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How big an influence did DNF have on Prey?

#1

First, this is not going to be a post of how some things in Prey 2006 are reminiscent of Duke Nukem. That could be a fun topic if this was 2006, but it isn't.

Okay, now that I cleared that up: today I've been rereading the Prey development documents, written circa 1998 (gotta upload them to the Duke Museum sooner or later) and I came across an internal schedule in a document last saved on October 29, 2007. Apparently, 3DRealms expected to release the shareware episode of Prey in May/June 1998, and the complete version in September/IOctober the same year. Of course, this schedule was fine and dandy in 1997, when 3DRealms was supposed to use the Quake2 engine for DNF to have it done by mid-1998 at the latest, while preparing the stage for the main course, the true killer app, the touted revolution: Prey.

When mid-1998 came around, and 3DRealms was supposed to release the shareware episode of Prey according to the original schedule, disaster struck. George decided to trash everything that was done for DNF and restart development from scratch, with the Unreal engine. I'm wondering how deeply the planned Prey schedule was affected, because I can infer two effects.

1) With no salvageable content, a short-term release had become impossible. The original schedule (DNF as a stopgap, Prey as the main and most advanced attraction) could just not be followed anymore.
2) The prospect of an Unreal-based DNF had just killed Prey's entire reason to exist. Prey was meant to be revolutionary, to be somethng never seen before... except that the other first-party team was expected to turn DNF into something better. Compare this with this and tell me which one looks more impressive.

Given these premises, it makes sense that work on Paul Schuytema's iteration of Prey was stopped around September/October 1998, the scheduled release date. Even inverting the roles of the two games (Prey as the stopgap, DNF as the revolution) would have made no sense, because the presence of Unreal (with warpzones as static portals, and the ability to assign a different value and direction of gravity to each zone) would have made Prey look like a ripoff!

Attached File(s)



This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 13 August 2018 - 06:41 PM

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#2

I'm not sure what's going on with Prey in 1999-2001, but I thought they already gave up by then. I'm sure Duke's popularity and Prey's technical infeasibility had to do with the shift in focus but I don't think they plan to implement Prey-style gameplay into DNF (things like shooting into portals which the Unreal engine couldn't do) so Prey still had a reason to exist around then had things gone right.
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#3

View PostPikaCommando, on 19 August 2018 - 08:44 PM, said:

I'm not sure what's going on with Prey in 1999-2001,

Work had started on a new engine by Corrinne Yu on November 19, 1998.
All Prey work was still done on the engine by April 29, 1999, when George addressed rumors about GT Interactive dropping support for Prey.
During March 2000, Prey was officially put "on hold" and Corrinne Yu left 3DRealms.
In 2001, George "revised" Paul Schuytema's Prey documents, armed only with the Replace function of a word processor. He replaced all instances of "prey" with "Dark Harvest", even when it doesn't make sense (e.g. there are phrases like "they stalk their Dark Harvest", "they can create a trail to your Dark Harvest", "attempting to garner the attention of their Dark Harvest", "the other one or two guards will attempt to disappear into the shadows and flank the Dark Harvest"... man, I gotta upload those documents). The documents were sent to Human Head on October 16, 2001.

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I don't think they plan to implement Prey-style gameplay into DNF (things like shooting into portals which the Unreal engine couldn't do) so Prey still had a reason to exist around then had things gone right.

Actually, you can shoot through warpzones in Unreal, albeit only with projectile weapons. Attachment proves it.
Also, the 1997 DNF preview suggested the return of gravity boots from the sidescroller games.

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This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 01 September 2018 - 07:00 AM

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#4

View PostAltered Reality, on 01 September 2018 - 06:58 AM, said:

Also, the 1997 DNF preview suggested the return of gravity boots from the sidescroller games.

Hm, I can't remember any gravity boots from Duke 1 or 2... only the grappling hook and jumpboots in Duke 1.
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