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Mercenary's menu Dreamland

Dreamland

Developers: Mythos Games
Project Leader: Julian Gollop
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: April 2001

17.05.00 01.06.00 08.06.00 01.07.00
29.07.00 08.08.00 16.08.00 21.08.00
07.09.00 16.09.00 10.01.01 13.01.01
15.01.01 20.01.01 24.01.01 25.01.01
27.01.01 29.01.01 30.01.01 01.02.01
02.02.01 14.02.01 16.02.01 24.02.01
28.02.01 01.03.01 02.03.01 09.03.01
14.03.01 19.03.01    

(19.03.2001)

As you know, Mythos Games was liquidated, and its staff created a new company - Codo Games. The shop Dreamland memorabilia moved to a new place of living. You may find it here: http://stores.demonpowertrader.com/mythos. Assortment of goods was broadened and all the prices were transferred into US dollars and you may use a credit card to buy something. It is already known where sites of the new company and new project will be situated: www.codogames.com and www.lasersquadnemesis.com. Although the sites are not alive yet. We will let you know on the changes of them.

   


(14.03.2001)

With all this turmoil around Fallout Tactics, I have completely forgot about Dreamland, and other issues as well. Julian Gollop has finally commented the information of RGW.Ru about possible Dreamland purchase by Microsoft. He said it is nothing but rumors. Now there is just one company wishing to get the project - Bethesda. Julian still hoping the project will find its publisher.

In the meanwhile, he has also disclosed some details of the project currently being developed. New project is turn-based, but this system is to be modified significantly. The project is already under construction for about a month, and the design works are completed. The game will be released in November, 2001 (yes, this year). That's the productivity! Who else can show such class in game development?

(09.03.2001)

I do not know whether to be pleased, whether to cry... Here is some Dreamland news from Russian Gameing World. According to the information of this site, Bethesda has found a way how to continue distressful Dreamland developing. According to RGW the investor of new Dreamland version is Microsoft. Game will be developed as X-Box title (you can find our guess about it in our Dreamland cancellation investigation). I think, now we can forget about the PS2 version. Future of PC version is under big question. There is a big danger that the Dreamland could be exclusive X-Box title only. Here also it's spoken that while Mythos Games remains the consultant in this project. Not so funny...

(02.03.2001)

Yesterday's report on Dreamland canceling disturbed Freelancer's readers. I received a virtual heap of letters with only one word in each of them - "Why?!" I thought it would be interesting to find out what really happened to the game so, upon reading and analyzing all developers' statements known up-to-date I compiled a short article on this matter. Come on in, the truth is inside.

Do you wish to get some memorable Dreamland souvenirs? Mythos Games has created online store to sell out their small stock of T-Shirts and mouse pads with Dreamland style pictures. The developers have declared they are doing this just to gather at least some funds to continue developing the games. The items are cool, see for yourself. I especially like the mouse pad with sauran body autopsy image. The goods are not cheap, but they are worth their price! If you can pay by check or money order in GBP, you can buy the items. Currently the store does not accept credit cards :( (They have not enough time)

   


Hot update from Julian Gollop:

We can now accept credit card payments for Dreamland memorabilia using the paypal system.

Click here for US$ store

Click here for UKЈ store

(01.03.2001)

Julian Gollop has made another post on official Dreamland forum:

At the moment it looks like Mythos Games will not survive as a company. However, this is not the end as far as we are concerned. We will keep this forum alive for another couple of weeks, so please look here for the latest information from the Mythos development team. We will be making a major new announcement very soon. I would like to thank everybody for their continued support, and we will keep producing games we think deserve to be made, not what publishers think people want.

(28.02.2001)

I can't believe... but Dreamland cancelled! Here is a message from the official forum:

It is with great regret that I have to announce that Dreamland has been cancelled. We have been looking for another publisher for a while now, but no agreement has been reached and we have run out of cash. This means that there will be no further development on the game.

Thank you to everybody that has contributed to this forum and thanks for your encouragement and support. If there is any further news about the future of Dreamland I will keep you posted.

Julian Gollop.

