A roguelike game inspired by the literature of Jorge Borges, Umberto Eco & Neal Stephenson, and the games Europa Universalis and Dark Souls. URR aims to explore several philosophical and sociological issues that both arose during the sixteenth and seventeenth century (when the game is approximately set), and in the present day, whilst almost being a deep, complex and highly challenging roguelike. It explores questions of philosophical idealism, cryptography, linguistics and the writing and formation of the historical record, and will challenge players to hopefully think in ways and about themes that are rarely touched upon by games.

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Finishing 0.8 Part VII

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This week has been a week of consolidating everything that was in place so far, continuing to test and refine and test and refine over and over the speech generation and the flow of sentences, moving around some of the code so that it can be handled more efficiently, and thinking about handling sentence variables in the future, which is to say, the parts of sentences which are things like “[god]” or “[nation]”, and therefore have to vary every time the same sentence is uttered. As such, here’s this week’s fairly substantial update:

- Thanks to some great suggestions left in the comments list in the blog post from two weeks ado, I’ve added in a number of new responses. If you’re asking someone about a potentially suspicious topic, and you’re in a region with guards, they might (if they really like you) say something like “You shouldn’t ask such things, the guards will think you’re a spy!” or something of that sort.
- Equally, if you’re asking a particularly “academic” rather than “practical” topic – the difference between “what is the nearest mountain range?” and “what is your religion?” – they will sometimes, very rarely, say “I don’t know, but you should go and ask [expert]”. I think these are both great changes, and again, add even more speech detail to the potential library of sentences the player will actually encounter. However, again, to prevent farming, there’s now basically a hidden counter, which varies significantly from iteration to iteration, and affects how often people will recommend that you go and talk to somebody else about the topic in question; equally, you need to be talking to people who both a) have the knowledge and b) have the inclination to recommend an expert, which will be a fairly small number of NPCs.
- I then spent quite a bit more time developing the above in order to maximise the detail that people can offer the player, the variation in the sentences the player will read, and integrating all of this will knowledge and mood modifiers. So, now, if you hang around in a shop, and then a random person comes in, and you ask that person about the currency of their nation, for example, if they don’t want to respond they will point you towards the merchant in that shop, knowing that a) they and you are in a shop and b) you are asking a question that it would be relevant to talk to a merchant about and c) there is also a merchant in this shop.
- These responses also vary depending on whether you’re in the nation or church relevant to the person you’re speaking to. So let’s say you ask someone something, and the relevant answer would be “You should ask a noble”. If you’re in the mansion of a noble from their civilization, they’ll say “You should ask a noble, such as the one in this mansion” or whatever; but if you’re elsewhere, they’ll say “You should ask one of our nobles, who dwell in accommodations like these”; if you’re right nation but outside and in the right district, they’ll say “You should ask a noble; several have their mansions here”, or in wrong distract, they’ll say “You should ask a noble; many dwell in our richest district”. Equivalents in a foreign nation would be “You should ask one of our nobles, who dwell in a district much like this”, or “You should ask one of our nobles, who inhabit the richest part of my home city”. The game can therefore now generate appropriate sentences both based on the player’s location – right building, right district, or just overall right region, or overall incorrect region – and the relationship between the person you’re talking to and the area you’re talking to them in (especially relevant when you run into people who aren’t native to the state they live in, for example).
- I have to be honest and say that I’m extremely happy with how this context-specific recommendation system has developed; I’m really hoping this will produce some strikingly specific procedurally-generated sentences for the player to encounter in appropriate situations, and as ever, just generally provide greater variety in the conversation system. There are also a bunch of sentence possibilities which might be generated that I know are currently impossible, but might become possible later once the potential actions and schedules of NPCs expands further.
- Going back to repeating questions, if you ask X, and then you ask X again, sometimes on the first repetition people will now be confused rather than annoyed or bothered; they’ll say “Didn’t we just discuss this?”, or “That’s strange, didn’t I just answer that?” or something like that; the potential mood drop will be the same, I think, but it’s just another little bit of detail for some NPCs.
- Thanks to an outstanding suggestions left on the Bay12 forums, there is now a little bit of extra conversation detail in there which I hadn’t thought of. If you ask something, and get a positive response (they answer your question), when you say the next thing you say, it’ll normally start your next question with “Thanks” or “Understood” or “I appreciate you letting me know” or things of that sort; equally, if they didn’t reply, your next thing will often start with “Apologies” or “Ah, okay” or things of that sort. This adds a nice little bit of extra flow to the conversations; naturally even more flow will be added once they can ask you questions back, but for the time being, putting these in 50% of responses definitely makes everything look a little more human once more.

