Jump to content


All AvP computer text

46 replies to this topic

#26 racerx OFFLINE  



  • 1,265 posts
  • Resident Curmudgeon
  • Location:Zion, IL

Posted Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:51 AM

These were not good programmers.


The entire other 99% of your post was nothing but your support for this thesis.

It was a dumb comment.  Own it.

#27 wozencl OFFLINE  


    Chopper Commander

  • 175 posts

Posted Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:38 AM

Thanks for sharing. I wasn't aware the source had been released. Was it part of a JS2 extremist pack?


Interesting to see the grenade launcher text, judging by the alpha it would have been an alt-fire for the Pulse Rifle. I wonder if it was ever implemented in one of the unreleased builds.



#28 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:47 AM

I read this comment before logging in..

'Others say they had to have the whip cracked on them just to get it to playable and beyond. And what we now have is rather lucky chance.'

And just wow...talk about total lack of understanding on how game development works and the human factors involved.

Andrew Whittaker ended up in hospital during the games development,which given his key role, caused the game to be delayed..

AVP was far from perfect, Rebellion themselves admit this and have gone on record to explain what caused the delayed release..will post for newcomers in a separate post.

But still you get comments like this.

Plus the bloody things A.I routines went onto be used in N64 Goldeneye.

If you want to pick faults with it, try gameplay issues like Acid Puddles remaining on the floor..

But text on a screen? Shesh..

Edited by Lost Dragon, Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:05 AM.

#29 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:01 AM

Posting this purely for any newcomers to the Jaguar scene.

AVP lead tester,Dan McNamee explaining why the game was delayed..

Subject: Re: CD? Syndrome

Date: 1997/12/02
Newsgroups: rec.games.video.atari,alt.atari-jaguar.discussion

On Mon, 01 Dec 1997 18:10:58 - The Jag had been out for al least a year when AvP was
>released. Atari had sent the program back to Rebellion several times to
>be re-worked, I think Atari put more into making sure AvP was an
>excellent title than any other Jag cart. From what I can recall from the
>time it was being worked on, it was sent back for a major overhaul once
>to increase the detail of the graphics (look at the screenshots from
>early versions on your Jag box - very pixelated). Unfortunately, this
>increased detail meant reduced frame rate, but I'm very happy with the
>final product. Other requested changes I heard about - make the eggs
>part of the game (originally they just sat there - the only face huggers
>you encountered were running around loose, not freshly hatched) and to
>make the game "more immersive" (sounds like a request to make it more
>RPG-ish and less Doom-ish).

Actually most of the graphics were really good, we just added some
additional items and cleaned up some of their stuff that needed a bit of
work. The really big thing we did was redesign all of the levels and the
gameplay, as well as come up with the entire story line and the ability to
play as Alien, Predator or Marine.

The problem with the levels as originally designed was that they were HUGE,
totally random mazes based on a 64x64 grid. This caused several debugging
problems since we had to make sure that all of the walls were actually
there. It also caused problems in that Rebellion's engine could only
handle so many objects on a level, not just creatures, but all objects
other than walls, enemies, medkits, ammo and scenery items, so it made the
levels very sparse so you could wander around for a VERY long time
(sometimes up to an hour) without running into anything at all, and the
random maze layout of the levels just made it all frustrating. Anyway, so
we reduced the level size to a 32x32 grid and went from there. Admittedly,
the levels are still mazes, but we did try to make each level have a
purpose as well as a semi rational layout as a working space station/
military base/training facility. We also tried to make each game as
different as possible within the structure of the game engine, so the
Marine game was a bit of a RPG, the Alien game a bit more strategy and the
Predator game more of a shoot-em-up, basically a little of something for

So take those and key figure being in hospital on board and judge for yourselves.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:03 AM.

  • jhd likes this

#30 JagChris OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • 3,614 posts
  • Location:Oregon

Posted Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:57 AM

Yes as what you posted said LD they had to redesign the levels and the gameplay.

