that the terrain coordinates in those versions would be the same as the one in the later ones, hence everything looks out of place by 256m. As for the textures in PL, keep in mind that they've mostly just been copied/pasted as a group from some other place, and in some cases rotated some degrees, so it's likely that was just a starting approach and not their final location...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:52 pm 
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machf wrote:
EDIT: I just realized you're saying that you're looking at the levels in TresEd and not in MAX... well, my guess is that whoever converted the MAX files into loadable/viewable Trespasser levels assumed that the terrain coordinates in those versions would be the same as the one in the later ones, hence everything looks out of place by 256m. As for the textures in PL, keep in mind that they've mostly just been copied/pasted as a group from some other place, and in some cases rotated some degrees, so it's likely that was just a starting approach and not their final location...


It was me who ported them into a level and at that time I couldn't bother moving everything into their true location :P

Plains can be downloaded (along with other models) as the Mystery Models Pack 2 in the download section (editing) at the site and will be in the folder named "PLAIN".

It appears the link is dead for the Town files. I will get that up (along with the early JR Max Scene and IJVegMasters) tomorrow.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:17 pm 
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Hmm... in other words, I guess there's not really that much that can be (reliably) inferred from the object coordinates in PL or the early IT levels. That's kind of a disappointment. But it certainly does seem like the object placement of those PL stream beds must be pretty accurate, since it seems to hook the one stream up to IJ3. We'll just have to wait and see if someone finds more lost developer files for the Plains to learn more. For the record, though, I think the short central stream in PL has something to do with a mudslide explaining the washouts on the road, and that the intent at one point for the southern stream was for it to go through the town, possibly through the culvert in the north wall. I'm still puzzled why no stream shows up in any of the IT levels, though, unless the idea was scrapped early on.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:32 pm 
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Hey V-Rex, welcome back.

I appreciate your time and attention to detail re: Tres level restoration. Both what you're saying and others are point out seems to be a bit of a mess. I might suggest taking a short break and returning to this when the dust has settled, and ask us quetions here in this forum as you go in order to stay-on-target with the masses of data that has been collected over time.

machf and I were just talking about PL, in fact. Who all would like to join in its reconstruction in TresEd?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:33 pm 
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Well between Build 96 and 116 the terrain objects for the Plains part in IT got totally redone so my believe is that they at least had some more progress made to Plains before cutting it out, even if it might have only been in Max Scene stage. It would be weird that the terrain in June for Town didn't include Plains otherwise, not to mention an image from 3ds Max of Plains back in 1997 that contain the Dam in its correct placement.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Oh, the PL file is more trustworthy than the IT files...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:13 pm 
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machf wrote:
Oh, the PL file is more trustworthy than the IT files...

How's that?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:38 am 
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The big square that is missing the greyscale heightmap for terrain generation actually matches the coordinates we had for PL from the MAXsript, for instance... and the height for most objects matches the terrain features imported from other sources.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:13 pm 
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machf wrote:
The big square that is missing the greyscale heightmap for terrain generation actually matches the coordinates we had for PL from the MAXsript, for instance... and the height for most objects matches the terrain features imported from other sources.


And it is worth remembering the Plains one we have is really early, therefore the heightmap it is using is closer to the original layout, even tho probably not optimized for any real gameplay.

As for the Town files, they are now uploaded to the Editing section of the download section (along with Jungle Road and IJVegMasters).

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"The main laboratory and administrative buildings. This is where we made our work, where the real magic trick happen. When they are in need of height fixing, they'll come here." - Hammond


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