Trespasser: Off the Path
(mostly by Tom Wolery)
Get past the invisible walls. See everything in the total virtual world created for Trespasser
Trespasser was originally conceived as consisting of a single 3D virtual world, representing the whole of Site B (see the Wyckoff interview: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19990514/trespasser_01.htm). However, the game didnít turn out that way. The platform requirements would have been too stiff for the game to be a commercial success. Allowing the players too much freedom to roam would diminish playability. So a separate world was created for each level, and additional barriers were added to keep the player in the intended playing area. The playing areas are basically linear. They remind me of golf links, so I tend to call the virtual world outside the playing area the out of bounds (OOB) area. Anything outside the playing area is also called "off the path" (OTP) or sometimes just "the world."
Each world represents about a couple square kilometers of the island. The world has an edge, where the terrain ends. Below the world is what I call the "basement" (kind of in the geologic sense). Itís also been described as "off in the clouds." Iíll reserve that term for skydiving (discussed later). The basement consists of a flat, invisible surface that you can walk on. Going over the world edge usually results in a fatal fall. However, you can find places on most if not all of the levels that allow you to get safely onto the basement. The basement is really off the path, but it has some interesting features (more on that later).
From here on, the following definitions will be used:
You can penetrate virtually all of the OOB territory on all eight of the regular levels and the demo level, all through normal gameplay. By that, I mean by not using the "tele" cheat (more on that later). Iíve also penetrated the basement for all of the levels by the same means with one exception. That is on Level 3, where a special puzzle seems to be present. Level 1 requires a special trick to get to the basement. More about those levels later. On all the other levels, itís just a matter of finding a place where the edge is at or close to basement level.
Most levels do not have many places where you can cross from the playing area to the OOB and/or vice versa. Also, some levels have a single OOB, while others have two. Level 2 has three by my count, though I stretched my definition a bit in this particular case. I generally say there are two OOB areas when getting from one such area to another is "hard," or when a second exit from the playing area is required to get to a second OOB area. Making your way along the side of the playing area eventually leads you to the area where the next level is supposed to begin (but you canít get there through the OOB in Levels 7 and 8). If you enter the immediate vicinity of where you would normally be transported to the next level, you will be transported. Give this area a wide berth if you donít want that to happen, or save your game before you get too close. In the demo, there is a comparable area behind a gate. Get caught in that, and the demo ends.
A levelís OOB comprises a lot of territory, quite a bit more than that occupied by the playing area. By exploring the OOB, you can get a better view (often quite literally) of how a levelís playing area is laid out. The OOB usually also contains some area that corresponds to the playing areas of the preceding and following levels. Exploring the OOB can also give some insight into how the game was actually developed. You can see where the missing levels were, and you can also see some areas that received a lot of work, but werenít included in the final playing area.
What exactly is the OOB versus the playing area? First, the OOB is hard to get to from the playing area. Then, once you get there, itís generally just as difficult to get back. Most places where you can cross over only allow you to go one way. The exceptions are at least three gaps in the invisible walls, one each on Levels 2, 4, and 6. The others are one way climbs or descents. There are some interesting places that I donít count as OOB that are hard to get to. Getting to them often involves a steep climb. If you were following the normal direction of the game, you probably didnít see these places.
A lot of the OOB in any level consists of low order terrain, meaning the topography is made up of large, flat panels. This is not very interesting. High order (detailed, more realistic) terrain exists mainly near the playing area. Once you get away from the playing area, there is little decoration in the form of trees, small plants, rocks, or other objects. There donít seem to be any dinos in the OOB except on Level 3 (there are dinos in the basement on all levels). Three kinds of odd terrain are found in the OOB. One is "swampy" terrain. In this, you seem to stand on terrain that lies below the visible terrain. The other is invisible terrain. You could argue that the basement is invisible terrain. However, in the OOB this refers to an invisible terrain element that lies over visible terrain. You can find an example of this on the south world edge in Level 3. True invisible terrain doesnít show when you use the "bones" cheat. The well-known invisible fences do. In most instances, these objects do look more like terrain elements of some kind rather than "fences." Another phenomenon youíll occasionally run into in the OOB is terrain that changes as you approach it. In some cases, you wonít even see terrain elements until you are very close to them. [TSOrd - I believe that many of these instances were 'late' game changes to enhance the playability. On level 2 there is a hidden valley that was hidden because the designers decided against it. Rather than clearing it out completely, they just built a hill in front of it. From a distance the hill doesn't completely exist!]
