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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4 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.

Policies

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  (60 - 70 of 129)
SteelMantle
SteelMantle Dec 2 2012, 2:52pm says:

You do not know how excited I am for this game. I downloaded your 0.2.0 release and although there isn't a lot to do at the moment (alpha), the content I have read from your website is amazing. This is the type of game I've been wishing for a long time. It's a shame that this is a single player, but I know it's extremely hard to set up a multi-player option due to the turn-based movement.

But anyways, a humongous thanks from me for starting this project, I'll definately be tracking this game. Thank you!

+3 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 3 2012, 8:28am replied:

Thanks! Ditto; because I'm a one-man team, and releasing for free, I have that kind of freedom to just shovel everything I've ever wanted to see in a game, into the game! Multiplayer I did briefly consider, but rejected both for the reason you said, and because I know nothing about it technically. You're very welcome! Let me know what you think of 0.2.1, which I've just released - added resources, and you can export maps to .png now, too.

+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 Creator
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
Zollec
Zollec Dec 2 2012, 5:17am says:

Well, bright idea. But!!! Make a working and usable in persin ordering system for a huge kingdom... Not an easy task, not a bit sir. But far not imposible. But beware of gamekilling bugs (Dwarf Fortress :)).

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 2 2012, 1:42pm replied:

Undoubtedly :). I'm doing a very bottom-up approach, which is why there isn't yet that much gameplay. I'm doing extensive in-house playtesting, and - thus far - no gamebreakers have appeared!

+2 votes   reply to comment
Zollec
Zollec Dec 2 2012, 4:16pm replied:

good to know. But u know, DF problem is, instead of making a great polishing and game fixin, they add more and more kontent (bugged fcourse:). And if we find somethig broken, we let u know. So I look forward for 0.3.0. yeah and any idea about the price?

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 2 2012, 7:13pm replied:

Agreed; I don't intend to keep adding content whilst previous issues still exist. Also - price? It's free!

+2 votes   reply to comment
Zollec
Zollec Dec 3 2012, 1:30pm replied:

yes I know. I mean u will keep it free in the full version too?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Roh
Roh Nov 3 2012, 11:13am says:

Finally! I am a fan of fantasy and scifi myself. But the fact that someone is finally letting you play a game like this as a single individual sparks my interest. I've been trying to figure out why no one has done this already for a while now. Nice to see that someone actually IS!

+4 votes     reply to comment
dark_matter_mobius
dark_matter_mobius Nov 7 2012, 11:15am replied:

I think it is the amount of effort to accomplish such a task vs how much sales will go up due to it. It is far better, for the bigger game companies, to replicate old results and just add new shiny features.

Indie is the true birthplace for innovation because you HAVE to stand out and you're free to develop how you want to despite how the thing will sell. This game likely won't appeal to the large population of casual gamers out there. Even if we gave it really shiny graphics. However, I think it'll hold a place in the heart of any hardcore/DF fan once it is finished.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Zollec
Zollec Dec 2 2012, 5:09am replied:

Nicely wrote. I played the Version 0.2.0, and came here to write my congrats. But u hit the point. One more thing to say, I hope that URR will dont have a game killing bugs like DF.

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Dec 2 2012, 1:43pm replied:

Thanks for congrats, again! Let me know what you think of 0.3 once it's out.

+2 votes   reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Nov 7 2012, 3:30pm replied:

I absolutely agree. Indeed, maybe strangely, were I aiming to sell it I would be aiming a lot lower because I have to meet deadlines, put polish on the 'product' early, etc. The freedom to develop you mention is exactly what appeals to me, and exactly what I'm enjoying. And thanks - I hope it will :).

+2 votes   reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Nov 4 2012, 7:46am replied:

Thank you! Should be interesting to see how it all turns out...

+2 votes   reply to comment
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