Dune II: Wikis

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Dune II
DuneII.jpg
Developer(s) Westwood Studios
Publisher(s) Virgin Interactive
Designer(s) Joseph Bostic, Aaron E. Powell, Brett Sperry
Engine Custom
Platform(s) Amiga, DOS, RISC OS, Genesis/Mega Drive
Release date(s) 1992 (DOS)
1993 (Amiga)
1993 (Mega Drive/Genesis)
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single player
Media Floppy disk, CD-ROM or Cartridge
Input methods Keyboard, Mouse

Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (retitled Dune II: Battle for Arrakis in Europe and for the Mega Drive/Genesis port) is a Dune computer game released in 1992 by Westwood Studios. It is based upon David Lynch's 1984 movie Dune, an adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel of the same name.

While not the first real-time strategy (RTS) game (Stonkers, The Ancient Art of War and Herzog Zwei all preceded it), Dune II established a format that would be followed for years to come, and was the first to use the mouse to move units, allowing players to fluidly interact with their troops.[1] As such, Dune II was the first modern real-time strategy game. Striking a balance between complexity and innovation, it was a huge success and laid the foundation for the coming Command & Conquer, Warcraft, and many other RTS games.

Contents

Plot

Emperor Frederick IV of House Corrino is desperate for the harvesting of the valuable spice melange, only found on the planet Arrakis, to pay off all of his debt incurred on internecine wars with family members. To achieve this, he now offers the sole governorship of Arrakis to the House (Atreides, Harkonnen, and Ordos) which delivers the most spice for him. War begins as deputations from all three Houses arrive on Arrakis.

House selection screen showing the three House crests

The player is a military commander from a House of their choice. In the first few missions the objective is to successfully establish a base on an unoccupied territory of Arrakis, to harvest spice and defend against intruders. Later, when the three Houses divide Arrakis among them, the player has to assault and capture enemy territories. When the player dominates Arrakis on the world map, the two other enemy factions ally against their common enemy. The ultimate final showdown is the battle among the player's House up against three enemy sides, among them Frederick's forces the Sardaukar (an unplayable elite force whose heavy infantry are particularly powerful). The final cutscene is different for each House, in consonance with their very disparate world views.

Gameplay

The player takes the role of a commander of one of three interplanetary houses, the Atreides, the Harkonnen or the Ordos, with the objective of wresting control of Arrakis from the two other houses. House Ordos is not featured in the Dune novels and is mentioned only in the non-canon Dune Encyclopedia. The basic strategy in the game is to harvest spice from the treacherous sand dunes using a harvester vehicle, convert the spice into credits via a refinery and to build military units with these acquired credits in order to fend off and destroy the enemy.

The Houses arrive on Arrakis

The game map initially starts with a fog of war covering all area which is not covered by the player's units range of view. As the units explore the map, the darkness is removed. Unlike later games such as Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, the fog of war is lifted forever with initial exploration, it does not become dark once more when units leave the area.

In addition to enemy incursions, there are other dangers; like the marauding and gigantic sandworm, capable of swallowing vehicles and infantry whole but only capable of moving through sand. The player can only build on rocky terrain, but must build concrete foundations before to avoid deterioration of the structures due to the harsh weather conditions although in general, structures will gradually decay over time regardless of the presence of those concrete slabs due to the aforesaid weather conditions. Spice fields are indicated by orange coloration on the sand, darker orange indicating high concentration. Some spice may be concealed as bumps on the terrain (a 'spice bloom') that become spice fields when they are shot at, or when a unit runs over them (the unit is destroyed in the ensuing 'spice blow').

Radnor, Mentat of House Harkonnen, provides some sly advice to the player

The player is presented a map of the planet Arrakis before most missions, where he can choose the next territory to play in among two or three. This affects primarily the enemy house fought in the next mission, as all missions except the first two require the complete destruction of the enemy. Nine territories must be fought, irrespective of house, to reach the endgame.

Some key elements that first appeared in this game, but would later appear in many other RTS games, are:

  • Mouse operated units and buildings
  • A world map from which the next mission is chosen
  • Resource-gathering to fund unit construction
  • Simple base and unit construction
  • Building construction dependencies (technology tree)
  • Mobile units that can be deployed as Buildings
  • Different sides/factions (the Houses), each with unique unit-types and super weapons
  • Destruction of the enemy as a goal

Completing higher missions gives authorization to use improved technology and higher-order weaponry unique to each House, ensuring varied game play. For example, House Harkonnen may be able to construct their Devastator tanks with heavy armor and ordnance but cannot build the similarly impressive Atreides Sonic Tank. The Ordos have access to the Deviator - a specialized tank firing a nerve gas that switches the allegiance of targeted units to Ordos for a limited period of time. The three Houses also are restricted in their production capabilities - House Ordos cannot build Atreides-style trikes, instead making the faster "Raider" trikes, while House Harkonnen constructs heavier but more expensive quad bikes.

