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 PostPost subject: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:42 pm 
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I thought it would be a good idea to document games that had some kind of a pre-release build or other made publicly available by the developer for demonstration purposes. By this I mean not the builds showcased at E3 or other video game exposition events, or pre-release versions intended for the press only, but versions that would be available to regular users by download or via physical media such as floppies or CDs.

Naturally many indie and/or freeware games get regular development releases openly available to the public, so the main focus here is on commercial games. Also, it is my understanding that in certain cases, a demonstration version that is based on a pre-release build would actually be made public officially after the release of the game. I guess such versions should also be considered but they have to be marked somehow that the actual release took place after the full game (if this is known).

DOS

Win16

Win32

NOTE: The lists are certainly far from complete, especially the Windows one. Further additions are more than welcome!


Last edited by MrFlibble on Tue May 03, 2016 4:31 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:25 am 
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thanks for sharing,i have no idea if these are on the BA ftp already?

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:08 am 
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MrFlibble wrote:
I thought it would be a good idea to document games that had some kind of a pre-release build or other made publicly available by the developer for demonstration purposes.

The first thing that came to my mind was F-15 Strike Eagle III which I already posted about, but then you replied to that post with a link to your list of flight simulator demos so you're already aware of that one :) As I mentioned in my build, that demo definitely seemed to be based on pre-release code.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:42 am 
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I could post a pages long list of catalog links to prerelease demo versions if you want...

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:58 am 
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Will there be a list for maybe playstation 1 Games?? It's a pretty cool idea with your list there.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:56 am 
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DOS wrote:
The first thing that came to my mind was F-15 Strike Eagle III which I already posted about, but then you replied to that post with a link to your list of flight simulator demos so you're already aware of that one :) As I mentioned in my build, that demo definitely seemed to be based on pre-release code.

Right, I kinda forgot that the F-15 SE3 demo is a pre-release thing (mostly because I've never played the full game). I wonder if the other MicroProse demo versions were made before the full game release too?

CraZyEddy2010 wrote:
Will there be a list for maybe playstation 1 Games?? It's a pretty cool idea with your list there.

I have minimal knowledge about console games but hopefully someone who does know will compile a similar list.

Hallfiry wrote:
I could post a pages long list of catalog links to prerelease demo versions if you want...

I think that it would be reasonable to have some kind of multi-directional research, that is, identifying which games had official beta/pre-v1.0 releases on one hand, and finding the actual files on the other.

Windows era games often had the words "beta" and "test" in the installer title in these cases (but not always of course), so even a quick serach through your catalogue and/or various FTP sites (like these) could yield plenty of interesting results.

More stuff I remembered/found:

DOS
  • Tyrian - an OEM demo bundled with Acer hardware. Some info on it can be found in this post, but the download link is not working.

Windows
  • Age of Wonders - beta demo (AOWBETAD.EXE).
  • Age of Wonders II - beta demo (AoW2BetaDemoUS.EXE).
  • Aliens versus Predator - three demo versions (one for each character) with noticeable differenes that indicate a pre-release build of the game.
  • Aliens versus Predator 2 - a pre-release Marine campaign demo.
  • Half-Life - a limited OEM demo called Day One is based on an earlier build compared to the final release of the game; the Uplink demo on the other hand, albeit uses some scrapped levels, was released after the full game.
  • Hired Team: Trial - some of the demo versions are certainly pre-release stuff.
  • John Romero's Daikatana - pre-release multiplayer demo; in fact, I've read somewhere that there were two pre-release MP demo versions of the game, but this requires further investigation. Also apparently there's this singleplayer demo version, not sure if it was a public release though.
  • Project I.G.I. 2 - public beta.
  • Quake 2 - test version.
  • Quake 3 Arena - test version.
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force - IIRC both the single-player demo and the Holomatch demo have some pre-v1.0 version numbers.
  • Unreal Tournament - apparently the first demo or two were pre-release stuff, not sure. Details can be found here.
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 - the first demo is a pre-release thing with some noticeable differences.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 - the first demo was even called a beta at some of the original download locations.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:00 am 
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MrFlibble wrote:
Also apparently there's this singleplayer demo version, not sure if it was a public release though.


That wasn't a public release.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sat May 03, 2014 5:48 pm 
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Thanks for the link to Quake Shareware v 0.91. Never knew that version was published.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sat May 03, 2014 9:11 pm 
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T02my wrote:
Thanks for the link to Quake Shareware v 0.91. Never knew that version was published.

