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LEGO Island Beta


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As some of you may know, I've recently been teasing over social media the acquisition of the new "crown jewel" of my classic LEGO game collection. I believe the time has now come to reveal just what it is that I've managed to acquire: nothing less than an original Beta version of LEGO Island.




As background, the specific version I've recovered is LEGO Island Beta 9.0, dating to July 25th, 1997, just over two weeks before the earliest known copies of LEGO Island were manufactured (August 8th, 1997). (Subsequently, the game was patched up further, with an updated batch dating to September 8th, 1997.) Most likely, this would have been the build that was tested by a number of schools (listed in the credits) and previewed by certain press outlets, such as Pause Magazine.


Despite such a short timespan between the final beta and earliest release builds, there are still a number of changes that were made. Some of the more notable changes included:

  • Numerous decals being sampled at a lower resolution
  • Model optimizations and changes to the organization of model LODs (Most notable with the shark, car, and window models)
  • Removal of the helicopter landing pad texture by the Jail
  • Changes to model UVs and associated textures (See windows of the Police Station)
  • The addition of various sound effects accompanying animations and cutscenes
  • In the final game, Bill Ding summarizes his building speech, rather than delivering it in its entirety when you click on static objects


One of the most interesting inclusions with the beta copy of the game is a carefully maintained change log for the game going back to Version Beta 1.0 from June of 1997. As I'm sure this is something of interest, I have included a reformatted version below.



LEGO Island
July 24, 1997 - Release Notes - Beta 9.0

Copyright 1997 Mindscape - All Rights Reserved


beta 9.0 bug fixes

fix buffer return bug in streamer

fix saving and loading of games

add credit screens
handle escape key in more situations
AT&T networking
Bump ambient lighting
Adjust camera triggered animations probabilities
Refresh Textures on 'T' keyboard command (for s3 driver bug) Various bug fixes both art and programming

beta 8.1 bug fixes

fuel guage now works (refueled by passing gas station)
escape key is more robust (fewer situations where it can crash) delete cached sounds when worlds go away
clicking on controls should always give visual feedback
extend collision to boundaries which are neighbors of my boundaries skeleton kick sound
few more triggers to end missions regardless of route taken
saving and loading of games is more robust
lower number of error clicks in build guis to 2 from 4
fix bug that left animation debris behind
fix static data with critical section object in deconstructor

beta 8.0 bug fixes

directx5 instead of directx 3

limit escape handling to known situations
fix a few transitions
fix bugs associated with saving and restoring games
play mission reminder voice overs
fix bugs associated with background audio
fix bugs in vehicle banking
time out of mission now initiates infomaniac voice over restore customized vehicles when user restores saved games save more game state & advance game file version number fix act 2 double click brick bugs
enable hardware dithering
reduce memory usage
config now defaults to low quality if 16 mb machine

beta 7.0 bug fixes

characters should not accumulate as much. Less getting hung up on vehicles or each other.
user vehicles should be restored to customization and location when restoring games
a few screen transitions fixed in infocenter interior
a few more instructional voice overs added
ignore user stop action request when action not fully formed. Eliminate some random crashes.
fix a few camera locations and adjust mission end logic to be triggered from multiple directions
advance game version number to disallow loading ‘old’ game format save files remove obstacle sound effects which were not looping for looping obstacles

Uninstall now correctly removes all components and saved games.
Many other bug fixes (see annotated bug report, dated July 17, 1997)

beta 6.0 bug fixes

Background color and light position saved with game.
Pause key is now active (not during full screen movies).
Jetski race voice-overs when colliding with competitors added.
Act2 interaction with Brickster (brick dropping time-outs, distances) fine tuned.

Space bar now stops only appropriate animation actions, not game logic actions. This should prevent many hard to find crashes.
Pizza hidden when mission proposal times out.
Get off vehicle when selecting Pizzeria to start mission.
Info control button in vehicle builds now stops animations before taking user to infocenter.
Relative animations are blocked when participant is ‘flipping’ or ‘disassembled’. Building and plant state is now saved correctly in save game.

Save game version bumped -- REMOVE ANY EXISTING SAVED GAMES!! --

Cursor fixed (now includes pointer, wait, and pause cursor - better art will be forthcoming).

Escape key is now disabled in critical situations. We may want to queue up the escape request and act on it later
Characters walking through floor, walls, ceiling in cave fixed. (They were being pointed at the path ABOVE the cave.)

Clicking in hospital no longer aborts animations.

Crash do to multiple clicks on red or green brick in infocenter fixed.
Voice-overs added when dragging character to infocenter icon on infocenter map. Arrow and info controls at infocenter revolving door fixed.
Globe control in observation deck now shows correct initial condition.
Act2 return to island from infocenter improved.
MFC removed from isle.exe - No more debugging dialogs.

beta 5.1 bug fixes

island path data near gas pump improved
transition to act2 animations re-worked
game end movies should always work
entrance to helicopter build fixed (5.0 changes broke this)

beta 5.0 bug fixes

shut down missions when entering info center or getting out of vehicle

exit vehicle when entering buildings
put brickster in jail when user on jetski
save & restore state of games in act 2 or act 3 change initial screen to black instead of white

add screen transitions when entering vehicles
fix helicopter takeoff and landing bugs
fix problems where 3d point of view change caused huge doppler shift in audio disallow picking of buildings during missions
stop towtruck from disappearing and blocking pathways
fix path bug that 'hopped' you to neighboring edge
reset plants and buildings when restoring games

disable input in more situations during transitions
detect CD missing from drive at startup and put up an animation
put up different background in infocenter during act2 & act3
get rid of wait flic, decided to use wait cursor instead
fix palette in outside world to reflect dashboards ,fix palette restoration for dashboards beta 4.0 bug fixes

fix act3 ending flyin camera roll fix some memory leaks

add speed gauge/fuel gauge/horn to ambulance add horn to bike
add speed gauge/fuel gauge/horn/’i’ to dune buggy add speed gauge/fuel gauge/horn/’i’ motorcycle add speed gauge/fuel gauge/horn/’i’ towtruck

fix bug in radio. was possible to play it while background music was playing adjust minimum 3d sound falloff to 15 (was 10)

fix cache sound bug (it was possible to delete original sound when it wasn’t supposed to)

advance game state version number (old games are now obsolete) stop all plant animations before changing worlds
fix jetski hide animation
change jetski race to 2 laps

align distance indicator with competitors
slow competitors down less, but make them accelerate

don't cancel animations when user clicks on nothing in infocenter fix infocenter to handle frantic clicking and hitting of the space bar hide red and green bricks when user clicks them in infocenter make elevator deal with frantic clicking

avoid running more than one donut animation at a time in police station
fix jetski race to have lego characters in all animations (some were missing)

new version of smartheap libraries
adjusted copter takeoff animation, jetski competitor animations
merged meshes in many parts and models lowest LODS to save memory & processing time
adjusted path data for act 1 and act 2
deleted highest LOD of bank, and a few other LOD’s
Fixed many obstacles in the missions
adjusted many realtime animations

beta 3.4 bug fixes

act 2 bricks failed to make sound sometimes, fixed
infocenter click was stopping all actions, now only space does this infocenter music played while bio played. now bio stops music after jetski race, walkers appeared on water. fixed act 2, now you can collide with all bricks on path

beta 3.3 bug fixes

act2, brickster waits at cave to give you 'chirping' 6th brick. nick an laura show up there.
wait indicator was streaming during act 2 & 3 which slowed performance considerably
fixed several places where space bar could corrupt application
fixed several places where controls could respond to input before they were fully formed
stop animations if start to run pizza mission
lowered memory usage of cached sounds
improved obstacle animations during missions
fixed act3 multi pizza bug
fixed bug uncovered by directx 5 where picking background was crashing fixed helicopter control bug
allow user to exit helicopter build during act2 without completing build
don't run two bill ding animations at a time
release user from 'camera animations' with space bar ends the action in 1 space fix bug in g3 where cache sound was missing and caused crash
it was possible for the gas station and the police station to be hidden

beta 3.0 bug fixes

fixed a few transitions

can't cheat in jetski race
fixed crash when entering jetski race several time
added airhorn at start of jetski race
made act 3 work again
Vehicle dashboards should now reflect customization of build guis
act 2, all bricks which user has not clicked are left on path until he clicks them updated lego game version number so old games won't cause a crash.

