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.
With 3.5 months of development behind it (my fastest release to date), I present Ultima Ratio Regum v0.5! You can download it here. Here’s a summary of the major additions:
- History generation! The world now contains over a thousand years of history of conflicts, religions, settlements, colonies and more. Some categories such as discoveries and cults will be added to more in later versions. Although they are currently all shown at the start of the game, exploring and discovering these histories (and the gameplay/world information they provide) will later emerge into a central game mechanic.
- Enlarged world map! The world map is now 250×250 rather than 150×150, but due to various optimizations takes up less memory than the older version. This allows for far more room for everything the game needs, and with a larger world map I can start to think about various mechanics for exploring the world without it all opening up too quickly.
- Religion generation! The world is now populated by religions – monotheistic, polytheistic and spiritual/animist/shamanistic – some of which may spread between multiple civilizations. The game describes their entire pantheons in addition to (for feudal religions) what agendas they might wish their followers to pursue.
- Cities, towns, fortresses and settlements! The world map is now populated by the capital cities and smaller towns of feudal civilizations, the desert fortresses of nomads (between which their caravans will later roam) and the settlements of hunter-gatherer civilizations. These different types of civilization also have different types of flag and symbols associated with them. In the next version, 0.6, these population centers will be fully explorable.
- Coats of arms and families! Feudal civilizations now contain a number of noble houses, each of which has a procedurally generated coat of arms to go with it. The player is assigned to a non-ruling house in their civilization of choice, and house allegiance will be one of several “faction” alignments that offer both benefits and risks as the game progresses.
- Updated start/load screen! The start/load a game screen now displays a wealth of information about each save to allow you to easily browse the saves you may have, and also loads in a fraction of the time that was required in the past. You are also now given a choice of what civilization to follow, and whether to follow the lead religion in that civilization (if any).
- Policies! There are now a large number of “policies” that each civilization possesses, spread across eight different categories. These will act as passive boosts to the player’s abilities, skills and stats in various areas.
- Road generation! A network of roads now criss-crosses the parts of the world controlled by feudal civilizations, and also generate on the human-scale map (not just the world map).
Hope you all like it. Let me know any feedback you have, any bugs you might find (I think the release is bug-free, but there is only so much playtesting two people can do) and any other suggestions or feedback. In the next few weeks I’ll be talking quite a bit about the plans for URR this coming year which I’m rather excited about, so I invite you all to join me for that discussion in the near future. Hope you enjoy the release! 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...
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