Pre-beta content

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This article focuses on aesthetic differences in pre-beta vs. retail Oni. See the Pre-beta features article for features removed from Oni during development.

Almost all available shots of pre-beta content are here, compared to final content when applicable. Most pictures are half-sized (click to enlarge).

Released levels

Decline in appearance

Fans have sometimes observed that earlier versions of Oni's levels as seen in pre-release screenshots and the 1999 trailer looked sharper or more detailed than the release versions. The reasons for these differences are given in these three posts by Hardy LeBel, Oni's Design Lead:

There was no conflict between anybody. It was just that early versions of the story called for certain locations and (before they knew any better) the architects went ahead and modelled them as "real" spaces (you shoulda seen the fully modelled toilets...very impresisve!). We basically had to go back into every level of the game and completely rip it apart to support the gameplay we were going for or else build them new from scratch.

--source

All of the levels were remodelled in a short period of time. Higher detail environments were typically the ones that needed less changing. [...] I do remember that there was discussion at one point about the fact that every level started to get the bluish tint because they were all "high-tech". Perhaps that led to the new palette.

--source

As I said, glass (and the glass-breaking effects) was often stripped out of the levels for performance reasons. That particular iteration of the TCTF lobby was reduced to a crawl because of all the glass. Also the glass retaining walls and bannisters didn't provide any cover for gunfights from one ledge to the other, so they were replaced by the low walls.

--source

Syndicate Warehouse

There are 15 hidden doors there. When revealed, they turn this very linear level into a completely non-linear structure (more like a real warehouse).

4 extra doors can be seen in the left picture; on the right, the current appearance of the level from this angle
CHAPTER 01 . TRIAL RUN.png Warehouse from splashscreen angle.jpg
The level changed after Bungie West took a screenshot as a basis for their chapter's title screen. Many crates were added, the doors re-textured... and the forklift is higher now.



Musashi Manufacturing Plant

This one has evolved quite a lot.

The room with the "engines of evil"
ManPlant11.JPG ManPlant12.JPG
ManPlant10.JPG ManPlant13.jpg
There was more conventional warehouse machinery in here back then.


The foyer
Genesis Level2 10.jpg
Pre-beta ManPlant 1.jpg Pre-beta ManPlant 2.jpg
Genesis Level2 1.jpg Genesis Level2 2.jpg
Genesis Level2 3.jpg Genesis Level2 4.jpg
Genesis Level2 5.jpg Genesis Level2 6.jpg
Note the door leading off the center of the foyer: there was a corridor running through the middle of the building.


An unknown area
(with lightmapping, discussed in the "Pre-beta features" article)
ManPlant3.JPG Genesis Level2 9.jpg
ManPlant1.JPG Genesis Level2 12.jpg
ManPlant14.jpg
The last picture has a very provisional-looking health bar; these are some early screenshots.


Inner flyway and back of the building
Genesis Level2 11.jpg
Pre-beta ManPlant 3.jpg ManPlant5.JPG
ManPlant6.JPG ManPlant7.JPG
ManPlant8.JPG ManPlant9.JPG
The stairs lead up to the offices.


The offices
Genesis Level2 13.jpg Pre-beta Office 3.jpg
Pre-beta Office 4.jpg Pre-beta Office 5.jpg
Pre-beta Office 1.jpg Pre-beta Office 2.jpg
The offices seem to be in the back of the building, on both floors, with doors and "windows" onto the "alarm console gallery". First 4 pics: lower floor, the empty dark wall on the first is where the stairs are. Last 2 pics: upper floor.



Vago Bio-Research Lab

This one has kept the same basic layout, but there were a few changes. The most distinct difference is the night-time setting.

Lab at night-time
Genesis Level3 6.jpg Genesis Level3 7.jpg
Vago3.JPG Genesis Level3 11.jpg
Pre-beta Vago Lab.png Vago11.JPG
The interior is only done in one half of the lab. There are also pillars and foyer doors missing, and extra ledges along the sides of the area where you fight Barabas.


Foyer and SLD wing
Genesis Level3 8.jpg Genesis Level3 1.jpg
Genesis Level3 2.jpg Genesis Level3 3.jpg
Genesis Level3 4.jpg Genesis Level3 5.jpg
Vago19.jpg Genesis Level3 12.jpg
Genesis Level3 9.jpg Genesis Level3 10.jpg
There were stools for the scientists... apart from that, this wing is pretty much final.


