A semi-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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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: Ultima Ratio Regum full-time development begins!

0 comments by UltimaRatioRegum on Dec 20th, 2014

Well, it took longer than expected and ran into a million delays (as these things also do), but I am very pleased to announce that from (roughly) now onwards, I will be working full-time on URR for approximately a year. This means my doctorate is no longer my #1 priority (it is effectively finished, and due to be bound and submitted on Jan 31st) and URR my #2, but they have been reversed – my academic work obviously remains important, but development on the game will take precedence for the coming year.

So, what does this mean in practical terms? Well, it should mean four releases this year. My plan is to release 0.7 (building interiors and major code optimization) in March, followed by 0.8 (NPCs!!) in July, 0.9 (strategy, coinage, travel) in September, and 0.10 (combat!) hopefully in December 2015, or just after the start of 2016 if not. It will mean the weekly blog updates will continue with the usual mix of URR updates (90%?) and general game design/history/criticism posts (10%?), and I’ll simply be able to spend significantly more time on coding the game and get through what I want to get through far, far faster than I have over the last three years.

However, there are some contingencies. There are currently several potential academic positions in the works for me, and if/when one of my applications is successful, and when that research project starts, will obviously influence the full length of this full-time development period. As much as I’d like to “guarantee” a full year, the academic jobs market – especially when one is trying to very suddenly change field! – is not to be trifled with, and I cannot with any degree of sanity consider extending to a full year and sacrificing a promising position I would otherwise had taken, if one comes up. As ever I’ll keep you all posted. The other contingency, of course, is that I cannot devote 100% of my time to URR – a significant portion of my time (roughly what I’ve spent on URR in the past few years) will obviously remain on my academic work, for there are a wealth of papers I intend to publish this year and close to a dozen conferences I hope to present at (including hopefully GDC Europe, if all goes well). Regardless, this is a major increase in the time I can commit, and the speed of development should reflect this!

So there we go. Coding development on 0.7 will begin in the next few days once I’ve finished planning out the technical improvements/optimizations, and March is the target for major coding optimization and the generation and storage of every single interior within the current game world (or at least the overwhelming majority, if some turn out to need other releases in place first before they can be designed). I have a few other end-of-year updates lined up for this blog, then regular updates will resume in a couple of weeks.

Last but not least, I just wanted to put up a brief summary of the last week’s 0.6 release. The download rate has been pleasingly rapid, and thus far I’ve had two very, very rare bugs identified, each only by a single person. Given that we hit 1000 downloads within just a little over the first two days (thank you all!) and they haven’t been reported more than once, I feel confident saying these are highly unusual rare bugs. One is in world generation and appears to take place when the game attempts to give a feudal civilization a hunter-gatherer religion (which should be impossible); and the second was a crash at a particular point of worldgen, but with no more information, so that one is sadly just too vague to pursue unless I can get an error log for it. If the person who reported the crash after the “C” and “F” of the worldgen screen is reading this, I need more information! There are a million different functions going on there and an error log is pretty much essential to hunt that crash down. As such, I’ve decided it’s not worth the effort to release a 0.6.1 (unless some major game-breaking bug appears or many more people report these same issues) and to simply push onto 0.7.0 and fix these bugs in the process.

Next week I’ll be posting an end-of-2014 summary of URR’s development (and a couple of other things), and then the entry afterwards I’ll be posting about where we go from here and the plans for 0.7! See you all then. In the mean time, you can keep up to date on my devlog, Facebook page, or Twitter!

Post comment Comments  (40 - 50 of 121)
romenigcandido
romenigcandido Jan 2 2013, 1:46pm says:

I must say that I created an account just to be able to follow the development of this game, and if you ever decide to charge for the game I'll be more than happy to pay. The game seems to be extremely complex, which is something that I love, not to mention that you make ASCII graphics into something beautiful to behold. My sincere congratulations!

+5 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jan 4 2013, 9:44am replied:

My sincere thanks! Very glad you like the concept and the graphics. As I speak, I'm finishing off the religious symbol generation (which there will be a blog entry on next week), which is itself another graphical route I'm exploring (along with flags). Let me know if you have any thoughts/ideas for the game in general, anyway :)

+2 votes   reply to comment
romenigcandido
romenigcandido Jan 4 2013, 11:50am replied:

I have some questions and ideas about Religions, but I'll wait for the next update to comment on the matter.

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jan 4 2013, 8:08pm replied:

Cool; I await them come Monday :).

+2 votes   reply to comment
Arethrid
Arethrid Jan 1 2013, 2:48pm says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jan 4 2013, 8:57am replied:

Thanks :) - though I couldn't possibly say when that will be...

+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 Creator
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 Creator
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 Creator
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
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Ultima Ratio Regum
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