Thursday, December 20, 2012

Another Update Without Screenshots

There will probably be some screenshots in the near future, but for now I just thought I'd mention that I've finished working on the story elements for the first dungeon and have moved on to a few other things.

The first thing I worked on (and probably the most important) is the ability to save a game in progress and load a game back to its previous state.  Obviously, if you want to play a CRPG, you have to be able to do these things.  I can't imagine trying to play one in a single sitting.

I've also been working on various options and an "Option Screen" that players can access to change things like text speed, whether or not the intro music plays, etc.  At the moment, it's about 95% where I want it to be, so at least the work is going fast.

That's it for me now.  I have to get back to work!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Story, Story, Story

It's been a short while since my last update, but things are still moving along.  These days, I'm just working on the events and story of the first dungeon in the game.  It takes a long time to do and it's somewhat tedious, but it will be worth it once it's done.

The problem with it is that it doesn't provide much in the way of screenshots that I can share on the blog.  So, at the moment, you'll have to take my word for it that things are continuing to progress. 

So, I guess this is my monthly "this-project-isn't-dead" post.

I've finished school and have started to look for work (setting things in motion to get a resume together and explore my options).  I'm considering pursuing another degree as well in the future.

For now, though, I'm working on this project in-between everything else.  I want to have at least a demo to push out within a few months.  I hope you're all looking forward to that day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Levels and Tooltips

After rebounding from all the errors I uncovered during my last post, I have started work on the system that tracks the character's experience points so that they know when it is time to level.  I thought for a long while about how to best show that a character is ready to level.  In old school games, they sometimes didn't even show you when you were ready to just had to guess.  In later games, like the SSI Gold-Box games, they changed the character's name to a different color to indicate that they should head to the training hall.

My approach is more akin to modern gaming, where a '+' symbol is sometimes used.  I decided to use an upward "arrow" to let the player know that a character is ready to increase their level and head to the Training Hall.  It looks like this:

The green arrows indicate that all four of these characters should head to the Training Hall.

But, how will a player who hasn't read this blog know what those green arrows are for?  Good question...which brings me to my next topic: tooltips.

Despite this game taking on many of the trappings of an old school CRPG, I made the decision to include some modern advancements as well.  Since there won't be any sort of documentation with this game (I'm not planning on writing a user's should be straightforward for most CRPG fans anyway), I decided to include tooltips instead.  They will give a lot of information about things in the game and what buttons do.

So, when the green arrow comes up, a player will know that it's time to level just by reading the tooltip that pops up when they hover over the arrow.

To give an idea of what the tooltips look like in the game, here's an example of one that explains what the Damage Bonus is for:

The mouse is pointing at the Damage Bonus tag, but the screenshot removes the just assume it is there.

In this way, I feel I will be able to communicate information to the player without needing to provide any outside documentation.  It's something that could have been really handy in the olden days of computer gaming, but they just didn't have the option.  I I've decided to put it to use.  As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that.

As always, any feedback is good feedback.  If you have an opinion about it either way, be sure to let me know.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't You Hate It When...

On the one hand, things are coming along smoothly.  I really like some of the recent changes to the program and what they've done to shape up the game.  With that said, though, I've run into some problems.

Some systems and bug-fixes that had previously been in the program are now gone.  I know at one point I had, on accident, erased a current copy of what I had been working on.  I had a backup that was only a few days old, and I didn't think I had missed that much.  I am now discovering that a few important things are missing.

I've fixed some of these things today while doing a playtest.  Somehow, the resting system was incomplete (even though I had finished it previously).  It still needs a few tweaks, but it's almost back to where it was.

A few glitches in the first dungeon area are rearing their ugly head again.  Things I had fixed already (missing walls, problems with items, etc). 

What's really weird, though, is that the spellcasting system seems to have some issues it didn't previously have.  I think that has to do with the system-wide implementations I did recently.  I will need to look into it, but there are definitely some things that need to be addressed (characters using the wrong mana pool to cast spells, not spending mana when casting spells, etc). 

So...yeah...not the best day in the development of the project.  I'll get it all sorted out.  I had it working at one time, after all, so it's really just a matter of tracking down what's going on and hammering the code back into place.

