Law & Order & Chaos & Chance

By Alec Meer on November 6th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Disbelieve! Disbelieve!

If Julian Gollop keeps up his current rate of posting about the planned Chaos reboot/remake/sequel, it is entirely possible I’ll be linking to him every single day until the game releases.

I am just fine with that.

Now, he’s put up a reasonably fulsome feature list, spell and creature roster and details of platforms. Also, he’s redesigned his site to use the original Chaos sprites as a background. D’awww.

A lot of what’s in there is straight out of the original Chaos, but I suppose this is being described as a remake as well as a sequel. There’s been some sniffiness that Gollop – like so many other devs of yesteryear – has gone back to one of his established franchises rather than pursuing brand new territory, but I do feel that that, in the case of Chaos, he’s exploring an important corner of gaming that truly deserves a fresh and more expansive take. If he’d announced Y-COM I’d have been fairly skeptical, bu there’s a a whole lot more to do with Chaos – and an awful lot more people who didn’t experience it first time around. Single character, summoned monsters, offensive and defensive spells, counter-spells – these are things that deserve to be seen with shiny mega-graphics.

You can see the largely familiar list of spells, creatures and whatnot in this post on Gollop Games, but here I want to concentrate on his proposed changes. To whit,

I am not convinced for the need to have a special spell selection and casting phase. It may have worked well when playing multiplayer games around one screen, but is somewhat redundant with network play. Instead wizards can cast a spell instead of attack (i.e. they can only cast a spell when moving within the move-and-attack range). I suspect this idea might be controversial with existing Chaos fans.

Although spells will be randomly assigned, each spell will have a random weighting so that some spells may be more common than others. This will be use to achieve a generally better balance of spells in random combats.

Law and Chaos effects will be finer grained, with 2-5% shifts for each spell cast.

That first is the biggie and I wonder if it was made in the light of Firaxis’ XCOM and its strict partitioning of moving and acting. I can’t say anything useful about it until I’ve tried it, but I fear “I suspect this idea might be controversial” is putting it mildly.

As for features, he’s talking about several multiplayer modes and a proper singleplayer campaign in which “You start with a basic wizard character, and you must journey through regions battling enemy wizards.” However, as you progress you anger the ‘wizard king’ who then raises the toughness of your enemies, making it a “race against time.”

Here’s the major happy-happy-joy-joy promise: “the big idea with the Kingdoms of Chaos mode is that it is randomly, algorithmically generated… There should be an element of strategy and deduction in figuring out which battles to fight and where to go on the campaign map.”

In terms of multiplayer, there’ll be networked games with the option of asynchronous turns or ‘live’ turn-based play, and he’s also talking about pass the device play for the mobile versions. Hopefully that’ll be in the PC one too – I’d happily pass my laptop around in the pub during a boozy war of wizards.

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33 Comments »

  1. Themadcow says:

    Remake of one of my most played and favourite games of all time? Check.

    Jullian Gollop making it? Check.

    NO SPELL SELECTION AND CASTING PHASE? ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! *passes out with nerd rage*

    • Tom Walker says:

      This does strike me as a real gameplay issue rather than something that should be like the old one because it should be like the old one.

      Surely if you choose your spell just before your move, going first becomes a massive disadvantage. Players that move later will be able to choose their spells in reaction to what other players have just done in the same turn.

      He must have thought of that, though, mustn’t he? MUSTN’T HE?!

      • sinister agent says:

        … but the players who move first can then choose their spells based on what the last players chose. It’ll only matter for the first turn, which is also the least important, and typically involves most players crapping out some cheap cannon fodder that won’t even be a threat for another five turns.

      • Themadcow says:

        Well, in the original game you never saw what anyone else was going to cast unless you sneaked a peak through your fingers while the other player was choosing their spell.

        *adopts the classic Chaos keyboard covering hunched pose*

        Going first meant you could get your magic bolt / lightning in before some other players (I’m looking at you CPU player 4) could even cast their first spell. Sure, that wasn’t ‘fair’, it was a classic hallmark of a Gollop game – just like getting blown up before you exit a Skyranger in X-com.

  2. monkeybars says:

    Comic Sanssssssss!
    /drops to knees, fists shaking in the air

    • Didero says:

      Only if you don’t have the ‘Mountains of Christmas’ font, which Firefox or Windows 7 apparently does have.

      • rawrty says:

        Ah thanks, I had been trying to figure out where the comics sans was until I saw your post!

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      I always feel like I’m missing a bit of history when this comes up, I’ve seen a large number of people wish that comic sans existance could be wiped out. But I’ve never figured out why so many people are so passionate about it?

      • lordcooper says:

        Comic Sans killed my parents. It killed everybody’s parents.

      • sinister agent says:

        They’re just showing off.

        • frightlever says:

          This.

          If someone tells you they hate Comic Sans, either they’ve exhausted absolutely every other possible thing in the world to hate, or they’re a dick. Usually they’re a dick.

