Freedom Reborn

Freedom Force Forums => Freedom Force Discussion => Topic started by: Ewzzy on July 05, 2021, 02:33:39 PM

Title: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 05, 2021, 02:33:39 PM
You recently saw my research into Irrational Games' cancelled title The Lost (http://www.freedomreborn.net/forums/index.php?topic=60746.0). It's just the first of many Freedom Force history subjects I've been diving into. With the 20th anniversary coming up there's a lot of history to dive into.

Let's start today checking out the PC Gamer June 2002 issue!
(https://i.imgur.com/Wpt6PQLl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/PCGamer_June_2002.jpg)
I haven't been able to score a copy or scan of the magazine but I do have the demo disc and it's a treat.
(https://i.imgur.com/uV0e6Tcl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/PCGamer_June_2002_front.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/SarRtPxl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/PCGamer_June_2002_back.jpg)
There are a lot of Freedom Force demo discs out there, but this one has exclusive skins.
(https://i.imgur.com/Hs45hGel.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/PCGamer_June_2002_back2.jpg)
I'd love to know the story of how community member Darkjared got this gig. What a wild assignment. Let's take a look at what he put together:
(https://i.imgur.com/rGxlhRml.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/PCGamer_Exclusive_Skins.jpg)
DJ's work is recognizable at a glance if you recognize his base skin. The hulking skin's chin really gives it away. Looking at these today, obviously the biggest question is "what the heck is with that... thing?" Turns out that's the "Coconut Monkey" a very 2000s lol-random mascot of PC Gamer's that they'd include as an easter egg on the demo disc wherever they could.

If you'd like to download the Demo Disc you can do so here from Archive.org:
https://archive.org/details/pc-gamer-june-2002 (https://archive.org/details/pc-gamer-june-2002)

The exclusive skins can be downloaded directly here:
https://archive.org/download/pc-gamer-june-2002/PC%20Gamer%20-%20Exclusive%20FF%20Skins.zip (https://archive.org/download/pc-gamer-june-2002/PC%20Gamer%20-%20Exclusive%20FF%20Skins.zip)

9 skins in a 2MB zip file. Remember when we'd fret about every kilobyte of storage? Wild.

The back of the disc says "we've also tossed in some of our favorites skins from the web!" What skins were those? They're all by the patron saint of skinning, The Gryphon. Anubis, Cleo, Heptet, Horus, Scarab, The Mummy are on the disc.

Finally, on the disc is a readme with a note from the fine folks of The Comic Skin Network:
Quote
For more excellent skins of original and well established comic/TV/movie heroes please visit us at The Comic Skin Network.  We currently make skins for The Sims, Freedom Force and Unreal Tournament.  You'll find more than 1500 well known and obscure characters to choose on our network of skinning sites!

The Comic Skin Network (CSN) is a community of websites dedicated to making comic or scifi themed skins for a variety of games.  The member websites are run by individual skinners and 3D modellers. We are always looking for new members and new games to skin for.  Come visit us and enjoy the downloads and partake in our lively message board communities.

March 2002 marks the 2 year anniversary of the CSN and we're hoping to keep growing for years to come.

Thanks to the guys at the greatest gaming magazine ever for the chance to share these skins with all of you!  PC Gamer rules!

So cool to see the skinning community go mainstream and to be reminded of how FF skinning was largely built off the back of superhero mods for The Sims. If anyone has screenshots from those days I'd love to see them.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 05, 2021, 02:38:58 PM
Wow, another neat find, Ewzzy! 

I remember the Coconut Monkey!  That was in the hey-day of my gaming and investment in the genre's news and culture. 
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: spydermann93 on July 05, 2021, 04:48:36 PM
Wow, that's awesome!

They still use Coconut Monkey as far as I remember.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Deaths Jester on July 05, 2021, 05:09:57 PM
You recently saw my research into Irrational Games' cancelled title The Lost (http://www.freedomreborn.net/forums/index.php?topic=60746.0). It's just the first of many Freedom Force history subjects I've been diving into. With the 20th anniversary coming up there's a lot of history to dive into.

I'd love to know the story of how community member Darkjared got this gig. What a wild assignment. Let's take a look at what he put together:
(http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/PCGamer_Exclusive_Skins.jpg)
DJ's work is recognizable at a glance if you recognize his base skin. The hulking skin's chin really gives it away. Looking at these today, obviously the biggest question is "what the heck is with that... thing?" Turns out that's the "Coconut Monkey" a very 2000s lol-random mascot of PC Gamer's that they'd include as an easter egg on the demo disc wherever they could.

Actually that isn't my base skin that was Valander's base skin that I used off and on, I think.  Though you are right, some of these look like they were done using some of my work....didn't know that and I even have the original disc too and there is no mention of me in the readmes...very interesting...oh well..was back in the days before we really started talkign about kittbashing and such...
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 05, 2021, 07:21:57 PM
Actually that isn't my base skin that was Valander's base skin that I used off and on, I think.  Though you are right, some of these look like they were done using some of my work....didn't know that and I even have the original disc too and there is no mention of me in the readmes...very interesting...oh well..was back in the days before we really started talkign about kittbashing and such...

Ah sorry I think this is my fault for abbreviating DarkJared to DJ. Here's the PC Gamer skin compared to their base skin. It's the same texture.
(https://i.imgur.com/rYRiKLW.png)
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Deaths Jester on July 05, 2021, 07:24:58 PM
Actually that isn't my base skin that was Valander's base skin that I used off and on, I think.  Though you are right, some of these look like they were done using some of my work....didn't know that and I even have the original disc too and there is no mention of me in the readmes...very interesting...oh well..was back in the days before we really started talkign about kittbashing and such...

Ah sorry I think this is my fault for abbreviating DarkJared to DJ. Here's the PC Gamer skin compared to their base skin. It's the same texture.
(https://i.imgur.com/rYRiKLW.png)

Ah...okay...yeah, now that I see it closer you are right.  That is def DarkJared's base skin....was confused for sure cause I remember when those came out and was skinning back then so..yeah...<shrugs>...
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Tomato on July 06, 2021, 01:46:42 AM
Dark Jared had some ties to a few different magazines back in the day. I recall finding the Skindex through Wizard magazine (which also had some character creator suggestions for a few wrestling games) and I would imagine it wasn't that great a leap that either someone at PC Gaming or Irrational sought him out for the same reason.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Tomato on July 06, 2021, 02:29:09 AM
Probably, but to be fair, so did Alex FF and a few others as well. Skindex did get hit a bit harder IIRC, but I feel like that was probably a combination of a few things... a sims community that still often has a lot of models as pay to use and Skindex getting caught up in that early net of Cease and Desists (I recall a LOT of sims sites being hit around that time), it's prevalence in both the sims AND early FF community via Wizard and other magazines, and the at-the-time production of several Marvel games that were, in effect, competing with Freedom Force and relying on the brand for those games to stand out (X-men Legends came out the year before FFv3R, and was likely well into production during the time a lot of the C&Ds started hitting).

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Deaths Jester on July 06, 2021, 02:57:47 AM
Sorry I removed the post the earned your response, 'mato, thus confusing folks looking uc this. For those interested, I mentioned that the extra attention that skindex garnered via the magazines might have also brought the cease and desist order on them but that is unknown. And thus 'matos response.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 08, 2021, 04:31:03 AM
Back again with more FF history! I've been digging around IGN and GameSpot for pre-release screenshots. I've dumped all I've found in this Imgur gallery so you can take a look: https://imgur.com/gallery/7mmz6vi (https://imgur.com/gallery/7mmz6vi)

Let's start with a bit of tech. Some screenshots show a dynamic shadow system that FF1 never had.
(https://i.imgur.com/fCN76gDl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Shadows.jpg)
FFVT3R has a dynamic shadow system but this seems to use FX as light sources in a way that doesn't seem to.

The real star of the show is how different some of the characters look.
(https://i.imgur.com/OPS4GD1l.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-El-Diablo.jpg)
El Diablo's face is so different that it's shocking. His costume also shows off his musculature in a typical way that is very un-diablo. If you look close you can see these screens are from different builds of the game with slightly different textures and UI.

That is very true of Man-Bot. There are at least 3 proto-builds here with slight skin changes.
(https://i.imgur.com/vx99Bi4l.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Man-Bot.jpg)
Most notable is the red chest piece, much heavier use of black lines, black backpack, and lower saturation. The final Man-Bot is much much bluer.

There's actually a lot of early Man-Bot art with the red chest piece and even a render that looks still yet more different than these screens.
(https://i.imgur.com/ZhBAzORl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/ZhBAzOR.jpeg)
It clearly took a long time to nail down his look.

There are a lot less images of Law, Order, and Bullet but they're worth taking a look at.
(https://i.imgur.com/WIPFGtul.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Group.jpg)
Order looks completely different with his baby blue toga. Law is mostly the same but some builds she doesn't have her sword yet. Bullet's costume is bluer and covers more skin. The Ant shows up briefly but looks basically the same as final.

I couldn't resist putting some time in and recreating the prototype skins for El Diablo and Man-Bot.
(https://i.imgur.com/cEUYU9fl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Pair.jpg)
I'm combining the looks from several old builds of the game and doing a fair amount of speculation. I can also see how the meshes changed that I couldn't account for. Think of these as reinterpretations.

Download Proto El Diablo (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-El-Diablo.zip)

Download Proto Man Bot (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Man-Bot.zip)

Join me next time as I take a look at early Mentor and some tiny tiny character art.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on July 08, 2021, 05:11:53 AM
I kinda like that look for Manbot.  It almost looks like an early Silver or Gold age version, like a Mk I.

I wonder if that shadow system got dumped from FF1 because it was too much of a drag on the resources.  It looks cool, but playability is always more important.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 08, 2021, 05:24:11 PM
I've seen these early shots and always thought they were really fascinating glimpses of what might have been and such.  Their map textures are particularly interesting. 
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Nyte Dragon on July 11, 2021, 09:30:01 PM
Just a little blast from the past.

(https://i.ibb.co/XWkgT42/Screenshot-20210710-194226-Chrome.jpg) (https://ibb.co/qDFfwny)

MM's Sticky Thing shall rise again!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Epimethee on July 11, 2021, 10:32:17 PM
Really enjoying this, Ewzzy – and cool proto skins to boot!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on July 12, 2021, 05:37:05 AM
Just a little blast from the past.

Geeze, our buddy Vlad was around even back then?  Not sure I know how to react to that.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 13, 2021, 12:29:51 AM
Glad to hear people are enjoying these dives. That screenshot of the old Community Center really brings me back. Here's what I've got cooking today: pre-release wallpapers!

