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Tim Gerritsen
Human Head Studios | Business Development Director | Sep 11 2000, 20:29:11 (ET) | tgerritsen@humanhead.com

Name: Tim Gerritsen
Email: tgerritsen@humanhead.com
Description: Business Development Director
Project: All
Web Page: Human Head Studios' Web Site
This plan file is the opinion of the individual who writes it and does not reflect the opinions of the Human Head Studios.

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9-11-00

Well I'm back from ECTS and it was great to see the reaction we got to the latest version of Rune that we showed. The game is coming along really well, and we are finally getting ads out there in some interesting places. Check out the October issue of Playboy for a third page ad, and future ads coming in Rolling Stone, Maxim, and Stuff. Also, the usual computer game mag specific ads are now making an appearance with spreads in PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World starting to hit. Also, if you live in the UK, check out the current PC Gaming World, which features Rune as the cover story. The preview is terrific. The artwork for the ads, incidently, was done by Ashley Wood, a really hot illustrator who has been making waves with his work recently.

Our new website, www.runegame.com is now up, and looking fantastic. My hat is off to Trish Harris, Savage, Laurie and the GOD design crew for some really cool design. This is the official Rune site, with official news, new shots, links to news stories, and community forums and feedback listed. Once the game is out, we will also use the site to showcase user created mods and levels. This is very important to us, as we will be releasing our RuneEditor with the game as well as specs on how to skin and create your own models and animations. We feel that there will be some really cool opportunities for the mod community to come out with some exciting stuff, and we will use runegame.com to showcase the best mods, mutators, skins and characters to the world. Check out the site for contact information and details, but we intend to support the mod makers out there as best we can and use our site as a springboard for them.

One thing I need to clarify that I've been seeing around on several sites is the question of co-op multiplay. The shipping version of Rune will include three basic modes- Single Player Story, Multi-Player DeathMatch, and Multi-Player Cooperative/Team DeathMatch. There will be no co-op story mode. We are big fans of this mode, but it requires enormous extra effort and we simply don't have the time and due to our schedule which never included this feature as a focus for development. Co-operative story mode requires considerably more effort than just adding extra spawn points and letting players have at it. All of the puzzles have to be rethought to accomodate 2, 3, 4 or even more players, and then they have to be tested so that we know they work for each combination of possible players. This alone is a big increase in the amount of time involved in testing. Additionally, certain puzzles and events have to either be rethought, redesigned and/or dumped if to accomodate multiple players. If we have a very complex puzzle or event, for example, where a player is running across an ice field where the ice is falling rapidly under your feet so that you have to time things just right to get to the other side, you have to rethink, simplify or dump the puzzle, as we have to have solutions for such an event with a second and or more players along for the ride. What happens if one player makes it, and the others do not? What happens if one player triggers the event before the others are ready to cross? These types of issues are why so few developers even attempt to tackle this type of mode, or simply create very generic events that play the same whether there is one or two players along for the ride, resulting in a effort more bland than what could be done. Another example is Half-Life. There is the very creative puzzle of the sound reactive creature at the bottom of the missile silo. That puzzle simply would not have worked the same with more than one player along. It would have required a rethinking of the puzzle to either make it easier, or less deadly for it to work. Also, how would it have worked with three players as opposed to one, or two. How about with four? Different timings would have been required, or a different solution to the puzzle. This is a very difficult thing to master, and unless your team was planning for it from the get go, it is a major hurdle. We weren't planning for it since we didn't feel we had the time or resources. We wanted to add it, but it became pretty clear that we wouldn't be able to get it out by our release, which is coming very soon. We will have to see what we can do once the game is on the shelves, though. Expect this to be a major focus of games in the future, however, as this type of play becomes more and more possible to the average gamer.

On a completely unrelated subject... I have to say, while I was in England, I had a chance to check out the film Snatch, which is a Guy Ritchie film (the guy who fathered Madonna's second child). It's a classic Brit gangster movie with all the style and substance you would expect. If you get a chance to see it, check it out. It's an incredible film. There are few films that I have seen in the past year where it really felt like I was in the hands of a master film maker. Most films these days feel like things pushed out the door based on some formula where the director was just trying to get the movie into the theatres with no real attempt at crafting a work of real art. From the first scene, Snatch had me feeling like I was enjoying the work of a real master at his trade. Like a Hitchcock or a Spielberg or a Spike Lee, Guy Ritchie has truly made a lovingly crafted piece of art.
Human Head Studios...
Tim Gerritsen 09/11
Chris Rhinehart 08/31
Mike Werckle 02/2
 

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