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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsUltima Ratio Regum, sprawling culture worldbuilder (0.9 released Dec 31 2021!)
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Author Topic: Ultima Ratio Regum, sprawling culture worldbuilder (0.9 released Dec 31 2021!)  (Read 154004 times)
JobLeonard
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« Reply #960 on: October 05, 2021, 12:30:44 AM »

That's probably a very sane choice (maybe even the only sane choice) for a one-person development team working on a complex system this massive
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Ultima Ratio Regum
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« Reply #961 on: October 10, 2021, 05:56:15 AM »

That's probably a very sane choice (maybe even the only sane choice) for a one-person development team working on a complex system this massive

Heh, my thoughts exactly Smiley!

Here are some procedurally-generated ANSI board games! Four archetypes (Go, Pachisi, Chess, Race Games), millions of possible boards in each, millions of possible rule-sets in each, and PCG names too. For now just trade goods, but later you'll be able to challenge NPCs to games with wagers!

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« Reply #962 on: October 11, 2021, 04:03:59 AM »

Nice!

No love for the Mankala-family of games? Wink
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« Reply #963 on: October 14, 2021, 12:45:56 AM »

Nice!

No love for the Mankala-family of games? Wink

Thanks! I think the Pachisi-esque games, in the game, are very Mankala-esque, actually... but you're right, there could be another!

Some very exciting developments this week! Ships have been reworked for 0.9 and made about a hundred times more diverse, and more interesting, and have some actual gameplay around them now. So firstly, in 0.8 I created a system for establishing travel and trade routes that ships would use, as seen in the picture below (players would not see this directly in-game). The system was specifically designed so that whenever a new route matched up with an existing route, it would stop generating a new route, so that ships would travel exclusively on well-plied trade lines and so forth, which lead to something like this:



That was fine of course, especially as this was partly an under-the-hood thing that players didn’t percieve too strongly, and in 0.8 ships were free to travel on and simply served to help the player get from one part of the world to the next. Now, however, as we begin to implement mechanics around time, money, and travel, ships needed to be made a little more detailed. Firstly, of course, real-world ships in the sort of 1600s-to-1800s world URR exists in, did not all go with exact trade routes. You would get plenty of variation depending on winds, the seasons and the time of year, which way you were going, and of course sometimes ships travelling to and from similar directions might take different paths for political reasons or other causes. As such, I started by reworking this a little bit into a system that would still group ships in certain areas, but allow also for a diversity of paths to and from similar destinations. That yielded something like this:



So you’ll see this looks a lot more organic and realistic – there are still clear, most optimal paths that many ships take (in the real world these would of course be shipping lanes, essentially) but there’s also a lot of variation from ship to ship, even those working in the same sorts of areas. I think this is great. Now, if we transform this into a heatmap showing us how many ships go along a certain path, where red = one, yellow = a few, green = several, blue = lots and violet = a massive number, we get this…



…which I am very happy with! Some obvious and busy shipping lanes, some less plied routes, and some in the middle. The next step was to generate the ships themselves, give them images, personalities, names, histories, crews, and so forth (and of course speeds and prices) and thus make the selection of ships and travel routes something to actually think about and weigh into your movement around the world, instead of something that takes place instantly and requires no real consideration. I set about building a ship name generator, and after a little while, you can see some of the debug outputs from this generator here, as well as their coordinates, and the length of their paths. Keep in mind the world map is 250×250 tiles, so < 25 is a short journey, < 75 a middling journey, anything > 75 a long journey, and anything over, say, 125 or so generally means you’re really going to the other side of the world.



Would you sail on the “Red Kraken” or the “Grief of the Ocean”? I know I would! As part of this ships also now possess traits, some of which are active in this release and some of which will come soon in 0.10. Again, the goal here is to add more strategic depth to selecting which ships you go on, and I hope will actually get the player remembering and thinking about specific ships they’ve found to be especially useful: maybe a ship that goes between the two cities the player is spending much of their time in, or a ship that is especially fast or cheap, or a ship that gives a discount to a particular demographic the player is in, or a ship that is well-armed and helps the player travel through regions of piracy (coming later…), and so forth. Here’s the current list (you might need to open the image in another tab, depending on how you view this website), and their effects:



The availability of these traits is of course determined by the policies and other traits of a civilization, so for instance only a civ with the “Literary” trait can have the “Poetic Ship” possibility, only one with the “Theocracy” trait can have the “Holy Ship” possibility, and so forth. There are some really interesting combinations which should yield interesting strategic choices. You can see these when you go into a dock in a city or a town and look over the available ships. Whereas in 0.8 you just had a list of destinations and clicked on the one you wanted, the ship selection screen has now been massively overhauled! You can see the list of destinations and what ship will take you there; text (white if you can afford it, red if you can’t) showing you the price of passage, where the ship is now, and how long it will take you to reach that destination; who owns that ship, where it travels from, and so, and so forth; an image of the ship (procedurally-generated, naturally!); and a list of the ship’s traits, which are colour-coded depending on what they apply to (e.g. religion, armament, cost, ship-board culture, and so forth). In terms of ship traits I estimate there are around 150,000 possible ships that can generate with different combinations of traits, and I think that should keep things interesting for some time!



