Courts, Tombs, Bug Hunting

0.7 Release

As mentioned on URR’s Facebook page, 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. If you’re in the UK, you should swing by Norwich on Saturday 11th to listen to my talk at Norwich Gaming Festival. Now, onto this week’s update:


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).

Stair2 Stairs1

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; and exploring the manor of House Pinnom, in the upper-class district of the city of Mourning Sun.

Blue lovelinessCryptorrrParl1


Next Week

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

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14 thoughts on “Courts, Tombs, Bug Hunting

  1. This looks awesome! You are doing a great job. I am slightly confused as to where ziggurats are located though, are they out on the world map or in cities, or somewhere else?

    • Thanks! Ziggurats used to be out in the wilderness; they were removed a couple of versions ago, and are staying removed at the moment, as I don’t think they’re going to find any meaningful integration with the game I have planned. In hindsight, I was just trying to shove in some gameplay unnecessarily, and what I’m working towards now is (in my view) far more interesting. They may return one day though! But… I wouldn’t count on it.

  2. Nice work.

    I’m wondering, how functional will all these placed be? For example, the courts. Will there be any gameplay elements associated (for example, being judged for a commited crime)? Or will this be only for world building purposes?

    • Oh yes, my intention is to fully enable each nation to actually “do” their justice policy – generally “justice systems” in games where you can reload are meaningless (see Elder Scrolls for the obvious example), but in a permadeath game, by contrast…

      But yeah, I intend to have each nation generate its laws, and how harsh the responses are, and so forth. Soon!

      • You’re right; being able to easily reload in an RPG does diminish the impact (or even the need for) in-game events like being killed or being arrested having to face the consequences of your actions (i.e. “STOP RIGHT THERE CRIMINAL SCUM!”). So in URR, if you’re caught stealing/breaking and entering/murdering/jaywalking, is it possible to be arrested, sentenced, and incarcerated/fined/executed/let off for good behavior and/or a bribe?

        Makes me think of the old game ‘Space Rangers’ (which got an HD update recently): if you were arrested in the game and sent to prison, instead of it being game over or cause to load a saved game, you’re sent on a text adventure in which you have to survive serving your sentence and/or escape.

        Not that URR should strive to be a justice system simulator, but it’s an interesting concept for turning a traditional RPG ‘reload moment’ into something actually worth experiencing, even if you somehow screwed up in the game.

  3. Very pretty dungeon crawling details! The courts are interesting, I’m really looking forward to playing with .7.

    That’s an interesting gameplay choice to leave names off tombs. I can completely see why, but I can see why you had to think about it given the point of interesting grave markers being memorial. Thanks for sharing the process, that’s cool to see.

    • Glad you like ’em! Yeah, it took a bit of pondering, and as you say grave markers are supposed to be *markers*, not just containers, but it made sense from a gameplay perspective. Someone tells you someone was buried “Beneath the city of stone watchers, between the skull and the axe”? Then head to a city with a lot of statues, get into the crypts, and find the tomb with a skull symbol on the left and an axe symbol on the right….

    • Ha! Well, sadly, I don’t have a PS4. I do actually have Bloodborne – I wanted the special edition, so I bought it in anticipation of a future PS4 – but right now I’m either looking for someone in the UK who can lend me a PS4 for a few months (I have someone in mind, potentially, who may be willing to part with it) or waiting a little while longer until they’re a bit cheaper to buy second-hand…

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