I'm pretty certain leilei mentioned several pre-v1.0 Quake releases - v0.92 and/or v0.93. Not sure if those were stand-alone shareware distributives or just patches though.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:12 pm 
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Seven Kingdoms II had an open beta release.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 12:46 pm 
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A little selection:

Turrican:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 03133&o=da

Lollypop:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 01200&o=da

Wizard!/Hexx:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 87392&o=da
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... &descr=&o=

Diablo:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... &descr=&o=
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 86610&o=da

Pitfall - The Mayan Adventure:
10/04/1995 http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 04992&o=da x3 (4 levels)
25/05/1995 http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 11648&o=da x2* (forest)
29/07/1995 http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 68320&o=da x5* (all levels)

KKnD 1:
(original) http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 86204&o=da
(more common) http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 70618&o=da

KKnD 2:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 29843&o=da

Nascar Racing 4:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 81657&o=da

No one lives forever:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 98715&o=da
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 80189&o=da
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 56662&o=da

How about this list? :D
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... ax=&descr=

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 4:31 pm 
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Hallfiry wrote:

Ahh, a playable demo of Lollypop. I found a non-functional one (some files missing) at cd.textfiles.com a while ago and it's nice to know there's the full thing available :)

(Not that I have ever played the full game, but judging by the visuals it seems nice.)

Hallfiry wrote:

Right, I totally forgot about that one.

Hallfiry wrote:

I keep forgetting, is that an official public release or some magazine preview? (Although I guess Blizzard would take every step imaginable to prevent future leaks similar to that of the Warcraft II Alpha.)

Hallfiry wrote:

All levels? Surely this was not intended to publicly release all levels?

I had a Pitfall demo on a CD that was bundled with some hardware (IIRC), it had one jungle level with a timer (five minutes or something), you could complete the level in that time, but if you didn't it'd just start over again. In fact, this introduced an interesting challenge to the demo :)

Hallfiry wrote:

FilePlanet has a couple of tech demos, but this and this are of different size. Guess this warrants some further investigation.

Hallfiry wrote:

Yup, I actually made a similar search but it does require some digging through. Also some of the results are public beta versions of third-party mods to complete games.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 4:43 pm 
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MrFlibble wrote:
Hallfiry wrote:

Ahh, a playable demo of Lollypop. I found a non-functional one (some files missing) at cd.textfiles.com a while ago and it's nice to know there's the full thing available :)

(Not that I have ever played the full game, but judging by the visuals it seems nice.)

Note that there is another playable demo of Lollypop that is not prerelease (afaik):
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... &descr=&o=
I think I once compared two demos of lollypop and they did indeed look slightly different (the pickups in the demo level were different or so).
MrFlibble wrote:
Hallfiry wrote:

I keep forgetting, is that an official public release or some magazine preview? (Although I guess Blizzard would take every step imaginable to prevent future leaks similar to that of the Warcraft II Alpha.)

It's an official, public release (actually atleast 3 releases).
MrFlibble wrote:
Hallfiry wrote:

All levels? Surely this was not intended to publicly release all levels?

As I mentioned in the pitfall beta thread, that demo needs registration or something to access the remaining levels. It is a public demo and wasn't an accidential leak.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 6:19 pm 
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Hallfiry wrote:
As I mentioned in the pitfall beta thread, that demo needs registration or something to access the remaining levels. It is a public demo and wasn't an accidential leak.

This reminded me of the Zombie Wars demo releases - some of which were also pre-release stuff different from the final version of the game. Because I haven't actually played any of them I can't tell a lot but there's some info by others:
DOSGuy wrote:
Okay, here's the deal on that Zombie Wars demo.

Gee Whiz! Entertainment released a demo based on a beta version of Zombie Wars, called the "Zombie Wars Internet Demo" (zwdemo1.zip). It was a Win16 game that required WinG, but was clearly a DOS game (probably based on the Alien Carnage engine) that had been ported to Win16. From Gee Whiz! Entertainment's website:

Quote:
Requirements: 486-dx66, Win 3.1, 8 Meg ram, 8 Meg HD space, Colour monitor.
Recommended: Pentium, soundcard, 16 Meg ram, 8 Megs HD space, Win95, Colour monitor, Joystick or Gravis gamepad.
NOTE- Windows 3.1 version requires the WinG library.


According to the readme file, the demo is from 29 July 1996, but someone packed it into a Win9x installer on 10 July 1998 (the file you linked to). Since the original demo was based on a beta version of the game that Gee Whiz! probably had no interest in distributing any more, and the copyright notice wasn't updated to "1996-1998", and the installer calls the game "Halloween Harry 2 - Zombie Wars", it looks like this installer was created by an anonymous third party! But since I can't find the original zwdemo1.zip, I'll put it on the site anyway while I contact John Passfield about it.


Once the game was done, it looks like it required Windows 95. Gee Whiz! created downloads of the complete game (split into two zip files, plus two optional movie packs), that would only let you play a (different) special demo level until you unlock the rest by registering the game.

Files:

zwgame1.zip (4,297,152 bytes) [Have]
zwgame2.zip (4,707,765 bytes)
zwavi1.zip (6,261,359 bytes)
zwavi2.zip (4,350,169 bytes)

The registration price was $24.95. By November 1998, Gee Whiz! reduced the registration price to $9.95 and linked to a company called RegNow that handled registration for shareware authors. According to Gee Whiz's website, the download that accompanied registration was 8,106,539 bytes. (Perhaps zwgame1.zip and zwgame2.zip were combined into a single file, but you still had to download the movie packs separately?)

From the Gee Whiz! website:

Quote:
Requirements: 486-dx66, Win95, 8 Meg ram, 52 Megs HD space, Colour monitor.
Recommended: Pentium, soundcard, 16 Meg ram, 52 Megs HD space, Win95, Colour monitor, Joystick or Gravis gamepad.

[source]

The Fifth Horseman wrote:
Here's a copy of the Zombie Wars demo, with the winter version of the park tileset: http://www.mediafire.com/?iufb9eif9v4d6qo

Oddly, the level layout is different than I remembered - however, this has to be the same version I played (found on a coverdisk from June 1997 issue of the "Gambler" computer games magazine). [source]

[Edit] Here's the demo from the Gambler June 1997 issue:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.php?n=300&f=$2FG-win$2FZombie


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sat May 10, 2014 7:19 am 
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MrFlibble wrote:
[Edit] Here's the demo from the Gambler June 1997 issue:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.php?n=300&f=$2FG-win$2FZombie

... which has its correct timestamps on PC Collector #6:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 55460&o=da
the release date is 28th of October, 1996.

There also cleaner releases of the 29 July 1996 demo, than the one DOSGuy refers to:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... =$2FZombie
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... s$2FZombie

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sat May 10, 2014 6:52 pm 
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The first Hitman: Codename 47 demo has some pre-release differences, but the main one is that the main character is voiced by a different actor.

Here's a voice acting comparison video:
[youtube2]http://youtu.be/fpwGSzSMQSY[/youtube2]


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:15 pm 
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Hallfiry wrote:
In the meantime here's a dl for the highly illegal *hehe* beta:
http://www44.zippyshare.com/v/20760710/file.html

Actually, the beta demo of Seven Kingdoms might have very well been publicly available from Interactive Magic's website, as a user on their message board mentions a 17 megabyte demo:
Quote:
I've downloaded the 17 meg demo, and installed it without problems. But when I run it, it hangs when it start to play music/sound. I've directx 5.0 with all certified drivers (no problems with Age of Empires, also a directx 5.0 game). After disabling the sound drivers I can play the game. But after a little while my mouse start to respond very badly (looks like the system becomes very slow or unstable). I had the sound problem in the 15 meg demo from the adrenaline vault site, but I did not have the mouse problem. [source]

The first non-beta public demo version's size is 15,863,058 bytes, which is roughly 15.1 MiB; the second demo with two scenarios is 16,967,168 bytes, equivalent to 16.1 MiB (also the demo download page at I-Magic's website reports the size as 16 Mb). However the beta demo's size is 18,713,611 bytes, or 17.8 MiB.

Then again, that user might have made a typo and intended to say "the 16 meg demo".

Also this message suggests that the actual game was not released yet when the non-beta demo versions were already available (which makes them pre-release versions as well).

[Edit] On a slightly related note, here's info on the public beta test of a game called Raider Wars (never heard of it), published by Interactive Magic:
http://www.imagiconline.com/games/raiderwars/index.shtml


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:12 pm 
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MrFlibble wrote:
Hallfiry wrote:
In the meantime here's a dl for the highly illegal *hehe* beta:
http://www44.zippyshare.com/v/20760710/file.html

Actually, the beta demo of Seven Kingdoms might have very well been publicly available from Interactive Magic's website, as a user on their message board mentions a 17 megabyte demo:
Quote:
I've downloaded the 17 meg demo, and installed it without problems. But when I run it, it hangs when it start to play music/sound. I've directx 5.0 with all certified drivers (no problems with Age of Empires, also a directx 5.0 game). After disabling the sound drivers I can play the game. But after a little while my mouse start to respond very badly (looks like the system becomes very slow or unstable). I had the sound problem in the 15 meg demo from the adrenaline vault site, but I did not have the mouse problem. [source]

The first non-beta public demo version's size is 15,863,058 bytes, which is roughly 15.1 MiB; the second demo with two scenarios is 16,967,168 bytes, equivalent to 16.1 MiB (also the demo download page at I-Magic's website reports the size as 16 Mb). However the beta demo's size is 18,713,611 bytes, or 17.8 MiB.