The basement is an invisible surface with a vertical coordinate of about 1.5 yards (at least I think thatís the right unit; more on that later). There are places in just about every level where you can walk out onto it, or fall a short and survivable distance (about 5 yards, or starting at 6.5 yards for the vertical coordinate). You need the "loc" cheat (discussed later) to know your coordinates. The basement is really vast. Here and there it contains clumps of objects, such as trees, boxes, guns, and of course, dinos. These dinos will attack you, just like the ones in the playing area. In general, there is a close correspondence between what you find here and what is in the playing area. This correspondence is pretty tight for the dinos. If there is a green t-rex in the playing area, there will be one here, too. Some objects found here on certain levels do not seem to be found in the playing area (e.g., on Level 5, steamer trunks that open , boxes with removable lids, and charred boxes, some with lids).
Many of the basement object clumps are well organized are appear to represent some kind of palette in the game development process. These are generally found running north to south, east of the mountain. The coordinate 0,0,1.5 (more on coordinates later) is generally about in the middle, except on those levels where the world is situated over this spot. Then the organized clumps are displaced eastward and run north to south again on the east side of the world. There are also commonly many objects floating at higher altitude. Shooting them or hitting them with a rock can bring down the smaller ones. The distribution of these objects is less organized. I think that most of them were at one time in the playing area, then got moved out. Their current vertical coordinates may be those they had before they were removed from the playing area. Most of these objects seem to be near the organized clumps, but some are scattered in other locations as well. Some basement areas rich in these objects remind you of the debris field of the Titanic (especially on Level 1). Occasional objects are also found at altitude over the world, mainly over the playing area. My guess is that someone just did a sloppy job of removing them from the playing area.
A unique object on each level is the octahedron, a pink to earth-tone object that is generally found somewhere in or about the organized clumps. Geometrically, an octahedron is an eight-sided body, each side of which is a triangle. It looks like two pyramids with the bases glued together. This octahedron lies about 40 yards below the basement surface. Since you only see the top, it looks like a pyramid. This is the only object that is buried deep beneath the basement surface. Some regular objects penetrate the basement surface to a depth of maybe a yard or two.
Iíll present some general information pertinent to exploring the OTP. Then if you want, you can go exploring on your own, hunting for those elusive places where you can escape from the playing area. Or you can continue reading, and Iíll give you a level-by-level walkthrough. Then you can visit these places either following my original path or using the "tele" cheat (if it works on your system).
There are four kinds of barriers used to try to keep you in the playing area:
- Terrain that is too steep to climb (or it just seems too steep)
- Terrain that is too steep to descend without being killed (by the physics in the game)
- Invisible walls
- Invisible "electric fences" that kill you when you touch them
The first two are a natural part of the game. The last two are just hacks.
The invisible walls are just objects that you canít see. They are generally quite large, and most of them lack any uniform shape. The height is usually at least three times Annís height, sometimes much higher. You can forget about stacking boxes to try to get on top of one of these things. Usually the width is about equal to the height. Length (parallel to the playing area) is about 1.5 to 2 times the width. Individual blocks of invisible wall usually fit tightly together, or even interpenetrate. Only rarely is there a gap that you can squeeze through. The "bones" cheat is sometimes useful for visualizing invisible terrain, but not as useful as you might think.
The invisible "electric fences" are used in places in some levels (1, 5, and 8) to make sure that you are killed if you attempt to descend a steep slope down into OOB territory. From the game designerís perspective, you should be killed by the fall. However, it would seem that the developers discovered during testing that the physics was not always up to the task, so this device was employed as an insurance policy. Apparently this was cheaper and quicker than revising the terrain to let the physics do its job. All you can do is try to avoid these things. You canít see them, even with the "bones" cheat, so save your game frequently when you know or suspect that you are around one. You canít seem to jump over these things, either. [TSOrd - All the electric fences in the game are invisible because they are simply defined as "hotspots". Touch anywhere in a hotspot and you activate it. In this case the hotspots kill Anne. In other places the hotspots bring you to a new level or summon raptors, or in the case of the demo, make something fall.]