In docks, as elsewhere, you can now enter currency exchanges where you are able to switch currencies you possess for currencies you do not. Each dock will only accept the currency of its home nation for travel (though maybe I’ll change this later and have some cultural trait, e.g. “Internationalism”, allow you to spend any currency in that port?) and so one of the strategic elements of the game will come from building up stores of required currencies, and planning ahead. Whenever you trade currency you lose a little bit of overall value from the currency you are trading out of (as in the real world) and so you’ll want to exchange currencies rarely and in large volumes (again, as in the real world). Again, I’m sure I will add traits later on for slightly better or slightly worse exchange rates, and other things of this sort.



Once you’ve got your money (this next screenshot is obviously from a different world / port), some of your travel options will show up as white rather than red:



And then you select your ship and the game gives you a final confirmation you want to spend that money.



Once you say yes, you are given a little story about your time on the ship (as in 0.8 ) and you are ferried to your new location.



I have more to write about this later, but I have made massive optimisations to the speed of the game in 0.9, and thus travel no longer takes many seconds for the game to calculate, it is instead now (effectively) instant, as is travelling on the world map! But more about this at a later date. This was an update about ships and docks and currencies, and I hope you all enjoyed it. See you all soon for another update for what should be a (31st of) December 2021 release!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #964 on: October 14, 2021, 11:59:54 PM »

Wow, based on the mechanics it sounds like a massive amount of code had to updated for that! Impressive
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Ultima Ratio Regum
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« Reply #965 on: October 15, 2021, 06:09:37 PM »

Wow, based on the mechanics it sounds like a massive amount of code had to updated for that! Impressive

Thanks Leonard! Smiley
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« Reply #966 on: October 26, 2021, 03:43:49 PM »

Graphics complete! https://www.markrjohnsongames.com/2021/10/26/urr-0-9-update-graphics-complete/

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JobLeonard
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« Reply #967 on: October 27, 2021, 04:03:24 AM »

Is it me or are you getting even better at this?  Grin
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Ultima Ratio Regum
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« Reply #968 on: October 27, 2021, 04:37:44 PM »

Is it me or are you getting even better at this?  Grin

Haha, thank you Leonard! Some of the early work I'm still happy with, but as part of this release I totally remade the world generation visuals, for example, as the old ones were rather disappointing...
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Ultima Ratio Regum
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« Reply #969 on: December 07, 2021, 04:43:01 AM »

I wrote a long-ish blog post about how I procedurally generate treasure maps - hope you all find it interesting!

https://www.markrjohnsongames.com/2021/11/29/procedurally-generating-treasure-maps/

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JobLeonard
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« Reply #970 on: December 07, 2021, 07:34:28 AM »

Very cool.

Also, ninja star marks the spot Ninja
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« Reply #971 on: December 07, 2021, 03:27:19 PM »

Very cool.

Also, ninja star marks the spot Ninja

Thanks JL - and ha, yes, a "true X" in ANSI is surprisingly hard to render...
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« Reply #972 on: December 31, 2021, 05:16:57 AM »

Ultima Ratio Regum 0.9

Released!

Blog post: https://www.markrjohnsongames.com/2021/12/31/ultima-ratio-regum-0-9-released/

MAJOR FEATURES:

Procedural coin generation has been implemented, and the player now starts with a solid amount of money from their home civilization. Coins can be found in various locations and coinage can be acquired through trade (see below) and coins can be exchanged into other currencies via currency exchanges for a slight loss in overall value. All exchanges, merchants and NPCs give change. 

A vast range of trade goods and other items now generate (all with massively varied PCG images), spawn in markets, and can be purchased, sold, and moved around the world; different civilizations prize different things and are particularly noted for creating different things. Different merchants will accept different sorts of goods, and there are new conversation options to help give you information about this - merchants give you good prices for goods they sell or goods close to what they sell, and worse prices for less related goods. 

You can now buy and sell from merchants as long as you have the appropriate currency; a large number of factors affect the prices merchants give you. The inventory system has been updated and reflects both what you have on your person, and also trade goods waiting for you to move between locations.

You can ship items to other civilizations when you purchase an item. This lets you can add it to your inventory (which takes an item property called "weight") or ship it to another civilization to later sell there (which takes a property called "space"). Upon travelling to that other nation you can access and sell all your stored items. Finding what nations are most eager to buy what items of what types, and from what other civilizations, is key to building up your wealth. In 0.10 there will be a lot more things to spend your money on, but for now the challenge is to see how much you can make!

