file Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build

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13 Jul 2021 05:07 #1 by Josep_Nollette
Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build was created by Josep_Nollette
Even after two years, the links I posted about the pre-release build of Marble Blast on an old thread ( marbleblast.com/index.php/forum/general-mb-discussion/10173-what-day-was-the-original-2001-marble-blast-released#145548 ) still leaves me intrigued and curious. Why didn't the final product implement checkpoints, magnets, AI marbles, etc.? How did the final product differ from what was shown in IndieGamesCon 2002? How long was each level going to be such that 30 was enough for the game?

It was just yesterday when I was trying to find Alex Swanson's contact info or some other way to ask him (and/or whoever else worked on the original Marble Blast) these questions. Then I stumbled upon the Marble Blast Wiki page for Marble Blast Gold and, to my surprise, found a screenshot of the September 2002 beta-build of Marble Blast with what appears to be an early version of Upward Spiral.
marbleblast.fandom.com/wiki/Marble_Blast_Gold?file=MB-looking-down-concept.png#cite_ref-WorthPlaying1_2-0
Apart from the green HUD text and the 'blah' marble texture in the game in general, I noticed the floor texture used for the level was missing its bullseye/target pattern and surrounded with yellow borders instead of purple like with the final product. The HUD itself also had differences such as the numbers being further apart from one another.

Then I found an interview with Jay Moore on The Gamers Press, and there I managed to find not only that same screenshot , but also two other pre-release screenshots, this time of what appears to be an early version of Tube Treasure:
web.archive.org/web/20021027140215/http://gamerspress.com:80/dspimage.php?image=/images/interviews/20020912/garagegames/MB-ball-on-the-edge.jpg
web.archive.org/web/20030330031843/http://gamerspress.com:80/dspimage.php?image=/images/interviews/20020912/garagegames/MB-down-the-tube-concept.jpg
Apart from the square-shaped (cubic?) purple 'gems', the shading with this older build appears to be different, and the Super Jump powerup is shaped like a rocket (like the Super Speed, but pointing upwards and colored orange and yellow).

Looking at the TCRF article for Marble Blast days ago, the soundsprofiles.cs file listed a couple of sounds that were presumably removed from the game: one titled 'penalty' and the other 'destroyedVoice'.

Am I the first one on this forum to have found these, or did someone else here do that before today? Is there a way to ask Mr. Swanson et al about the beta build?

Thanks in advance.
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13 Jul 2021 13:32 - 13 Jul 2021 20:10 #2 by Enzone
Replied by Enzone on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
This is AWESOME! Thanks for the findings! (unless it was someone else)
I also found 3 images on Eurogamer that appear to be from either later in the games development or from the original Marble Blast when it released because I can't find a video of that version anywhere!
Take a look!
www.eurogamer.net/articles/ss_marbleblast_pc
Last edit: 13 Jul 2021 20:10 by Enzone.

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13 Jul 2021 19:40 #3 by whirligig
Replied by whirligig on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
These aren't the only old screenshots out there! Some of us MB historians know that there was an entire chapter in the TGE manual back in the day using Marble Blast as an example to talk about the process of game development. Here's a link to this chapter, and here's an Imgur album with the alpha and beta images from it.
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13 Jul 2021 20:09 #4 by Enzone
Replied by Enzone on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
HOLY FU-
That's even cooler!
Thank you so much Whirligig!

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13 Jul 2021 23:20 #5 by Josep_Nollette
Replied by Josep_Nollette on topic The Pre-release Build

whirligig wrote:
These aren't the only old screenshots out there! Some of us MB historians know that there was an entire chapter in the TGE manual back in the day using Marble Blast as an example to talk about the process of game development. Here's a link to this chapter, and here's an Imgur album with the alpha and beta images from it.

I could've sworn it was at least a decade ago when I saw screenshots of a prototype of Marble Blast that used LCD digital numbers for the timer.

At the risk of changing the focus from screenshots of the beta build of Marble Blast to the beta itself:

Checkpoints:

We cut another gameplay system in the second prototype stage as well. Originally, Marble Blast was designed to include checkpoints. When the player reached a checkpoint, their progress would've been saved, allowing them to choose to begin again from that point.

The checkpoints could've been used as in many arcade racing games as well, where the player had to reach each checkpoint in a certain amount of time. This seemed like a great idea, we could create long, complex levels, and we could use the checkpoints to make failure less frustrating, and give beginners some mini-goals on each stage.

After the second prototype though, we started to question the usefulness of this system too. As with terrains, the checkpoint functionality was easy to implement, so development time wasn't a concern. We just began wondering whether the checkpoints and saves would be more fun than shorter, tighter levels. We decided to prototype again, using shorter levels without save points.

This prototype was much more fun, the gameplay was simpler-- checkpoints added unneeded complexity. The system without checkpoints also lent itself more readily to fast-paced, action gameplay. We decided to go with shorter, faster levels that didn't require save points at all.

