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Here are some screenshots from the very earliest alpha builds of Sean Clark's The Dig. At this stage most of the backgrounds and character sprites were still intact from the previous version, but the game engine had just been converted to SCUMM.


Low stands at the tomb spire's light bridge panel. The background is flipped in the final game. Also, the sky in this version is darker, and there’re no markings on the wall.

As for the interface, it's very similar to, though not the same as, the one in Brian Moriarty's version. An extra Talk to icon has been added, and Walk to now shows up on the Sentence Line. In addition, the cursor is different.


Low, Maggie, and Brink at the starting point on the Cocytus surface. Toshi Olema had been removed by this point in development. Their sprites are the same ones from Brian Moriarty's version.

With Toshi’s removal, everyone left had light-colored hair. This was one reason why the sprites were changed. (They also looked really hokey for a 1995 game.)

In this alpha build The Pig followed you to the alien planet, unlike in the final game.


The three astronauts outside the shuttle.

You can see Ken Borden and Cora Miles in the cockpit.

Note the weird spacesuits. They're basically the same as the suits in Brian Moriarty's version, but with some minor changes to the vest colors.

One person who played this early version recalled this information:

“There was originally a section in the beginning of the game where you would have to scan the entire surface of the asteroid in order to find the places to set-up the nukes. This was cut from the game because it took way too long, and it was obviously not fun.”


The three astronauts and The Pig on the asteroid surface.


The astronauts return to the shuttle after having planted the nukes. The shuttle on this screen is a 3D model.


Low attempts to pull Brink's hand free of the crack in the rock. By this time the water (which threatened to drown Brink in the original version of the puzzle) had been cut out, though Maggie hadn't been written into the scene yet.


Low stands in the outer tomb in this cropped image, with the skylight open and the sarcophagus raised. The sarcophagus, which would later be replaced by a statue, looks very Egyptian.

There are some markings on the wall, which depict the gateway to the aliens' dimension.

Because the team was still working on converting the game from StoryDroid to SCUMM, some minor details, such as the skylight's depressed trigger stone on the floor and the focusing lens on the ceiling, aren't in place in the screenshot. Also, inserting the power crystal hasn't yet been written into the tomb puzzle.


This is a blurred title screen from an early version. Interestingly, ILM is mentioned prominently in the credits.





An early design for Brink's talking animations on the PenUltimate, taken from the demo's files. He looks oddly young in this version.


An early version of Robbins' talking animations on the PenUltimate. Her skin looks a lot darker than in the final game.





The five spires, with lasers in place of light bridges.


An alternate design of a room from Brian Moriarty's version, this version was taken from the ending video.


This room was also in Brian Moriarty's version, and also altered for an appearance in the end cutscene.


An alternate version of the forked-passageway room from Moriarty's design, as seen in the final game's ending.


This version of the Nexus, taken from the demo, has dirt clustered in front of the door to the museum tram. Low probably had to pick up the shovel from where it fell after Brink's death, then clear away the dirt with it. In the final game he picks the shovel up automatically and there's no dirt at all.

Also, the combination rod on the floor is golden instead of purple. Odd.


Originally the tablet in the museum would fall and shatter if Low left it alone long enough without picking it up. This was removed because it created an obvious dead end.





The original version of the planetarium light-bridge room did not have the waterfall drawn in.

This image originally appeared on former LucasArts artist Bill Tiller's website: I only reproduce it here because Tiller's site is currently down.


A black-and-white version of the Eye machine in the cathedral spire. This early version has a large support rod in the foreground, obscuring our view.

This image originally appeared on former LucasArts artist Bill Tiller's website: I only reproduce it here because Tiller's site is currently down.


A color version of the early Eye machine room with the extra support rod.

This image originally appeared on former LucasArts artist Bill Tiller's website: I only reproduce it here because Tiller's site is currently down.


An early version of the museum in Sean Clark's Dig, with six alcoves containing visual records of events instead of four.

This image originally appeared on former LucasArts artist Bill Tiller's website: I only reproduce it here because Tiller's site is currently down.


A storyboard for one of the cutscenes in the early part of the game. Notice NASA's Mission Control was originally going to be shown.

This image originally appeared on former LucasArts artist Bill Tiller's website: I only reproduce it here because Tiller's site is currently down.


These two screenshots, scanned from the Strategy Guide, show that originally the light-bridge lenses were attached to the activation consoles and not to nearby ledges at floor level. That would've made using them a lot more difficult!





This article covers Sean Clark's version of the game. Note the gold logo is still being used, and that screenshot of the crystal ship never appears in the final game.





Peter Chan's sketch of Boston Low. Interesting that he drew him wearing a jacket.


Peter Chan's drawing of Ludger Brink. I guess the animators decided to give Low's jacket to Brink after these sketches were done.


Peter Chan's drawing of Maggie Robbins.


Peter Chan's sketch of Ken Borden.


Peter Chan's sketch of Cora Miles.





This is how the animation where Brink and Low see the "ghost" in the life crystal repository was designed to look.