This update is just to serve as a placeholder to let you know that the game is still progressing...if you call taking a few steps forward and a few steps back progress.  Still, I have every confidence it will all work out in the end.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tracking Quests

As it turns out, switching things over didn't take nearly as long as I thought.  Here I am, less than a week later, with a new update to the game after having restructured most of it into a true object-oriented program.  That's good news.

While the rest of the country votes on the outcome of the future President of the United States (2012) for the next four years, I've been fiddling about with a quest system that can help track what the player is up to.  This is really helpful in the creation of journal system that the player can access via the character screen.

As you can see here, I've already created the button:

Notice the "Quest Journal" button.

If you look at the other pictures I've posted of the character screen,  you might notice some other small changes, but it's still basically the same screen.

Now, if only I had time to create the actual journal screen itself.  That would be quite the accomplishment, wouldn't it?  Oh, but seems I've been sick all week and there's nothing on television because of the election, so I guess I did have time...because here it is:

Showing the same quest you've already seen.  No sense in giving away everything about the game.

It's not 100% completed yet, but its functional.  There are still things that need to be tweaked and finished for it to be where I want.  Still, I'm not unhappy with what I've started.

And, more than that, I'm glad to be posting updates to the game again after a few months of busy work.  It feels glad to be making progress.  So, stay tuned...there's more to come.

I think it's pretty interesting how the character screen has evolved over this last year.  Instead of having you do all the legwork to compare all the screens, I'll just put them all here for you to see.

The oldest version of the character screen.  Probably from February, 2012.

The next incarnation of the character screen.  Came into being maybe June or July of 2012.

Final version of the screen (same picture as above).  Created on November 6th, 2012.

If you have opinions on which one you like better, let me know! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Behind The Scenes

Work has resumed on Lands of Adventure, but unlike my previous posts, it's not the kind of work where I can show screenshots proving my progress.  Just this morning, I did three hours of work on the code, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the program.

For those of you who aren't programmers (which is likely a lot of you), most of what I'm about to say won't make sense.  Suffice it to say that the original version of the program was written as a procedural program rather than an object-oriented program.  The primary building blocks of any object-oriented program are the objects themselves, which I didn't implement in my first version.  A lot of that had to do with my lack of understanding of their importance and in how to implement them correctly.

One could argue that the program works fine without this implementation, but if I ever want to reuse parts of my code, creating proper class objects and functions will be essential.  If there were ever any sequels made or other CRPGs built from the engine, these classes would be necessary.  Since I'm hoping I can do something else with my work in the future, let's just say it's a good thing I'm taking the time to do this rather than taking the lazy way out.

It's a good thing for the project, especially if I ever want to bring in another programmer or two, which could happen.  There are a lot of talented coders out there who love CRPGs, after all.  I think a lot of us are geeks at heart.

I don't know how long this transition will take, so there may not be any new screenshots to show off for a bit.  But, I promise, as soon as I'm working on something shiny again, I'll post a lot of pictures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quick Update

Just a quick update to let anyone who might still be hanging around know that I am slowly starting to work on the project again.  I've reached the midpoint of the semester, and things are slowing down a little (at least until they speed back up at the end again).  I don't have a lot of time to work on it, but I've been fixing some bugs and thinking about what I want to do next.

I considered turning the project into a Windows 8 application, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to make that work the way I want...and also decided that it might be too restrictive to move away from the standard Windows desktop environment.  At this point, I don't want to create a program that some people can't use just because they haven't upgraded their operating system.

That being said, though, the final product *might* require users to have Net 4.5 installed on their systems, if only because I'm using Visual Studio 2012 for development now instead of Visual Studio 2010.  I am not 100% sure of that, though.

So, there is definitely some work going on.  Just not a lot of it at the moment. There will be more in the future, I hope.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

School and Other Interferences!

If you've noticed that I haven't updated anything about the program in about a month, that's because I'm in my final semester of college and things are pretty busy.  I haven't stopped working on the game, but I am taking a slight break so that I can get back into the swing of doing all this school work.

I'm pretty sure that things will progress once I get back into the rhythm (I started working on the program as a way to take a break from school work, and I'm sure the same thing will happen before this month is out).

In the meantime, stay tuned.  I'm still here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Dangers of Resting

A party of adventurers who checks themselves into the local inn or who visit the temple will find healing to be a safe and easy process.  But, sometimes when exploring a dungeon, wounded party members will need to rest in order to regain Life Points and Mana Points.

So, the game now has an option for the party to rest:

Three different options.

The party can choose to rest for a single hour, allowing each party member to regain one lost Life Point and one lost Mana Point.  Or, they can rest until all their Life Points are healed (though this option does not insure that all their Mana Points will be completely replenished).

Unfortunately, resting in this way can be dangerous.  It is possible that the party can be discovered by enemies while resting, which leads to combat.  This can be very bad for the party if they are wounded.  After all, there's nothing like being awakened to this...

It's a nightmare!
But, being as the party will start off in a fragile state, it seems it is the chance they may have to take while wandering around in dangerous locales.

More information to come...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Crafting the Story

With a lot of the systems for the game in place, I have started on what is probably the hardest part: creating a story that is compelling, easy to follow and not dumb.  It's not easy to do when I'm trying to keep this in the style of old-school CRPGs, which didn't always have a lot of storyline to begin with.  Most just had a simple directive to give you a reason to bash  the "kill the evil wizard because he's evil" type of plot.

Taking a page from the SSI Gold-Box games (like "Curse of the Azure Bonds" and "Pool of Radiance"), I'm spinning my story in a similar style, through events and dialogue provided by NPCs.  But, while I'm trying to give the story a solid direction and give the player something interesting to do, I'm trying to stay away from overdoing it.

In one sentence, we learn that the goblins don't like intruders...and that their chieftain keep slaves.

I'm not allowing myself to write walls of text and whole books of knowledge into the game.  An NPC tells you what you need to know in a couple of sentences and that's it.  The point needs to be clear and it needs to happen quick enough to get you back to the action.

Sure, I could go into rambling character stories and give tons and tons of information like all those Japanese CRPGs (Final Fantasy, for example), but that's not how the old school computer CRPGs did things.  They were frequently limited on space.  I don't have those same limitations, but there's a real art in telling your story in as few words as possible.

I could have had her lament her troubles for fifteen minutes, but what would be the point?

Somehow, I have a feeling this will probably be the part that takes the longest.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Progress...Forward And Backward

The last two weeks has seen me with my head buried in the combat engine and working with the spells.  The good news is that the combat engine is 99% done and all the spells are fully implemented.  I am very happy with the progress I've made there.

On the down side, though, I discovered that the font I was using wasn't going to port well across systems without some serious work, I so had to rework most of my screens using another font that is included in all versions of Windows.

Here's two screenshots, showing the old font and new font so that you can compare them.  First, there's the old font:

The old font, which I really liked.

And then there's the new font, which looks similar, but loses a bit of the touch that I wanted for the game.  Still, I can live with it:

The new font, which works.

Some screens are undergoing changes.  As I add more systems to the game, I find new ways to do things.  Sometimes, what was once functional gets reworked into something that is both functional and nicer looking.

Take the character screen.  Originally, it looked like this:

The original character screen.

It was functional, but it needed a bit of work.  Looking at it now, I'm glad I changed it up a bit.  Here's what it looks like now:

The new character screen.

As I build more and more functions into the game, I'm also keeping an eye on how to make the game look good as well.  I think it's important that the game has an easily approachable GUI, and that it doesn't look like it was put together by a three day old monkey with a cast on both arms.

As always, any feedback is appreciated.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Combat Engine

I knew going into this project that the hardest part to creating an old-school style CRPG would be getting the combat engine to work just the way that I wanted.  A lot of complex coding goes into the combat, which has to track variables for all sorts of things.  Here's a short example of what it has to keep track of in the average turn (this doesn't even scratch the surface):

  •  What are the stats of the current character?
  •  Does that character have a condition we need to know about?
  •  If the character is affected by a condition, how long does that condition last?
  •  What weapon are we holding?  What armor are we wearing?
  •  Can this character cast spells?  What kind of spells?
  •  How many Life Points do we have left?

Overall, creating the combat engine has had the slowest development.  The good news, though, is that it's coming along nicely, despite my attempts to get it wrong several times.

So, what's it like?  That's the first question I would be asking.

In order to answer that, I need to go back in time to a game created by SSI, called "Phantasie," which came out in 1985.  I remember watching a friend play that game for hours, and being captivated by the combat engine, which was the first graphical CRPG engine I had ever seen (prior to that, games like "The Bard's Tale" used text to relay what was going on in combat).

