A roguelike game inspired by the literature of Jorge Borges, Umberto Eco & Neal Stephenson, and the games Europa Universalis and Dark Souls. URR aims to explore several philosophical and sociological issues that both arose during the sixteenth and seventeenth century (when the game is approximately set), and in the present day, whilst almost being a deep, complex and highly challenging roguelike. It explores questions of philosophical idealism, cryptography, linguistics and the writing and formation of the historical record, and will challenge players to hopefully think in ways and about themes that are rarely touched upon by games.

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3 comments by UltimaRatioRegum on May 10th, 2015

This week I haven’t been able to get any coding done, and the same will sadly be the case for the next seven days – I’ve been finishing off an academic book chapter due in very shortly, as well as doing some writing for various online game publications (links will be posted here once my pieces are published), and also writing three different conference presentations for three talks I’m giving at DiGRA in Lüneburg next week (so once I upload that, and my previous set of talks, I’ll be uploading six sets of slides for your perusal! I’ll get around to it folks, I promise). So, this week and next week we’re going to talk about some of the more abstract intentions/plans for 0.8 onwards, then hopefully after that we’ll be back to specific updates once I get working on 0.8 again upon returning from Germany (week of the 18th onwards). Two big abstract/worldbuildy changes in this release alongside the development of NPCs (!!) are policies, and nicknames, so let’s talk about these.


During the development of 0.7, I found myself making a major change to how national policies work. Originally the idea was for them to give abstract benefits to the player – one policy might yield a player who belongs to that nation extra strength, for example – but I found this increasingly uninteresting. So much of the game’s mechanics are meant to be about figuring out and understanding the generated world, and I realized it would be a lot more interesting if policies directly affected what spawned in each nation – so the macro of a nation’s political ideologies and policies then determine what buildings appear (or not) in cities, towns, within buildings, etc.

User Posted Image

So, a pretty simple key. Green effects are policies which don’t relate to shops; yellow policies relate to types of shops which can spawn in that nation; which the red ?s, funnily enough, are policies I haven’t thought of a good effect for (any ideas?). Escort Cavalry is a nomadic-only policy, and Chiefdom is a hunter-gatherer only policy, but aside from those, any of these policies can spawn for any feudal nation (Monastic is in red because it is a new policy I haven’t yet added to the game or created an image for). At the bottom you’ll see two binary possibilities: from 0.8 onwards, nations will either be slaving nations or won’t be, and nations will either use gunpowder weapons, or won’t.

With this system policies will therefore seriously affect (I hope) a player’s path around the world and choosing which nations to visit, knowing that certain shops will only appear in certain nations, some will be more/less hostile to foreigners, some have different systems for payment (or not) when moving around cities, some nations will have different punishments if the player decides to commit a crime within their land, etc. Should add an interesting level of grand strategy to the player’s movement, and be a lot more interesting than “abstract policies” which affect the player, but fail to distinguish between nations.

City Nicknames

Credit for this idea must go to Retropunch on the Bay12 thread for URR. He suggested that I could add some distinguishing factors to cities which both make them stand out more from each other, and add the potential for nicknames. In this release I’m aiming to add this in over a dozen ways to make cities more distinct, and add in another “clue” – i.e. the nickname – by which cities might be identified. This means the generation algorithm for a small number of cities will be tweaked to ensure that something very noteworthy spawns in/around/throughout a given city, and then an appropriate nickname is generated. Some examples:

City with many slums: “City of the Downtrodden”, “The Evergrowing City”, etc

City with many gardens: “The Flowering City”, “The City of the Hundred Gardens”, etc

City near volcano: “The City of the Inferno”, “The City of the Red Mount”, etc

Slaving city: “The City of the Masters”, “The City of Shackles”, etc

City with many statues: “The City of Stone Watchers”, “The City of the Grey Men”, etc

And so on. I’ve got around fifteen ideas so far for feature/nickname combinations (you’ll be able to find the rest in 0.8!), so maybe five cities per playthrough will be granted some unique “overlay” (like lots of gardens, lots of statues, etc) and a nickname to go with it. So then the player will sometimes be told “Travel to [ City Name ]”, but will instead sometimes be told “Travel to [ City Nickname ]” – a small thing in gameplay terms, but something which’ll add some nice extra variety to the world’s cities and help the player remember which city is which. The idea of the nickname in general seems like something very promising, so I’ve also been working on adding nicknames to other things in the game, primarily rulers and important historical figures, and also noteworthy living figures the player will be engaging with, and it’s those I’ll be talking about next week!

Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 129)
l30sh00t May 9 2015, 6:52am says:

Amazing!!! :DDD So cool man. I just noticed something that kinda bothered me, are you thinking of changing like the overall skull structure instead of just skin tone/hair and nose? Because I feel like they are all the from the same mother, and I feel like a bit of skull structure modification will completely remove that feeling. Just wondering. Keep up the good work! :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum May 10 2015, 10:28am replied:

Awesome, thanks! Very glad you like it. The problem is that everything has to adhere to a grid, i.e. I'm using ANSI characters, so I can't easily change the size of things; if I do that, then suddenly all the other features might not line up, or might need changing, or all kinds of things. Changing the basic shape of the skull would make everything vastly more confusing (though I don't agree with you that they all look like siblings! But then, I am biased). Thanks! :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
negoay Apr 19 2015, 3:49pm says:

I've just downloaded and explored around the planet I choose. Wait... Whoah I even choose the planet?! The art, user interface, solar system-planet-terrain-town generation are all well made. I've tried this kind of roguelikes before but this feels really comfortable. This truly is a good job, keep it up! Oh by the way, I've seen some little mistakes (or maybe not, I might misunderstood them):

-When a day passed (15 Sept), the notification below said "It is now 14 Sept" or something like that, it seems one day off?
-In the Guidebook, where it explains about the bars below the screen, it says "four bars" but actually there are five bars listed.

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Apr 20 2015, 5:06pm replied:

Thanks! (Though you're always on the Earth; the other planets will just be tying into things later on, and I'm probably going to remove them from the world-gen screen in the next version, since "choosing" them is highly arbitrary/unnecessary and can make the player think they are more "important" than they actually are). Glad you like it though! And nice find on both; will fix :).

+2 votes   reply to comment
ethanethan Dec 22 2014, 11:07am says:

Any plans to support alternate control schemes? Ive been using HJKL and YUBN (diagonals) with Cataclysm lately, and it works well with the laptop. Game world looks great, looking forward to interacting more. Like, building, and killing.

+2 votes     reply to comment
ethanethan Dec 22 2014, 11:12am replied:

So sorry that i'm stupid. I see your numpad toggle now. But doesnt 'd' overlap with drop?

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 22 2014, 2:00pm replied:

It does, and that's an issue with the numpad toggle. I don't think there's really a perfect solution to diagonal control schemes without a numpad, but I really dislike the HJKL solution, so I have no intention of adding that in (entirely personal preference, I know, but still). I think the toggle is going to stay as my solution to the problem, though I don't think it should be too problematic (when you have a weapon drawn, in future versions, you are going to be specifically restricted to orthogonal directions, so you'll always have all the keys accessible in combat). And thanks!

+2 votes   reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 23 2014, 9:30am replied:

Additional: I forgot to say, I'm going to be doing a little bit of key rebinding soon, all inventory actions will be done through the 'i'nventory instead of different buttons for 't'hrow, 'd'rop etc, so that problem will disappear soonish!

+2 votes   reply to comment
Vladiskov Dec 13 2014, 3:14pm says:

If you ask me, this looks a lot like dwarf fortress's adventure mode XD

+3 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 13 2014, 3:48pm replied:

It is an inspiration, but the two play very differently, and have different objectives - DF is far more simulationist, whilst URR is far more directed and narratological (or, at least, it will be soon!)

+3 votes   reply to comment
Vladiskov Dec 16 2014, 12:07am replied:

well because for now just looks like a explorative game where you can explore a world and it history o3o... no real gameplay its like a visual novel XD

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 16 2014, 8:05am replied:

That's because it's about 30% through a game of massive scope, and there can't be much gameplay until there's a world to play in!

+2 votes   reply to comment
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