(24.02.2001)

Julian Gollop has posted interesting message on official Dreamland forum:

We have used the nomenclature 'Sauran' because I haven't seen this particular spelling anywhere else. The real word 'Saurian' describes something that is reptile like, which is in the dictionary (and you can't copyright words from the english language). I do remember some aliens called 'Saurons' from Dr. Who, but again this is a different spelling.

(16.02.2001)

Official Dreamland site was updated with news logo. Check it! New logo reveals some new alien's vehicles.



Julian Gollop has posted another interesting message on official Dreamland forum:

The objective with the skills system is to force the player to make some intelligent choices about character development. It is not about creating the ultimate superhumans, but building balanced squads for the missions in hand.

With regards to the size of the TLA, it is unlikely that the player will have more than about 75 personnel in total (including scientists). Humans are rare, and humans willing to risk their lives to fight an overwhelming alien force are even more rare.

You may ask how a band of 75 odd humans would be able to overthrow the might of an advanced, interstellar empire. Well, I guess you will just have to play the game to find out how it is possible.

(14.02.2001)

Well... We have really major tidbits from the official Dreamland forum. Julian Gollop has posted a very interesting message:

I want to enhance the role playing aspects of Dreamland along the lines that some people have been suggesting. There are ten basic stats - Constitution (health), speed, stamina, accuracy, reactions, strength, intelligence, bravery, leadership and psi-power. These can be improved by spending experience points, but each character has separate maximum levels for these stats i.e. the character's potential.

Specialist skills can be acquired by spending experience points, but only if key attributes are at the minimum required level. For example, to become a sniper a soldier requires high accuracy and reactions ratings. A sniper will gain accuracy and time benefits with sniper type weapons.

Other basic skills include medic, heavy weapons, combat engineer, pilot, signals, chemical, and intelligence. Advanced skills are also possible as a consequence of alien research. Scientists will also have some specialized skills, such as physics, biology, chemistry, psionics, etc. Characters may have more than one skill, but are extremely unlikely to obtain more than 3 during the course of the game (the exp costs are quite high). Experience points are earned over time (representing continuous training) or during battles (combat experience). Scientists earn experience from research projects.

(02.02.2001)

Maximum Dreamland has posted an interview with Simon Brewer, a 3D artist at Mythos Games. They had conversation about upcoming Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge.

Maximum Dreamland -- What most impresses you about Dreamland in its current state?

Simon -- The incredible amount of objects and textures created for the game. And the first time I saw a missile being fired at a building and seeing all the pieces of wall and floor tumbling to the ground. Everyone crowded around the demo machine to watch the physics in action!

(01.02.2001)

I have found very unusual message from Julian Gollop on Dreamland forum. When describing the Dreamland engine, he said (the quote begins): "We are developing our own engine for the PS2, and probably for the PC too..." (end of quote). To be honest, I am confused... Do they really doubt the Dreamland PC version is necessary?

(30.01.2001)

Here are some interesting Dreamland tidbits from official forum:

"Last alien" syndrome: In UFO, TFTD, and Apocalypse, there was often the situation where there was one alien left which had to be eradicated before you could finish the level. Due to the game being turn-based movement across the map, although being very strategic was normally quite slow. In UFO the problem was quite bad due to the large map size, in TFTD the problem got a little worse as the maps size was increased. In Apocalypse we approached the situation by giving the aliens the chance to run away if they felt they were out numbered.

We have some new ideas about how to deal with the situation, but I was interested in how some of you would solve the issue.

Mark Simmons

Dreamland music: The original UFO music suited the game perfectly. John Broomhall did a great job. It's my job to try and emulate that same sort of tension and suspense. You won't hear any banging dance/techno tracks on Dreamland. That's not what I do. The music for Dreamland will be creepy, dark, and menacing. I'm writing a lot of material at the moment. More than I can use in the game. I'll pick the best tracks probably near the end of the project. I try and use 'organic' sounds as much as possible. For example, in one of the ambient tracks there are sounds of a swarm of wasps. It's heavily processed, and hidden within the track, but it's enough to create an 'uneasy' atmosphere.

Garry Taylor

X-Com future: I don't know what will happen to X-Com now that Infogrames have the license. It seems Infogrames are staying clear of more adult stuff (they have sold Duke Nukem and GTA) so they might dispose of X-Com as well. As for enforcer and alliance - they might not survive the buyout. I will offer them a fiver for the X-Com name, and keep you informed of progress.