In the actual game, the color palette used on Brink's sprite is different.





Brink's animations use four different color palettes over the course of the game. The first is seen before he dies for the first time, the second after he is resurrected, the third after his hand is severed, and the fourth in the end cutscene, when he is revived again.

The animation of him struggling to free himself from the crevice was originally designed to use his post-crystal resurrection palette. However, this discolored the animation of Low severing his hand, and the animators were forced to use the healthy, pre-dying palette instead.


The animation of Brink with his hand trapped, as seen in the finished game.





Frames of an animation of Brink entering the starship bound for Earth at the game's end. This version has Brink's sprite in its "old man" palette, as seen in the resource files, not its regular one as in the game.


A frame of animation showing old Brink facing the Cocytan leader. The resource files contain animation of him saying a few parting words before he enters the crystal spaceship.





This image, taken from an old slideshow of screenshots released by LucasArts, shows the scene where the first ghost appears.

Oddly, the background still looks almost exactly as it did in Brian Moriarty's version!


The same point in-game, with the finalized background.


Another image from the slideshow collection, with another old background. Plus, the boulder which Low should use to bridge the chasm is missing.


The finalized background. Here, though, Low's shadow is incorrectly rendered as a white blob!


This shot was deleted from the final game: the asteroid-starship never gets that close to Earth. However, it survived in the slideshow collection, and in the Adventurer article scanned above.


A slideshow screen of the forked path at the base of the museum spire.

At this point in the game the fossilized turtle hadn't been added in yet. The fossil was only put into this screen after it was found that testers had a very hard time solving the bone-reconstruction puzzle.

Also of note is the glow coming from the doorway on the left. In the final game it's pinkish in color, but here it's blue.


More images from the slideshow.

As these shots indicate, the original cutscene files were very high in quality. Unfortunately, they were later heavily (and badly) compressed in order to get them to fit on one CD.





Inputting the sequence from the green combination rod in the map room in the final release shows the bat cave in the map spire. But it shows the room as it looked during Brian Moriarty's time!


Similarly, using the combination from the purple rod shows the crossroads in the museum spire, but with the left doorway filled with blue light, not reddish light as in the actual game.


This image is from the finalized intro cutscene.

Look carefully at Ken Borden and Cora Miles. Cora is wearing Judith Robbins' old jumpsuit from Brian Moriarty's version, while Ken is wearing the early Low sprite's black T-shirt.


This is an alternate color palette for the underwater cave, preserved in the resource files.




In the final game, fixing the map spire's light bridge involves opening up the machine and rearranging several prisms inside. However, the designers were initially unsure which spire's light bridge should feature this puzzle. In fact, the name of the room in the resource files indicates that they initially favored putting it in the planetarium spire.


This is the palette for the innards of the light-bridge mechanism of the museum spire.


The museum spire light-bridge with its control panel open.


The light-bridge inner workings, looking as they would for the planetarium spire controls.


The planetarium spire's light-bridge, with its control panel opened.


The tomb spire light-bridge's maintenance panel.


The open control panel seen on the tomb spire light-bridge.





This shot, from the cutscene when the asteroid transforms and goes into faster-than-light-speed, was shown in the demo but removed from the final game. Perhaps the effect of the warping, mutating starfield was too much like Star Wars for Sean Clark's taste?


The demo's LucasArts logo has a background of a bright and sunny sky.


In the final game the logo is still in the sky, but on a moonlit and cloudy night.


The demo's title screen.


The final game title logo has slightly thicker lines, as well as an added trademark sign.


In the demo, the Sentence Line is a pale blue, and uses a font that dates back to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.


The final Sentence Line font was new to The Dig; it's a bit more science-fiction-esque.

Notice too that the astronaut suits have been added into the room, and the slight scaling effect removed, for the final release.

Also, Maggie is now referred to simply as "Robbins", befitting Low's initial hostility to her presence.


In the demo, after Low digs up the alien grave, the jawbone is found among the pile of bones at Brink's feet.

Here the golden combination rod is dubbed "engraving".


In the final game the jawbone is found in a separate bone pile, closer to the right edge of the screen.

Notice that the rod is now called "engraved rod".


The demo inventory. The wire is drawn differently, and the alien tusk is more sharply curved than in the actual game.

Plus, the shovel is known as "trowel". Its being that small explains how it fit in The Pig, but is completely incorrect for the animations of Low using it.

The scaling of this room in the demo is such that the characters appear to be rather small.


The final inventory screen, with a brown wire instead of the original blue, and a straighter tuskbone.

And the shovel has been renamed to "shovel".

In the finished product the scaling has been tinkered with, so that the three crewmembers are much bigger in relation to their surroundings.


Low talks to Robbins. The image of the "ghosts" conversation topic is a bit different than in the actual game, as is the "Stop talking" button.


Talking to Robbins in the finished release.