Strategy and Tips
What is a successful strategy for the aspiring OTP explorer? Treat this as an entirely new game. You are probably bored with the old one by now anyway, right? Use the "dinos" cheat (CTRL-F11, dinos, ENTER, CTRL-F11) to freeze the dinos, or use the "woo" cheat for unlimited ammo and kill every raptor in the immediate vicinity ("dinos" doesnít work on my system). You donít want to be disturbed while your concentration is focused elsewhere. Save your game any time youíre about to take a risk, like plunging down a steep slope or ignoring a nearby trike. Look for slopes that you might be able to climb up or down. These represent the best possibilities to get to the OOB (or back to the playing area). Note the location of invisible walls. Run along them to test for gaps. Note where they intersect normal terrain. Although you can use the "bones" cheat here, it is not always very effective. Feeling your way is sometimes better. I recommend using this cheat mainly when you find yourself on top of an invisible fence. It can help you avoid taking a big (usually fatal) fall. While youíre looking for exits to the OOB, youíll find some of those interesting "off the path" places inside the playing area.
Climbing: You can climb a steep slope within a cleft or notch formed by the intersection of two slopes. In cross-section (and as you climb), the cleft looks like a V (or it would if both terrain elements were visible). The tighter the angle of the cleft (meaning the angle between the two sides of the V), the greater the slope that you can climb. Some clefts with angles greater than 90 degrees can be climbed. In the frantic pace of normal gameplay, you may have tried to climb some clefts and quickly written them off as unusable because you didnít seem to be getting anywhere. Now that youíre operating at a more relaxed pace, observe more carefully. If you are going up even very slowly, you may be able to get all the way to the top. I have spent as much as 20 minutes holding down the "w" key in a long climb. To get started in some clefts, you may have to "wq" and jump into them.
Descending: Clefts are also good spots to climb down. Descending on open slopes requires a different approach. In some instances, you may have to use "s" or "w" to move laterally as you descend, in order to get to a target zone such as a flat spot or a narow cleft, and to avoid bad spots like sheer drops. On really steep open slopes, do "the luge." Descend while facing the general direction of travel. Hold down "z" and "x," and steer gently with the mouse. Pick your spots right, and you may survive. Always save your game before attempting this.
Look for clefts formed by the intersection of an invisible wall with visible terrain. These will be critical to your success as an OTP explorer. There may also be climbable clefts formed by the intersection of two invisible walls, but I never found any.
[TSOrd - Invisible walls do not form clefts that can be climbed (or descended), however, invisible walls act exactly like regular objects. If an object intersects terrain such that Anne is tilted more towards the object than the terrain, then Anne can use the object edge to walk up (or down) the terrain. This works in every case. (In those few cases where it appears this is not true, the fact is that Anne is tilted down towards terrain rather than towards the object.) The reason that invisible walls don't form clefts is that they are always perpendicular blocks and are never angled.]
Auto-teleporting-up from the basement: This is not to be confused with the "tnext" or "tele" cheats. If you are on the basement and walk under a terrain element, you will be teleported up onto that element. It all happens automatically; no need to call Scotty. The terrain you appear on will always initially appear "swampy." Your body will be partly submerged in the terrain. Thatís usually because you materialized a bit low, not because the terrain is really swampy. Move toward solid ground and youíll usually be okay. Once the ground under you is solid, you can go back to check out the spot where you first appeared. Most of the time it will seem solid. If it still seems swampy, then it is swampy. Auto-teleporting is generally safe unless you are using it to reach really high terrain (like the summit on Level 5). That usually results in death after a brief struggle with swampy terrain.
Use the "loc" cheat to determine where you are and what direction youíre facing. A box will appear containing two sets of three numbers each. The three numbers after "Location" mark your current position. The first two numbers give your position on a map grid. The third gives your altitude. The three numbers after "Facing" give the direction you are facing. The first two numbers define map direction, the third tells whether you are looking up or down. Iíll make reference to the map coordinates in the walkthroughs.