Julian Gollop

(29.01.2001)

There were some interesting tidbits of official Dreamland forum. Talking about weapon in Dreamland, Garry Taylor said: "There are a wide variety of weapons planned. These include Berettas, M16's, Uzi's, H&K sniper rifles, shotguns, RPG launchers etc. There's also a _very_ wide array of alien weapons."

And Julian Gollop has clarified "equipping screen" theme:

Troops retain their equipment once it is allocated. If they lose anything in battle (or use up ammo) they will automatically grab replacements from any available source. Soldiers can be equipped from stores at bases or on board vehicles, using an identical interface. The equipping screen is a little more straightforward than the original X-Com, with equipment allocated to the soldier's backpack, or into his hands. There is no fiddling around trying to rearrange things on square spaces like a puzzle.

(27.01.2001)

I have noticed interesting Dreamland tidbit on official forum. Here is answer from Mark Simmons (Art Director) to my question about turn-based multiplayer on the PS2 Dreamland version:

This is an unusual problem. We would like to support a multiplayer aspect of the game for the PS2 but it is not easy to see how well this would work. Since the game is turn based, and relies heavily on the fact that you don't know where your enemies are all the time, a lot of strategy elements would be removed if you could watch whilst the other players took their go.

We have a few ideas about this issue, certainly a TCPIP version of the game could be possible, possibly e-mail'ing your moves, but the game would perhaps not be as interesting on the tradition quad split screen of the consoles.

(25.01.2001)

Julian Gollop has posted really interesting messages at Dreamland forum.

PS2 and PC versions: There is no compromise on gameplay as far as the PS2 is concerned. There will be a fixed tutorial section which takes the player through all the aspects of the game, but this is optional. The PS2 is limited on memory compared to the PC but the two versions will look similar. We are working on the PS2 version first because this is the most difficult to do - the requirements are much more stringent in terms of memory usage and frame rate. Then we will build the PC engine and interface. The PC version will have its own interface which will look and work differently to the PS2 version.

Camera views: There will be two main camera views - first person for each soldier, and a roving third person camera that looks down on the battlefield. We have experimented with a transparent roof effect to show soldiers and details inside buildings, and it looks good. There will also be independent cinematic camera views of the action for dramatic effect.

Combat areas and combat system: The combat areas are not huge, varying between 100m squares to 150 meters square.

It will be very easy for anybody familiar with turn based games to pick up the combat system. The main addition is the differentiation between body parts and the ability to blow off limbs completely (ugh!).

Solders and attributes: Soldiers are defined quite simply with a set of 8 randomly generated characteristics - speed, health, strength, accuracy, reactions, bravery, leadership and psi-skill. These can be improved for each soldier, but each soldier ahs different maximum limits. Some can be poor, but have great potential, whereas others can be highly skilled but near the limit of their capability.

Soldiers can run, walk, crouch, crawl, jump, climb, and sidestep. Specific body areas can be targeted with different effects. Morale is a significant factor in battles, but fatigue is not (the battles are too short for this to be particularly significant).

Weapon: Different firing rates are possible for each of the weapons, either automatic, burst, or single shot, any of which can be aimed or snapshot.

(24.01.2001)

The best news is about Dreamland. Official Mythos Games site has launched game forum. Anyway, the answers of project head designer, Julian Gollop, have revealed many interesting game-related information. Enemy spacecraft (almost called it UFO in the force of habit) interception system will be very different from X-Com system. The vehicle combats are supported with own 3D environment turn-based combat system. Unfortunately, the game disallow to fire at enemy from helicopters and other aircraft. In most cases transports are leaving the drop zone immediately, and you cannot use it for fire support. However, maybe, you will be able to strike Sauran bases with bombers before the start of on-ground assault.

Julian has also described characters a little. The player will define by himself what skills to develop for each soldier, but each character will have own priorities too. All characters may be renamed. Developers promised to put the names of such Laser Squad legendary heroes like Corporal Jonlan and Android Barker to the list of names.