A file on the game CD reveals some extra dialogue that was removed from the intro video. Most of it was obviously removed to avoid revealing too much information too early in the game. I'm reproducing it here, with parenthetical notations added for clarity:

(A reporter at the press conference wonders why Ludger Brink and Maggie Robbins were selected for the shuttle mission.)

Reporter: In going over your bios, I find that Professor Brink is also a noted archaeologist, while it's well-known that Maggie is a prodigy at learning new languages. Is this just coincidence?

Low: Not at all. We wanted the best and the brightest for this mission. Dr. Brink and Ms. Robbins are not narrow specialists. They are resourceful, widely educated, and creative thinkers.

Reporter: Does that apply to you, too, Commander Low?

Low: My job is to keep everybody alive. I don't have to be brilliant, I just have to be careful.

(Laughter.)

(The scene now changes. The press conference is over; Low is meeting with a General of the US Air Force.)

General: Good job of keeping the lid on the secret aspects of the mission in that press conference, Commander Low.

Low: That's why I get the big bucks, General.

General: Attila was out there for years, a strange duck but not dangerous, and then suddenly it was headed straight for Earth. SOMETHING made it change course. At the first evidence of alien intelligence, you clamp down the lid, Low. You understand?

(The scene shifts back to the press conference, where Low is introducing Ken Borden and Cora Miles to the crowd.)

Low: The other two crew members will remain with the shuttle. Ken Borden is the most experienced shuttle pilot we have. Cora Miles is our payload specialist. As you all know, she's a candidate for Congress, but we figured saving the planet is more important than campaigning.

Cora: It's cheaper, too.

(More laughter.)

Low: Folks, it's time for us to go.

Reporter: Any parting message for the people of Earth?

Low: We have exactly one chance. We've got to do it right. Let all your prayers be with us.




The recorded dialogue in the The Dig demo resource files indicates that the lines were originally recorded for the early alpha build, back when the five-icon interface was still in place:

In response to the command Talk to [item], Low says "I can't talk to that."

In response to the command Use [item which can't be used], Low says "I can't use this."

In response to the command Pick up [item which can't be taken], Low says "I can't pick that up."

In response to the command Move [item which can't be moved], Low says "I can't move that."

In response to the command Use Maggie or the command Use Brink, Low says "I don't indiscriminately use people."

In response to the command Pick up Brink, Low says "He's not my type."

In response to the command Pick up Maggie, Low says "She's not my type."

In response to the command Move Maggie or the command Move Brink, Low says "I wouldn't want to be pushy."




The finished game also contains some interesting sound files that aren't used.

I've taken the relevant dialogue clips and pasted them together, then converted them to Ogg Vorbis format to save filespace.

Cora Miles originally had a couple of extra lines when Low informs NASA of the alien artifacts inside the asteroid.

An extra line of Low's was originally included in the scene where the asteroid transforms and flies off: "The whole asteroid is moving!".

An alternate version of the initial argument that occurs when Low moves to explore the central canyon. This one is less heated in tone and ends on a friendlier note.

A different version of the dialogue when Low finds the bracelet on the surface, in which Brink and Low trade barbs instead of Brink and Maggie.

Low mentions a pile of dirt blocking the door to the museum tram; see related image above.

A sound file where Low notices the broken tablet in the museum (see above image).

Extra (quite humorous) dialogue from the cutscene where the eel eats the turtle suggests that Maggie and Brink were originally supposed to be present during that scene.

Dialogue in the outer tomb chamber suggests that Brink was originally to accompany Low into there, well before the point in the finished release where Maggie is abducted and Brink returns to Low's side.

More dialogue in the outer tomb indicates that, instead of a statue on an elevator platform, filling the room with light raised up a dead Cocytan's body on a stone slab, as in the original design of the room (see image at the top of the page).

The original recording of Brink screaming as his hand is amputated. The echo effect indicates that the original plan was to cut away, possibly to a wide shot of the spires, just as he was screaming. In the final game we get to see Brink's agonized contortions.

A stray line in the scene where Maggie and Low revive the alien inventor shows that Brink was intended to be here as well.

An unused conversation with the Inventor on the subject of the four metal plates.

An unused conversation with the Inventor on the subject of the tablet in the museum.

An unused conversation with the Inventor on the subject of the map room.

An unused conversation with the Inventor on the subject of the alien language.

An unused conversation with the Inventor on the subject of the ghostly apparitions.

An unused conversation with the Inventor on the subject of the abundant sources of water on Cocytus.

This set of dialogue indicates that originally Maggie refused to go into the seaside area where the Eye part was hidden. Low had to go there, retrieve the Eye part, and come back to Maggie, who was waiting at the waterfall nearby.

A hilarious, long-winded insult that Brink aims at Low. A shame this didn't make it into the game!

The original audio for the cutscene when Low enters Spacetime Six, with a few extra dialogue lines and others rearranged.




Visit the page of pictures from Brian Moriarty's The Dig

Click here for a series of images, created by me, showing how the interface worked in early designs.

For more neat The Dig stuff, be sure to visit the Dig Museum.

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