My new CRPG project

I think the first Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG) I ever played was Ultima IV: The Quest of the Avatar on my Commodore 64. I was only about 12 years old at the time and Ultima IV wasn’t readily available in the UK at the time. Fortunately my Uncle worked with someone who had a lot of American imports of new games and I obtained a loan of Ultima IV from him. Whilst the graphics were simplistic (even back then!) I soon found myself drawn into the game and the story. I’ve since found the CRPG genre to be my favorite type of game. As well as the Ultima series other favorites included the Bards Tale and Alternate Reality: The Dungeon. Later when I upgraded to an Amiga I played Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Ultima VI. Finally I got access to a PC. These old games used a variety of different styles of play and features to create their fantasy worlds despite the limited platforms that they ran on. However, despite their dated graphics and limitations I often find myself drawn back to these games and their conventions. I think there is a certain charm and entertainment value about these early CRPGs that many newer games have failed to capture or build on.

Ever since I received my first home computer I wanted to design and create my own Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG) such as those that were popular for the 8bit and 16bit computers of my youth. I designed many games over the years (mainly on paper) but never managed to take one of those designs and implement it as a playable game. Twenty years later and there are a wealth of programming languages and gaming resources available for free on the Internet. In addition my programming skills are much better than they used to be (though still not great). I’m now keen to design and develop my own “Classic” CRPG, incorporating my favorite design features and ideas from my years of playing CRPGs. Hopefully along the way I’ll add a few good ideas of my own and maybe even create a game that some people might be interested in playing! I’ll record my design ideas and progress as the game develops. In addition I’m planning to play a lot of the old games through for inspiration and plan to record my experiences about these from time to time. I’ve never actually finished very many CRPGs that I’ve played and there are a number I’d like to finish. I think I probably spent most of my time designing rather than playing.

I will be developing the game initially under Windows using Microsoft Visual Studio Express, C++ and the Simple, Fast, Multimedia Library (SFML). This library has proved powerful but relatively easy to use in the past. Eventually I would expect to be able to offer Linux and Mac versions as SFML is supported for both platforms. However I still have only a vague idea of what the design and content of the game is likely to be at this early stage.

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