Visual C++ 2010 Express and SFML 2

Based on some issues that players of Alternate Reality X reported, I was keen to try out one of the more recent versions of SFML 2.  Hopefully this would resolve problems relating to the use of RenderTextures on machines using integrated Intel graphics. Using a very helpful tutorial by SFMLcoder over at I was able to build my own SFML 2 binaries and libraries successfully for the first time.

I also used this as an opportunity to switch from Visual Studio C++ 2008 Express to the 2010 edition. It looks like there are a few changes between 2008 and 2010 but no major issues just now.

One thing to remember if that players will need to install the Visual Studio 2010 runtime for the next ARX or SOTC release.

Alternate Reality X – Release 0.57

Release 0.57 is now available for download from

New features and bug fixes include:

  • Added Encumbrance / object weights, messages and some side effects
  • Added “Use timepiece” option to display hour and minutes
  • Added menu option to select new music where available (Tavern, Smithy, Troll King, Goblin King, Guild, Death)
  • New versions of Tavern, Smithy, Troll King, Goblin King, Guild and Death music from “Furious”
  • Added on screen song lyrics for Death and some other music
  • New song from Furious – The Nightstalker added to Taverns
  • Bug fix: No longer start a new Dungeon character in a “Creepy Room” location
  • Bug fix: Now correctly registers death whilst exploring
  • Bug fix: Stopped loading shop interior images every frame!
  • Bug fix: “Get” command didn’t display armour names when picking up from ground
  • Bug fix: Tavern opening and closing time checks prevented access sometimes
  • Bug fix: Corrected Tavern opening and closing times message
  • BUg fix: Paying a tavern membership fee bypassed opening time checks
  • Bug fix: Object buffer tidy routine would sometimes remove carried objects
  • Bug fix: Use / Drop routine would sometimes not display carried objects
  • Bug fix: Apparel wasn’t being saved in save game
  • Bug fix: Large encounter images for fixed encounters appeared out of proportion to doors

Help to Enhance Alternate Reality X

Hi there,

I’m trying to raise some additional funding through Paypal donations so that I can invest in better graphics software, off the shelf resources and/or some commissioned art. If you feel you could help out with any donations (however small) towards the project they would be greatly appreciated. Donations received will go directly back into the project to enhance it and allow Alternate Reality X to reach its maximum potential.


The project is now very lucky to have a professional musician working on the project and he’s doing some great work including content for the Arena, Palace and Wilderness scenarios. The new sound effects and music are really going to add significantly to make ARX come alive and have an even better atmosphere than the original I feel.

How will extra funding help? If the project can obtain some more substantial funding (don’t worry I’m not thinking Project Eternity here!) then it will give the project a lot more options about how we can develop it. The most common request I receive is to develop the remaining scenarios and whilst I have plenty of ideas of how the gameplay, mechanics, new features and story may develop, these scenarios will all require new visuals and graphic content if they are to be effective and enjoyable.

For basic graphics work I’ve been using Paint Shop Pro and its ok but it would be good to upgrade as it’s several major versions / many years behind and a bit buggy. Some 3D modelling software would allow us to produce 3D models and renders for new animated encounter graphics, animated shop interiors rather than the current static ones and some rendered 3D objects for the other scenarios to make the environment that bit more interesting. Maya was one I looked at briefly but I would look again before spending any money / funds. Another option would be software that can export to a 3D object format as well so that I could display the model geometry using OpenGL (Milkshake I think is one) for real 3D encounters which could maybe even be visible in the distance rather than just appearing at point blank range.

I have attempted to attract a serious artist to the project but no one seems interested and I’ve asked in several quarters where I thought I’d get good responses. I also contacted someone who had done art for a similar project which I liked but he has no interest in contributing to ARX. I am also considering commissioning an artist to do graphics but I would expect this to cost a fair bit which the project / I can’t fund at the moment.

I’ve also come across some excellent graphic resources such as textures and images which would be ideal for ARX but you need to pay for them – using these would save considerable time in developing my own and provide much better quality results than I can manage or that free resources can provide.

Some more funding will allow us to be able to consider these options seriously though and to produce the quality of imagery and potential of  what ARX could be and that we all hoped for with previous Alternate Reality related projects.

Thanks for your continued support for ARX.

All the best,

Alternate Reality: Biting the Bullet

As I’ve mentioned briefly Bruce has created some wonderful new music and dozens of great sound effects for inclusion in Alternate Reality X. Not only has he reworked some of the old favorites from the City and the Dungeon but he has produced some entirely new tracks especially for this project. A lot of the new content is specially for the future scenarios such as the Arena, Palace and Wilderness. I can’t wait to add lots of them into future releases.

On screen lyrics for 0.57

With all this new music I decided I had to bite the bullet and start getting my version of AMP (Advanced Music Processor) into development. I think I’m tempted to drop the “Advanced” from my version as I suspect it’s simpler than the version Philip Price and Gary Gilbertson produced but it works 🙂 It took me a couple of days of solid work but I now have a fairly solid system for displaying on screen lyrics in time to the music tracks and I’m pleased with the results.

I now have working on screen lyrics for the Death theme, Dwarf Dance and soon Thoreandan. You’ll be able to see it first hand in the next release in the next few days. I’ve also added the option on the main menu to select the Atari 8 Bit music and sound effects or Bruce’s new versions.

Alternate Reality X – 0.56 Released

I’m a bit late posting this but I uploaded release 0.56 of Alternate Reality X last week. The main changes include:
  • Added new Death music as a sample of Bruce’s work on new music and sound effects
  • Added Pause option whilst exploring and during encounters
  • Added buying clothing at D & P
  • Wear, drop, get and swap clothing
  • Added “Cheap Robe” to starting inventory
  • Buy a compass from the City shops
  • Added “Apparel” display & “Birthday suit” check
  • Added “Known Diseases” display
  • Added “curses” display
  • Bug fix: inventory overflow led to game crashing after extended play
  • Bug fix: Mini map no longer appears on Death screen

Alternate Reality X – 0.55 Released


I’ve just released the latest version of my AR remake. It’s available from

It’s been a while coming but hopefully it contains some interesting developments to start taking the game to a new level. I think the new display mode works really well.

In release 0.55 you can find:

  • Banks added – Open and close up to 9 bank accounts, deposit and withdraw, sell gems and jewels, apply for jobs, view account balances and view bank failure rates
  • New smooth version of the AR font
  • New full screen / window 3D view with information overlays and large encounter graphics (just borrowed placeholders for now)
  • New 3D fogging for darker dungeons (new graphic style only)
  • Lots of new graphics textures including Palace and Arena entrances
  • Added ARX.ini configuration file for setting video resolution, full screen mode and graphic style
  • Added F12 key to display information for debugging / bug report purposes

Please keep supporting the project and if you feel able please make a small donation to help support the project and keep its development rolling along. Lots of interesting things lined up but it takes time to implement them.

Make sure to send me your feedback about this release as to how the new features work out and any issues you get with these changes.

Thanks for your continued support,


Alternate Reality X on Facebook!

ARX now has a facebook page so please stop by and take a look. New images of ARX’s full screen mode as well as some of the Monolith Philip Price screenshots which I thought it would be nice to put up so people can see them more easily.

I’ve got a few interesting developments coming up that I’l be mentioning there so keep an eye on the page…

It’s at: