When we talk about LAN parties here at TR, your mind probably conjures images of unwashed teenagers staring at CRT monitors as they frag each other in Quake. To a big group of today's grown-up gamers though, LAN parties meant hooking up a quartet of Xboxes for some sixteen-player Halo action. If you pine for those days—or simply miss whacking people with plasma swords on Xbox Live—you should keep a close eye on Installation 01, a community-made love letter to the classic Halo series. The development team behind the title just recently announced that it has the tacit approval of the current stewards of the Halo property, 343 Industries.
I say "tacit" approval because 343 Industries didn't exactly give the project its blessing. The company did however say that it wouldn't interfere with Installation 01's progress as long as the game is 100% created from scratch and operates on a strictly not-for-profit basis. That means it will be completely free-to-play, of course, but it also means that the developers can't merchandise the game or otherwise make money off of it.
Strictly speaking, the terms of Microsoft's Game Content Usage Rules—a page that was no doubt set up after the enormous success of the Red vs. Blue video series—don't preclude the developers from accepting donations for their work. Still, Installation 01's developers insist that they will stay away from doing any such thing, stating that they would like to "keep a respectful distance between [themselves] and Microsoft's intellectual property."
Installation 01's website says the title will be a multiplayer-only affair when it is finished, and that it'll have gameplay closely based on the original Bungie-developed Halo games. The team is using Unity 5, and aiming to use that engine's Vulkan renderer. Given the relatively modest demands of the graphics on offer, it's fairly safe to say that the game ought to run on basically any hardware that supports Vulkan. Watch the Q&A video above for a look at some pre-alpha gameplay, or check out this newer cinematic trailer that reveals the presence of playable Sangheili Elites.
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