Lance Lewis

They watched the movies after we MADE them. The first rev they submitted to us as a FINAL was awful...There was no objectives other than shooting and finding the exit. That was all the game consisted of.


#31 ZylonBane OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 3,961 posts
  • Location:KC, KS, USA

Posted Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:02 AM

If Rebellion's first draft of the levels really was 64x64 random mazes, that speaks pretty poorly of their game design skills.

#32 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:24 AM

Never been sure why Lance felt all of Rebellion had to of watched the movies before making the game. .

When it was Andrew Whittaker's role to ensure the game stayed authentic where necessary:

ANDREW : Immediately before AvP I had worked on a project called Darkseed
which did very well, especially in the USA. That involved me working alongside
the designer of the "Alien" HR Giger to bring his work to the computer screen.
When AvP came along, because of the success of that I was asked to design and
develop the AvP experience. Giger obviously remembered me as when the Alien
licence was taken by Atari I was approached by Giger, Atari and Fox to develop
that licence for the Jaguar launch. It was a great opportunity to develop on an
exciting new machine with movies that I really loved. I studied the movies
solid for many months before coming up with a game design. My aim was simple,
to recreate the feeling and atmosphere of the "Alien" movie. I wanted people
jumping, feeling claustrophobic and have the fear of being hunted in an unknown

And I can only assume those that feel all of Rebellion should of watched the films have never played Konami's Aliens coin op..or Sega's Alien 3:The Gun..coin op..as they aren't exactly authentic..

Nor are Alien 3 on Genesis or SNES.

Rebellion screwed up their own property far worse with Dredd Vs Death and then butchered AVP on console for the Sega title..The A.I routines etc were shocking.

For all it's sins..Jaguar AVP was at least a flagship title and very atmospheric.

The original PC AVP remains their finest hour, but even Monolith failed to grasp the fact the Aliens shouldn't be treated as generic FPS fodder and run straight at you.

#33 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:37 AM

Also, it's not exactly unusual for a game to be sent back for major game design changes, during development is it?

The Resident Evil series for example. .2 and 4..4 especially, underwent radical redesigns.

Argonaut took PS1 Alien Reserection back to the drawing board numerous times:

Martin Piper:There were four versions of Alien Resurrection. I was there from the almost beginning.

1) It started life as a platformer with some pre-rendered sprites jumping
around a pseudo-3D side scrolling level.

2) Then the producer at Fox Interactive saw Reloaded and wanted Alien
Resurrection to look like it. So we went to top down isometric 3D

3) Then Fox wanted to be like Tomb Raider so we went full 3D with high poly
third person Ripley.

We added vent crawling, where the camera switched to first person with a

4) As a quick coder hack we then tried out making it first person for the
whole game and that was the magic moment. We calculated that we could make
the levels much larger and have more realistic aliens and levels if we
saved all the polygons from the third person Ripley.

The switch from 3rd to 1st person actually didn't throw away much code.

The 3rd person system was full 3D anyway. It did throw away a lot of the high poly model and animation work for Ripley though.

It just strikes me as rather odd people still want to single Rebellion out for the work they did on Jaguar AVP.

Would you of prefer ed the 2D side scrolling game Atari originally wanted?.

#34 ZylonBane OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 3,961 posts
  • Location:KC, KS, USA

Posted Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:11 PM

It just strikes me as rather odd people still want to single Rebellion out for the work they did on Jaguar AVP.


Literally nobody singles out Rebellion. There are plenty of AvP games to pick on, and plenty of Jaguar games to pick on.

#35 JagChris OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • 3,614 posts
  • Location:Oregon

Posted Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:09 PM

You're not sure why the whole team should have watched the movies when Andrew was the one in charge of quality control? Assuming Andrew is telling the truth and has watch the movies but the rest of his crew hadn't why wouldn't you make your crew watch the movies? What easier way to ensure quality control and everybody's beginning to get on the same page by then by watching the movies?