Directed teleporting: You can use the "loc" coordinates with the "tele" cheat. For example, "tele 0,0,2" takes you to location 0,0,2. These are x, y, z coordinates, where z is height. You can also specify facing coordinates, but itís not worth the bother. If you materialize high, you will fall. A fall of more than about 5 yards is usually fatal, so you need to be careful when using this cheat. Save your game first. You can specify a height that is below the spot you want to go to. Then you will appear low in the terrain element, somewhat as in auto-teleporting-up. Unfortunately, with directed teleporting there is a much higher chance that you will be killed before you can work your way up onto solid ground. Keep the "loc" cheat on when doing directed teleporting; that way youíll at least learn the height coordinate (add two yards when you try again). Warning: Do not attempt to knowingly teleport into an object such as an invisible wall. I did this once and it messed up my whole system. I had to reboot. [TSOrd - Teleporting into an object will result in death. There is an interesting side effect of dying - Anne's body will fall through the invisible blocks.]
Skydiving: With the "loc" cheat turned on, face down. Note your coordinates. Turn on the "bionicwoman" cheat. That slows down time. Then do a directed teleport to your current x,y location, adding about 400 yards to your height. Since you havenít got a parachute, youíll need to "tele" back to some safe spot. I suggest that you have those coordinates handy. Skydiving is basically useful for getting an overhead look at how the playing area is laid out. You can get some great screen shots.
While skydiving, you may encounter various floating objects, more flotsam that the programmers didnít clean up. You can be killed by hitting one.
Really down under: While on the basement sometime, do a directed teleport to you current location, but with a vertical coordinate of about -40 yards. After a few seconds, youíll see some truly disgusting alien thing with a twitching appendage start to rise toward you. You canít run away, so just watch. As it gets closer, you realize itís Annís body, and the twitching thing is her famous right arm. After you are reunited with the body, you can move again. I used this trick to estimate the depth of the octahedra. The body just passes through it on the way up. You could send the body a lot deeper, but I wouldnít recommend it.
Maps, Directions, and Distances
The units of the location numbers obtained from the "loc" cheat are uncertain. I think they are probably intended to be yards, but possibly instead meters (1 meter = 0.91 yard). Iíll use yards. Thereís nothing definitive in the game to precisely determine the units, so if you want meters instead, thatís fine by me. The relationship of Trespasserís map and directional coordinates to the four points of the compass is more problematic. IngenNetís Site B Explorer has the length of the island running west to east, with the mountain on the west side, the town in the middle, and the beach where Ann first finds herself on the island in the northeast corner. That is consistent with the layout of the map in Hammondís office in his mansion on Level 4 (assuming up is north). Itís roughly consistent with the old Spanish map on the wall in an upstairs room in the Plantation House on Level 2, which has the island running about WNW to ESE. Itís also roughly consistent with the layout of Isla del Coco, the real Costa Rican island that served as the basis for the fictional Isla Sorna. Isla del Coco runs about WSW to ENE. In contrast, all the references in the game have the island running north to south, with the "South Beach" on the southeast corner, the town in the middle, and the mountain to the north.
I will assume from here on that the island runs west to east. Thus the mountain is west of the town, and the "North Gate" that you encounter at the start of Level 4 is actually on the west side of town. Then the first two "Facing" coordinates are interpreted as follows:
I suggest that you write this down on a post-it note or something and stick it on your monitor. Youíll need it.
The Trespasser map coordinates are centered (0, 0) near the middle of the island, very close to the end of the Level 3 playing area (not far from the crane that you are expected to climb to finish the level).
About the location units: In the game, the summit is at a height of 572 units. Sea level is about 14 units. So the height of the summit relative to sea level (the usual way geographic heights are expressed) is about 558 units. The height of the summit of Cerro Iglesias (the real mountain on the actual island of Isla del Coco) is reported to be 634 meters. That would be about 577 yards. A little sculpting of the local geography to get the flat summit area in the game might get you down to the 558 yards. More likely the Trespasser team just forgot to account for the fact that sea level is not at zero height in this game.
Isla del Coco
There are lots of web pages devoted to this island, which is now a national park of Costa Rica. Most of them have no mention of the Jurassic Park/Tresspasser connection. The ones that I found the most interesting are:
Before discussing what I found in the OOB areas of the various levels, here is some background on things that will tie in.