fix keypro diagonal navigation key bug
delay competitor taunts to minimize playing two at same time.
revised many obstacle animations
stop obstacles earlier in pizza missions
camera should not be hopping around at start of pizza mission
when exiting helicopter, put it on the ground
add mama and papa to pizzaria if user starts pizza mission by clicking pizzaria from far away
deleted some memory leaks

clean up garage code. (nubby)
adjust locations of a few plants, buildings.
when control key is pressed, navigation keys give maximum acceleration increase drag threshold to make it easier to 'pick' objects (in case you wiggle the mouse a lot)
fix jetski racers walk cycles so they don't win in two laps when we have to go three
disable navigating in garage

fix problem where characters were not in their animations when entering island msfree now prints map.
improve character creation time.
made lower quality island use less memory by lowering highest LOD from 3 to 2 Added Smartheap as memory manager

BETA 2.2 fixes

Racecar build variations fixed Helicopter builds broken

BETA 2.0 fixes

Install / Map / Start Menu / Uninstall were revised
pizza sign needs to be misspelled when you are pepper
configure artwork added & now using release version of config. debug dll's removed
wait cursor should play a bit smoother
picking of buildings from observation tower disabled
should see correct brickster behavior at start of act 3
a few bugs in saving parts of the game have been fixed
adjusted hospital mission proposal to have a timeout
juke box state was uninitialized
act 3 & act 2 state are not saved with game.
which act you are playing is now serialized with game
3d navigation in interiors has been disabled.
disabled music triggers during missions
enable extra creation after pizza mission
lowered act3 cop attract distance to brickster from 15 units to 12 units brickster is a little smarter in act3, avoids the cops a little better.
act3 special effect when building destroyed
adjusted hospital mission animation sequencing for smoother playback

added hospital background music during hospital mission
adjusted bike height
get off bike before entering building
adjust location of user at end of jetski race to view reward animation added pizza mission background music

stopped left over obstacle animation pns050p1 when pizza mission ends
added customizing helicopter decals
added animman debug code messages to see reasons for failure to run animations added animman debug code messages to see extra character state changes
fixed animation bounding box test to run animation (could cause animations to fire when objects are in the way) (may cause animations to fail to run that used to run)
added visual effect to building destruction in act 2
fix bounding boxes of character parts to more accurately reflect model
changed ed-mails chest texture to be correct
hide characters during creation (also other simple roi's)
show plants
show pizzas and donuts in act 3
changed nicks click on chest to not reset character color. now it affects groin adjust act2 plant destruction special effect
fix competitors position led locations during races
act3 brickster burp now overrides other voice over that might have been playing added code to disable picking of hospital thru window in elevator now
don't put too many letters out in history book anymore
turn off radio when leaving infocenter
turn off music when playing character bios
randomize builds of race cars (parts should appear on different shelves)
doc clickit should not 'blink' in and out of existence in hospital now
regbook & history book animations coming off shelf should transition better hardware cursor should be turn on even when user starts with software cursor


------------------------------------------------------- PREVIOUS RELEASE NOTES FOLLOW


LEGO Island
June 8, 1997 - Release Notes - Beta 1.1a

Copyright 1997 Mindscape - All Rights Reserved

Incomplete or missing features:

Wait indicator is not being used in enough transitions & it plays jerky Music implementation missing from vehicles, missions
Mission obstacles sound effects do not loop
pizza sign needs to be misspelled when you are pepper

backdrop in infocenter during act 2 & 3 - infomaniac behaves different Some vehicle dashboards do not reflect customization of build guis Install / Map / Start Menu / Uninstall need to be revised
Race car 'map' artwork has not been changed to reflect new race course hide animation in jetski race not working

special effect when destroy building in act2 and act3 - vibrate and/or scale Need to disable navigation in interiors
Copter decals are not customizable yet

The following features have been added recently:

