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Thursday, May 24, 2001

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Unreal II Details from E3 Wrap-Ups
10:42 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As the news from E3 slows from a flood to a trickle, more and more information regarding next-generation titles continues to hit the net as reporters recover from Expo trauma and have some time to sit down and mull over what they saw. One game we're sure you're interested in is Epic Games' and Legend Entertainment's eye-popping upcoming FPS Unreal II, which is shaping up to be one of the most impressive FPS titles to date.

First up on the roster is IGN's Action Vault's report on their E3 experience with the game, which features a "behind closed doors" look at this title (thanks to Stomped for this info). They note that Unreal II will feature both single and multiplayer versions, with more emphasis placed on interactivity in the first-person experience than in the original Unreal. Various multiplayer games including deathmatch, capture the flag, and some new modes will be available as well.

The storyline of this title bears almost no relation to the original. Players will now assume the role of a Terran Frontier Marshall that patrols space in a ship dubbed The Atlantis, a former military vehicle. As the game progresses, players will find themselves in the middle of a war over a set of ancient artifacts with various races and factions vying for possession. Along for the ride are three crew members: Aida the Intelligence Officer, Ne'Ban the alien Pilot, and Isaak the Engineer.

IGN also notes that a real-time conversation system will be in place for active crew communication. Dialogue choices will be displayed with corresponding numbers for quick picking. Voice-overs will also be in place, with Aida's voice being demoed at the time, with the voice-acting itself being convincing according to the report. Similar to Unreal Tournament, squad members can also be given various orders, such as patrolling an area or attacking, and will follow them out with intelligent behavior.

For those looking for any remnants from the first game, they'll be happy to know that the Skaarj are still intact:

We also had the chance to check out the Skaarj themselves, the only enemy type to return from the original Unreal. With a sniper rifle, Leiby zoomed in on a guard on duty. When a shot was fired at him, he grunted and scurried off to apparently gather help.
Several weapons have also been described so far, including a sniper rifle, an assault rifle, a grenade launcher, a MindClaw psi weapon, and an immensely powerful flamethrower.

In an interesting environmental twist, one of the settings demonstrated was an asteroid field set in space which was specifically designed for multiplay. The field itself had little to no gravity and presented an interesting set of options for players, including hiding between the asteroids themselves for stealth-based attacks.

Not to be outdone, Planet Unreal offers their own in-depth look at this upcoming title. One of the relevant things they make note of about the missions, both single and multiplayer, are their varied styles of play. Some will be straight action-fests while others may be much more strategy-based. For example, one mode features goals very similar to an RTS game, where the player must gather resources and components while defending against enemy attacks.

Also mentioned are several of the game's outstanding "technical flourishes." The particle system is currently extremely detailed, as shown by pieces of flaming gel falling, bouncing around, and finally going out as a flamethrower was used. An asteroid field, complete with convincing particle animation, was also demonstrated.

Another engineering triumph of the revamped Unreal engine is revealed in this description of what is labeled the Golem skeletal system:

To show us how it worked, Dalton walked the player up to Aida, the beautiful security officer. As he moved around her, her head and eyes followed the player as a human's would, turning to face you at all times. The effect was so much more natural than previously seen in many games. Dalton explained that this independent head movement was only one part of the skeletal system--Aida's breathing, leg, and arm movements were also all independent systems, which means that a modeler can specify what systems do what and when; i.e., the modeler can specify what the breathing animation looks like, and specify what an particular arm animation will look like, and these two systems will happen independent of each other but can happen at the same time. talking and gesturing are other independent parameters for the model.

Of course, both reports address one of the obvious attractions of Unreal II - its graphical splendor. Many objects have actually been modeled rather than just faked with textures, including outdoor grass and the ceiling pipework in The Atlantis. The polygon count is also extremely high, allowing for realistic curves in all surfaces including environments and character faces. To demonstrate this, the official Unreal II site has posted a number of screen shots, all in desktop picture sizes, that really show off the high-powered graphics of this title. Included in the shots are environments, weapons being fired, and a close-up shot of Aida that is extremely well-detailed.

There is, as of yet, no definite release date for this title. However, it is looking and sounding extremely sweet - the desktop pictures alone are worth more than a passing glance. Be sure to check out the featured articles as well as the screen shots for more information on this upcoming game. While we may have a year or more to wait, you can be sure we will track this title for any sign of an impending Mac OS version.

Action Vault - Unreal II Report
Planet Unreal - Unreal II Report
Unreal II - Official Site

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• Unreal II Details from E3 Wrap-Ups10:42 AM
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Diablo II, Starcraft Updates Available8:54 AM
Summoner Previewed at Apple8:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 24, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 23, 2001

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