Then again, that user might have made a typo and intended to say "the 16 meg demo".

Also this message suggests that the actual game was not released yet when the non-beta demo versions were already available (which makes them pre-release versions as well).

Excellent observation, Flibbson. The 17mb demo can surely be the beta demo. Actually the beta demo is infact a beta demo, as they left on the beta flag in addition to setting the demo flag for compiling. That leads to the conclusion that websites like adrenalin vault got a newer demo (or updated theirs quickly) when imagic still provided the beta demo on their website. The magazines that had it on their CD, took the demo from imagic (because they tend to rip stuff from company sites instead of 3rd party providers), so it ended up on these and was preserved for us to cast our gaze upon. No big magic behind it all, just some confusion and slow updates on company sites :)

MrFlibble wrote:
[Edit] On a slightly related note, here's info on the public beta test of a game called Raider Wars (never heard of it), published by Interactive Magic:
http://www.imagiconline.com/games/raiderwars/index.shtml

... of which version .82 R0 was well-preserved on TGM #43:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 49817&o=da
You need to disable read-only for your Windows/Temp directory, else the setup will crash.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 12:45 pm 
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I have a Flight Simulator X Demo in a cd, but i have found the same file here: http://www.ausgamers.com/files/download/23859/flight-simulator-x-demo

the file is called "fsx pre release demo.exe" :o


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 6:23 am 
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Requiem had atleast 3 prerelease demos:
10/11/98: http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 12752&o=da
16/11/98: http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 14573&o=da
16/11/98 (8 minutes later): http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 14965&o=da

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:40 am 
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In the Official Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion Demo, there is a "battle tutorial" that is not included in the released version of the game: http://www.fileplanet.com/155943/150000/fileinfo/Rome:-Total-War---Barbarian-Invasion-Demo

The famous Penumbra 2006 tech demo could be added to the list http://www.frictionalgames.com/site/penumbradownload

And, i don't know if this one can be considered "official"; the Van Buren Tech demo [url]http://www.fileplanet.com/176640/170000/fileinfo/Van-Buren-Tech-Demo-[Cancelled-Fallout-3-Project][/url]


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 4:29 pm 
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Darker seems to have two prerelease demos and two retail demos:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... ax=&descr=

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:33 pm 
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Hallfiry wrote:
Darker seems to have two prerelease demos and two retail demos:
http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... ax=&descr=

I remember downloading a demo for that game from some CD at cd.textfiles.com, but it refused to work for some reason.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:35 pm 
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The Hidden Below had 2 prerelease demos:
v0.92 25-07-1994 http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... 38093&o=da
v0.93 28-07-1994 http://www.kultcds.com/Catalog/index.ph ... =$2FHidden

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 PostPost subject: Re: Official public pre-release versions of games        Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:34 pm 
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Regarding the Seven Kingdoms demo versions: when I was checking the archived copy of Enlight's website it occurred to me that some of the links point to the http://www.enlight.com/am/ directory, rather than http://www.enlight.com/Seven/. This includes the screenshots page, with some of the screenshots being obviously from pre-release builds of the game. I concluded that "am" must be the abbreviated version of a working title that got changed. Enlight's website seems to either have announced the game already under its full release title, or the pages with the earlier verisons of the title were not archived by the Wayback Machine.

However, the beta demo actually yielded the answer, because the title of the programme is displayed as "Ambition". Also pressing F11 during play will save a BMP screenshot with the filename AMBIT##.BMP. Interestingly, the first non-beta demo will still follow the AMBIT##.BMP pattern for screenshot filenames even though the strings in the EXE that say "Ambition" in the beta demo are replaced with "Seven Kingdoms" or "Seven_Kingdoms". The demo executables (beta and non-beta) contain references to the source code files which were located in a D:\amnew\ directory. Moreover, the demo of Ancient Adversaries mentions source code files which were in a D:\am\ directory.

The beta demo itself has some noticeable differences, mostly concerning terrain art:
Image
Image

There are also some interface differences, like a completely different Norman King portrait (see above) or the soldier promotion icon:
Image

The demo includes several cheats which can be activated by pressing letter keys on the keyboard. The cheats include invulnerability for the player's king (which is apparently on by default), fast build, disabling the AI, revealing the map, and getting access to all technologies, including the ability to construct Seats of Power. I haven't noted all the keys, but T is all technologies and upgrades, U is king invulnerability and M reveals the map and removes the fog of war.


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