          • Harlander says:

            Wait, we’re only allowed to hate one thing at a time now?

            A gutsy move. I like it.

          • Guvornator says:

            Hmmm, I don’t think it’ll gain traction with the RPS community. With Origin, Steam and Windows 8 in the world they’ll blow through that limit straight away. Maybe we can take turns…

      • Consumatopia says:

        Take something you dislike slightly, now imagine it’s everywhere. That’s the sort of thing the Internet gets passionate about.

      • El_Emmental says:

        It’s like using IE6 when there’s Firefox, Chrome, Opera available.

        It’s a font not only disliked by typographists (for various reasons, too typo-geeky for this place), it’s also a sign of computer/text document immaturity.

        When Vincent Connare made that font in the mid-90s, it was meant to be a casual, children-friendly font, imitating the style of fonts used in comic books for the young readers. Early draft of Comic Sans even gave some special signs (such as the €) some “funny” elements, such as eyes or foot.

        If you’re older than 16 and still using Comic Sans, it is like coloring your presentation papers, drawing little smiling suns and colorful flowers on the border. It’s probably adorable (when done by a child) and pretty, but it doesn’t feel right when a 40 years old person does that on a business paper.

        ps: of course, most people jumped on the “ban comic sans” wagon without doing the research, vaguely thinking the font is disliked for its amateurish look ; it doesn’t change a thing to the original criticism.

        Which is:
        “Bob, please stop drawing little winking suns on your monthly reports, you’re a grown-up now”
        “Alice, no, drawing ivy leaves all around your presentation for the investors doesn’t make it more efficient or professional, just use the default Powerpoint borders”

  3. lordcooper says:

    So is *this* going to be MoM for the 202nd decade?

    • frightlever says:

      YES!

      Provided you’ve never played MoM or Chaos, you will be unable to tell the difference.

  4. Soon says:

    Sound effects should be kept pretty much the same.

  5. godofdefeat says:

    Should i play this game because i haven´t played it yet?

    • lazy8 says:

      Yes, but you should play it in the original setting, trying to load the game from a dodgy cassette onto your ZX Spectrum. When after multiple times trying to get it loaded it finally runs it already feels like a victory. Now get a couple of friends, all sit around the tv with the Spectrum in the middle and start playing. Some friends will probably start complaining about the sound quality, others about the graphics, the difficulty and about the keyboard. But in the end it was a fun and hard game, although I do not think it aged very well.

      • Prime says:

        …although I do not think it aged very well.

        On the contrary, it’s one of the few games from the era that you can still play and have a great time with. It’s easy to play, and fun. Graphically it may look a bit spartan but the sprites are iconic. I defy you to try Martin Brownlow’s amazing Atari ST version, loaded to the hilt with sampled lines from everything geeky at the time (Blackadder, Red Dwarf, etc) and not find yourself getting caught up in the battle of wizards!

        It’s one of gaming’s finest moments. I’m excited. :)

        [Edit] Chaos Groove is a fun time as well. Recent samples, and more of them! :)

      • JiminyJickers says:

        Ah the memories of hoping that the game will load off the old tapes. I remember it was quite an exciting even at our house when I game actually loaded. Teaches us for using a cheap tape player.

      • Themadcow says:

        That’s like saying Chess hasn’t aged well. It’s one of the best aged games ever made in the sense that you could overhaul the graphics, sound and menu’s completely and it wouldn’t make any improvement to the enjoyment the game offers. Even my Mrs is more than happy to play it, and she hates gaming.

        Now, if only Turmoil worked properly…

  6. Kefren says:

    Ah, not Lords of Chaos. That was the game that swallowed up evenings for me.

    • maxi0 says:

      I had the same reaction to the first article, but this is sounding more and more like the sequel.

      Also, there *MUST* be a future expansion that can only be purchased by sending off a postal order and takes ‘up to 28 days’ to arrive for true Lords of Chaos authenticity.

  7. Slinkyboy says:

    So no TUs is the modern way to go with?

  8. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I am also just fine with you linking to this on a daily basis, Alec :-)

    I suppose the big change apart from the (as yet not quite fully decided) amalgamation of spell selection / casting is the switch to hex-based movement. I’m fine with that, as I think it will go towards creating a more “board-gamey” feel in general.

    Glad to see the Law / Chaos balance is being preserved, and I quite like the idea of total Law / Chaos, with associated bonuses and penalties; it makes me think of Moorcock’s Elric stuff, with the landscape changing to this horrible mutated wasteland.

  9. wodin says:

    Wish the new Xcom wasn’t here…as we’d be looking forward to Mr Gollops version now no doubt..a version you’d happily sink months into rather than play threw once and discard.

  10. wodin says:

    Stick men..I think a whole genre of games is waiting to be developed that consist of uber animated stickmen..stickmen have a character all of their own..I see great games ahead consisting of stickmen..I iwsh.