Pre-beta content

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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).

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.

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.

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.

Combat Training

Firing range
CHAPTER 00 . COMBAT TRAINING.png Combat Training firing range.jpg
The training level was added in the final month of development. Apparently they took the screenshot for the splashscreen before the level was finished, because the plasma rifle and both types of ammunition are dumped unceremoniously on the floor instead of materializing on the desk (which does not appear to have been added yet).

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).

Splashscreen vs. current appearance from the same 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. 4 doors were removed, the others re-textured, many crates were added to the floor and upper side levels, 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. "Balor" is a reference to Myth, still seen in Chapter 1 of the final game.

The foyer
Genesis Level2 10.jpg Genesis Level2 1.jpg
Pre-beta ManPlant 1.jpg
Pre-beta ManPlant 2.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. The catwalk in the foyer has an interesting texture to the sides of its railings that isn't seen in other pre-beta shots of the level.

An unknown area
ManPlant3.jpg Genesis Level2 9.jpg
ManPlant1.jpg ManPlant14.jpg
The last picture has a very provisional-looking health bar; these are some early screenshots. Nevertheless they include an extravagant amount of lightmapping, discussed in the "Pre-beta features" article. (Light sources are actually visible in the first picture, hidden in the other three.)
This room may in fact be unrelated to Musashi, despite similar-looking stairs.

Inner flyway and back of the building
Pre-beta ManPlant 3.jpg ManPlant4.jpg
Genesis Level2 11.jpg ManPlant15.jpg
Genesis Level2 12.jpg ManPlant5.jpg
ManPlant6.jpg ManPlant7.jpg
ManPlant8.jpg ManPlant9.jpg
The stairs lead up to the offices. More lightmapping here, adding volume to the barely-textured level.

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.

Front gate
CHAPTER 03 . PUZZLE PIECES.png Vago Biotech front gate.jpg
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….

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 5.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.

(HERE is a redundant image that doesn't show much apart from floor tiles.)

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
TCTF van.jpg
Genesis Level8 2.jpg Genesis Level8 4.jpg
Genesis Level8 1.jpg TCTF8.jpg
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.

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
Pre-beta TCTF HQ.jpg TCTF0.jpg
Genesis Level8 6.jpg Genesis Level8 6-2.png
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.

Genesis Level8 10.jpg TCTF11.jpg
Damocles 1.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).

TCTF1.jpg TCTF10.jpg
TCTF9.jpg TCTF4.jpg
TCTF HQ from magazine scan.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. The building used to have lettering on the outside reading "TCTF", which is clearest in the brightly-lit version of the level depicted in the above scan from an unknown magazine. You can also see the back end of the Syndicate van that crashed into the building; it also seems to be visible in the screenshot immediately before that one. (The design of the building was obviously in flux since some of the textures differ between those two screenshots.)

TCTF5.jpg TCTF19.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 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.

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.


CHAPTER 10 . CAT AND MOUSE.png Rooftops towers.jpg
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.
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.

In the last picture (early development?) there are no computers at all, the bottom floor is missing, and the set of catwalks/stairs is minimal.

The cargo bay with the Red/Blue tunnels and the hijacked truck
Compound7.jpg Compound6.jpg
Apparently the Syndicate is also in league with BLAM Transport Inc.! Another BGI front?

("Blam" was a Bungie in-joke as well as Oni's unexpected quit dialog in Windows.)

In this last picture (early development), the general concept is there but the ceiling layout (slope, girders) is different and the room size is larger overall. Because of the picture quality, it is hard to make sense of the window in the far corner (it looks like it is a rectangular pod with glass walls hanging under the ceiling, not unlike in Airport Cargo Hangars).

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 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:

# Name BSL
05 The Airport Part Deux Airport_II
07 Obsolete
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
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 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.

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 "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:

The BGI level turned into TCTF HQ. [...] [A]ll of the levels in the game ultimately ended up being composites of architectural details that were stripped from various other pieces that the architects had made. The screenshots that you have of BGI were part of [an earlier, unused] building, as were a lot of the pieces of TCTF HQ.

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. This level also featured heavily in mid-development footage (see the "Video footage" section below).

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 1-7.jpg

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.

Arena of Pain 1.jpg Arena of Pain 2.jpg Arena of Pain 3.jpg

Apparently another view of the same writing.

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

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 2-05.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-06.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-07.jpg 1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-08.jpg
1999 Trailer - MP arena 2-09.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


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.

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 Compound5.jpg
According to Alex Okita, the picture on the left was part of Manufacturing Plant, but "was cut out later since there wasn't any need to go in there".

The picture on the right has been attributed to Compound, but doesn't resemble anything in Compound or elsewhere.

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.
Pre-beta enigma 5.png
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.

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 Vago8.jpg
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.

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 Airport 2.jpg MP arena 3-2.jpg
Pre-beta enigma 6.jpg
This was some sort of energy weapon, firing small shots resembling lens flares which rotated as they flew.

Iron Demon

See Iron Demon to learn about the mech that Konoko was supposed to fight, which did not make it into the final game.

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 ;^>

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:

Animated computer screen 1 1999.gif Animated computer screen 2 1999.gif Animated computer screen 3 1999.gif

Video footage

See Videos § Public & TV footage.