Now I know why checkpoints weren't in the final game. Also, it answers one of the questions I posed regarding level count and length. Then again, I'm pretty sure it would've been useful for custom level creation, much like the Random Powerup.

So, here's an oddity. The big "Danger: Do Not Enter!" sign here is clearly not even a game object--it's been photoshopped in! Notice that it's on top of the timer. My best guess says this was meant to be a promotional image or something?

And yet the screenshot, without the sign, has this brown-colored sign-shaped imprint. Hard to tell if it's a shadow or something - doesn't seem to be the same color of the other shadows, or it could be digitally manipulated as well. And either way, that rocket-shaped SJ continues to mesmerize me for some reason.

As for the remaining elements bragged about, it'd be interesting to know why they weren't implemented (time constraints, complexity, incapability of the engine, etc.).

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14 Jul 2021 00:22 #6 by Enigma
Replied by Enigma on topic The Pre-release Build
Josep, where did you get that quote regarding the checkpoints? I'm interested.

As an aside, I did see the other two beta pictures you found, but I chose not to post them on the wiki when I added the first one (the article is a WIP right now). I guess it's a good thing I didn't, or the alpha/beta images of MB would only be known to those who read the TGE manual! Thanks, Whirli. :)

As far as for what Enzone posted, I'll have to look into the history of them. They must have been pre-release screenshots, as the Marble Blast Demo that was released in 2002 already used the yellow HUD. That would also probably explain why Half-Pipe has tornadoes.
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14 Jul 2021 01:29 #7 by Josep_Nollette
Replied by Josep_Nollette on topic The Pre-release Build

Enigma wrote:
Josep, where did you get that quote regarding the checkpoints? I'm interested.

The TGE manual on the link whirligig posted. The page titled 'Step 5) Iterate!' has screenshots of what the checkpoint would've looked like before they decided to make shorter levels.

As an aside, I did see the other two beta pictures you found, but I chose not to post them on the wiki when I added the first one (the article is a WIP right now). I guess it's a good thing I didn't, or the alpha/beta images of MB would only be known to those who read the TGE manual! Thanks, Whirli. :)

Didn't know that was you. Thanks!

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14 Jul 2021 03:29 - 14 Jul 2021 03:31 #8 by Enzone
Replied by Enzone on topic The Pre-release Build
Looking closer at the Eurogamer screenshots, the hud for all 3 screenshots is off-centered.
I'm beginning to think the Eurogamer screenshots are actually mockups.
Last edit: 14 Jul 2021 03:31 by Enzone.

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14 Jul 2021 03:45 #9 by main_gi
Replied by main_gi on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
I think the off-centered HUD is because they are left- or right- aligned (probably left-), instead of centered. The variance in that HUD element is probably based on differing screen resolution, the ones that are very off-center also have a 'smaller' HUD.

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14 Jul 2021 16:05 - 14 Jul 2021 16:16 #10 by Enzone
Replied by Enzone on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
I've seen video's of MB with different screen resolutions, and the hud is still in the same place as it should be, just smaller or bigger because of the screen resolutions.
Here are 3 videos I found that prove this point:


Last edit: 14 Jul 2021 16:16 by Enzone.

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14 Jul 2021 18:36 #11 by Enigma
Replied by Enigma on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
It'll be impossible to know for sure unless we can find some more images.

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15 Jul 2021 22:15 #12 by Josep_Nollette
Replied by Josep_Nollette on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build

Enzone wrote:
I've seen video's of MB with different screen resolutions, and the hud is still in the same place as it should be, just smaller or bigger because of the screen resolutions.
Here are 3 videos I found that prove this point:



I can only assume that main_gi means that the screenshots were taken with a build whose HUD wasn't sophisticated enough to handle differing resolutions, instead relying on pixel count rather than (I assume) percentage.

How the rest of the beta build looked (e.g. shape of the other power-ups, or which levels were considered but never made it) will probably be something to wonder, but if it turns out to be lost media after all, then we might never know. Unless one of the developers still has it within his/her possession (in a similar light, Matan and co. managed to preserve the pre-1.00 build of Platinum).
Even if the original code wasn't deleted after all, I can't imagine it'd be distributed post-acquisition by IAC. Then again, I doubt every video game under the sun is obliged to release a beta version at any point, in which case, in the absence of any further footage beyond what we've managed to find, I'd have to let this one slide.
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16 Jul 2021 03:13 #13 by Enigma
Replied by Enigma on topic Found Screenshots of Pre-release Build
In all the searching that I've done over the past several weeks, I've never found anything but the Beta Demo 1.2. However, it's a total fabrication. I'll post it here just so that anyone else searching doesn't confuse it for anything legitimate.

https://archive.org/details/MarbleBlastDemo-Beta1.2-2003-1-20

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