A player can gain access to other Houses' special units by capturing an enemy Factory and manufacturing the desired units at the captured Factory (House Atreides' Heavy Vehicle Factory for Sonic Tank, House Ordos' Light Vehicle Factory for Raider trikes, House Ordos' Heavy Vehicle Factory for Deviator tanks, or House Harkonnen's Heavy Vehicle Factory for Devastator tanks). Note that a Deviator not owned by house Ordos still switches control of targeted units to house Ordos, and not to the side that owns the Deviator. Apparently Westwood was aware of this feature, since capturing a Sardaukar Heavy Vehicle Factory allows the player to build both the Sonic Tank and Devastator, but not the Ordos Deviator.

Buildings may only be built in rocky zones and connected to another existing building, and are the same for all houses. To protect them from constant wear, the player must first place concrete slabs in the construction areas. Production buildings can be upgraded at a cost several times, allowing the production of more advanced units or buildings.

The final prize for the commander is the building of the House Palace from where superweapons may be unleashed on opponents in the final closing chapters of the game. The House Harkonnen superweapon is a long-range finger of missiles called the Death Hand, whereas House Atreides may call upon the local Fremen infantry warriors, over which the player has no control, to engage enemy targets. House Ordos may unleash a fast-moving Saboteur whose main purpose is the destruction of buildings.

Interface

The Dune II interface was the template for subsequent RTS designs.

Dune II served as the template for subsequent real-time strategy games, being the first to use the mouse to directly control units[1], but the interface is less sophisticated than that of later generation RTS games. Dune II lacks the multi-unit selection feature of Command & Conquer and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and, like in the latter, clicking on a destination or enemy target does not issue movement or attack orders. Instead, the player must first click on the "Move" or "Attack" button (or press its hotkey), then on the target.

Reception

When the Commodore Amiga version of Dune II was released in 1993, it was met with positive reviews. CU Amiga magazine rated the game highly with 85%, praising the smooth gameplay and controls.[2] Dune II received Amiga User International's Game of the Month award when it was reviewed in September 1993.[3] The AI of Dune II was one of the first used in RTS games, and while better than that of Herzog Zwei, it has various drawbacks. Examples include only attacking the side of the player's base facing its own, general inability to perform flanking maneuvers, and not rebuilding defenses.[4]

Versions

Amiga version in-game.

Originally released for DOS in 1992, Dune II was one of the first PC games to support the recently introduced General MIDI standard. Game-audio was programmed with the middleware Miles audio library, which handled the dynamic conversion of the game's MIDI musical score, originally composed on the Roland MT-32, to the selected soundcard. At initial release, the game's setup utility lacked the means to support separate output devices for the musical-score and speech/sound-effects. This limitation was frustrating to owners of high-quality MIDI-synths (such as the Roland Sound Canvas), because users could not play the game with both digital sound-effects (which MIDI-synths lacked) and high-quality MIDI score. Westwood later published a revised setup utility to enable users select a different soundcard for each type of game audio: digital-speech, music, and sound effects.

Mega Drive/Genesis version box art

In 1993, it was ported to Amiga and Mega Drive/Genesis. Two years later it was also brought to the Archimedes and Risc PC range of RISC OS computers.

The Amiga floppy disk port is nearly identical in interface and game play to the PC version, albeit with less detailed graphics and frequent disk swapping — the game uses 5 disks. Save games are stored on a specially formatted disk. The game could also be installed to hard drive. Patches exist for the Amiga version of the game which allow the full 255 units to be created and managed. In the original Amiga version the player was limited to 32 units.

The Mega Drive/Genesis port has fairly different building and unit graphics, a full-screen menu-less user interface suited for gamepad control, and no save game support, relying on access codes for accessing each level. Other additions include a music test option and a tutorial that replaces the mentat screen. Several ideas from this version including the music track listing and the replacement of sidebar command buttons by a context-sensitive cursor were used in Westwood's next strategy game, Command & Conquer.

Legacy

Dune II was one of the most influential games in the real-time strategy genre, particularly in Westwood's own Command & Conquer series.[5] Though not every feature was unique, its specific combination of a fog of war, mouse-based military micromanagement, and an economic model of resource-gathering and base-building became the hallmark of the RTS genre.

Chris Taylor has stated that Dune II and Command & Conquer were great inspirations, driving him to leave Electronic Arts to create Total Annihilation.[6]

Dune II also led to direct sequels: Westwood released a semi-remake for Windows in 1998 as Dune 2000, along with a PlayStation port in the same year. Westwood subsequently released Emperor: Battle for Dune in 2001.

