Author Topic: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.7 released, 18th April!)  (Read 23860 times)

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2015, 02:45:30 PM »
This week I’ve been finishing off the first set of interiors for the game – religious buildings. I selected these first because I know they’d be quite complex, and I figured this would be a good way to get down a lot of the appropriate infrastructures for interiors and generating/saving/storing/loading them, and then be able to apply those to other simpler buildings rather than simultaneously creating the data structures and the buildings as I went along. Here’s a nice shot of a religious building with the ground floor – the purple symbol is the altar, the blue symbol is a reliquary! – and the second floor, which has some private quarters for the priest (behind the locked door in the middle) and also a staircase leading upwards behind another locked door (on the bottom-left), which leads to who knows where?



Religious buildings have become highly complex and varied in a huge number of ways, but one of these ways which I’ve focused on this week has been in terms of statues within the religious buildings. Originally statues were going to be a binary either/or – either religious buildings had statues of appropriate important figures/deities, or they didn’t. However, I decided it would be much more interesting to add more possible details to this list as a way to both further enhance the variation of religious buildings, and give NPCs and information in the game more to talk about. Therefore: instead of statues, religious buildings may contain ceremonial gongs, vases, and incense stands. Rather than always hearing “The church with the statues that look like X”, you’ll get “The church with the brass gongs”, “The church with the vases that depict two dragons fighting”, and so on and so forth. These are all, naturally, procedurally generated. I’ve created all the graphics for the gongs and also worked on some more graphics for the rest of the ordinary furniture, and my intention is to next work on the vases and the incense stands whilst I move onto programming other building interiors in the coming days.



I’ve also implemented HERESIES. The average game will have between 3 and 6 of these generated in the game world, and they draw upon the data stored for existing religions to propose heretical notions “logical” (as it were) to the religion in question. Religion worships an animal-headed god? Maybe this sect believes that eating animal flesh insults the god. Religion consists of a pantheon of eight gods? Maybe the sect believes there is a ninth. Religion proposes a kind, benevolent god? Maybe the sect believes this god is actually evil, or at least inimical to human well-being. And so on. Just like all the flags and coats of arms and so forth, heresies have their own algorithm for symbol generation (there’s about 40 or so possible, so it’ll be many games until you see them all) and now show up in the Encyclopedia, where you can read a little information about the nature of that heresy, though this will be added to significantly in the future. Each heresy also has one of three statues – it may be TOLERATED by the dominant religion, SHUNNED, or be the subject of an INQUISITION, in which case that belief will be entirely hidden underground. Inquisitions will be worked on later, maybe this release, maybe next. We’ll see. As you can see, the screenshot below is very much an in-progress screenshot (information is not lined up nicely, there’s no leader data, some of the names don’t fit into the window, there’s an unusually large number of heresies in order to make sure they all generate correctly, etc), but you can see how these are coming along. Once I implement the leader information, there will also be a list on the left side of the information screen showing what settlements this heresy has been found in.



Lastly I’ve also fixed a bunch of smaller issues this week – there were some unusual edge cases with entering/leaving buildings I’ve sorted out, and some residual minor problems with coats of arms and a few tiny other things which nobody except me seems to have noticed (since I know what things should look like!), but those have been fixed. This next week might be a lesser coding week – my intention is to submit my PhD no later than the 30th, and probably on the 27th/28th, so I need to devote time to getting it formatted correctly, having it bound, handing it in, blah blah. Either way, whatever coding does happen will be focused on moving interior generation into other buildings (I think I’ll go for something simple like slum housing next after this religious complexity), and adding in the rest of the graphics for the vases, gongs, etc (statues, being highly complex, might have to wait for now). See you all next week!

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 01:52:46 PM »
A huge update this week! With my PhD submitted to my university and the paper I’ve been working on the last month submitted to an appropriate journal, I’ve been able to devote the full week to coding. We therefore have some level design, some graphics, some ideas, and some other stuff, so let’s get going.

LEVEL DESIGN

I’ve been working a lot on many of the building interiors this week that still need doing. First off I’ve finished off religious building interiors, and handled a pretty wide range of strange goings-on and errors with their generation, such as the ability to walk outside them through cracks in the walls, or staircases which don’t correctly match up with their partners on other floors. They can have 1/2/3 floors, and have a massive range of variation in pretty much every way. Here are some examples, drawn from a religious district in one of the world I was recently testing things in (these imagines display the outside, the ground floor, then other higher floors, going left to right):







I’ve also thrown together the generation code for the most basic of houses, those in slums and their slightly-better equivalents in lower-class housing districts. These, naturally, are tremendously simple, and it will be extremely rare for a player to have any need to enter one, but they’re there now, and on the off-chance that one will be housing something secret in a basement, the code is in place to allow that to be the case in the future. It generates an appropriately-sized space, places a bed against a wall, and then places a table against a wall, and some chairs around the table; slum housing, by contrast, will only have a bed (and a very simple bed at that) and sometimes a chair.





I then went to work on taverns, which always spawn in every single lower-class district. There are there basic sizes of tavern (all are a simple rectangular shape, and in keeping with my intention to make buildings broadly understandable from only the outside, no other buildings share this basic shape in the sizes that taverns occupy). There’s several dozen possible interiors, each with various sub-sets of generation and different angles they can be oriented in, tables/chairs which do/don’t spawn, etc, and all contain a staircase up to the bedroom where the innkeeper lives, and a small number contain a down staircase towards a wine/ale cellar, and perhaps something secret down there too? Pretty much all building interiors are being generated with the possibility of secret content – or rather, with areas that the game will use to hide a secret if necessary – so that if you’re told in the future that the innkeep of The Mask and Flagon is hiding something behind a locked door in the basement, it’ll be there.



After that I worked on shops, creating the algorithm by which they decide where to put the ‘stall’ inside the shop (i.e. where the items will be laid out, somewhat akin to how shops work on NetHack), but since these currently lack items or shopkeepers, they aren’t especially fascinating yet, and don’t really merit a screenshot. I then moved onto military hospitals, which contain naturally lots of beds which will, in 0.8, have people in various states of decay/injury in them; chapels and areas where those religiously-involved with the military or with healthcare are stationed; and also naturally stores of healing items, herbs, etc. There aren’t going to be any non-military hospitals in the game: this is one of those gameplay > realism things, and I wanted to really focus the source of health items in one single place, and other districts were sufficiently busy whilst military districts were not, and thus, they ended up there. Hospitals vary in the layouts of their wings, how the beds are positioned along the walls and the quantity of the beds; and also the large stack of tables one can see in the top room of the first image, for example, will all contain various herbs, medical items, etc, in the future, whilst the lower room opposite it will contain quarters for the doctors, and potentially holy books as well if the civilization is particularly religious. There are equivalent rooms in the lower picture, and in other hospitals too.





