Woah, this is amazing. Huge thanks both to the Night Dive Studios and everyone from the community involved. :D
Most common and earliest known version of the demo.
Rarest version of the demo. Featured on the (Itaian) PC Gamer CD #041 B.
I asked Moritz, the administrator of the Kult Cover Disks and he not only answered, but to my amazment - attached not one but three (!) versions of the demo! :D
"I happen to have a few copies of PC Games 05/99 on my shelf. I quickly checked and found that is particular demo is also featured on PC Player 06/99 B and GameStar 06/99 Bonus CD. Its cab file is dated to 1999-02-23. A more common demo dated to 1999-01-14 can be found on the following CDs:
PC Fun CD 49_2
PC Action 04/99
CDA (35) 04/99
Gambler (28) 04/99A
Generation 4 CD 121
Generation 4 CD 139_1
The Games Machine #060
Reset #24 04/99
GameStar CZ 04/99 CD1
Online Today 07/99
Computer Games Strategy Plus #102
Additionally, there's a very rare version from 1999-02-19 that can be found on PC Gamer (Italian) CD #041 B.
For download go to Demo versions (contains early / beta stuff) topic.
A quick update.
The good news is I haven't forgot about this thing. ;)
The bad news is - I haven't found (yed) the disc I was talking about.
Buuut, I stumbled upon other disc from the same issue of this gaming "magaine":
I think (and hope!) that the disc with the demo is still somewhere at my parent's house. I'm gonna keep looking. :)
According to the PCGames website Machines demo was present on the disc of the 05/1999 issue:
I came here looking for a game from my childhood
I believe that:
a) It was an early demo I was playing as a child
b) I still have that disc at my parent's house
I'm not really sure why the f- it was even a thing but I came into possession of it sometime around 2003 by buing a brand-new copy of a niche Polish gaming magazine, or so I thought...
After I removed the foil I noticed some things:
- The thick "magazine" was two-pages long with a cardboard inside
- Inside of the cardboard there were 8 (!) CDs
- All of them were from some german gaming magazine dated back to '97-'99
- None of them, including those metioned on the cover were full versions
Other than the Machines i remember playing Half Life 1 (also a demo of a beta version, I think).
I'm worried that ~20-year old disc can be hard if not impossible to read but even if so - I'm gonna keep you updated.
And of course I won't be able to - I can send it by post to anyone willing to perform data recovery on their own.
EDIT: I've just found the post Pisarz was talking about:
Yeah, it is the same demo, the person who wrote it also had it from this shady "gaming magazine". :'D
BTW. I think this topic should be renamed to "Early Alpha/Beta/demo versions" ^^