Docks now contain a range of new information and options, with specific ships being generated to ply specific trade routes. Each ship has its own set of characteristics (which will be further fleshed out soon) and a period of time it takes to make its journey. Each vessel is tracked as it moves around the world and the docks give you a sense of how long the vessel will take to transport you, how much it will cost, and so forth.

The encyclopedia has been improved, updated, and nuanced. Rather than discovering a new civilization for example immediately gives you all the information on that civilization, data is acquired gradually as you actually find it out, e.g. you must see evidence of their religious policy in order to know their religious policy. This applies to everything in the game now, and there are now specific messages in the message log that tell you when something has been "Discovered", which means it has been added to the encyclopedia.

Major improvements made to the speed of the game's various calculations when you are moving around on foot, and when you are moving around on the world map. The former has been almost halved in computation time and the latter has been reduced to only around one quarter of its previous weight - with no loss of gameplay or relevant things being computed. This has led to the whole game speeding up massively and becoming a much smoother and easier playing experience. There are further optimizations I hope to make in future releases, but these two have already done a lot to make the game run much faster.



MINOR FEATURES:

A new religious policy – “Cultism” – leads to the generation of a number of different “micro-religions” (I’m inspired here by the polytheism of ancient Rome or early Mesopotamia) the game calls “cults” whose altars or places of worship are scattered throughout a civilization. These might involve worshipping a particular species of bird, a particular historical figure, a particular location in the world map, and so forth. A cultist civilization will possess between 3 and 5 cults. These do not feature traditional religious buildings but rather shrines (sacella) you’ll find all over the place in various locations, in homes, in towns, in parks, etc. These of course have a new visual generation algorithm which is very distinct from the previous religious stuff, and show visually what the cult in question worships. Appropriate new phrases etc for NPCs have been implemented.
A new cultural policy – “Pastoral” – leads to the generation of more farms around cities and around towns, the appearance of “Naturalist” shops in marketplaces with an appropriate sign, a smaller central capital city, and a general appreciation of all that is environmental.
“Slavery” is now an economic policy rather than something else which didn’t really fit into the policies framework, and hence now comes with appropriate phrases and comments from citizens.
All three of these new policies of course have appropriate images with them.
The world generation screen now has a (if I do say so myself) rather gorgeous new generator for the images you can look at while the world is generating. My procedural art skills have, er, somewhat improved in the last 8+ years and I wasn’t happy with the screen players were shown while the world was being created; this is far more striking and should give a much stronger first impression.
The “choose a civ” page has now been replaced with a page where you can choose which policies you would like in your starting nation, and then the game matches you with the nearest fit.
The encyclopedia now also lists ships, mines, monasteries, cults, and currencies, with whatever information you might have found out about them up to that point.
The “Religious Freedom” policy icon has been lightly altered.
The “Vassalage” policy now has a new, and far less visually displeasing, icon.



BUG FIXES / OPTIMISATIONS / ETC:

Fixed a bug where very rarely a jailer would not be able to tell you how many prisoners were in their jail (thereby raising serious questions about their suitability for such an important job).
Fixed a bug with the colours of some clothing items being incorrectly selected when the game tries to print their full images.
I have re-enabled some aspects of the menu screen landscape generation which I had apparently disabled at some point in the past, but can no longer remember the rationale behind. Say hello again to rolling sand dunes and moonlit oceans!
Fixed a problem with farms sometimes not spawning around towns.
Slums no longer sometimes lead to a crash when they generate in an unusual location and cannot find a nearby city wall to attach themselves to when generating.
Pressing Enter again when looking at an NPC or yourself no longer cycles you back to the top of their list of clothes, rings, etc.
Town generation no longer sometimes crashes when trying to place cults in a civilization with the “cultism” policy.
Demonic-style religious altars are now shaded correctly.
Town generation has been slightly increased back to the point where it “should” be.
I really, really think I have fixed the player/house bug this time, but please do check that the house you belong to (looking at yourself and going to the allegiances screen) matches one of the houses for your civilization (in the encyclopedia).
Resolved a long-standing issue where some people give you incorrect directions to the cathedral of their religion; this should now be fixed.
Fixed a visual bug with coastlines sometimes appearing too brightly in the city district view when you’re travelling.
The ages of monasteries no longer result in very strange sentence structures when you ask monks about their home.
Visual problems with “snow” and “sand” terrains have been fixed (another Python 3 conversion issue).
Fixed a graphical bug with the main-menu image under rare conditions.
Fixed an issue where isolationist towns, trying to spawn their town walls on a “curve” in a road, couldn’t quite generate their walls correctly and wound up producing loads of weird negative numbers that caused the game to crash.
Added a "Loading..." thing to screens where it was definitely needed.
Resolved an issue with clothing that had been added as a result of the introduction of armour, causing the game to very rarely not be able to correctly define an item of clothing or phrase a sentence with that clothing in it.
Sorted out a rare bug where particular kinds of travel could cause the player’s “@” symbol to repeatedly show up on the human-scale map while walking around, hence leaving a trail of perfect copies of the player character.
Resolved (I think) a potential crash when entering a crypt outside a city.
Going into a city dock from an outside city gate no longer crashes the game, and going into a dock in a city on foot from a gate inside a city also no longer crashes the game. Both also now display visuals correctly if you move into the dock to consider travel, but then change your mind.
You can only use a dock to use ocean trade routes that actually connect to that dock, rather than any trade route anywhere in the world. (In essence this means that docks often have fewer options and you’ll have to use other ways to seek out other parts of the world).
Crowds of people no longer slowly fizzle away the longer you spend in an area.
A mysterious plant known as the “leek” (Huh?!!) no longer very rarely appears on isolated farms and in doing so crashes the game, because URR cannot at present work out what a leek should look like. (Who can?)
Docks give you proper information about the keys you can use to navigate the menu, and for exchanging currency as well.
You can now type in the conversations in order to narrow down a set of questions to the one you want to ask. This was actually there back in 0.8.0 but not at all obvious, and I have added a prompt to let you know this can be done, and I have also updated and improved the system.
Fixed an issue where, in extremely rare conditions, a sufficient number of embassies could not be spawned in a city centre, causing a crash.
Towns can no longer very, very, very rarely appear right next to a city, which makes the city's own generation then go a bit peculiar and the whole thing just doesn't work. 
Fixed a very strange bug where a small number of roads outside of some cities did not properly register as being roads, and hence did not generate entrances to that city.
Fixed a bug where the rings of religious characters (priests, monks, etc) would sometimes generate with a random religious symbol instead of the appropriate one for their preferred belief.
Questions about weapons and armour specific to a civ now accurately reflect all the updated generation and variation in this area.
Fixed a bug where a small set of religious buildings generated in such a way that the walls surrounding the altar blocked off the player’s access to the rest of the building.
Leaving a city and them immediately returning can no longer cause the game to miscalculate how much time should be elapsed during those movements.
Have resolved and upgraded quite a few name generators that had extremely rare, but not impossible, permutations that the game couldn’t usefully handle. I only found these in fewer than 1/100 generations so they must be highly unusual, but nevertheless, they have now been fixed.
Fixed a problem where entering a city, leaving the city, attempting to re-enter, and then deciding not to, THEN leads to a crash when the game tries to place the player somewhere appropriate on their next map tile.
Fixed a super rare problem where sometimes the game would continually think you were entering or leaving a city even when there was no city in sight.
Resolved an issue with the field of vision sometimes not computing totally correctly when you took particular actions at the edge of a map tile.
Sorted a minor issue with some of the graphics in the guidebook sometimes not correctly appearing in the right location.
Fixed a typo and a layout issue when saving the game.
Nomadic individuals can no longer generate with conversation options that (at present) have no “solution”, and hence cause the game to crash.
Hunter-gatherer individuals can no longer very rarely try to spawn with clothing that isn’t appropriate to their civilization, and hence cause the game to crash because it’s trying to find civilizational characteristics that are not actually present.
Added in a number of new key options for navigating various menus and the like.



PLAY IT:

https://www.markrjohnsongames.com/games/ultima-ratio-regum/

As before, the game is made for Windows though I do plan on Mac / Linux versions one day, probably after / alongside 1.0 in a couple of years. For Linux I recommend Wine, and for Macs I've seen a range of different solutions.

Python executables are (unfortunately) known for generating false positive virus reports, and URR is no exception. I've worked hard to try to find a solution to this problem, but haven't succeeded yet. There is, obviously, no nastiness in the executable, so you'll just need to tell your antivirus not to worry about it.

If you find bugs (or, you know, have a positive comment to leave!), please do comment here or send me an email or a DM on Twitter or a carrier pigeon or some semaphore, or whatever. Assuming there are enough bugs of sufficient severity to merit a 0.9.1 before a 0.10 (e.g. multiple crash bugs, for instance) I will be releasing a 0.9.1 soon; if there are only relatively minor bugs such as typos or minor graphical graphical issues, those might be left until 0.10 (this time next year).

THE FUTURE:


I am now working on 0.10 and enjoying this “one year” turnaround time for major releases. It’s large enough that I have the time to do something of meaningful scale, but also small enough that it keeps me to a schedule and to focusing on the core essentials. I therefore anticipate a 0.10 this time next year, then a 0.11, then probably 1.0 after that (!!) as we are finally getting close to having all the pieces in place. 0.10 will be generating books, finishing and further developing and improving the conversation system, and adding more stuff to spend money on; I’ll be posting more about this on the blog in a month or two once any 0.9.x bugs have been dealt with and I can properly started to focus on it.