(https://i.imgur.com/f78u0dgl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/pre-release-wallpapers.jpg)
Imgur Gallery (https://imgur.com/gallery/OXqnzyv)

These should all be pretty familiar since they hung out on the FF site for years after the game was released. Lots of big and little changes from these and release.

(https://i.imgur.com/QIyNssOl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Mentor-Wallpaper.jpg)
He's hopeful! His noggin is less enlarged. Black and blue with silver highlights and no cape. A hint of chest hair? Who is this mysterious man? Honestly I have no idea, but once again I was tempted to make a skin to match.

(https://i.imgur.com/h2oeuAgl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Mentor.jpg)
Download Proto Mentor (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Proto-Mentor.zip)

Obviously I'm constrained by using the same mesh as the original model. I doubt I'm the first to make a skin of this oddball and I want to believe someone even made a mesh to match.

This isn't the end of our tour today. Existing today only on a preview page for the Mac version of Freedom Force (http://bradcook.net/games/articles/2002/11/freedomforce/index2.html?utm_source=pocket_mylist) (a topic for a future post) is even more character art from this batch. Teeny tiny art.
(https://i.imgur.com/JUs5DU2l.png) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/pre-release-characters.png)

Much of this the same but Man-O-War and Sea Urchin are very different designs. It's hard to make out but Man-O-War is much more royal with lots of gold armor and bare feet for swimming. Sea Urchin is seemingly older with a one-piece swimsuit instead of her skirt. She's got blonde hair and ankle coverings instead of boots and no pit winges. The differences are subtle but she's much closer to Namora/Namorita in this design.

If anyone has any leads on higher res images of these two please send them my way.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 13, 2021, 03:16:08 AM
More fascinating stuff, Ewzzy!  Disco Mentor is certainly interesting.  I quite like what I can see of the proto Man o' War!  That looks pretty cool.  I'm also really curious about the map and what it might have been part of.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on July 13, 2021, 05:50:01 AM
I'm also really curious about the map and what it might have been part of.

I feel like it might have shown up on a Freedom Fortress texture, but I'm not positive.  I can't think of anywhere else it might have been.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: UnkoMan on July 13, 2021, 05:25:30 PM
Oh boy, great stuff. Love that Proto-Mentor skin. He looks a bit leather daddy.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 13, 2021, 07:11:31 PM
Oh boy, great stuff. Love that Proto-Mentor skin. He looks a bit leather daddy.

Haha, I debated between "Disco Mentor" and "Leather-Daddy Mentor."
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: SuperPoweredYank on July 13, 2021, 08:21:02 PM
Great thread Ewzzy!
(https://i.imgur.com/f4rtXJP.jpg)
Something I've noticed while looking at old screenshots: The building collapsing physics in the early versions of the game seems more complex.

Note how the structure seems to bend realistically as it collapses instead of breaking into chunks which go straight down like in the final game.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 13, 2021, 08:28:31 PM
Yeah, I had noticed that too, and it looks like he's actually blowing a chunk out of it there too.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: detourne_me on July 15, 2021, 02:51:39 PM
Ewzzy, All this research and content preservation you've been doing has been great. The fact that you are creating new, hi-res textures to go along with what you've found is even better!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 15, 2021, 07:04:53 PM
Thank you! I'm glad people are enjoying these.

RE: Destruction I have to wonder if some of these screenshots are target renders rather than in-engine. I'm going to investigate other Netimmerse engien games of the era to see if they had features near that level.

Today's batch of history comes in form of more demo disc content. I've been sifting through the internet archive to see how bits of content trickled out before and after release. Now for a chronological tour!

Full resolution screenshots here (https://imgur.com/gallery/ryg6VRS) and here (https://imgur.com/gallery/tJRzo1q).

PC Gamer UK December 2001 - Gallery
(https://i.imgur.com/Rscj1jNl.png)
A compilation of 8 screenshots. 3 of them have El Diablo saying "Hot stuff comin' through!" Check out the gallery here. (https://imgur.com/gallery/tbYzRyB)

Computer Gaming World - December 2001 - Minuteman Origin Movie
(https://i.imgur.com/N55nTwml.png)
It's that same old low res mov file. Weirdly the 256x192px resolution is perfect for the original Nintendo DS screen.

PC Gamer UK February 2002 - Character Tool
(https://i.imgur.com/psMGwFfl.png)
Disc 1 has the Character Tool. I'd love to know more about the pre-release modding scene. It's incredible that the character tool was out before the game was.

PC Gamer UK February 2002 - Gallery
(https://i.imgur.com/haN56Z2l.png)
Disc 2 has another gallery. Some repeats. Some more of those shadows that didn't make it into the final game. Check out the gallery here. (https://imgur.com/gallery/iauuSln)
(https://i.imgur.com/vIC52iul.jpeg)

Computer Gaming World - March 2002 - Origin Movie
(https://i.imgur.com/p1a8GRql.png)
The same month FF was released CGW published the low res origin video for The Ant.

Computer Gaming World - June 2002 - Demo
(https://i.imgur.com/sEBappQl.png)
An odd thing about comparing file dates on the disc and the magazine cover date, the files say March but the Cover is June. Lots and lots of lead time in the print world.

PC Gamer June 2002 - Demo
(https://i.imgur.com/iUW1hUfl.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/LnJM8MLl.png)
As I shared in a previous post, this PC Gamer demo disc featured the demo and custom PCG themed skins.

PC Gamer UK June 2002 - Demo
(https://i.imgur.com/0Ivx9Zhl.png)
Turns out the UK version of PC Gamer had the demo the same month. No custom skins here.

PC Gamer UK July 2002 - FFEdit
(https://i.imgur.com/wX8GeVRl.png)
The next month PCG UK redeemed itself by releasing FFEdit on the demo disc. Pretty cool.

PC Gamer UK October 2002 - Patch
(https://i.imgur.com/Yw9KSuKl.png)
The first patch is released.

Computer Gaming World - November 2002 - Fantastic Force
(https://i.imgur.com/QudqAiWl.png)
Shocked to see how quickly Fantastic Force was released. A true icon of the modding community. It may get it's own post some day.

Computer Gaming World - November 2002 - Patch
(https://i.imgur.com/37470SKl.png)
Hard to remember a time before the danger room was part of FF.

That's everything for today. You can see all of these images and more in this Imgur Gallery (https://imgur.com/gallery/ryg6VRS). All of these discs are on the Internet Archive. I encourage everyone to upload all your FF material to the archive. It's a fantastic safe haven for all sorts of material.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Epimethee on July 16, 2021, 10:24:39 PM
Yet more interesting finds, Ewzzy, thanks!

I took the liberty – I hope you don’t mind – of uploading re-scaled higher-resolution versions of the wallpapers you posted above, as their 2001-era original size is a bit outdated for today's screens. Mind you, almost no one uses 4:3 ratio screens anymore, iPad excepted.

https://dsc.cloud/ddb7d7/ff-pre-release-wallpapers.zip (Even if the upscaling is far from perfect, obviously, I'm still in awe of of much better it's improved by machine learning.)

P.S.: Morrowind, Civ, Age of Wonders… that 1.1 patch was in fine company.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 16, 2021, 10:45:08 PM
Yeah, that was a golden age of gaming, no doubt about it.

More great stuff, Ewzzy!  I don't know about everyone else, but I'd certainly be interested in some similar research on the early mods/modding community.  That was all before my time, so I know little about it.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on July 16, 2021, 11:19:55 PM
Ewzzy, and everyone, thanks for this. I'm really enjoying what's been done so far. I started out doing a few things when the game came out, but then let it sit for a few years till I got back into it with  some major OCD.

Benton, When I was doing a lot of looking for old skins recently, I found a bunch of things from the early days using the wayback; I'm putting a few below, but you can also see some changes to what went on back then by changing the dates on the wayback bar up top, or clicking on some of the links in the sidebars to go to the forums or other areas. There's forums, skins for other games like Unreal Tournament , including some of the sims stuff that got people in trouble back then, screen savers, mods, voice packs, posters, and more. A lot of the links are dead, but there's still a surprising amount of them that still work.

The original Skindex;

https://web.archive.org/web/20011006065807/http://www.skindex.net/ff/ffmain.htm (https://web.archive.org/web/20011006065807/http://www.skindex.net/ff/ffmain.htm)

The Skindex on CSN;

https://web.archive.org/web/20021217001352/http://www.freedomforcecenter.com/skindex/ (https://web.archive.org/web/20021217001352/http://www.freedomforcecenter.com/skindex/)

The Comic Skin Network

https://web.archive.org/web/20021123181751/http://www.comicskins.com/ (https://web.archive.org/web/20021123181751/http://www.comicskins.com/)







Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: daglob on July 17, 2021, 12:40:54 AM
I've got all the Sims stuff that I could get; I believe I announced that I had it, but never did anything with it. I've got a bunch of Unreal Tournament stuff, too. I did post he Canadian Conversion program.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 17, 2021, 03:26:44 PM
Daglob, I'd love to take a look at all of that.
Randomdays, I need to do some reading there. Not much in the way of files or images but might be nice to see what names come up.
Epimethee, great sharp lines there. What algorithm are you using?

I've got a classic entry today: The Freedom Force Pre-Order Bonus Disc!

(https://i.imgur.com/9V3GcoFl.jpg) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/bonuscd/Bonus-Disc-Cover.jpg)
Download the disc ISO from the Internet Archive here. (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-bonus-cd)

Bonus characters? How does that work? Let's run FFBonus.exe and find out.
(https://i.imgur.com/ZwD2yDbl.png) (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/bonuscd/Bonus-Disc-Menu.png)
Wait? It's just Iron-Ox, Blackbird, and Supercollider? Aren't they already in the game?

Let's hit "Install Characters" and see what happens.
(https://i.imgur.com/pu1tYEa.png)
Wow, that was extremely quick. Turns out all it does is find your init.py and add a single line.
(https://i.imgur.com/616qGZX.png)

If you're new to the game, you can be forgiven for not recognizing this. The line enabling the characters is pre-included in the GOG release. (not sure about Steam) The workaround of adding this line was extremely well known online back in the day. To the point where I didn't realize there was an official path at all.

So is there anything else on this disc? Now's a great time to show off Internet Archive's ability to browse inside ISO files. https://ia801503.us.archive.org/view_archive.php?archive=/4/items/freedom-force-bonus-cd/Freedom%20Force%20Bonus%20CD.ISO (https://ia801503.us.archive.org/view_archive.php?archive=/4/items/freedom-force-bonus-cd/Freedom%20Force%20Bonus%20CD.ISO)

As you can see in the menu above, the disc contains the Character Tool. In that folder is also the meshes and skins for the various basic custom heroes as well as Blackbird, Iron-OX, and Supercollider. They're the exact same files that come with the final game install. Pretty useless if this was released alongside the game. Anybody remember if it was delivered before release? The file dates are at most a month before the final game coming out.

