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Author Topic: Wizards and Warlords - Indie Turn-Based Fantasy 4X Strategy Game  (Read 15299 times)

Ludorum Rex

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Wizards and Warlords - Indie Turn-Based Fantasy 4X Strategy Game
« on: November 21, 2012, 05:16:23 pm »

Hey, I am the developer of Wizards and Warlords, a fantasy strategy game currently in development and getting closer to beta. As you can tell this thread was posted quite some years ago, so I've made some changes to the original post to keep it up to date. I am a programmer with a few decades of experience, some of that in the games industry, and some in other areas of software development. This is a project I work on in my spare time - I have a full-time job and a family, which explains why it's taken some time to get to this point.

The game is turn-based and takes place in a randomly generated fantasy world, represented by a map of hexagonal tiles. The player takes control of a Wizard or a Warlord, starting with a small holding, a few followers and a small army. The world is populated by city-states, tribes, monsters, races, dungeons, cults, religions and ancient evils - and of course, rival wizards and warlords.

My goal is to create a turn-based fantasy strategy game with deep mechanics, flexible game play and a high degree of replayability. The procedural world generation engine is designed to create not just a world map, but entire cultures, dungeons, ancient civilizations, pantheons, planar cosmologies, ancient evils, and more. A rogue-like element applied to the strategy game formula. I am also committed to the support of extensive modding of the game.

I draw inspiration from a variety of sources - Master of Magic, Dwarf Fortress, Europa Universalis (and the other amazing Paradox grand strategy games), Fantasy General, Total War, Fall From Heaven and Dominion, just to name a few. But this is not an attempt to create a successor of a classic, such as Master of Magic, a game many strategy game fans have fond memories of. I am creating a new game, with its own approach and its own way of doing things.

The graphics have gone from mono-colored blobs and a GUI similar to an ancient and user-unfriendly business app, to a jumble of free assets, programmer art and placeholders, and has now finally started integrating proper professional art, mostly purchased through the Unity Asset Store. The plan is to use funding from early access/beta sales to commission even more great art. There is still a long way to go when it comes to aesthetics, but for those of you saw the first public pre-alpha versions, I am sure you agree the difference is massive. But as a single developer with no existing funding, there is no way this game will have the graphics of a AAA game. So it's a challenge to make the graphical side of thing pleasant and stylistically consistent.

Currently, the game is in public alpha, and the core functionality has been implemented. Games can be started, research made, armies recruited, dungeons explored, followers can be sent on diplomatic or covert missions, random events occur, spells can be cast, cities, fortress and mana nodes can be conquered, various structures can be constructed, buildings and upgrades are in, etc. There are bugs. There are unfinished or inaccessible parts of the game. There are balance issues. But the public alpha is a way to see where the game is heading, and a way to suggest/request features and content.

The features planned for release:
  • Randomly generated fantasy worlds, with massive variety and depth, making every game a unique experience. The parameters can be customized so you can have a low-magic human-only world, a "classic" elves/dwarves/orc/dragons world or an exotic one with completely randomly generated races and cultures, not following the usual tropes.
  • Play as a Wizard with enigmatic goals, arcane research, a multitude of spells and summoned/constructed/enchanted armies and followers. The Wizard Tower is a core mechanic, and can be upgraded and improved to suit a variety of play styles. Customize the traits and magical aptitudes of your Wizard, or select from pre-created templates.
  • Play as a Warlord and command a custom culture and race, forging an empire or legend through conquest, diplomacy, heroics or economic dominance. Customize military units and armies, build great fortresses and lead your culture to greatness, through technological research and cultural development.
  • Interact with other planes - fending off invasions, hiring extra-planar mercenaries or even raiding them for exotic resources and artifacts.
  • A rich variety of random events creating opportunities, threats and interesting stories.
  • Organizations: The world is not only populated by rival realms, independent cities and monstrous threats. Hidden cults plot and scheme. Knightly Orders command immense martial power. Uncover their hidden agendas, ally and barter with them, or infiltrate them to bend their power towards your goals.
  • Command followers of all kinds - priests, warriors, nobles, sages, merchants, artisans, rogues or more exotic personae. Send them to explore dungeons, on covert missions of espionage and sabotage, or as diplomatic envoys securing the support of independent cities and tribes.
  • Your workers can build and work mines, quarries, vinyards, outposts, shrines and other overland sites, providing your realm with resources and gold.
  • Cities evolve according to their culture and what buildings you construct. They gain levels in areas such as martial, spiritual, prosperity, even crime and decadence. This affects events, stability and the properties of characters and military units from the city.
  • Ancient evils slumber. Beware waking them or taking too long to complete your goals. Gigantic oozes, the mad ghoul king, eldritch horrors, and other randomly generated ancient evils provide events to shake up the end game. They will corrupt your followers, unleash monstrous armies on the world and even potentially bring about the end of the world.

I have a blog at http://wizardsandwarlords.wordpress.com/ and webpage/forums at https://wizardsandwarlords.net. The latest build can also be downloaded from there.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 01:21:10 pm by Ludorum Rex »
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Sirus

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Hello there!

