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Alive .... Behind the Moon .... (DOS)

Тема в разделе "International Zone", создана пользователем Riemann80, 3 сен 2021.

  1. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    After getting a hint from @Uka how to run the game in Dosbox, I have played it a little bit and looked for information on the game.

    OGDB.eu has a cover of the regular German release:
    OGDB - Alive: Behind the Moon [PC - CD-ROM/Deutschland] (1996)

    There was a budget re-release of the game in Germany with a different title. The re-release was called "Moon 2037".

    The game was made by a French team and published by CPIO Multimedia. The German company Nova Media Verlag is merely distributor in Germany.

    The credits mention a "Dialogo Team". I don't know if this was an internal group at CPIO or a separate company. I could try to contact the scenario writer Julian Alvarez, however.
    LudoScience - Julian Alvarez
    LudoScience - Julian Alvarez

    The game is actually a remake of a game called "Alive". Alive was released in 1991 for the Amstrad CPC and co-written by Alvarez.
    alive &copy lankhor (1991)
    LudoScience - Hommage à ceux qui rendent hommage
    CPCRULEZ > AMSTRAD CPC GAMESLIST > ALIVE (c) LANKHOR

    Game Classification : Alive - Behind the moon (1996)

    The French Wikipedia claims that the game was released in Germany with a print run of 5000 copies. Furthermore, English and French versions of the game were developed. However, there are no sources given in support of these claims.
    Alive (jeu vidéo, 1991) — Wikipédia
     
    Fabricator, bvedargh, Uka и ещё 1-му нравится это.
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  3. Uka

    Uka

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    Yes, that's a known story. Here is its official page, with download options, manuals, solution etc.: Lankhor.net

    Thanks for the covers :)
    You have this release on disk, right? I wonder if it is any different from the copy we have from @Smiling Spectre and Timber...

    Yes, there are buttons 'French' and 'English' in the install, but only 'German' button works...

    That's very interesting! Probably that means only the original release, not "Moon 2037"?

    Hmm. Are you sure? Why would a French publisher distribute the game in Germany only?
    I'd rather say that Nova Media Verlag is the publisher, and CPIO Multimedia (the one famous for "L'Affair Morlov" that was in fact published in French, English and - separately - German) is the developer.
     
  4. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    Yes, I got the re-release. It was published by "Peanuts Software" as part of their "Für Peanuts" budget line.

    I guess so, but the wiki does not say it explicitly. However, it does not mention the re-release title, so it's rather unlikely that the re-release is included.

    Well, at least the credits say "im Vertrieb von" which means "distributed by".

    vlcsnap-2021-09-03-18h42m18s485.png

    Regarding the publishing, I don't know. I'll drop Mr Alvarez a line and hope he doesn't insist on being asked in French. ;)
     
    Последнее редактирование: 3 сен 2021
  5. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    I sent an eamil to the scenario writer two days ago. I hope he still checks this adress.
     
    Uka нравится это.
  6. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    Here is a first draft of a review on the game. I still need to write a conclusion. Is there anything else missing so far in the review?

    The write of the game has unfortunately not replied to my email.

    The story takes place in the year 2037. All of a sudden, an unknown cosmic phenomenon changes the observable part on the backside of the moon. Various large sects take advantage of the situation and interpret the even as a sign of a coming apocalypse. As a result, people are panicking, cities around the world are pillaged, and people commit colletive suicide. The army is in desparate need of a scientific explanation of the phenomenon to fight the mass hysteria, but since finacial reserves are depleated, they cannot send a spaceship on an expedition to the moon. The Industrial Cartel suggests to send a jet fighter type X-49, but since none of these has ever managed to reach the moon, the army rejects to put any of their pilots at risk. Hence, the Cartel hires two civilian pilots, James Butterfield and Sven Clark, to go on this suicide mission for a huge amount of money.
    While James and Sven manage to reach the moon, but they crashland and Sven gets severely injured. To make matters worse, the ship is totally ruined. You take on the role of James Buttefield, and you must find a way to helpt Sven and then find a way to get back to Earth.
    It turns out your ship crashed in a cold, snowy landscape with trees which is roamed by wolves. There are two different people inhabiting the land. One is the human-like Gouarks, the other is the Wounks, who look like Yetis. Both are at war with each other.


    The game is a mix between an adventure and a survival simulator. You have a day/ night cycle and need to find food and drink to stay alive. You also need to sleep, and sleeping in unsafe places or a hostile environment might draw you into a fight or be bad for your health. Fights take place in real-time. You need to click on a crosshair appearing somewhere on your opponent to score a hit. The crosshear will change its position after a very short time. If you don't manage to strike a blow, your opponent will hit you. The fight ends when one party's health is down. If you lose, it's game over in most cases. If you win, you sometimes have to choice between killing your opponent or sparing his live. You can find and equip weapons, which increase the amount of damage you deal if you strike a hit.