The browse artwork button opens up a web browser with a mini FF site embedded on the disc. I've cloned it to my own website here:
http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/bonuscd/FF_BONUS.HTM (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/bonuscd/FF_BONUS.HTM)
Some of the javascript doesn't seem to work, so if you'd like to see the 3D rendered wallpapers here's an Imgur gallery (https://imgur.com/gallery/H3Hvxmc). All of the character concept artwork is in a gallery here (https://imgur.com/gallery/Wyb0lsR).

Pretty fun inclusion I'm sure got some use back in the day is the Web Site Kit. It's got some screenshots, the logo, and even the FF comic text font.

Grab that here:
https://archive.org/download/freedom-force-bonus-cd/Freedom%20Force%20Bonus%20CD.ISO/WEB_SITE_KIT%2FART%2FFONT%2FGNATFONT.TTF (https://archive.org/download/freedom-force-bonus-cd/Freedom%20Force%20Bonus%20CD.ISO/WEB_SITE_KIT%2FART%2FFONT%2FGNATFONT.TTF)
Quote
GNAFONT created by and redistributed courtesy of Kaare Andrews (www.kaareandrews.com).

Among the concept art (which I will go way way deeper into another time) are highlights like Supercollider's retractable wheels:
(https://i.imgur.com/kah6aTPl.jpeg)
A Twiggy version of the Civilian Female:
(https://i.imgur.com/tYG2MfWl.jpeg)
Hints that the Ice Queens might have been a singular character named Mrs Frost (fanny pack included):
(https://i.imgur.com/CubrQb1l.jpeg)

Please, take a look through yourselves and see what highlights you find. I'm working on some retro magazine content now. You won't believe some of what's coming.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 17, 2021, 04:13:21 PM
Lots more neat stuff!  I love Supercollider's wheels, like the old Silver Iron Man roller skates!  Ha, how strange!  Very interesting that the Ice Queens may have been a unique character, complete with fanny pack, no less!

:EDIT: Browsing through the content on your site, a couple of things jump out at me.  First, a brown-robed Darkman, indicating that there might have been a third minion type in that batch at one stage.  Second, and a bit more intriguing to the 10-year-old dinosaur nut inside me, is pictures of dinos, labelled 'Dinosaur set" 1 and 2.  The second one was pteranodons (my favorites!).  I know we got flying dinos as set dressing, but I wonder if they would have featured as foes at one stage.

Also, Ewzzy, I don't know if you mean for those pictures on your site to be clickable and expandable, but clicking does nothing at the moment.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on July 17, 2021, 04:46:24 PM
Ewzzy - You probably know this trick, but if you check out the following, you can narrow your searches to just the zip files, or rars, jpgs, etc, using the box on the right of the screen.

https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.comicskins.com/* (https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.comicskins.com/*) - 308 zips

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.geocities.com/skingall/* (http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.geocities.com/skingall/*) - 145 zips

https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.freedomforcecenter.com/* (https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.freedomforcecenter.com/*) - 145 zips

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.skindex.net/* (http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.skindex.net/*) - 224 zips

RD

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 17, 2021, 05:03:13 PM
Also, Ewzzy, I don't know if you mean for those pictures on your site to be clickable and expandable, but clicking does nothing at the moment.
Yeah, that's what the imgur galleries are for. The site is copied right off the disc and clicking pictures is supposed to open pop-up windows that are blocked in modern browsers. If you download the ISO you can get a more accurate experience.

Ewzzy - You probably know this trick, but if you check out the following, you can narrow your searches to just the zip files, or rars, jpgs, etc, using the box on the right of the screen.
I did not know that trick. That will help a lot in some future projects.

EDIT: Just went back through the thread and used imgur's thumbnail system to make it a bit more readable. Full size images should still work on click.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on July 17, 2021, 05:16:31 PM
Glad I could help then.

The only thing to watch out for is if the date of the file is way past when the site when down, it's probably bad.

You can put the earliest files first by hitting the "from" choice to put them in chronological order.

RD
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 18, 2021, 10:59:26 PM
I said I've been going through magazines and finding a ton. Too much for even this thread honestly. Expect that to be its own adventure. I couldn't wait to post this one.

(https://i.imgur.com/Esp70Yul.jpeg)
Click through for the HD scan. From the March 2001 issue of PC Powerplay Magazine. (https://imgur.com/gallery/G9iZEN4)

It's an even earlier version of Alchemiss. I'd already pointed out in an early design how the same pose had been redrawn for her final art. How incredible to find the same pose but even yet more different. You can see why I couldn't hold off on posting it.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 19, 2021, 03:18:48 AM
Very interesting!  Yeah, that's a wildly different version.  She feels more like her obvious inspiration, to me, the Scarlet Witch. 
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Epimethee on July 19, 2021, 11:16:27 PM
Epimethee, great sharp lines there. What algorithm are you using?
No idea. I was using Pixelmator Pro’s (a Mac app) “ML Super Resolution”. None of the listed third-parties in the acknowledgements correspond to it.

Fun fact: the version of the app on my iPad – last year's model, not this year's incredibly fast one – is about ten time faster at this task than my Intel Mac. An indication of how outdated my laptop is, I guess, but also of how fast mobile processors have become and of the value of dedicated AI circuits on the chip.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 21, 2021, 04:01:28 PM
Lol found another Alchemiss
(https://i.imgur.com/1P55UROl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/1P55URO.jpeg)
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: spydermann93 on July 21, 2021, 10:00:06 PM
haha, I'm definitely glad that they went with the red hair. It goes with her costume much more nicely than the grey/silver.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 21, 2021, 10:09:16 PM
Ha, true.  I wonder if that's just a coloring mistake.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 22, 2021, 10:27:58 PM
This post is courtesy of buying useless things on ebay and Daglob to actually having the files that matter.

(https://i.imgur.com/xXWnhgul.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/xXWnhgu.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/Gf0QT8ll.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/Gf0QT8l.jpeg)
Pre-ordering games was a very different thing in 2005. You would go to a games store pick up an empty box off the shelf and buy it. Then months later come back and get the actual game. I never had the chance to pre-order FFVT3R and had completely forgot until I saw this box on ebay that The Ant 70s edition was a pre-order bonus.

(https://i.imgur.com/zx1aP6tl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/zx1aP6t.jpeg)
This slip was the only thing in the pre-order box. I feel more than safe sharing this code with you now since Vivendi's vugames.com website is long gone. I mentioned in the post about FF1 pre-orders that a single line in the init file could give anyone the bonus. Here a 571 KB zip file is all you get. I have to wonder, was it regularly swapped on the forums? Was there an honor code to not share lest ye offend Irrational?

(https://i.imgur.com/iGM5QlOl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/iGM5QlO.jpeg)
The idea of 70s skins was part of an aborted plan for Freedom Force II. It would have followed the team into the bronze age rather than time travel back to the golden age. I promise it will get it's own post someday. For now we're talking about the meshes that were released to the public.

(https://i.imgur.com/plkzf6Ol.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/plkzf6O.jpeg)
The UK bonus DVD included meshes for 70s Bullet, Eve, and El Diablo. I can't find record if they were released officially elsewhere or if the files were just shared among the community. It's odd that these were the only bonus meshes made for FFVT3R as far as I can tell. That's again part of a long story of the FF3 that never happened either.

(https://i.imgur.com/9HBmGpUl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/9HBmGpU.jpeg)
The Ant 70s mesh itself is curious because we actually have several examples of concept art for it. The mesh and skin itself are totally different from what's on the pre-order box! The heck!? The box and busts show the regular Ant costume but with new goggles. The later revealed concept art shows the costume as it was eventually made. Even then there are very few differences between the costumes.
 
(https://i.imgur.com/TvetOKol.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/TvetOKo.jpeg)
Which of course led me down the dark path of porting the 70s skin to the 60s mesh and the 60s skin to the 70s mesh. They're similar enough taht it probably only took an hour to do the work. Would anyone else want these skins? I don't know, but that didn't stop me from doing the same  for Eve.

(https://i.imgur.com/V2Go4URl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/V2Go4UR.jpeg)
The Eve meshes are way more different than the Ant ones but still mostly compatible. The El Diablo and Bullet ones would take a lot more work. These actually involved using nifskope to fix the UV map of the arrow Eve draws in the 70s mesh. What a mess.

So now I've got downloads for you. These also include upscaled standard skins that I used as a base. I have made this as confusing as possible.

60s Ant ported forward to 70s Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/the-ant-port-forward.zip)
70s Ant ported backward to 60s Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/the-ant-port-backward.zip)
60s Eve ported forward to 70s Mesh with corrected UV map (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/eve_70s-fixed.zip)
70s Eve ported backwards to 60s Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/eve-ports.zip)

The entire set of official 70s meshes/skins and HQ scans of the pre-order box are available on the internet archive here (https://archive.org/details/pre-order-box-back).
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: SuperPoweredYank on July 23, 2021, 06:00:53 PM
Dang, I never knew the 70s meshes were official. I just thought someone had made them based off the concept art.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: spydermann93 on July 23, 2021, 07:36:40 PM
lol, same!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: daglob on July 23, 2021, 09:52:18 PM
Well, until now, the only ones of these meshes I had were The Ant and Eve. Thanks.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 23, 2021, 10:05:23 PM
There is SO much amazing stuff for these games, it's crazy how even the most veteran players among us can have gaps in our knowledge and our collections.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Deaths Jester on July 23, 2021, 10:08:45 PM
What's really funny is I got all four meshes with my order and it wasn't even a pre-order...the guy working the counter just tossed the card in for free and it did all four for me (in the US).
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 23, 2021, 10:50:33 PM
Ha, how random!  I think I knew about these relatively early on.  The whole 70s sequel thing was on my radar (and in my dreams!) for a long time.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on July 23, 2021, 10:52:13 PM
My pre-order came with an extra disc that had Bullet, Eve, and Diablo on it.  I'd always wondered where The Ant one came from once I started seeing people posting about it.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 23, 2021, 11:08:02 PM
If I remember correctly, and who knows, I think I had a bonus disk with all of them, but I could easily be wrong.  I do know that early on in my FF tenure, there was a Yahoo group with them in it.

