-Associate Producer / Sound Designer
Blasco, webmaster of the long lost website Trespassernet.com, got a chance to interview Brady Bell a long while back. This interview has been missing ever since the site went down. So we are glad that we can host this interview for now:
This time around, you’ll get answers from the REAL Brady Bell. Brady Bell was the associate producer in the production of Trespasser. He directed and watched over much of the things that did and didn’t happen in the game. Note that over time more questions and answers may be added. In this even, you will be notified in a news article.
Sounds were found of Anne breathing hard, reacting to certain dinosaur emotions, etc. It sounds like the character was supposed to verbally react with the player and the dinosaurs more than what turned out in the final game. Is this true?
“We recorded tons of voiceovers for specific situations we initially planned on having in the game. The designers (and I) had hoped for more control over scenarios and scripted encounters / events within the AI, but we didn’t have the time. The philosophy of the game was much more geared towards a free, thriving environment and scripting anything was viewed as flawed reasoning by some.”
Many unused dinosaur sounds were found, some of which sounded like younger versions of others. What other dinosaurs were thought of for the game, and do any of them have to do with the nest Anne speaks of in an unused sound?
“The guys at Soundelux (who are amazing by the way) created a deep library for each and every species we had in the design doc. Included were baby models of the Triceratops, T-rex, and Steg. Problem for some was that all anyone wanted to do was beat the holy hell out of baby dinosaurs. While cool with some developers, it wasn’t the kind of thing we wanted. We also had Compy’s… but they were so friggin’ small, the dino physics model didn’t translate well. Compy’s were the one species I was heart-broken not to get into the shipping version. Pachycephalosaurus (probably screwed the spelling) was another I had pushed for, but most people didn’t think he was cool enough.”
Anne speaks of some sort of mining site in an unused sound. Was there a mining location planned for the game, and what other locations were thought of that never made it to the final version?
“I don’t remember that specific line, but my hunch is it related somehow to the Geothermal Plant. The Plant was a level we had in the game three months before shipping, but was cut. It was a more ‘puzzly’ type level where Anne had to gain access to the plant and bring the plant online, thus restoring power to the island. There was actually some very cool stuff in there, but a buggy nightmare.”
Trespasser uses the Jurassic Park license, yet the dinosaurs don’t sound very authentic to the movies. Why were completely new and different sounds made for most of the dinosaurs, and why were the Raptor sounds that were most accurate to the movies not used?
“All the license really gave us was approval to use the JP name & characters (i.e. John Hammond). All the audio for the film is actually owned by Skywalker and not Universal. We looked into it, but it proved not to be worth while.”
A loading image of another level was found of a broken bridge. Did this level include the catwalk scene, mining site, nest, etc. or was it simply planned but not made?
“Shootin’ in the dark here ’cause I don’t know which image it is… But I imagine it’s either from the above mentioned Geothermal Plant or a conceptual piece done early on.”
Why were some sounds, puzzles, elements, and dinosaurs, that were shown in the previews and even in Brady Games’ Official Strategy Guide, not in the same location or in some cases not included at all in the shipped game?
“I’m not aware of anything that appears in the strategy guide that isn’t in the game, but I only looked at the guide once. Dinos and props may appear in different locations because of pacing. When marketing a game, you have to have your box & manual art, screen shots, etc. all done months in advance to going Gold. You do your best with it, but you have to continue revising the game for the best possible pace. Very similar to when you see a trailer for a film and a specific shot grabs you… but it doesn’t appear in the released cut. Happens more than you’d guess really.”
Many of the preview shots of Trespasser are from the Geothermal Plant level which includes the “catwalk scene”. One of the reasons people say Trespasser didn’t turn out anything like they expected is that, in the end, the level that they had seen so many shots from wasn’t even included in the game. It is understood that you had time limits and weren’t able to finish the level, but many fans think the Geothermal Plant level would’ve been a smart move to complete instead of other levels… The level is even mentioned in an encrypted file in the final game’s CD… What happened to this level?
“I think I addressed this one above. The Plant was Rich Wyckoff’s level, and believe me… it wouldn’t have been cut unless totally necessary. We all agree, it could’ve been a terribly cool level, and I (like Rich) was very disappointed to see it go.”
One of the biggest complaints are the graphics, while excellent in most cases, aren’t anything near what we saw in the preview screenshots. People were rather shocked when the game came out. Is there a good explanation for this and, if so, why wasn’t this issue discussed before or early after the release?
“Tough to really point to one thing. Overall, I’d say the Trespasser engine was REALLY geared towards a particle config. We started writing Trespasser in the very beginning of 1996, and the future of 3D hardware looked bleak. We had to make a decision early on that a software renderer was what we were going with. Obviously as we went, hardware came along in leaps and bounds, and progressed much faster than any developer anticipated. Towards the end, we tried to play a bit of catch-up by supporting certain hardware features, but we were never able to fully take advantage of what was being offered. The engine was so complex, doing software bumpmapping, and drawing so much geometry to the screen, that hardware vendors were stunned. We reached a point where it was too late to go back and rewrite the renderer.”