- 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).
- 1 Released levels
- 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.|
|Note the door leading off the center of the foyer: there was a corridor running through the middle of the building.|
|The last picture has a very provisional-looking health bar; these are some early screenshots.|
|The stairs lead up to the offices.|
|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 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.|
|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
|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.|
|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).|
|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.|
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 screenshots are taken from a long-lost show floor trailer that can be seen playing in its entirety in the background of a video posted in the "Video footage" section below. The last three images show a sequence that uses multiple camera angles, in which a Tanker dives to the floor to dodge enemy gunfire, then gets up and knocks down the Cop with his Cannonball Roll. An unusual energy effect can be seen emanating from the pre-beta form of either a weapon or the Cannonball Roll attack.|
TCTF Science Prison
|New wall textures. Looks like the scanner's textures are actually higher-res than what we have now.|
Syndicate Mountain Compound
|The basic layout of the room is the same, but it was much more crowded with "computers" and the existing catwalks were aligned differently.|
|Apparently the Syndicate is also in league with BLAM Transport Inc.! Another BGI front?|
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:
|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 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.
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.
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.
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, found in the "Video footage" section below.
|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 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.
|According to Okita, this was part of Manufacturing Plant, but "was cut out later since there wasn't any need to go in there".|
|This looks like the Syndicate Warehouse or Atmospheric Conversion Center (interior), but doesn't match with the current versions of either.|
|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 earlier machine gun with a visible clip of ammunition.|
|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.|
|Some sort of energy weapon?|
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 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 screen animations that the trailer displays at 0:16, 0:28, and 1:17, which each appear to be 30 frames long. Here's the first one: