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The House Of The Dead There's stuff hidden in that there game

#1 User is offline NiktheGreek 

Posted 16 October 2016 - 02:02 PM

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Hello friends. If not you're the sort of person what does a read of Retro Gamer, you might not know that I did an Ultimate Guide feature on The House Of The Dead in the latest issue. But I'm not here to do a cheap plug for the thing I wrote.

As part of the feature, I interviewed one of the artists who worked on the Saturn version. As it turns out, he had some very interesting things to say about the game. Check this out:

Quote

Art-wise they basically dumped a huge back-up drive on us with all of the game assets contained from the original roms and Softimage scenes. Scanning through the folders we came across some interesting working files and other hidden characters that never made the final cut. You could probably write an article about them on their own. We noticed Sylvester Stallone and Judge Dredd textures among them. Did AM1 begin HOTD as a Dredd game to tie-in with the movie? The timing was suspiciously similar.

Speculation aside, other hidden gems in the ROM were a number of very dubiously looking enemy characters. One called Mr G, looked like a marble-skinned Gorrilla of a man wearing a bondage mask and latex pants with a fetching love heart-shaped belt-buckle. Another was a rather sexy legged female boss called Syndy who paraded around in a leather corset and swung a croquet hammer around! I can only guess these characters may have been a little too adult in nature along with another bunch that looked like a cross between someone in a gimp suit and the cenobites from Hellraiser.

Better yet, there's evidence of all of this, as textures for those characters were provided to me alongside assets from the finished game. As they were for the Model 2 board, they're all greyscale.

Here's some texture work for Syndy:

Posted Image

Here's some for Mr. G:

Posted Image

And lastly, the Dredd-related stuff:

Posted Image

Now, I don't know the first thing about hacking Model 2 games. But you lot might just do, and I figured that this information might jumpstart interest in The House Of The Dead, and give you all a bit of a jumping-off point. If not, it's at least some neat info.

#2 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 16 October 2016 - 02:12 PM

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Interesting stuff! Yeah, the bondage villains might have been a tad too risqué =P

#3 User is offline Icewarrior 

Posted 17 October 2016 - 02:24 AM

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I love the first THOTD so thank you very much for sharing these.

Funny though that the bondage-like ennemies might have been too much for them back in 1996, since I'm pretty sure other games soon after featured such concept, like Carnevil for example back in 1998.

#4 User is offline Sploit 

Posted 17 October 2016 - 12:41 PM

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I still haven't actually played the first House Of The Dead. Interesting that it may have had different origins.

I got the digital versions of 3 and 4 for my PS3 some time ago. Between the PS3 and Wii, you can get most of the series pretty cheap. :v:

#5 User is offline VolgShan 

Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:53 AM

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House of the dead is one of my favorite arcade games ever!XD Wish we could a pc release or a complete collection on something. But wow what a great find!

#6 User is offline Aesculapius Piranha 

Posted 18 November 2016 - 05:58 AM

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The House of the Dredd

#7 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 03 January 2017 - 07:43 PM

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I'm kind of shocked no one called me out on this. I specalize in arcade hacking, specifically Sonic the Fighters but I have dabbled into HotD. There is, just like Sonic the Fighters, a debug mode, seemingly intact in the ROM last I looked, but due to the closed source nature and my limited resources, no one ever wanted to peruse it. If you are willing to help me out on the Sega arcade hacking front I'd love it but yes, HotD held many treasures.

EDIT: I thought the HOTD encyclopedia went over this?
This post has been edited by biggestsonicfan: 04 January 2017 - 02:01 AM

#8 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 10 June 2018 - 12:13 AM

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So after some time, I've decided to look at HOTD again on Arcade, Saturn, and PC.

The PC version has a hidden character test which will GREATLY assist me in documenting the game. However, Syndy's only model and animation have been removed:

Posted Image

#9 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 24 November 2018 - 07:21 PM

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So I am very lazy and have been neglecting this project, but there is a plan of attack to see if Syndy is in the arcade ROM:

The PC port is so faithful to the Arcade original, that all the debug flags and arrays are identical. Meaning if we document the correct character model array structure and animation array structure, we could identify what models and animations are being used at the same time.

The best instance of this I can think of is when Sophie cries during the attract mode. If we can identify the area of RAM which loads creature objects and animations, we can probably replace those two values with the values found in the array for Syndy and it would give us a nice camera visual of it.

Posted Image

Similar to the Sonic the Fighters/Fighting Vipers character select timer, HotD has a timer, or frame count, of until a scene should be switched. If paused, I believe we could have a nice looping visual of MO_synd_demo in action.

#10 User is offline NiktheGreek 

Posted 11 December 2018 - 02:04 PM

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Pleased to see you've picked this up, BSF - it'd definitely be a shame if this info went to waste. If there is anything left in the arcade ROMs, I should still have the original files I was given for some restoration work if needed.

#11 User is offline egregiousguy 

Posted 12 January 2019 - 11:44 PM

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Glad you decided to pick this back up. If you need textures then I can provide the full texture dump from the arcade ROM, prototype ROM, and PC CD-Rom that I've pulled. None of Syndy's textures show up on the PC version's texture file though, I wonder if her data is just referencing a blank texture and that's why it appears empty in creature test mode.

#12 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:58 PM

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"Pick this back up" are very strong words. I am still a one-man hacking crew with no real motivation to continue hacking model2 games after the discovery of debug mode for several other model2 titles. It just seems like there are other people better qualified to do this faster than me, however, I seemed to be the first to care or theorize about such things.

Although the textures won't be necessary, I am curious how you accessed them in their raw formats, as I've never explored that avenue of hacking. I assume you load the corresponding dumped ICs in some sort of program which allows you to view the bitmap-like data.

#13 User is offline egregiousguy 

Posted 13 January 2019 - 05:53 PM

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I know what you mean by bring a one man crew. Spent the last year working on my own learning to read hexadecimal and understanding different 3D formats and if it weren't for the small HotD community wanting to see all the games assets I probably would have given up a long time ago.

That being said, the textures gave me a bit of trouble in the beginning but here's how it's laid out. All the data ROMs are in pairs so one holds the even bytes while the other holds the odd bytes (this is actually how I was able to recognize the bad data dump on the damaged prototype rom and find a fix for it). After interleaving the texture roms they needed to be split again by the width of the full texture and interleaved once again. Once that was in order it was as simple as importing it into GIMP and setting the correct width and bit depth.

I haven't had the chance to work on HotD1 lately as I've been working on extracting the stuff from the sequels but I do plan on jumping back to HotD and solving this Syndy and Mr G mystery. If only we had a reference image.

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