All this discussion of these meshes has me feeling nostalgic.  I had really big plans for something inspired by these guys once upon a time (and I still plan to return to it one of these days).  I was once working on a secret project born from the 70s FF meshes  I even teased it a bit several years ago.  Life happened, as it does, and I never got around to releasing it, but the whole '70s FF' thing and the possibilities and teasers we got for FFIII really inspired me.  So much so, in fact, that I began work on my own FFIII:

(http://i.imgur.com/KcU3fPNl.png) (https://imgur.com/KcU3fPN)
(http://i.imgur.com/srwgxxZl.png) (https://imgur.com/srwgxxZ)
(http://i.imgur.com/Jet04BSl.png) (https://imgur.com/Jet04BS)
(http://i.imgur.com/xmPq6Oel.png) (https://imgur.com/xmPq6Oe)

The first mission has been done for years, and the plot is mapped out.  My plan was to release the first couple of missions as a teaser and to drum up interest, then create a competition to design the missing 70s versions of the rest of the team.  Sadly, we're really too diminished these days to take on something of this scale.  But here is another curiosity to add to this discussion.

https://imgur.com/gallery/3Xge7Ii

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 25, 2021, 07:15:39 PM
Oh wow I love the responses to this. Benton that mod looks like it would have been something wild. I'm sure everyone's got a million ideas for how FFIII would have gone and I'm going to have any number of posts about the few hints we've gotten.

I'm surprised to find out that the other characters were also given out with slips in stores but that makes sense. As far as I can tell the UK releases are the only ones to come with the bonus DVD that has them on it.
(https://i.imgur.com/ypCqz1ul.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ypCqz1u.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/NMtJnDRl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/NMtJnDR.jpg)
I've been scouring ebay for a while trying to find out what all the official releases look like. Those are my scans from a copy I imported. I uploaded the entirety of the bonus DVD here:
https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-vs-the-3rd-reich-europe (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-vs-the-3rd-reich-europe)
It has some cool videos about the creation of FF that are worth checking out. The installer for the 3 meshes (again not Ant) won't work with the GOG or Steam install but do include .hero files. Sadly the hero files are just the regular ones configured to use the new meshes. I was hoping for some change to their power sets.

I was going to save this for a later day but since we're on it Let's talk about the proposals for FF2 and FF3 that never made it. I'll have a lot more to say about these in the future but I'm still looking for some interview quotes to get a full picture.
(https://i.imgur.com/zFafrQBl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/zFafrQB.jpg)
From the earliest interviews it was said that FF was to be a series that went through the ages of comics. The natural idea of going from the groovy Silver Age of the
60s to the funky Bronze Age of the 70s was their first attempt. It clearly got far enough in that meshes were made of some of the FF cast.

(https://i.imgur.com/JEIfjVol.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/JEIfjVo.jpg)
I'll go into the reasons why the Denny O'Neil and Jim Starlin inspired 70s never happened later, but for now let's enjoy the concept art we did get. Microwave is become more human is a very Vision sort of way. Man-Bot has refined his armor for mobility. Liberty Lad and Sea Urchin are becoming more like Nightwing and Starfire.

(https://i.imgur.com/wf8utlOl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/wf8utlO.jpg)
Few of these were labeled in a way to make it clear but I believe these are all meant to be the "modern" era FF. Comics eras are such a mess that modern can mean a lot of things but I like to think of these as a 2000s Ultimate Marvel style. The trend across them is a loss of humanity.

There are a whole batch of villain designs that were never used including some from the first game. I've got so so much more to talk about.

Now something just for fun. I did the 60s<>70s Ant costume swaps because it was easy. I did the Eve swaps because I thought it would look cool. These I did because I felt like I had to complete the set.
(https://i.imgur.com/6JOtKEhl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/6JOtKEh.jpg)
L>R: 70s Skin ported to 60s Mesh, 70s upscale, 60s upscale, 60s Skin ported to 70s mesh

(https://i.imgur.com/r7mmr4Ll.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/r7mmr4L.jpg)
L>R: 70s upscale, 60s upscale, 60s skin ported to 70s mesh, 70s skin on 60s mesh

These were way way more work because the meshes are laid out so differently. (and in the case of Bullet half broken) I had to get creative and redraw the helmet and skirt to match the style. Nobody was asking for these but here they are.

Port and upscale for Bullet 70s Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/bullet-port-forward.zip)
Port and upscale for Bullet Original Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/bullet-port-back.zip)
Port and upscale for El Diablo 70s Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/eldiablo-port-forward.zip)
Port and upscale for El Diablo Original Mesh (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/eldiablo-port-back.zip)

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 26, 2021, 03:43:01 AM
Thanks Ewzzy!  Hopefully it will still come together one day (in the next century, ha!).  Yeah, I'm sure we've all got our own little head-canons.  I took in all the teased materials I could find and built a story out of them.  I'm still fairly pleased with it.  Hopefully I'll be able to tell it one day.

I look forward to what your research uncovers!  To help you along, I rescued every image I could find about FFIII (or that COULD have been about it) when I was working on the mod.  These might be useful to you:
https://imgur.com/gallery/Mbh0I2H

I've always really liked the Liberty Lad design.  It's pretty cool.

Thinking about it, I actually had a bonus disk in my US version, but I must have pre-ordered, I think.  I'm pretty sure I've still got that somewhere.

Yeah, my understanding of the "modern" concepts was that it was for a spin-off, 'Ultimate FF' title, very much in that Marvel style.  I'm not sorry we didn't get that...

Your ported skins look really cool!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: docdelorean88 on July 26, 2021, 04:25:35 AM

I said I've been going through magazines and finding a ton. Too much for even this thread honestly. Expect that to be its own adventure. I couldn't wait to post this one.

(https://i.imgur.com/Esp70Yul.jpeg)
Click through for the HD scan. From the March 2001 issue of PC Powerplay Magazine. (https://imgur.com/gallery/G9iZEN4)

It's an even earlier version of Alchemiss. I'd already pointed out in an early design how the same pose had been redrawn for her final art. How incredible to find the same pose but even yet more different. You can see why I couldn't hold off on posting it.

Ewzzy, this entire thread is an absolute treasure trove. (Thank you for your hard work, and I look forward to anything else you have to share with us!)
I completely agree with you, looking at these pictures of Alchemiss' visual development,  its clear they used one image as a base for the rest. Actually, my eye caught something, and I'm not entirely sure if it was intentional but; It looks like they liked the silhouette made by her bangs(/how they helped fill out the composition of the face) in the far left picture enough, that they used that same shape/silhouette to inform the shape of her mask when they redesigned her. (I'm having trouble describing it in words, but i think this makes sense) That, and they knew from day one apparently that she was destined to have center parted hair XD

Benton, that FF3 mod looks AMAZING. That map is gorgeous, I'm so curious to see where you would have taken things.

Specifically in relation to those images Benton just posted, I'm super curious who Young Starr would have been/his story, as well as the W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. concept.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: naitvalis on July 26, 2021, 06:36:36 PM
this is an extremely interesting thread and very much needed, thank you Ewzzy.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on July 28, 2021, 04:45:47 AM
This is what my bonus disc looked like.

https://cf.geekdo-images.com/Cv2WtoUqu_RVNBsWeRlskA__opengraph/img/sWoKWczQYiF7wj8xi7XPdeXghcc=/fit-in/1200x630/filters:strip_icc()/pic1755350.jpg
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 28, 2021, 01:14:55 PM
This is what my bonus disc looked like.

https://cf.geekdo-images.com/Cv2WtoUqu_RVNBsWeRlskA__opengraph/img/sWoKWczQYiF7wj8xi7XPdeXghcc=/fit-in/1200x630/filters:strip_icc()/pic1755350.jpg

That is incredible, I'd never come across it but sure enough it was only if you ordered directly from Irrational's store. If you or anybody still has their copy I'd love to buy it or at the least help someone image it and upload it to the Internet Archive for preservation.

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on July 28, 2021, 02:35:12 PM
Yeah, that's what mine looks like.

Ewzzy, I'll be happy to image it and upload it for the community, if I can find it.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 28, 2021, 04:13:23 PM
Don't worry if you can't find it, because I just bought yet another copy of FFVT3R on ebay. This time I looked at all the copies out there and counted the discs. Sure enough one had the bonus. Doing all this history has meant buying up a lot of old FF stuff and getting a rare demo or bonus almost always involves someone including their copy of the game. I now own probably 5 boxed copies of both.  :wacko:
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on July 29, 2021, 02:57:49 PM
Speaking of things I've ebay'd: The Mac version of Freedom Force!

(https://i.imgur.com/wYE6XRTl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/wYE6XRT.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/YGF4V4rm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/YGF4V4r.jpg)

Ported by The Omni Group and Mumbo Jumbo and published by MacPlay, FF was a pretty big release for Mac users in those days. It came out only 8 months after the PC version. Mod support was a bit more of a headache. It could be done, but all the tools were for PC.

The minimum requirement was a PowerPC G4 400, which to put this into perspective looked like this:
(https://i.imgur.com/aRrdh3u.png) (https://i.imgur.com/aRrdh3u.png)
Mac hardware was only a few years from the big transition to Intel which would cause all sorts of problems with games. From old forum posts I see that FF stopped working with newer OS updates around 2009. Comparable to all the issues the PC version has had with XP SP2 and ever Windows update after that.

(https://i.imgur.com/B3j3DdQl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/B3j3DdQ.jpg)
The inside cover gives a great view of other MacPlay games available at the time.

Not much is actually different with the game itself. It uses the same art.ff and other data files. Biggest change is no Gamespy for multiplayer. Instead it uses "Game Ranger" for Mac. The disc does include a digital version of the manual which is nice. Maybe my favorite addition is a new HD icon for the game.

(https://i.imgur.com/LxODmw3.png) (https://i.imgur.com/LxODmw3.png)

OOOooo full color 128x128 with a drop shadow. Compare that to the 16 color 32x32 PC icon.

(https://i.imgur.com/lcqi9Qr.png) (https://i.imgur.com/lcqi9Qr.png)

Rinky dink little thing. The GOG version has it's own 256x256 icon but it's just Minuteman.

(https://i.imgur.com/3EZmJFC.png) (https://i.imgur.com/3EZmJFC.png)

If you'd like to download the Mac version of the game in DMG format and see if you can run it on your own retro Mac hardware it's available here on the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-mac).

If you want that swanky Mac version of the icon for yourself, you can download it in .ico format here. (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/FFicon.ico)

Sorry to all the 2005 Mac fans that never got that FFVT3R port you begged for.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Nyte Dragon on July 30, 2021, 09:02:46 PM
I love all of this history of FF. It's so trippy seeing the different ways things could have gone. I was honestly disappointed when they went backwards to the Golden Age,  instead of forward into the 70s/80s of the Bronze Age.
 And in truth with a character like Tombstone being a Punisher/Ghost Rider pastiche and the Alche-Miss doing a Dark Phoenix it seems they never fully abandoned it.
 Bullet's 70 design looks so much like Evel Knievel, which i love! (I had the stunt cycle toy)
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on August 01, 2021, 02:40:03 AM
Thank you Nyte Dragon!

I know everyone loves seeing concept art and getting bonus skins so today is good one. I've got two big ones ready.