Lastly, I’ve started on cathedrals. Each religion has one in the city centre of their home nation. These are actually going to be a massive task; I would expect at least two more days of solid work to finish them off, if not three, as they are huge, and require a lot of variation, but also need to appear broadly consistent with the ordinary churches of that same religion. As you can see from the screenshot below they’re pretty big (and that screenshot doesn’t show the entire thing), and very varied, and contain the majority of the relics for a religion, as well as obviously being a central holy place. Additionally, you may notice that the stone on the ground is slightly shaded; that’s because it is tiles rather than stone flooring, and the slight shading is in line with the colours on that nation’s flag, and this will be the case for all important/wealthy buildings (castles, cathedrals, manors, etc). Naturally the pattern for the ‘wings’ of the cathedral is a larger version of the same pattern for churches, and the inside is designed to show a level of consistency with the smaller churches in that variant:



PROCEDURAL GRAPHICS

I’ve pushed ahead on a lot of the new graphics for this week, and also done some more “background” work on creating infrastructures to allow these graphics to be used as clues and information that NPCs will give you in the next few months – which is to say, if a particular religion worships at a fiery altar, then written information on that religion might say “those who worship at the altar of flame” rather than “those who worship [God name]”, and so forth. Firstly I did some more work on finishing off the massive variation in religious altars we’re going to see in 0.7 – there are many archetypes, many variations, and something in the range of several tens of thousands of possible different religious altars. I’m working up to producing a detailed blog entry on these altars, maybe next week if they’re all done by then, but in the mean time, here’s another for your perusal:



I’ve also, having finished off gongs last week, been working on some of the other general objects you’re going to find around the place. I spent a little over a day working on generating vases, some of which spawn for certain religions, and some of which will spawn in the castles and upper-class housing for particular civilizations. There’s several dozen designs, several dozen colours and about a dozen different shapes, so (especially once the entire world is no longer pre-explored!) it’ll be a long time until anyone comes close to seeing all the variations. Again, these will in the future be tied to information the player gets, and to my desire to focus gameplay on discovering the world, understanding the world, and figuring out data the player possesses. Say you hear about a chamber in a distant castle which contains “four fragile dragons” – find the room with four vases, and if those all depict a dragon, then you’re in the right place. Here are some examples:



OTHER STUFF

A few other things. Firstly, doors have been simplified down to two types – locked and unlocked (I was previously thinking about adding “closed” and “open” as sub-variables of both, but that was quickly getting too confusing, and distinctly difficult to represent). Locked doors have a “full” door symbol, whilst unlocked doors have an open archway. Some buildings in various civs will of course be unlocked by default, like religious buildings, other public buildings, etc. If you’re trying to go through a locked door, you’ll need the appropriate key, though for this release, all doors will be open. I’ve also been doing some general figuring-stuff-out work on NPCs, NPC schedules, how they should be handled by the game, how they should be abstracted out when you’re far away from them, which NPCs the game should track and how it should track them, etc. Nothing visible to report on that front, but it’ll be important in the future.

Thanks to everyone for reading this monster entry. Next time: something else!

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2015, 11:16:57 AM »
First off – I’m planning to host this year’s IRDC (International Roguelike Developers Conference), either at the University of Lincoln, or possibly at the National Video Game Arcade in Nottingham (both in the UK), at some time around the end of June. If you’re interested, and if you would attend, please let me know so I can gauge interest/numbers. The conference is an “unconference” and open to everyone from developers to fans, academics to journalists, and whoever else fancies coming along. It’s entirely free. There will probably be one day of talks, one day of demos, and general socializing/eating/other human activities.

In the mean time:

Cathedrals:

Cathedrals, at last, are finished. They took the best part of the week to make as varied and interesting as I wanted – and to put in place features that will be needed in 0.8, such as quarters for the priests, potential for a cathedral to lead to a crypt, etc – but now they’re done, and I think there’s around 20,000,000 possible variations, give or take. Whereas the smaller religious buildings for each religion have names chosen from a large set, so you might get churches, pagodas, stupas, parsonages, etc, the largest building for each religion is known as a “cathedral” always – this is not out of an attempt to be christian-focused, but simply because there aren’t enough specific words for “a larger than normal religious building” to allow every religion to have its own! Whilst there may be dozens of lesser religious buildings around towns, cities, monasteries, etc, there will only be one cathedral, always positioned (as those who have explored 0.6 may have seen) in the city center of that religion’s home nation.

Here’s the cathedral I unveiled last week (just repeated here for the sake of comparison) and two of the others that have been generated this week, to give some idea of the variety. I spent around two hours just generating cathedrals over and over – it worked through pretty much every archetype and highlighted a small number of bugs, but with those fixed, I’m pretty confident they’re all generating correctly and cathedrals, finally, are DONE.






 
Altars:

I’ve finished off the remaining religious altar graphic generation this week, and next week’s blog entry probably is going to be a detailed update about how I went about generating them, the variety across altars, the relationships between altars and the particular kinds of deities they represent (different deities have different archetypes), and so on and so forth. The last set of altars that needed coding were what I (perhaps harshly) call the “standard altars” – these are for the more “ordinary” gods who do not fit into one of the rare archetypes, and are therefore given this set of altars. However, there is still significant variation in this altar archetype – here’s a couple of examples. There are twenty bases, twenty materials the base of the altar can be made from, seven altar shapes, thirty “edge” patterns, thirty “inner” patterns, around fifty possible items that can be placed on top, and twenty colour schemes:



(Just to remind everyone, what you see above is only one of the five current “archetypes” for altar generation; there are four others, and one more planned, though that might have to wait until 0.8 )

Crypts (Planning):

I have begun design work on crypts, and these will be one of the next things I’ll show on the blog. At this point I’ve figured out how I want them to generate, and the differences between the two locations they can appear – crypts can be found in graveyards, in which case it will be a broadly “secular” crypt for important figures from that nation’s leading family, particularly important/noble knights/etc; and they can also be found under cathedrals, in which case it will be a “religious” crypt containing past religious rulers, saints, etc. Of course, some of these bodies might be missing if they died far from the home nation, and if you happen to read in a book somewhere that they died carrying a particular relic…

Anyway. I’ve been planning this out, and also the far less likely things that will generate in each crypt to add variation, and also how the graphics for the specific cadaver tombs and sarcophagi in crypts should be generated, and also just the technical stuff of making sure this ties correctly to figures in world history. This week has only been planning, but in the coming week crypts are one of the things I’ll be working on. Since that might be quite a big task, I’m also aiming to generate a whole bunch of the smaller/lesser buildings out there as well – I’m thinking military barracks, slave quarters, prisons and asylums, and maybe some hunter-gatherer buildings should all be done this week, but we’ll see what takes my fancy.

In Conclusion:

See you all next week for either the detailed examination of religious altars, or a more general update on crypts and other buildings, depending on whether I get Google Analytics sorted out on the blog before then, since the latest update I downloaded completely broke it. Sigh.

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2015, 03:06:49 PM »
IRDC Stuff

First off: I am organizing the International Roguelike Development Conference (Europe) at either the University of Lincoln, or the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham (both in the UK), probably at the end of June (27-28). If you are interested in attending, please let me know. I’m also giving the “keynote” talk at the North American IRDC (more information at http://irdc2015usa.tumblr.com/) but the fellow organizing it really needs to know about numbers and those interested as soon as possible. John Harris, writer of the long-running @Play column, is also likely to attend, and I’m in the process of trying to get in touch with some interested North American games academics. Again, if you’re in NA and interested in attending, please get in touch with either me, or the organizer via the Google form on the tumblr link I posted above. It is hugely important that we get some idea of numbers, especially for the NA IRDC, since one has never been successfully hosted in North America before.