Machines in the acid room
Genesis Level3 13.jpg Vago Lab acid machine.jpg
The final ones are much thinner, and the layout of the stairs and catwalks is different.



Vansam Regional Airport

The airport's entrance
Pre-beta Airport.jpg
This could be the "Arrivals" section (which is now completely empty).



TCTF Regional Headquarters

Parking lot
Genesis Level8 2.jpg Genesis Level8 4.jpg
Genesis Level8 1.jpg TCTF8.JPG
A longer car. Different transition from the parking lot to the main building. Konoko's bike is parked nicely in that first shot, instead of laying on the floor.


Main entrance
Genesis Level8 5.jpg TCTF3.JPG
TCTF7.JPG TCTF12.JPG
The room is more than 2 times wider now. There are windows on the right and catwalks running across the far side. The entrance door changed a lot, but the van didn't change much...


The "atrium" rendered in an editor
TCTF0.jpg Genesis Level8 6.jpg
Pre-beta TCTF HQ.jpg
The elevator was between the two sets of ramps. Solid floors had a tiling pattern, and ramps were transparent.


The atrium, another version
Genesis Level8 9.jpg Genesis Level8 3.jpg
TCTF13.JPG TCTF14.JPG
TCTF15.JPG TCTF17.JPG
The ramps had really nice railings (I wish they'd kept them), overall the room was much lighter (there's a light wall on the far side). Same "V" structures at the ceiling as above: they're gone now. The layout of the rooms on either side is different, too.


Damocles
Genesis Level8 10.jpg TCTF11.JPG
Genesis Level8 11.jpg
The model didn't change at all, but now it's placed at the center (floor 2/3) of a really tall, open room. As for the terminals, there are primitive ones with similar looks around Damocles and elsewhere. Note the Marathon logo on Damocles' chassis (an Easter egg).


Outdoors
TCTF1.JPG TCTF10.JPG
TCTF4.JPG TCTF9.JPG
The parking lot was more lushly lit on the outside. Now there's no light on the sidewalks. There used to be a lot more cars in the garage, too.


Misc.
TCTF5.JPG TCTF19.JPG
TCTF20.JPG



Atmospheric Conversion Center

Turbitt - ACC 1.jpg Turbitt - ACC 2.jpg
Turbitt - ACC 3.jpg Turbitt - ACC 4.jpg
Turbitt - ACC 5.jpg Turbitt - ACC 6.jpg
These shots are probably from the time when this was an electric plant. Note that the giant tube that serves as the end of the level (seen in the first pic) has a floor to walk on, in place of the electrified beam suspended in the middle, which Konoko runs down while being pursued by the TCTF. The pipe is also connected directly to the building, rather than being at the top of an elevator shaft. In the current version of the level, the mid-air beam is also the shaft for the giant fan; adding the fan was probably a hasty improvisation to make the level seem more like an ACC and less like an electric plant... but the fan shaft is still electrified!



Regional State Building

Hardy once stated that RSB was the first building that Bungie completed. Apparently that is also why it's been through so many changes.

The foyer and lobby
Pre-beta RSB 1.jpg 1999 Trailer ID fight.jpg
RegionalState23.JPG RegionalState1.JPG
RegionalState4.JPG RegionalState6.JPG


Upper floors
Pre-beta enigma 4a.jpg Pre-beta enigma 4d.jpg
Pre-beta enigma 4b.jpg Pre-beta enigma 4c.jpg
These screenshots are taken from this show floor trailer. The last three images show a sequence that uses multiple camera angles, in which a cop is knocked down by what appears to be the Tanker rolling attack, but with energy shooting from its starting point.


Outside
Konoko runs from Iron Demon.jpg RegionalState10.JPG
RegionalState11.JPG RegionalState2.JPG
RegionalState7.JPG RegionalState8.JPG
By the time Bungie took the outside shot with the Iron Demon, they'd barred in the foyer. Also, notice the missing wall of glass in the last set of pics. This section is now occupied by a wall with a normal-sized door set in the middle of it. The original wide-open entrance is an odd design choice. Could it have been a pet door for the Iron Demon? Most likely the ID was only shown in this level because it was their "test-bed" level, since it was really meant for BGI HQ, but perhaps an initial skirmish was once planned here. Finally, note the multiplayer HUD in the top-right of many of these pictures; the screenshot-taker was in MP mode at the time.



