Transformers Armada [PS2] Demo / Alpha / Unreleased Material Thread

Discussion in 'Transformers Video Game Discussion' started by bullettrain, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Here's something fun that I've been working on!

    I've recently gone on a deep dive into the 2004 Armada PS2 game, primarily to get a copy of the complete soundtrack (as no complete version exists) but also to see whether any unreleased material existed for the project. In my travels, I've come across several demo versions and an Alpha Version of the game that contains stuff like:

    • Unreleased and Early pieces of music, including Alt. Versions of Cyclonus' and Tidal Wave's Boss Themes.
    • An official instrumental of the Transformers Armada TV Theme
    • Voice Clips not used in the final game
    • The in-house audio-cues done before recording dialogue with the voice actors
    • Material from Star Wars Episode II and The Transformers: The Movie (1986) !!!
    • Early video material and artwork
    All of this has now been uploaded to my Youtube account. There's some more stuff I'd like to put out there, including gameplay from the demo, but there's over 400 videos worth of material all ready for viewing.

    Check it out! I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts on the material and this fantastic game!
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
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  2. Walktehdinosaur

    Walktehdinosaur Cocktalk

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    Any clue as to how far demolisher was in inclusion?
     
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  3. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    From my initial look, here's what I can say.
    • Due to the way the game files are laid out, a lot of the models and information is stored in highly compressed zip files, which can't be opened normally. This means in terms of dating, all I know is that all files in Alpha Build were compiled ahead of it's creation date (Nov 10, '03).
    • There is no reference to Demolishor in the final game files that I've seen thus far, but there is a string file in the Alpha Build, no models at this stage.
    • This string file is under the "Player" Folder, which lists player configuration (Health, Robot Speed, Jump Height, Fire Rate, etc).
    • Also included in this is Megatron, Starscream and Cyclonus, as well as the three playable Autobots, Sparkplug, Smokescreen and Scavenger (!)
    • This, along with references to a Muliplayer mode, lead me to believe that there was the potential and the intent to include a multiplayer fight mode, which would have Robot vs Robot, and the ability to control Autobot and Decepticon alike. In terms of models, we had the three playable Autobots, Cyclonus and Starscream seemingly as full models. Megatron only has a single file referenced in comparison, at least in this Build.
    So to answer your question, it's hard to say! Looks like there was intent originally to include more characters in general and ultimately, playable characters, but there's no way to tell what the lack of model information for Demolishor indicates.

    It could mean that it was to be worked on later (unlikely, character models would be early on in the development cycle and constantly refined), not included in this game build (more likely), or already scrapped and these text files weren't removed from previous game builds (Most Likely).
     
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  4. TF Bumblebee

    TF Bumblebee Well-Known Member

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    Wow, all that sounds amazing. Always wondered how a Multiplayer mode would work for the game. Originally, I pictured a 2-player CO-OP mode where you could explore the campaign with a buddy.

    And wait, Sparkplug? So, you could roam around as Minicons?
     
  5. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Well, there was also an "Arcade Mode" referenced, so it's possible that they'd have the Main Campaign, the arcade mode being something like the missions in Transformers Devastation (Short objective based quests: get to this location in time, kill x enemies, etc) and the multiplayer mode using the maps as a battleground and have bot against bot. Probably would have only been two player if completed due to the environmental complexity.

    In regards to Sparkplug, I'm not too sure. It's possible a detailed model may have been planned for the Arcade Mode.
     
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  6. Backbeat

    Backbeat Well-Known Member

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    Any pictures of what the character models for Scavenger and Smokescreen? I'd be curious to see what they looked like.
     
  7. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Sadly not that I can find at this point in time. There aren't any pictures of models of those characters that I can find in the game files, by file name or convention.

    A lot of the files aren't in file formats that play nice as well, so it'll take some time before any of the models are workable.
     
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  8. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy Have a rrr-rotten day!

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    Any references to other characters not seen in game?
     
  9. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Not that I've found, only the ones mentioned above in the text files. There seems to be a full model of Dead End (Unicron's Minicon), though it's split into the main body and gun without proper colouring so far.
     
