Ultima Ratio Regum is a middle-ground between roguelikes, RPGs and strategy games. It has no fantasy elements and seeks instead to be closer to a realistic history simulator, and a strategy/4x game which just happens to be in ASCII. Combat is rare and deadly - whilst these mechanics are modeled in detail, exploration, trade and diplomacy factors will have just as much effort put into them. URR aims to eventually be a fusion of roguelike and strategy two genres - rather than a strategy game where you command with omniscience (even in ancient eras), you instead command as an individual character also in the game. Orders must be issued in person; you can lose contact with distant armies; but the same mechanics affect the AI players who also lack omniscience and depend upon the knowledge of situations they themselves can garner. Worlds can be generated over a vast array of sizes, climates and types, but all ultimately with no fixed objective but a world full of civilizations and factions to be allied with or battled against. It aims for depth in character development and world events, but with much in the 'middle' - constructing buildings, city growth, resource management - abstracted out (as other games exist which handle those well). Political and social dynamics will be modeled via a complex system that aims to generate both a history for the world, and the current state of political affairs when your game begins.
Things are progressing further for 0.3, the first URR release with some actual gameplay! I've created about half a dozen new block designs, and I've started the level generation for ziggurats. The current situation is that you can find your way from the bottom floor, to the top, via a number of procedurally generated riddles and puzzles, which have a selection of blocks, pressure pads, gates, clues inscribed on the wall, and the puzzles get tougher and tougher as you go upwards. The gate-pad-block triumvirate is coded fully, and can be expanded to any potential puzzle. Currently only the easiest levels of puzzle generate (2-4 blocks), but I'll be working on tougher ones in the near future.
Naturally, in the future there will be much more there, but each thing would require new mechanics. If I want treasure rooms, I need an inventory system; if I want bosses, I need an NPC system; etc. You get the idea. So, for now, they will be puzzle-focused, but completing specific ziggurats will give you... let's be vague... a component of a clue, and when you have enough of the components, then there will be some hints towards what later versions will hold. That's vague enough for now. There will be things to "accomplish" this release, but many will hint towards later offerings.
For those who don't follow on Facebook or Twitter, I'm aiming for the summer of this year for this release (probably/hopefully the most new content yet), to coincide with a talk I'll be giving at the International Roguelike Developers Conference. I'm not sure what exactly will be in 0.3 yet in gameplay, but there will at least be puzzles to ponder, and something snazzy to find on the top floors of the ziggurats. In the mean time, here's a picture of the "skull" block. I can't recall how many different procedural variations of this image are possible, but it's probably around a dozen:
You can keep up to date on my devblog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. The devblog is updated weekly or fortnightly on Mondays, Facebook a few times a week, and the Twitter roughly daily. Any thoughts, please leave them in the comments! Version 0.3.0 is now in the works, and will generate languages, myths, histories, coats of arms, flags, and entire civilizations. It'll be a big one, but I'm hoping to keep the updates coming regularly. Stay tuned...
Latest tweets from @ultimaregum
@Lekonish Yeah, I increasingly see why... any other games in the series worth a look? Or SotN really the high point?
May 16 2013, 2:12pm
@UKSEDS Hey there; got a quick MyPocketQub question. Is it still happening? And still a payload on UKube-1, isn't it? Thanks in advance :)
May 16 2013, 11:19am
Nothing like The Raconteurs and a little red wine to get that academic writing going.
May 16 2013, 11:03am
@Lekonish Really enjoying it so far. Bosses could be tougher, but otherwise can't complain. Great exploration/Metroidvania aspects!
May 16 2013, 10:16am
Playing Symphony of the Night for the first time. Castle now upside-down. Interesting.
May 15 2013, 9:54pm
Now to grind that damned No-Damage-On-Necropolis/Depths Isaac achievement until IT IS MINE. So few secrets to go...
May 11 2013, 5:04pm
Greetings, new followers! Unsure where you came from, but you are welcome. I am pleased to say development tweets will resume very soon...
May 10 2013, 1:16pm
@tegularius00 ...travelling and trains and interviews of the last few days, but I may just give the Purist a shot before too long.
May 1 2013, 8:59pm
@tegularius00 Ouch. Brutal. I haven't actually tried the Purist once yet; tomorrow is a Dark Souls marathon and recovery from all the...
May 1 2013, 8:59pm
Note to self: next time you do a PhD, choose a research topic whose research subjects are not all down the OTHER END OF THE DAMNED COUNTRY.
May 1 2013, 4:07pm