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Original Prey Design Documents Discovered  "Game development is full of stories..."

User is offline   Mr. Tibbs 

#1

Howdy, Duke4!

Back in late 2001, long after internal development ceased, 3D Realms handed the reigns of their Prey project over to Human Head Studios. Before the changeover, the developer complied all the Paul Schuytema-era design design documents, and created a videotape containing a 20 minute tech demo for potential engine licencees and some off-screen E3 footage to serve as a rough guideline for future developments. Unfortunately, the VHS is likely a victim of time.

Quote

D A R K H A R V E S T
a Tommy Hawk Adventure
(Design Document)
Originally created: 1997-1998
Revised: 3/30/2001
Further updated and condensed: 9/20/2001
Final cleanup: 10/16/2001 - Handed off to Human Head

All it not lost though, as I’ve tracked down quite of bit of never before seen Prey content. We’re talking around 40 John William Galt VO barks, some brand new concept art and renders, internal docs offering outlines of 3DR's ambitions for the title circa 1997/1998 and some loose directions for the rebooted project. Most importantly, there's the story files and preyweb, the latter of which is a backup of 3D Realms’ internal design meetings featuring some broad level progression break downs, weapon and enemy descriptions, and gameplay brainstorming, basically providing a general overview of the entire project. All in all, there's a lot! This is the official Prey bible and then some!
http://i.imgur.com/oiCCa62.jpg
I figured this glimpse at 3DR’s internal design process in the late 1990s would be something that most here would want to see. Once you've downloaded it, open the INDEX file in the preyweb folder to enjoy a bevy of Prey history from the safety of your browser! Or check out the storyfiles folder for an overview of the narrative, level scripting and how the studio envisioned the 1998 project in its final form. Here's a sample:
http://i.imgur.com/roL3E1R.jpg

Quote

Chapter 1.

*** start of Apache reservation level – CH1L1 ***

Night on a reservation in eastern Arizona. The elders sit around a large fire as the G’ans, costumed tribesman representing the mountain spirits, dance before the flame. Talon Brave stands in the shadows of the motor pool garage, watching and pulling on a cigarette. He sees no magic in their rituals, not now, not since he was a boy. He turns his back and disappears into the shadows.

In the sky, the clouds crackle with phosphorescence and the chanting stops for a moment as the elders look skyward. They start in again, raising their arms to the sky. In a hissing of rapidly ionized atmosphere, a column of bluish-white energy bursts from the clouds and engulfs the clan circle. For an instant, the circle of tribal elders are seen in silhouette, first in human form, and then only their bones visible as their flesh vaporizes. In a flash, there is nothing but a settling cloud of desert dust. Seconds count off in silence, and then the alien ship begins its final descent.

Talon enters his row-house and flops down on the worn vinyl recliner. He picks up his crescent wrench and wipes the grease from the handle as an explosion rocks the cabin. Talon bolts out the door. From behind the motor pool, a column of flame erupts, then another by the school. Screams fill the air, and Talon runs towards the school. People run towards him, followed by something dark, hulking and incredibly fast. Mary Thunder rushes towards Talon, screaming for him to run as the dark creature leaps forward and jumps upon an old man. In a flash, we see the white of exposed bone, as the old man explodes into geyser of blood.

Talon reaches for Mary, but she too is grabbed by a pair of the dark creatures. Talon swings his wrench, but a third creature jumps at him, knocking him back. He hears Mary scream as she is pulled away. Talon leaps to his feet and runs back to his cabin. He throws back a hidden cellar door, grabs his bolt-action rifle, his great grandfather’s Colt Peacemaker and medallion, and leaps into the darkness.

Talon runs through a wet, dark corridor, the beasts close behind, until he comes to a metal ladder that leads up into the motor pool oil change pit. He leaps up the ladder and throws himself to the cement floor of the garage just as a beast slashes for his ankle. He spins and fires several shots down into the pit then pushes a large tool cart in to cover the opening.

Just as Talon takes in a deep breath, another beast tears though the steel garage door and begins to circle the oil change pit. Talon leaps into the school bus but realizes that he has left the keys on the workbench. He kicks open the emergency door and fires at the beast. He sprints to the front of the bus and leaps out of the door to grab the keys. As he spins around, he slams the butt of his rifle into the charging, wounded creature. He dives into the bus and clambers into the seat as the beast leaps in after him. Talon grabs a crowbar from the dashboard and buries the hook deep into the creature’s skull as he jams the keys into the ignition and starts up the bus.

