Genre: First- person shooter action game
Release: September 1997 (December, 1996)
Genre: 3D action adventure (shooter)
Developer: Epic Megagames
Designer: Cliff Bleszinski
Lead Programmer: Tim Sweeney
Art director: James Schmalz
Publisher: GT Interactive
Website: www.epicgames.com, www.gtinteractive.com
Summary: First-person perspective ultra realistic Doom-lie shooter with free internet play planned. The game will also have a level editor.
Company line: Designed for the Windows 95/NT platform and Intel Pentium processor-based computers, Unreal will take advantage of Intel s new MMX technology, providing 24-bit color, CD-quality audio and exhilarating visual effects -- all of which has led industry experts to cite Unreal as having created a new genre of gaming. According to PC Gamer (July) magazine, The name of the game is Unreal and it s absolutely appropriate. Every indication is that this game and the few others like it will be the true next generation of computer gaming.
What is UNREAL? That's the question that everyone has been asking. UNREAL is more than your average first person action game. It places players in a stunningly lifelike three-dimensional world, where they can pratically smell the stench of dank dungeon caverns, feel the hot breath of menacing creatures, and experience the sensations of falling, swimming and flying. Running on either Windows 95 or Windows NT, UNREAL delivers:
The Environment: The UNREAL environment is continuous. Though levels do exist, you travel between them smoothly. The entire world, whether you're playing by yourself or you're on a large network game server, is melded into one continuous global environment.
The UNREAL environment is permeated by music and sound. The sounds of wind, flowing water, flickering flames, footsteps, and monsters flow throughout the Unreal world against a sonorous backdrop of atmospheric music.
The UNREAL environment is richly illuminated. Torches flicker and light sources create varying levels of luminance on their surroundings. Monsters, as well as players, cast shadows, which can often be seen around corners before the source is fully revealed.
The UNREAL environment uses a full six degree of freedom geometry and physics model. This means you can look at the world from any angle and explore complex architecture with features like multiple overlapping bridges and domed ceilings. If a designer can envision a level, he can build it in Unreal.
History: In 1990, UBI Soft brought out a game for the Amiga called Unreal, which is a registered trademark of UBI Soft. Now Epic Megagames is bringing out an Unreal. UBI Soft's Unreal used stunning 2D and 3D graphics and environments, five different types of interactive music, "incredible sound effects, such as the rushing waters of a river, the crackling of a fire," a "completely interactive environment where you can run, jump, crawl, slip on snow or be blown off a cliff."
No this game is not the same plot, but we wonder about the trademark now being used by Epic MegaGames. The UBI Soft Unreal involved a dungeon, but one where the protagonist's love Isolde is imprisoned by Polymorph and must be rescued from a vast continent. I wonder if anyone else remembers the original Unreal.
Established in 1991, Epic produces, markets and distributes cutting-edge PC games. Best known for Jill of the Jungle and Epic Pinball, the company has released more than 20 products. In addition to worldwide retail publishing arrangements, Epic distributes its products directly to end users using the shareware model.
Headquartered in NY, with offices in London, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Minneapolis, GT Interactive Software Corp. is a leading global publisher of interactive entertainment, edutainment and value-priced software marketed under the GT Interactive, Humongous Entertainment and WizardWorks brands, for IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers as well as 32- and 64-bit gaming systems. Among GT Interactive s best-selling titles are Duke Nukem 3D and Doom II.
Plot: You, yes you the protagonist of the new Unreal, are imprisoned in a room with metal walls. You have amnesia (why do you always have amnesia?). You find your way outside and you solve the riddle of how you got here. Your space ship crashed into this planet. You manage to find a weapon, a gun, and start our across the landscape to start your adventure.
You fight: There are over 20 fully animated monsters that will have programmed intelligence. Some will stalk you until the ideal time to strike, others will negotiate. Special items found will allow you to morph into the monsters and fight as them similar to that seen in the Origin classic designed by Victor Penman of Raven Software.
Graphics: Unreal's visuals set a new standard for realism. Water is transparent, flames randomly flicker, moving clouds cast shadows while dynamic lighting. Buildings and dungeons are actual structures on the three dimensional landscape meaning that there is no transition or level loading when going in or out doors or portals. The graphics will feature true three dimensional features, such as dynamic lighting, shadows, and 16-bit graphics. "What we are shooting for is something half way between Quake and Myst," ssays Mark Rein, vice president of Epic MegaGames.
Animation: Hundreds of polygons and frames of animation comprise Unreal's eerie monsters. The MMX technology of the new 1997 Intel processors will allow sound effects, music, animation graphics, and internet connection information to be processed in the same instruction set, significantly speeding up all the processes of the game.
Artificial intelligence: Epic hired Steven Polge to do the AI for Unreal's monsters. Steven was the programmer who designed the Quake Reaper Bots, the only thing that makes Quake exciting in single player mode.
Music score: Music changes occur appropriate to the on-screen action.
Sound effects: Cinematic audio effects include blowing wind, flowing water, crackling fires and terrifying footsteps. The sound engine will be 44 KHz (kill-a-hertz)
Utilities: The UnrealEd level editor will enhance game play. The 3D level editor will make it easy to design 3D action game levels. Liam says the game editor will be sold separately in his preview.
Multi-player: Unreal puts one or multiple players via the Internet, in a highly detailed 3D alien world populated by two warring races.
Future: GT Interactive may also utilize the specially designed Unreal engine to create five additional premier software titles. Also expect Unreal to port to the Nintendo 64DD and the PlayStation. Spectrum Holobyte/Microprose licensed the Unreal engine for their upcoming Star Trek: The First Contact.
GT Interactive Unreal Web Site
Jason Bates, PC Gamer, volume 3, number 7, July, 1996, pg. 22-24.
T. Liam McDonald, http://www.gamespot.com/previews/unreal/index.html
Steve Bauman, Computer Games, issue 76, March, 1997, pg. 26.
Glenn Broderick, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 10, March, 1997, pg. 95.