Oct. 9th, 2010

A first post, just to introduce a few things...

As somewhat described in the profile, Middlecrest is a pet project I've been working on. One of the things that always fascinated me about open-ended games like the Elder Scrolls series is that, unlike traditional RPG's, linear story lines are not the focus; how you progress in the game world is completely at your whim. You can decide to advance through their guild system, earn reputation with various nobles, or advance through other factions within the game. Level increases were determined by how much you used your skills and not by how many experience points you farmed. While some of those features are somewhat ubiquitous now, back then they were essentially unknown to most gamers and it gave the games a unique draw that was all their own.

The Elder Scrolls release that always fascinated me the most was Daggerfall. It was probably the most ambitious release in all of the Elder Scrolls Series (although, other releases contained small innovations of their own). Unfortunately, due to time constraints and somewhat due to the borders they were pushing, many of the ambitious features weren't implemented. What was implemented, was the quest generation system, the procedurally generated dungeons, landscape, and weather, and spell maker.

What wasn't implemented was the constantly evolving world. Daggerfall split its game world into different provinces that could war and conquer each other. Whereas in traditional RPG's, the world changes as you advance through the mainline quest, Daggerfall took the opposite approach and attempted to implement a game where the world changes independently of you.

Why a roguelike version of this type of game, you may ask? Well, I'm a software developer, not an artist, nor would I want to take on a project that would require such an immense amount of work as a graphical game without a team (which, I don't have). Even with a team, games can take years to develop. Not for me, thanks :)

I wouldn't say no to possible graphical upgrades (I even have some possible ideas if it were to go that way) but I would need more manpower and expertise. I do have experience with 3D libraries and some OpenGL programming, although I'm no expert.

What I can do really well, however, is design data structures and algorithms that the game relies on. A roguelike allows me to concentrate on those endeavors. Additionally, much of what Daggerfall promised was on-the-fly generation of content. Roguelikes are the same way.

I've coded up many aspects of the game, including fledgling magic systems, basic level generation, and various character types. Many more things are designed, but not implemented.

One of the first things that needs to be done is get the code up in some way for people like you that are reading this blog to download. That is the first order of business. My first "release" will be an alpha version that will show funtionality -- it will not be a full game (maybe a simple minigame). I'm closing in on my first release and will always have updated links for whatever stage the project is at. I don't have a current unix-like environment to test it out on, so I can only say that the code works on Windows-based platforms (although my choice of languages and coding style was chosen so ports would be easy).

As I update where my project lives, I will add entries to the dev blog. Unfortunately, you will have to suffice with reading about it :)

May 2012


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