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Dutch Power Unlimited article JJ from before release

PC-King

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Aug 2, 2018, 03:38 AM
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Dutch Power Unlimited article JJ from before release

Hey everyone,

A week ago I received a donation from a friend containing an old Power Unlimited magazine from 1994. After a few days I finally had some time to read through it and was very surprised to find an old (Dutch) article about Arjan Brussee and his Jazz Jackrabbit activities from just before its release!

I scanned the pages so I could share it with you guys:


Enjoy!
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Exclamation Wow!

Didn't expect I'd see any more old JJ1 screenshots ever, and these must be the earliest ones we've seen yet!





(this one was captioned as "heavy rain"???)



This hud is not one we've seen before, it looks like something straight out of a late 80's game or something. It seems like all the non-Blaster weapons were to be fired in a V pattern, which strikes me as odd. Also, RFs used to be "ECTO"?

The Diamondus level seems entirely new (no traces of LEVEL3.020...), but it's great to have found the missing link between release Diamondus and whatever the heck was this shot: http://www.tachyonlabs.com/sam/jjhq/images/j1b_ss7.png

Oddly enough, Tubelectric looks identical, except for the hinder bricks being blue instead of gray, and the whatevers replacing the spark barriers.

I don't even know where to begin with the 3D bonus one or the Orbitus one.

This is an amazing find! Can we hope for a transcript of the article sometime?
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Aug 2, 2018, 06:07 AM
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Okay, so looking closely at the ammo pictures for the weapons, I have some ideas on how they were supposed to each behave:

Blue fires two projectiles straight forwards. There is some evidence of this since that appears to be exactly what the blue weapon does in the screenshot where it was used.

Green fires two projectiles which move slightly up and down. Possibly also starts to move straight forwards after a certain point?

Red fires two projectiles which move significantly up and down. Possibly more-so on the upwards one and/or also moving forwards after a certain point? Alternatively, it moves up and down briefly before moving forwards (e.g. a bit like the dumbfire missiles from Raptor: Call of the Shadows, except starting moving forwards at least somewhat instead of starting backwards then moving forwards like the dumbfire missiles did). This is the one I'm least certain of and perhaps the biggest mystery out of all of them, since unlike the other two it was never fired in screenshots and, unlike the green weapon, doesn't appear to resemble anything in the final version. (Heck, the blue weapon vaguely resembles a rocket-powered version of the Launcher visually, even if the behavior is clearly different.)

Of course, it's a bit hard to tell for sure due to how blurry the screenshots are, not to mention how they're cropped, the red weapon doesn't appear to have been fired in any screenshots, etc., but hey, I may as well try and guess what they're supposed to do now that we have these.



This is neat stuff BTW. Like, really neat stuff. Nice find!
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Aug 2, 2018, 10:31 AM
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Some good replies in here already--I too would not have expected any more beta JJ1 screenshots to show up ever, especially in a magazine like this. It's interesting that one of the images is from an end-of-episode cutscene, and so was presumably drawn by Nick Stadler, but the rest of the images appear to be from earlier in development than when Nick was hired to work on the game. So these must be publicity images that Epic had sitting around and chose to send to this magazine.

It's a shame this version of the HUD doesn't seem to contain any world/level numbers, for further data about how the planets might have been ordered in development.

I'm unconvinced by the idea that all non-blaster weapons fired two bullets in a V pattern, despite the HUD images. I think we're seeing ECTO in most of those shots--note that we only see them colored blue in the Diamondus screenshots, and in those two we don't see the HUD at all. It's probably just a quirk of the Diamondus palette. But if you look at the explosion in the Tubelectric screenshot with MIT selected, that's plausibly from a weapon that fired in an arc, like launchers, yet didn't have code yet to bounce off the floor once it lands.

The bonus level screenshot is indeed very strange. The texture looks similar enough to the Diamondus walls that I'm guessing the two are associated, but there are two counters in the HUD, blue gems in the top right and something unknown in the top left. Maybe those red orbs?


Thanks for finding and posting these!
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Aug 2, 2018, 11:40 AM
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Seems like there's some green gems floating in the bonus level shot - perhaps that's what the second counter is for?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet CLM View Post
I'm unconvinced by the idea that all non-blaster weapons fired two bullets in a V pattern, despite the HUD images. I think we're seeing ECTO in most of those shots--note that we only see them colored blue in the Diamondus screenshots, and in those two we don't see the HUD at all. It's probably just a quirk of the Diamondus palette. But if you look at the explosion in the Tubelectric screenshot with MIT selected, that's plausibly from a weapon that fired in an arc, like launchers, yet didn't have code yet to bounce off the floor once it lands.
The sprite for the blue projectile is a bit taller than ECTO. Now, it's possible that ECTO used to use a larger sprite and they just used that shot in particular to hide it was a palette issue instead of actually being a different weapon, but- wait, I just noticed something...



ENHANCE!



...now what do we have here?

