Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Biohazard 2 Comparative Analysis - Part 1

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Biohazard 2 Comparative Analysis - Part 1

    So this is a small part of a comparative analysis which sums about all of my research that has went into Biohazard 2 over the years I've been involved with the community. Inspired by members who came before me, namely Biohazard1995 and Ys1, as well as many others who have done their own research, I decided to continue and expand on their research. This will probably come across as a little random and a little incomplete, but hopefully it will give you all something to chew over until I can write it in a more complete and detailed form.

    Method of Investigation

    The first thing I decided that I needed to do was to extract all the backgrounds from various beta builds in the public domain, the ones I chose were Biohazard 2 1996-11-06 (Playstation Museum), Biohazard 2 1997-08-06 (Trial Edition) and Biohazard 2 1997-10-31 (Beta 2). But instead of just extracting them in standard order I instead organized each BSS file in order of date of last modification and then extracted the backgrounds, in order to have a visual aid that allows me to see the development progression as Capcom updated their BSS archives. This allowed me to see what was the absolute oldest and the absolute newest rooms stored on each disc. This was important to my research as it allows me to date a particular background set in a piece of media and allows me to rule out any background sets that could not have been present at the time with little effort. There are other methods I used but we will get to them a little later. Here you can find all of my background archives, note that there is a labeling mistake in one of the archives but it is not important to this analysis, that will be fixed at a later date and you can re-download again should you wish to do so.

    https://anonfiles.com/file/a66e9b8db...b3a569bad42719

    BSS Background Analysis

    The first thing to understand is, what exactly is a background archive and how/why is it useful to this research? A background archive, also known as a BSS file, is a collection of images that all come together to create a room. Each archive has a particular date, a date of last modification, which tells us the date and time which Capcom last modified that particular archive. What it doesn't do is tell us the date of each individual image but this isn't overly important, it would be nice to know, but we can still learn a lot by studying these individual archives and the dates they were last modified.

    Development Habits

    Through analyzing these background files we can pick up on certain development habits Capcom used to have as they updated their artwork, one of the most prevalent habits Capcom had was to overwrite, not delete. This can be seen in many examples, the most obvious is to look at the Trial Edition archive its self. Quite clearly, Capcom had no intention of outright deleting their 1.5 background sets but decided to simply overwrite them as the development went along. The only exception to this are Stage 7 rooms, something I will touch on a little later. Another example is to look at the BSS archives them selves, where we can see multiple versions of a single room in one archive. Here is an example:

    http://i.imgur.com/8Cogp3g.png


    This here is ROOM203, the West Corridor Archive Room. Here in this room we can see one odd background, an early render of the cabinets at the end of the room. This background clearly comes from an older version of this room but yet it still remains in this archive, why is that? The answer is simple, only overwrite, never delete! Capcom never seemed to delete backgrounds they just overwrote them when the time came, leading to the odd background being left inside the archives that shouldn't be there. When you look at this comparison above the reason why they were left behind becomes apparent, because in the older archive the leftovers came from a room which had more camera angles, and thus when Capcom updated the room with fewer camera angles these leftovers never got overwritten. As you look at more examples you can see that these leftovers always seem to be the images at the very end...

    Spoiler:


    But this wasn't always the case...

    Spoiler:


    Stage 7 Assets





    During 1.5's development each section of the game was structured into stages, for instance Stage 1 was the RPD, Stage 2 was the Sewers, Stage 3 was the Factory, Stage 4 was the Lab Entrance, and so forth. At the start of the retail game's development Capcom added what appears to be a new stage to the collection of 1.5 assets which seemed to serve as concept designs for the games future development, Stage 7. All of Stage 7 backgrounds are the oldest backgrounds from the retail development and never got overwritten until much later into the game's life when rooms starting with 700 were required. Here are some brief examples of the Stage 7 concept rooms, one has been omitted on purpose, I will get to that in a bit.

    Spoiler:


    As you can see, each of these backgrounds represents one Stage present in the retail game of Biohazard 2, the only possible exception is the Medical Room. At least in my opinion, each of these rooms served as a visual guide for the look and design they wanted in their new version of Biohazard 2.

    Dating the E3 1997 Build

    Spoiler:


    Coming up with a semi accurate date for the E3 build actually proved to be very simple. The first obvious thing is to find out when E3 was held and thanks to IGN we can find that in 1997, E3 was held between 19 - 21 June in Atlanta Georgia.

    http://uk.ign.com/wikis/e3/E3_1997

    The next step is to identify a piece of artwork from the E3 build that featured at that show, there are many rooms shown but unfortunately Capcom also replaced many rooms in the process of producing the Trial Edition. Here are some comparisons which were crucial, courtesy of Biohazard1995.