With the rear wheels anchored from behind, Talon has no choice but to throw the bus into first and stomp on the accelerator. As the bus bursts out of the garage, the two creatures pinned in the oil change pit burst forth and begin to devour their slain cousin. Driving out onto the reservation, Talon sees a landscape decimated by flames and wonton destruction. He speeds onward, heading for the road.


http://i.imgur.com/FjBmsvB.jpg
I hope you enjoy this peak behind the curtain into the hidden history of 3D Realms! :D

This post has been edited by Mr. Tibbs: 02 January 2017 - 10:44 PM

14

User is offline   gerolf 

  • Honored Donor

#2

I hope people are quick enough to grab this before it's most likely taken down!!
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User is offline   HMNuke93 

#3

Super cool find! Thank you very much! :dukeaffirmative:
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User is offline   Taamalus 

#4

Early Christmas for me. https://forums.duke4.net/public/style_emoticons/default/wub.gif
Excellent stuff here. https://forums.duke4.net/public/style_emoticons/default/woot.gif
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#5

Holy fucking shit. I'd ask you how the fuck you did it, but I'll wait in case you ever find some old DNF stuff :yes: (but since DNF is by George "Design Documents are for Pussies" Broussard, probably not).
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User is offline   KareBear 

#6

Awesome,this a dream come true for me.

Just like I suspected the non keeper Trocaran races were insectoids,reptilians/saurians and humanoids.You can see the Cyber Vamp enemy in several of the screenshots 3DR released back in the day.

If wonder if there is any material from the Tom Hall era included?I recall Tom wrote a "Bible" for Prey like he did for Doom.

This post has been edited by KareBear: 10 July 2016 - 07:14 AM

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User is offline   hogsy 

#7

Thank you so much for sharing this... Could literally cry tears of joy right now!

With regards to the video tapes, are these something you have in your possession? Would love to see them; depending on the damage they could hopefully be restored too.

This post has been edited by hogsy: 10 July 2016 - 07:17 AM

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#8

Quote

Talon nearly finishes the task as the Staleene Keeper appears. She tries to sound calm, but Talon can clearly notice the fear in her synthesized voice. She tells him to stop, tells him that he has truly won. Earth has already been taken out of the game.

Talon pauses and the Keeper waves one of here fragile prosthetic arms—a portal opens up and Talon sees Earth—it is morning in Arizona. He steps away from the machine and closer to the portal. She waves her arm again and another portal opens up—onto a city, obviously alien in nature, bustling with activity.

She explains to Talon that he has won, and that the choice is now his. He can return to Earth. But on Earth, who will know that he is any different? He won’t be a hero, he won’t be anything at all... Talon looks up, glares steadily at the Keeper, his gaze full of hate and determination. He turns to the Earthly portal and says “screw that pathetic rock” and leaps through the other portal, into the unknown...



Well, what do you know? Turns out Human Head's Prey 2 was staying true to the original story after all.
1

#9

Holy shit! I love "archaeological" finds like this! Downloading now...

EDIT: I read most of it. Wow, they had a full story planned out in 1997, unlike what Joe "hoard, brag and never share" Siegler said multiple times in the 3DRealms forum! Now, if only they had stuck to develop the game, instead of dilly-dallying around with barely functional engines based on geometric gimmicks... But hey, this was 3DRealms. They had a whole history of dilly-dallying around.

One thing struck me as particularly dumb, though. The easy and normal modes were supposed to make some areas unreachable (in easy mode, 30% of each level and the whole final level would have been locked out; in normal mode, 10% of each level would've been locked out and we wouldn't have got the real ending; in hard mode, cheats would've been disabled).
Cue exclamation of "Oh, for fuck's sake!" As if they didn't know that beating the game is not the only reason to cheat! In fact, the second time I played the real Prey, I cheated my ass off, but only to discover more about the architecture, design and limitations of each level without being hindered by irritating elements such as monsters trying to kill me.
Finally, the idea of a Mega-nightmare mode, as well as the concept of giving a medal or T-shirt to the people who beat the game in it, actuallly made me LOL (and facepalm) IRL.