To say they didn't need to and Andrew could just tell them about the look and the feel of the characters and the atmosphere Etc and that was a sensible way to go about it is irrational.

Edited by JagChris, Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:11 PM.

#36 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:10 AM

I will pose the questions one last time Chris..

Have you played Konami's Aliens coin op and or Sega's Alien 3:The Gun?

If so, how authentic to the movies do you find either title and bear in mind these are direct film tie-in games, not comic book spin off tie- in material,which Jaguar AVP was..there being no AVP film at that time.

And the same goes for Alien 3 on SNES and Genesis.

If the console and coin op titles based on Alien 3 had stayed true to the film, they probably would never of been green lit in the 1st place.

You say assuming Andrew is telling the truth..

Given his work on Darkseed alone, i would say he has the credibility and Atari were convinced he was the right person for the project.

Plus, as he made clear he was the game design guy, he knew the films inside out..so he pitched how the game should play out, the sound guys handled the sound with Fox providing the authentic samples..the graphics team acquiring models etc to digitise into the game for authenticity..

All the while Fox keeping a close eye on the project.

You seem to constantly imply Rebellion weren't concerned about making the game authentic, whilst conviently ignoring all the advisors they had on board,the lengths they went to to capture the look and feel of the movies.

When likes of Sega an Konami threw in whatever they wanted.

Ripley was now blonde,i personally don't remember flying Aliens,Zombies,3 way shooting guns,Missile launchers etc in any version of Aliens i have seen..

#37 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:46 AM

My understanding of the team is:

Jason Kingsley.. Game Producer.

Toby Banfield and Stuart Wilson..graphics and for these Rebellion built models,hired the Colonial Marine Armour etc for authenticity..

Justin Rae,Rob Dibley and Mike Beaton handling coding..1 of whom might not have stayed with project till the end..

Mike did the graphics engine,HUD etc.

Had Andrew Whittaker who'd worked with Giger and studied the films for months..

Andrew wrote the A.I routines for all 3 species.

An Atari coder did the start up code.

Basically tasks shared across the board.

Plus they had the Dark Horse graphics novels that the game is based around..you can see them in March 1994 issue of Computer and Video games..

And had showed the game to Fox after inital 9 months work at the CES show and Fox were really impressed saying G it was the only game to really do justice to their licence..

There are still concerns the team weren't focused on authenticity enough as some memembers hadn't seen the films?.

I bought PS1 Alien Trilogy and that had Face Huggers running about making noises like were powered by clockwork, events in Alien now happened after Aliens and Alien 3..etc.

So no, i personally have no issues with the game being delayed..Later Alien games had much longer gestation periods Alien Trilogy having originally started on the Sega CD, concept wise..

Nor people other than Andrew having seen any/all of the films.

As a massive Aliens fan..the game simy delivered and was a much wiser use of the hardware than the original side scaling 2D affair Atari wanted.

I'm just struggling to find the reasoning behind JagChris's beef with Rebellion here,who admitted they were a small,inexperienced team when this landed in their lap..

But, each to their own..i'm only humouring this as a discussion of an AVP title, not it being on Jaguar itself.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:44 AM.

#38 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Fri Oct 6, 2017 10:39 AM

Just a side note..but just to clarify..

Cyberdreams, the team Andrew Whittaker worked with on Darkseed, with help from H.R Giger, also worked on projects for John Rosengrant, a visual effects supervisor, whom..as part of Stan Winston's team..had worked on:

Aliens, Predator and Predator II.

And regarding deviating from film scripts..

Mirrorsoft's Tony Beckworth said Fox had given them full permission to use the guns etc from Alien and Aliens for Alien 3 and gave their graphics artists full access to the movie sets, Alien costumes etc.

So Fox did work closely with game developers to ensure accuracy, but just as willing to allow them to deviate if it made for a better game.