    Spoiler:


    In these comparisons we can see that Capcom seem to have made changes to all of the rooms except one and that is the 2F balcony of the RPD main hall. Taking this example we now want to look at the Trial Edition to try and find this background set, which turns out to be ROOM110. By using CDMage we can find ROOM110.BSS which is dated 11/06/1997, one week before E3, so it seems we have a solid reference point for dating an asset belonging to that build. Using my background archive we can easily see which rooms came next in their updates to the Trial Edition, and the last room to be modified before E3 1997 is ROOM21D, a low res version of the Kennels, which has been dated 18/06/1997. Coincidentally none of the other rooms shown in the comparisons above exist in the archive before this date, so this lends credibility to the idea that ROOM110 is a genuine E3 build asset, and since no backgrounds were updated until after E3 on 23/06/1997, that the actual date the E3 build was compiled fell somewhere between the 11th and the 18th June 1997. This also means that anything that can be seen in my archive before this date is a genuine pre E3 asset and can be found on the build in one form or another, whether in game or locked as part of the games files.

    Spoiler:


    Evidence of a Hybrid Build

    By watching the E3 1997 video posted above it is clear that for their video Capcom used a mixture of 1.5 and retail footage, what this reason was no one is sure, it is mostly assumed it was out of laziness and to show a more fleshed out video at one of the worlds largest electronic entertainment shows. However there is always the question of whether Capcom intended to use these assets, so I decided to look at the Trial Edition to see if I could find evidence of an actual hybrid build existing and surprisingly, I believe I actually did. While not substantial, these small pieces of evidence suggest that perhaps at one point Capcom did intend to have a hybrid between their earlier project and their new one. Remember those Stage 7 rooms we were talking about that were added at the beginning of the retail's life? Well there was one more Stage 7 room added to the retail game but it wasn't added at the beginning of the development, it was in fact added much later in development, later than the E3 build its self and is nothing more than a genuine 1.5 room.

    Spoiler:


    If anything is evidence of a 1.5/2 hybrid this is it. Capcom went to all the effort of designing their concept rooms by scratch and made sure it was one of the first things they developed. So why was it all the way in mid July 1997 that they decided to update Stage 7 again, and why was it with a genuine 1.5 background set? It seems in the beginning they had no intention of redesigning the Labs and it seems even well into July they still had no intention. It has to be noted that they chose to pick a room which didn't transition from one area to another, which makes sense since they had abandoned the Factory by this point already and no longer required the elevator as the means of reaching the Labs, instead using the train car. This room however would remain unaffected by that change. Remember this opinion is only formed by studying the background files and further investigation of actual room data (RDT) might reveal more secrets about this development choice.

    -----

    This the end of part 1 for now, hopefully it gives you some things to chew on till I get more time to expand on more things I've looked at. Please feel free to discuss as you will and if people have questions I'll be happy to answer, elaborate or help people with their own investigations. As a bonus here's a complete comparison of Stage 1's progression as the game shifted from prototype to retail. The two sources used were the Playstation Museum build and the Trial Edition as there were no later 1.5 builds available and it was intended to show progression as the new development was taking place. Perhaps someone might want to fill in the blanks. People might be surprised to see some of the similarities, as while the games have their obvious differences I found the two games in some cases to be not as different as first made out to be.



    Spoiler:

  • #2
    Reserved.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by geluda View Post
      Reserved.
      All rights?O.o

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Wrathborne View Post
        All rights?O.o
        Lol. Reserved for more which will be posted in the coming weeks, just to keep it all in one place.

        Comment


        • #5
          Mind you, looking back over this and looking further at some of the work I've just done I've noticed a massive contradiction and something I've completely overlooked. What happened to ROOM118-126? While Capcom didn't seem to delete a lot of their work these rooms are deffinately missing from the Trial Edition. It seems other 1.5 rooms are in fact missing from the Trial in the same manner as well, judging by their development choices it's surprising to see Capcom being selective on which 1.5 rooms stayed and which 1.5 rooms went. Did this happen in later eras of 1.5's life post PSM build? Or did this happen during the retail development? Can anyone shed any light on this?

          Comment


          • #6
            I missed the thoughtful detective work on THIA. Great job, geluda.

            I have one question to ask you. In ROOM203 you put up 6 images of the archive but left 5 with an interrogation mark. I assume this is because you were able to determine that there should be 11 slots for that archive. Could this process be replicated on the PSM build and expanded to other locations (such as say, know how many rooms are meant to be in each stage)?

            I did a bit of digging myself and I did find something interesting. In the PSM build there is RDT data of ROOM106 dated 11/09/1996 but there is no actual ROOM106. This room predates the PSM build and it's probably present in Famitsu Build but it was either deleted or whatever was in that slot was changed someplace else. Assuming that it was indeed a different location, my best bet would be that it would represent one of the Interrogation Rooms since the North Office was already completed in the Famitsu build and this room would be slotted along with the other Interrogation Room (ROOM105 & ROOM106). I discovered this by accident as the actual purpose was to figure out if the RDT data of ROOM302 was present or not (that is the Factory Entrance [Frontal] which underwent major changes by the ERA 5 Build). Which leads me to the next point...

