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Old September 25th, 2018, 07:03 PM
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Post Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Recently I learned that a beta version of SP from July 1996 had been leaked -- it got mistaken as a demo -- onto game magazines back in 1996.

https://www.betaarchive.com/forum/vi...p?f=14&t=38921

Quote:
“It appears that SSI were sending out pre-release versions of some of their games to magazines for preview, and several have ended up on magazine cover disks, mistaken for legitimate demo versions of the respective games. This false impression was probably reinforced by the fact that the betas came with the same type of installer as the regular SSI demo versions.

Steel Panthers Beta

The beta is dated 18 July 1995, the installer files 8 August 1995. The catalogue records four cover-disks with this version: SCORE No. 25 (January 1996), PC Power (March 1996), PC Games (March 1996) and PC Action (March 1996). The main installer file (DATA.A00) is 15 561 910 bytes.

This version appears to be not limited in any way, it contains a large number of scenarios, the campaign mode and mission builder, and several saved games, apparently intended to show gameplay to reviewers. The installer help file contains text in French which suggests that perhaps the beta was originally leaked by a French magazine, but this is not certain.”
I downloaded it and dove into it, as an archaeological project.

15 MB Zip of 1996 Beta of SP, must be installed under DOSBOX

It installs to the C:\PANTH directory and includes:

AAPLAY.EXE – Autodesk Animator Public Domain Player v1.0 from 1989.

EDITPZ.EXE – Apparently the original SSI editor for SP, used by the dev team.

PZ.EXE – Main program.

To get the Beta to run, you have to select NO SOUND.

What's in the Beta:

Four Saves:

US vs Soviet (5/1945)
Jap vs US (12/1941)
Brit vs Ger (9/1944)
Jap v US (12/1941)

It seems to contain some information on the FIRST round of icons which were drawn up for the game, as it contains several LBM files named BRI.LBM, etc which are attached in PNG format to this post.
Attached Thumbnails
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Name:	SP_Beta_AME.png
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ID:	15520   Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_BRI.png
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ID:	15521   Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_FRE.png
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ID:	15522   Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_GER.png
Views:	87
Size:	27.4 KB
ID:	15523   Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_RUS.png
Views:	55
Size:	24.9 KB
ID:	15524  


Last edited by MarkSheppard; September 25th, 2018 at 07:47 PM..
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Old September 25th, 2018, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Here are some more diggings:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_BUT.png
Views:	75
Size:	16.2 KB
ID:	15525   Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_Install.png
Views:	56
Size:	5.6 KB
ID:	15526   Click image for larger version

Name:	SP_Beta_Campaign.png
Views:	60
Size:	72.4 KB
ID:	15527  
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Old September 25th, 2018, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Wow compared to SPWW2 those shps are awful lol
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Old September 25th, 2018, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Actually, I think they're from the original iteration of Steel Panthers at 25M/hex.

At some point during development, they changed scale from 25M/hex to 50M/hex, and spent $100,000 on artwork for the initial icons we saw in SP1.

As a result, somewhere along the way, the game icon/terrains became out of scale with the in-game hex scale, and it's been like that in every game pretty much since then.

Also, notice the Green dot over infantry squads? I found a SHP file full of Green/Yellow/Red dots -- I think they planned to represent infantry squads as being at full health, ok health, and dead with the changing colors of that dot.

Somewhere along the way, they went to the "decreasing men in icon" that we all know and love.
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Old September 25th, 2018, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Interesting points and notes on the original/beta and wow $100,000 for artwork.
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Old September 26th, 2018, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

The demo game that I got off a magazine CD was pretty much unrestricted - e.g. full WW2 LC was playable. The demo did not take elevation into account - had fun with KV-2 firing through hills... Played that to death that weekend, then into Edinburgh Virgin Megastore 1st thing on Monday and bought the full game.
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Old September 27th, 2018, 11:30 AM

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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Thanks about sharing that beta version. It's interesting to see finally whole development path of SP series from beginning into newest version of WinMBT/WW2...

Warhero
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Old September 27th, 2018, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Heh when I first saw the title I thought that someone had decided to make some sort of prehistoric mod for the game. Clan versus clan or something of that nature.

Quite the find you have here, always interesting to see how things were back then.
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Old September 27th, 2018, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Prehistoric SP -- July 1996 Beta

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony_Scott View Post
Heh when I first saw the title I thought that someone had decided to make some sort of prehistoric mod for the game. Clan versus clan or something of that nature.

Quite the find you have here, always interesting to see how things were back then.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one expecting cavemen!
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