In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy 0.9! I will be interested to see how much money people can accrue, since it is meant to be somewhat tricky – but I’ll be keen to get any feedback possible for thinking about future balance changes. Have fun exploring and trading your procedurally-generated items, everyone, and I hope you all have a lovely new year!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #973 on: December 31, 2021, 06:02:35 AM »

Wow, that's a big changelog! Sure, you had one year, but you're also a one-person devteam so that's still impressive! Congrats Coffee
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« Reply #974 on: January 01, 2022, 04:45:23 PM »

Wow, that's a big changelog! Sure, you had one year, but you're also a one-person devteam so that's still impressive! Congrats Coffee

Thanks Leonard!! Smiley
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« Reply #975 on: October 06, 2022, 03:49:59 AM »

My first plan for 0.10 was procedural book generation. We already had the books generating as items and - if you'll allow me - they're one of the things I was proudest of in the 0.9 release:



This was always intended to be a central part of the game - I want to get the game generating texts that were logical and meaningful and connected closely to the game world, and to get the player reading these as a central part of learning about the world and finding the clues to the core mystery. However, as readers will know to some extent, 2022 has not exactly been the year I was hoping it would in terms of my health, and while things might be picking up now, I often feel like I'm in a perpetual back-and-forth between "unwell" and "getting back to where I was before I got unwell again", with little time to actually build something and build on what I've been doing previously. I'm now back in the "gbtwiwbigua" phase (as we call it) once more, but I don't know what the rest of the year holds. This is important because the generation of the book contents is something I've made some progress on - some incredibly exciting progress, actually - but realistically there is no way I can now finish it before the end of the year. Even if I didn't have a full-time job to consider, and even if I did literally nothing else for 0.10 except the book contents, I still don't think I could get it finished in time. I really don't want to half-arse the book generation as it's something that really excites me, but I also am now determined (as discussed in past blog posts) to keep to one major release a year, no matter what.

So, instead, 0.10 is going to be the "everything I wanted to put in 0.7, 0.8 and 0.9, but didn't have the time to" release! I've been making some good progress easing myself back in, building some new code and some new content, and refamiliarizing myself with everything, so here's what has been added so far in the past couple of months:

New Items

To begin with, we have some new items! These appear in a variety of logical shops and are items that contribute to your navigation of the world and to surviving in the world (see below). The first of these is the compass, which (like everything) can be found in various qualities and various shapes depending on the civilization you buy it from. The compass reduces how much water the player consumes when moving through desert - the logic being that you can more accurately plan your movements instead of stumbling around uncertainly. The quality of the compass - low, medium, high - determines how accurate it is and thus how much water is saved, with the lowest quality saving the player 25% of their water, the medium quality saving 33%, and the highest quality saving 50%.



The second of these is the binoculars, which increase your viewing distance as you move around the world map using the "travel" function. The lowest quality binoculars will give you one extra map tile around the player as you move; the medium-quality binoculars will give you a few more extra map tiles in each direction as you move; and the highest-quality binoculars will give you a few more map tiles in each direction than that. It's hard to describe, but think of a circle where each quality level adds on a couple more tiles at the edge of the circle than the one before it.



Pitons are the equivalent of the compass, but for your use of supplies in mountainous or polar terrain, rather than your use of water in the desert. Pitons can be used to reduce your use of supplies in mountainous and polar terrain by 25%, 33%, or 50%, depending on the quality. Unlike the compasses and the binoculars pitons will very slowly be used up, but at a rate that still makes them a very profitable purchase compared to just using larger volumes of supplies.



We also have canes! These reduce food use in all of what I'm now calling the challenging terrains - desert, polar, and mountainous - by 25%, 33%, and 50%, again depending on quality. These can be purchased at carpenters' shops and like the pitons will eventually wear out, but only as an extremely slow pace. On a side note I have to say I'm particularly happy with the generator I built for these, as it is (un?)surprisingly difficult to think of many ways to vary and make interesting and item that is, essentially, a stick of wood. Nevertheless, I think I did pretty well here!



And, finally, we have grenades! Modelled after pre-gunpowder and early gunpowder historical grenades, these will be available in powdermaker shops in civilizations with the appropriate technologies and policies. Shown here from left to right is a hallucinogenic grenade, an explosive grenade, and a smoke grenade, and I'm working on a couple of other types as well. As I've said before, I really am excited about working on combat when that starts coming into play, and these are a category of item I've been looking forward to adding into the game for a while now.



Speech

Part of what I have planned for this release is really expanding and developing the speech options. As part of this, therefore, you can now ask NPCs open questions of the type "What do you think about [X]?". This means you can now question NPCs about any alcoholic drink, any prisoner (if you're talking to a jailer), any historical event, any ship (if you're talking to a sailor), any monastery or monk (if you're talking to monks or priests), any political party (in relevant nations), any major family (in feudal nations), any gladiator (in relevant nations), any feudal nation, any tribal nation, any nomadic nation, any known disease or plague, any religious relic, any religion, any individual, any city, any town, any area of the world map, any animal or plant, any weapon, any artwork, any book, and any political ideology. Here's an example of these sorts of questions in the list of questions, and then an example of how it currently looks when you're selecting what to ask:





One of my next tasks, of course, will be to develop the responses to these questions! More on this soon.