    The graphics are a wild mixture of different styles. Similar to games like Myst, the environment is displayed in a first-person view and consists of still of pre-rendered 3D graphics, and you move or turn stepwise by clicking when the cursor points in a direction. Objects you examine are also held in pre-rendered 3D. Humans you meet, however, are displayed using digitized fotos of actors, while animals and non-human characters are drawn 2D graphics, as are the still shots dispicting several events (usually when you die). Some of the fotos have also been drawn on. The resulting mix does not look very harmonic. While the prerendered graphics are okay for the time, the poorly animated digitized actors look clunky, and the drawn graphics are hideously ugly.

    Navigating through the various locations is very tiresome, because there are often only very specific ways you can follow, and you often end up on a screen where you cannot move forward anymore, despite the way does not look appear to be blocked. Moreover, the part of the screen where you have to click to go forward varies all the time, so it's better to use the keyboard for moving.
    The environent is shown in a rather small window on screen. Usuable obects are not displayed. Instead, various other windows show icons representing items or persons at the current location. To interact with them, you need to pull the icons of the icons representing the commands, like talking, eating or use as weapon. A kind of radar displays living things in your vicinity. It is very important, since you do not see people or animals displayed in the environment view unless they are in the exact same location as you. Unfortunately, the radar does not tell you if anyone is hostile or not. You might also bump into other dangerous situations without warning. For example, you can step into a bear trap which is not shown on screen. You will only notice its position when you already stepped on it. While you do not get killed, you cannot move any longer, so if you do not have something with you to free yourself, you'll either starve or get eaten by wolves.
    As far as I got, the puzzles are rather basic. The difficulty lies in finding the right objects and finding out what to do. The developers put some effort in providing several way for things to turn out, depending on your descisions. Unfortunately, it is very hard to tell which way will lead you into a dead end and which not.


    The dialogue is cheesy at best and utterly cringe-worthy at worst. James and Sven talk like in a script for an action film written by a 12-year old. When talking to to characters, there are often multiple choices of what to say or reply. Some conversations rapidly change the subject every few lines, making conversations appear somehow random. There also quite often no way to find out what outcome your choices is. For example, when I got imprisoned by the Wounks, I met another inmate. One of the choices made him angry immediately, and when I responded with a snappy remark, a fight to the death started. When I beat him, I was instantly confronted by the leader of the Wounks and had to fight him as well.
    It doesn't help that there are apparently various mistakes in the German translation. It seems the translator has seen the context or the situation while translating, leading to various wornlgy named objects or men adressed as women.

    Music and sound effects are okay, but not remarkable. While there is only music in some places, there are at least some nice sound effect details, like the creaking of ice when you walk over floes. The music isn't great, but it does the job. The voice acting is rather amateurish, but you hear it only during the intro and when you talk to Sven. The inhabitants of the moon all speak gibberish which is translated via the subtitles.
     
    Fabricator, bvedargh, Dimouse и 3 другим нравится это.
  7. Uka

    Uka

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    Great, thanks!
    I think it is quite nice :)

    Yes, but just a few sentences would suffice. Like - the game is excellent / good / rather bad and could be recommended / not recommended to adventure game lovers etc.

    I would suggest adding a few sentences at the beginning about the history of the game. That is - I think it is necessary to mention that this is a German remake of a French game etc. But that's for you to decide!
     
  8. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    Good news, everyone!

    I managed to contact the main programmer of the game and sent him a few questions. I asked who was developed and publisher, and if there was a French or English release.

    Do you have any questions to pass?
     
    bvedargh, Uka и Sharp_ey нравится это.
  9. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    I got an answer from Philippe Rivaillon. :)

    "CPIO Multimedia was our editor / producer. So it was the company that have make possible the devlopment of this game. I think that Nova Media Verlag was the distributor ... but I don’t know how was exctly the deal. Perhaps sub-editor one. And I don’t know at all what is the link between this 2 companies.

    Alive have been developed at Toulouse by an independant team : Dialogo Team (= us ). Dialogo Team have never had a real existence as company (It was the goal, but Alive have not been a success). CPIO have paid our PCs, invoices, etc...

    The game was developped in French/English. German have been added after... because the game have not been worldwide distributed, and mainly in german’s country. Why the game have not been distributed worldwide ? Perhaps because after Alive, CPIO have stopped to do/edit Video Game (they have done : L’affaire Morloff in same time of Alive). To be honest, it was really a great adventure, but the end of this adventure was not as so cool as it was expected (near 0 money for 3 years of work, and dissolution of the team)."
     