The map in IngenNet Site B Explorer shows two facilities that are not in the game play. These are the lighthouse (not far west of the "South Beach") and the "Northern Docks" (on the coast north of Burroughs) for which there is a screen shot of something that looks like muddy water. I never managed to find anything like either of these in my OOB explorations.
The Map in Hammondís Mansion
If you look closely at the map on the wall of the office in Hammondís mansion on Level 4, you will see that there is a major facility on the south coast just east of the Harbor. Iíll call that Facility X. This is the only reference to this in the entire game. More about this later.
The Astronomy Poster in Hammondís Mansion
Everything in this gameís a clue, right? At the top of the stairs in Hammondís mansion is an InGen astronomy poster showing how the Big Dipper can be used to find the North Star. Why would a genetics company have an astronomy poster? Whatís that doing here?
Pics of Things Not in the Shipped Game
Youíve probably seen various screen shots of scenes that you never saw while playing the game. IngenNet has some, as does sharkeyextreme.com and as did the former THS site. That shot of the broken bridge over a streambed in a forest (which was IngenNetís Pic of the Day for a long time) can be found on the game CD (\data\menu\li_pv_0.tga, you can open it with Microsoft Photo Editor). You donít see this bridge in any of the shipped levels. This pic was included with others that are displayed when you load a level; its existence in that context suggests a missing level. A couple of the "mystery pics" appear to have been taken from a trailer for the game that is included on the MS Win98 CD. Some mystery pics may represent "concept work." However, others (including a few that appear in the Wyckoff interview in Gamasutra; some at www.sharkeyextreme.com) look like screen shots from one or more actual levels that werenít shipped. One tip-off is the sky: some pics show a sky that matches the one in Trespasser; these are probably real. Others show a sky that doesnít match; they probably arenít. Some of the probably real pics show things that were like part of Facility X.
My explorations of the eight regular levels of the game were done using the Pentium II build with the full patch. The installed game you have may differ somewhat. I think weíve already seen that sort of thing with variations in the normal gameplay, such as where to find a purple card in or near the Biochemistry Lab on Level 5. Kindly donít flame me if you donít experience precisely what I did. I donít claim to have covered the OTP 100%. I donít claim to have found all the places where you can cross between the playing area and the OOB. Iím aware that others have discovered at least some of the things described here. If someone elseís report in some forum clued me in to something, Iíll try to make that clear. However, the loss of the THS forum has made for a few difficulties in that department. My explorations are based almost entirely on what you can do in normal gameplay. I didnít discover the "tele" cheat until after I had done all the OOB areas and about half of the basement areas. If you want to follow along, you may want to use the "tele" cheat in places to speed things up.
OTP Walkthroughs by Level
Now that you know what to look for and have some tips on how to go OTP exploring, you might want to go off and do it on your own. Otherwise, continue on and read my walkthroughs.
- Level 1 The Beach - It's fun to look at the end of the level but watch out for the hotspot that will transport you to Level 2.
- Level 2 Industrial Jungle - Some great views, a hidden valley, some woods where Ann speaks, and a spot where Hammond talks about the south beach.
- Level 3 Jungle Road - Some really great views, and the town area is amusing as well.
- Level 4 The Town - Some great views of the town, and a nicely decorated plateau on the north side of town.
- Level 4a The Demo level - Contains the world for a missing level, with lots of detailed terrain. There isn't really enough here to be a level by itself but the crevasse beyond the T-Rex reminds me of the missing level load screen.
- Level 4b The Test Scenes - Reachable only with the SHIFT+CTRL+Q+W cheat or via Level 4 in the unpatched version of the game, there's not much to see or do OTP.
- Level 5 The Lab - This offers some terrific views as well.
- Level 6 Ascent part 1 - More great views, lots of decorated OOB terrain, and a unique way to get from OOB A to OOB B.
- Level 7 Ascent part 2 - Not that interesting off the path, but fun to look around nonetheless.
- Level 8 The Summit - OTP is hard to do and pretty boring once you succeed. Use the TELE cheat, it's a lot more fun on this level.
Last updated Sunday, April 22, 2001 12:27 AM