It looked something like this:

"Phantasie" on the Commodore 64.

By today's standards, it's a bit primitive.  But it's effective, and it still works well.  I played the game last year, and found the layout to be intuitive (even though the controls were somewhat clunky).  The party was at the bottom, and the enemies they faced appeared at the top.  The look of the combat screen is what I like the most.  It's simple...and that's really important.

What I didn't like, though, was that you had to select everything you were going to do with your characters before the turn started, and you had to hope that you picked right.  If someone got seriously hurt during that turn and you didn't choose a healing spell, they were screwed until the next round began, and you had to hope they didn't get hit again.

My engine, while taking some ideas from Phantasie in layout, allows you to actually do things when your turn comes up.  You don't have to select everything before the round starts.  So, I kept the simplicity, but added in some flexibility.

But, enough of me, let's take a look at it:

We've come a long way in 27 years, but I still like the retro feel...

One thing I will point out about these screenshots is that they don't actually do the combat engine justice.  These screenshots don't show off the animations that happen when you hit an opponent or cast a spell at them.  You can't hear the sound effects.  You don't get the sense of satisfaction that comes when you hit an enemy and kill them and watch them leave the combat.

So, keep that in mind as you look at them.

The flash of healing that is usually present can't be seen here.

There are a lot of systems working already.

Attacking, which was the easiest thing to do, got done on day one.  Both the monsters and PCs are capable of attacking each other.  The game also allows for a chance of scoring a critical hit, allowing a character (or monster) to do double damage on a single hit.  Even better, Scouts sometimes trigger a special attack that gives them double damage as well...and if they critical at the same time, they get four times the normal damage that they would be able to do.


Characters can access their inventories to use items (like healing potions, for example) or swap weapons or armor pieces when necessary.  They can even trade during combat, allowing them to give someone in need a potion of healing or something else of importance.

Of the spells, only the priest spells are implemented (I haven't actually begun coding the Sorcerer spells yet).  In fact, spells are the toughest thing so far.  It takes time to create code for all the special things that can happen due to spells.  And each spell has a sound effect and an animated graphic.

Really, the only button with no functionality is the Flee button, allowing a character to attempt to escape a combat.  But, that will come.

A goblin has been entangled by a spell.

All in all, it's coming along pretty well.  The engine even knows when the PCs win and gives out experience points.  And it knows when the monsters win too...which puts you right back at the main menu (it's a good idea not to let that happen).

I'll add more updates as the engine comes along.  I'm hoping to finish it soon.  Once it's done, everything else should be easier...and I imagine the game will come along much faster after that point.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Pieces of the Puzzle

It's amazing to me how many puzzle pieces seem to be involved in putting together a CRPG.  You need inventory systems, combat systems, magic systems, etc.  There are items to track, statistics to track, character information to track, etc.

The last few weeks, I have been working hard to nail down the inventory system, and for the most part, I have.  All the commands are in place that allow players to manipulate items in their characters inventories.  They can trade items amongst party members, drop items they don't need, use items (though only a couple at the moment, since not all items have been given information), and equip items that can be worn or wielded.

Standard inventory screen with some fancy icons.

Being able to equip important items is probably the most important thing that characters can do with their inventory.  I've created a way for players to clearly see what each character currently has equipped and what slots they take up.

Where would we be without equipment?

But, besides working with equipment, I've been doing a couple of other things too.

I've added some music and icons (all taken from artists who devote their resources to people like me who make games under the creative commons license, and I will insure each of them is properly credited...and if I can help it, I'll do something else special for them in the game).  This gives the game a less bland feeling.

I finished up the shop, giving players an option to sell items that they find while adventuring.

Oh, and I've also been working on spells...

Priest Spells

So, overall, the game is coming together pretty nicely, one puzzle piece at a time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Healing and Death

It goes without saying that as a player takes their characters on quests in Lands of Adventure, they're going to encounter combats and dangerous situations.  Along with these dangers will come damage and death.  It is unavoidable.

Damage is done to characters in the form of Life Points, and each character only has so many.  When they reach 0, the character is dead.  For that reason, each party should have at least one Priest character, who can use their divine magic to heal members of the party.  Being able to heal is important to the party's overall survival.

