- This article focuses on differences in the assets of pre-beta 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).
- 1 Released levels
- 1.1 Decline in appearance
- 1.2 Combat Training
- 1.3 Syndicate Warehouse
- 1.4 Musashi Manufacturing Plant
- 1.5 Vago Bio-Research Lab
- 1.6 Vansam Regional Airport
- 1.7 TCTF Regional Headquarters
- 1.8 Atmospheric Conversion Center
- 1.9 Regional State Building
- 1.10 Rooftops
- 1.11 TCTF Science Prison
- 1.12 Syndicate Mountain Compound
- 2 Cut levels
- 3 Cut weapons
- 4 Iron Demon
- 5 Altered characters
- 6 Cut animated textures
- 7 Video footage
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 are 15 hidden doors there. When revealed, they turn this very linear level into a completely non-linear structure (more like a real warehouse).
Musashi Manufacturing Plant
This one has evolved quite a lot.
|There was more conventional warehouse machinery in here back then. "Balor" is a reference to Myth, still seen in Chapter 1 of the final game.|
|The stairs lead up to the offices. More lightmapping here, adding volume to the barely-textured level.|
|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.
|The barriers around the police vehicles have been removed since the screenshot for the splashscreen was taken. This might have been in order to give Konoko room to ride her bike, but it seems like she had room to fit through anyway….|
|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.|
|There were stools for the scientists... apart from that, this wing is pretty much final.
(HERE is a redundant image that doesn't show much apart from floor tiles.)
|The final ones are much thinner, and the layout of the stairs and catwalks is different.|
Vansam Regional Airport
|This could be the "Arrivals" section (which is now completely empty).|
TCTF Regional Headquarters
|Some different vehicles. Different transition from the parking lot to the main building. Konoko's bike is parked nicely in the second shot, instead of laying on the floor.|
|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 elevator was between the two sets of ramps. Solid floors had a tiling pattern, and ramps were transparent.|
|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).|
Atmospheric Conversion Center
|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.
|These stills are from a long-lost show floor trailer that can be seen playing in the background of the video Harry made at Macworld NY in 2000 (see the "Video footage" section below). An energy effect no longer used in Oni can be seen emanating from the places where the pre-beta Plasma Rifle's shots land in image 1 (however the effect looks different at 10 seconds into the video mentioned earlier – sparks flying and bouncing rather than an electrical burst).
Images 2–4 show a sequence from multiple angles in which an Elite Striker dives to the floor to dodge enemy gunfire, then gets up and uses his Cannonball Roll on the Security Guard. In images 3 and 4, there is a different mystery effect emanating from the floor, either the result of the Security Guard's PSP stream impacting the Striker or a particle formerly attached to the Cannonball Roll.
|There used to be a set of stairs on the right tower which led down from what is now basically a sniper's nest, possibly connecting to the roof that Konoko comes from before she climbs the stairs that lead up to the left tower.|
TCTF Science Prison
|New wall textures. Looks like the scanner's textures are actually higher-res than what we have now.|
Syndicate Mountain Compound
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 European Mac releases 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:
|05||The Airport Part Deux||Airport_II|
|30||The Arena of Pain||aop|
|33||Crossing Zone Too||CZ_II|
|68||MARTY'S SOUND CORRIDOR|
|88||One Room 2|
|99||Test Barn II|
Airport Part Deux
The presence of the Airport_II IGMD folder in some versions of 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.
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 "BGI HQ"). However, Chris Butcher's comment above and Hardy's comment here indicate that levels were originally ordered in line with an earlier version of the story.
Hence, the gaps in numbering are mostly indicative of a change in plans rather than content being cut. When the game was taking its final form during an intense crunch period, closing the gaps in the level numbering would have required renumbering levels that didn't otherwise need to be moved. Names of various animations indicate that the Mountain Compound level which is now level19 was once numbered level7. What that says for the original flow of the story is difficult to say, but it illustrates how much content may have been shuffled around.
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 European Mac releases and the PS2 port. 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.
Below are the only four screenshots we have for the level. Similarities to the architecture in TCTF HQ have been noted, and were explained by Hardy LeBel:
Arena of Pain
A very simple arena level, at various stages of development, or in various flavors. This level also featured heavily in mid-development footage (see the "Video footage" section below).
In this area, the wall seen on the left appears to say "[DA]VES [AR]ENA of PAiN", which if true would refer to Dave Dunn the level modeler.
Apparently another view of the same writing.
|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.
|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.|
The script for this level, found in the ats folder in some versions of 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 net play 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.
|This looks like the Syndicate Warehouse or Atmospheric Conversion Center (interior), but doesn't match with the current versions of either.|
|It's not at all clear what level the original screenshot behind this image came from. Click the image to read more about its origin.|
|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.|
|An unnamed machine gun with a visible clip of ammunition. Note the visible laser sight emanating from an odd place on the weapon. Ubiquitous laser sights and unique aiming reticles for all weapons were added in the final month of development according to Hardy, but it looks like they were experimenting much earlier with the use of a laser sight to help the player see where they were aiming. The laser-plus-dot system can be seen in use with the Shibume SH-40 HERE, and a dot-only system can be seen in use HERE.|
|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.|
|This was some sort of energy weapon, firing small shots resembling lens flares which rotated as they flew.|
See Iron Demon to learn about the mech that Konoko was supposed to fight, which did not make it into the final game.
Some characters are considered to have declined in appearance since the 1999 trailer that was cut during Oni's development, particularly Muro:
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:
Cut animated textures
The 1999 trailer also reveals that computer screens were going to be animated. The engine still allows animated textures but, besides special effects such as fire, Oni only seems to use this feature once in the environment – 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 computer screen animations seen in the trailer, which appear to be 30 frames long. Here are all three of them, though the third appears to be a fuller view of the second: