View Full Version : Never-before-seen Art from Brian Moriarty's The Dig

02-27-2004, 08:28 PM
Since my last post of "mock-up screenshots" a few weeks ago, I've been contacted by an anonymous source (who wished to protect his/her identity from being told) giving me information on The Dig.

He/she has given me some interesting screenshots of the art for Brian Moriarty's version. The backgrounds are by Bill Eaken and the animations (character sprites) are by Bill Tiller.

Here, therefore, I reveal them for the first time.

This room, according to its original filename, was a room which contained pools of acid (the yellow stuff). It was seen in the article on the game in Adventurer #7. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digarticles/adv7article.jpg)

An animation of Brink digging. Note his jumpsuit.

The space shuttle's cockpit.

Color tests for the sprites of the characters' astronaut suits.

The top of the central valley on Cocytus. (A scan of the concept art for this appears in the Dig Strategy Guide.)

Judith Robbins' sprite. Notice her blond hair.

This is the dome of the planetarium room, before all the stars and planets are projected onto it.

All images are TM and copyright LucasArts. I claim no ownership of them and only post them for the enjoyment of fans.

02-27-2004, 08:32 PM
Brink's hand stuck in a crevice in the rock.

The underwater cave. There is no opening yet to the room beyond as in the final game.

Toshi Olema's sprite.

This was probably a tunnel inside the asteroid.

This picture, judging from its original filename, shows some part of the aliens' many-dimensional paradise (called Spacetime Six in the final game).

The original version of the room the astronauts enter at the heart of Attila. The hole for the plates is at the top. Notice that there are apparently three plates, all square-shaped, which fit one on top of the other. (A black-and-white, slightly different sketch of this screen appeared in the Dig Strategy Guide.)

Judging by these sketches, I'd say that Bill Eaken's backgrounds for The Dig are much more visually striking than those done by Bill Tiller. (In his own words, he was still "cutting [his] teeth" on this game, his first big art project.)

It might have been an even more visually fascinating game to play had Brian Moriarty's version been released.

All images are TM and copyright LucasArts. I claim no ownership of them and only post them for the enjoyment of fans.

02-27-2004, 10:35 PM



02-28-2004, 01:16 PM
Outstanding!! I'd love to learn more about these variants on the Dig!! What were the major changes?? It seems a lot of things were actually the same (plot, atilla, multi-dimensional paradise, hand stuck in wall etc) I wonder what the "powers that be" were unhappy about to order three different versions of the game?!

~ John

James Isaac
02-28-2004, 02:18 PM
Nice find :)

02-28-2004, 02:27 PM
Noah Falstein's version apparently had RPG-style stuff such as feeding your character, and this might've been a feature which impeded development. (This version doesn't seem to have gotten even as far as Brian Moriarty's did, never being seen in magazines.)

Brian Moriarty's version's failure is a rather intricate story, and I'll set it down here.

First, look at the sprites of the characters sent to me by my source. Both Judith and Toshi appear to be left-handed, and Low and Brink likely were as well.

This is due to a plot point (which I learned from a different person) concerning the method by which one learned to perceive the aliens' higher reality.

To be able to perceive this multi-dimensional existence, one had to flip one's subatomic particles. When this happened, the creature's body would become a "mirror image" of itself.

The aliens sent out the asteroid to allow other races to gain entrance into this higher plane (they saw it as paradise, not being trapped, apparently). To allow them to perceive it, however, there had to be this particle-flipping.

So, while exploring the asteroid, Low, Brink, Robbins, and Toshi pass through a four-dimensional shape (called a Kline bottle) which would flip their particles (and make them left-handed).

The entire alien planet serves as a test for new arrivals to see whether, after being "flipped," they are truly worthy to enter the new dimension.

All this conceptual physics really worried the LEC marketing department, since they were afraid of how to explain it. This made Moriarty's The Dig really unpopular in the company.

So when Moriarty had to sit down to write all the dialogue, he realized that he was not going to make his deadline for it, and that he would get no sympathy from management, so he left. After a brief period where Hal Barwood tried to continue this version of the game, Sean Clark took over.

That's why that version failed.

02-28-2004, 02:56 PM
Good work there AT.

02-28-2004, 04:03 PM
Wow, that's really good to know! I've always wondered! It makes sense now, but it's sad to see that BM left LEC because of it. So SC came in to do a "simpler" version of the same plot!

So there were only ever three versions, is that correct?

You should put a timeline of events on a site somewhere.

~ John

02-29-2004, 06:20 PM
Toshi Olema? Is that the supposed fourth charcter that was axed early in the game developement but who's foot still appears on the cover as a rock?

03-02-2004, 09:58 PM
Joshi, you're right about the "painted out of the cover except for the foot" thing. Click here for a scan of the original cover art. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digarticles/adv6cover.jpg)

I've posted here to talk about the demo for The Dig and the voices in it.

Here's a screenshot of the demo:
Both the voices and dialogue in the demo are completely different from those in the final game. Here are some samples:
Low examines the rock platform on the Cocytan plain (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldlow01.voc)
Low digs up an alien grave (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldlow02.voc)
Brink talks to Low about what the trio should do (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldbri01.voc)
Brink expresses his desire to lead an "archeological expedition" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldbri02.voc)
Maggie argues with Brink over the role of leader (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldmag01.voc)
Maggie talks to Low about the strange "ghosts" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldmag02.voc)

But, however, on further examination, I have discovered that these voices were also used in an early beta version of Sean Clark's game, apparently covering the entire game.

By this point in development Toshi Olema had been thrown out, although most of the original backgrounds and character sprites from Brian Moriarty's version remained.

A picture of that beta version, shown by me elsewhere before.

I found evidence for this by combing the voice files and finding lines that corresponded with the icons in the beta interface - Examine, Pick up, Talk to, Use, and Move. Here are some of them.

Low says "I can't pick that up" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldp01.voc)
Low responds humorously to the command "Pick up Brink" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldp02.voc)
Low responds to a command such as "Talk to plant" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldt01.voc)
Low says "I can't use this" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldu01.voc)
Low replies to the command "Use Brink" or "Use Maggie" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldu02.voc)
Low responds to a command such as "Move plant" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldm01.voc)
Low responds somewhat humorously to the command "Move Brink" or "Move Maggie" (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldm02.voc)

Also, here are some lines which appear in areas of the game not accessible in the demo.
Low looks at one of the explosives from the shuttle mission (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldu05.voc)
Low tries unsuccessfully to resurrect an alien being with a life crystal (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldu03.voc)
Low looks at a beam of light emitted by the rock platform aboveground (which will only be seen when Low turns on the power, impossible in the demo) (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digoldu04.voc)

For those of you who've never seen them: here are the links to the rest of the screenshots of the beta.
Image 1: Low stands at the tomb spire light bridge. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearly.gif)
Image 2: Low, Brink, and Maggie float outside the space shuttle. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearlya.gif)
Image 3: As seen above, Low, Brink and Maggie at the starting point on Cocytus. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearlyb.gif)
Image 4: Low, Brink, and Maggie exploring the outer surface of the asteroid. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearlyc.gif)
Image 5: The astronauts return to the shuttle after having planted the explosives. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearlyd.gif)
Image 6: Low tries to get Brink's hand free of the crack in the rock. Note that Maggie is gone. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearlye.gif)
Image 7: Low stands in the outer tomb of the Cocytan inventor. (http://home.comcast.net/~ervind/digsite/digearlyf.gif)

As shown by the links above, the story progress appeared to be slightly different in this version (i.e., the puzzles to open the tomb were slightly different, since the room itself was different, and Maggie was not present when Brink's hand was cut off). Therefore, when these elements were revised, perhaps it was decided to go along with new voices as well as new dialogue for the new situations.

03-04-2004, 05:51 PM

That plot point sounds just like an important part of Moriarty's Trinity - flipping everything from left to right handed by going around the "Klein hedge".