Survival

I've always hated the minutiae and the constant need to keep yourself from dying in most "survival games" - eat food every few minutes, drink water every few minutes, etc. It's tedious and repetitive and doesn't really add a great deal (except in a few rare cases where it is so tightly integrated into the game design, as in something like Don't Starve). By contrast, the survival mechanics in a game like The Curious Expedition, which was one of my favourite games from last year, struck me as very different. In moving survival from the constant to the strategic, the question in TCE is instead framed far more as "planning for an expedition" and making sure you have enough to survive, making good use of your resources, planning ahead, and so forth. These sorts of framings really attract me and really fit in with the sort of thing I'm looking to do in URR. It shouldn't be something the player is thinking about every second of the day, but given the game's focus on exploration and the size of the game world, I'm really attracted to the idea that in order to push out from one's base city you need to make sure you have what you need to survive, and that to push out into more challenging terrains (desert, polar, mountains, etc) you need to ensure you've got what you'll need to be able to properly explore them.



So, progress has begun on the "planning for expeditions" side of things by adding three meters into the game which you can see now on the sidebar on the left - food, water, and equipment. None of these are required in cities, towns, and on ships, but to head out yourself, you'll need to stock up on supplies. Food is consumed each day you're out of a settlement / ship; water is consumed each day you're in the desert (the assumption is that outside of the desert you can find abundant water sources), and equipment is consumed each day you're in polar or mountainous regions (again, it's assumed this is easier elsewhere). These can be bought in cities when you enter/exit through the city gate (which is the part of this I'm now working on). These are pretty cheap goods, but naturally if one runs out and isn't in a settlement or a ship, bad things might begin to happen - which should be pretty fun to code. More on this soon!

Thrones

Thrones - despite having been generated over a year ago - now, actually, appear in-game when you look at a throne. So that's nice.



Bug fixes

I've also completed a number of bug fixes, such as:

-Resolved an issue where pressing ‘@’ to look at your character didn’t properly give you the same navigation option for looking at your character that pressing ‘l’ or ‘;’, and then manually looking at yourself, would.

-Removed a debugging option in the “Export” menu that I’d accidentally left in the game – whoops!

-Hopefully fixed a problem with the world generation sequence very rarely freezing (not crashing) if you move the “focus” on your computer away from it to another app; I think this has been resolved, but it might need a little more testing.

-Fixed bugs where several speech options resulted in crashes.

-Fixed a bug where pressing the “Exchange” option in a conversation would lead to a crash (though I will be coming back to this in more detail later).

-Fixed a bug where the game would crash upon going up stairs (!).

-Fixed some typos in the generation of monastery names.

-Changed the name generator for mercenary guilds, since some of the generated names were a little bit... iffy.

-Fixed a problem where sometimes asking soldiers about their armour caused a crash.

-Standardised the spelling of “civilization” to the American English version – most words in the game are British English, but I’ve always liked the look of the ‘z’ in that word (I blame Sid Meier) so I decided on that one instead.

-Fixed shading on signs outside buildings in city centres.

-Fixed a bug with a crash upon entering a fortress.

-Fixed bug where a cult ring would sometimes try to generate for a non-cultist civilization, resulting in a crash.

-Fixed a BIG and long-running crash bug with some towns on the coast not generating enough homes for people to live in, resulting in a crash! This was because the game couldn’t find somewhere to put a dock in time, and then ran out of “can I place a building?” cycles before it was able to get to placing houses (which come after the larger, more important buildings). I'm really pleased to have finally solved this one, as this now means there are very few remaining known major bugs - in fact, only really one.

-Fixed a bug where turquoise mines did not display correctly in the encyclopedia and caused a crash, and also sometimes appeared as “metal” mines instead of “gem” mines (even though I am quite sure turquoise is not a metal).

-Fixed a bug where looking at a mine in the encyclopedia belonging to a nomadic, instead of a feudal nation, caused a crash because it was trying to print the wrong kind of flag.

-The list of ships in the encyclopedia now shows the images of the ships alongside their names, destinations, owners, traits, etc.

