Author Topic: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released  (Read 27845 times)

getter77

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Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« on: May 11, 2010, 06:55:58 PM »
http://tome.te4.org/

Quote
For many years people have patiently waited for ToME3 to be released, for many years I have tried. But I always burned out of developing it too fast. It was a pile of old crappy code I could not stand working on anymore…

So one day I set out on a new venture, to rewrite it all from scratch, to forget code I could not bear using anymore and to focus on a new engine, and a new game. This was about six months ago, and now after 20 private alpha versions I am ready to unleash the Tales of Middle-Earth: The Fourth Age and T-Engine4 onto the world!

    T-Engine 4

This is the “spiritual” successor of T-Engine 3, the basic idea is the same: to make a roguelike game engine that allows the game maker to focus on making a game, not on handling the trivialities of coding.

Being the lua fanatic I am the engine obviously uses it, and much more than in T-Engine2/3. There is a very small C core that is mostly unaware of any high level designs, it simply provides access to graphics, sounds, input, …

T-Engine4 can handle many things and is meant to be easily extended. Its lua core is documented and based on a simple OO design, leveraging the full power of Lua.

A list of features can be found at http://te4.org/ but the most important ones are:

    * single unified UI using OpenGL on all platforms
    * support for many roguelike concepts from scratch without imposing limits on what can be done with them
    * easy input (keyboard & mouse) support
    * generic save/load code using serialization, simple objects do not even need to be aware of it, it works auto-magically
    * support for both graphical mode and traditional ASCII, potentially at the same time
    * many other things, checkout the site and try it

    Tales of Middle-Earth: The Fourth Age

Because an engine is nothing without a game (and because I wanted to make a game), I developed ToME4 at the same time.

As I developed ToME3 I was starting to feel restricted by the theme I had setup for myself, that of the quests for the ring in the third age. Do not get me wrong, I love the setting but it felt to me like I was meant to follow a pre-existing story and had little room for improvements, all I could do was bastardise it.

So I took a hard, but IMO needed, decision for ToME4 and scrapped that altogether. It is based one hundred and twenty two years after the fall of Sauron, in a world that is in relative peace under the guidance the High Kings of the Reunited Kingdom (Gondor and Arnor). The player is not “the chosen one” that goes on to save the world from level 1 but instead a simple adventurer, out for glory and treasures. While there is a grand-evil-that-must-be-stopped it is revealed slowly as part of the player leveling up and should feel much less intimidating.

The biggest gameplay change is probably the switch to a new stats&skills system. The primary stats are now Strength, Dexterity, Magic, Willpower, Cunning and Constitution (with a hidden Luck stat) and the skill system has been changed to follow a “standard” pattern for most skills. They are now called talents and usually have 5 levels. All talents are organised in talent types, usually 4 talents per type.

This forces to have some interesting designs for each classes, melee classes have gained a lot from it and now have many combat techniques they can use.

Some races, classes and other “things” also need unlocking before they can be used. Fear not, the mage class for example is indeed in the game but requires unlocking to be available, as are others. There is mainly two reasons for this design:

    * it allows to not overwhelm a new player with too many unknown choices at birth
    * it allows to give “rewards” without winning the game

At the start the player can be a human, dwarf, elf or hobbit and either a warrior, rogue or archer (with subclasses for each).

ToME4 (and T-Engine4) are meant to be enjoyable by anybody, as such there is no hidden “macro”, or tons of useless and cryptic options. Key-bindings and graphical modes are set-able in game with the main menu (available by pressing Escape from the game). Mouse support is available in most dialogs, it can even be used to activate talents.

Both ToME4 and T-Engine4 are now in public beta, meaning they are usable but not done. T-Engine4 is mostly good and I did not modify it much for some weeks now, except to add some new independent features (like new map generators). ToME4 story is fully planned in my head and was meant to be split in two half. The first half is done and playable (and such the game is currently winnable), the second half will be implemented during beta.

Many thought this would never happen, and even I'm surprised it happened as soon as it did after the new forum revived awhile back.  One wonders just how big a shot in the arm this will give the entire lot of it....should be very interesting!   8)
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2010, 10:33:43 PM »
What the? I thought this was dead!

getter77

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2010, 10:58:40 PM »
Yep, that's pretty much everybody's thought.  Definitely some bugs pointed out mainly by others and a tiny amount while doing my English work by me----but overall I think it will "get there" so long as the dev stays brisk and fresh on things from here on out.
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Slash

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2010, 11:59:29 PM »
AH, the DarkGod fooled us all! I'm glad to see this :)

Karzack

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 12:39:10 AM »
Well, that was unexpected...