But, what happens when the priest runs out of healing spells or someone dies?  Well, the good news is that even death is curable...for a price...

Welcome to the Waystop Temple.

In true CRPG tradition, Lands of Adventure includes a mystical temple where players can have their characters healed and raised from the dead.  Of course, this kind of healing doesn't come free.  The characters will have to surrender some of their hard earned gold in order to get back in fighting shape.

While I don't want the game to be completely brutal, I don't believe that CRPGs should coddle players and never put them in danger.  I think it's okay for characters to die on occasion, especially if a means exists to return that character to life.

Let's take a look at what the temple can do for the player:

Healing, healing, healing.

Light Healing: A character can be healed up to 10 Life Points with Light Healing.  This is useful if a character hasn't taken a lot of damage, or needs just a little bit of healing to get back up to their full capacity of Life Points.

Full Healing: For the right price, the character can also be returned to their maximum Life Points with a single spell.  Of course, this can be expensive.  But, when necessary, it can also be really handy.

Cure Disease: Sadly, characters may encounter all sorts of things when they're roaming around the world.  Catching a terrible disease is one of those things that they probably want to avoid.  Still, if it happens, they can have the disease removed for a fee.

Ressurection: So, you had the misfortune to have a character die during one of your quests?  No problem.  Pay the priest at the temple and he will be happy to return your character back to life, though only with 1 Life Point.

Sounds good, right?

But, what if you don't have a lot of gold and you want to heal your character naturally?

The Waystop Inn interface.

Luckily for the characters, they can visit the local inn and rest.  During a single night's rest (which only costs 10 gold pieces), they will recover a random number of Life Points and Mana Points based upon their level.  It may or may not get them back to full health, but several days rest would probably do the trick.

Either way, the characters can head out and fulfill their destinies without worrying too much about whether or not they have the means to rest or come back from the dead.

Well...unless they all die...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Items and Inventory

If you're wondering why I haven't posted about Lands of Adventure in a few weeks, it's because I've been too busy to really do any work on it.  But, even in my time away from it, I have been giving a lot of thought to the way the inventory system would handle items and how shops in the game would be set up.

Before I stopped working on the program a month ago, I had the skeleton of the system worked out.  Earlier today, I jumped back into the thick of things and quickly threw the whole thing together.

One of the shop screens, this one showing weapons.

Originally, I wanted to be lazy in my approach and create the game so that each character could only possess three things:  a weapon, armor and possibly a shield.  What I came to realize after a while was that doing the game that way would make me really unhappy.  I didn't want to cheat the player out of a better inventory system that allowed them to equip and carry multiple items (like rings, magical wands and potions).

So, looking at some older CRPGs, I figured out how to create an inventory system that tracks a certain number of items in a character's inventory and allows them to interact with those items.  A character can equip items that can be worn, trade items that they don't want, drop things they think are unnecessary, and sell items back to the shop at less than their selling cost.

An example character inventory.

What you might be thinking to yourself is that this is fairly obvious.  But, if you aren't a programmer, you may not realize how difficult putting something like this together can be.  Actually, a great many things in a CRPG can be quite challenging to get working exactly the way that you want.

Part of the fun of building one of these games on your own is that there are a lot of technical challenges to overcome that make me appreciate how much hard work went into those old games I loved.  Each time I achieve a goal, I feel it makes me a better programmer...because programming is all about knowing what your problem is and then teaching your computer, via scripted language, how to conquer the problem and do the work you want in just the way that you want.

Equipping armor.

There's still work to be done with the inventory system.  It took a while to figure out how to implement everything in a way that works.  Simple things like: knowing if a player is trying to equip something like armor, or if they're trying to equip a scroll by putting it on their head.  Or, knowing whether the thing the player wants to use in combat is a Rod of Fire, which allows them to damage enemies, or a bandage that will give him the opportunity to heal one of his damaged party characters.

Easy in concept, but harder in execution.  Still, it's rewarding when it works.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Player Interfaces

One of the things I feel is most important about game design is that the interface used by the player should be easy enough to figure out without needing to read a thick user manual.  In fact, I want Lands of Adventure to be put together well enough that a user manual isn't even necessary at all.  The game is littered with helpful hints and obvious clues as to how it works.  This is not because I think people are dumb or anything...I just think that *I* wouldn't want to play a game with a terrible I'm certainly not going to torture the people who will be playing this game with one.