Rooftops

Turbitt - Rooftops 1.jpg
If this is the area that leads up to the roof where Konoko fights Mukade, it looks like the original plan called for a staircase, not an elevator. The overall flow of the level must have been different too, as the blocks that Konoko jumps up are missing from the area to the right of the floor that the staircase starts on. The buildings with the rounded and steepled roofs in the background are now in a different position with respect to the Mukade building. Perhaps a block of buildings was rotated for the final model.



TCTF Science Prison

The scanner
Pre-beta Science Prison scanner.jpg
New wall textures. Looks like the scanner's textures are actually higher-res than what we have now.


Security tower
Turbitt - Science Prison 1.jpg Turbitt - Science Prison 2.jpg
Turbitt - Science Prison 3.jpg Turbitt - Science Prison 4.jpg
Turbitt - Science Prison 5.jpg
There used to be some very interesting lit walkways leading in and out of the security tower. They were replaced on all three sides by corridors with laser obstacles. The last picture shows an interesting area that was apparently removed, which is roughly in the same position as the acid vat complex in the final model.



Syndicate Mountain Compound

Heart of the Sturmanderung Megacomputer
Pre-beta Now
Pre-beta Compound 1.jpg Compound 1.jpg
Pre-beta Compound 2.jpg Compound 2.jpg
1999 Trailer - Compound 1.jpg Compound 3.jpg
1999 Trailer - Compound 2.jpg Compound 4.jpg
Compound3.JPG Compound4.JPG
The basic layout of the room is the same, but it was much more crowded with "computers" and the existing catwalks were aligned differently.


Somewhere else
Compound5.JPG Compound6.JPG
Compound7.JPG Compound14.JPG
Compound15.JPG
Apparently the Syndicate is also in league with BLAM Transport Inc.! Another BGI front?



Cut levels

Names of these levels

Level names in Oni are stored in the global resource file known as "level0_Final", so that the out-of-game loading dialog can display them. Somewhat surprisingly, the names of missing levels are present even in retail versions of Oni.

It appears that levels below 20 were intended as single-player levels, 30-35 were multiplayer maps, and the rest were test levels. For some of those levels, there are fragmentary scripts which can be found in the Big Blue Box release of Oni. If there was any info to be gleaned from those scripts, it is described in that level's section. Here are the missing levels alongside their presumed BSL folder names. Click the name to jump to that section below:

# Name BSL
05 The Airport Part Deux Airport_II
07 Obsolete
16 BGI HQ BGI
30 The Arena of Pain aop
31 Crossing Zone CZ
32 Pit pit
33 Crossing Zone Too CZ_II
34 Capture cap
35 Territories
36 Test_Stuff
55 AlexTestSite ats
66 Experimental_II
68 MARTY'S SOUND CORRIDOR
71 FiringRange SR
77 One Room
88 One Room 2
99 Test Barn II



Airport Part Deux

The presence of the Airport_II IGMD folder in BBB Oni explains why retail Oni contains an Airport and Airport_III folder but no "Airport_II". The scripts in this folder are very short and little of the level can be gleaned from them. However, a mention of the animation "KONOKOlev5_outro_run" allows us to pin down Airport_II as the missing level 5 in the sequence of levelx_Final folders in GameDataFolder. This is consistent with Airport being linked to level4_Final and Airport_III being linked to level6_Final. This post by Chris Butcher indicates that there was an underground portion to the Airport which was removed.



Obsolete, etc.

This level, which would have been level7_Final, represents the gap between the end of the airport levels and the first TCTF HQ level. Since Bungie blanked the name of this level, we can only speculate on this level and the unnamed levels 15 and 17 (for 16, see below). However, Chris Butcher's comment above and Hardy's comment here indicate that levels were originally planned according to an earlier version of the story, hence the gaps in numbering are mostly indicative of a change in plans, rather than of content actually being created and then cut.



BGI HQ

This level was likely intended as Konoko's final confrontation with the shadowy BGI, which was later excised from the story as Oni's development ran out of time. Fragments of a script for this level can be found in BBB Oni. The scripts contain two cutscenes, one of which describes Konoko setting a bomb and taking cover, and the resulting explosion, and the other cutscene introduces the Iron Demon that would end up getting cut from the game. The number of the level indicates that these events would take place before Konoko returns to the TCTF to confront Griffin and after meeting with Kerr in the Science Prison.

The four screenshots we have for the level are about as uninformative as possible, but it at least demonstrates that the level was once under development.

BGI1.JPG BGI2.JPG
BGI3.JPG BGI4.JPG



Arena of Pain?

A very simple arena level, at various stages of development, or in various flavors. Possibly "The Arena of Pain".

