FFE's early days - a trip down Memory Lane

I was just randomly searching around the net recently when I stumbled onto some early preview screen shots of FFE (shown below - click for larger version in a new window). Sorry about the image quality...they are a bit dodgy in places. However you can see an early version of the interface...what looks like a sort of corrupted version the FE2 one. I can remember looking at the 3rd shot in a magazine all those years ago!

Anyway, looking at these shots got me thinking. I was wondering what the press thought about FFE before it was launched. There were some interesting comments, like these made in February 1995 by PC Gamer:
Now the game features texture-mapped ships and cityscapes, space stations and docking bays have been re-rendered to provide an extra-realism. Planets are real with texture-mapped mountains, deserts, moors and polar ice caps with oceans and bays. No planet has ever been so real in a previous existing game!

The user interface has been redesigned too with the ship's cabin completely rendered in 3D Studio, and maps, bulletins, inventories are displayed on a head-up screen in front of the player.
Textured ships, yeah, textured cities and ports, yeah, re-rendered docking bays? They look distincly similar to the ones in FE2 to me. Then it talks about the "ship's cabin completely rendered in 3D Studio". They look like drawings to me...was this another feature that got the chop? Maybe they are just talking about the interface - I remember looking at the manual's screenshots and wondering how I changed the resolution to get mine looking like theirs :-)

Another thing that tended to appear a lot in screenshots was the Insurance dealers on the BBS. Strangely absent in the final release, unless you count the escape capsule 'insurance' where you just get a bod-standard Eagle instead of proper compensation for your ship.