Special keyboard commands have been password protected (password is ogel) Replaced bushes with street lights
You should now receive instructions to get out of your vehicle
Infomaniac now animates when he says 'now your pepper' in infocenter
New configuration program
All screen transitions should now be in place
Sound effect when LEGO characters disassemble upon collisions
New mama, papa and brickster wait cycles
Extras should be present from the start
Hospital & tow truck missions now 'highlight' map during proposal animations Flying and water walking extras should not be created
Color of light is changed by background control on observation deck in MMX and RGB mode

Act 3 changes to game play

Destruction Meter on copter dash indicates number of building remaining 3 Random variations on animation at start of act 3
Brickster eats 8 pizzas before shooting a building, unless there are no pizzas

Police speed up more for shorter duration after eating a donut
Brickster says a few more things when he decides to ignore your pizzas Sharks eat pizzas away from the brickster
Cops are attracted to the brickster once they get within 15 units

Camera 'zooms' in to see last few seconds of capture or last building destroyed


Distance meter now shows position of competitors as well

Sound effect is now heard when the big skeleton 'kicks' you

More curves in the large tunnels

Act 2 changes

"lost, then go to the pizzaria" happens later now!

The bricks that the Brickster throws at you now block your pathway

Building have special effect when the Brickster destroys them

Brickster destroying building sound effect is now a 3d sound

Alternate version of animation runs when you arrive at residential area 'late'

More LEGO characters walking around during act 2 in panic state

Slowed the Brickster down a bit more so user can catch him from behind

Helicopter is partially built for you at the end of act 2

This is beta software and there are rough spots in the game play. If it crashes on you we are sorry.


LEGO Island - June 3, 1997

Release Notes for Version Beta 1.0 Mindscape
copyright 1997
all rights reserved


Please begin by uninstalling any previous version of LEGO Island you may have. LEGO Island also uses the windows registry to save a few configuration parameters. For a completely fresh install, these should be deleted (after running the uninstall procedure mentioned above). Use Regedit.exe to locate 'My Computer/ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Mindscape/LEGO Island'. Select LEGO Island and under Edit, select Delete. This gets rid off all the LEGO Island registry entries. Do an install after this. Once you have done a clean install, you should run configure. Then you should execute the program from the 'start' menu.


This is beta software and there are rough spots in the game play.


This version includes the following changes:

typing g2, g3, g4, g5 plays act2, act3, the good ending, and the bad ending respectively
animation states are saved with games.
user character is now highlighted on main screen
escape key takes you to info center and asks if you want to exit
more transitions are in between scenes
MMX RGB colored lighting is available in the observation deck of the infocenter

More interior music
Icons on infocenter map now 'glow' when user drags character over it.
act 3 - pizzas only stick near the brickster. He is not interested in pizzas until after he destroys
collisions with characters (disassemble and assemble now work better)
The registration book is now fully functional with loading and saving of game state information.

Problems with this version:

Act 2 seems a bit too hard to win now.
Act 3 seems a bit too hard to win now. Pizza's not sticking will be replaced with sharks eating.
Need new wait cycles for mama, papa, brickster

certain camera motion is not right.
transitions between scenes are missing
Tween camera at start of missions 'hops' back (this is a bug)
Race car 'map' artwork.
towtruck is missing from towtruck animation
races - competitors seem to change speed abruptly.
takes extras too long to accumulate. want them right away.
number of 'extras' begins to accumulate, but later they dwindle (bug) highlight map in hospital mission & towtruck mission
flying extras, jetski-ing extras, walkers on the waters...
Instructions to get out of vehicles are missing (click on your hand)
Distance meter should show position of competitors
Wait indicator not implemented
Mission timing needs tightening. Proposals doesn't work unless you ' '
kill current animation if new one fires (if user clicks pizzaria during infoman's speech)
Music implementation missing from vehicles, missions
Mission obstacles sound effects do not loop
radio should turn off
pizza sign needs to be misspelled when you are pepper
when exiting build gui's we are placed at wrong location
backdrop in infocenter during act 2 & 3 - infomaniac behaves different

Some vehicle dashboards do not reflect customization of build guis
Install / Map / Config / Start Menu / Uninstall need to be revised
hide animation in jetski race not working
mama's organ needs to be on island
replace bushes with street lights
special effect when destroy building in act2 and act3 - vibrate and/or scale need sound effect when people disassemble / reassemble

other racers interact with skeleton

sound effect when collide with skeleton competitors pathing (face wrong way sometimes)

people walking around in 'panic' cycles during phase 1, 2 and 3
add all of act 2 relative and absolute animations
act 2 bricks that brickster gives you should be placed on paths (for collisions) use 3d audio for brickster destruction (let sound carry farther though)
lost, then go to the pizzaria happens too soon & should not happen in tunnel!