Now, onto URR (though I’m afraid the above message will likely pop up every few weeks on this blog, since I want to get as many people attending both as possible!).

Crypts

My main focus this week has been on generating crypts. These appear below cathedrals and graveyards, and are quite rare – probably around half a dozen or so will be generated in the entire world. Those below a cathedral are home to religious leaders, saints, holy warriors and the like (assuming their bodies were recovered), and may also contain things like altars, religious archives, and various other things you’ll have to seek out for yourself. On the other hand, crypts beneath graveyards are “secular” and focused on the ruling family/house of that nation, so contain past rulers, important figures from that house, and the like, and since that crypt is more public than one directly beneath a cathedral, you may (in 0.8 ) find some other individuals lurking around there as well. The “segments” that make up a crypt are, like so much else, dependent on the shapes preferred by the civilization, so you’ll find crypts with lots of squares, circles, octagons, and various other shapes; they also vary massively in their layouts (I used a modular node-based generation system for these), and their “themes” – for instance, the top crypt of these two has a “desert theme” and sand has begun to flood in; the second crypt has an “overgrown” theme being found in a jungle; and there are several other, rarer, and pretty interesting themes which can affect the entire crypt. I’ll probably have these themes spread into other underground areas as well in the future.





One interesting feature of crypts (and from this point onwards this will apply to all underground areas) is the lighting system. You see those yellow/orange/red symbols in the pictures above? These are candle stands or braziers, and in-game they flicker between the three colours, and provide light, even if you haven’t explored what is between them. This means that you can sometimes spot areas distant in the dungeon which are lit as long as you have a clear line of sight to them, even if you cannot see what lies in-between. Experientially this makes for a very intriguing experience exploring an underground area which is quite distinct from other regions – as you explore you sometimes “catch a glimpse” of a part of the crypt you haven’t yet explored, and it makes it feel more like “discovery” than some above-ground areas. Also, in 0.8 onwards unless you have your own source of light your FOV will be significantly reduced, so other lights in the crypt act as “waypoints” to guide you from location to location. The grey ohm symbols, meanwhile, are sarcophagi/cadaver tombs themselves, and I’ll be working on the generation of the graphics for those (and their connection to family histories) soon.

Barracks

One of the “small” buildings I worked on this week was the barracks, which spawn in huge numbers in the military districts of feudal nations, and can also spawn in much smaller numbers (but larger buildings) in the rare desert fortresses of nomads. The fortress barracks are on the left, the feudal fortresses on the right. Currently they only spawn beds, but in 0.8 or 0.9 you will also have piles of items for that particularly soldier – armour, weapons, clothing, etc – next to their bed. Doors sometimes spawn and sometimes down; some rare barracks will spawn with chairs or tables in as well as beds; but they’re generally pretty compact, though they do have a decent number of different possible layouts (which are always consistent throughout a civilization). I’ve also (as per an excellent suggestion) made the glyphs for basic floorings (wooden and soil, in this case wooden) much simpler, and darker, to accentuate the contrast with the walls.



Stables

Not much to show here. They’re stables, aren’t they? And stables without horses. What is a stable without a horse? Who knows?



Parliaments

I’ve also got to work on parliament buildings for feudal nations that have “Representation” as their leadership policy. In this case they are ruled by a President/Prime Minister/First Minister/etc, and this person exists within structures like the Red Senate, the Wise Congress, etc. In 0.8 this person should therefore have a “schedule” of movement between the castle (which will obviously be different for a Representation nation than, say, a Stratocracy ruled by the military) along with an appropriately protective retinue. There are meanwhile four basic layouts for parliaments, and each one then has a wide range of interiors, which also vary according to a number of other civilizational policies (and just general preferences in other ways). They have several floors, and sometimes a bell tower, and as with everything/everywhere else in the game, I’ve implemented appropriate code to allow them to contain some intriguing hidden secrets. Parliaments will also contain significant histories on the nation in question, lots of important people, and probably also some information on criminals, new laws to be enacted, etc, but we’ll figure that out later! As ever, I’m working hard to make sure every type of building looks distinct – admittedly Parliament buildings are pretty damned table/chair-heavy compared to others, but I still think it works (here are horizontal and vertical parliamentary buildings):







And you see those white diamonds? Those are PAINTINGS. Obviously those will be focused in galleries, but you might also find a couple in upper-class houses, parliaments, castles etc, and once I get around to those they will all be procedurally-generated and yield hints about the world. They will serve the same function as statues, but those are both big procedural jobs, so probably… 0.9? Maybe 0.8, but I doubt it, given that NPCs is a pretty colossal/massive thing to work on for 0.8.

(Also, I am aware the middle image looks like the Parliament of Mordor – was just a fluke from a civilization with a dark brick colour, and it was in the tropics, so dark woods are going to be used for the furniture!)

Next Couple of Weeks


Despite the well-documented folly of attempting to predict future blog posts, I’m going to try it again here. The next two weeks (though I’m not sure which order) will consist of two posts. Firstly, I’ve written a very detailed analysis of how the graphics for religious altars are generated (I have thus far own shown a very small fraction of these on the blog), and that’s one partly written for an audience not yet au fait with URR, so I’ll be advertising that post quite heavily; the other entry is an analysis of the danmaku world record I just got this week (!), which comes with a pretty amazing video (if I do say so myself). So one of these should be next week, and one the week after, but I’m not sure about the order just yet. See you then!

Zireael

  • Protector of the @
  • *****
  • Posts: 592
    • View Profile
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2015, 05:49:15 PM »
Quote
One interesting feature of crypts (and from this point onwards this will apply to all underground areas) is the lighting system. You see those yellow/orange/red symbols in the pictures above? These are candle stands or braziers, and in-game they flicker between the three colours, and provide light, even if you haven’t explored what is between them. This means that you can sometimes spot areas distant in the dungeon which are lit as long as you have a clear line of sight to them, even if you cannot see what lies in-between. Experientially this makes for a very intriguing experience exploring an underground area which is quite distinct from other regions – as you explore you sometimes “catch a glimpse” of a part of the crypt you haven’t yet explored, and it makes it feel more like “discovery” than some above-ground areas. Also, in 0.8 onwards unless you have your own source of light your FOV will be significantly reduced, so other lights in the crypt act as “waypoints” to guide you from location to location. The grey ohm symbols, meanwhile, are sarcophagi/cadaver tombs themselves, and I’ll be working on the generation of the graphics for those (and their connection to family histories) soon.

I love the use of ASCII (or is it ANSI?) in URR, and this post shows very clearly why it is so!

Also: paintings? Made me salivate :D

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2015, 04:59:10 PM »
Thanks! And yes, those will be coming very soon, with lots of hidden information tucked away within them :)

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2015, 11:50:51 AM »
International Roguelike Development Conference (Europe)

I’ve set up the venue, the time, the dates, and the format, of this year’s IRDC! I’m trying something a little different this year and I invite everyone to come along. You can read about it here on my website (http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/irdc-2015/), on Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/roguelikes/comments/2ybus8/european_irdc_at_the_uk_national_videogame_arcade/), or on Roguetemple (http://forums.roguetemple.com/index.php?topic=4467.0), and please get in touch if you’re planning on coming along! The more the merrier, and this year’s will be something really different and, hopefully, something really awesome.