(20.01.2001)

While I was away, there many interesting news appeared about different games. The nicest news for me is official Dreamland site update. The site is just rebuilt. This update allowed Freelancer to launch additional Dreamland subsections, according to changes on official site. In characters section you'll find miscellaneous interesting details and pictures of all race representatives. The descriptions and pictures of some alien aircraft are contained in vehicles section. Other new sections are dedicated to weapon descriptions and base structures of humans and aliens. Don't forget to check our art gallery too! You will find really beautiful pictures there. Thanking to Buka company, I've managed to place Dreamland advertising leaflet from last E3 exhibition on our site.

(15.01.2001)

Maybe more because of general trend than of real need, Daily Radar has published Dreamland Chronicles preview. It is much bigger than previous one, but I haven't found any new screenshots or facts there, unless indirect confirmations of rumors about the release delay. April, 2001 is no more referred to.

(13.01.2001)

I have barely complained of almost one year delay in Dreamland release when found new game preview on the web. This time at Quarter to Three pages. The preview is tiny, but it was a surprise for me to learn the Dreamland engine is the same as Battle Isle: Andosia engine, and also the engine of Freedom Force, the game that is currently under development. Really big surprise. But most interesting thing in the article is of course three new screenshots. You can find it in our gallery.

(10.01.2001)

Maximum Dreamland site webmaster has received a letter indirectly confirming the delay of Dreamland PC and PS2 releases for significant term. According to this letter (it is not original but something like the quotation of Julian Gullop words), PS2 version release is shifted to November, 2001, and PC version is to be released on undefined date of first quarter, 2002. Let me repeat, the information is not quite official - so I am not too upset. However such release delay can explain why the developers are keeping silence for many months.

Another Dreamland news. Hyperactive 3.1 site has published a small Dreamland preview supplemented by the interview with Julian Gullop. The interview describes some game moments.

For example, the game will have a complex experience gaining and stats improvement system. Your team is not just a group of soldiers with some special skills, they will also have psi skills acquired from Reticulans and unique scientific, medical and engineering knowledge gained from Men in Black. Interesting detail: the level of Sauran aggression and cruelty will depend on how much damage you dealt to them. You'll discover this alien behaviour feature as far as the game goes on. Additionally, the number of units in squad will be limited to about a dozen of soldiers.

(16.09.2000)

Here are some interesting details from Daily Telefrag interview:

Tolstiy: How do you go about choosing or creating sounds for the individual creatures in Dreamland?

Garry Taylor: Firstly, before anything, I go through the main design document, to try and get as much information as possible about all of the characters, aliens, and anything else that may need sound effects. I need to know everything about the aliens. This includes their size and appearance, their temperament, diet, physiology, etc. I look at the artists renders, and ask them to produce avi files for every animation. They supply me with the avi's, and only then do I go to work creating the sound effects. I have to take lots of things into consideration. The Saurans are carnivores, so they should sound nasty, and frightening. I spend a lot of time on creature sound effects.

Tolstiy: There were no voices in X-Com - the marines were as talkative as fish. Are you going to implement voice of marines in your new game?

Garry Taylor: I am. All the characters will have speech. Your squad will speak to you during the tactical missions. I felt this was essential to heighten the tension during the missions.

(07.09.2000)

Speaking about the features which the new game by Mythos Games will inherit from X-Com, Julian said that the developers want to develop and maintain the turn-based combat system, to develop tactical aspects of the battles and to deepen the interrelation and influence of the game's tactics on its strategy, as well as on the development of the plot. Static and isometric graphics is left in the past. It has been replaced by highly developed, highly technological three-dimensional environment which is capable of imitating physics laws. In general there has appeared striking changes in strategy of the game, where methods of capturing enemy vehicles became a little bit different, and more complicated.

Very unexpected appeared Julian's words on the system of research and discoveries. According to him, the system is at large similar to X-Com, but elements of espionage (!) and diplomacy (!) are also added. System of development of bases is similar to the original, with the only exception, that it will be possible to capture bases belonging to gangsters and other groupings like T.L.A.(!).

Weapons were discussed too. Initially at disposal of the people will be only human technologies and earth weapon, like M16, shotguns, flame-throwers, mortars etc. but Sauran technologies can also be investigated and the results of researches can be used in military purposes. Among new types of weapons there is the same EMP, for example, (electromagnetic radiation), which will be effective in fighting cyborgs and other machinery. There will be available various scanning devices and camouflage costumes, which will hide fighters from enemy eyes.