I trust everyone knows the Microwave final art by heart.
(https://i.imgur.com/062r0hSm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/062r0hS.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/tN9j0Q2m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/tN9j0Q2.jpg)
One of the images up there became a menu background in game. You've seen it a million times.

Despite that, I don't think I noticed how different this early concept art is when I first saw it.
(https://i.imgur.com/YhUZMtKl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/YhUZMtK.jpg)
The face glass is replaced by a full metal plate. Piping is completely different and he has rib grating. He has a backpack!

Once again, I just love when the same pose is iterated on with small changes.
(https://i.imgur.com/H5RXWazl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/H5RXWaz.jpg)
I couldn't help myself and recreated the skin. Check out that rib guard. You can better compare them below.
(https://i.imgur.com/xxdy7LEl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/xxdy7LE.jpg)
Honestly, while making it I realized how it doesn't look quite right from behind. The changes they made seem small on the page but in 3D they're huge. Also, sorry I didn't skope on the jetpacks. I wanted it to fit the vanilla mesh.

But wait! There's more!

A bit of concept art that totally leapt out to me is blue suit Pinstripe. Don't get it twisted, he's still energy-x filled but his purple puss hadn't been imagined yet.
(https://i.imgur.com/6s9TtFSl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/6s9TtFS.jpg)
I hate to say it, but the circular purple eye glow gives the appearance of circular glasses. Coupled with the tiny mustache, he almost looks like a Chinese stereotype and not an Italian one. Maybe not worth mentioning, but I see it.

If you'd like to see an actual pre Energy-X Pinstripe, he shows up in Law and Order's origin story.
(https://i.imgur.com/yQhoPqql.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/yQhoPqq.jpg)
That's the origin on the left and his final promo art on the right.

Once again, I couldn't resist skinning it myself.
(https://i.imgur.com/BJaSUptl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/BJaSUpt.jpg)
Left to Right: Human version of concept art, upscaled standard skin, human from cutscene, concept with purple eyes

I was surprised how good the human skin tone turned out. Using gradient maps was the key. Love those. Anywhere here are the downloads:

Pinstripe Concept Pack (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/pinstripe-concept.zip)

Microwave Concept Pack (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Microwave-Concept.zip)

Both packs include my upscaled standard skins.

I'm running out of concept art skins that fit their original meshes. If anyone wants to help me debut some more that require custom mesh work, I'd love to partner with you.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: BentonGrey on August 02, 2021, 03:57:33 PM
Cool stuff!  I like that Microwave version. It looks very "o-matic"!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on August 05, 2021, 09:16:38 PM
I've got so many topics coming up but I'm going to take a diversion to into games that aren't Freedom Force at all. Let's go on a walk.

I was reading The CRPG Book's write up on Freedom Force.
(https://i.imgur.com/EwroRQpm.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/qw9ymlhm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/qw9ymlh.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/rIiapUvm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/rIiapUv.jpg)
I saw another reference to FF in a section on CRPGs that never came out.
(https://i.imgur.com/h72pknxm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/h72pknx.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/69HlGfSm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/69HlGfS.jpg)

Turns out there was a computer RPG based on the Champions tabletop game that got a full cover story in Computer Gaming World.

(https://i.imgur.com/UIibFf8l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/UIibFf8.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/vrGG2N0m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/vrGG2N0.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/y8C6gBfm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/y8C6gBf.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/DP1hi5Em.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/DP1hi5E.jpg)

The game never came out but it's clear there was a hunger for a superhero RPG at least as far back as 1991. As the CRPG Book mentions a lot of the features promised here would eventually be delivered in Freedom Force. Also, get a load of that George Perez art.
(https://i.imgur.com/Z33gyWdl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/Z33gyWd.jpg)

A decade later, Computer Gaming World would give FF the cover story. As an aside they mention all the times we almost got a real hero game.
(https://i.imgur.com/2qm0EM9m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/2qm0EM9.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/IODNK9vl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/IODNK9v.jpg)
More unreleased superhero games! What have we here?

First up is The Indestructibles from Bullfrog Productions and Peter Molyneux. Also known as “M.I.S.T. – My Incredible Superheroes Team” We've got a few screenshots and a bit of description, but it seems this never got far despite a promising engine. As with everything Molyneux touched it was overly ambitious. 1995 was a bit early for flying around a full 3d city in real time.
(https://i.imgur.com/Qcw9F3Hm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/Qcw9F3H.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/6Lv08Avm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/6Lv08Av.jpg)
Read more on Unseen64 (https://www.unseen64.net/2008/12/08/the-indestructibles-cancelled/)

Next up is Guardians: Agents of Justice by Simtex and Microprose. It was supposed to be like X-Com but with Superheroes. (something often said about Freedom Force before release) Some reports say it was even in the X-Com engine. The company behind it closed in 1997 before it came out.
(https://i.imgur.com/c2A6qYgm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/c2A6qYg.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/g1RHD6Tm.png) (https://i.imgur.com/g1RHD6T.png)(https://i.imgur.com/SiaLG4om.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/SiaLG4o.jpg)
Read more on Unseen64 (https://www.unseen64.net/2010/06/06/guardians-agents-of-justice-pc-cancelled/)

Finally from that article is the actually released but extremely weird Superhero League of Hoboken from 1994. Creator Steve Meretzky is know for games like Leather Goddesses of Phobos, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls.
(https://i.imgur.com/6IohXUnm.png) (https://i.imgur.com/6IohXUn.png)(https://i.imgur.com/5gIPBmdm.gif) (https://i.imgur.com/5gIPBmd.gif)(https://i.imgur.com/B4fhTOsm.gif) (https://i.imgur.com/B4fhTOs.gif)
You start the game as The Crimson Tape. He's got the power to generate organizational charts from thin air. No use in combat, but he makes for an effective team leader.

That's the last game from the article, but only because they didn't know about the internal Lucasarts proposal for Justice Unlimited. It was worked on from 97-98 and meant to be like Diablo but with capes.
(https://i.imgur.com/54bgUR4m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/54bgUR4.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/6mQgWNwm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/6mQgWNw.jpg)
(https://www.unseen64.net/2021/07/31/justice-unlimited-lucasarts-cancelled-pc/[/url)

This is not to be confused with Lucasarts' released but failed 1992 multimedia superhero game/cartoon/comic Defenders of Dynatron City.
(https://i.imgur.com/Wr1I0QPm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/Wr1I0QP.jpg)

These games were all from before FF but there's another PC superhero game that came out at nearly the same time. Hero X came out 3 months after FF but looks like something from 6 years earlier. You can create your own character through a simple hero maker, or play as Hero X.
(https://i.imgur.com/C3WPYrfl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/C3WPYrf.jpg)
The little bits of coverage it did get very explicitly call it out as shovelware Freedom Force.
(https://i.imgur.com/WrnugoTm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/WrnugoT.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/ey1QtQEm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ey1QtQE.jpg)

Even a few years later it's used as a canonical example of a cash-in game.
(https://i.imgur.com/JH7Ucn7m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/JH7Ucn7.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/68GTniTm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/68GTniT.jpg)
I appreciate the editor calling out I Was an Atomic Mutant as a cheap PC game that's worth playing.

Good luck getting it to run today. On Windows 10 it hangs at 1% install as it tries to overwrite the Comic Sans font with its own identical version.
(https://i.imgur.com/5M73vJ5.png)
I got it running in a Windows ME VM. Expect more in the future.

I love all these also-ran heroes so I spent some time putting together some skins.
(https://i.imgur.com/uKcctGEl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/uKcctGE.jpg)

Download The Crimson Tape (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Crimson_Tape.zip)

Download Hero X (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Hero_X.zip)

Download Champion (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/Champion.zip)

That's all for today. As another quick update, my order of the FFVT3R bonus disc arrived and it is choc full of concept art not available anywhere else online. I'm still sifting through all of it, but keep checking back on this thread for more updates.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: SuperPoweredYank on August 05, 2021, 10:50:57 PM
OMG you made a Hero X skin you absolute legend! :thumbup:
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on August 05, 2021, 11:06:03 PM
I remember reading PC Gamer and CGW back then and looking forward to these coming out, and disappointed when they didn't. I did play and finish the Hoboken game - it was cute and fun to play, but more an adventure game than a RPG.

RD
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on August 07, 2021, 03:42:14 PM
OMG you made a Hero X skin you absolute legend!

Thank you!

Some notes on these skins: I tried my best to make these without any of the common base skins. Instead I pulled from the built-in Irrational made skins. A lot from the CapeMan skin with added musculature from The And, boots and gloves from Blitzkrieg, mouth and nose from Bullet. Crimson Tape needed an appropriately doofy face so his is pulled mostly from DejaVu. I also tried to make these fit really common meshes rather than skope on details. I figured male_alpha, male_muscular_cape, and male_cape fit that bill. I was looking at my old skins from 10 years ago and I was consistently using C6's base and doing everything to make my skins look just like his. I hope these feel more unique. I still struggle with hair. I feel like I could spend just as much time on hair as the whole rest of the skin and it still wouldn't look right.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: deanjo2000 on August 07, 2021, 05:48:45 PM
I really like them, hair is something I struggle with to be honest. I think the boots on the yellow guy is really great and unique.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on August 14, 2021, 04:06:25 PM
Alright gang, I've been working on some bigger scale projects but I've been holding onto this for TOO LONG. That means it's time for the
Freedom Force Concept Art Blowout!

(https://i.imgur.com/Fc7y4nKl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/Fc7y4nKl.jpeg)
Boom! Another proto-Alchemiss! She's very first draft sorceress. Looks like someone drawing Clea from Dr Strange from memory.

(https://i.imgur.com/Aq3WVlJl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/Aq3WVlJ.jpeg)
The Ant! The basic concept is there but with even more "teenager doing his best. Check out those elbow and knee pads! This is a guy who has fallen off a building before.

(https://i.imgur.com/5G7v8xJl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/5G7v8xJ.jpeg)
The Zipper? THE ZIPPER!? Oh yeah baby the man we know as Bullet was once suggested as The Zipper. What else is there to say about this first draft speedster?

(https://i.imgur.com/9ZxuwN6l.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/9ZxuwN6.jpeg)
El Diablo has so many of the ideas in place with none of the stylistic flair. You get the Hispanic fire guy but you don't get the super in this.

(https://i.imgur.com/4Kp0uW7l.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/4Kp0uW7.jpeg)
Almost nothing of what makes Microwave into Microwave is here in this stage. You've got the powers and name but that's it.

(https://i.imgur.com/U6PQiynl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/U6PQiyn.jpeg)
I feel like whoever drew these got the name Manbot and went "yes sure I can draw the Machine Man Aaron Stack". Man Bot has more pre-production art than any other member of the team and none of it resembles this at all.