#39 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:17 PM

Just been reading old interviews with Nick Jones and Nick Bruty who did SNES Alien III.

They had been treated to an advanced screening of Alien III, but left the screening very depressed as the characters of the previous film had been discarded and found the movie far too glum.

They originally considered having a vast world with just the 1 Alien and deep A.I routines..but realised this wasn't the type of game people wanted to play.

Nick Jones felt it liberating not having to stick closely to the film itself and if they had it would of limited the game.

Basically they decided to ignore Alien 3 and stick to Aliens..hence the weapons (Jones even wanted to include the Power Loader in Alien III's SNES game)..and kept coding, all the while expecting someone demand they take the content out.

So again..it just shows the films could be a useful reference. .but sticking rigidly to them..wouldn't of made for the best games and it wasn't essential they were viewed before creating the game.

#40 JagChris OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • 3,614 posts
  • Location:Oregon

Posted Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:12 PM

...and it wasn't essential they were viewed before creating the game.

Your logic is kinda oddball. Its not essential you learn carpentry before being contracted to build a house either. Or maybe it is. Not sure of the liability laws from place to place.

Run a business however you want but I wouldn't hire them or you.

#41 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:48 AM

It's not 'my' logic.

You've put the view across,based on comments lance made, that in order to maintain accuracy, it was necessary all the team had watched the movies.

Prior to coding,Rebellion hadn't.

It's been proven by the people behind the very successful and very different Genesis and SNES Alien III titles, that having had access to the films script and early screenings, that there wasn't much scope to make an entertaining game experience by sticking to the events portrayed in the film.

Instead they based most of the game around Aliens..not Alien III.

Fox were happy..

Gamers were happy.

In the case of Rebellion and Jaguar AVP..Fox gave full support for authenticity..

Andrew Whittaker was employed to ensure accuracy..

To take your comparison about building a house..

I don't expect the electrician to know plumbing..

The carpenter to know how to plaster.

Each has a skill set.

Each is assigned a task.

All work to plans to ensure the project is completed.

As long as the graphics artists could render visuals in manner required..A.I coders could produce the necessary routines..sound guys take care of things thier end..

Everyone was doing what was asked of them.

I just find comments lance made rather curious.

AVP was based around comic work,spun off from films..

Rebellion made clear they had full access to the Dark Horse comic material..the source material, from day 1.

#42 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Fri Aug 3, 2018 11:00 AM

Andrew Whittaker himself detailing the text:

The "Lance Lewis" name mentioned for the marine at startup was in honour of
a very dedicated tester at Atari who really went a long way to make the game
the quality it is.

And if you read all the medical and logs on the computers, most of those
have in-jokes based on other developers in the industry. For instance, the
planet "Brabenso" mentioned on one of the logs is a contraction of Brabens
World, as a side joke to David Braben, author of Elite, Frontier and many
space games. The Dr Whittaker, Chief Medical officer, contrary to popular
belief doesnt refer to me, rather my father. I got him to type all that log
text into ascii files for me!

#43 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Fri Aug 3, 2018 12:56 PM

Having looked a lot closer into the games development, it's become clear it had a tortured development cycle to say the least.

Andrew Whittaker has said coding AVP was hard work having to contend
with a tumour, major burns and a bereavement during the course of development!

There is clearly little love between him and Jason Kingsley. ..

And Andrew went onto make a claim Atari hadn't paid him for AVP sales at one point, something Atari's Don Thomas strongly denied.

#44 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,569 posts

Posted Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:27 PM

:-)) Well, i'm not expecting any of my questions to be answered, but i was asked by a friend of mine if i had any questions i would like to ask Andrew/June Whittaker,so i fired a few over.

I've asked for a degree of clarity on the beef between Whittaker and Rebellion at the time.

Whittaker claiming Atari hadn't paid for work done on Jaguar AVP..line of don't work for Atari if you want to feed your kids..