We already wrote that there will be no money in Dreamland. What could we find to add? And Julian has found what to add. From time to time, we will be supplied with new vehicles, arms and various materials of the reservations government (so that's where the espionage and diplomacy will be needed!).

Little is known about the multiplayer game. It is being planned, but there is not any details for now. One thing is known for sure, hot seat will be in the game! It is already more than nothing!

Julian also explained some technical aspects of the development of the game. Somehow PS2 and PC versions will differ. Firstly, in the control system (PS2 still has no mouse :); secondly, while developing PC version the programmers should take into account the possibility of gaming on low-productive systems. This creates additional difficulties, therefore don't be surprised, If in games there will be some differences. Besides, Julian has not excluded the probability of Dreamland's release on the X-Box platform.

(21.08.2000)

More than month passed since the last Developer's Diary update. And now the news flows like Niagara Falls. Before we had time to review two new video cuts, both Mythos Games site and Developer's Diary have been updated. There is new gallery on the site, featuring seven high quality screenshots with brief comments. However, let us focus the attention on screenshots.

These screenshots provide good understanding of Dreamland main enemy nature.

First screenshot (#34 in Freelancer gallery) has such comment: "Human Skeleton. A human skeleton discarded in a cultivation chamber. Saurans will capture and torture human slaves for pleasure before picking their bones clean."

Second screenshot (#31) shows the human remains used by Saurans for decorative purposes. So-called art, of Sauran kind :) The comment is: "Human Skull. Saurans will often use human remains to decorate their bases."

The next screenshot (#33) features alien power source. Such units are protected by a specially reinforced chamber. These devices are powered by an unstable element known as zenium.

Fourth screenshot (#32) shows how and where Saurans are eating - Sapling Room, where Sauran plants are seeded and nurtured in special sapling chambers before being transferred to the larger cultivation chambers.

Next screenshot (#36) shows a cultivation chamber with Sauran Forest. It is illuminated artificially in a vast underground cavern. Plants are genetically engineered with accelerated growth ready to be replanted outside.

Screenshot (#37) features a couple of Saurans tend to the crop inside a cultivation chamber. These spore plants release poisonous gas if they are disturbed by hostile life forms, such as humans, but accept the presence of their Sauran masters.

The last screenshot (#35) illustrates how Sauran stalking through a newly constructed sapling chamber. Sauran bases are built by melting huge caverns underground with thermal explosives. Chambers are then constructed, and machinery integrated directly into the rock formations.

Small Diary chapter tells how the game plot is being developed, and Sauran culture made.

Saurans are created to be cruel, technically developed and genetically modified colonists spreading through the galaxy. The developers want them to be real ALIENS for humans. First of all they are not so logical and predicable like humans, they are not strive to harmony and symmetry like us. So there are grotesque creatures sometimes shown on screenshots, absolutely non-symmetrical, machine and organics mix.

Now developers have defined the style for some main component of Sauran bases, but they still have no uniform general style. It was decided Saurans are using thermal explosions for their base construction. Then these huge caverns are filled with their machinery. Alien installations look like organics and techniques symbiosis, integrated into stone. The resulting environment seems really alien and hostile.

The developers are trying to make each base different from others, providing new tactical elements to the game. Each base has own special function. For example, the bases used for Sauran native flora cultivations are already almost designed.

(16.08.2000)

Here are some Dreamland and X-Com details from Game Center interview with Julian Gollop.

About physic system in Dreamland:

We have been busy integrating the physics systems into the game. This will allow us to simulate explosions, terrain destruction, and the effects of any collision within the tactical environment. The next step is to apply some clever physics properties to the characters in the game. Soon we will have characters that will step accurately through rough terrain, flinch when hit, or collapse like a rag doll when blown away by a shotgun. Alongside this, we are just adding the water simulation, which is looking excellent so far. Objects can float and bob in the water, generating realistic waves and ripples.

X-Com success factors:

One factor that was fairly unique at the time was the combination of strategic planning and tactical battles, and in particular the way these two parts of the game interacted with each other. Another successful aspect of X-Com was the tense, nail-biting, turn-based tactical combat system.

What's new that's going to blow X-Com fans away?