Do you happen to have any screenshots or concept art of your project? Something to induce playtesters to volunteer.
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ScriptWolf

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Hey Rex and welcome to the forums.

Not to sound cynical but do you have screenshots or a website ? to be honest i would be interested in playing it but im not going to willingly put any software onto my machine without seeing something of it 

damn got ninjad :P
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pisskop

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ptw, to see how this develops.
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kilakan

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I'm in the same boat as everyone else, don't wanna go popping software onto my one and only harddrive without a bit of assurance it's not gonna tear me apart.
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Girlinhat

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TL;DR, but this sort of stuff is always fun to see.  "Making a game I'd like to play" is the best way to appeal to otherwise unattended fanbases.  After all, we're all on the forums because we like a game that Toady wants to make, and we weren't content with other, simplified games.  Although, as others have said, we need something more to go on :P

Imp

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Posting to watch as well.
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Ludorum Rex

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. Very glad that you took the time to express interest and/or thoughts.

Very valid points with the screenshots and being a bit wary of a guy wanting to send you an executable to run. It hadn't really occured to me that people might fear a trojan, malware or somesuch, but that makes sense.

I put up a blog with some screenshots. Will probably be useful for informing people about development progress, etc. I don't really want to spend time on a fullblown website but this was pretty quick to setup.

http://wizardsandwarlords.wordpress.com

Please be aware that it is still early in development and it is coder art, so it looks kinda ugly in most places. I wish I had more artistic sense so it could look better, but alas my artistic skills are limited to miniature painting. Whenever I try my hand at drawing or graphic design it ends up kind of bad and it takes me ages. Which is also why I haven't posted a screenshot of what battles look like at the moment in the game, as it is just blue and red dots moving around on a grid, with a combat log showing what happens.

I was a bit unsure whether it was too early to start getting people's input, but my thinking is that this will take me some months to get to a stage where a public beta makes sense, and if I spend a month making some system or design which turns out unfun and I need to rework it, that it is precious time lost. So the earlier I can identify stuff that sucks, the better. Some of that I can see myself, but my experience as a game developer working for a mainstream studio making AAA games is that designers usually aren't very good at spotting the flaws in their work. And also, there are tons of good ideas out there that I haven't thought of, and which might just fit perfectly into this game.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 05:03:12 pm by Ludorum Rex »
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Korbac

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Looks very interesting! :D Is the multiplayer potentially hotseat? Does it allow for different gamestyles? Is there higher level of tech than 'semi-cultured'? Would it be possible to use the game to 'run' a really cheesy story of a demigod, a warlord, and a wizard who are best bro's who work together?

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Alkhemia

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look's pretty good ptw
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Korbac

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What gameplay features are in as of current, Rex? :)
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IronyOwl

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I lol'd at "even the turtle men are evil."

Really, poor halflings. Poor, delicious halflings.
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Ludorum Rex

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Looks very interesting! :D Is the multiplayer potentially hotseat? Does it allow for different gamestyles? Is there higher level of tech than 'semi-cultured'? Would it be possible to use the game to 'run' a really cheesy story of a demigod, a warlord, and a wizard who are best bro's who work together?

I hadn't really considered hotseat, but it shouldnt be a great hassle to implement. The game works on a system of giving orders->resolve turn, so hotseat is definitely possible. Really just a variation on asynchronous/pbem. Yeah the tech levels are: savage->primitive->barbarian->semi-cultured->cultured->highly cultured. Yeah if people want to play together to do that, that would be cool. That is really what I look forward to the most. Crazy stories/AARs. The different modes are meant as a way to support different gamestyles - and some people might to roleplay and not just beat whatever pitiful/merciless AI I can make, or their friends. I don't really think there is any correct way to play a 4X game. Victory conditions are also implemented to be potentially flexible and differ per player. So it could be possible to have one guy win by just getting really rich, one guy wants to annihilate all halflings, and another player maybe needs to conquer the Plane of Life and build a permanent gateway to the normal world, or whatever craziness.

What gameplay features are in as of current, Rex? :)

Eh, that is complicated to explain. You can start up a game as a wizard or warlord. Warlords can recruit regiments. Wizards can build upgrades to their wizard tower. The basics of the magic system / research are in but not accesible yet. Battle simulation is implemented, but crude. Heroes can conduct diplomatic missions or extort tribute from neutrals - they can also explore dungeons, which are currently all populated by skeleton warriors. Ancient evils are created and seeded, and can be accidentally awakened, after which they don't really do anything yet. AI players try to build huge armies and don't really do anything with them yet. A pantheon of gods is generated, but currently is always a pantheon of usually rather silly animal gods - it is not visible to the player yet. Secret societies are generated, but they don't do anything yet, just their nature and goals are generated. And a lot of boilerplate code for various systems. Still a lot of work to be done, but the foundations are there for the core gameplay.
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lordcooper

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This is relevant to my interests, I'll drop you an email.  Out of curiosity, why did you come to this specific forum for testers?
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