Awesome, just awesome.   8)

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 11:53:17 AM »
Works a bit sluggy and buggy here (Vista 32) let's see how it evolves

jim

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 05:24:06 PM »
Wow. Represent.

edit: though playing it reminds me why I stayed away from angband...
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 05:47:05 PM by jim »

DarkGod

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 10:40:50 PM »
Wow. Represent.

edit: though playing it reminds me why I stayed away from angband...

What would that be ?
I did not design it to be a *band, so I'm quite interrested in what you find annoying in both :)

getter77

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2010, 02:29:24 AM »
Welcome around the place I'm usually constantly around DarkGod!   8)  And, of course, congrats!
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2010, 02:47:24 AM »
What would that be ?
I did not design it to be a *band, so I'm quite interrested in what you find annoying in both :)

It really doesn't feel much like a *band to me.  I think right now it's rough around the edges, but I liked ToME, so I'm perfectly willing to wait and see how it turns out.

My biggest problem right now is with how it handles messages.  The old way was nicer and more intuitive, in my opinion.  Also, trying to equip a weapon your character can't use seems to destroy that weapon.

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2010, 07:06:35 AM »
THe weapon thing is fixed now.

ABout messages, what was more intuitive ? having to press [space] for ages on ?

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2010, 11:30:46 AM »
Maybe intuitive wasn't quite the right word, but it's a few things, like how the message bar at the top of the screen tends to draw the player's attention to itself with large text and flashing colors, while the message bar in the bottom left corner is out of the was, but since the top bar tends to fill up larger than the screen can contain, the bottom set of messages are much more useful.

Maybe they'd be more noticeable if their position were swapped with the location of the player's skill list?  Something like this maybe?  The reason being that while both the skills and messages are important information, the player's skills change infrequently while messages change all the time, so the player shouldn't need to reference the former as frequently, and the latter should be given a position closer to the player's center of vision.

I do like the skill hotkeys.  Much more convenient than the old mbaa* or whatever it was just to use a basic spell on a target.  You don't see skill cooldowns very often in a roguelike, but I think it could work out well here.

Combining commands like read and quaff into a single use command isn't necessarily a bad idea (in fact, I think it might be a good one), but it is unintuitive to a roguelike player since q and r are always quaff and read.

The game seems to want the player to use their mouse to look at things.  While the ability to do so is nice, I would bet that most players would like some way of doing every task with just the keyboard.

Maybe I'll post more suggestions later.

DarkGod

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010, 11:37:43 AM »
You can look around with 'l'. It will popup the same tooltip as the mouse.

I see your point about the messages.
The main problem is what you said, the top line of message is not working all that well. I'll probably change it a bit in some next release.

Combining keys is IMO vital for new people, figuring out which key to press to use a potion instead of a scroll or wand is like a torture game which has really no need to exist. Actually even 'u'/'w'/'t'/'d' are optional since you can wear/takeoff/drop/use from the inventory screen itself.

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2010, 08:08:14 PM »
- on Win 7 changing resolution destroys most of the tiles, they become white. I have to restart to see graphics
- is there any way to scale video resolution? The text is too small on 1900x1200 desktop
- how do i turn off the music? also removing the "music" folder crashes the game on start
- dying puts the game in permanent loop of time advancement - the log displays days one after another

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Re: Tales of Middle-Earth 4 released
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2010, 08:38:14 PM »
You can look around with 'l'. It will popup the same tooltip as the mouse.

I can look at enemies that way, but not floor tiles.  Is this not possible, or am I doing something wrong?

Combining keys is IMO vital for new people, figuring out which key to press to use a potion instead of a scroll or wand is like a torture game which has really no need to exist. Actually even 'u'/'w'/'t'/'d' are optional since you can wear/takeoff/drop/use from the inventory screen itself.

It seems to me that the best key to use with the current system is 'e', since it has all the functions of the other inventory buttons, and it's near wasd, where your left hand typically rests when you play a game (at least with qwerty keyboards).  Maybe quaff and read commands would still be good in addition to the universal use command?  It hasn't been a real problem for me yet, but it might be better to be able to see only one item type when you get late into the game and you're carrying 20 different types of potions and scrolls.

How are you going to handle save files between versions? Normally with roguelikes it's not a big deal if you lose everything between versions, because you can just keep playing the old one until your current character dies and then switch over.  With your achievement system though, players will probably want to keep their unlockable content between releases.