            I don't agree with your thesis that there would be an hybrid build for that reason. The RDT data of ROOM302 was indeed present, despite how incomplete the room was and how much it was changed. And from what I've been able to gather, Capcom never did remove any assets like you said. If this is indeed true, and if they had plans to use the designs of 1.5's laboratory for the retail product as suggested by ROOM706, why did they remove all the RDT data from ROOM4/5/6XX? As you yourself said, they always overwrite data instead of deleting it. For the developing team, these "markers" probably signal that these locations were merely there as a reference points but that all of that would be gone from the retail product.

            That being said, I'm looking forward for more of this. Glad to see this kind of stuff back.

            I forgot to mention something. The PSM build ROOM404 which is the equivalent to the Trial Disc ROOM706 does not have the RDT. Strange but it's good food for thought.
            Last edited by Kegluneq; 05-28-2014, 10:39 AM.

            BioHazard YouTube Channel
            BioHazard 2 Prototype Database Project

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kegluneq View Post
              I missed the thoughtful detective work on THIA. Great job, geluda.

              I have one question to ask you. In ROOM203 you put up 6 images of the archive but left 5 with an interrogation mark. I assume this is because you were able to determine that there should be 11 slots for that archive. Could this process be replicated on the PSM build and expanded to other locations (such as say, know how many rooms are meant to be in each stage)?

              I did a bit of digging myself and I did find something interesting. In the PSM build there is RDT data of ROOM106 dated 11/09/1996 but there is no actual ROOM106. This room predates the PSM build and it's probably present in Famitsu Build but it was either deleted or whatever was in that slot was changed someplace else. Assuming that it was indeed a different location, my best bet would be that it would represent one of the Interrogation Rooms since the North Office was already completed in the Famitsu build and this room would be slotted along with the other Interrogation Room (ROOM105 & ROOM106). I discovered this by accident as the actual purpose was to figure out if the RDT data of ROOM302 was present or not (that is the Factory Entrance [Frontal] which underwent major changes by the ERA 5 Build). Which leads me to the next point...

              I don't agree with your thesis that there would be an hybrid build for that reason. The RDT data of ROOM302 was indeed present, despite how incomplete the room was and how much it was changed. And from what I've been able to gather, Capcom never did remove any assets like you said. If this is indeed true, and if they had plans to use the designs of 1.5's laboratory for the retail product as suggested by ROOM706, why did they remove all the RDT data from ROOM4/5/6XX? As you yourself said, they always overwrite data instead of deleting it. For the developing team, these "markers" probably signal that these locations were merely there as a reference points but that all of that would be gone from the retail product.

              That being said, I'm looking forward for more of this. Glad to see this kind of stuff back.

              I forgot to mention something. The PSM build ROOM404 which is the equivalent to the Trial Disc ROOM706 does not have the RDT. Strange but it's good food for thought.
              Thanks!

              The question marks in ROOM203 etc represent backgrounds which once existed in earlier builds but have since been replaced in the newer build. Each background has its own unique identification and is ordered from 0-F, in this case ROOM203 has six backgrounds in total 0-5 however only 0-4 represent cameras which are relevant to the Trial Edition. This means that the left over background comes from an earlier period of development and that 0-4 were also present in this earlier form, backgrounds which we have yet to see and are currently a mystery to us. In this case it is likely that this left over background (5) comes from the E3 build when the door to the room belonged in the West Office as opposed to the West Corridor, and that this room had 6 camera angles instead of just 5. Assuming Capcom reduced the number of camera angles in this room when they updated the archive this is the reason we have the leftovers, and I'd suggest this is the case for many of the rooms of this nature. There are some exceptions of course, by the time of Beta 2 their development habits got a lot more random and you can find additions to archives where they clearly shouldn't be.

              Spoiler:


              I think things are a little bit different with RDTs, as while it's easy to translate a background from one timeline to another, changing so much of the game will eventually require rebuilding the room regardless. In the case of the Labs there are many reasons why you might want to do that, for example let's say we no longer want to use the Gorilla's as an enemy, we then have to remove their collision boxes from the ceilings so they can no longer climb and swing, we have to remove 3D doors and event triggers, a lot of this stuff just isn't relevant any more and not needed in the current development, it's a lot simpler to just take boundary and camera data from the old room and import that into a new RDT build. More importantly however, my question would be why is this decision taking place during July as opposed to April/May like the rest of the concept designs? Why the sudden urge to acknowledge a redesign? Is it because the old Lab rooms aren't salvageable anymore like they once were?

              In my opinion this is possible evidence of 1.5 involvement in early retail concepts, as perhaps only certain areas were intended for a redesign at the beginning and perhaps others were already a part of the project. I have to admit it's mostly speculative but this evidence certainly raises the right questions and is absolutely relevant to the time of the E3 footage.
              Last edited by ; 05-28-2014, 02:05 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry to bump, but were you planning to do anything more with this? Found it pretty insightful for placing some of the development dates.

                Comment

                Working...
                X