URR Development

The past two weeks I haven’t been able to get as much coding done as anticipated  – partly from spending a lot of time travelling, partly from some truly baffling real-life events, and partly from other commitments – but I’ve been turning my attention to the other civilizations in the world of URR (primarily the nomads, but I’ve also put together some early work on hunter-gatherer building interiors) and also the generation for some of the other buildings in cities, like mansions and jails. So, here we go:

Mansions

Manors come in four sizes – small, medium, large, and “massive” (one of which the player will begin in, as a lesser noble). The images below show one medium and three large (the massive are not yet finished). The smallest manors can be found in upper class districts, potentially sometimes in middle-class districts once I rewrite middle-class district generation (but there would only be one in the district), and in the future will also be found in towns if the civilization has the Vassalage policy (I’m continuing to work on making the variation from policy choices more and more explicit). The medium size, then, can only be found around the edges in upper-class districts, where the “second tier” of families live (I might call these “lesser houses”?); the next size up can be found in upper-class districts only, where they are also for lesser houses, but those with real aspirations to becoming a major family in that nation; and the largest can only be found in upper-class districts; each district contains three, which house the most important families in that nation, one of which will be the ruling family. Manors contain living and dining rooms, at least one “special” thing – which might be a portrait, an ancient book, a valuable piece of armour, and the like, and which will likely be mentioned in books and other NPCs as a valuable family heirloom – and also store rooms, and quarters for servants (or, if the nation is a slaving nation, that room will be less pleasant and for slaves). The storage room is the only current “empty” room on the  pictures below, simply because I haven’t yet implemented the various item types that will soon spawn there.

You’ll also notice a little visual difference in the floor – since all of these buildings have the “ornate flooring” terrain type as their default, I decided I wanted this to be very visually clear and explicit, and I really like how this looks. Cathedrals also had the same floor type, but I found they would be slightly too visually busy if they were displayed in the same way since cathedrals generally have more stuff, so I decided to only make this change here. Personally, I think they look bloody gorgeous. Be sure to click on them to really appreciate the colouring used in these! In the first picture, the floors are the upper floor, the ground floor, and the cellar, in that order from left -> right.









Citadels

In the centre of every nomadic fortress is a “citadel”, a last retreat for that nomadic people in case of disaster, war, and so forth (within which the nomadic rulers will dwell, along with various other unusual and rare rooms). I wanted to model these on a lot of palaces from northern Africa and southern Spain, so they have a certain “oasis” feel to them as well as being places of fortification; one will often find extensive gardens within the walls of the fortress, and within these gardens you’ll find things which spawn nowhere else on the map – intriguing stone stele, nomadic graveyards (a rare thing indeed), and if in the “capital” fortress of the nomadic nation, you’ll find some other intriguing stuff on the upper floor, according to the policies the “government” of that particular nomadic people pursue. I tried to make these citadels quite “oasis-like” – they have open areas, trees, and fountains and water, and with some interior/exterior areas, and with appropriate areas that the game can use to place slaves, servants, weapons, guards, etc, in future releases. There are two different floor types here – both are “ornate” floors, but they are displayed differently; which do people prefer for citadels? I’m definitely going to keep the “minimalist” ornate flooring for cathedrals, though.





I’ve also put in the code for the game to create gates inside the fortress, which will then form balconies you can walk over on the higher floors, although I haven’t yet got around to generating the upper floors:



Jails

The first picture is from one jail “shape” showing how the stairs link, and then the other two show the player actually wandering around two variations of the “sideways pyramid” jail archetype, and in the latter case, I didn’t explore many of the cells (which, after this release, will of course be locked and require the jailer’s key) but just opened up a couple. As you can see, each floor is always similar, but with a slightly different layout of pillars, corridors, etc, and the empty room on the ground floor will be the jailer’s office:







Barrels, Candles, Miscellany

Also just threw together some of the new lookup graphics required for this release. Have a procedurally-generated ale barrel, and candle stands:





What’s Next?

Well, next week we’ll probably have a very in-depth and detailed entry about altar generation, the one I mentioned a little while ago. As for this release, I’ve definitely crossed the 50% point in these past two fortnights. By the update in a fortnight’s time, I’ll also have the massive mansions done, and most of the remainder of this release (I hope). I’m still aiming to release 0.7 in March. It’s… a stretch, as I have two academic papers I need to finish and submit this month, as well as beginning the preparation for my thesis defense, but it’s the target. Meanwhile, go and sign up to this year’s European IRDC and help us bring roguelikes to a wider audience than ever before!

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2015, 12:31:16 PM »
In keeping with my mission to push procedural generation away from the “classics” – monsters, dungeons, levels – and towards more “qualitative” concepts that have never been generated before in games (nations, cultures, societies…), URR (as regular readers know) contains a range of procedurally generated religions. These are not just a name and a belief, but are designed to be complex, interwoven and often competing systems that procedurally generate a deity or pantheon of deities; their beliefs and forms of worship; what, if anything, is banned in their religion; what festivals (if any) they perform; what agendas the clergy of this religion have; what other religions they might consider to be infidels; where in the world the religion is found; the religious symbol; their cosmogenic and eschatological beliefs; what heretical sects within that religion exist; and – the focus of this blog entry – their altars.

This blog entry is a detailed post about generating the ANSI (ish) graphics for the altars (or “shrines” in some cases) for all religions.

There are three “classes” of religion – monotheistic, polytheistic, and what I’ve termed in the game’s code as “spirits”. Feudal civilizations can have either monotheistic or polytheistic religions (but are slightly statistically biased towards monotheistic, because there is more procedural variation within that type) whilst “spirits” religions are used for hunter-gatherer civilizations, who have a range of animistic of shamanistic beliefs, totemism, ancestor worship, etc. Nomadic civilizations, reflecting their role as melting pots of varied cultures and beliefs from across the globe, never have an official state religion (inasmuch as there is even a clear concept of “the state” in these civilizations). Each of these three kinds of religion has a wide set of different possible altars or shrines, based upon a significant number of archetypes which each contain within them a massive amount of variation.

Monotheistic

Within monotheistic religions there are four possible archetypes for deities – to use the terms used in-game (though these are not seen by the player), religions can be “demonic”, “eldritch”, “egyptian”, or “general”. Each of these has its own algorithm for generating and selecting the depiction of the altars at which their devotees worship.

The first of these we’ll look at are what I’ve been calling the “egyptian” god type. These are gods that adhere to names of the sort “The ____-headed God” or “The ____-headed Deity”, and so forth. The heads of these deities, so to speak, are generated according to the climate within which that religion was first found. A religion founded in a cold, polar region might have a “bear-headed” god or a “wolf-headed” deity, whereas in the desert regions you may find those worshiping their “scorpion-headed” or “scarab-headed” equivalents. The altars, in turn, are generated with a central image, a colour, a selection of candles, and an altar shape. Here are two examples: on the left is the rather more ‘abstract’ symbol for a deer-headed god (with a particular randomly-chosen shape and colour), and on the right we have an altar for its bear-headed cousin. There’s over thirty different animals, a wide range of colours and shapes for the altars, and therefore a massive potential variation in the altars of the animal-headed gods.



