Residential Hall: On the level 1 walkways on Arcadia one of the walkways lead to a door that is partially blocked off by a landslide. Beyond that door is the residential section of Arcadia. That part of the game was originally intended to be accessible and part of the model was built, but as time went on I decided it didn't really add anything (meaning I couldn't think of any good content to add to it) and cut it out. The screenshot is taken from the hall; you can click on it to see a larger version.
Island Atoll: One of my grand ideas for Part III involved having a location with a wormhole transporter. You could use this transporter and the accompanying map to zip to locations all over the galaxy; as you learned how the transporter worked you could hone in your zipping and at least reach the place you were trying to get to. I liked the idea and built a bunch of little worlds to go along with it, but in the end I decided it was way too much work and cut that puzzle out. The screenshot is of one of the little worlds, the Island Atoll; you can click on it to see a larger version. I later decided that this location was too good to waste and used a screenshot of it in the Memory Hall, located on Arcadia.
Alien Sky: This was another little world that you could access through the wormhole transporter puzzle. I named the model "Alien Sky" and that's what I ended up calling it. I actually rendered all the locations for this world before I cut it out. You can click on the image to view a screenshot of it. I always liked this little location: it had a wonderful mood to it.
Rusted Rimworld: This was another little world that could be accessed through the wormhole transporter puzzle. The idea was that this was one of many worlds that contained the ancient, rusting hulks of battleships from long ago; at one time these were powerful warships but when the Core was deactivated they were discarded and have been rusting away ever since. This area was cut when I removed the wormhole transporter puzzle.
The Great Hall of Pillars: At one time I envisioned a way to open that large metal door in the Great Hall and access more of the Old City; the player would walk down decaying hallways and view old murals and uncover more secrets. As part of this I started rendering a Great Hall of Pillars. I never got enough done of it to render anything and I ended up dropping this location. It would have been cool to add, though.
Battleship Repository: In the final product the player gets from one floor to another by a series of field doors. This is a very late addition: originally the player went from floor to floor by a series of ladders. I actually modeled and rendered that location with ladders; the screenshot to the left is one example of what it was going to look like.
What I discovered, much to my horror, was that the ladder system was just not going to work: the screenshots were confusing and it was impossible to navigate from floor to floor. What I had to do was close the door, put in field doors, and re-render that entire location. In the end it turned out better - I got to add a cool puzzle - but it wasn't what I had originally planned. The model still has the ladders; they're just hidden away behind the wall where you can't see them.
Hangar Space Station: Originally I was going to have a huge puzzle with a wormhole transporter, in which the player could zip all over the place and eventually figure out how it worked. In the end they would be able to access a specific location and from there continue on with the game. The space station was going to be the home of this puzzle, but when I cut it out I changed the space station to simply have the coordinates you needed instead.
Dock Rimworld: When I built the Egg Transporter (that egg-shaped craft on the rail) I intended for the transporter to be used: the player was to be able to turn it on and take a ride far off to an island covered in an amazing glass building. It would have been cool to build this but it never happened.
Atmosphere Panels: All throughout the game the player comes across odd blank panels - mostly in the atmosphere domes. There was originally going to be a puzzle involving these in which the player could actually restore the atmosphere of each location. As time went on I realized what a monumental task it would be to implement this and I decided against it and just left the panels blank.
BMP Version: At one time I offered a CD version of The Key that used uncompressed BMP files to store the images instead of compressed JPG files. The result was a version of the game with pure, uncompressed images - a real joy to behold. This version was only available on CD because the uncompressed images took up vastly more space.
This version of the game was available until Part III came out. I discontinued it at that point because, while I had the uncompressed images for Part III, I didn't have them named correctly and ready to be used. Since there were so many images in Part III and it would take such a long time to get the images ready I decided it would be easier to no longer offer the uncompressed BMP version, so that's what I did.
Full Screen Version: A few years ago I started work on a full-screen, uncompressed version of The Key, using images with a resolution of 1024 x 768. I altered a number of the models and re-rendered quite a few images at that resolution. I eventually quit for two reasons: (1) I didn't have all the camera shots saved and I would have to re-create a lot of them, which would take time, and (2) I would have to redo all the hotspots and all the panels in The Key and that would take a very long time. Since it looked like it would take about two years of hard work to do this I decided against it. If I had someone else to do the coding work I wouldn't mind finishing the models and supplying the images, but it is a lot of tedious work and I figured my time would be better spent working on new adventures.
Original Plot: Originally the game was going to be called The Aquapolis. The only location was Arcadia and the plot centered around a group of people who had a small civilization there who all died after an industrial accident.
Original Scope: At first The Key was going to compose only of Arcadia. At the end of The Key the player would find a way to access the Valley of Stars, and there the game would end. The sequel to The Key (which was going to be called The Valley of Stars) would take the player through the rimworlds that composed the Valley of Stars and on to the conclusion of the saga.
As I worked on the game I decided it made more since to combine everything, so I put both games into a single epic. As I worked further on the game I realized that if I waited until I had everything done I might never finish it and so I decided to release the Arcadia section as Part I of The Key and the Valley of Stars section as Part II. Somewhere along the way I decided it would be cool to add a lot more locations to the game and so Part III was born.
Bonus Locations: There are a number of locations in the game that don't need to be accessed in order to win but yet are interesting all the same. They are the Gully Rimworld, the Memory Hall, Vault I (with the Nehemiah III), the Secret Room, and the Hall of the People. Very few people find the Secret Room (which is hidden away in the Underground Labs and requires persistence in trying to pass through an obstacle that seems impassable) and almost no one finds the Hall of the People (which requires entering the phrase 'HALL OF THE PEOPLE' in a certain panel).
Soggy Coffee: Hidden away in The Key is an old-fashioned text-adventure! We made a few of these a long time ago and this one has always been my favorite. In the latest build of The Key I made it easier to access: once the Cheat menu is enabled (Help / Activate Cheat Menu) the player can easily select the "Run Soggy Coffee" option on the Cheat menu.