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Monday, September 11, 2000

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Rune Details, Site Update
12:41 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the development of this third-person melee combat title nears the end, more information about Rune continues to arrive. Today an official press release makes the launch of the game's web site official, as well as lists the many details that make this game unique. This title, which was a huge hit at E3 and wowed gamers at Macworld Expo New York, is most definitely a highly-anticipated release, combining gorgeous visuals and bloodthirsty combat. Here are details from the press release:

Dallas, TX, September 11, 2000 - Human Head Studios today revealed more details of its highly anticipated Rune, a 3D game of intense action and adventure steeped in a blend of Norse mythology and high-fantasy. Rune utilizes an enhanced version of Epic Games' Unreal Tournament game engine and features amazingly life-like animations, a detailed weapon system and a unique combat system. Published by developer-driven computer and video game publisher Gathering of Developers and distributed by Take Two Interactive?s Jack of All Games, Rune will make its way into stores nationwide this October for the PC and Mac for a suggested retail price of $39.95. Viking fanatics can visit www.runegame.com for additional information, screenshots, downloads, and news.

The Story

Rune transports gamers into the Dark Ages, when the Vikings were the conquerors of a cold, dismal world, and stark religion ruled all of the northern lands. Taking on the role of Ragnar, a rugged young Viking warrior, players are challenged to fight off creatures from Nordic mythology and uncover an evil perpetrator who is annihilating the Viking population. Gamers will explore beautiful settings, ranging from snow-capped mountains to deep dark caverns of the Viking underworld. Rune combines combat and exploration, with an epic story line and an active environment, to recreate a period in history characterized by savagery and the sword.

The Technology

Human Head has licensed Epic Games' Unreal Tournament engine and made several enhancements to it, including a skeletal animation system, a new particle effects system, and an enhanced shadowing system. Human Head created these enhancements to develop worlds with reactive elements, natural outdoor environments and realistic cavern-like settings. The scalable shadowing system accurately casts over uneven surfaces and around edges and allows players to turn shadows on or off specific characters. The skeletal animation system allows for incredibly lifelike animations whereby game characters react to wounds, enemies and their environment. The particle system effects include fire and flame, smoke and dust cloud effects.

The Combat System

Rune's combat system, comprised of hand-to-hand weapons such as axes, swords and clubs, was designed with all levels of gamers in mind. The two-key system controls attack and defense moves, and is enhanced with Human Head's context sensitive attacks system. Players can change the type of attack based upon Ragnar's movement. Digital Vikings can also take advantage of timing to create a more complex, combination attack. For example, carefully timing the use of the attack button can result in double and even triple strikes.

Rune also features a bloodlust system that increases while Ragnar fights his way past a slew of fearsome enemies. For each kill, Ragnar's bloodlust level rises until his blood boils over, causing him to become an unstoppable force for a short while until his rage subsides.

The Weapon System

Beginning the game with limited weapons, Ragnar can capture additional weapons from opponents defeated in battle, as well as ones placed throughout the game. Gamers can even dismember enemies and use their limbs as weapons.

All weapons have unique attributes, such as damage infliction levels, attack speed, and unique animations that keep combat fresh. Rune's weapon system also contains power-filled RuneStones that have the ability to imbue weapons with the power of the Viking Gods. Power-up weapons include Stone Hammers which turn enemies into stone and Vampiric Swords that suck the enemy's health away.

Rune's dual inventory system and on-screen three weapons display allow players to quickly select their weapon of choice. With more than 15 weapons divided into three categories (Bashing Weapons, Swords and Axes), multiple RuneStone effects and special weapons, Rune features an array of diverse combinations and thousands of frames of animations.

Rune will include a full single player game as well as several multi-player levels allowing players to cooperate or compete as Viking warriors. The title also features:

  • Dramatic single-player story game that carries players across several environments from the darkest depths to the highest Nordic mountains
  • Multiplayer capabilities including Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch
  • 25 immersive levels
  • 15 weapons including a battle ax, two-handed sword, magical weapons, throwing axes and warhammers
  • Torches that lead the way throughout Rangar's epic journey and that can even be used as a weapon
  • Enemies from a host of races including dark Vikings, underground creatures, man-eating fish, goblins and a mysterious super race
  • Combat system lets players take weapons from their defeated opponents
  • Visual inventory that allows the character to see available weapons at a glance
Whew! That sounds like enough to keep us entertained for a while. Rune is coming in late October from Gathering of Developers. The Mac OS port of this game is in progress at Westlake Interactive, and a simultaneous release is expected. For more information visit the Rune web site.

Rune Web Site
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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