The second are the “eldritch” gods. These are loosely based on Lovecraftian ideas, but also upon some of the more unusual gods in real-world pantheons (though generally ones no longer actively worshipped, or at least not by large numbers) which are not just “a person” of some description, and either have an unusual depiction, or are entirely animalistic. For instance, Chinnamasta is a Hindu goddess who holds her own severed head in her hands; the Rainbow Serpent in aboriginal myth (though these gods in URR are somewhat less benevolent); Lei Gong in Chinese myth; the Gnostic god Abraxas, and a few inspirations from voodoo, central American myth (primarily Aztec), and some of the truly bizarre demons from christian demonology (especially ones like Buer). This gives rise to gods like Uur Quog, the White Wolf of the Pit and Guardian of the Gate; or Fallin’thopar, the Transient Vulture of the Mountains and Taker of Souls. Those who like their Lovecraft can clearly see the procedural naming convention here, even if the descriptions and depictions of these deities draw from elsewhere as well. Their altars have a wide range of designs, “inscriptions”/patterns upon the altars, colours, bases, and patterns upon the basic, again yielding several thousand possibilities, of which two examples can be seen here:



The third are the “demonic” gods. These altars are the least procedurally-generated of the bunch, though still exhibit some variation in colour, and association with different forms of “demonic” gods. These are not gods which are worshipped secretly, or underground – these are clear, visible religions just like all the others in the game, but these deities are just not the most pleasant of sorts. In part my inspiration here was from the classic understanding one has of the “Old Testament” christian god – all fury, hatred, vengeance, wrath. I wanted to introduce some gods which were perhaps worshiped out of fear rather than out of the love and gentleness generally associated with the judeo-christian god in the present day, but at the same time deities who might have beliefs associated with them that state that although these deities are brutal and bloody, they are perhaps fair, or just, or expect a lot from their worshipers, or might give their worshipers great power in return for their loyalty:



The last class of monotheistic god is the “general” god, though that hides the significant level of variation within those gods, and their altars. In this case an altar for these other gods – such as the Cold King of the Moon, or the Lord of the Tall Grasses – consists of two components. The bottom half is a block of stone, wood or other material, over which is draped a cloth (all procedurally generated) which bears the symbol of that religion and some other general decorative patterns down the side. On top of that is placed one of roughly forty different items, ranging from candelabra to bowls, statues to bones, and plants to statues of various animals. Here are some examples of this last type, which generally makes up around 60-70% of monotheistic religions in a game world, whilst the rest are of the above “rarer” types.



Polytheistic

Polytheistic religions also use three different altar archetypes, which are selected at random for each polytheistic religion. Around 80% of the time they will use the “general” altars described and shown above – a block of stone or carved wood, with a banner, and with a symbol either appropriate to some aspect of the deities or chosen at random from a much larger set of “general” religious symbols – but the other half of the time they will use altars that fall into another category. These are for gods of a pantheon centred around ‘elemental’ concepts or other groups like metals or stones (such as the Deities of the Five-Fold Firmament, or the Divines of the Six Elements). All those names are, of course, also procedurally generated from large and varied libraries of names/words. We’ve seen the “general” altars, so let’s look at these elemental ones.

I’m academically quite interested in alchemy, pre-modern interpretations of “elements”, and the interactions between the two, and this archetype draws on alchemical concepts and also a few of my own which are related, but not quite drawn directly from real-world history. There are several different “sets” of “elements” that might be chosen for a religion of this sort – they might be the traditional fire/water/earth/air/etc, or slightly more unusual. In the picture below, these are for two different elemental pantheons. The altar on the right has been generated for a pantheon of five gods, in this case gods of the sun, the moon, the earth, comets, and stars; the right pantheon has seven gods, in this case gods of gold, silver, bronze, platinum, tin, copper, and iron. As above, these are rare “religion types” and will not crop up often, in keeping with good procedural generation where all possibilities are not equally weighted. As with all the other altars here, there will be clues towards these altars scattered around the world, and the nature of the altars will be referenced in a thousand different places and integrated into the world’s cultural fabric.



Gameplay

As with everything in the game, these are designed to be integrated into the clues and hints the player pick sup. Perhaps the player will be suggested that a priest who worships at the altar of the three candles is harbouring a secret, and only one altar has three candles at the top? Similarly, if you come across an unknown altar, the experienced player should be able to make a reasonable guess about what kind of deity it “belongs” to, and if they have uncovered a range of deities that are worshiped but haven’t encountered their altars, they should be able to piece together this kind of information. Equally, as with all the other graphics in the game, these graphics are designed not just to aid in the kind of discovery/exploration/information gameplay that really interests me, but also just to aid in constructing a densely detailed procedurally-generated world. Several people have said they think URR stands already as the most detailed proc-gen world ever crafted; although I appreciate the appreciation (as it were), I think that’s a little premature, but the details in the interior of buildings (such as altars) this release (March, hopefully) should certainly move URR much closer to meriting such praise.

In Conclusion

What I’ve shown here is only the slightest fraction of the religious altars that might be generated in a single game world of Ultima Ratio Regum. The majority are the “standard” archetype, which gives far more impact to the discovery of one of the more unusual ones. The five different altar types all draw on very different traditions, either aesthetically, thematically or both, and offer similarity within an archetype whilst still remaining highly distinct, and having enough noteworthy features to allow their descriptions or nature to be disseminated by information throughout the game world. Lastly, if you liked this entry, please share it on your social media outlet of choice! To conclude, here’s an in-game screenshot of the player exploring a (procedurally generated) church, and finding the altar, and giving it a look (this being one of the ones shown in the examples above, in this case for a demonic deity called the King of the Spire):



And, a Reminder:

International Roguelike Development Conference (Europe)

I’m hosting this year’s IRDC! I’m trying something a little different this year and I invite everyone to come along. You can read about it here (http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/irdc-2015/), and please get in touch if you’re planning on coming along! The more the merrier, and this year’s will be something really different and, hopefully, something really awesome.

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2015, 04:04:36 PM »
A vast, immense, terrifying update this week. A huge amount has been done in this past fortnight: almost everything required for 0.7 is finished except for some remaining procedural graphics and the last two remaining building interior algorithms, which I’m currently putting together. My intention/hope/plan is to release 0.7 on April 4th. My thesis defence is coming up very soon and I’m preparing for that, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to perfectly hit this deadline or not. In the mean time, though, bask in the ridiculous amount of new building generation! Though first, I must draw everyone’s attention to this year’s European IRDC which I’m hosting at the National Videogame Arcade. Please sign up if you’re planning to attend (http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/irdc-2015/)! Now, onto the update.

