CPRG Outline

Before I start attempting to code this I thought it was worth listing the type of features and stylistic elements that I’d like my Ultima-style game to have. I’m sure some of these features will change over time but here’s a rough outline to begin with:

  • Single player character rather than party (this may change)
  • Individual maps for overworld, towns and dungeons (as opposed to the Ultima 6, all one scale/one map model)
  • Detailed, non-generic maps that aren’t too big
  • Combat on current map rather than separate “combat” maps
  • Simple to use interface (both keyboard and mouse ideally)
  • Player character and encounter inventories
  • Quest journal to keep track of current tasks and quests etc
  • Graphical inventory
  • Tile graphics (using David Gervais excellent tiles)

There are loads of other features that I’m wanting to include but these should give you a rough idea of what sort of design I’m aiming for.

Ultima-style CRPG

For many years I’ve been a big fan of the Ultima games and have always wanted to create a game of my own in a similar style. A couple of recent events have finally made me decide to actually start coding one of my own. The first was the release of the Simple and Fast Multimedia Library (SFML) which I think will be ideal for the sort of games I’m trying to create. The second was reading this article on Retro Remakes. The article is about writing an Ultima style game in a fixed 40 hour timescale. The game is called Inaria and further details can be found here.

I’ve always had a preference for the earlier Ultimas such as IV, V and VI. For some reason I’ve never really got into VII which is generally considered to be the best. With my own game I’ll be looking to incorporate what I think are the best features from the various ultimas along with ideas from more recent commercial RPGS and home brew roguelikes. I’ve always liked the style of these games which are usually characterised by simple 2D tiled graphics, a large world map and numerous towns and dungeons to explore. Other similar games include Wasteland, Phantasie and Questron.

Simple and Fast Multimedia Library 1.0

I’ve been having a look at the Simple and Fast Multimedia Library (SFML) and it seems quite interesting. You can find out more about it at:

http://sfml.sourceforge.net/

To quote from the website:

SFML is a portable and easy to use multimedia API written in C++. You can see it
as a modern, object-oriented alternative to SDL.SFML is composed of several
packages to perfectly suit your needs. You can use SFML as a minimal windowing
system to interface with OpenGL, or as a fully-featured multimedia library for
building games or interactive programs.

I’ll keep my eye on this one as it looks very promising and has some nice built in features. I’ve been looking for something that offers a balance between the low level of SDL and the higher level of say Allegro and SFML looks about the right balance for me.

Rogue’s Gallery

Spent some time at the weekend collecting more Encounter images and preparing them for use in the current release. My method for capturing these is pretty tedious but doesn’t take too long as there aren’t too many different encounter graphics and some are reused for different types of encounter. I basically save screenshots from within the Atari800Win emulator, cut out the encounter image, double it’s size to fit a 64×128 pixel OpenGL texture and then remove any unwanted background. In future I’ll need to capture the additional animation frames that many encounters have but for now encounters aren’t animated.


I also had a play with some of the Eye of the Beholder graphics I’ve used previously but I think I’ve decided not to use these as they are limited in number leaving many AR encounters without updated graphics. Here are a couple of examples anyway.

Currently I’m creating black and white masks for each encounter image but I’m hoping that I might be able to do away with this possibly by using OpenGL’s display lists. The AR font is drawn using this method and seems to work fine and doesn’t require any manually created masks. Browsing round the web I found a program called GraphicsGale Free Edition which is a sprite editor that might be useful for hand editing of the original AR encounter graphics.

I’ll need to set aside a lot of time if I end up hand editing all these original images…