Next week’s blog entry will be a little different: I’m in the final fortnight of the extension period on my first book, and this week’s absolute priority is finishing that off. Next week I’m going to have the first non-URR entry since development restarted and write up some reflections on writing such a long piece of work about games, what I’ve learned from it, my future writing plans, and so forth; there’s just no way I’ll have more than a little time in the coming week for programming, and I’d rather return with a blast the week after. See you all next week!

Finishing 0.8 Part VI

Finishing 0.8 Part VI

News

Just a short update this week with some iterative improvements, fixes, and coding optimizing; a larger update next time!

Finishing 0.8 Part V

Finishing 0.8 Part V

News

Lots of new responses for uninteresting, stupid and "suspicious" questions, bug-fixes, optimisations, etc. Read on!

Finishing 0.8 Part IV

Finishing 0.8 Part IV

News

Finally some screenshots of the speech generation, with lots of progress on questions, answers, negative responses, bored responses, and more!

Finishing 0.8 Part III

Finishing 0.8 Part III

News 2 comments

More conversation progress on starting and ending sentences, refusing responses, NPC mood, sensitivity to questions, and more!

Comments  (0 - 10 of 145)
Guest
Guest

Is there more to this game than just its goal about the conspiracy? Am I able to get invested in the world? Become involved in its affairs not just with quests? Maybe work for a farmer, live with him, talk to him, have things happen to this farmer that may result in some new dialogue options as the game progresses. You could do a regular job system, but I want to really feel a bond with these people, like I really belong in these places, and that I really fit in to these places.

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UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum

Hmm, thanks for the interesting question. It's not a sandbox, if that's what you're asking - it's a huge and detailed world, but also one with a distinct set of objectives and mysteries. I feel as if making another sandbox is just duplicating Dwarf Fortress, but a huge and detailed world with a totally different set of mystery-esque objectives is something very different. So you'll be able to become involved in the world's affairs, but as part of the path towards uncovering the conspiracy.

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Guest
Guest

The one game that is doing Dwarf Fortress killing the right way.

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UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum

Why thank you :). Though my objectives remain a tad different!

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XongaLonga
XongaLonga

I guess this game will not be release for PS4 and XONE because this consoles can't sustain 60fps and 4k. By the way, what is the minimum requirements? The game is playable with this specs?
CPU: i7-5870k
RAM: 64GB DDR4
GPU: 4x GeForce Titan sli

I'm just kidding. Nice job! It's amazing how this simple graphics make the game more interesting. Sometimes less is more.

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UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum

Hahaha, this comment made me laugh. Thanks! Very glad you like the graphics :)

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Monochrome_
Monochrome_

Are there any plans for releasing the source code for this in the long run? Quite frankly, the amount of complexity, effort and zeal put into this could've be used as a lesson to all gaame and roguelike programmers.

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UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum

I'm afraid not - it's closed source now and I intend to keep it that way (though I appreciate the compliment!). What's far more likely is that in a coupe of years my third/fourth academic book will be a procedural generation one.

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Vladiskov
Vladiskov

third/fourth ?

Okay, what the f***s ar the firist two about then? art desing or music? (or cooding n game desing?)

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Guest
Guest

Is this a 4X game? I'm a bit confused since a lot of sites describing it refer to it as 4X but it sounds closer to Dwarf Fortress's adventure mode. Is it like DF where there is also a strategy mode where you can control and manage one of the generated civilizations?

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UltimaRatioRegum Creator
UltimaRatioRegum

It was originally envisaged as a 4X but has changed immensely, and there are some outdated sources which still say that which I haven't got around to changing. But it is much more akin to DF's adventure mode than anything 4X-esque.

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Vladiskov
Vladiskov

this as a X-4 game would be more like stellaris + more deep cultural background construction, and would be an academic game about how culture changes throught time n science discoveries, conquests, colonisation of new territories, etc o3o

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