Posts Tagged ‘Ultima Ratio Regum’

Generation Next, Part 4: Procedural Generation’s Future

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the final in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

In this series so far we’ve examined the current state of procedural generation (PCG) in game design and outlined what a greater engagement with ‘qualitative’ PCG might bring to games (in Part 1), talked through in detail the process for creating a richly detailed PCG element of social life (in Part 2) and given an overview of my own work in this area (in Part 3). For this final part we will now zoom out somewhat and talk about game design and the games industry as a whole, and where we might want to position qualitative PCG more broadly, both now and in the near future. There are two core propositions I’d like to put forward: firstly, that we should regard qualitative worldbuilding detail as being integral to the future of games, instead of an intriguing aside; and secondly, that the demographics of developers and players of PCG games are going to shape the direction that procedural generation evolves in.

Read the rest of this entry »

Generation Next, Part 3: How To Create Cultures

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the third in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

In the real world we know which cultures are, broadly speaking, akin to which others. There is no escaping the cultural commonalities in northern Europe, or East Asia, or between Australia and New Zealand, India and its subcontinent neighbours, or many of the countries of South America. This is not of course to suggest that there are no differences within these cultural groupings, but Norway and Sweden are, without a doubt, more “similar” in their cultures and expectations than Norway and, for example, Vietnam. But how do we perceive what belongs to what culture, and how do we perceive the differences in these cultures? And, more importantly… how might we go about implementing these internal commonalities and external differences into a game?

Read the rest of this entry »

Generation Next, Part 2: How To Generate A Religion

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the second in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

As I enter the city centre, I find myself confronted by the massive edifice of the Cathedral of Urrothek, the Bleak Mouth of the Desert. Its architecture is reminiscent of the religion’s chapels I have seen throughout the land, but on a far grander scale. A detailed garden of plants and stones is laid out in a geometric pattern beyond the many double-doors leading inside, through which pilgrims continually pass. Traversing these doors myself, I see reflecting pools glittering, incense holders etched with unique designs, a number of twisted and unsettling altars dedicated to Urrothek, priests in Urrothek’s religious garments walking about the building, tables and desks with scribes hard at study, and an iron gate, set back into a wall behind the altars, leading to the crypt below in which the most faithful of Urrothek’s holy knights rest.

And all of this, of course, was procedurally generated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Generation Next, Part 1: How Games Can Benefit From Procedurally Generated Lore

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum, an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the first in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ultima Ratio Regum Now Generates Castles & Cathedrals

Ultima Ratio Regum [official site] is like the world generation side of Dwarf Fortress, except zoomed in a little and with more attention paid to the specifics of cultures rather than the verging-on-cosmic legendary events of the past. It’s a game that procedurally generates civilisations, faces, cities, religions, clothes and symbols. Perhaps it’s wrong to describe it as a game at present, actually, as the April 2016 release of version 0.8 will be the first “gameplay release”. At the moment, it’s a tool (or series of tools) that create worlds and the people who inhabit those worlds.

The latest work involves procedural castles and they look amazing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ultima Ratio Regum’s Procedural People Are Handsome

Ultima Ratio Regum [official site] can be downloaded and played right now, but its appeal for me isn’t in the 4X roguelike’s unfinished alpha release. Much like its inspiration Dwarf Fortress, I enjoy URR because of its grand ambition, its commitment to procedural generation, and its carefully detailed development blog.

This week’s blogged about addition is particularly fine: procedural ANSI faces, as pictured above.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ultima Ratio Regum v0.6.0 Adds Cities, Fortresses, Coins

Dwarf Fortress‘s development is a joy to follow along with, but its age means that each new update, however large, is designed to add greater complexity and nuance to its simulation, and much of the heavy lifting for its procedural world generation was done long ago.

Ultima Ratio Regum aims to be a roguelike crossed with a 4X, and at this stage it’s not as far advanced as Dwarf Fortress nor even really a game. But that means you get to follow along as the fundamental code underpinning its world is formed. Version 0.6.0 was just released and it takes the overworld map added long ago and drills deeper, so that each city that appears upon it can now be walked around at street level. Or as the patch notes put it, you can now “Explore massive and varied feudal cities (each able to support a population of ~300,000+), each with its own range of districts, architectural styles, and buildings influenced by the political and religious choices of its civilization.”

Read the rest of this entry »