Fun Times

I’ve put production into high gear to try and finish Stage 1 as fast as possible.

Over the last week, i’ve been busy with a lot of other Jurassic Park / Trespasser related stuff, so i want to try and catch up and get it done asap, so i can move onto Stage 2.

The work im putting into Stage 1 will essentially be abandoned after its released, and a fresh start for Stage 2 will begin, so im not as fussed over the accuracy of individual trees and rocks, and more interested in creating something enjoyable for you to explore. The reason for the sudden change in extreme accuracy, is because the difference in map size between stage 1 and 2 is so big, there is no way i can re-use anything from stage 1. Stage 1 is basically just a prototype / demo that showcases how the game looks when all the levels are combined, and through the use of vehicles, players will be able to explore it quickly and see how the different levels all tie together.

Another reason stage 1 is no longer usable, is because i’ll be using the new CryEngine for Stage 2, as there are some things that CE2 simply cant do. The more testing i do with the new engine, the more impressed i am with it. The lighting in particular is quite nice, and after upgrading to the latest version, it runs at a solid 60fps!

Scaleform is a big factor in my reason to switch engines, as it will play a vital role in the creation of not only the title & option menus, but also the interface for the in-game computer systems, which is something ive been doing a lot of R&D on.

I’ve been buying a few Jurassic Park related props and collectibles lately, and some of the items i’ve been hunting down are the computer systems used in the movie. The SGI Crimson and Macintosh Quadra 700, to be precise. This hunt for the computer systems was brought on by a recent bargain find, of a very good condition orange iMac which i’m giving to my 6 year old niece for Xmas. It will make for a lovely first computer, and as a bonus came loaded with lots of great kids applications. Just like a new one.. Ahem.. πŸ˜‰

Using the iMac’s OS version 9.2, rekindled my interest in the operating systems used by Nedry in the first movie, Unix / Irix. Quite some time ago i posted some images on TresCom of a concept for a retro looking website based on the operating system used in the Thorn Field trails in the second book. The idea was that visitors to the site would need to log in using the same method that Arby did, effectively making it impossible to access for anyone who hadn’t read the book. Pretty hardcore i know, but im big on that kind of nerdy attention to detail, and im sure many others are too. I never went any further with those designs, but for a while, i did use a retro Mac theme on this blog, which was probably before a lot of you were following it.

I was not able to find an SGI Crimson or Quadra 700 for sale (i found a quadra 800 though), but i have come across another SGI workstation that’s within my budget. I should hopefully be buying it in a week or so once i’ve sold some of my old computer parts, as long as it hasn’t been sold already. This SGI machine runs Irix 5.3 and will be an awesome reference tool to get the in-game computer systems as accurate as possible. The in-game system will be very simple, and obviously not as flexible or feature rich as the real thing, but i want to be sure that my version looks and behaves as accurately as possible. Players will be able to use it to access email, notes, animal control, park security, mapping systems, locking / unlocking gates or buildings, monitoring cameras and using information stored on the system to track down the InGen employees last movements and activities. Certain items that were in the possession of a particular employee, might only be found once you track their last movements on the island, via emails, security logs, messages etc. You can then go to where they were last logged by the system, to find what you’re looking for.

I dont want the computer system to be huge part of the game, but i feel the more detailed and authentic it is, the more people will enjoy it.

Something else i’ve been working more on, that will be a large part of the game, is a hub for the games inventory, stats and information.

My original plan was for Anne to find a diary in some luggage that’s washed up on the starting beach. Looking through the luggage would be a tutorial for learning the controls, your task being to find some shoes because Anne’s came off during the crash. The diary would serve as the hub for all of Annes information and statistics, such as notes, map, narrative / script, photos, collectibles, discovered dinosaurs & plants, inventory management and vital statistics. Players could write notes in the diary, scribble on the map for future references, monitor their items, weapons and what secret items / easter eggs they have found. Now because the game does not feature a traditional HUD, i figured this was the most fitting and realistic way for Anne to document her journey and provide players with a plausible interface for inventory and information management. However, after my recent search for the computer equipment used in the films, i’ve devised a new system that i think you will love.

It was while i was hunting down some of the objects seen on Nedry’s desk; the Panic Pete stress toy, the wind up Swamp Creature, his Calculator Watch, Shaving Cream can, the SGI and Macintosh computers, that i remembered that mysterious looking PDA device:

Motorola Envoy - Nedry's Desk

I had seen it many times before, but i never actually tried to find out what it was.