Mainly the level of detail and realism in the tactical missions. Turn-based games have been associated with dull, primitive graphics. Dreamland has extremely sophisticated graphics, and they aren't just a window dressing. The interaction with the environment is realistically modeled and has important gameplay implications. For example, it would be possible to see a chain of events where a tree is hit by a missile, which then topples over into a house, causing debris to collapse onto a car, which in turn may then catch fire and blow up, causing injury to soldiers nearby.

Julian described his favorite alien: "At the moment the ultra-parasite alien is my favorite. This creature has an extremely accelerated life cycle. It looks a bit like a mosquito the size of a football, and it grows to [adult] size within a few minutes. During this time it must find a host to lay eggs -- usually a human host will work very well. Once the host is infected the eggs grow rapidly, absorbing nutrients from the host, and they hatch spontaneously, killing the host and freeing more parasite creatures. They are very nasty indeed."

Talking about the release date, Julian said: "We have moved the release date back to Easter next year, just to make sure we can deliver what we promise."

(08.08.2000)

Daily Telegraph has published an interview with Garry Taylor - head audio designer of Dreamland development team. There were some interesting points to notice. Answering the question if the word "Chronicles" in the game name means possible sequels, Garry said this question is not discussed yet. The sequel is possible if there will be an option and demand for it. Next, he said the Dreamland history and plot are chronicles itself. As it was promised, the game will have a complex discovery tree. Mostly new technologies are to be obtained from trophies.

Engine's capacities are high, and we've got another confirmation of Dreamland world interactivity. Dynamical lighting allows to implement the most complex light effects. The explosions have a shockwave, and, for example, destroyed wall splinters able to bring a sufficient harm to living units. All objects up to the smallest ones are comply with laws of physics.

The game will show a small video cuts interpreting key events in plot progress.

There is non-linearity in the game, but of special kind. It concerns a technology tree. You can complete the game without discovering some technologies. It is not necessary to discover everything to complete the game. You can discover these missing technologies in new game, and maybe get a different set of weapons and equipment based on alien technology by the end of this game.

The game has no money source. How can be any money available if there only 5% of mankind left alive? The access to human resources depends on how successful are the actions of Liberation Army (T.L.A.).

The game has no underwater missions planned. So it has nothing in common with X-Com 2 in this issue. The battles happen in usual for other series environment - city ruines, woods, mountains, snow valleys, etc.

The vehicle park is substantial: from F-16, stealth planes, helicopters and tanks to huge sauran ships.

Garry has confirmed one more time that game bestiary is to be very various. You can capture aliens and then send to base for research.

The game has provided more details on Men in Black origins. They are appeared to be human/aliens hybrids. There will be two alien races, as promised.

Multiplayer is planned - but only as standard game add-on, i.e. on tactical scenario level. There will also be hot seat mode in the game. The last one is probably to bring at least some multiplayer to console world.

And finally regarding the demo version. If it will ever be released - this will happen only after the PS2 game version release.

(29.07.2000)

Developers Mythos Games have site for The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge. The site offers the back story and an overview of the game's features and some new scenes in thumbnails only.

March 7th, 2003 - Invasion

An extraordinary event grips the attention of the world's population. A massive armada of space ships has approached earth, carrying an unknown alien species. They establish contact with earth governments and insist on a worldwide broadcast to reveal themselves, and their intentions, to the people of earth. They appear to be lizard like in form, with highly developed brains and hands similar to human beings. The Saurans, as they became known, demand immediate surrender of the planet. With their invasion fleet poised to enter the earth's atmosphere the future of humanity seems uncertain. Although the Saurans offer to accommodate the human population within reservations, the earth governments see no option but to fight. Colonisation would mean a complete transformation of the planet, wiping out most native life forms. Humans would become nothing more than slaves of the Sauran empire.

April 13th, 2003 - Defeat

After an intense but brief war the human resistance collapses. Most of civilisation has been wiped out and the remaining civilian population left destitute. The terms of surrender provide for nine isolated reservations spread around the globe. As refugees stream to these small areas the Saurans take control of most of the planet's surface. They begin to construct vast underground bases that provide breeding facilities for the entire menagerie of the Sauran's native world. It seems like only a matter of time before the planet is fully colonised.