Mansions, Part II

Firstly, I’ve finished the final set of mansions – the largest ones, found only in upper-class districts, and from which the player will begin their quest from 0.7 (or possibly 0.8 ) onwards (since the player is a lesser noble). Mansions of all sizes are among the more hand-made elements of the world; there are still many, many variations, but the algorithm which constructs them is more about piecing together and differentiating between a range of hand-made chunks, rather than the algorithmic placement of items, rooms, etc, but that’s just a necessity of the detail (and more importantly, logic/realism) I wanted from these: I tried several algorithms which just weren’t given me outcomes of the sort I wanted, so I’ve gone this way instead. There are ten shapes for the largest mansions; each shape has three different upper level layouts, three ground floor, and three basements, and each of these varies in turn according to colour scheme, table/chair placement, what room is used for what, and also another difference. If the mansion is the one the player starts in, the room in the middle of the ground floor below – containing the nine statues, in three sets of three – will contain nine things, be they paintings, statues, books, or something else, each of which will give you a single initial clue towards the nine items you need to uncover the locations of in the world. For this release, all nine are placeholder statues, but that room will be where you want to start.

Here’s an example of a ground floor and a top floor, with four bedrooms:





… and another (you simply must enlarge this one and look at it full-screen, just look at the flooring! The architecture! I am almost appalled by just how satisfied I am by how these mansions look):





… whilst the basements look much like they do for the smaller mansions, i.e. stone/wooden flooring (if servants’ quarters or slave quarters, respectively). On the upper floor, you will also be guaranteed to find one special item in all the upper bedrooms, which you may discover or be hinted towards by various means; however, although the player’s starting mansion will contain the nine initial clues (and other mansions won’t), it is other mansions which may contain special items in the chambers of the nobles in that family, whilst your “starting mansion” will not. Therefore, your starting mansion will get you going on the hunt, whilst other mansions – if you can find a way to gain access – may have things to aid you on your quest. You also see those empty rooms on the ground floor? A storage room, and an armoury, soon.

Officers’ Quarters

I’ve put in the generation algorithms for Officers’ Quarters, located in Military Districts in large cities. There will only ever be one per civilization, and will contain the highest-ranking military officials (and, next version, presumably a logically significant amount of protection); there’s always a decent number of 5×5 chambers, and then one larger chamber for the highest ranking military official in that army (whatever that may be). Here’s a reminder of how one of these buildings might look: flags and fountains for the nation in question will always be found outside, along with a reasonably ornate road pattern, and the OQ is generally either a “corner” shape, or a “trident” shape like the one below:



For the interiors I decided to use the ornate floor type again here, but once more in a visually distinct way; Officers’ Quarters will always have a “strip” of ornate flooring in the middle, and use ornate flooring in the bedrooms of the actual officers, but then will use stone flooring (the “second tier” floor type for interiors) for the rest of the building. The game places one from a large number of possible patterns of tables/chairs, and then places one from a long list of patterns of pillars/walls on top (deleting any tables/chairs that need to be deleted in the process!), and voila – you have the ground floor. So here we have three possible lower floors from another civilization to the one above, and three upper floors, in one shape:





The differences are small across a single “shape” of building, but across civilizations, building shapes, floor colours, we actually get a lot of variation, whilst (as ever) maintaining a clear visual style which denotes that these are Officers’ Quarters, and not anything else:



As above, in 0.8 you’ll be able to find the highest-ranking military officials here, but it will naturally be a location which is closely guarded. I’ve also worked on the generation of armouries in military districts, but since these are very “practical” buildings (i.e. not ornate in any way), and since weapons and armour and the like are not yet generating, they are not especially interesting! Likewise for warehouses in market districts; done, but currently empty. What is interesting, however, is arenas:

Arenas

Arena interiors now generate for arenas in feudal nations. The arena consists of three components; an overall building shape, of which there are several varieties; a shape for the central “arena” section (the section within the grey symbols, which can be seen through) and the location of various candle stands which keep the entire arena constantly lit, regardless of where the player is located; and then a pattern of chairs (of which there are many) which is then placed in any remaining tiles. The initial “lobby” leads to open doors that lead to the chairs, and also a locked door (which in 0.8 will be guarded) towards an interior area where contestants will get ready, and where you will be admitted to if you intend to fight within the arena. I also made a very rare alteration here: all the chairs have a randomized wood colour (based on woods in that climate zone, of course!) rather than just picking a single wood colour for the entire building, which I do for every other interior. I like the effect it produces. I have also added the code (currently unused) to sometimes spawn arenas which might have certain… environmental hazards. Here’s an example of one I explored:



I thought this gif was especially neat: step through the arena, talk to those in charge, decide to throw yourself into the ring, step out, and suddenly the arena opens up, lit through day and night by candles, and surrounded by (in 0.8 onwards!) a host of NPCs keen to watch the combat…



Also: want more gifs in future blog updates? I think you do, but let me know.

Galleries

Added gallery generation! These spawn in city centres and will always contain four procedurally-generated paintings (which will always contain tiny clues, cultural/historical information, etc). One issue was to distinguish this from the lower floors of Officers’ Quarters, so we can see four paintings (the white diamonds) and a pattern of chairs. I took the randomized chair colour idea from arenas and reapplied it here, and had the game place chairs in blocks or along diagonals at different distances from the walls. It’s very simple, but the main function of these buildings is simply to house paintings (and, in the future, relevant NPCs who can give you useful information) – they aren’t the most exciting, but they function. Painting generation coming soon.



Embassies

I’ve now developed the interiors for embassies. I wanted to make these very close-knit and very dense, so the game generates a number of closely-linked offices, picks a layout for tables/chairs within them, then generates. The ambassador’s office (the room with the upward staircase) will always contain a few items of note from their home nation, and the ambassador’s quarters can be found up the stairs.







Mints and Banks

The interiors of Mints and Banks are now generating! I once again found another variation on ornate/stone flooring: in this case ornate flooring runs around the exterior of the bank. The code is in place to spawn guards on each vault and a teller on the chairs/table in the middle, and will be used in 0.8. Here’s a bank as you will normally see it, with the vaults un-explored, and then the same bank after the player has (in later versions) found a way inside:



Mints, however, are rather more exciting now, though obviously also still lacking in actual, y’know, coinage. Whereas anyone will be able to enter banks, mints will obviously be under heavy guard, and some serious firepower or political might will be needed to gain entry. Here’s an example of a mint (with the same ornate-flooring-outline idea to aesthetically link them to banks) where none of the vaults have been opened:



…and here’s another one in another nation where the vaults (which will soon contain that sweet, sweet money) have all been opened:



The staircase in the middle leads down to an underground vault which will contain un-minted bars of gold/silver/whatever, and also probably some coin presses too. These areas will be much more lively come 0.8/0.9 once NPCs and trade are up and running (but also much harder to access!). I’ve also, lastly, temporarily removed currency exchanges from generating; I need to think very carefully about how those are going to work, and where they should be placed, and how that will interact with the player’s actions around the world, and how to avoid it becoming deeply annoying/grindy to switch currencies. I’m now thinking about a system where there are no currency exchange buildings, but rather individuals stationed at every city gate who can perform the service for you? I think that would be better.