(https://i.imgur.com/OBjR3EWl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/OBjR3EW.jpeg)
Finally, for the first draft art we have Man-O-War and Sea Urchin. They look so so different and maybe craziest is the name "Oceanus". I had a low res version of this image for a while but could never read that part. It blew me away seeing it here.

(https://i.imgur.com/82PIXghl.png) (https://i.imgur.com/82PIXgh.png)(https://i.imgur.com/mM2LMQ2l.png) (https://i.imgur.com/mM2LMQ2.png)
And now what you've all been waiting for. I finally found full body art of proto Man-O-War and Sea Urchin. He's got no eye patch yet and a more symmetrical and regal uniform. She's blonde, without a skirt, no boots wrist cuffs, and less cutesy overall.

(https://i.imgur.com/4bDAIWKl.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/4bDAIWK.jpeg)
This Shadow here is more femme fatale than the final version. Is her projectile supposed to look like lipstick? Maybe changed for the better.

NOW FOR SOME  :ffvstr: CONCEPTS

(https://i.imgur.com/NzzDrDgm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/NzzDrDg.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/sGB89XNm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/sGB89XN.jpeg)
Quetzacoatl's got a championship belt. Red Oktober has gloves. Not much to say but we're still getting started.

(https://i.imgur.com/EDuJVpfm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/EDuJVpf.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/kKvYR7vm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/kKvYR7v.jpeg)
Entropy is much more symmetrical and with bigger hair. Maybe the strangest part is being able to see her eyes.

(https://i.imgur.com/EWd8j94l.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/EWd8j94.jpeg)
Tombstone here looks pretty different and... I think this is more than it seems. In a 2009 look back at FF artist Rob Waters had this to say:
(https://i.imgur.com/F7GRGbTl.png) (https://i.imgur.com/F7GRGbT.png)
I fully believe that this Tombstone art is the 1960s Tombstone that was designed for the original game. Wow!

But that's not last discover I have to show today...
(https://i.imgur.com/WuVFCb8m.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/WuVFCb8.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/aKzliZSm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/aKzliZS.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/VyOesvmm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/VyOesvm.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/MdokqHsm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/MdokqHs.jpeg)
There are several stages of Tricolour art. I wasn't sure if they if they showed up in cutscenes or other materials, but then I found something that blew me away.
(https://i.imgur.com/zwnYr41l.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/zwnYr41.jpeg)
Off to the left... that's a fully 3D modeled Tricolour that looks almost nothing like her final model.
(https://i.imgur.com/MGcHan7m.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/MGcHan7.jpeg)(https://i.imgur.com/hb3SyxXm.jpeg) (https://i.imgur.com/hb3SyxX.jpeg)
Then I found screenshots in game that showed off this extremely different mesh. I had scrolled past these a dozen times without realizing their significance.

That's all for now... but next time I'm bringing concept art for characters that never made it into the game at all. If you've been enjoying these looks back, please check out my personal FF site  (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/)where I've added brand new retrospectives of my own skins from as far back as 2002. It's a window into another era.

I truly wanted to continue my stream of custom skins to recreate some of these proto characters, but they are so wildly different from their final meshes. If anyone with better meshing/skoping skills wants to collaborate on Man-O-War, Sea Urchin, Shadow, or any others I'd love to collaborate with you.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: UnkoMan on August 15, 2021, 12:14:34 AM
I love Golden Armour Man-O-War and blonde Urchin.
I think I actually like them better than the final ones.

Your detective work is cool! I remember some of these games for sure.

By the way, anybody can look this up but... Hero X gameplay footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tiiJKtm0zM
Stylistically gives a bit of a Jagged Alliance 2 vibe, which I'd always wanted a super hero version of since I first got the original FF.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Epimethee on August 16, 2021, 12:02:01 AM
Nice work again, Ewzzry! I don't remember seeing most of these, apart from Machine Man-Bot and Tricolor (who redid that mesh? I have it somewhere)

…And yes, I’m curious about these bigger-scale projects too! ;)
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: SuperPoweredYank on August 16, 2021, 12:16:20 AM
I love Golden Armour Man-O-War and blonde Urchin.
I think I actually like them better than the final ones.

Your detective work is cool! I remember some of these games for sure.

By the way, anybody can look this up but... Hero X gameplay footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tiiJKtm0zM
Stylistically gives a bit of a Jagged Alliance 2 vibe, which I'd always wanted a super hero version of since I first got the original FF.
Feel obligated to warn you as a (former) owner of this game. It's not very good, lol.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: docdelorean88 on August 16, 2021, 05:17:54 AM
Phenomenal work ewzzy! So many great concepts and now skins! It truly does make me wish we got some further adventures with these heroes. This thread is so fascinating.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: UnkoMan on August 18, 2021, 12:03:41 AM
Feel obligated to warn you as a (former) owner of this game. It's not very good, lol.

Ha ha ha, oh no. I will definitely NOT try to find it anywhere then.

Gosh, I don't think I've ever seen a similar superhero game that matched up with Freedom Force, ever.
Easy to see why we all liked it so much!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: RingsOfReznor on August 19, 2021, 07:35:48 AM
Wow that's some amazing content, cheers Ewzzy!

Begs the question what Minuteman would have done if Mentor approached in that costume... perhaps return to the park bench? Take up statue street performance?
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on August 20, 2021, 04:20:11 AM
Begs the question what Minuteman would have done if Mentor approached in that costume... perhaps return to the park bench? Take up statue street performance?
Welcome to the party Rings. You remind me... In my search through the long forgotten realms of FF I found "mentor2.nif" that was just the regular Mentor mesh but with a bigger brain.

Nice work again, Ewzzry! I don't remember seeing most of these, apart from Machine Man-Bot and Tricolor (who redid that mesh? I have it somewhere)…And yes, I’m curious about these bigger-scale projects too! ;)
I'd love to see that mesh if you have it somewhere. As a preview for my bigger projects, I'm trying to do a retrospective on the modding scene in its first year. Lots and lots to discover before it's ready.

I love Golden Armour Man-O-War and blonde Urchin.I think I actually like them better than the final ones.
Me too. I tried my hand as skinning them but I need some real meshing help to make them anything close to their designs.

Feel obligated to warn you as a (former) owner of this game. It's not very good, lol.
Maybe weirder than just being bad, it's not very super. I played for an hour and was just wandering around a local college beating up frat boys.

Phenomenal work ewzzy! So many great concepts and now skins! It truly does make me wish we got some further adventures with these heroes. This thread is so fascinating.
Thank you and thank everyone reading. I've got something really cool today.

As promised last time, this post is going to be all about characters that never made it into the games at all. Let's give them their due in my biggest post to date.

The primary sources for this are IGN's 2009 interview The Past, Present and Future of Freedom Force (https://www.ign.com/articles/2009/06/26/the-past-present-and-future-of-freedom-force) and Irrational's own 2012 From the Vault (https://irrationalgames.ghoststorygames.com/insider/from-the-vault-freedom-force/) article. Just because you've seen these before doesn't mean there won't be surprises.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of these were designed/proposed for :ff: or :ffvstr: at different stages of development. Some for FF3 which never got past the planning stages or other spin off games.

(https://i.imgur.com/VDCwSxKl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/VDCwSxK.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/462hnYCl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/462hnYC.jpg)
Big Top and Side Show are both 1970s characters. As mentioned last article, Tombstone was proposed for FF1 as a Batman like character. Presumably these were to be his Joker and Harley Quinn.

(https://i.imgur.com/YrUolZVl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/unvmnGP.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/nld8gfdl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/nld8gfd.jpg)
Gold Fang and Outback are also from the 70s iteration. These fit in a very Powerman and Iron First Heroes for Hire milieu. Outback is actually reference to the Australian Irrational developers:
Quote
“I needed a new villain and wanted to finally tip my hat to our Australian team,” recalls Waters. “I thought he could be a sort of Kraven the Hunter [enemy of Spider Man] meets Crocodile Dundee. He would make sport of hunting down various members of Freedom Force to claim as his ultimate trophies.”

(https://i.imgur.com/unvmnGPl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/unvmnGP.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/ujBc1wkl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ujBc1wk.jpg)
Computress and Red Dwarf continue our race through the funky 70s. Red Dwarf seems to be like Thor's Surtur (created in the 60s but more iconic for the 80s) but his visual style is decidedly 70s Kirby. Computress is one of the few we have a plot description for:
Quote
Computress’ big distinction was that she was an extension of one of Freedom Force’s classic Villains, Mr. Mechanical. “She was intended to be his ultimate creation – a sort of a Bride of Frankenstein thing,” says Waters. But like all evil creations in comic books, things would have gone wrong right from the start. “She’d up killing him, and then seeing all humans as inferior beings to be conquered by an army of cyborgs in order to take over the world.” And while the plotline never panned out, Waters still has fond memories of what might have been. “I thought it would be great to have her enslave microwave in sort of a love tryst!”

(https://i.imgur.com/fwPmmlSl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/fwPmmlS.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/D38pTR7l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/D38pTR7l.jpg)
We also would have gotten 70s remixes of known bad guys. Much sleeker and deadlier than before. A creeping problem throughout these is that none of this really speaks to the 70s does it? It's scattershot compared to the surefooted inspiration of Lee & Kirby 60s. This of course is what lead to the Golden Age change for FFVT3R.

(https://i.imgur.com/8pbyztol.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/8pbyzto.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/86WG8lrl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/86WG8lr.jpg)
There also where designs for new 60s characters. General: Star of W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. was presumably a sort of Nick Fury character. (though really he looks more like 70s Judge Dredd) Mama Bear is... Mama Bear. She gets a special shout out in the interview with Ken Levine teasing artist Robb Waters.

(https://i.imgur.com/Dm6klakl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/Dm6klak.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/hI2ofEDl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/hI2ofED.jpg)
Young Starr is the most quintessentially Jim Starlin character in the bunch. Possibly related to the enigmatic deus ex machina Energy X? Or maybe no plans for him at all:
Quote
“This character was inspired by the cosmic themes that were prevalent in the ‘70s,” explains Waters. “I started with the name and drew inspiration from the outlandish KISS costumes.” When Ken Levine saw the original concept, he coined the tag line  “the man who was never born.” And what does that actually mean? “I’m not sure,” says Waters, “but it sounded great and it would have been fun trying to explore that fiction.”
Thunderclap turned out to be a bit to plain. Easy to see when compared to the more fully fleshed out Quetzalcoatl.
Quote
And sometimes, it’s not that a character didn’t quite fit. Sometimes, they actually fit too well. Witness the straight-down-the-middle Thunderclap! “ I love his design,” says Waters fondly. “But I think he was maybe a bit to on the nose, even for Irrational.” A quick look at the picture tells you pretty much everything you’d ever need to know about this Native American hero. “With a thunderous clap of his hands he would be able to generate an electric bolt to strike his foes down.”

