Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (titled Dune II: Battle for Arrakis in Europe and Dune: The Battle for Arrakis for the North American Mega Drive/Genesis port respectively) is a real-time strategy Dune video game developed by Westwood Studios and released by Virgin Games in December 1992. 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 necessarily the first real-time strategy (RTS) video game, Dune II established the format that would be followed for years to come. As such, Dune II is the archetypal "real-time strategy" game. Striking a balance between complexity and innovation, it was a huge success and laid the foundation for Command & Conquer, Warcraft, StarCraft, and many other RTS games that followed.
Originally released for DOS in 1992, Dune II was one of the first PC games to support the recently introduced General MIDI standard. The 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 synthesisers (such as the Roland Sound Canvas), because users could not play the game with both digital sound effects (which MIDI synthesisers 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.
In 1993, it was ported to Amiga and Mega Drive/Genesis. 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 came on five disks). Save games are stored on a specially formatted disk and the game could also be installed to hard drive. In the Amiga version the player is limited to 32 units, but patches exist to allow the DOS version to have 255 units created and managed.
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.
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