Seems I was wrong about the firing pattern of the blue missile. Nonetheless, with the missile sprite still clearly being different from the green missile, which looks like this (and upon closer examination, the green missile has some yellow on it, which the blue missile does not, in addition to the slightly different shape):

This does perhaps open up more questions than it answers, but hey, at least we know my guess on the firing pattern of the blue weapon was seemingly incorrect.

...come to think of it, have we ever seen the player firing a plain old standard bullet in any of these old screenshots...? It would appear not, though some of the later ones at least show it equipped. I guess they just figured that the regular ol' blaster would make for some boring screenshots, lol.
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The trouble is, easy as it would be to think these screenshots were all taken at the same stage of development, that's probably not the case. The Diamondus screenshots in question with the blue RFs are probably at a different time, probably earlier than the rest, because they don't feature working HUD code like the others. So comparing the exact blurred pixels doesn't mean much if the sprite was retouched between the days the screenshots were taken.

Do the names ECTO, MIT, and MOG-something mean anything to any Dutch speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by happygreenfrog View Post
...come to think of it, have we ever seen the player firing a plain old standard bullet in any of these old screenshots...? It would appear not, though some of the later ones at least show it equipped.
This isn't a bad thought... If you look at LEVEL3.020, our earliest level file, you notice that the +15 ammo orbs didn't need to be shot in order to give the player ammo, meaning you could get red/green/blue orbs even if you had nothing to shoot with in the first place. However, the HUD in these screenshots includes "Weapon 2," "Weapon 3," and "Weapon 4," which necessitates the existence of a Weapon 1 which doesn't have its ammunition displayed with the other three.
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Last edited by Violet CLM; Aug 3, 2018 at 11:09 PM. Reason: missed a word
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Here's the translation of the article for everyone!!!
I've translated it with Google so it's possible some sentences don't make sense. I did my best. ^^;

-------------------------------------------
ARJAN BRUSSEE THE MAN OF THE FUTURE
This month, the first levels of the PC game JazzJackRabbit appear as shareware on the international bulletin boards and are bundled on disks in magazines such as the American PC Format. Shortly after, the platform game will be released in the official version worldwide. It does not look very special, after all, there are dozens of games every month at this time. Only in this case is a Dutchman, barely a teenager in the teens, responsible for the media blitz to come.



BINARY WONDER CHILD
Arjan Brusee is a 21-year-old business administration student at the University of Rotterdam. However, he can not be found very often in college because he has better things to do. For example, programming computer games for the American game manufacturer Epic Me gaGames. Since Arjan started his first step in the binary universe with the Com- pore 64 and the TRS 80, his keyboard is figurally speaking no longer out of the reach than a day
.

In the past, it was even locked up at school to be able to work there all night on the then ultramodern XT. With the help of books and a great deal of patience and perseverance, he learned how the device worked and thus developed sophisticated instinct for programming.


GROUND BREAKING TECHNOLOGY
At the end of the 1980s he met the collective of UltraForce, a group of digital pioneers average age plus minus 17 years, who's graphical boundaries jogged with the demo movies that they made.

One of Arjan's demos where, among other things, Tintin's rocket that in real-time turned all sides, became highly acclaimed under the global subcircuit of computer freaks because it ended up on InterNet via bulletin boards, where it is like a chain letter all over the world. world. Arjan had at one time enjoyed the required cyber credit with his universal kind, his 'handle' (term for username) had been created. "I'm a CyberFreak: My modem did not work the other day, I felt isolated." Every day he visits the Coders Conference at InterNet where other programmers via his modem could exchange tips and finds. "Like?", I ask.

"Like how to do the fastest graphics on a PC. Speed, that's what it's all about. But also, and that is interesting for readers, that the sound card Gravis Ultra Sound has the ultimate configuration and that we all hate Windows. The Conference is a source of knowledge where you can find out how other people do it." It?


CHIP-SHEET
Two years ago, the gaming property giant EpicMega-Games knocked on its virtual door in cyberspace. Whether he wanted to make available the necessary dollars for his arts? I have started to write a separate development environment for Epic, which makes it possible to make a flat form game for the PC. "Huh, a developmental volumetric?" I interrupt. Ar jan continues uninterrupted: "That is how the data is structured into the computer." "Wouw", I mutter for lack of text. "It are the tools to write the game.", explains Arjan, "a word processor to make a game. Last year June I started programming JazzJackRabbit. This game is one big trick, in fact I take the chips out of the blue. They do things of which they themselves did not even know they could do it "laughs Arjan." You do not just make a game: there is a creative designer who writes the script,

there are drafters, musicians and about 30 play-testers. I started making the weighty back- grounds, then put the main character in it, then letting the environment interact with him, etc. There's more and more coming in. It's a lot of routines that ultimately make up the game.

MY FIRST SONIC
Arjan has just returned from America where he has had the last bugs (mistakes) from the beta version of his game. On the SuperVGA screen of his 486-66 MHz, a cone in a 3D landscape like the Son CD landscape can be rudely tugged with his foot. It is his creation JazzJackRabbit in the bonus round of the game. I am allowed to take a legion of turtles to finally save a princess. On one of the levels, JazzJack get's jojo'd through a tube system, I find the floating opponents, who follow the rabbit and attack him in the back, funny.