Simple and easy to use.

I'm not going to say that the interface I've designed is original by any means.  If anything, I have borrowed ideas from the folks who came before me and wrote all those great CRPGs of yore.  People who have played SSI's series of Gold-Box games will find this layout familiar and intuitive.

Getting a quest from the town mayor.

I think that it's a good thing that I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.  Paying homage to the old-school CRPGs means taking what worked from them and implementing them in this game.  It's what I hope players of those games will like about this one.  I mean, I personally would have loved it if people had been building games like this over the years...but there are, sadly, not many that I can name.

The overland map, showing the areas that can be visited.

The scope of the world isn't very large.  It takes place in a village called Waystop and the areas that surround it.  When an area opens up and is available for the characters to visit, a "Travel" button will appear.  If a quest is in progress, hovering over the button will remind the player *why* they want to travel there.  In the example above, the mayor has given a quest to go to Darkfell Swamp and eliminate the Goblin Chieftain and his followers, and it's easy to see what's going on.  If a player leaves a game in progress and comes back four days later, or if they have multiple locations that they can travel to, I think this will make it easier for them to make a choice of where they want to go.

And now, for the 3D exploration window...

Exploring the old keep in Darkfell Swamp.

It's still a work in progress, but it's functional.  The player can move around in the dungeons, and events will trigger based on where they are.  The code wasn't as hard to figure out as I thought...but getting the walls to line up right...that was some serious work.

At this point, there's no auto-map feature in the game (there may be one later, it just depends on how hard it will be to implement).  This particular dungeon isn't very big, so I don't imagine anyone would get lost in it, but others may be larger.

Then again, I guess the "old-school" way would be to dig out some graph paper and map the heck out of it....but that was never one of my favorite things to do.  And, since my goal is to program the kind of game I would want to play, we'll see how it all works out.

Encountering some goblins.

Just like games that have come before, exploring dungeons and locales will trigger events.  One of the freedoms I have in programming the game myself is that I can program *any* kind of event I want.  I'm not limited by what can be done like I would be if I used a CRPG development engine (like Unlimited Adventures, Neverwinter Nights, or RPG Maker VX).  The sky isn't even the limit.  I can go really outside the box and do something different if I wanted.

But, even if I do that, I will still keep things as close as possible to the way things were done in those old-school CRPGs.  After all, isn't that the point of this whole project?

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Character Generation

Obviously, the first thing that a player will want to do when starting a CRPG is to generate characters.  As I mentioned in my last post, a player can build a party of four characters.  These four characters can be one of four basic archetypes (or classes), that I will discuss in more detail later in this post.

The character creation screen once the game starts.
The character creation screen allows a player to visually create their characters by clicking in the boxes to start the generation process.  If they generate a character that they don't like, they can click on the same box again to replace a character they already generated.

The character creation screen with characters after they've been generated.

Once a slot is selected, the player will start by generating attributes.  Being as this is an old-school style CRPG, the rolls are completely random, but I have built the game so that no character ends up being useless.  Still, there's a lot of fun to be had in rolling attributes over and over again while you try to get the best possible scores. Admit did it at one time or another...

Attributes are generated on this screen.

Each character has four basic attributes that are used to help determine how good they are at various different things (like hitting a monster with a sword or disabling a complex lock).  Each one of these attributes is also tied to a class.

Strength -  Warriors benefit most from this attribute, as it grants bonus damage when using weapons.  Other classes can use it as well when they find themselves resorting to melee combat.

Intellect - Most important to Sorcerers, who use intellect to determine how many spell points they have.  A high score in intellect can also lead to additional damage with their spells.

Agility - Scouts need agility to perform special attacks successfully.  They can often get in critical strikes, and having a good agility score will make it easier for them to do so.  All classes can benefit from agility, which makes it harder for the enemy to hit.

Willpower - Priests use willpower to determine how much extra healing or damage their divine spells will do.  It also grants them a bonus on their spell points.  Additionally, all characters use willpower to resist magic when attacked by spells.

Character class selection screen.