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  10. Uka

    Uka

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    @Riemann80, that's very interesting, thanks a lot!
    But does he per any chance have anything of those French/English versions left? :)
     
  11. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    Philippe wrote this:

    "I think that French and English version have only exist in dev format. I mean : no mastered and packaged. So, it’s nearly impossible to remake a English-French version.
    Perhaps Julian have more information about that ? Perhaps guys from CPIO ? ... but I don’t know what they do now."
     
    bvedargh и Uka нравится это.
  12. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    I managed to to contact the designer, Julien Alvarez. This is what he wrote:

    "The game Behind The Moon released in 1996 on PC is an adaptation of the game Alive released in 1991 on Amstrad CPC and published by Lankhor only in France (2000 copies).
    The game Behind The Moon was produced by the company CPIO based in Paris and the studio Dialogo Team was based in Toulouse in the south of France. This studio was composed of about fifteen people essentially students of the University who shared their time between studies and the creation of the game. The company CPIO was in charge of finding distributors around the world. Only the company Nova Verlag wished to market it. In the USA, another distributor was interested but on the condition that the game would have to be revised (interface and scenario), which would have required another year of development. Unfortunately, most of the students of the Dialogo Team were starting to find work or had to move. It was no longer possible to improve the game at this stage. So we stopped the adventure with the release of the only German version of the game. However, the English and French versions of the game were ready. In fact, the game contains all the dialogues in English, French and German in the CD-rom. It is only their access that is locked, I think. But to be checked.

    The relationship between CPIO and Dialogo Team was the financing of the office rent and the financing of the material (computers and software). We did not receive a salary. The only remuneration was the royalties expected from the sale of the game when it was commercialized. From memory, the game was sold for 5000 copies.

    To answer more precisely on the role of CPIO, this one had also provided a referent who followed the evolution of the game and gave us advice. Initially the game was supposed to be developed in 12 months, but we took 24. We underestimated the work to be done because we had to revise the game's scenario along the way, which was too ambitious in a world that was intended to be both open with randomly generated events in terms of meetings. This brought a lot of situations that could make it impossible to progress in the story and even unexpected things: for example, a wolf could steal our gourd in which we had the possibility to slip a key to enter the village of Gouarks. As a result, the adventure was no longer possible to continue. Faced with all these hazards, we had to go back to a more linear quest system and forbid a lot of random situations. But when the game was released, the approach was not really optimal for an interesting story. It would have taken more time and would have needed a revised storyline as requested by the US distributor. "
     
    Uka и bvedargh нравится это.
  13. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    I completed the text for my review of the game:

    Having trouble during development or before release of a game is a very common problem and may lead to quite peculiar results, as is the case of Alive ... Behin the Moon! . The game is a remake of the 1991 game Alive which was released for Amstrad CPC, and only in French language. While the original was only released in France, Alive ... Behin the Moon! was being developed in three languages (English, French, German) and aimed for an international release. However, a distributor was only found for the German market, as, for example, a potential American distributor demanded changes to the game which would have taken another year at least (in addition to 3 years of development already). So this game, developed by a French team, ended up being released in Germany and in German language only.

    The story takes place in the year 2037. All of a sudden, an unknown cosmic phenomenon changes the observable part on the backside of the moon. Various large sects take advantage of the situation and interpret the even as a sign of a coming apocalypse. As a result, people are panicking, cities around the world are pillaged, and people commit colletive suicide. The army is in desparate need of a scientific explanation of the phenomenon to fight the mass hysteria, but since finacial reserves are depleated, they cannot send a spaceship on an expedition to the moon. The Industrial Cartel suggests to send a jet fighter type X-49, but since none of these has ever managed to reach the moon, the army rejects to put any of their pilots at risk. Hence, the Cartel hires two civilian pilots, James Butterfield and Sven Clark, to go on this suicide mission for a huge amount of money.
    While James and Sven manage to reach the moon, but they crashland and Sven gets severely injured. To make matters worse, the ship is totally ruined. You take on the role of James Buttefield, and you must find a way to helpt Sven and then find a way to get back to Earth.
    It turns out your ship crashed in a cold, snowy landscape with trees which is roamed by wolves. There are two different people inhabiting the land. One is the human-like Gouarks, the other is the Wounks, who look like Yetis. Both are at war with each other.

    The game is a mix between an adventure and a survival simulator. You have a day/ night cycle and need to find food and drink to stay alive. You also need to sleep, and sleeping in unsafe places or a hostile environment might draw you into a fight or be bad for your health. Fights take place in real-time. You need to click on a crosshair appearing somewhere on your opponent to score a hit. The crosshear will change its position after a very short time. If you don't manage to strike a blow, your opponent will hit you. The fight ends when one party's health is down. If you lose, it's game over in most cases. If you win, you sometimes have to choice between killing your opponent or sparing his live. You can find and equip weapons, which increase the amount of damage you deal if you strike a hit.