(https://i.imgur.com/EwvbgvTl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/EwvbgvT.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/dRpdfKUl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/dRpdfKU.jpg)
Primordial would have been extremely challenging to implement in game. Only the most extensive mods have had anything approaching this level of morphing and melting. The animated glowing tattoos alone would have been beyond anything seen in the games proper.
Quote
“This was my tip of the hat to the 70’s swamp-men of comics,” recalls Waters. “He was sort of the 70’s tree-hugger character. He just wanted to heal mother earth at any price. He wasn’t necessarily a bad guy in this way – he’s just blinded by his beliefs.”

(https://i.imgur.com/L1aYx2kl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/L1aYx2k.jpg)
I'm going to throw this guy out here alone because he's so rare. I found him in an old French website that had stolen all its screenshots from others sites. He's a centaur enemy that would have been a minion along with the Man Bulls for Pan. He's so early that Pan isn't even named yet. I'm certain "Satyr -Centaur" is referring to "Satyr" as his leader. There are a number of reasons why he would have been cut early. He really doesn't add any gameplay ideas that Man Bulls can't handle and he isn't that visually interesting. It's as standard a drawing of a centaur as you can get. Really I think he was cut because horses are just the dirt worst to draw and animate.

(https://i.imgur.com/ISMcQMzl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ISMcQMz.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/kUIV952l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/kUIV952.jpg)
Back to the regular sources we have Shifty! He got pretty far in development with fuller model sheets and animation ideas. I have to suspect like the last few he would be cut because his powers are so difficult to implement in game.
Quote
“This was to be an attempt at making a stretchy plastic-man type character,” says Waters. A key to the appeal of the Freedom Force series was its homage to many super hero tropes – but always with a signature Irrational twist. “I saw him as a whimsical villain. He could re-shape in ways that would give him appropriate abilities, such as steamrolling enemies as a giant bowling ball and flying as a pterodactyl.”

(https://i.imgur.com/DvXNaZql.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/DvXNaZq.jpg)
I say "cut" because we have evidence of Shifty from before the release of FF1! When I stumbled across "Elasto" here my mind was #@$%*! blown. Not only is he a cut character from the first game but he was revived in the future only to fall short again! Incredible!

Then after digging through old magazine scans I found EVEN MORE about Shifty & Elasto! In the earliest print mentions of FF1 there are consistent mentions of the sort of powers you'll be using.

[2000.9] Reset - Polish
Quote
Claws, wings, stretching your body, biting through steel and concrete...and skills such as stopping time...

[2000.10] PC Zone - English
Quote
As well as your typical superhero characters who can channel lightning or move cars with the flick of the wrist, there will be more off-the wall superheroes who can bounce like rubber or stop time.

[2001.05] PC-Games - German
Quote
While some have deadly weapons of attack with claw-shaped hands, others move elegantly through the air thanks to their wings or with a rubber-like body to even survive falls from the Empire State Building without a scratch.

[2001.5] PC Player - German
Quote
In addition to permanent attributes such as a rubber body that allows you to bounce through the skyscraper canyons like a bouncy ball, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the skills you can learn.

That's just a few that I managed to find. The real treat is the original press release from publisher Crave announcing FF itself (https://web.archive.org/web/20010422204239/http://www.cravegames.com/pressreleases/20000720_01.htm)!
Quote
Although characters have powers which can evolve and be honed during the game, all of the heroes and villains that populate Freedom Force boast features such as claws, wings or more complex attributes like rubber bodies which allow the player to bounce instead of splatter when they fall or get hurtled off buildings.

Then in what may be the VERY FIRST interview about FF (https://web.archive.org/web/20010405063803/http://www.zdnet.com/gamespot/stories/previews/0,10869,2604600,00.html) there's a quote from Ken Levine himself:
Quote
Attributes are more or less permanent features of the heroes and villains. They can be simple things like claws or wings or more complex like a rubber body, which allows you to bounce around if you fall off a building.

In all my time researching the development of FF this has become my favorite discovery. From the earliest moments to the last gasp Elasto was there waiting for his moment to shine! That moment is today. I've created brand new skins for Elasto and Shifty ready for download.

(https://i.imgur.com/2oFOwRWl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/2oFOwRW.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/N69ufcNl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/N69ufcN.jpg)

Download Elasto and Shifty (http://freedomforce.ewzzy.com/downloads/elasto_shifty.zip)

These are based on the Plastic_Man mesh by Texas Jack (actually based on the KennX skope with the skoped on parts removed because finding meshes in 2021 is  :banghead:) Now is the part where I ask for your help. My meshing skills are at best out of date and more accurately non existent. If someone could take up the cause of molding the mesh to form Elasto/Shifty's distinctive head shape I'd be forever in your debt. Has there ever been a character that deserved to the deluxe treatment? After his decades of living in the shadows?
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: docdelorean88 on August 20, 2021, 04:41:29 AM
Mind definitely blown Ewzzy. Holy cow.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on August 22, 2021, 11:16:28 AM
These are all great. Thanks for posting all this work, and returning to FF and making new skins

RD
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on August 30, 2021, 09:39:13 PM
Here's a quick one that I've had ready for a bit. Something I'm super interested in is the modding community existing before the game was actually released. In my research I've found indications online that the character tool came out as early as June 2001. (the installer points to August 2001) Along with it was a series of generic hero meshes.

(https://i.imgur.com/xJFSocgl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/xJFSocg.png)(https://i.imgur.com/P5QYtmwl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/P5QYtmw.png)
First out the gate are generic_hero & generic_hero2. These are nigh identical to male_cape & male_belt. The .tga files are different and the keyframes are missing some animations including a variety of melee and ranged attacks.

(https://i.imgur.com/kNOiFuvl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/kNOiFuv.png)(https://i.imgur.com/U6SvBDKl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/U6SvBDK.png)
The male_alpha equivalent generic_hero3 and comes with a totally unique skin. This weirdo has been one of my favorite finds in all my research. I mean... just look at him!
(https://i.imgur.com/Kc9fRg7l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/Kc9fRg7.png)
That's a guy who appreciates video game history.

(https://i.imgur.com/IKqOfAsl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/IKqOfAs.png)(https://i.imgur.com/zdLOhiMl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/zdLOhiM.png)
Worth noting that male_basic is generic_hero4. Just fun to think about the most basic mesh being the 4th released. If there's one of these you've every actually needed to download it's generic_hero5 because there's no equivalent version in the released game. It's the male_basic mesh but with a cape. Obviously a lot of skins got released for it back in the day.

(https://i.imgur.com/pjPKzstl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/pjPKzst.png)(https://i.imgur.com/HOA6hwGl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/HOA6hwG.png)
Next up is generic_heroB & generic_heroB2 the equivalents of male_heavy & male_hulking. Curiously these don't have any sort of skin outside of a tinted wireframe. Almost all of these meshes include wireframes with TEMP in the name. Found in a readme that TEMP meant template not temporary. That never stuck around.

(https://i.imgur.com/4RMpkgJl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/4RMpkgJ.png)(https://i.imgur.com/PVUJitkl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/PVUJitk.png)
For the ladies, generic_heroine is female_longhair and generic_heroine3 is female_basic. There's more going on with generic_heroine3 than just being unfinished. She's got heterochromic eyes and the tga file is 512x512 not the standard 256x256 of all other official FF skins.

Annoyingly, I don't have the original download for the mysterious generic_heroine2.
(https://i.imgur.com/N6xwaDZm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/N6xwaDZ.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/cTjy21Wm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/cTjy21W.jpg)
I know Mienk at some point modified the mesh into female_mediumhair and Ooleyman into female_shorthair. (Both seemingly lost?)
(https://i.imgur.com/0IuIPpsm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/0IuIPps.png)(https://i.imgur.com/7ocMjQdm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/7ocMjQd.png)
Then it seems Interceptor modified that into female_straighthair and fl_straighthair available on Alex's site. There's a lineage and it exists because Irrational provided the .max files with these meshes before the game was even released.

I've also found references to male_rotund as generic_heroC and male_suit as generic_heroS. All downloads for those are dead and doornails.

Download the generic meshes here. (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-pre-release-meshes)

If you have the original files that I'm still missing PLEASE get with me. Generic_Heroine2 is obviously what I'm looking for most but I believe there might be more I don't even know about.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on August 30, 2021, 10:58:02 PM
Nice new update.

 :thumbup:


I've got both Mienk's and Ooleyman's meshes.

For female_shorthair, I have 4 skins - Marrina by Tzar Ivan, DC's XS by Greycount, Wonder Woman Justice Lords by C6, and Schism with no readme.

For female_medium hair I have 7 skins - Andromeda and  Catspaw by Lord Ehmsidy, Shrinking Violet by "DJ" - I'm assuming Dark Jared, Rita Farr by Cmdr Koenig, the CotU June Robbins by the Vigilante, and Capitalist 3 and Red Trinity 3 by Firestorm.

Let me know if you want them, and I can post them either with or without the extra skins

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: doctorchallenger on August 31, 2021, 01:14:50 AM
Thanks for this trip down memory lane, E!

I just went through my old Champions rpg stuff. The guy in yellow with the cape (great skin, btw) was a sample character in the 3rd edition rules called Sunburst, fyi.

I also checked the key frames for generic hero B and B2. Both have the dancing Keyframe (titled "whee!"). So now skopers have easier access to that!

Keep up the great work!
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on September 01, 2021, 04:59:09 AM
Looking through some of the things I've got, I've got a generic_heroine2 and a generic_heroine4 (both looking like I got them from the Skindex), but both are modified by Mienk, so obviously not the originals.  I checked through all of the Freedom Force Mesh YG files, and it's not in there, either (although the 70's meshes were).

Besides the shorthair skins RD listed, I've got a Marrina by C6, and a Dazzler (by Tetragene, of course).
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on September 01, 2021, 03:28:23 PM
Hey Panther - tried to send you a pm but your box is full

Can you send me those 2 skins - randomdays@aol.com - or up them somewhere?

RD

Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on September 02, 2021, 03:00:04 AM
Hey Panther - tried to send you a pm but your box is full

This old thing.  I thought that was fixed when we moved hosts.

Quote
Can you send me those 2 skins - randomdays@aol.com - or up them somewhere?

The Marrina skin was part of an Alpha Flight pack, which is on Alex's site:  http://alexff.com/downloads/C6/AlphaFlight_8Pack.zip

I don't even remember anymore where Tetragene's site was, or what it was called.  I'll send you that one (from the pilot Pryde of the X-Men).
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on September 02, 2021, 09:21:57 AM
Thanks Panther. I had checked Alex's site for the individual skin and didn't see it.