It turns out, that the device on Nedry’s desk was a prototype for a real life PDA / Tablet device made by Motorola, called the Envoy. The project manager for the Envoy was on a plane talking with Spielberg, and Spielberg asked if he could use it as a prop in the film. Very cool! The Envoy was a communication device, using fax, email and pager messaging systems. It features a monochrome touch screen, pcmcia slots, radio connectivity, games, notes, address book, and was an amazing wireless communications device. The system used 1mb pcmcia Pager Cards, that even when not inserted into the system, could still receive incoming emails and pager messages. Once inserted into the device, they would automatically sync and any outgoing messages composed on the Envoy while the card was removed, would be sent. Amazing.

I did quite a lot of googling and eBaying, but i was not able to find a Motorola Envoy for sale anywhere. They are very rare and probably in the hands of vintage hardware and probably some JP collectors. However, another device created at the same time as the Envoy that uses the same operating system and shares a very similar design, is the Sony Magic Link.

The Magic Link has a few hardware differences and a slightly thicker form factor, but for the most part its essentially the same device as the Envoy. Its also a hell of lot easier to find than the Envoy. So much so that I’ve already purchased a very good condition one that should hopefully arrive late this week or next. I can’t wait!

I wont go into too much detail just yet, i’ll just post a few images of the system interface, so you can imagine for yourselves how such a device could be used on Isla Sorna.

Magic Cap - Desktop

Magic Cap - Hallway

Magic Cap - Downtown

Here’s an awesome clip from PC/TV of the Sony Magic Link:

While im posting some images, here’s a couple new shots of Pine Valley, taken from over the Starting Gate and the River:

Pine Valley - Start Gate

Pine Valley - River

If anyone is interested in looking at the website concept images mentioned earlier, they are on Page 8 of the TresCom thread:

~ by newoldmate on 12/12/2013.

5 Responses to “Fun Times”

  1. Hi there.Its a nice trip down the memory lane you brought up! I remember trying to program on a Psion 3c !! If you dont know what it is it was the best pda back in the 93’s,94’s but it was to complex and expensive for its own good.It had a modem,a fax,some kind of internet explorer,some type of mirc etc….Psion made some amazing pda’s but the lack of capacitive ultra thin display’s was the reason the company closed during 2000.They had an amazing 5 version but still monochrome and when they tried going color it was simply too big for people to like.

  2. Don’t forget to post pictures of those props and replicas you are buying! =)

    • I will don’t worry!

      I’ll make a post about them. There’s not much so far, some things are expensive, but i want to get as much as i can from Nedry’s workspace.

      I have the Panic Pete stress toy, green wind up Swamp Creature on the monitor, a Sony Magic link on the way (because i couldn’t find an envoy), I have his Casio calculator watch, and im planning to get the shaving cream sometime after xmas.

      Its hard though, because there are Oculus Rift Dev kits on eBay, and i want one real bad.

      I’ll have to sell another camera lens.. hehe πŸ™‚

  3. Your dedication and obvious passion still amazes me. I still say- only YOU could do this.

  4. Exciting to see you are still trying to incorporate the oldschool computer idea, like the blog used to look.
    These kind of posts intrigue me very much because interactivity and backstory are very supportive to the game and gameplay.
    I mean, once there was this great new game, out of nowhere; Half Life. You could destroy stuff around you and at least chop furniture down to little pieces. In some way you could manipulate the world around you (for the younger reader; untill that time fps games where not much more than a ‘floating gun platform’ destined to reach an end goal).
    Another way to manipulate the world around you was by the ‘revolutionary’ Use-key. One could pick up boxes, throw chairs, switch lights on and off this was unheard off at that time.
    As for Trespasser the interactivity compared to Half Life was next level so to speak. But because of the plagued development the final manner you ‘connected’ to the world around you was good but certainly not great. It even was a nuisance sometimes,
    Using the arm in tight spaces or in battles was annoying. Offcourse it also had it’s fun quirks; like shooting gangsta style (sideways gun), doom style (gun dead center) or just aligning the guns corshairs in the default position.
    Hell you could even shoot yourself, great times.
    One of my favorite uses where the touchpads and button switches, the ones where Anne points with her finger to be able to press the button. One downside to the touchpads where. If you weren’t perpendicular to it, selecting the right number would be very hard.

    The idea for a Motorolla Envoy sounds great. Like a little notpad/PDA/ digital diary. For now we can only guess how the final thing will manifest πŸ™‚
    But i bet it will be a nice (helping) tool and addition to the backstory.
    Talking about backstory, and seeing how you are planning on setting up the computers ‘software’ my first bet will be we can expect some lore (and or other funny stuff) on those machines.

    Anyway, nice work on the island. It’s looking more promising than ever. Stage 1 will be a truly great Trespasser map. Project wise there is still a long way ahead but seeing this gives me goosebumbs allready. Let’s just hope you don’t run into legal issues! Cheers bro.

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