Appaloosa dev kit Ecco 1 + Ecco 2 dreamcast

Appaloosa studio history:

Novotrade , formerly Appaloosa , was founded in 1982–83 in Hungary by the then-incumbent communist government.

Hungary wanted to catch up in the high-tech sector and make this company a technological showcase for the country. The government was looking  to attract foreign financiers with Western currencies, dollars, yen, etc.

The Hungarian government had entrusted the reins of this project to two computer pioneers, Andras Csaszar , and Stephen Friedman. The first was noticed with the development of a small game, Caesar the Cat , which will be the first game developed by the Hungarian company. And the second was a computer scientist doubled as a businessman.

Between 1983 and 1989 the two men developed Novotrade 's international activity by looking for publishers who would entrust them with ports of arcade games on Spectrum and Commodore 64 . An office will open in California , while the studios will be located in Budapest .

In 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall favored a change of status for the Hungarian company. Csazsar and Friedman will settle permanently in California and Novotrade will become a private company. Several games will be in development at the same time. The company will know  international recognition thanks to Ecco the Dolphin created by  Ed Annunziata .

In 1996, the studio will go from craft to multinational status. A new name will be needed for this company where English had become the main language, Appaloosa Interactive will replace Novotrade .

After a notable passage on the Dreamcast and this generation of consoles, Appaloosa went bankrupt in 2006.

Appaloosa studio Dreamcast ecco the dolphin (5).jpg
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Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future:

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future is an action-adventure video game released in 2000 for the Dreamcast and in 2002 for the PlayStation 2. It is the first game in the Ecco the Dolphin series to be made in 3D.

The Hungarian studio Appaloosa Interactive , which to everyone's surprise was also working on a canceled game "The Smurfs" for Dreamcast and Playstation 2, served us a high quality Ecco.

"Aside from AM2, Appaloosa has really optimized its games for the Dreamcast"

The Ecco series, created by Ed Annunziata , are games that will not appeal to everyone. Graphically, they are stunning. The sandbox side can put off.

Appaloosa studio Dreamcast ecco the dolphin (3).jpg
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The 3D universe offers new possibilities of movement. Sonar, Charge and Acceleration are still present with new combinations:

 

Ecco can perform a "roll roll" to attack or dodge, he can brake hard, swim backwards or stand upright out of the water to observe his surroundings. Ecco also has temporary physical powers by obtaining crystals

The story unfolds in 4 chapters, the future of the planet changing each time according to the assets found:

  • The Island of Tranquility : the starting chapter, a world of peace and balance until the arrival of the Enemy,

  • the Nightmare of Men : deprived of all their traits, dolphins have been enslaved by humanity who have exploited and polluted the Earth to the point of causing its own extinction, dolphins continue to serve a missing master in a devastated world,

  • the Nightmare of the Dolphins : regained intelligence and ambition, the dolphins hunt men and reign as cruel masters in the seas, operating in clans, they do not hesitate to enslave the weakest among them,

  • the Domain of the Enemy : the final chapter, the Enemy retained the trait of humility, the alliance formed but was totally unaware of the danger and was defeated, Ecco must enter the mother ship and destroy the heart of the enemy.

Ex-developer of Appaloosa, Mihaly reveals to us little by little some secrets of the studio like this technical demo featuring a mermaid:

"The animation is so smooth and the amount of fish even more impressive!"

Le prototype "Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future (Nov 23, 1999 prototype)" :

This prototype version is the earliest known to date.

Before arriving at the title screen, 4 windows of logos follow one another. Ordinarily there should only be 2. The " Dreamcast " logos and the simple Appaloosa are specific to this build. These four windows do not look like what we know.

The title screen is  different from what you see in others  known prototypes or in the final version. These design differences are noticeable in all menus. There is no music once you get to this window.

By going to " option " and then pressing X , the game will activate the " Cheats Enabled " cheats. All Ecco songs and powers will unlock. Pressing Y will activate invulnerability, "Immortality Enabled".

The " Load Game " menu allows you to choose the level of your choice.

No cutscene was implemented at this stage of Ecco 's development.

In game, the user interface resembles that of the Megadrive (health and air indicator).

There is an Inventory menu accessible from the pause menu. It shows what the dolphin has learned so far. There is no way to modify it.

Ecco The Dolphin prototype Dreamcast Logo.jpg
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The sound effects of the game are not finished yet and many of them are missing or are completely different in the final version.

SEGA Dreamcast Eccod the Dolphin prototype, GD-R (early build )

Ecco 1 prototypes discovered in a Katana development kit:

Dreamcast Dev Kit Appaloosa

Different Builds, all different, of Ecco 1. These betas are not functional, they launch but crash or hang after a while. They should be repaired if possible:

 

  • Ecco the Dolphin Defender of the Future prototype number 1

  • Ecco the Dolphin Defender of the Future prototype number 2

  • Ecco the Dolphin Defender of the Future prototype number 3

  • Ecco the Dolphin Defender of the Future prototype number 4

One of these prototypes could have been repaired, I can't find the ISO anymore.

Other Ecco 1 prototypes:

DUCATI WORLD RACING CHALLENGE (Jan 29, 2001 prototype).jpg

Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe:

In 2016, thanks to the preservation work of Hidden Palace , the whole world discovered that Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe was in the works for Dreamcast.

