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.

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4 comments by UltimaRatioRegum on Apr 18th, 2014

As I’m away from tomorrow until the next weekend, this week’s update is a little shorter, and a little bit early for once. First off, thank you all for the awesome response to 0.5 – copies have been flying off the virtual shelves and I’ve got a lot of really supportive feedback, and some important bits of constructive criticism too. Since I don’t know the meaning of “resting on your laurels”, I have already started work on 0.6 and made big strides in generating many of the game’s settlements. I decided to start off with farms, and have created a system for generating farms of various sizes, with various crops and various interior dimensions. Farms are obviously far from finished – I still need to get buildings generating, as well as making the trees in the orchards (currently just generic trees) – but it’s a solid start. I’m leaving the generating of buildings part until I have all the different types of settlement ready for building generation so that I can code it all in one fell-swoop; I expect taking account of all the required factors will end up being quite complex, so I’d like to do it all within a couple of coding days back-to-back.

TerrainTest

I’ve also begun to implement some of the basic parts of town generation. It starts off by creating a network of roads appropriate to the type of road going through the town (if any – special cases for isolated towns have not yet been handled) and then spreading buildings along them. There will be a variety of rare and crucial buildings in towns – more on this in some later entry – and then a large amount of general housing and the like. For now, just for the sake of testing the system, the buildings are generating… as lava… but I’m sure you get the idea in the bottom image for how towns will end up looking. The town code as it stands now only took a little over a day and I’m amazed at how interesting these layouts are already looking. Once I start to add buildings to towns I’ll put up another update on that. I’ve started to work on generating architectural styles as well, and varying the materials that civilizations like to construct buildings from, but the next step for towns is basically the creation of a massive building database.

Towns

From this point onwards (once I’ve done the few additions to farms I need to do) I’ll be working on the non-building parts of other settlements. I’ve got some very interesting ideas for how hunter-gatherer settlements will generate, but I think I may work on graveyards next, or possibly nomadic fortresses. We’ll see. Either way, I have a train so catch to that’s everything for this week. Let me know what you think of these very early stages, and see you all in eight days. Until then you can keep up to date on my devblog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. The devblog is updated weekly on Saturdays (or sometimes Sundays), Facebook a few times a week, and the Twitter roughly daily. Any thoughts, please leave them in the comments! Stay tuned...

Post comment Comments  (20 - 30 of 98)
Arethrid
Arethrid Jan 1 2013, 2:48pm says:

I am looking forward to see this project's final version :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
taylan!
taylan! Dec 30 2012, 10:34pm says:

Looks like a very ambitious game and highly interesting. I downloaded 0.2.1 and played around a bit. One thing that I noticed was the frequent loading pauses in the game (to load zones, I assume?), which can be bothersome after a while. Oh and the game crashed for some reason. Are you interested in crash logs to be emailed to you?

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 31 2012, 9:56pm replied:

Re: loading, yes, loading does happen often. However, it seems much more often because there is nothing "to do" yet, so to speak - if you're spending half an hour on a single map grid, the odd loading screen shouldn't be a trouble, whereas just running across a map grid is going to trigger another load screen very quickly. Yes, please, absolutely re: the crash log, and info about OS as well :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
HereticUK
HereticUK Dec 10 2012, 6:59am says:

I would like to ask if possible about the language implementation in the game. What are your plans for this? How are you going to do this? As a student of languages it really interests me.

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 10 2012, 8:16am replied:

Thanks for the question! Well, a longer explanation is going to go up on a blog entry in the future, but here's the brief one. The game produces two kinds of languages from scratch, either based around syllables (so it will generate a database of syllables for that language, like 'car' or 'ur' or 'ab' and piece them together into words) or based around chances of letters, so a language might have 'z' as its most common letter and 'h' as second, so it'll have a preference for those, and same goes for vowels. Each produces visually different languages. The ancient languages in the game do not use a Latin alphabet, but I'm not saying any more about those for a while! If an NPC says a word to you in another language, the game first checks if you know it - if so, it is translated - if not, it checks if a non-English word for that English word yet exists in that language's dictionary. If yes, it uses that word (so 'the' will always be translated the same), if no, it creates a word, checks that word is unique, then adds it to the dictionary. I know this means that all languages have the same grammar/syntax/whatever as English, which is far from true, but from a gameplay perspective I felt they had to keep the same structure to help the player make sense of half-translated sentences, and also because a system for the game recognizing adjectives, nouns, verbs etc and re-ordering them would be a) immensely complex, b) unnoticeable to a player looking at a non-translated language, and c) would prevent the player making informed guesses at unknown words. Shout with any more questions :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
HereticUK
HereticUK Dec 12 2012, 7:27am replied:

That is a very interesting way of generating languages... I shall be keeping an eye on this for sure!

So, will the player character have to learn new languages in order to communicate with others?

+2 votes     reply to comment
MichaelSeph
MichaelSeph Dec 3 2012, 5:53pm says:

Oh My Gosh O.o

+3 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 4 2012, 7:10pm replied:

I apparently cannot just post :), but please nevertheless accept my appreciation for your comment!

+2 votes     reply to comment
GorillaOne
GorillaOne Dec 3 2012, 11:36am replied:

Unsolicited advice from a fellow dev: Constraints are what make us the most creative, and produce the best games/movies/whatever. When you're free to just shovel anything in, it may be interesting in the moment, but not make a good game.

Good luck! I already like how you used ASCII - much more elegant than some other implementations.

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 3 2012, 3:12pm replied:

Very interesting, and I understand what you mean. I hope people would/will tell me if/when that happens, but at the same time, this is a *long* project. Anyway, thank you re: ASCII - glad you like it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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Ultima Ratio Regum
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