A free-roaming squad based RPG. Focusing on open-ended gameplay features rather than a linear story. Be a trader, a thief, a rebel, a mercenary, a business owner, a doctor, a bandit... the list goes on. Aid or oppose the various factions in the world while striving for the strength and wealth necessary to simply survive in the harsh desert. Purchase and upgrade your own buildings to use as safe fortified havens when things go bad, or use them to start up a business. Train your men up from puny victims to master warriors. Carry your wounded squad mates to safety and get them all home alive.

Post feature Report content RSS feed Quests? QUESTS!?!?

Many RPGs revolve around quests, story and dialogue. Some revolve around action and leveling up for the sake of it, and you skim through the dialogue that explains the plot about you being the only person who can save the world. Kenshi is neither, its more of a simulation of a living world.

Posted by captain_deathbeard on May 29th, 2011

Firstly, the game is not based around scripted events, or even scripted AI. I am aiming as much as possible for an emergent game, that means basically that everything that happens occurs as a result of interacting forces, rather than specifically being scripted to happen. Mainly this means factions, nations and individuals pursuing their own goals will cause events to occur in the game world. The player may run into these events, hear about them, or just see the after effects (or warning signs).

Secondly, there are no "quests", unlike the standard for most RPGs. You are not told what to do all the time and continually given menial tasks, like fetching a farmers missing ring. What you have instead are professions and self-interests.

Traditional RPG example!

You enter a village and talk to the chief who tells you they have a bandit problem, and asks you to go off and kill them all. Great. So you follow the map marker, kill the bandits, come back, get your crappy reward. Great. Why did you do it? Because its there, its a quest, but you don't actually feel like you saved a village from bandits, do you? You feel like you just killed some more bad guys and then collected your reward from the "quest giver". Same as you always do. If you didn't take the quest, you could come back a week later and the bandit quest and village will still be there, in the exact same state. Everyone is just waiting around for you, like actors in a farce.

Emergent example!

Lets say you enter a village, you like this place, its in a handy location for you to rest and resupply, and you use it all the time. Maybe its a good trading route, maybe you own a building or a business there. Now one of the big bandit gangs that wander the world map has visited and done all the scary threats and posturing and said, "we're coming back in 1 week, if you don't have 1000 boxes of rice for us by then we will burn this place to the ground!". Maybe you saw this event, maybe you didn't, either way all the villagers are panicking about it and maybe they have even been hiring mercenaries. So you hear about this and think "damn, if those bandits burn this place that means my favorite village will be gone, and it will mess up my best trading route too, and the price of rice will skyrocket. Oh dear."

So then you DECIDE to stand with them to defend the village, you help shore up the defences and maybe gear up some locals, then you have a lovely great big battle 7-samurai style and the bandits flee. You just had a major impact on the state of the game world, you did something because you wanted to and it had a real effect. You saved a village, made the area safer, maybe tipped the balance of power among the bandit clans. If you did nothing the village would have been razed, they wouldn't all have waited around for you to "accept the quest".

Now you have all sorts of offshoots to think about. You have to decide if you should pursue the bandits and wipe them out, because thats a real group, they weren't just spawned for the purpose of that one event, they will probably be back for revenge. And what if one of your men got captured during the attack? Now you have to go track down their camp and rescue him. Sneak him out, free him by force, buy him back, or maybe he is skilled enough to escape by himself.

And thats just one example, its the tip of the iceberg. Imagine this occurring in different events all over the world among factions, lawmakers, thieves, guards, kings, nations, traders, armies, zombie hordes etc. Its the holy grail that developers talk about all the time but so far nobody has the balls to try it because quite frankly, its chaotic and unpredictable. I am essentially designing a game to be beyond my control.

Gratuitous picture. Helps you read!

You don't believe me.

I know what you are thinking now, you're thinking "that's too much work, doing all that, single handed, you'll never manage it, you're a fool! A handsome fool!". Truth is, its not as hard as it sounds. It only seems difficult because no game has done it before. Its still hard, but for a single handed programmer who specialises in AI and has little time and art resources and a large world to fill, its actually a better idea, because such a system essentially generates the game content and events for me. Unpredictable, chaotic content perhaps, but fun and real. Its not like conventional methods where I have to manually dictate everything that can happen, it saves me a lot of time in many areas. I'm not saying I can do it perfectly, but I'm going to damn well try.

Procedural techniques are a staple tool of the big-time indie developer.

So if its so great why hasn't any big developer done it yet? Why can I do it and not them? They should, but mostly they are not allowed, no sane investor would allow such a gamble. Not to mention its so unpredictable you don't know how its going to turn out, and developers really don't like not having absolute control over everything. To me however, thats the whole fun of it.