Hunter Gatherers

All the interiors for hunter-gatherer civilizations now generate, though there really isn’t much to see here yet. I won’t be really focusing on these for a release or two, most likely. All the flooring in these buildings is the same as that outside, e.g. taiga, tundra, tropical, etc. You can wander in and look at the lovely doors, though:



Reliquaries, Incense Stands, Khachkars

This fortnight I’ve also created the procedurally-generated graphics for reliquaries. These are found in cathedrals only (i.e. only in one location per religion), and there will always be more reliquaries in a cathedral attached to a theocratic nation than one attached to any other kind of civilization. These all have a distinct symbol on the front which one might find elsewhere in the world. They’re quite ornate, and their graphics draw primarily on christian reliquary iconography, but also some sources from India, Japan, and Islamic art. They will naturally be locked by default, and – one assumes – well guarded, but will also contain things of either great use, or simply great value. Here are some examples:



I also did the graphics for incense stands in cathedrals and religious buildings – these can spawn instead of things like vases, gongs, statues, fountains, etc, and are just another kind of variation. Happy with the algorithm that puts these together: it’s fairly basic, but I think it looks good, and they’re very distinctive.



I have also added some very, very rare graves to nomadic citadels where only the absolute elites are worthy of burial (the rest are presumably disposed of somewhere else in the desert). For now, all of these graves are Khachkars since I only have time to create one algorithm for those and not for other grave types, but in 0.8 each nomadic civilization will have a different form of burial (cairns, stele, various other ideas). Naturally, all the symbols on this Khachkar might be important…



Some General Screenshots


Here are some nice general screenshots, though they both happen to be in cathedrals. Enjoy!





Next Week

There’s only really the remaining graphics left to do now. Things like reliquaries, finishing off all the tables/chairs/beds variations, and the like. There are also a few minor bugs that have arisen in 0.7’s development which I need to fix (primarily one involving external fixed sources of light), and I’m not really sure how long that one will take. I’m pushing for a release on the 4th – there are still a hefty number of small bugs and improvements I want to sort out, and I want a couple of days of playtesting beforehand to ensure I release the best possible version. My PhD defence is in the week starting the 6th, so depending on preparation, outcome, blah blah, the release might end a little after that. Hard to say. Either way, though, 0.7 is in its final stages! Which means the final worldbuilding release will be out in the next few weeks. Hype.

Rev_Sudasana

  • Bishop
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
    • Armoured Commander
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2015, 07:51:52 PM »
Amazing work, but good luck on the defense too!

vultures

  • Acolyte
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
    • The Causeway
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2015, 09:14:39 AM »
Already @tweeted you, but I'd have to add - special + for frontend and in-game menu design.
I really enjoy your aesthetics.

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2015, 12:10:42 PM »
Amazing work, but good luck on the defense too!

Thanks on both! I'm feeling pretty confident about the defence; there's a 0% chance of a fail, but the fear is of what are called "major revisions" (rather than "minor revisions" which are the norm). Majors will generally take a couple of months, whereas minors are a week or two of work. Majors would be wretched, but eh - if that's the case, I'll just get them done and move on with my life!

Already @tweeted you, but I'd have to add - special + for frontend and in-game menu design.
I really enjoy your aesthetics.

Very glad you like it! As the game goes on and new/different information is added in each release I realize that there is, to an extent, an ongoing process of menu alteration/upgrading, but I think that can only be a good thing...


UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2015, 01:57:16 PM »
Just a short update this week, partly since it is only one week’s worth of development rather than two, and partly because I’m preparing for my PhD defence. But, nevertheless, things have been done. Before that, though, two things – firstly, your weekly reminder about the EU IRDC (http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/irdc-2015/) taking place at the UK National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, which I am hosting. Come along! Secondly, I’m giving a talk on generating cultures and aesthetics at the Norwich Gaming Festival (http://www.norwichgamingfestival.com/talks-events/) on Saturday 11th of April. Come along! Both are totally free to attend. I don’t have any other public talks planned in the near future (though nearly a dozen academic lectures at conferences in the next five months), but I’ll obviously let you all know when I do. It is possible I’ll be at this year’s GDC Europe, too. Anyway:

Mercenary Guilds

One of the last few buildings left to generate were mercenary guilds, which have now been implemented. These spawn in (most) city centers. Again, it is hard to make every building distinct, but for mercenary guilds I wanted the idea that one might be “browsing” for mercenaries – each room will be the home of a single person from the guild, who should differ significantly in abilities and equipment but still be roughly similar (I’m going to have guilds designed around a “theme”). Each room has its own randomly-chosen layout. The flooring is a square-tiled mix of wood (the brown) and stone (the grey) – it’s a small thing, but it’s hard to distinguish between all kinds of buildings when you’re only using ANSI! Which is to say: obviously you’re unlikely to go into a building with a sign outside without knowing what the building is, but I’m still trying to keep the interiors very distinct (or as distinct as possible). The woods for tables/chairs/beds are also cycled randomly for each chamber. The locked-door room will be the archives of that mercenary guild – lists of past contracts, etc, which will obviously be useful to your investigations – and may also contain a staircase down to a vault below, containing… well, who knows?



Middle-Class Districts

I’ve redone middle-class district generation. Here’s an old example – this is, admittedly, a full release out of date (0.6’s middle class districts had a few smaller gardens, more trees/plants, etc), but you get the idea; much like an “upgraded” lower-class district, random housing patterns, and sometimes roads which end in nothing (or start and end in nothing). I had a few critical comments about middle-class districts after 0.6 and how hard they were to navigate and make sense of, so I decided to do something about them, and to just integrate them slightly more firmly into the rest of the city rather than feeling like a random add-on. So, here’s an old version:



…and here are two new versions, for a “square”-aesthetic nation (with a religious building, a bank and a park), and a “circle”-aesthetic nation (with just a park)…





… and how it looks to explore and walk around:





Some things to point out. Firstly, there are now three types of houses (although all are treated alike in terms of what one might find inside and how the house itself generates): houses will walls and gates, houses with gardens, and houses with neither. I felt these needed a lot more variation, so they’ve got it. Secondly, you’ll notice the thickest roads are of different shapes, and these layouts – like so much else – relate to the aesthetic preferences of that nation. A nation with octagonal floor tiles and octagonal furniture will also have an octagonal layout in their middle-class districts (and so on for the other shapes). Thirdly, you’ll also note that all the plants (in this particular biome) are currently green; in some later version I’m going to add more variety to climate plants, add in a large range of unusual plants, and also add that to the ever-growing “clue” database (such that maybe certain plants only grow in certain nations, or are only cultivated by a few monasteries, etc?). I’m also going to have the colours of plants tethered loosely to climate, so that as you move around the world, you’ll see different “palettes” of plants, which will be a lot more interesting. Fourthly, the buildings are positioned at the intersections of the major roads – I wanted the middle-class district to look more like a true middle-ground between the rigidity and order of the upper-class districts and the randomness of the lower-class districts, and I think that by placing the special buildings more specifically, and updating the road system, but still having the district fairly tight and crowded, I’ve made it into a much better balance than it was before (since I think it used to look like a “slightly nicer lower class district” rather than something really in the center). Theaters have also been temporarily removed due to my uncertainty over, frankly, how the hell they are going to work, and that needs to be left until I have NPCs wandering around the place.

