Old games can be really awesome. What I like about many old games is just how different they are. Perhaps in a way similar to indie games now they tried something new and weren’t afraid to fail. Often I find the games aren’t as balanced from years of the genre refining itself and I really enjoy those games. Games don’t always have to be fair and I find fun exploiting the system to make it easier or harder for myself, one such game is Dune 2. Dune 2 is seen as one of the first RTS games, it has incredibly unbalanced unit types but to be honest, I find that part of the charm and is still a hell of a lot of fun. There were also hardware limitations that created issues that effected gameplay such as the max number of buildings you could build, which included both your buildings and the enemies, making you go out on skirmishes to blow a few buildings up before you quickly build more yourself. The polish of modern games make me miss things like that.
There are two problems with old games that both effect Dune 2. 1 of these problems is that as hardware and operating systems move on making it very hard to play the original. In the case of Dune 2 this isn’t so much of a problem because of the wonderful DosBox, but it does effect it’s sister games Dune 200 and Emperor: Battle for Dune .
The second problem is around gameplay elements that don’t give it a little bit of charm. The gameplay elements for Dune 2 that didn’t age well revolve around the face that future RTS games added elements that make it hard to go back to games that lack them. The biggest element that I find hard to do without is the addition of the ‘lasso tool’ that lets you select multiple units.
Feeling like playing some old games I scouted around and found there is a Dune 2 project to create a faithful rendition of the game on newer operating systems called openDune. On top of this there is another project to add lasso support! The project called Dune Dynasty can be downloaded here.
Notes on setting up Dune Dynasty on Mac OS X
On MAC OS X you have to compile the source yourself. It’s not hard but I’ve made a video and will leave my notes in case anybody finds them useful:
First install brew:
Open Terminal and install
brew install cmake
brew tap homebrew/versions
brew install allegro5
Download the dune dynasty source to your desktop
Copy Dune 2 Pak files in directory with created binary file