MP arena 1-1.jpg MP arena 1-2.jpg
MP arena 1-7.jpg MP arena 1-3.jpg
MP arena 1-4.jpg MP arena 1-5.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 1-8.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 1-7.jpg
MP arena 1-6.jpg



Crossing Zone?

Pre-beta Muro vs. Konoko.jpg Pre-beta Muro vs. Konoko 2.jpg
Alex Okita remembered this as "Just a bunch of tubes"; "It was pretty big, lots of falling and dying, from what I remember". The cross-beams are also reminiscent of Construction Pit.



Construction Pit (The Pit)

A giant playground where most of the 1999 trailer gameplay was recorded.

Up top
Pit1.JPG Pit2.JPG
Pit3.jpg


Down below
MP arena 2-1.jpg MP arena 2-2.jpg
MP arena 2-3.jpg MP arena 2-4 with Iron Demon.jpg
Pit4.jpg Pre-beta blood.jpg
The first three pictures show some basic elements of the level's architecture (most notably, very steep stairs). The third picture shows Konoko knocking down an early Tanker, with what looks like a collision glitch. The fourth picture is a rare glimpse at the Iron Demon.


1999 Trailer
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-5.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-6.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-7.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-8.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-9.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-10.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-11.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-12.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-13.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-14.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-15.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-16.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-17.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-18.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-19.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-20.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-21.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-22.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-23.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-24.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-25.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-26.jpg



AlexTestSite

The script for this level, found in the ats folder in BBB Oni's IGMD, shows that this was a test level for Mukade's teleportation (with a comment referencing the "bamf" sound effect of comic book fame).



2000 demo level

The arena Steve Abeyta played in when he demoed netplay in 2000 (see Multiplayer for a video of this demonstration). Looks like it could be BGI HQ, except that there's no similarities with the four screenshots in the BGI section above.

MP arena 3-1.jpg MP arena 3-2.jpg
This is not the same side of the same room; probably both sides of that room. It is unknown what other rooms there are and where the overhead ramps are going. The ramp briefly flattens out before continuing to ascend, halfway through the room, which in these screenshots can be easily mistaken for some kind of distortion or modeling error.



Miscellaneous mysteries

Pre-beta enigma 3.jpg
According to Okita, this was part of Manufacturing Plant, but "was cut out later since there wasn't any need to go in there".


Pre-beta enigma 1.jpg Pre-beta enigma 2.jpg
This looks like the Syndicate Warehouse or Atmospheric Conversion Center (interior), but doesn't match with the current versions of either.



Cut weapons

Genesis Level3 8.jpg
This now-extinct pistol was seen all over the place back when Bungie was taking pre-beta screenshots. This was the Shibume SH-40, a fully-automatic pistol that fired 10 rounds/sec.
Compound4.JPG
An earlier machine gun with a visible clip of ammunition.
Early scram cannon 1.jpg Early scram cannon 2.jpg
The Iron Demon can be seen firing this weapon in the trailer at 1:25; apparently Konoko would salvage the gun from the ID after destroying it. Although fans were impressed by its size, some also wanted to know how petite Konoko could even hold the thing. Okita joked that it was filled with anti-gravity. This was probably the basis for the (much smaller) Scram Cannon.
Pre-beta enigma 5.jpg
Some sort of energy weapon?



Altered characters

Some characters are considered to have declined in appearance since the 1999 trailer that was cut during Oni's development, particularly Muro:

1999 2001
Muro 1999.jpg Muro 2001.png

Besides the wardrobe change, his facial structure has been altered to make him, well, coyote ugly. When asked about Muro's redesign shortly after Oni's release, Hardy stated:

There were some issues with a few of the original characters, specifically the way they were modelled and textured. When Chris Hug[h]es got around to redoing them to remove sorting issues and correct their "physiques" (which is an 3D animation term relating to the way the vertices interact during animation) he often changed their clothes from the outfits Alex Okita originally gave 'em. Chris and Alex had what you might call a "friendly rivalry" in the art department ;^>

--source



Cut animated textures

The 1999 trailer also reveals that computer screens were going to be animated. The engine still allows animated textures, but Oni only seems to use this feature once, for the 15-frame news broadcast on the giant screen in Rooftops. Animated textures would have brought more life to the environment, but at the cost of added memory -- especially for the smooth animations that the trailer displays at 0:16 and 1:17, which appear to be 30 frames each. Here's the first one:

Animated computer screen 1 1999.gif