The title is of course unfinished and does not include  no sound or music. It was canceled 1 month after Sega announced to stop supporting the console, a tragic announcement that happened in 2001.

Ecco 2 Atlantis dreamcast

Ecco 2 was about 30% through development.

Mihály Sáránszki (Appaloosa graphic designer) offers a video showing Ecco 2 archives. You can admire new levels like Volcano or that of the dinosaurs. It shows  the level editor used for this game explaining some details. Ecco being the property of Appaloosa , we will have to content ourselves with this video which reveals a lot to us.

"As a developer of Ecco and Ecco2 (Dreamcast and PS2), for the request of Comby Laurent, I gathered the Ecco2 - Sentinels of the Universe video from the available archives. I worked at the Vulcano level (and I pimped Atlantis) ."

In the Ecco2 video - Sentinels of the Universe Unfinished Game Archives

HANGING CAVERNS: 0.19 seconds

ICETEST: 4 minutes 20

HOLY FOREST: 6 minutes 30 (with sketch)

CAVEFIN: 9 minutes 12 (with sketch)

ATLANTIS (variant): 13 minutes 31 (with demonstration of the level editor and explanations)

OLD CITY: 18 mins 44

GALLEON PORT: 22 minutes 29 (with sketch)

VULCANO: 25 minutes 41 (with sketch and real-time water acoustics on the walls)

Different version of Ecco 2;

 

  • Ecco the Dolphin Sentinels of the Universe 02.21.2001:

2 new levels are present in the game files. These are 180_Atlantis and 120_Creef_North. They are impossible to  launch, they do not load, the loading remains frozen. By choosing level 1 (100_Atlantis)  on the home screen of Ecco2, it does not load and remains stuck on the loading window. The differences with the known prototype uploaded by the hidden palace site are  in maps 100_Atlantis and 110_Ancient without forgetting the 2 new terrains. In terms of play, this build does not add anything more, it will just be interesting for preservation. The audio seems to have  additions, but nothing very important in my opinion. A DSP.FPB file is in this prototype version while it is not in the other.

 

  • Ecco the Dolphin Sentinels of the Universe 02.21.2001 (second):

This construction of Ecco 2 was analyzed using the previous prototype as a reference. It reacts in the same way as the beta above. The differences are in the 180_Atlantis and 120_Creef_North maps which are unfortunately not playable !!!

The loadings would have to be hacked, to be removed in order to be able to run the new levels. They may simply be incomplete and therefore non-operational.

By changing the information in the "Config" text file, you can launch the game on the desired map (explanation below).

Atlantis to check the differences with Ecco 1. No model change, just lighting (upgraded around 600 lights)

Ecco 2 Dreamcast Map comparaison.jpg

Vulcano. Animated water caustics on the wall .. it's my "patent"

Ecco 2 Dreamcast Vulcano, eau animée

Vulcano, new level not available on the internet

Ecco 2 Dreamcast Vulcano map inédit

The loadings would have to be hacked, to be removed in order to be able to run the new levels. They may simply be incomplete and therefore non-operational.

By changing the information in the "Config" text file, you can launch the game on the desired map (explanation below).

Download the SET5 Dreamcast dev kit used by the Appaloosa studio:

Appaloosa Dreamcast Katana Dev Kit

Research on my builds of Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe:

Ecco 2 rajmadar texture.jpg

"As I was digging through the files of Ecco: Sentinels of the Universe. The dangers of the coral reef exist, but it's impossible to access because the second version is inaccessible in-game. But with PVR Texture Viewer, we have found a strange bird in the level as well as building textures labeled Atlantis in the names. Here is the bird and his name is Rajmadar. "

I investigated these two constructions at the request of Laurent C

There are three differences between version 1 and version 2:

  • 180_ATLANTIS.GDE (Atlantis level) is different - but neither version loads (both crash)

  • 120_CREEF_NORTH.GDE is different - but neither is in the main menu

  • CONFIG.TXT - this file determines how the build runs

Build 1 has a CONFIG.TXT to load the menu screen, Build 2 has a CONFIG.TXT to load Atlantis directly (which crashes)

I can change Build 2 CONFIG.TXT to load in the menu instead of the Atlantis level, but that doesn't help because the only different map (CREEF_NORTH) is not listed in the menu anyway.

I have configured CONFIG.TXT to load 120_CREEF_NORTH directly. Unfortunately, it also crashes. Both versions of the file

I don't think there is anything left to do with this game unless someone can hack the levels without loading and get them to work, but that is outside my area of expertise.

Hidden Palace has two different downloads for Ecco II (one GDI and one devkit dump) - I tried looking at the devkit dump to see if I could get the Frankenstein files from this version and the dump from Laurent. It includes another level (IceEdge), but none of the files in this devkit load except Galleon - it's different from Laurent's GDs, but it's just Ecco stuck at the bottom of a well or something. dead end thing ??

Ecco 2 Dreamcast in game.png

It sounds like a dead end to me ... but that's about it. If you want to play with this dead end level, here is a GDI of this level:

Feel free to look at " other canceled games " that I found. For the most curious of you, I have created a " list of all unreleased from theDdreamcast ".