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  (70 - 80 of 129)
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
Soviet_Union
Soviet_Union Oct 3 2012, 9:33pm says:

awww why so confusing :/

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Oct 4 2012, 6:12am replied:

Haha; which bit? Or the trees as a whole? They aren't THAT complex; I was thinking about something more like an FF Sphere Grid at first...

+3 votes   reply to comment
Malcore
Malcore Oct 20 2012, 3:32pm replied:

I'm really liking the look of those skill trees. FFX is one of my favorite games and I immediately thought of its sphere grid. Always loved that system, and I know I'll love this one!

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Oct 22 2012, 7:36am replied:

Thanks! I always liked how imposing and interesting the sphere grids looked, and much depth you could see there was, and that was - on a much smaller scale - that look I was going for.

+2 votes   reply to comment
dawixx
dawixx Jul 10 2012, 7:41am says:

It crashes very often. Mostly when you reach a place that game needs to load, after pressing Enter game crashes without log or error.This makes game almost unplayable. Another annoying crashes are ones during combat like:
"NameError: global name 'self' is not defined
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "alphatime.pyw", line 60819, in <module>
File "alphatime.pyw", line 53606, in place_menu
File "alphatime.pyw", line 41588, in options_menu
File "alphatime.pyw", line 53612, in place_menu"
Also Quitting doesn't work.

+1 vote     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jul 10 2012, 2:49pm replied:

You'll have to give more info than that on the crash; that doesn't show the actual crash. Also, I've never had issues on Loading screens, and nobody else has reported any. Does it still happen in 0.1.2 (just uploaded)? If so, I'll need more information, as nobody else is getting loading problems.

+2 votes   reply to comment
dawixx
dawixx Jul 10 2012, 6:03pm replied:

Yes it still happens on 0.1.2. During this loading screens with tips and quotes and with ones with "Saving/loading chunks" or something like this. It happens like 10% of time. The combat crashes occured twice. Once while fighting a cyclop, i think i cut his leg off or at least broke ant then choosed to attack his torso, then game crashed and that was in the log. The second time was when i started the game near the dragon and he killed me. Instant crash after pressing Esc. Without logs or something. In this verision hovewer I've experienced this:
"Assertion failed!
Program: D:\alphatime.exe
File: src/console_c.c
Line: 220
Expression: dat != ((void *)0) &&(unsigned)(x) < (unsigned)dat -> w && (unsigned)(y) <(unsigned)dat -> h"
Also I've noticed there are far too many equipment just lying around in this new version.

+3 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jul 10 2012, 7:56pm replied:

Ha, whoops! I forgot to change weapon spawning back (I'd only done that for testing purposes). I'll make a change at once...

Anyway - that's weird. So it crashes on both the Loading and the Saving/Loading Chunks screen. Do those leave a log? Anyway, I can't figure out why that might be, but thanks for letting me know, I'll look into it.

+2 votes   reply to comment
dawixx
dawixx Jul 10 2012, 8:52pm replied:

No, they don't leave a log. Maybe my PC is just weird exception or maybe memory issue. Anyway It's nice that you are taking care about game, working on all those problems, replying to all that comments :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jul 12 2012, 9:24am replied:

You're very welcome :). I've found the cause of the problem, and it'll be fixed for 0.1.3 on Monday!

+3 votes   reply to comment
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