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.

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The photos above show what the Appaloosa development studio looked like from the inside and outside.

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.

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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.

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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:

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The Debug Menu was removed by Appaloosa on April 22, 2000 since a build dated April 21, 2000 has one while the April 22, 2000 prototype no longer has it.

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.

Les niveaux en photos et vidéos

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)

All levels of Ecco 2 were under construction (the selection of levels was not complete)

In the Vulcano level, the spider is Ecco's friend (it had to help the player fix the water pump)

In the Ice Edge level, Ecco had to save a baby (by pushing ice blocks - puzzle).

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

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Many of the levels in Ecco 2 only work on the PC, from the Appaloosa level editor. These photos were taken from the level editor.

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prehisctoric_ancient_city

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paradise_vulcano

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ice_world_ice_station

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ice_world_ice_edge

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Download links :

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).

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