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Author Topic: Ultima Ratio Regum (0.8 back in development!)  (Read 343528 times)

Ultima Ratio Regum

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Ultima Ratio Regum (0.8 back in development!)
« on: October 10, 2011, 11:10:42 am »

“Ultima Ratio Regum is one of a few ambitious, long-term projects which I think represent the most exciting things about indie game development, about PC games, and about what technology can do for the games of tomorrow.”
- Graham Smith, Rock Paper Shotgun

A roguelike game inspired by the literature of Jorge Borges, Umberto Eco & Neal Stephenson, and the games Europa Universalis and Dark Souls.

www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk

Ultima Ratio Regum (“the last argument of kings”) is a ten-year project, of which 3.5 years have been finished via coding part time whilst completing my doctoral work. It’s a game which aims to integrate thematic content on historiography, philosophical idealism and the rise of modernist grand narratives, with the deep, complex and challenging gameplay one expects from a “classic” roguelike (and, of course, an ANSI display and permadeath). Set approximately around the Scientific Revolution, the objective of 2015 is to finish all remaining worldbuilding (~2.5 months), and begin to integrate early gameplay focused around strategic choices, NPC interaction, and hopefully combat too. Screenshots:

This is the title screen, featuring a procedurally-generated landscape on the left which is unique every time the game is loaded:



This shows the player selecting their save, which comes with a summary of what they have explored/discovered/earned in that world:



At the start of the game the player selects their civilization, and civilizations differ strongly in terms of their policies, religions, ethical and moral beliefs, militarism (or lack thereof), and a number of other ways:



This was exploration of a city – on the left you can see the right-most part of a religious building (in this case it was a Pagoda, belonging to the religion of the Goddess of the Whispering Moonlight), and on the right you can see a jail, with a number of ordinary houses in-between.



Here the player explores a graveyard, within which every single grave is procedurally generated and linked to the world’s history:



… and here looks at a grave in another graveyard in detail, showing the coat of arms of the noble family that the grave belongs to. This level of detail is present in all of the game, and concepts on the “macro” scale – civilizations, histories, wars, religions – all impact upon the “micro” scale of the world the player walks within.



In this screenshot the player explores another city, Smithvale, and finds some bridges going through a lower-class housing district:



This is a town at the far northern reaches of the world, called Foolrock Precipice, where a religious building is seen on the left (a Chantry of Uxa, the Cow-Headed God) and a range of other buildings, including a town hall and a shop just off-screen:



This is a generated fortress in the desert, known as Whitesnake Bastion – fortresses are the only parts of nomadic civilizations that stay in one place, and they serve as both defensive structures and hubs for traders and caravans:



This is a very, very zoomed-out picture of an entire city, although this city lacks any slums or graveyards which often spawn outside. This shows the level and density of procedural generation in the game – this city can hold roughly 300,000 NPCs (coming mid-2015) and each district has its own algorithms for generation, and these algorithms and heavily influenced by the political standpoints and religions of each nation:

« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 04:38:02 am by Ultima Ratio Regum »
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Shadowgandor

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 11:25:27 am »

I already read about this in that thread about DF Adventure mode-like and was immediately hooked on the project! Could I make a small donation?
I'd love to help keep you motivated ^^
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freeformschooler

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 11:26:32 am »

Aw sweeeeeet.

So how much procedural generation is planned for the game, and in what areas?
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ChairmanPoo

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2011, 12:29:07 pm »

The game's title has seduced me. You can be sure I'll be testing it
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silverskull39

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2011, 12:50:30 pm »

Interesting... I'll definitely be paying attention to this one.
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Koliup

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2011, 02:46:04 pm »

This has perked my interest. I await the moment I can create an army of undead and kill everyone eagerly.
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Jerick

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2011, 04:05:32 pm »

Any game where you can go from a mercenary/bandit to leader of a demon army sounds fantastic in my book.
But I do have a few questions:
  • Will things like elevation and rain effect combat in the finished version?
  • What kind of command and control do you have of your army? Do you control squads or the whole army at once? Do you issue more general orders like advance/ charge or specific ones such as: move here, dig in, prepare ambush?
  • Will there be stealth?
  • Will there be formations and their inherent complexities or will it be largely skirmishes?
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Ultima Ratio Regum

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2011, 05:45:00 pm »

I already read about this in that thread about DF Adventure mode-like and was immediately hooked on the project! Could I make a small donation?
I'd love to help keep you motivated ^^

Wow, that's a very generous offer! I shall have to decline - I don't plan to set up any kind of donation thing until URR is much further along. Very nice of you to offer, though : )

So how much procedural generation is planned for the game, and in what areas?

