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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0 comments by UltimaRatioRegum on Jul 27th, 2015

Well, it has been another very busy week – I gave a talk on URR’s PCG and AI systems at nucl.ai in Vienna (and spent an afternoon sitting the sun outside a rather nice vegan cafe working on the secret project I’ve mentioned a few times, which continues to inch closer to the point where I can actually announce something) and I’ve also had a piece the 35th Anniversary of Rogue published in Paste Magazine (which you can read here) and another on the role of text and characters in classic roguelikes published in Imaginary Realities (here), but nevertheless significant progress has been made (though I anticipate this next week to be a full week of coding with nothing else, so we should have a major update in seven days).

Towns, Fortresses, Etc

NPCs can now pathfind sensibly around other places which aren’t city districts – they know where to spawn and how to behave in the crowd in fortresses, in towns, in slums, and also in hunter-gatherer encampments. In these cases they generally don’t use the roads, because having people pathfind on a road until they get close to their target, and then move off the road, magnifies pathfinding complexity immensely – what if they get near the target, but then the actual path from the end of the road to the target is long due to a wall (so they are physically proximate but the path to that proximate location is huge), and the complexity of the problem of making sure they take an efficient road path, followed by an efficient off-road path, is massive – so we’re ignoring it. Besides, particularly in towns I think this actually works quite effectively when roads look more like a form of aesthetic/spatial structuring of the town rather than literally what everyone uses to walk around, and fortresses tend not to have roads anyway unless there’s a river cutting through them. The right groups of NPCs now spawn in fortesses and elsewhere, of course, so we see lots of soldiers in fortresses, the poorest of the poor in slums, ordinary citizens in towns, and tribal peoples in hunter-gatherer territories. This is, however, making it clear that I need to return to clothing generation at some point soon and really get moving on the other algorithms for lower/middle class feudal clothing, and other clothing types too – it’s a huge job, and actually bigger than I thought, so I’m going to devote a solid week or two to that once I’m back from GDC Europe (if you’re there, come along to my talk!). Here’s a town brimming with activity:


Inside/Outside

The big one – NPCs now actually go inside buildings (they previously despawned at the door, in essence) and if you then go into the building, you can then see that same NPC inside the building. If the building has already been spawned and exists, then the NPC will go about their business inside the building. Alternatively, if the building hasn’t yet been spawned, they are temporarily placed in “limbo” until one of two things happens. If the building is spawned (i.e. by the player stepping inside), then that NPC is granted a number of turns to move around in the building as if they had been moving around inside the whole time. Alternatively, if an NPC has “entered” a building that the player doesn’t spawn, then after a random length of time they will the leave the building and continue on their way. In this method we are left with no pointless NPCs milling around in “limbo”, ensures that the crowd is always centered on the player, and means that if you see NPCs going into a building, they will be inside. In this gif, an NPC has previously entered this tavern; we’ll now enter, causing the building to spawn, and then the NPC spawns and we see them take a seat, and then if we go outside, they’ll exit again after a certain point (at the end we then see another NPC enter). This basically means that regardless of the player’s actions and which parts of the map actually exist, the crowd’s actions always appear to make sense. A similar system will be needed once I start tracking the important and non-spawned NPCs around the world (rulers, merchants, etc).


Inside Behaviour

NPCs will now create a list of potential “targets” within a building and will hang around at those targets for sensible amounts of time, and then when those timers end, they’ll either leave or go to something else within the building. This process depends on the building and the nature of a given target. For example, someone who goes into a tavern and sits on a chair to drink for a while will not then get up and move to another chair – they’ll either just stay on the chair, or get up and leave. By contrast, somebody in a cathedral might spend a lot of time sitting at one chair worshipping in front of an altar, then move to study the holy texts at a desk, then talk to a priest, then leave, etc. I’m working at the moment on finishing off this list of targets, and then also adding a second layer whereby the list of targets is modulated by the time of day; so people will tend to leave as its gets near night, or people in this houses will head to bed, etc. Here’s a gif of some inside behaviour in a tavern:


As you can see, more people currently leave than enter; I’m working on balancing these two algorithms at the moment so we have a steady flow of entering/leaving whatever structure the player might happen to be in at the time.

Sorry also about the relative lack of images this week: a huge amount of this week’s work has just been improving pathfinding, improving how NPCs move and behave, a lot of technical improvement on saving/loading and managing buildings and floors and buildings which are/aren’t spawned, etc, so there aren’t that many pictures to show. I hope for more next time!

What now?

Making the interior behaviour sensible and interesting for all NPCs, giving buildings a “maximum” number of people they can hold, adding day/night differences, fixing the massive number of edge cases which are slowly building up… etc. More next week!

Post comment Comments  (80 - 90 of 131)
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
AFellowStalker
AFellowStalker Jul 9 2012, 7:52pm says:

Alpha is good so far, I take it most of the skills are currently useless?

+2 votes     reply to comment
AFellowStalker
AFellowStalker Jul 9 2012, 7:56pm replied:

Just crashed after trying to press enter on an oasis, could not get the crash log.

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jul 9 2012, 8:34pm replied:

Yes to your first question (they are going to be *seriously* reworked in the not-too-distant future), and huh - that's a new one. Give me a shout if it happens again!

+2 votes   reply to comment
knight133
knight133 Jul 8 2012, 8:26pm says:

Will we be able to build ships

+2 votes     reply to comment
UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum Jul 9 2012, 5:01am replied:

In the long term, yes, absolutely, and they will take up multiple squares (like large creatures do).

+3 votes   reply to comment
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