As stated previously, characters can pick from four basic archetypes.  Since you may not be able to read the text on the picture above, I'll reprint it below:

Warrior - Warriors are masters of weapons and armor.  They can use any kind of weapon and any type of armor to help defeat their enemies in battle.  They have more Life Points than any other class.

Scout - Scouts excel at moving stealthily in order to sneak up on their enemies in combat.  They can use any sword or dagger and can wear light armors.  They don't have as many Life Points as a Warrior, but they can sometimes deal critical strikes in combat for extra damage.

Priest - Priests call upon the powers of the divine in order to heal their comrades and to smite their enemies. They are limited in their weapon selection and may only wear light or medium armor, but they have a good amount of Life Points.

Sorcerer - Sorcerers bend arcane energy to their will, allowing them to create damaging spells and protect themselves from strong enemies.  They may only use clubs or daggers in battle, can only wear cloth armors, and have fewer Life Points than any other class.

With the exception of picking a picture and icon combination for your character, that pretty much covers character creation.  I wanted to keep things as simple as old-school style choice, I suppose.

A character sheet example.

Of course, many things in the game are still being developed and could change over time.  But, the basics of the system are in place (a system of my own, since I cannot afford to license someone else's RPG system for this project).

So, until next time, I look forward to your feedback.


The first question someone reading this blog might ask is "What the hell is Lands of Adventure, and why should I care?"  Those are really good questions.  Luckily for you, I have the answers to those questions and I'm going to share them, free of charge.  Aren't you glad you kept reading?

Lands of Adventure is an old-school style computer role-playing game that is currently in development.  I've been working on it off and on for the past couple of months between going to school for computer programming and doing a million other things.  I have no idea when it will be finished or when it will be available, but I hope that it will be in my lifetime.

Naturally, there are other questions that usually arise when I mention my project, so I will aim to answer them here:

What is 'old-school syle' and what does it mean?

When I say 'old-school style,'  it means that I am building the kind of CRPG that I loved to play in my youth.  The game draws inspiration from the CRPGs that came and went in the 80s and 90s, like The Bard's Tale, Pool of Radiance, Wizardry and Phantasie.  In these games, you built a party of adventurers and headed out to kill monsters, gather treasure and fulfill quests.  The stories were relatively simple and straightforward, the battles were unforgiving, and death came often to parties who were caught unprepared.  Most importantly, they were fun.

What kind of features will the game include?

When I started working on this game, my first step was to think about what kind of features I wanted to include and what kinds of things I wanted the game to have.  What did I miss most from the games in those eras and what did I want to bring to fans of those games?

Right from the beginning, I wanted to include a turn-based combat system.  That's probably the feature I miss the most from modern day CRPGs.  But, I wanted to create a system using battle icons so that players had a visual reference rather than a text-based combat system that games like The Bard's Tale used.  The combat system in Lands of Adventure will be more akin to SSI's Phantasie series of games, which were the predecessors to their Gold-Box series of games (like "Pool of Radiance").

Additionally, I wanted players to be able to create a party of characters rather than just a single solo character.  Party-based adventuring is where the fun lies, I believe.  So, players will be able to create four characters and pick from four different archetypes (Warrior, Scout, Priest and Sorcerer).

Finally, I knew that I wanted some kind of pseudo 3D engine for exploring dungeons and such.  Taking a cue from the games of old, I have created a working 3D exploration engine that will bring back memories of playing Wizardry or Might & Magic II.  Players will use a 3D window to navigate through dungeons and evil strongholds. 

Are you doing this whole project yourself?

No.  I am doing all the programming and story development tasks.  But, the artwork either comes from public domain sources, or from an artist going by the name of Uatu (I assume that is not his real name).  He graciously allowed me to use his work in my program, and I'm thankful for that.  You can find his homepage here:

How much will the game cost?

It will cost me a lot of time.  But, I suppose that it will be worth it.  As for you guys, it won't cost a dime.  When it's done, or when it reaches a state where people can play with it, I'll release it as freeware.  The feedback I get and what I learn from this experience is far more important than any kind of money.

So, all I want is feedback.  Even before it's released.  If you think it looks great, let me know.  If you think it blows seven shades of monkey balls, be sure to let me know that too.  I can't fix it unless I know.

So, stay tuned for the next installment, where we'll look at character creation and you'll see some screenshots of the game...