0.10 Begins

So: I'm pleased to say that 0.10 is now going to be a release focused on the stuff I couldn't get into the last few releases, plus a load of new items, some new mechanics, plus a load of polishes and refinements and fixes for bugs and things of that sort. Again, I think it's really important for me to settle into a regular annual release schedule of any size, rather than focusing on huge releases across any time period. I just don't think after being pretty unwell for eight months that four months - even four months of focus - is simply enough to do credit to the book generation ideas I've started working on, and that I'm excited to deploy. With that said I'm sure I will be continuing to do a bit of work on book content generation, since that excites me and I'm incredibly keen on developing this system I'm building for this - which I think is distinct from others? - and seeing where it can go. However, my priority will be on this 0.10 content, building on 0.9, polishing, fixing, improving, developing, and fleshing out, what's in the game right now. 0.11 might be book generation; it might even be combat; it might be some combination, or something else; but 0.10 is going to be a release of significant size, deepening both the gameplay interactions in the URR world, and the game world detail, and I'm excited to get working on it.

Thanks for reading everyone, and I'll see you in a couple of weeks - I promise! - for the next update! Smiley
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #976 on: October 06, 2022, 07:17:33 AM »

Jesus Christ it's already been a year?

Well, cheers to another wonderful update! Coffee

(and you're rightfully proud of those book covers)
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« Reply #977 on: October 09, 2022, 03:21:58 PM »

Jesus Christ it's already been a year?

Well, cheers to another wonderful update! Coffee

(and you're rightfully proud of those book covers)

Thanks Leonard! Yes, apparently is has been the better part of a year... where on EARTH did it go?!
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« Reply #978 on: November 02, 2022, 04:58:43 PM »

Welcome to the second URRpdate for the 0.10 release coming at the end of December! Quite a bit has been added in the last few weeks, so let’s get started:

Banking

To begin with, you are now able to deposit any amount of your money into the bank in a given civilization, which will then – slowly – accumulate income over time. Right now the system will be that you can deposit any currency into a bank, but the currency of that bank’s home nation will accrue income much faster than other currencies. I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting with compound interest calculations, and thinking about how fast the player moves around the map, how fast in-game time passes, all of these sorts of things, and I think an interest rate of around 1-1.5% per month for home currency will be appropriate; it’s obviously high (on a level we could only dream of in the real world under normal circumstances!) but there will be many demands on the player’s expenses, and banks in the URR world are local, not global (so you can only get your cash out in the right nation), and it will be a strategic choice to sacrifice the immediate use of your money for later income further down the line. This will obviously be something to playtest, but for now I’m adding the ability to deposit money, of any currency, and a 1-1.5% interest rate monthly for the home currency (and around a 0.5% interest rate for non-native currencies) in banks. All of this should – in time – add another nice strategic layer to the game world and the player’s actions, purchases, movements, and so forth. As such, I’ve now built the interface here for the player to both deposit and withdraw coins in various volumes, and to cycle through coins. You’ll also notice on the left-hand side of the below screenshot that each bank has a procedurally generated “special offer” which takes the form of “Do X to get Y” – one example is shown below. These will have quite significant benefits (this one, for example, would allow the player meeting the condition to buy any five items in that city’s shops!) and so I’m hoping these will also make interesting strategic considerations as well.



Holy Books and Ingots

Despite all the time and effort I put into working on the generation of holy books for religions as part of 0.9, I realise now that they (generally) don’t actually spawn at present! It is possible for a holy book to spawn in a “general store” but the odds are extremely low, given that anything can spawn in those stores and books are only one category, and then even within “books” there are many categories of which holy books are only one. I’ve therefore taken it upon myself to get holy books spawning now in religious buildings, where they appear on tables and sometimes appear having been left on chairs by previous worshippers. In 0.10, therefore, a few holy books will now appear in their appropriate religious buildings, which the player will be able to look at. In the future, of course, when systems for handling stealing and reputation are implemented, you might be able to grab them with reckless abandon, but now they are just there to look at. This is also the case for ingots, where I coded the graphics and the item information for them but never actually got around to putting them in the bank vaults in banks, mints, etc. They can therefore now be found in both – again, they cannot be picked up yet, but they just give a little more detail, and soon you’ll be able to do a bit more with them than you can right now. Holy books and ingots can therefore now both be found in their sensible in-game locations, and the effort I put in to generating their images is no longer going to waste!





Relic generation

In the existing version relics are hidden under-the-hood and never really appear, even though you can see reliquaries in religious buildings. The current relic generator is very generic and although it can produce a huge number, they tend to be of a few standard sorts, e.g. a bone of some description, a weapon of some description, and so on. Given that in a future version relics will be generated as in-game items that might be important for solving clues (or might just be worth a great deal of money, of course, or might be worth something else if given to the right person…) I decided to go back and just take a couple of hours to update the generator. There are a number of religion “archetypes” in the game that at least partly determine some of the traits of the religion and what its altars look like, and I’ve come up with over twenty different relic archetypes, such that now every religion will have a unique category / “type” of relic. For example, one religion’s relics might all be golden statues of animals; another religion’s relics might, indeed, all be bones of ancient saints; another religion’s relics might be mysterious metal cube etched with eldritch designs; another religion’s relics might be sacred feathers from ancient birds; or whatever. The game therefore now assigns a relic type to every religion, and generates a bunch of relics for that religion to have – one per normal religious building, one per cathedral, and a number that are perhaps lost, or buried, or in private hands, etc. This doesn’t do a great deal right now, but is setting things up nicely for later.