Claim of smoking (as in leaning on a wall,puffing a cigarette) Predator in Jaguar AVP..

Claims of Virtuality modifying VR headset and gloves to run Jaguar AVP..

And what on earth this is all about in his linkedin profile "I designed, coded and led the development team for the launch title for the 3DO M2 console. Power Crystal was an innovative RPG that was finished, was reviewed with scores in excess of 90% around the world. Unfortunately, even though we developed and finished the game, it was ultimately decided not to release the M2 console!" https://www.linkedin...achelwhittaker/

Game was never finished and Whittaker admitted it years ago said it was something they owned entirely and might return to and finish for another platform 1 day.

I'm tired of seeing history rewritten by industry types..

Passing of time accounts for a lot,memory wise, but some stuff just doesn't read right.

Half the time i am not sure if people are quoted out of context, have words put in their mouths or are simply making stuff up themselves.

Hopefully some sense can be made of a lot of these claims.

#45 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • 2,605 posts
  • Location:Manchester UK

Posted Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:37 AM

TBH as a programmer I don't see anything wrong with setting co-ordinates for text position on the screen. 


For one, the position of that text may have been determined by a graphic designer.  If we want something to look good you DON'T have a programmer do the art, this usually resembles an affront to eyeballs!

How do those who think their solution was bad propose they positioned the text on the screen? given they are essentially putting a bitmap font on top of a bitmapped image? 


Perhaps develop and implement a form of markup language and suitable parser in game, along with tool set to design the layout externally to the game?  Because loads of extra code in a game is so much better when the ultimate result going onto the cart is always going to be the same, (except for that bug that crept in during the last-minute rush to finish on time, where occasionally the text does weird things.)

Perhaps save each screen of text as a static image? because Jag carts are HOOGE! and we have loads of space to waste.

Maybe just have the computer figure it out though programming wizardry?  That's NEVER going to bite you in the arse, ever now is it.

When you are writing code for a release like this you want the code as simple and efficient as you possibly can, clever coding costs you time and reliability, and these are games that can't have a patch released later to fix bugs, they have to work from day one.

Just my 2p

#46 82-T/A OFFLINE  


    River Patroller

  • 4,503 posts
  • Location:Texas

Posted Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:26 PM

I thought it would be interesting to extract all the computer text from AvP and post it in a more readable form. This is all from COMPUTER.S in the source code.
Fun fact: Instead of storing all the computer text as strings and using a generalized print routine to display them, Rebellion hard-coded the X/Y coordinates of every single line of text. Like this:

com1text:    dc.w    120,30
        dc.b    ttype_on,"GENERAL LOG",newxy
        dc.w    30,70
        dc.w    30,80
        dc.b    "INITIATED WITHOUT SECURITY CARD 10",newxy
        dc.w    30,90
        dc.b    "CLEARANCE. THE CAPTAIN HAS ONE OF",newxy
        dc.w    30,100
        dc.b    "ONLY 2 SECURITY CARDS WITH A",newxy
        dc.w    30,110
        dc.b    "CLEARANCE OF 10",0

These were not good programmers.



My guess is that the responsibilities were broken up to various programmers. I think you'll probably find the guy who embedded the text was probably fairly new to game programming, as well as to software development. He probably tried, but then ran into situations where text wouldn't display properly (going over the necessary field), etc... 


I can only assume that where text went wasn't static all the time... but it's been a while since I've read it. Obviously, a function, at least if they're looking at screens that will always be the same size / etc... should have gone through a function. If not for any other reason than simply because it would have been easier... but also because you could port the game in a number of languages with far less effort.


Oh well... they were probably rushed, and that got the job done for the guy... 

#47 Gummy Bear ONLINE  

Gummy Bear


  • 733 posts
  • Location:United Kingdom

Posted Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:34 PM

I just see text on a screen, which I can read...
Don't really give two shits how it got there.

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users