BTW, Mr. Tibbs, got any Prey executable that was built on barely functional engines based on geometric gimmicks? :dukecheese:

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 10 July 2016 - 02:07 PM

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User is offline   Mr. Tibbs 

#10

View Posthogsy, on 10 July 2016 - 07:14 AM, said:

Thank you so much for sharing this... Could literally cry tears of joy right now!

With regards to the video tapes, are these something you have in your possession? Would love to see them; depending on the damage they could hopefully be restored too.

Given your efforts to preserve Prey's history, I had a feeling you would be into it! :)

I just know that at one point, a video tape existed, but I've never come into contact with it. :(
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User is offline   Mr. Tibbs 

#11

View PostAltered Reality, on 10 July 2016 - 10:07 AM, said:

Holy shit! I love "archaeological" finds like this! Downloading now...

BTW, Mr. Tibbs, got any Prey executable that was built on barely functional engines based on geometric gimmicks? :dukecheese:

Unfortunately, I don't. However, the new iteration of 3D Realms has the early Prey builds.

Quote

"We heard back from Bethesda. They don't want the Prey builds released or shown currently. It's a sensitive matter atm, and I fully understand that.

I'll bring it up again, once the next Prey game is announced, and see if they are interested in collaborating on something exciting at that time."


This post has been edited by Mr. Tibbs: 10 July 2016 - 01:00 PM

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#12

View PostMr. Tibbs, on 10 July 2016 - 01:00 PM, said:

Unfortunately, I don't. However, the new iteration of 3D Realms has the early Prey builds.

Quote

"We heard back from Bethesda. They don't want the Prey builds released or shown currently. It's a sensitive matter atm, and I fully understand that.

I'll bring it up again, once the next Prey game is announced, and see if they are interested in collaborating on something exciting at that time."



So, now that the next Prey game has been announced... :rolleyes:

View Posthogsy, on 10 July 2016 - 07:14 AM, said:

Thank you so much for sharing this... Could literally cry tears of joy right now!

With regards to the video tapes, are these something you have in your possession? Would love to see them; depending on the damage they could hopefully be restored too.

Are you the webmaster of Alien Noire?

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 10 July 2016 - 02:57 PM

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User is offline   hogsy 

#13

View PostAltered Reality, on 10 July 2016 - 02:53 PM, said:

Are you the webmaster of Alien Noire?


Nope, I run a website called TalonBrave.info which I guess is a little similar but I'm covering other games as well. That being said, I spent a ton of time contacting a lot of the original developers on the game and was working on a "bible" about the game which I never had the opportunity to finish, there's a few quotes and stuff in the bible but what I'll likely do is just publish all the emails between me and the developers instead.

There's some random bits and pieces available on the site here, sadly it's all roughly thrown together and not as organised as I would like...

This post has been edited by hogsy: 10 July 2016 - 03:25 PM

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User is offline   deuxsonic 

#14

What differed with Tom Hall's ideas for Prey?
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#15

View Postdeuxsonic, on 10 July 2016 - 04:24 PM, said:

What differed with Tom Hall's ideas for Prey?


It's the one about the biosuit and alien martial arts (and I think the only one not about Native Americans,since it's the first iteration).

http://talonbrave.info/files/software/games/Prey%20(2006)/images/1996/May/PCGamer_1996_05_pg028.jpg
http://talonbrave.info/files/software/games/Prey%20(2006)/images/1996/May/PCGamer_1996_05_pg029.jpg
http://talonbrave.info/files/software/games/Prey%20(2006)/images/1996/May/PCGamer_1996_05_pg030.jpg
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User is offline   deuxsonic 

#16

A Bethesda ad in an article about Prey, an IP they would later own... I guess this doesn't sound like as interesting a game to me as what came later.
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User is offline   gerolf 

  • Honored Donor

#17

Was Prey originally planned for the BUILD engine?
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User is online   Malgon 

#18

This is fucking awesome! I don't know how long it took to get all this, but thanks heaps for sharing this around. B) I'm definitely going to enjoy going through all of this. :)
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User is offline   hogsy 

#19

View PostPikaCommando, on 10 July 2016 - 04:53 PM, said:

It's the one about the biosuit and alien martial arts (and I think the only one not about Native Americans,since it's the first iteration.