May 4th, 2003 - Resistance

Despite the humiliation of the earth's forces, isolated pockets of resistance continue to wage a guerrilla war against the Sauran overlords. One such group, the 'Terran Liberation Army,' stumble on a discovery that might just turn the tide against the Saurans. This small band of soldiers has discovered an alien artefact in the secret government facility in Nevada. This area has been known in legend as 'Dreamland,' because of the extraordinary alien technology the government kept hidden there. The artefact is retrieved successfully and returned to a secret TLA base.

May 15th, 2003 - Freedom Ridge

The TLA have constructed an underground facility called 'Freedom Ridge,' named after the last viewpoint from which Dreamland could be seen back in the 1990s. The alien artefact is analysed in the laboratory, but it does not appear to be of Sauran origin. In fact, it seems to belong to an ancient alien race that was present on the earth at the dawn of stone-age civilisation. It appears to have the unique property of destabilising the propulsion systems of Sauran vehicles. With the aid of this device it would be possible to begin the fight back against the Sauran tyranny. There is hope that the earth can be reclaimed for humanity after all.



(01.07.2000)

Last week Julian Gollop shared with the world the details of software and technologies used for Dreamland gameworld creation. Thus all soldiers and monsters have skeleton models, and created using continuous level of detail (CLOD) technology, allowing to vary the number of polygons in model depending on distance between the object and camera. Each Dreamland character is not just moving model, but complex "aggregate" interactive to environment. If the bomb explodes near the soldier, his body is getting damage, and all this damage is calculated depending on conditions. Engine power allows to reflect even blood drops, where each drop is a complex object obeying to physical laws. Leaving aside all precise terms, let us say it simply - these technology is very expensive and cool!

To our regret, the developers are making for PS2 power, and its ability to process up to 72 million polygons per second. Dreamland will have at least 30 frames per second, and each frame is 10 thousand polygons or more (i.e. 300 thousand polygons per second). Perhaps there are no other games with such technology level now.

Unit models are being created in 3d MAX, and texturising is processed with Deep Paint 3D capacities. Character animation is provided by Character Studio.

Julian promised to tell the people how the maps for Dreamland are developed very soon.

(08.06.2000)

As far as project is going on, the developers are trying to define the level of soldier control. For example, they have not decided yet if we will be able to control each soldier separately, or the whole squad at the same time. Probably, players will be allowed to play both for humans and aliens, this option - playing for "bad side" - is quite unusual for the genre of tactical games. Now the development reached the base design stage. The player is to be able to build his bases in any point of the world if there are enough building materials and equipment. These bases are to be placed underground - corridors, elevators, and air ducts leading to surface. Player can modify and expand the base with barracs, stores, and miscellaneous service rooms. The base may be equipped with missile defence system and radars allowing to detect enemy units on approach. All is similar to good old X-Com, but now it is presented visually. And, like in X-Com, Aliens can penetrate the base defences, so all inhabitants will be involved into indoor battle. But we are also able to invade the alien bases. Base defence is vital game element. Enemy base capture gives new resources and technologies, as well as war prisoners.

(01.06.2000)

Like Julian says, the Dreamland demo has been very successful at E3. Game engine and turn-based mode, according to Julian's opinion, allows to implement amazing special effects for different weapon types. The brightest example is Shockwave Canon of Saurans. The strike factor of this weapon is EMI (electromagnetic impulse). As a result, all the devices and military vehicles are paralyzed, and people are affected by a strong shock. Engine power ensures the beauty of this effect - EMI charge looks like the bolt of bright lightnings. Each game weapon has its own unique special effect and strike factors.

Disctinctive character of Dreamland is attention to details. Look at the picture and see how much attention is paid to both general looking of the maps and such small things as separate rooms decoration. It is promised to include such unique things as option to move very heavy items with tractor beam. There will be space and gravity distortion implemented, as well as antigravity. Even now one of saurans is completely ready - it is Scout. Little predator with primary objective to trace the human survivors in their secret bases.

Scout


(17.05.2000)

Recent E3 exhibition lifted the mystery curtain over the Dreamland project. There were several new screenshots shown making clear that game is under constant modification, and seems to become more good-looking. Hard to say if it will be more interesting.

