T H E   G A M E S P O T   N E T W O R K
Blinded By Reality: The True Story Behind the Creation of Unreal
Part One - In the Beginning
- Introduction
- Action Aficionados
- From Carpet to Foot
- Tools of the Trade
- Sculpt Your Own World
- Virtual Recruitment
- The Name of the Game
- GT Enters the Fray

Part Two - Virtual Development

Part Three - Reality Rises
Behind the Games
Virtual Recruitment
The Internet has long been a hot breeding ground for fans of 3D action games, and Epic knew it. So when it started fleshing out the team for the game, it was only logical to turn to the cyber realm. For instance, the man hired for the game's artificial intelligence was well-known for his famous Reaper Bots add-on for Quake (the program adds realistic computer-controlled human opponents to the multiplayer game). Rein remembers that he was on the Internet IRC chat at a hotel in Europe when he first heard of Reaper Bots. "Some users said during the chat, 'Hey Mark, have you seen the Reaper Bots?' I hadn't, but I downloaded them and was addicted. For me, it was the perfect way to practice for multiplayer.

Epic had to tell the world that a new era for the company was about to begin. Pinball tables and carrot-munching jackrabbits need not apply.

So the next day, I found the phone number of Steve Polge who created them, called him, and he was hired within a month as our artificial intelligence guy."

Other employees would be hired in a similar fashion, usually based on their previous work published on the Internet. At the same time, this process of hiring the best of the Internet would lead to a development team scattered all over the world. Schmalz and his core group of artists would be branded as Digital Extremes and remain in Canada, but everyone else was all over the map - from the Netherlands to the US to Canada to France. As the team started to ramp up, members would communicate via e-mail and phone to discuss their vision for the game. Just as the team was growing, the game was turning into Epic's largest project ever in terms of resources and investment. It deserved a huge push and Epic knew it - Epic had to tell the world that a new era for the company was about to begin. Pinball tables and carrot-munching jackrabbits need not apply.

Mark Rein
The Hype Begins
Mark Rein, Epic's VP of marketing and former president of id Software, knew the team had something special brewing. He wanted to show the world what was in development and chose the 1996 Electronic Entertainment Expo as the venue. So, in a suite at the Marriott in Marina Del Ray, CA, Rein, Sweeney, Schmalz, and Bleszinski premiered the game technology. Promoting the use of the MMX processor from Intel for enhanced visual effects on a computer monitor that sat near an open window with palm trees swaying in the background, they demonstrated the technology to the press and a select group of industry insiders. Although there wasn't much of a game to be shown, the visuals were very impressive - colored lights illuminated the environment and blended with each other. And the editor shown by Bleszinski was truly revolutionary, making level-building virtually a point-and-click process. These demos would continue for the next two years as Rein and PR manager Craig Lafferty churned out more and more buzz and hype about the game.

Next: The Name of the Game>