Building memory

One of the problems with URR has always been speed. I don’t claim to be the most technically skilled programmer on the planet, but I have been continually improving the game’s speed as much as I can. A significant improvement took place in 0.9 where I upgraded the rendering engine for the game’s world (particularly the larger outdoor areas rather than the smaller indoor areas) to the point where it was around 40-50% faster than it had previously been. I’m working on further upgrades of this technical sort for the future, mark my words, but I also want to speed up the player’s ability to navigate the world. One place where this has long stood out to me is in getting back to buildings; when you enter a district or a town you have already visited, you always start at the edge of that map grid and have to walk, again, into the area in order to find the shop or tavern or whatever it might be. Well: no more! The game now keeps track of every structure you’ve seen in a map grid, and from then on, whenever you return to that grid, the game now lists all the structures you know, and you can so straight there instead of having to walk the whole way through the grid again! After some playing with this it is clear that this is frankly a huge time-saver and really makes the game feel far faster to navigate and get around. I intend to later add the ability to add your own “checkpoints” for this system – e.g. if you know there’s something important hidden in a particular house in a particular district, you can put in a checkpoint outside that house, and then later when you return to that map grid, the checkpoint will be another option you can go straight to instead of walking back through it to get there. For now, though, I’m really happy with this addition, and it really speeds things up an astonishing amount, and streamlines the player getting things done to a huge degree. Without exaggerating I’d say it speeds up the time going from a bank to a shop by around 90% (assuming you already have both the locations), if not more – this is a huge improvement.

For these more informal areas, the game now identifies particular areas and ways of facing that would be good to “start” at a park, for instance – maybe on the right-hand side, facing left, and looking over a bridge – and then when you fast travel to a park, a memorial, or other comparatively amorphous outdoor areas, the game looks through these saved starting point, picks one, and puts the player there.

This has actually been the main thing I’ve been working on in the last couple of weeks since the game needs to be able to handle all kinds of buildings, in all kinds of areas, and to place you in logical locations for these buildings, and to accurately deduce how many steps should be iterated as you fast travel to them, etc etc – but it’s now done, and my goodness, it speeds the game up. This is a really fantastic addition in terms of what people these days like to call “quality of life” in game design, and I’m so glad to finally get it in there.





Bug fixes / polishes / etc

- Resolved a problem where buying some kinds of rifle balls / pistol balls would lead to a crash because the game couldn’t figure out what to call them.
- Noticed that weapon prices were not being appropriately modified based on their quality level (low/medium/high) and made it so that they will be.
- Fixed a crash bug with a certain (rare) class of book being unable to figure out what book cover it should be showing on screen.
- Added metaquestions for “What do you think of [plant]?” and “What do you think of [animal]?”, which also appropriately populate themselves with responses based on what the player knows about.
- Going from your inventory into a specific level of your inventory (e.g. “weapons” or “maps” or whatever) now correctly darkens the background inventory image.
- Fixed yet another problem with mines in the encyclopedia crashing the game sometimes – this should really, really, be resolved now.
- Using the keypad’s ‘5’ instead of ‘Enter’ no long causes a crash on the world map (!!!).
- Using the keypad’s ‘5’ now works fine for going up and down stairs, just like ‘Enter’ does (alongside the usual ‘<‘ and ‘>’, of course).
- Fixed an issue with some types of history books not correctly listing the name of the thing they are recording the history of, but merely the type of thing, so one got “Arena: A History” instead of “Redtooth Arena: A History”, or whatever it might be. These books now have the right titles.
- Fixed a far less common issue equivalent to the one above but for prisons, rather than arenas.

Next?

One of the problems with creating this kind of world is always the gaps. One creates a world map and thinks “but where are all the settlements?”; one creates settlements and thinks “where are all the people?”; one creates people and thinks “what can I actually do with them?”; and so on. This has always been a struggle for me psychologically as well, always feeling like new additions only suggest future additions, instead than standing on their own two feet. With that said, though, with this 0.10 release I’m finding a lot of satisfaction in going back and closing a lot of the “gaps” in the game world. The world is now already looking more polished, more complete, with fewer strange “gaps” in its nature, and with far more ease of navigating, exploring, seeing things, and just generally getting stuff done.

As such, for the next week or two I’ll be working on more of these improvements; more closing of the gaps; more polishes and improvements and optimisations; and generally just continuing to polish and more fully flesh-out what’s already there. Expect another update, all being well, hopefully some time in the middle of November!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #979 on: November 03, 2022, 02:57:41 AM »

Oh the navigation checkpoint system sounds like such a relief, nice!
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