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Author Topic: Ewzzy's FF History  (Read 2051 times)

Offline Randomdays

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #30 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/* - 308 zips

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

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

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

RD


Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #31 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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2021, 06:39:10 PM by Ewzzy »

Offline Randomdays

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #32 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
« Last Edit: July 17, 2021, 05:18:15 PM by Randomdays »

Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #33 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.


Click through for the HD scan. From the March 2001 issue of PC Powerplay Magazine.


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.

Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #34 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. 
God Bless
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Offline Epimethee

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #35 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.
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Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2021, 04:01:28 PM »
Lol found another Alchemiss

Offline spydermann93

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #37 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.

Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2021, 10:09:16 PM »
Ha, true.  I wonder if that's just a coloring mistake.
God Bless
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Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #39 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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.
 

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.


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
70s Ant ported backward to 60s Mesh
60s Eve ported forward to 70s Mesh with corrected UV map
70s Eve ported backwards to 60s Mesh

The entire set of official 70s meshes/skins and HQ scans of the pre-order box are available on the internet archive here.

Offline SuperPoweredYank

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #40 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.

Offline spydermann93

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2021, 07:36:40 PM »
lol, same!

Offline daglob

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #42 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.

Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #43 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.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
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Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #44 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).
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Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #45 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.
God Bless
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Offline Panther_Gunn

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #46 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.
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Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #47 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:






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

« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 11:35:13 PM by BentonGrey »
God Bless
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Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #48 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.


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
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.

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.


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.


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.

L>R: 70s Skin ported to 60s Mesh, 70s upscale, 60s upscale, 60s Skin ported to 70s mesh


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
Port and upscale for Bullet Original Mesh
Port and upscale for El Diablo 70s Mesh
Port and upscale for El Diablo Original Mesh


Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #49 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!
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
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Offline docdelorean88

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #50 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.


Click through for the HD scan. From the March 2001 issue of PC Powerplay Magazine.


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.
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Offline naitvalis

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #51 on: July 26, 2021, 06:36:36 PM »
this is an extremely interesting thread and very much needed, thank you Ewzzy.

Offline Panther_Gunn

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Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #53 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.


Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #54 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.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
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Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #55 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:

Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2021, 02:57:49 PM »
Speaking of things I've ebay'd: The Mac version of Freedom Force!




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:

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.


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.



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



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



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.

If you want that swanky Mac version of the icon for yourself, you can download it in .ico format here.

Sorry to all the 2005 Mac fans that never got that FFVT3R port you begged for.

Offline Nyte Dragon

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #57 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)
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Offline Ewzzy

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #58 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.

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.

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.

I couldn't help myself and recreated the skin. Check out that rib guard. You can better compare them below.

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.

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.

That's the origin on the left and his final promo art on the right.

Once again, I couldn't resist skinning it myself.

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

Microwave Concept Pack

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.

Online BentonGrey

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Re: Ewzzy's FF History
« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2021, 03:57:33 PM »
Cool stuff!  I like that Microwave version. It looks very "o-matic"!
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out mymods and blog!
https://bentongrey.wordpress.com/