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Wednesday, August 16, 2000

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Rune Two Weeks from Beta
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

According to a preview posted on PCIGN, this third-person game of Viking melee combat is a mere two weeks from the Beta stage, and is on track for an October release. Human Head's upcoming title wowed spectators and press alike at last month's Macworld New York Expo with spectacular visuals and animation -- and more than a few rolling heads and lopped-off limbs, truth be told.

The preview itself is fairly short, and does not reveal much new information, but it does describe the story line and gameplay of this title. Building upon the foundation of the Unreal Tournament engine, Human Head has added skeletal animation, interactive traps and puzzles, an intelligent third-person camera and robust enemy AI. And when you have finished the long, complex solo quest which will take you all over the frozen North of Europe, you can take your axe online and sharpen it on a few deathmatch opponents.

Here's an excerpt from the preview, describing the combat system and interactivity of the game:

All of this fighting is done through a combat system that should make you feel a little more like you are actually in the middle of a fight. This is accomplished through the addition of intelligent AI that has no intention of dying either. Adversaries in the game will be a bit tougher and will team up with a buddy to surround you and have at it. But this also works another way. Various enemies in the game don't really like each other any more than they like you. This allows for many-sided fights to happen if both goblins and dwarves attack you. It's kinda fun to watch the little guys whack away on each other while you sit back and relax a little bit.

Each level that you are fighting and exploring in will also feature fairly interactive environments. Stuff can be smashed, climbed on and all that sort of stuff, but the biggest and neatest part of some of the levels is the extra objects that are scattered throughout. Almost all of the objects in Rune will be based on a skeletal animation system that will allow for more immersive levels. This means that if you are running along and brush by a plant, it will actually react to your body and you'll see it sway and move about. Itís a very nice touch and shows that Human Head is really going to lengths to make a quality immersive game.

We've been eager to get our hands on this title since we saw it in action at E3, and the news that the PC version is nearing beta is welcome indeed. The port of this game to the Mac OS is of course being handled by Westlake Interactive, which is close behind the PC team -- their considerable experience with the Unreal Tournament engine should warrant a swift and solid port. Read the preview for more details on the game, and watch the Westlake Projects page for the status of the port.

Westlake Interactive Projects Page
Rune Preview at PCIGN
Rune Screen Shot Gallery
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Archives  News  Rune Two Weeks from Beta