As far as I remember, Tom Hall's iteration was to feature a native American as the main character too which is where Paul Schuytema pulled the idea from. The idea and design of "Talon Brave" were entirely by Paul and Co though.

Name changed to Tommy Hawk when it was originally sent to Human Head, which was George/Scott's idea (awful name).
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#20

View PostPikaCommando, on 10 July 2016 - 04:53 PM, said:

It's the one about the biosuit and alien martial arts (and I think the only one not about Native Americans,since it's the first iteration).

The date of the article (May 1996) lets me infer that the main character of Prey was always meant to be a Native American, even in the Tom Hall iteration. If you have a Duke3D 1.3d CD, open the Goodies directory, Prey subdirectory: a text document already mentions the protagonist being a Native American.

View Postgerolf, on 10 July 2016 - 08:41 PM, said:

Was Prey originally planned for the BUILD engine?

AFAIK, it was always meant to use a real 3D engine. I don't know if Tom Hall's iteration was based on Polytex, like Hogsy implies, though. We should contact Ken Silverman and ask him.

View Posthogsy, on 11 July 2016 - 03:29 AM, said:

Name changed to Tommy Hawk when it was originally sent to Human Head, which was George/Scott's idea (awful name).

It was changed again (to Tommy Tawodi) for its release, though. Yes, I know "Tawodi" is just Cherokee for "Hawk", but it's still better.

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 11 July 2016 - 04:09 AM

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User is offline   hogsy 

#21

View PostAltered Reality, on 11 July 2016 - 03:33 AM, said:

AFAIK, it was always meant to use a real 3D engine. I don't know if Tom Hall's iteration was based on Polytex, like Hogsy implies, though. We should contact Ken Silverman and ask him.


I don't think I've ever implied that it was, because it certainly wasn't. The decision to cease polytex's development was just likely due to 3D Realms choosing to develop their own tech.
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#22

View Posthogsy, on 11 July 2016 - 04:15 AM, said:

I don't think I've ever implied that it was, because it certainly wasn't. The decision to cease polytex's development was just likely due to 3D Realms choosing to develop their own tech.

But you have two Polytex text files in a Prey subdirectory.
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User is online   Malgon 

#23

Only about halfway through looking at all the stuff so far (have to go to bed soon), but this stuff is amazing. It's been so long since I've looked at any of the early Prey incarnations that I've forgotten how ambitious it was and how good the impressions were from those that saw any of it. Looking forward to going through the rest of it tomorrow.

This post has been edited by Malgon: 11 July 2016 - 06:20 AM

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User is offline   hogsy 

#24

View PostAltered Reality, on 11 July 2016 - 05:46 AM, said:

But you have two Polytex text files in a Prey subdirectory.


I did say it was a mess, so please don't just take files and assume from that I'm trying to subtly imply anything unless I actually state it.

As a matter of fact just ignore the 'bible' folder and I'll put the emails up tonight after work.

Edit:

BAM


This post has been edited by hogsy: 11 July 2016 - 11:29 AM

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User is offline   hogsy 

#25

I was going through a book I had bought a while back which was written by Paul Schuytema, and to my embarrasment, I only just realised he wrote the original opening to the game in the book which matches those in the design documents Mr. Tibbs released.

I didn't have time to make a scan but took some quick photos here.
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User is offline   KareBear 

#26

I wonder if the unreleased KMFDM Prey tracks will ever surface?
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#27

View PostKareBear, on 16 July 2016 - 06:24 AM, said:

I wonder if the unreleased KMFDM Prey tracks will ever surface?

Unlikely. In 2006 I emailed Sascha Konietzko about it, and he said that Scott only paid him 2/3 of the agreed sum, and Sascha will not release the music until he is paid in full.

EDIT: I'm wondering: would 3DRealms be legally allowed to file a new trademark on the name Talon Brave and use it for a serious alien abduction-themed FPS? Or was it transferred to Bethesda with the sale of the Prey IP, even though it was never actually used?

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 20 July 2016 - 10:34 AM

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User is offline   hogsy 

#28

Bump but I believe the trademark has expired, so I as far as I'm aware they probably could get away with just using the name Talon Brave for example.

I'm no legal expert though.
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