    The graphics are a wild mixture of different styles. Similar to games like Myst, the environment is displayed in a first-person view and consists of still of pre-rendered 3D graphics, and you move or turn stepwise by clicking when the cursor points in a direction. Objects you examine are also held in pre-rendered 3D. Humans you meet, however, are displayed using digitized fotos of actors, while animals and non-human characters are drawn 2D graphics, as are the still shots dispicting several events (usually when you die). Some of the fotos have also been drawn on. The resulting mix does not look very harmonic. While the prerendered graphics are okay for the time, the poorly animated digitized actors look clunky, and the drawn graphics are hideously ugly.

    Navigating through the various locations is very tiresome, because there are often only very specific ways you can follow, and you often end up on a screen where you cannot move forward anymore, despite the way does not look appear to be blocked. Moreover, the part of the screen where you have to click to go forward varies all the time, so it's better to use the keyboard for moving.
    The environent is shown in a rather small window on screen. Usuable obects are not displayed. Instead, various other windows show icons representing items or persons at the current location. To interact with them, you need to pull the icons of the icons representing the commands, like talking, eating or use as weapon. A kind of radar displays living things in your vicinity. It is very important, since you do not see people or animals displayed in the environment view unless they are in the exact same location as you. Unfortunately, the radar does not tell you if anyone is hostile or not. You might also bump into other dangerous situations without warning. For example, you can step into a bear trap which is not shown on screen. You will only notice its position when you already stepped on it. While you do not get killed, you cannot move any longer, so if you do not have something with you to free yourself, you'll either starve or get eaten by wolves.
    As far as I got, the puzzles are rather basic. The difficulty lies in finding the right objects and finding out what to do. The developers put some effort in providing several way for things to turn out, depending on your descisions. Unfortunately, it is very hard to tell which way will lead you into a dead end and which not.

    The dialogue is cheesy at best and utterly cringe-worthy at worst. James and Sven talk like in a script for an action film written by a 12-year old. When talking to to characters, there are often multiple choices of what to say or reply. Some conversations rapidly change the subject every few lines, making conversations appear somehow random. There also quite often no way to find out what outcome your choices is. For example, when I got imprisoned by the Wounks, I met another inmate. One of the choices made him angry immediately, and when I responded with a snappy remark, a fight to the death started. When I beat him, I was instantly confronted by the leader of the Wounks and had to fight him as well.
    It doesn't help that there are apparently various mistakes in the German translation. It seems the translator has seen the context or the situation while translating, leading to various wornlgy named objects or men adressed as women.

    Music and sound effects are okay, but not remarkable. While there is only music in some places, there are at least some nice sound effect details, like the creaking of ice when you walk over floes. The music isn't great, but it does the job. The voice acting is rather amateurish, but you hear it only during the intro and when you talk to Sven. The inhabitants of the moon all speak gibberish which is translated via the subtitles.

    Overall, the game is a very frustrating experience. I must say it stirred up some curiosity to see what the game has to offer, also because the whole premise is so weird. I actually could live with a lot of the flaws, like the uncomfortable interface and the rather annoying survival mechanics, but the frustrating combat, the unexpected deaths and the difficulty to see what causes your actions will have take most of the fun out of exploring and puzzling. As far as I got, I can only recommend this game if you feel intrigued by exploring content hardly anyone has ever seen. It is sad to say, since it seems the developers still put quite a lot of effort into the game.
     
    rusty_dragon, Uka, bvedargh и ещё 1-му нравится это.
  14. Uka

    Uka

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    @Riemann80, I am going to translate your text into Russian for it to appear on this site...

    What is this organization exactly?

    Which last name spelling is correct?

    What does that mean? Some persons' pictures are drawings instead of photos?

    Probably has NOT seen?
     
  15. Riemann80

    Riemann80

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    It is only mentioned once in the backstory in the manual. It is simply called "The Industrial Cartel of New York".

    Maybe change the sentence to "An organization simply reffered to as "The Industrial Cartel of New York" suggests [...]" ?

    "Butterfield" - sorry for the typo.

    "Some of the photos have also been retouched." is better. I wanted to express that they took a photo and then drew additional elements on it. For example, the person on the right in this image looks as if the photo has been altered.

    alive_013.png

    Yes, "has not seen" is correct, sorry.
     
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  16. Uka

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    rusty_dragon нравится это.
  17. Riemann80

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    I added screenshots and covers now. I wrote descriptions using an automatic translator.
     
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  18. Uka

    Uka

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    @Riemann80, nice :)
    But please also grade the game on 1-10 scale by pressing the stars.
     
  19. Riemann80

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    Done. :)
     
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