The whole story began here, continued here, and this thread was followed by another here. -3DOExp
OK! I have played through the entire beta, and here are my observations of what I found. Its part 1 of 3 since I figured Part 2 would be the Alpha Bitrate promised to upload. Maybe there will be a part 3 that compares the 3DO version to the PC version, but since its so drastically different, I may not do it.
So here goes...
The beta has absolutely NO fundamental differences compared to the retail disc. The game is basically finished, considering all the enemies are present, all the soundtrack is included where it was in the retail version, and there are no more / less levels than in the retail version. So basically this beta must be beyond the point where they were "creating" any of the game, and existed as a build to look for bugs, ect ect. Now of course I didn't play each game side by side to see whether or not a tiny part of the map was altered (IE: wall moved a few spaces) but I did play through each section of the beta, checking every corner and wall out.
The game is finishable, but it takes some work due to the Hedge Maze being extremely buggy. But you can obtain all the keys / winged vessels, enter the attic, and "win" the game. I have only acheived the "good" ending, so I can't confirm if the "bad" ending (not like there is much of a difference anyway) has been included or not
Here are the subtle differences :
Beta = way more generous with the ammo. On medium, in the retail copy, ammo can get pretty scarce if you don't manage it well. In the beta, on medium, I never ran out of ammo once. I didn't play any differently, and cleared each area of enemies. So between the beta and the final release, they made the game 'harder'. Also seems that there are less hit points on the enemies in the beta, but its so hard to tell considering Killing Time doesn't have the best hit detection in the world.
Enemy placement =
In the hedge maze, hunters appear a few corridors before they do in the retail copy. I know...huge huh?
Hedge maze =
textures appear in different order than in the retail version
Here are the issues :
The hedge maze is a disaster. As soon as you even attempt to enter the area, you start clipping into oblivion. Only by walking BACKWARDS can you avoid this happening. For some reason, the engine must not be rendering what is behind you, so by not "looking" at it, you don't let it start bugging out. Unfortunately, you do need to turn around to open some of the doors. Basically...you need to force the game into the bug, keep hitting the c button, listen for when the door opens, then turn around again to get out of the clipping. This occurs @ 1 frame per second or so, so it can take a good minute to make this happen.
Even still, you can get from one end to the other if you try hard enough.
Also in the hedge maze
...the tommygun gangsters are corrupted (well, half of them are) and you can hear ducks quacking and being squished as you walk around, but they NEVER appear.
Although now, the hedge maze does appear on the map, compared to the retail version where the entire map was hidden to make it more "maze like"...so its nice in the way that you can check everything out to make sure you haven't missed anything
In the wine cellar
...two issues. One, some of the floor and ceiling textures just aren't there....even if you exit the area and re-enter, they are missing.
Also, in the "mirror room"
(At least what I like to call it) where you have to pick your path in between crates to get from one end to the other, that puzzle isn't included in the beta. You can run from one end to the other picking whatever path you want.
In Egyptian Switches
...there is some minor texture distortion in open passageways. Basically, whatever texture is on the wall behind the opening shows up magnified 10x. Once you pass through, it stops.
Tess apparitions :
The blue ghost of tess rarely appears when you hear her calling out "help me" and they are very hard to activate. Even if you stand right on top of one, it can take 3-4 attempts to get the movie playing. All the movies do work, and there aren't any missing / any extras added. I would imagine they shot the FMV sequences before developing the game, as it was very story driven and as a filmmaker, I'd want that to be shot and then build a game around it. But who knows
Interesting things :
When you go to start a new game, the player name by default is Jonathan T. Mason. I checked the name against the developer list in the retail version, and it's not listed...so I am guessing its safe to say that is the name of the character your playing as. I wonder if they were going to give the player some backstory at some point and cut it out due to time constraints?
Map and Polygon bugs:
The map bug still exists, but to a lesser degree. I fell through the floor into the sewer off the east wing of the mansion, and my entire map progress from the sewers was saved. So that's an improvement over the retail copy. Upstairs in the mansion and in the mazes at the beginning of the game, your map progress still dissapears once you leave the area.
...does not exist in the beta. Or at least I cannot make it happen. I can pretty much consistently get this to occur in the retail release, so it seems they actually managed to produce this bug between this beta and the retail release. Now yes...there are some weird textures in Egyptian switches, so perhaps that's where the bug originated, and in their attempt to fix it, they introduced the polygon bug? Who knows
More enemies ? :
I swear in the maze outside the mansion entrance there are more hunters in some rooms than in the retail version. One large area alone had 14 hunters and about 8 ducks. I never recall having that many enemies in one area in the retail version.
Enemy "sprite" size -
I swear some of the enemies seem scaled down compared to the retail version. I need to check this a bit further though. Perhaps they increased their size once they optimized the game further on in the version # history.
Frame Rate :
I heard someone say they thought the frame rate was better in the beta. It sure seems slower to me! Like 1-2 frames off the retail release frame rate
But thats about it!
The beta is basically a buggy version of the retail release of Killing Time. Unfortunately there aren't any new / different areas or enemies, no extra soundtrack or FMV videos. It must have been pretty close to being finished by this point. If it wasn't for the hedge maze being really messed up, I would never have even guessed I was playing a beta.
Hope everyone enjoyed this! I had fun checking the beta out. Special thanks to 3DO Experience for uploading the game.
Below the three photos is a link to a small movie showing the "clipping" bug I described in regards to the hedge maze. You can see that before you even exit the door to the maze itself, the game gets pissed off!