Unlike the mansions of last week, these are the exact opposite of handmade – almost nothing about the district, nor the buildings themselves, is handmade, and is almost entirely algorithmic. The games tries to place an appropriate number of rooms, and then path between them, and it allows situations where multiple rooms can lead onto one another rather than back into a central “hallway”. Here are some examples of some two-floor interiors for middle-class housing:







… and for some more unusual shapes:





Very happy with how these look now, and they’re the last housing type that needed finishing off. Everything from slums to the greater mansions can now be explored, and generate differently. Here’s a last shot, just because I really do like these doors:



All Houses

So, we can now take a shot at all dwellings, from the slums to the grandest of mansions. Here’s a large picture you should take a look at the full size of by clicking on it:



0.7 Release?

I accidentally reneged on my promise to never again promise release dates last week, and now I must pay for it. I am going to rescind all previous predictions and say: it’ll be out when it’s done. All my time not spent preparing for my PhD defence is spent on URR and there isn’t that much left to do, but it’s still going to be a very busy fortnight. I shall now once again swear to never make predictions of release dates again. Let us see how long that lasts…

UltimaRatioRegum

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Username says it all, really.
    • View Profile
    • Ultima Ratio Regum
    • Email
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2015, 11:57:30 AM »
0.7 Release

As mentioned on URR’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UltimaRatioRegumRoguelike), 0.7 will be released on Saturday, April 18th. This is (for once!) a 100% confirmed/guaranteed/absolutely certain release date, unless I die before then, in which case I will empower someone to release it for me. To remind everyone: this is the last worldbuilding release. As you’ll find when you wander around it, the world is now madly detailed, and contains every imaginable building ranging from crypts to cathedrals, townhouses to mansions, and banks to parliaments and slums to shops, with procedural graphics for everything within those buildings, ranging from walls, floors, tables and chairs to altars, reliquaries, tombs and vases.

Norwich and IRDC

Another quick reminder: if you’re in the UK or Europe, you should come to the Roguelike Development Conference I’m hosting at the awesome National Videogame Arcade. Go here (http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/irdc-2015/) for more information! If you’re in the UK, you should swing by Norwich on Saturday 11th to listen to my talk at Norwich Gaming Festival (http://www.norwichgamingfestival.com/talks-events/). Now, onto this week’s update:

Courts

Our last building algorithm is complete: for courts! These will only spawn in nations which follow the “Penitentiary” or “Ordeal” justice policies, and appear in city centers. Again, I wanted to make them aesthetically distinct from all other buildings, which remains tricky when one’s not using a tileset, but I think I’ve managed to find another clear visual style here. They use lots of chairs in the various hearing rooms/courts/chambers, but they are set out in coloured “stripes” according to the wood of the chairs and the shape of the room. There are also rooms with just tables in, which will later contain court records of criminals, important trials, etc. The overall shape was inspired by the “Star Chamber” in English history – although it is generally agreed that the name of the court was based on its decor, I realized that I hadn’t created any building shape which was based on either a star (or a cross), so I utilized both of these for the external court shapes. Here are some examples!



Tombs (and Stairs)

I’ve finally done the last major graphical block in this release: the tombs. These are generated using a vaguely similar modular system to the nomadic khachkar graves discussed two weeks ago, and they vary in a number of ways. I debated at length whether or not they should ever have names on – given the extent to which that would give away the game! – and I decided that the answer was no. No matter how noteworthy the person who is buried there, the tombs will never have names, and will (as with much else) be understood/decoded according to their symbols and graphics, rather than text. As you can see, there’s also minor colour variation; tombs in flooded crypts will have a slight blue tint, those in desert crypts might have a fractional red tint, etc etc. There’s a huge range of pattern layouts – the ones below show three of the layouts (two lines, six squares, three columns) and a small portion of the possible designs that might be etched onto a sarcophagus; there’s also a whole bunch of different shapes/designs for the top of the sarcophagus, and a lot of pattern variation within that too, meaning that each sarcophagus consists of between 3 and 10 components each of which generally has between a dozen and several dozen variations. Each sarcophagus will, of course, be unique. So if you hear that Person X was buried “where the stars rise between the vines and the torch”, then…







Other Stuff

I also threw together stair graphics, and ensured that the downside stair graphics can integrate correctly with graphics for wooden, stone, and ornate flooring (yes, I am aware the perspectives on these two staircases is different; that’s fine, you’ll never see them “together” in-game, and they proved easier to draw in the two different perspectives anyway).





I’ve also worked on crypts, finishing them, and emphasizing the difference between under-cathedral crypts (in Theocratic nations) and under-graveyard crypts (in Monarchic nations). They each have a distinct set of rooms, though some of the rooms for the under-graveyard crypts won’t be fully “activated” until we have NPCs moving in 0.8. Also just done a host of other optimizations, slight changes, making sure the correct “quality” of tables/chairs/beds spawn in each building, blah blah blah.

Bug Hunting

I’m now onto the final bug-hunting phase of 0.7’s development. There are as ever a wide range of minor ones – things generating in slightly odd places, text that isn’t completely logical, incorrect grammar/typos, etc, but only a couple of major ones. As far as I can tell there are not any crash bugs, though, which is obviously a good point to proceed from. One of the major ones is an extremely rare but very annoying bug with external sources of light allowing the player to see “through” walls, but only at a distance; in all my playtesting it has only occurred twice, and whilst I would like to fix it this release, I’m not going to let the release drag on an extra week, say, if the only remaining issue is this bug.

Some Screenshots

Lastly, here are some nice screenshots: a nomadic citadel in the fortress of Khan’s Rest; an altar to Ahorim, The Grey Worm of the Nightmare in a crypt below a cathedral in the desert; wandering around in the Red Senate which rules over the Nation of Ghanari; in the upper-class district of the city of Mourning Sun.









Next Week

Who knows?! But hopefully a celebration of a successfully-passed thesis defense…

Paul Jeffries

  • High Priest
  • ****
  • Posts: 253
    • View Profile
    • Vitruality.com
Re: Ultima Ratio Regum (v 0.6 released, 13th December!)
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2015, 10:42:28 PM »
The generated images are super-cool.  As somebody who's done some procedural art stuff myself, I'm interested in how exactly you go about generating them and how you define the rules of the generation - do you have some kind of base image which then gets procedurally modified or is it all done from scratch?  Have you got some kind of editor that helps you define the parameters?  How constrained is it?  (I've been thinking of implementing some of SPARTAN's procedural stuff in-game to generate tiles etc. on the fly, but find that a lot of the generators produce stuff that looks good for some seeds, but absolute garbage with others - it needs a human driving it to avoid creating things which instinctively look 'wrong'.  How are you dealing with this kind of 'quality control' problem?)

It seems a bit of a shame if the player has to specifically press a key to look at them - if it's vital to look at everything then it might get annoying, but if it isn't the player is probably going to miss out on a lot of the procedural pretties.  It would be nice if there was some small sub-window permanently on-screen that showed whatever was under the mouse and/or the nearest interesting object, although I suppose that would take up a lot of valuable interface space...