The overwhelming majority of each world will be procedurally generated, along with all the creatures that populate it. This will mean villages, cities, empires etc will be different each game, and therefore what armies you can raise or fight within. I'm hoping to allow a huge variety of different 'types' of army to be generated, too.

The game's title has seduced me. You can be sure I'll be testing it

Excellent! Since 'The Last Argument of Kings' refers, after all, to military force, it seemed an appropriate (and spiffy) title...

Interesting... I'll definitely be paying attention to this one.

Thanks! I'll try and keep things updated : )

This has perked my interest. I await the moment I can create an army of undead and kill everyone eagerly.

Hopefully, before too long, this will actually be an option...

Any game where you can go from a mercenary/bandit to leader of a demon army sounds fantastic in my book.
But I do have a few questions:
  • Will things like elevation and rain effect combat in the finished version?
  • What kind of command and control do you have of your army? Do you control squads or the whole army at once? Do you issue more general orders like advance/ charge or specific ones such as: move here, dig in, prepare ambush?
  • Will there be stealth?
  • Will there be formations and their inherent complexities or will it be largely skirmishes?

1 - weather effects will exist, but - for the time being - there is no 'real' z-axis. However, I am probably going to add elevation in before the first alpha - not in a DF style with arrows, but a lighter colour of ground background depending on how high the ground is. Still deciding on this, basically.
2 - You issue orders to those beneath you, who interpret your orders (hopefully competently) to the rest of the army. You cannot instantly transmit orders - if you want to talk to a commander on the other side of your army, you need to send a runner over there to tell him what to do. The larger your army, the less tactical control you have, but the more strategic control you gain, and vice versa.
3 - Yes! Probably for a focus on ambushes in small groups, or playing on your own. If you are tracking an opposing army, you should be able to lay an ambush for them on a particular battlefield.
4 - Formations is an interesting question. When you deploy onto the battlefield, you will almost certainly be able to pick the initial positions of your squads based on what you know of the area. However, if you are simply moving through an area and get ambushed, say, you'll have much less choice over how you set up before combat begins!
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Anvilfolk

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2011, 05:58:34 pm »

I hope this works out! I've seen a bunch of announcements for more strategic roguelikes, but I don't recall any that got to completion.

Also, as another fellow grad student, how are you not feeling super duper guilty about not doing research and programming instead? :P

Ultima Ratio Regum

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2011, 01:30:26 pm »

Thanks! It's the culmination of having wanted to make a game my whole life, so I'm fairly confident I'll be able to see it through. Not that it'll be a short process or anything, though...

Ah, well, fitting in programming around research is proving less tricky than I'd feared. I'm just devoting most days to research, then a day or two per week to programming, plus some evenings. There are times I've been working on something in URR and ignored academia for a bit to get it finished, but the reverse has also happened, so it figure it all balances out! What're you studying?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 01:43:46 pm by Ultima Ratio Regum »
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PsyberianHusky

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2011, 01:42:51 pm »

The game's title has seduced me. You can be sure I'll be testing it

Japan has had a monopoloy in nonsensical titles for toooooo long.
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Leatra

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2011, 02:04:15 pm »

This game is my most anticipated roguelike :)
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snelg

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2011, 02:31:12 pm »

Another game to keep track of. Looking good so far!
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Enzo

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2011, 02:49:15 pm »

Looking forward to the alpha, godspeed and all that. Many ideas in here are ones I've always wanted to see properly implemented (recruitment of any npc, realistic troop command).

On the blog you ask what the alpha should focus most on, Creatures, Combat, AI or UI. I would suggest getting a nice and streamlined UI right from the start. If it's clunky to begin with, it will only get worse (and harder to fix) as new features are added. I think I remember some other strategy roguelike suffering from this particular issue. The other stuff, while perhaps cooler, will doubtlessly continue to expand after the first alpha anyway, so it seems completely understandable to keep it simple for the first release.

Just my thoughts. I'm probably the last person you want to take advice on coding a big project from.

The game's title has seduced me. You can be sure I'll be testing it

Japan has had a monopoloy in nonsensical titles for toooooo long.

It's not really nonsensical at all, just slightly obscure. It makes perfect sense if you know the history of the phrase.
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pilgrimboy

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Re: Ultima Ratio Regum - a 'strategy roguelike' in the making...
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2011, 03:51:35 pm »

Sounds awesome. A game where I can send out adventurers and can do the adventuring if I want or don't want to is something I have dreamed of.
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