Happy Holidays everyone!
Working hard on the CRPG… I intend to have the game at least in a running state (not bug-free necessarily) by the end of this year. Hopefully that means I can start taking screen shots and posting videos as well!
I finally sat down and wrote a music player. It’s a little different then doing sound effects, and requires a lot of calculation to be able to have it play a “song” in a good way, but it’s going well! I may even have the music complete before the title screen.
Fest West 2018 is on April 28th, I definitely want to be able to show something cool by then.
I started my current retro CRPG project in February of this year. I’d say that 60% of the game is done based on the amount of disk space that the current build occupies. Of course, there will be extensive debugging and tweaking of the game content. And not to mention writing the game manual, which is a job in itself — albeit a very fun part of the game design process.
I’m still bogged down on the city/populace portion of the game. I’d say it takes me about 8 hours of total time to design a city, but I can only find that much free time realistically in a 2 week period. Considering that I’ve designed 8 cities so far and I have to do 12 more, it will take me another 6 months to finish the city/populace portion of the game at this current pace.
As much as I’m grateful for being gainfully employed in a permanent full time IT job again (the cratering of oil prices in the heart of Canada’s oil country kind of put me into a “these were my lost years” situation for quite a while), I had a lot more free time on my hands to work on this game. I’m now starting to see the benefits of long term unemployment.
I find that writing dialogue requires a lot of mental effort on my part and not to mention that I have to make sure that it formats correctly to the screen and so there is testing for that as well. Doing the graphics and programming seems to be less cumbersome because I can do these things even with noise and interruptions. I suppose writing for the manual is a more pleasurable experience for me because I can really delve into the intricacies and the technical aspects of the game — which is what my passion really lies. I’m admittedly far from being Richard Garriott as far as storytelling goes. I mean, this is the introduction text that I’ve come up for the game:
“The Lands of Greater Rivaria, united at last after a long and brutal Civil War are facing a new existential threat. The so-called “Resistance”, composed of the most seditious and foul enemies, headed by a nameless leader is seeking to undermine and overthrow our sovereign, the Most High Honorable Lord Bane and throw us into darkness and chaos.
By reuniting the various pieces, shards and fragments of the legendary Tablet of Uthar, a holy artifact forged by the Gods of Creation that brought law, order and prosperity in Times of Old, we can unite the people into a common and noble cause. We will finally defeat the most nefarious of enemies who seek to subvert and destroy our way of life.
Up to ten worthy adventurers are called upon to report to the royal castle. This is a threat so great that we are even calling upon not only those of various origins, but even those of differing creeds to assemble together, whether they follow the ways of law, balance or even chaos. So long as they swear loyalty to Lord Bane and Greater Rivaria in order to defeat this most imminent peril.
If this grave danger is not overcome, the stability of Greater Rivaria and all that we have worked and fought so hard for is at stake. This is a most desperate hour.”
–Viscount Beaumont, emissary and most trusted advisor to Lord Bane, the Most High.
Not very good at the moment, but I’m getting a very good friend of mine who is an amateur fantasy writer to revise and improve the above text. However, it does mention that the game supports a party size of 10 players. In retrospect, that is quite ambitious for an 8-bit CRPG, especially considering that I had to stretch the 22*23 screen size that the VIC-20 normally uses to 23*26 characters.
I was anxious about finishing my game by the end of this year but I’ve come to accept that these types of mega projects take time to do. It will be finished when it is finished.
I’m still in engine work but I definitely expect content generation to take awhile once I’m back on it. 🙂
I actually decided to split my manuals into three… A history book, a spell book, and an instruction manual. The first two are “in character”, intended to be books the player has found. The last one is a more practical “Here is how you run the game, here is the controls, etc.” type of book. If you look at the manual for Ultima III, for example, they try and bridge the gap, which results in a humorous and not very helpful book to deal with actual technical questions.
I also want to do a map, although I don’t know how useful it will actually be to the game… Part of the issue I suppose is that the game’s premise is the player is from Earth, so the materials he has are dated and don’t describe the world “as is”. I’m hoping that after I generate the content the historical and cultural aspects will be easier to write.
I would describe that snipet of writing as “rather dramatic”. I’m also slightly suspicious of serving a “Lord Bane” and fighting a “Resistance”. 😉 I’m not sure how they can be “existential” either…
The idea of splitting off the technical manual from the “in character” manual books is a pretty good one. I think by Ultima IV, all of the technical aspects were documented in a reference card based on the platform you purchased the game for. The fun thing about computer RPGs is that the manuals tried to emulate the D&D books of the era. Since D&D had various rulebooks (Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, etc) many of them also split them further.
As far as my intro, my goal is to put a slight twist on who is the main villain. I lay it on pretty thick that it’s a pro-government propaganda piece and moral ambiguity will be a theme throughout the game. Some decry moral relativism and shades of gray being prevalent in the current entertainment culture but I’m not really making a social or allegory of the current going-ons. But if I’m permitted to muse on my own observations, I find it funny how sometimes that the most outspoken pacifists become very pro-war depending on who is in charge of the government or changing circumstances. In a very “Eurasia is our ally. We have always been at war with East Asia” type moment, the folk singer Pete Seeger had put out a music album decrying FDR’s bellicose stance towards Germany prior to the US entry in WW2 (because Stalin was allied with Hitler pre-Barbarossa and had put out directives to all of the communist fellow travelers in the Western Democracies to take a pacifist stance) and when Hitler stabbled Stalin in the back, suddenly the political left because very pro-war. And Pete Seeger also demanded that his anti-war album be recalled afterwards.
It’s also funny that the Republican party had for years accused the Democrats of coddling up to Russia and now both parties have switched stances–the Democrats are anti-Russia hawks and many elements of the Republican party are seen to make pro-Russia statements. What’s next–Joe McCarthy being posthumously given a “Profiles in Courage” award for having the foresight to oppose the Russian sympathizers? 🙂
Or to put it simply, “One man’s traitor is another man’s patriot”.
I probably went a bit too far in musing my observations into politics. I certainly don’t want to offend half of my audience — I really just want everybody in the retro community to buy my game, or at least check it out 🙂
As long as your Lord Bane doesn’t have an orange toupee, I don’t think you’ve crossed the line into political satire. 🙂
My own CRPG plot has been influenced by political events over the last fifteen years, so I know how that goes. As long as you avoid the classic CRPG plotline I think you’re ahead of the game. (Which Spoony’s Experiments described as: “Wizard bad! You hero! Go kill!”)