Remakes

References

  1. ^ a b Bob Bates. Game Developer's Market Guide, p. 141, Thomson Course Technology, 2003, ISBN 1-59200-104-1.]
  2. ^ Gill, Tony (July 1993). CU Amiga review: Dune II. EMAP. 
  3. ^ "Amiga User International review:Dune II". Amiga User International (AUI Limited). September 1993. 
  4. ^ Brian Schwab.AI Game Engine Programming, p. 107, Charles River Media. ISBN 1-58450-344-0.
  5. ^ Porter, Will (2008-02-28). "Command & Conquer - Origins". ComputerAndVideoGames.com. http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=183584. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  6. ^ Tracy Fullerton, Chris Swain, Steven Hoffman,Game Design Workshop,p. 377, CMP Books, 2004, ISBN 1-57820-222-1]

External links


Gaming

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis

Developer(s) Westwood Studios
Publisher(s) Virgin Interactive
Release date 1992
Genre RTS
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s)
Platform(s) PC, Sega Genesis
Input Keyboard, mouse
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Dune II also known as Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis for the Sega Genesis port and Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty

While not the first real-time strategy game, per se (the first being The Ancient Art of War), Dune II established a format that would be followed for years to come. Striking a balance between complexity and innovation, it was a huge success and laid the foundation for the coming Command and Conquer, Warcraft, and the RTS craze that endures to this day.

Contents

Gameplay

The player takes the role of a commander of one of three interplanetary houses, the Atreides, the Harkonnen or the Ordos, with the objective of wresting control of Arrakis from the two other houses. The basic strategy in the game is to harvest the spice from the treacherous sand dunes, convert the spice into spendable credits via a harvester and refinery and to build military combat units with these acquired credits in order to fend off and destroy the enemy. In addition to enemy incursions, the player must also deal with periodic appearances of the sandworm, invulnerable and capable of swallowing vehicles and infantry whole, as well as and harsh weather conditions that can deteriorate the structures of the player's base.

The plot is basically linear, with variations depending on which House is taken by the player. Completing higher missions gives access to improved technology and higher-order weaponry unique to each House. The final prize for the commander is the building of the House Palace from where superweapons may be unleashed on opponents in the final closing chapters of the game. The House Harkonnen superweapon is a long-range finger of missiles called the 'Death Hand', whereas House Atreides may call upon the local Fremen infantry warriors, over which the player has no control, to engage enemy targets. House Ordos may unleash a fast-moving Saboteur whose main purpose is the destruction of buildings.

House Harkonnen relies on heavy and powerful, but expensive, units, while House Atreides is a more "middle of the road" side with access to good specialised units such as the Sonic Tank. House Ordos tends to prioritise speed over strength, with quite specialised units and a lack of heavy firepower, and thus require a degree of cunning gameplay to win. The ultimate final showdown is the battle among the player's House up against three enemy sides, among them the Emperor Frederick's forces, the Sardaukar (an unplayable house whose heavy infantry are particularly powerful). The Sardaukar Palace fires Death Hand missiles like that of the Harkonnens; thus, playing as the Atreides or Ordos will result in facing two Death Hand strikes at a time.

The final cutscene would also vary according to the House that the player selects, therefore, not all conclusions for all Houses are the same.

Some key elements that first appeared in this game, but would later appear in many other RTS games, are:

  • A world map from which the next mission is chosen
  • Resource-gathering to fund unit construction
  • Simple base and unit construction
  • Building construction dependencies (technology tree)
  • Different sides/factions (the Houses), each with unique unit-types

Units

Main Article see Dune II (units)

New technology unique to each house ensures varied gameplay. For example, House Harkonnen may be able to construct their "Devastator" tanks with heavy armor and ordnance but cannot build the similarly impressive Atreides 'Sonic Tank'. The Ordos have access to the "Deviator" - a specialized tank firing a nerve gas that switches the allegiance of targeted units to Ordos for a limited period of time. The three Houses also are restricted in their building practices - House Ordos cannot build Atreides-style trikes, instead making the faster "Raider" trikes, while House Harkonnen constructs heavier but more expensive quad bikes. When the Starport becomes available, players can purchase (rather than construct) units to which their House does not ordinarily have access (so House Harkonnen can purchase trikes, and House Ordos rocket launchers).

House Harkonnen relies on heavy and powerful, but expensive units, while House Atreides is a more "middle of the road" side with access to good specialised units such as the Sonic Tank. House Ordos tends to prioritise speed over strength and have a mix of technology from both houses like the ornithopter and heavy troopers, and have other quite specialised units and a lack of heavy firepower, and thus require a degree of cunning gameplay to win.

Structure

Main Article see Dune II (structures)

Buildings may only be built in rocky zones and connected to another existing building, and are the same for all houses. To protect them from constant wear, the player must place first concrete slabs in the construction areas. Production buildings can be upgraded at a cost several times, allowing the production of more advanced units or buildings.

Boxart

Sources


Dune series
Dune | Dune II | Dune 2000 | Emperor: Battle for Dune | Frank Herbert's Dune | Dune Generations
Misc games
Dune Collectable Card Game | Board game
Factions
House AtreidesHouse HarkonnenHouse OrdosMinor Factions
Units
Dune II: Units - Structures
Dune 2000: Units - Structures
Emperor: Battle for Dune: Units - Structures
Misc
Spice Melange - Locations - Sand Worm

This article uses material from the "Dune II" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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