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  10. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy Have a rrr-rotten day!

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    Any unused maps?
     
  11. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    From what I've found, there are no additional levels mentioned in either the Early demo build, or the final version of the game. They did split up the Mid-Atlantic Level into two sections; pre and post Tidal Wave, but there's no mention of anything extra, even Demolishor's inclusion in Caves as an extra boss battle.

    Sorry!

    I have got the demo version of the game running on emulator, though it'll take some fine tuning before it can be recorded.
     
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  12. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy Have a rrr-rotten day!

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    It's fine!
    But are there any unused voice clips?
     
  13. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    I posted all of the voice clips on my Youtube, which is linked in the first post. Included are:

    • Starscream Mock Quotes
    • Unused Megatron Mock Quotes (If they were used in the game, I've never heard them!), with one of them exclusive to the PS2 Magazine #46 Demo
    • All audio cues (dialogue by OP and RA while exploring the hubs)
    • All Dialogue Quotes (OP, RA, Hotshot)
    And in the five released languages (ENGLISH, FRENCH, GERMAN, SPANISH, ITALIAN) as well as demo audio done in house before recording with the voice actors took place.

    The Alpha version references unused dialogue by David Kaye (Megatron) and Garry Chalk (Optimus Prime) to be included in the Extras content, though with that not being a part of the retail version, it's hard to say whether it was ultimately used or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
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  14. optimuswhat

    optimuswhat New Member

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    Hey there!
    I've recently began digging into this game a little too. In the SLUS_000.00 (funny, Sony hasn't given this game a proper product code yet!) file, there's a few interesting strings to find, but firstly here's a few differences in the game:
    • You can only play as HotShot. Attempting to select other characters just plays a sound.
    • The placement of data cons and mini cons are different (ie: there is no data con located on the top of the ruins in Amazon 1)
    • The grenade launcher weapon, Landslide, is absurdly overpowered and capable of killing anything super easily.
    • The character stats menu is different, with things being larger and numbers being used.
    • All the text is aligned to the right rather than the traditional left.
    • There is a distance calculator above the crosshair (this appears in a trailer briefly)
    • XYZ coordinates and version number upon pausing the game.
    • Cutscenes lack any sound effects and have retail voices in them. Also, the cutscenes were a bit choppy. I don't know if that was my emulator or not.
    • Game refers to itself as Transformers: Armada.
    • The Data Con message appears whenever you collect a data con every. single. time. And you can't skip them!
    • Could you always drive those floating bike things in retail? Idk, don't recall ever doing it nor seeing one. They're a bit buggy and I managed to get out of bounds. You can find them in the Amazon at the Stone Bridge with the fast moving water after completing the Amazon level.
    Now, in the SLUS_000.00 file, there's a few notable strings I noticed. Note that if you want to find these, I recommend searching a single word like "08_Cybertron" instead of the entire thing, as there are NUL characters thrown into the mix which are removed.
    • Line 18950: 00_None 00_Testbed 01_Amazon_1 02_Antarctica 03_Amazon_2 04_AircraftCarrier 05_Greenland 06_Spaceship 07_EasterIsland 08_Cybertron
    • Lines 18864 to 18875:
      [Start] + [X] Continue
      [Start] + [Circle] Break Into Debugger
      [Start] + [Triangle] Throw Exception
      [Start] + [Square] Exit Program
      Automatic mode: "Continue" will be selected immediately.
      Automatic mode: "Continue" will be selected after 3 seconds.
      Intentionally throwing exception (accessing memory location 0).
      If the Exception Support library is enabled then EE registers and
      a stack trace will be displayed.
      Goodbye!
      Breaking into debugger...
      Exiting program...
    • There are numerous references to DeadEnd at lines 18896, 18881, 19656 (especially here), 18938.
    • Line 19656: I think these are a lot of references to a debugmode of sorts.
    • Line 18823: References the Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube.
    Also, in order for this game to actually run on PCSX2 and not run at an astounding 1 frame per hour, I did this:
    In Config>Video (GS)>Window Settings...
    Go to Speedhacks, and enable them. Then make sure Enable INTC Spin Detection, Enable Wait Loop Reduction, Enable Fast CDVD, mVU Flag Hack, MTVU (Multi-Threaded microVU1) is enabled. I also cranked up the EE Cyclerate to 2.
    Go to Game Fixes, and enable OPH Flag hack, Ignore DMAC writes when it is busy, and Simulator VIF1 FIFO read ahead.
    I don't know if all of them are required but the game runs fine, and maybe crashed on me once or twice.