Art -

Adjust jsuser decal to not share decal with beach house???
Giant ghost animation is not turned off in race
tighten up long transition animations (minimize media delays)
camera triggers in wrong direction (i've got to move away from the coast) have character portraits highlight (scale larger) when infomaniac describes them

streamed composite artwork for dunebuggy high lod doesn't match customization

relative animations on bikes and motorcycles need to be Q.A.'d

transition to act 3 (breaking up 1 to 3 animations for replayability) fix hospital mission animations to conform with 'presidence tree'


The following information will be useful to get through the beta.

There are a number of things to click on around the island. Vehicles, plants, people and buildings. Click on everything. See what happens. If the program aborts, sorry. Plants will change depending upon who you are. People will animate and change when you click them. Some of the buildings animate when you click on them. Some cause you to enter them.


You can also perform several missions around LEGO Island. You can deliver a pizza.

Depending upon who you are, when you click the pizzaria you will be asked to take a pizza to different places around the island. Some of these 'proposals' appear strange, and with the animation and camera motion not making a lot of sense. Please ignore these problems. You must click on the pizzaria, and then click on the pizza to accept the mission. Then you will be placed on a skateboard and shoved out the door.

Take your pizza to the appropriate place.

Pepper goes to the jail

Mama goes to the Police station

Nick goes to the gas station

Papa goes to the Race track

Laura goes to the the hospital.

I'm gonna give you a real big hint. You will discover this for yourself if you have enough time so don't read this if you have enough time... The briskster is at the jail and he will escape if you as pepper deliver a pizza to him and you have already built the helicopter. Once he is out of the jail, he will grab the copter and fly up to the infocenter and grab the power brick. Now it's up to you to capture him.
Watch the animations and see if you can figure out what to do.

Hope you are able to see many parts of the game. This product only makes one demand on you. That you explore everything you see. Click on things. See what happens. Since the product is so active, it may crash if you overwhelm it. Please try not to get frustrated. Your input is valuable to us...


Also, to exit really fast, just hit alt-f4 on your keyboard. Happy 'end'ings.


Now, for reasons it's probably best I don't go into, it's looking unlikely that I will be be able to publicly share a copy of the Beta. I have, however, taken the liberty of recording a play-through of most of the game, to show off the state it was in, and some of the changes that were made. There's the possibility I may be able to share certain, non-critical files from the disc, but that remains to be seen.



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Great acquisition, isn't it a bit unusual that this was still in Beta while already distributed publicly?  seems more like a Release Candidate. 


The change log covering beta process is a fun discovery.


3 hours ago, ProfessorBrickkeeper said:

Also, to exit really fast, just hit alt-f4 on your keyboard. Happy 'end'ings.


Some things never change, although be careful in the era of auto-saves ;)


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AT&T networking


Why would this game ever need networking? Was multiplayer ever planned, or is this for registering the game? I know a bunch of early LEGO games had registration, but I don't remember if this one does.

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3 minutes ago, Cirevam said:


Why would this game ever need networking? Was multiplayer ever planned, or is this for registering the game? I know a bunch of early LEGO games had registration, but I don't remember if this one does.

Yeah, LEGO Island does have some kind of registration thing. Never did it though...

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  • 2 months later...

you state that the first manufactured versions of LEGO Island that weren't considered a beta were compiled in August; and now i'm curious - did these copies with the august build date ever see retail or were they strictly sent out for review only? have these copies with the august build date ever surfaced?

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lol username
3 hours ago, LegoRacersFanForever said:

you state that the first manufactured versions of LEGO Island that weren't considered a beta were compiled in August; and now i'm curious - did these copies with the august build date ever see retail or were they strictly sent out for review only? have these copies with the august build date ever surfaced?

Yeah, they were sold normally and people have them.

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  • 2 years later...

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