Its something only an indie developer can do, someone who is not being controlled and not making a game for money or a target market, someone who is making a game because they want to play it themselves, because they want to see it done.

Post comment Comments
Renegade2 May 29 2011 says:

After reading this i have concluded that this game is an insta buy

You also are a very good writer

+10 votes     reply to comment
Jeffman12 May 29 2011 replied:

^ This.

But I still can't tell if this is post apocalyptic or a 'historical fantasy' setting. Does that make me slow?

+3 votes     reply to comment
Komposten May 30 2011 replied:

What renegade2 said...

...multiplied by a thousand...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nephos May 29 2011 says:

I <3 you.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JohnnyMaverik May 30 2011 says:

It's easier to get good, even great artists to create the assets you'll need than it would be for an artist to get great (and they'd need to be great) programmers to put the kinds of AI and world systems that you're talking about into place. So if you really can do what you say you can do the artists will come.

I'll be honest, I have my doubts, what you're talking about is massive, but I'm looking forward to you hopefully proving me wrong.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheHorseman May 30 2011 says:

Reading something like this makes me wonder why anybody gets excited by the latest AAA, same as last time only prettier, title. Good on you for daring to be different, captain_deathbeard!

+1 vote     reply to comment
scottellison92 May 30 2011 says:

i like this idea, and i would also like to see it done, so i am going to offer my help as a 3d modeler i specialize in weapons but give me a good reference and im always willing to give anything a go. pm me if you like

+2 votes     reply to comment
Brotherblaze May 30 2011 says:

Very Nice and Very clever ! You my friend are a new gateway in gaming !

+1 vote     reply to comment
DuckSauce May 30 2011 says:

Sounds like what Mount&Blade does, but then all the quest stuff taken out and it's all procedural.

So, it's been done before, but only half arsed.
Good luck :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Copperhell Sep 25 2011 replied:

This is different than just Mount And Blade. There is this medical system, building bases, or joining an army as a soldier rather than being the commander.

+1 vote     reply to comment
angelcs May 30 2011 says:

so is this going to be in third person aspect or first or rts?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Theon May 30 2011 says:

Haha, three lines into the "emergent example" I instantly thought "You mean like 7 Samurai!?" :D
**** yeah, colour me interested!

+1 vote     reply to comment
kazarr May 30 2011 says:

This sounds exactly like what they're talking about over at the development of Guild Wars 2. I'm still sceptic about it, because I have yet to see either you or them pull it off. If you can do it though...then damn, you're awesome. Enough said.

+4 votes     reply to comment
unknow5763 May 30 2011 says:

Looks cool and writen well keep it up

+1 vote     reply to comment
Krej May 30 2011 says:


+2 votes     reply to comment
dowdpride May 30 2011 says:

huzzah! way to strike a blow for indie gaming. i have always dreamed of doing and playing a game such as this, (a bit more realistic though. if you need ideas, ask away :D) and this game is going to be an insta-buy!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Melik May 30 2011 says:

i would buy it KNOW
doesnt matter the price ore what kind of genre it is

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheUnabridgedGamer May 30 2011 says:

Finally, someone makes an honest to goodness sand box game that's believable. If I got a dollar for every time I wanted this in a RPG or sand box game, I'd be able to buy Infamous 2: Hero Edition. I'm definitely looking forward to this.

+1 vote     reply to comment
GrimSheeper Jun 28 2011 says:

You got your convincing writing style down pretty damn well. I always get the feeling that I absolutely HAVE to support games like this, games that dare to be big and different and risk falling flat but go on anyways because they have an idea that's worth it. Currently I'm in a bit of a monetary hassle, large expenses coming up with college. But if I might say so, I'm a good writer, maybe I could help in that regard. Take care of some quests, look over written dialogue for misspellings and correct things that sound forced. I'd be willing to do that.

+1 vote     reply to comment
GHOST04111 Jul 29 2011 says:

if i had the money i would bye this game for everyone or donate $100 000 dollaers just sow this came dosn't die. wish i had some money but saveing up for skyrm special edition

+2 votes     reply to comment
krazyrage May 15 2012 says:

I know I'm kinda late seeing this now, but dam this is like mount and blade but 123740981374091237 times better. I am rooting for you and this game!

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Developer & Publisher
Lo-Fi Games Ltd
Ogre Engine
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Release date
Released 2011
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Kenshi Role Playing
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Ogre Engine
Ogre Engine MIT Released 2005
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Lo-Fi Games Ltd
Lo-Fi Games Ltd Developer with 2 members