Only because I am in the God mode, I know how to get ahead in this spicy platform game. Smiling, Arjan looks over my shoulder, the man, in his own words, says he could finsh Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 both in one day. Sonic is still his favorite game ("Get real, Mario doesn't look good at all") and calls his game "my personal Sonic 1". Jazz JackRabbit is in fact very similar to the Sega cracker but with one big difference, that it is a game for the PC.



3D DREAMS

"Maybe we are going to make a conversion of the game to the 64-bit Jaguar." I ask him what he thinks of the current game system, to start CD-i "Ah." Silence. "How do you mean?" I ask and he starts off:

"the processor is shit, there are too little graphic processors and the chips are out of date." About 3DO. "I hope the device makes it, but it is not worth the price at the moment." CD32? "I prefer an Amiga with CD-Rom. l am also allergic to devices without a keyboard; I'm typing faster than I write. "CD-ROM?" For every fec you can store a lot of information, so all kinds of limits are lost, but so far the speed is disappointing. "And the Sega 32- bits of Saturn? "My next project is probably going to be a game for this system.

Together with a group of Finns and Danes for a company in Boston. De Virtua Racing cabinet that now stands in the arcade is a good example of the possibilities of the Saturn. But it the programmers anyway who have to use the capacity of whichever machine they use use. The dream game I would like to create, has the graphics of a spacegame like X-Wing, a Comanche-like landscape and Doom buildings. All in 3D.



THE MAN OF THE FUTURE

The most important as programmer is that you have an idea of ​​what gameplay is. You have to play in the game and do not have to be frustrating. Good games like Zelda and Dune 2 already have the Virtual Reality effect, you can fully empathize with an environment where you are not physically present.

The phenomenon Virtual Reality I think is really amazing and scary at the same time. I think we have to be carefull not to turn 10% of the children into serial killers after a game of Doom VR. I expect that the first VR products will be ready for consumers in ten years' time. Images like in Jurassic Park. What I will be doing by then? Accourding to Ken Williams, the director of Sierra, most programmers are at their best on their 19th. I already notice that young boys are catching up on all sides. In ten years' time, I want to have my own company where those guests work for me." Before I left I wanted to make another appointment with Arjan: he takes out his Psion Organizer, an electronic agenda. Of course he has such a thing, I think to myself, how could a man of the future be without one?
-------------------------------------------
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Aug 3, 2018, 04:38 AM
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Very cool! Thanks for the translation.
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which PU was this? I think I remember this article
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Aug 7, 2018, 10:52 AM
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Always cool to see such rare findings!

I wonder what the captions on the pictures say?
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Aug 7, 2018, 11:50 AM
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Awesome find for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magma Dragoon View Post
I wonder what the captions on the pictures say?
It's typical dry PU-nonsense and won't help solving any mysteries, but here you go (from left to right):

Thumper in a bonusflight
Acid rain (so those blue things might have nothing to do with the guns projectiles)
Freaky cartoon intro

The precarious/unstable life of a platform hero
Invulnerable
Space Boarding
K.O.-ed by a parrot
Bridge over troubled darkness
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Aug 10, 2018, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G@vie View Post
Awesome find for sure!



It's typical dry PU-nonsense and won't help solving any mysteries, but here you go (from left to right):

Thumper in a bonusflight
Acid rain (so those blue things might have nothing to do with the guns projectiles)
Freaky cartoon intro

The precarious/unstable life of a platform hero
Invulnerable
Space Boarding
K.O.-ed by a parrot
Bridge over troubled darkness
I digress. "Freaky cartoon intros" could imply they intended for the episodes to have animated intros as well as endings.

Thanks for looking into it btw.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magma Dragoon View Post
I digress. "Freaky cartoon intros" could imply they intended for the episodes to have animated intros as well as endings.

Thanks for looking into it btw.
Considering this is Power Unlimited, I concur with G@vie. It's never been high quality journalism, but that's its charm I guess.
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I love how Arjan predicted a bunch of consoles to fail due to expensive and less capable technology. And that he predicted a VR hype that (somewhat) came true around 20 years later instead of 10, minus turning kids into mass-murderers haha. He also did start his own company and hire those young programmers.

Arjan’s the practical example of “Where there’s a will there’s a way”.
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Old Aug 28, 2018, 11:22 AM
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This message has been deleted by Stijn. Reason: unrelated ranting
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AAAAAAAAAAAA crap.

I just wanted to respond to his rant. That was so ridiculous though. Back then Epic didn't really care about consoles (besides - see arjan's complaints about them). Though jazz2 is kinda like a console game.

Moving on, to stay on topic here. Those are really cool screenshots and indeed one wouldn't expect them from such a "buzzy" magazine.

So far there is no original jazz beta out there anywhere, is there? Could be cool if one of those days one appeared.
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