Below I will rely on the words of developers themself (to be more precise, Julian Gollop). According to his words, Dreamland athmospere is determined by alien monsters. This time the humans should repulse the invasion of pangolin race, Saurans. It is high technology alien race widespread through our Galaxy, and Earth is just another dominion of Sauran great galactic empire.

Earth is needed for colonization by Saurans. Human civilization is almost destroyed, infrastructure is ruined, survivors are placed into reservations to become the food for alien colonists. Like their ancestors, saurans are often fly into a rage and pointlessly devour people.

Common soldier model When developing the base types of aliens, says Julian, designers ae follow some principles: aliens should be evolutionary credible - bipeds, walking straight, with tho arms similar to human ones for manipulation with items. The size is to be quite "small" to fit the lanscape and urban constructions. They are to be agile, quick, strong and cruel, but very clever and technically developed.

Julian confessed that initial models of aliens (absent on screenshots) failed to comply with above requirements. But it was just test models. Scout sauran model shown on the screenshots above are close to these requirements. But, in Gollop's opinion, even such model isn't too good to fit player expectations. His constitution is good, but there should be equipment added, and even the general looking can be modified.

Saurans are far from being a lone alien race. There will be featured "Ancient ones" (their part in the game is not clear yet) - a race visited Earth long before saurans and even before mankind appearance. They left a number of preserved bases guarded by robots. Both game sides can find and use it. Another race (or it is Ancients too?) "Reticulans" is living on Earth for the long time but not shown themselves up to sauran invasion.

The "Men in Black" will constantly interfere in the course of events. Now Julian told nothing about them. We only know they will be present in the game. Saurans have had the time to sow the Earth with their own flora and fauna samples, so we will "have pleasure" to meet it too. Julian have personally put the flying insectoid into the project of planned monsters. It is hard to say now if it will be implemented in the game.

Such project as Dreamland requires a big and well-organized team. Now there are 13 people (!): 6 programmers, 5 artists, 1 sound engineer and 1 game designer. Later the number of artists will grow - especially when the process will reach the stage of intro and intermediate clips creation.

Such level game requires a huge investments. Today's game budget is close to 10 million pounds (!) threshold, and still growing. Julian claims Dreamland will have no equal competitors on japanese market among other playstation games.

At present moment one of human soldier models is completed. This model is too complex yet both for PS2 and РС. Later it will be simplified a bit, and split into separate samples for different platforms.

Julian also told how Mythos prepared for presentation of Dreamland on E3. Last weeks before the exhibition were spent for demo version preparation, with main objective to show the immense interactivity of Dreamland world. There was special map developed to show the maximum number of planned game effects on exhibition. The fire and the smoke wasn't ready yet, but Gollop said the people were impressed a lot by stuff they've seen nevertheless.

As you can see, the game is being developed heavily now. Engine is not completed yet, but the features already implemented are really impressive.

Bethesda Softworks has been declared as the publisher of future 3D tactical game by Mythos Games. The game will be developed for two platforms: PC and PlayStation 2. Mythos team is known as the developer of first part of X-Com series. Developers are back to genre which gave them the world reputation. This team promises the revolutionary tactical game in the best traditions of X-Com, with fantastic plot and maximum realism. The screenshots available now are expressive evidence to this promise. What is the best thing, these screenshots are not from demo clip but from the game, so engine works good and effects are tuned... But the players value not the appearance of the game (not only appearance, to be more exact), they are value the game "athmosphere" the most. We cannot judge it now.

The time of action is close future (year 2003), right after 70-day war against alien invaders. You are going to lead the commando squad from international resistance army known as Terran Liberation Army - the last hope of mankind. You'll have access to both terran and alien technology (how it reminds UFO!).

As the game goes on, you'll disclose the secret of Area 51, abduction mystery and learn who are those mystic "men in black". Can you gather the necessary forces and raid the enemy staying out of sight? You will be able to establish the military bases, organize the supply infrastructure and protect some survived civilians. Do you need new technologies? Use force to take it. Do you need money? Fight for resource control. Do you need new soldiers? Liberate the civilians. Your soldiers will perfect themselves as their battle experience grow.

The game release is expected in April 2001. System requirements are evidently to be very high, screenshots confirm it. The official name of the game is The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge.



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