RD
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on September 03, 2021, 09:21:25 PM
Looking through some of the things I've got, I've got a generic_heroine2 and a generic_heroine4 (both looking like I got them from the Skindex), but both are modified by Mienk, so obviously not the originals

Please send them my way!  :)

I've got some notes that I should have included in that post. I've got release dates for some of the generic meshes:

8/21/01 - generic_hero2 (Hero Without Cape)
9/04/01 - generic_hero3 (Alpha Hero), generic_heroB (Bound Hero), generic_heroB2 (Massive Hero)
10/9/01 - generic_heroC (Obese Hero)
10/22/01 - generic_heroS (Hero with Suit)
11/05/01 - generic_heroine3 (Female Hero)


Less info today, but I've got some archive.org links to things I've backed up there along but haven't posted here yet.

(https://i.imgur.com/nZuD2i0l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/nZuD2i0.jpg)
https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-official-bonus-meshes (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-official-bonus-meshes)
These meshes and skins were released officially on the Freedom Force Modforce site by Irrational Games. All but the Female Versatile meshes include .max files for modeling in 3DS Max.

Have a few dates for these as well.
5/6/02 - Soldier
6/10/02 - Shadow & Instinct

Soldier is so incredibly early and is likely the first post-release content. Irrational had this to say about it:
Quote
"A custom mesh by Irrational that proves that Patriot City isn’t just for superheroes anymore."
and
Quote
"Patriot City Defence Force soldiers are equipped with a high powered assault rifle,
camouflage suit and kevlar helmet. Three camouflage variants are provided for jungle,
desert and urban conditions. Tough and well-trained, these grunts are capable of
taking on just about anything that might threaten the safety of Patriot City."
Something about that is hilarious to me. There seems to be other unreleased bits in these promo screenshots for it. Take a look.

(https://i.imgur.com/rLRf2TGm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/rLRf2TG.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/28H3oG8m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/28H3oG8.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/gFN6aLem.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/gFN6aLe.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/y3yRW73m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/y3yRW73.jpg)

For a while Irrational would put out promo renders for new characters. I can't find any such thing for Daemon, FV, or Trenchcoat.
(https://i.imgur.com/RvjL4i6m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/RvjL4i6.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/tcfq39Gm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/tcfq39G.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/hS5iZvgm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/hS5iZvg.jpg)

It really felt like there was a steady stream of fresh official content from FF for a while there. BTW Daemon, strangely does not seem to be related to Instinct and Shadow from The Lost.

As for female_versatile, I've got so much more I need to learn about how that came about. One of many research aspects I'm working on is the timeline of hexing and skoping and when FV made that an official part of the modding process.

Speaking of official modding process...
(https://i.imgur.com/ATPLy5El.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ATPLy5E.jpg)
https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-custom-characters-meshes (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-custom-characters-meshes)
3DS Max files and animated heads for the custom characters of Freedom Force. The mesh/skins are identical to what is already included in the retail release. Only the inclusion of the .max and head.nif files are unique.

(https://i.imgur.com/roaSM2gl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/roaSM2g.jpg)
https://archive.org/details/official-meshes (https://archive.org/details/official-meshes)
Freedom Force Character Models for 3DS Max. All officially released by Irrational Games for modders. The mesh/skins are identical to the retail release. Only the inclusion of .max files for modeling in 3DS Max is unique.

They released these over a long period of time. Weirdly the soldier ant mesh was released first. Still disappointed the FFVT3R 3DS max files never got released but Blender has made those less needed.

(https://i.imgur.com/cVWEVORl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/cVWEVOR.jpg)
https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-demos-tools (https://archive.org/details/freedom-force-demos-tools)
Freedom Force Demos & Tools

Throwing this out there too. It's the rest of the official downloads.
Demos
   Freedom_Force_Demo_sm.exe - Freedom Force Demo without sound
   Freedom_Force_Demo_lg.exe - Freedom Force Demo with sound
   ffvttr_demo_en.exe - Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich Demo
FF Tools
   Character Tool.exe - NIF Character viewer
   Character Tool Update.zip - Small Fix for Character Tool
   FFExporters.zip - NIF Export plugin for 3DS Max
   Patch 1.3.exe - Updates CD version of Freedom Force
   Screensaver.zip - Windows Screensaver
   Freedom Force Editor.exe - Mod toolkit
FFVT3R Tools
   FFVT3R_Exporter_Max51.exe - 3DS Max NIF Exporter without Character Studio
   FFVT3R_Exporter_Max51CS4.exe - 3DS Max NIF Exporter with Character Studio
   FFVT3R_Mod_Tools.exe - Mod Toolkit

Things I'm still looking for:

If anyone has those or links to news/promotion about the releases for these old downloads send them my way. If you have info about Female Versatile and how it was released to the community I'd be very interested.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on September 04, 2021, 12:15:21 PM
Ewzzy - great stuff as always.

I've been looking for the Test mod as well, as have other people. It might be really lost.

I've uploaded the female_shorthair and female_medium hair to my mega site under requests, with all the skins I have for them.



Panther, not that it doesn't work on female_shorthair, but the C6 Marrina is actually for female_bob.

RD
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: GogglesPizanno on September 04, 2021, 04:19:40 PM
I found the test mod in my old archive.
I think this is the original tangle beam you are looking for (Dates and file structure seem right) but I'm not 100%

Test Mod: https://www.negative-10.com/ff/testmod.zip
Tangle Beam: https://www.negative-10.com/ff/tangle_beam.zip
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on September 04, 2021, 05:06:32 PM
Yay Goggles!

 :thumbup:
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on September 05, 2021, 04:53:30 PM
I just went through my old Champions rpg stuff. The guy in yellow with the cape (great skin, btw) was a sample character in the 3rd edition rules called Sunburst, fyi.
I also checked the key frames for generic hero B and B2. Both have the dancing Keyframe (titled "whee!"). So now skopers have easier access to that!
1) That is great info and now I know I'm gonna have to collect some old Champions books. :D
2) I totally missed that animation was in there!
(https://i.imgur.com/Cy27Ul8.gif)

I found the test mod in my old archive.
I think this is the original tangle beam you are looking for (Dates and file structure seem right) but I'm not 100%
Thank you so much for these! I've added them to the archive.org page now.

I've uploaded the female_shorthair and female_medium hair to my mega site under requests, with all the skins I have for them.
So cool to see these. Looking at the readme's I'm now even less sure about what generic_heroine2 actually was. Lots more to find out there.

Looking through some of the things I've got, I've got a generic_heroine2 and a generic_heroine4 (both looking like I got them from the Skindex), but both are modified by Mienk, so obviously not the originals.
I'd love to take a look at those. I'll still be hunting for the original downloads, but they'll help.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Randomdays on September 05, 2021, 05:46:11 PM
That reminds me of a Rock Band video I saw ages ago with Freedom Force characters in it. I don't think this is the one - but I could be mistaken - I doubt there's a lot of these out there

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtiJZ9SASw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtiJZ9SASw)
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Panther_Gunn on September 07, 2021, 04:02:19 AM
Panther, not that it doesn't work on female_shorthair, but the C6 Marrina is actually for female_bob.

Huh.  Not sure why I put it there, not sure if I was experimenting that much at that point or not.  I'm more inclined to think I saw someone say it worked for both meshes, but I definitely see a hair_bob01.tga in there.  The file dates are Apr 2003, but I doubt it's an earlier version than what's in the pack on Alex's site.

Looking through some of the things I've got, I've got a generic_heroine2 and a generic_heroine4 (both looking like I got them from the Skindex), but both are modified by Mienk, so obviously not the originals.
I'd love to take a look at those. I'll still be hunting for the original downloads, but they'll help.

Sent.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: Ewzzy on October 08, 2021, 03:57:36 PM
Hey it's been a minute. Let's talk about Bradygames FF guides.

(https://i.imgur.com/WKRmomtl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/WKRmomt.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/XRxrVtml.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/XRxrVtm.jpg)
The first guide is by Rick Barba who is probably the most prolific guide's writer ever.

First thing he tells us? How to cheat!
(https://i.imgur.com/dB2Mfrym.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/dB2Mfry.jpg)
Despite walking through editing init.py there's no info on how to unlock the bonus characters.

Blackbird, Iron Ox, and Supercollider get bios in the text that I don't think I've ever seen before.
(https://i.imgur.com/yhtj6I6m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/yhtj6I6.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/xS6MTdnm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/xS6MTdn.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/q7i9VUAm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/q7i9VUA.jpg)

They aren't the only one's with details that were new to me.
(https://i.imgur.com/ASQm4Yym.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ASQm4Yy.jpg)
Does it come up anywhere else that Microwave remembers a Terminator future?

(https://i.imgur.com/uxt57SVm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/uxt57SV.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/Ms3mLN8m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/Ms3mLN8.jpg)
Is it a known thing that Man O' War and Sea Urchin are dedicated to the protectors of the world's children?

The book also has a bunch of tips and tricks that I didn't know.
(https://i.imgur.com/NxrnEbKm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/NxrnEbK.jpg)
Excellent to know I can wail on Mentor with a lamppost all I want.

(https://i.imgur.com/1l5oTzvm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/1l5oTzv.jpg)
Just had no clue about this.

(https://i.imgur.com/6OUjPXlm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/6OUjPXl.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/W8E5gr2l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/W8E5gr2.jpg)
Turns out I have no idea how Law's powers work.

In the back there's a couple pages about online resources and skinning.
(https://i.imgur.com/CIC4aPDm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/CIC4aPD.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/3Mtnjism.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/3Mtnjis.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/522MB9Fm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/522MB9F.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/ckNEmP2m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/ckNEmP2.jpg)
Interesting to see Planet Quake as a skinning guide.

The book has a fair amount of art but it's all stuff you've seen before. These are the only 3 I don't have in better quality elsewhere.
(https://i.imgur.com/B5bH3XNm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/B5bH3XN.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/73ZpUf4m.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/73ZpUf4.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/oijlMGmm.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/oijlMGm.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/gQgkKPkl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/gQgkKPk.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/frwqM5dl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/frwqM5d.jpg)
The FFVT3R guide is sadly a lot less interesting. Author Laura Parkinson does a decent job but it's pretty sparse.

There's a larger reliance on character art.
(https://i.imgur.com/4jmTKR1l.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/4jmTKR1.jpg)

But some art is better than others and it gets repetitive quickly.
(https://i.imgur.com/8b07EeNl.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/8b07EeN.jpg)

That's all I got for now. Thanks for tuning in.
Title: Re: Ewzzy's FF History
Post by: windblown on October 08, 2021, 11:11:51 PM
I really like this thread, thanks for doing this! I've enjoyed reading through it.