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Bionicle 2: City of Legends research


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Hello fellow Bionicle fans. I'm sure most of you have heard of Bionicle 2: City of Legends for the Xbox. A sequel to Bionicle: The Game created by Argonaut Games that never came into fruition. I've been busy with school and stuff, so I decided to take a closer look at the game when I had some free time. Here is a basic summary of what I found.

 

Like Bionicle: The Game (Excluding the Gamecube port), Bionicle 2 uses VOLT archives and BIGB archives. I extracted some of the VOLT archives and this is probably the most interesting thing I found within them.

 

https://imgur.com/mHSnghy

 

The XML files appear to be leftover build instructions. These are really interesting to see because they give more insight on how the BIGB archives are built. There are also some leftover logs, but Bionicle: The Game had some of those too.

 

The VOLT archives are identical to ones used in the PC port of Bionicle: The Game, but the BIGB archives have an interesting property. Unlike Bionicle: The Game, Bionicle 2's BIGB archives have no RLE. This makes researching and editing the files a lot easier, since you don't have to deal with compression. This also opens up the possibility of mods, but I haven’t done any work with it. The structure of the BIGB archives is also different. There are the usual uncompressed segments for the SFX, two other uncompressed segments, which are compressed in Bionicle: The Game, and one extra segment. It works like this. The headers for the files are stored in the first of the two uncompressed segments used for data, and the files themselves are stored in the extra segment. (Excluding SFX since it's stored in the other two segments) The wad version is also different. It is 0xD8 (216) while the latest version for Bionicle: The Game is 0x74 (116). This makes sense since Bionicle 2 is newer. Bionicle 2 also has a hidden level select. I believe I can access it with some VOLT editing, but I don't have real hardware to test it on. Looking at the level select archive I found that areas in Bionicle: The Game are referenced there for some reason.

 

https://imgur.com/jsxwM3X


 

Bionicle 2’s GAME.txt also yields something interesting.

 

https://imgur.com/B5nIpHd

 

The game’s title is I-Ninja which is another game that Argonaut created. This leads me to believe I-Ninja was used as a base game for both Bionicle: The Game and Bionicle 2.

 

As for the music and SFX, the game is completely mute when playing. However, there are actually a ton of SFX and a few music files stored in some of the archives! I figured out the format fairly quickly and found some interesting stuff.

 

Main level theme:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohfy8_NLYWM

 

Title screen theme:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kTy13s9_1s

 

The tracks sound really preliminary, but that is to be expected since the game was really early in development. I still need to compile some of the SFX and post them.

 

I also extracted some of the textures, which are a different format than the ones used in Bionicle: The Game. I got the textures unswizzled, and unfortunately I didn’t find anything too interesting. I have an album filled with some of Matau’s textures if you’re curious.

 

https://imgur.com/a/VJxB4

 

I should also mention that It’s somewhat safe to assume that the structure of the Xbox port of Bionicle: The Game is the same as Bionicle 2, but I haven’t looked into it yet.

 

Anyways, thanks for reading. I’ll hopefully get some formal documentation out on the internet soon.

Edited by Hexadecimal Mantis
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This is really interesting, thanks for doing this. Are VOLT and BIGB used in games from other companies as well, or just Argonaut?

 

Their approach at the new musical style is interesting. I wonder if it was composed by the same people who did the first game, or if it really is just a generic temp track.

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This is really interesting, thanks for doing this. Are VOLT and BIGB used in games from other companies as well, or just Argonaut?

 

Their approach at the new musical style is interesting. I wonder if it was composed by the same people who did the first game, or if it really is just a generic temp track.

I've seen the BIGB and VOLT archives in some games from High Voltage software. As for the music, the style change probably suggests a temp track or different composer.

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