Runestone

Firebird

Status: Preview, Findability: 4/5

Updates made

10/04/14 – Added small snippets to why the game was never released.

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A sort of “Lords of Midnight” type affair which got a release by Firebird on its “Hot Range” back in 1985, and in particular on the ZX Spectrum. A young Chris Yates and Jon Hare were just getting started in the game development world before Sensible Software was born, and they were contracted to do the conversion of this well recieved Spectrum game under a developer house called “LT Software”. It was a game worked on for 13 weeks approximately before Sensible Software was set up.

The game is a graphic adventure that was coded originally by Alan Davis, and was produced also by Games Workshop. The game featured a technique called “Venturescope”, whcih combined real-time action, a full text interpreter, multiple command input, deozens of independant characters and 8,000 views from over 2,000 locations. The spectrum entry for the game can be found with full reviews and scans.

The game conversion was completed (in around 2 weeks!) and was quite successful, but sadly Firebird apparently complained that the game was too slow. Jon Hare/Chris Yates in an interview in Zzap 64 – issue 61, fought back by saying that it was actually the fault of Firebird’s loader (Was it really down to the loading speed of the game that cancelled it?). In the end the game never got released as a result and Jon and Chris were never paid.

Seems a shame that a completed conversion that pretty much did the business never saw the light of day. We need to find out a bit more background to what happened, but now we hope that we can try and uncover remains (or even the full conversion) to bring to GTW in the future.

However, in late 2011 – C64.com ported a series of disks from Darren Melboune, on one of the disks was a set of graphics by Lizard (Who I think was a relation of Stoat – his brother?) On the disk was a file called “Roonstone” which when loaded up, presented shockingly a C64 conversion of Runestone!
We are unsure just how complete it is or if it is by the Sensible lads, but check this out and see for yourself! (Thanks to Slator for the fixed files)

Maybe this was a second conversion that failed and which followed Sensible’s version?

More to come on this game, but check it out! Yet another big Firebird game preserved!!

Contributions: Peter Weighill, Jon Hare, Darren Melbourne, C64.com, Slator, Ross Sillifant

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Available downloads for this entry

  • Preview_Runestonefirebird.zip
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