Worms: The Director's Cut/Development

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This page chronicles the known development history of Worms: The Director's Cut from its initial announcement in 1996 up to the present day.

Prologue: Worms on the Amiga

The Amiga and CD32 versions of Worms were released in late 1995, published by Ocean Software and developed by Team17. Largely built on Andy Davidson's original code for Total Wormage, and with Davidson taking up lead coding duties.

Though the PC MS-DOS version would receive an expansion in the form of Worms: Reinforcements, the Amiga version did not see an official expansion. Instead, in 1996, Team17 announced that an enhanced edition of the game was in the works for the Amiga.

Initial Announcement

The first press coverage for the game came in the September '96 issue of CU Amiga Magazine, which featured a two-page preview. The game was named as Worms: The Next Generation, and was touted for a release "Before Winter". This was the first reveal for a number of new features including many new weapons, improved graphics, and Graffiti Mode.

Later, a one-page preview of the game - now subtitled The Director's Cut - appeared in the November '96 issue of Amiga Format. This preview took the form of an interview with Paul Kilburn, who is credited as a Producer on the game. In this interview, new features such as Cavern levels and WormPrefs are elaborated upon. The Ninja Rope is discussed - referred to as the Batrope - with "Tarzaning" described as a new feature. This constitutes the earliest known press coverage concerning what would come to be known as roping in the 2nd-gen games.

For both previews, screenshots of the game show the same HUD as was used in Worms: Reinforcements, with a + symbol after the Worms logo. This would be replaced with a clapperboard in the final version of the game.

Known Development Versions

Amiga Format Preview Version (aka "WormsDCAF") - Nov 11 '96

Build discovery and release

In 2020, Perifractic partnered with Cloanto and Team17 to release a full dump of an Amiga A4000 computer previously used by Team17. The computer contains a number of oddities relating to 1st-gen Worms titles, including sprite sheets, unused animations, raw data for the FMVs seen in CD-ROM editions of the game, and an early build of Worms: The Director's Cut.

This early build is found in an LhA archive labeled "wormsdcaf.lha". This, along with the "Amiga Format Preview Version" text overlaid across the WormsDC logo on the title screen, suggests this was the build of the game used by Amiga Format to review the game for their Xmas '96 issue.

Build information

The main WORMSDC tool has a file creation date of "11-Nov-96 03:39:28", and is 204,164 bytes (approximately 0.2MB). This is in contrast to the final retail version of the game, which has a file creation date of "04-Mar-97 12:00:58", and is 225,976 bytes (approximately 0.23MB).

Perhaps most interestingly, this version of WormsDC features copy protection. This is interesting as the final release of the game does not feature copy protection of any kind. The protection is identical to other Team17 titles of the era, most notably the previous Worms game. However, attempting to use codes from booklets included with other Team17 titles does not yield positive results.

In August 2020, English Amiga Board user LanceT brute-forced past the title screen by saving an emulation state and trying different codes. After some time, LanceT was able to access the game and take some screenshots, principally of the title screen. Of note, this build uses the same cursor graphic as the original Worms as opposed to the more detailed version used in WormsDC, and the next "AMIGA FORMAT PREVIEW VERSION" is laid on top of the logo at the top of the screen. In-game screenshots show the version of the HUD as seen in the final game, as opposed to the "WORMS+" version seen in preview screenshots.

Loose/extra file information

The game includes TOYS and HOME, the same colour maps included with the retail release. The file extension used, however, is .WRM, not .WRM16 as would be used for colour maps in the final retail release of WormsDC. They are, nevertheless, 16-colour maps, as opposed to the 8-colour maps used by the original Worms. A copy of TOYS.WRM is also found in the root of the archive.

This version of the game does not include WormPrefs, which would track with the game's ReadMe describing the application having been written "in a VERY short space of time". Presumably, it was not yet ready at time of launch.

The archive also includes a .DOC file containing an unfinished version of the manual is included. This can be open in any word processor without issue.

There is also a DIY terrain file called GRASS.DIY located in the drawer alongside the main executable. Curiously, the file appears to be associated with an application called "Brilliance" - doubleclicking the file will attempt to launch the application. If Workbench cannot find it in the path specified, it will fail. Attempting to include this file in the final retail version of the game results in a glitchy but playable game:

  • The textures and objects are pulled from other DIY landscapes, seemingly at random.
  • The default mountain set is loaded, but with an unusual colour palette.
  • No water is displayed.
  • The physics seem broken, with projectiles disappearing instantly or seemingly exploding somewhere off-screen. Attempting to jump can result in instant death, and using the Fire Punch can result in the Worm using it getting lodged in the terrain beneath it.

v1.0 - Mar 4 '97

WormsDC was released in 1997 by Ocean Software, then again in 1998 by Guildhall Leisure. Both releases include v1.0 of the game.

This tool for this version has a creation date of "04-Mar-97 12:00:58". Typing VERSION in this release of the game indicates a compile date of March 4th, 1997.

v1.05 - Oct 17 '97

See also: Patch (WormsDC)

The first and, to date, only patch released for WormsDC brings it up to v1.05. The patch disk was not widely distributed but was made available upon request to Team17. This patch disk was made publicly available by English Amiga Board user MadMatt, then converted into the ADF emulation standard by Squirminator2k and given a wide release on Dream17.

By default, this release of the game will show the version upon loading the main menu. It indicates a compile date of October 17th, 1997. The file itself does not have a stored creation date - Workbench will thus report the file's "Last Changed" date as "12-Jul-78 19:50:03".

v1.5 Alpha - May 2 '18

On June 1st 2018, Andy Davidson posted a screenshot of the WormsDC title screen showing the text "V1.5 ALPHA - 2/5/18", and indicated he was working on an update. As of August 2020, this update has not materialized.

According to posts made to a French Amiga group at the time, this update was intended to include Worm Select, retreat time, and Sudden Death sinking.

Final Reviews

CU Amiga and Amiga Format went on to review Worms: The Director's Cut in their December '96 and Xmas '96 issues respectively.

  • CU Amiga scored the game at 91%, while Amiga Format scored it a 90% (or 45% for people who owned the original Worms).
  • The Guildhall Leisure release would get reviewed again in the September '98 issue of Amiga Format, again scoring 90%.

Of note, the German magazine Amiga Joker offered a preview of Worms: Reinforcements, speaking of an Amiga release as a foregone conclusion. Reinforcements was ultimately never released for the Amiga.

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