    Also, there appears to be a Trade Demo of the game which is missing. SLUS-28040 Transformers (trade demo). Some people online claim to have it but it has not been dumped.
     
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  15. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Hey mate, great to see another person looking into the game! Sounds like you're looking into the Alpha Version as well?

    I've gotten it to about normal frame rate on my laptop, though it's pretty finicky with PCSX2. I think there's also a pretty big performance boost depending on Hardware or Software mode in the Video settings. There's a bit of slowdown the more enemies pop up on screen, but looking specifically at the ground seems to help. Might also be my laptop specs as well.

    This is gonna be a silly question, but how are you viewing the internal strings? I've had a lot more luck with video and sound files, and would love to learn how to properly read what you are. Any chance for a crash-course? I've tried a couple of different programs, but came up emptyx.

    I noticed the Datacon message as well, but the supposed rewards didn't show up in the Extras Menu, and the cheat code from the retail version didn't work either, so it'd be interesting to crack that and see whether they're able to be properly accessed, if they've actually been implemented.

    A debug mode would be real interesting to find; irrespective of the Alpha or Retail version.

    There seems to be a couple of different variants of the trade demo, at least one for Optimus and one for Red Alert. I think there's some floating on eBay right now. The PS2 Mag #46 had a unique sound clip not in the Alpha or Retail version, so who's to say what's in Trade Demos!

    The cutscenes are using the early HQ music as well, those are all up on my Youtube. The intro video has Optimus making a choking sound, which I don't believe was in the retail version?

    Those bike's weren't in the retail version; at least like you, I'd never seen them or used them.

    I'm pretty sure only the Amazon and Antarctica exist for this build as well.

    Shoot me a PM, I'd love to work with you to try and dig out some hidden goodies!
     
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  16. optimuswhat

    optimuswhat New Member

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    My methods of viewing strings is pretty archaic. I'm just using Notepad++. I guess Notepad works too but that would be a bit annoying. I'll PM you further details. Rightclick SLUS000.00 and hit Edit with Notepad++.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  17. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Alrighty, so digging up some more info on the game, it looks like there were various trade and commercial demos of the game before release. Not including the ones for Driv3r and the PS2 Magazine, there are four other listed online; EU region, US region, Optimus Prime Version and Red Alert Version. I've now tracked all of these down online, so it'll be interesting to see other potential differences and hidden goodies.

    Here's something I didn't expect to find! I realised that the dummy audio in places from the Alpha version provided more files than that of the retail version. Lo and behold, here's an audio scene with Starscream and Megatron that didn't carry over to the final game!
     
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  18. Walktehdinosaur

    Walktehdinosaur Cocktalk

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    Now that is interesting, the cons never really interact with each other in the game, I wonder how this scene would've been done.
     
  19. optimuswhat

    optimuswhat New Member

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    Turns out the bikes featured in the older builds are not actually used in retail. Medium grunts can use them to some degree (though it's very robotic-y and unnatural considering they float) and driving them around is pretty buggy. You can drive through the terrain and get to areas you normally cannot get to. Also, the Arctic level seems to be missing them, though I could have just missed them.
     
  20. bullettrain

    bullettrain Master Investigator

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    Seems like it would have just been audio, so an intercepted communication. Still, it would have been fun to see some playful banter!

    I found that driving them through trees was fun, but 50/50. Getting the speeder stuck in a cliff was great though. It also feels like Hotshot is a lot more twitchy to drive than in the retail game; like turning a little bit ended up yanking the car into a spin.