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Game News Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous, a retro RPG inspired by 80s classics, now on Kickstarter

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Stirring Dragon Games; Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous

    The IBM PC compatible has been the dominant computer gaming platform since 1990 or so, leaving rivals such as the Commodore 64 and the Amiga by the wayside. Unbeknownst to most, a small hobbyist scene has continued to develop games for these platforms over the years. I usually regard these projects as mere curiosities, but sometimes the amount of effort that goes into them is impossible to ignore. One such unignorable project is Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous, a very oldschool RPG inspired by Ultima and other classics of the 1980s (but mostly Ultima, I think). The game has been in development for several years, and now the developers, Bruce and Laura Gottlieb of Stirring Dragon Games, are ready to take it to the next level with a Kickstarter campaign. Mainly for physical costs, because they plan to release it on a C64 cartridge. But don't worry, the game will work on PC as well, via a "special PC platform" - presumably some sort of custom-made emulator. Here's the pitch video:


    There's a lot to read on Unknown Realm's Kickstarter page, but the most impressive part is the game's feature list, which includes many desirable hardcore RPG features, as well as various modern touchstones such as cutscenes and user interface conveniences. I'll quote part of it:

    Alive World:
    • Open world with lots of secret locations to discover.
    • 64 different day, night, and seasonal monsters.
    • Landscape reacts to the choices you make. Locations, characters, and game world will be impacted by your decisions, and your actions have real consequences.
    • Dual-mode exploration using either overworld view or zoomed in location view.
    • Traveling NPCs and settlements – stumble upon a gypsy caravan, traveling merchants or bandit encampments!
    Interesting NPCs: Just because our NPCs have 8-bit brains doesn't mean they have to be dummies.
    • Find NPC or animal companions to join your cause.
    • Hire mercenaries to aid you on those really dangerous quests.
    • NPCs might strike up a conversation with you or blurt out for you to get lost.
    • NPCs can treat you differently based on their mood or how well they know you, or react to what they see you do or hear you say.
    • NPCs may travel between locations in the game.
    • Some monsters might even talk with you, if you happen to speak their language!
    Very cool stuff. If Mr. Gottlieb wasn't a veteran game programmer and member in good standing of the Ultima fan community, I would say it was too good to be true, even. Stirring Dragon are seeking $65,536 to finish development of Unknown Realm, which is a nice programming reference but seems like a lot of money for this kind of project (although they already have almost half of that so maybe not). You can secure a copy of the game for $19, with retro ziplock bags and other physical goodies available from $49 and up. The estimated release date is December 2017.
     
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  2. karnak Arcane Patron

    karnak
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    It's good that stuff like this gets made. It helps us reflect upon the origins of videogaming, what was bad and is best left behind; and what was good and is now lost because of the rise of 3D "console-designed" $.$$$.$$$-budgeted AAA crap.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    One of the devs posted the following info on GOG's forum:

    " Hi there, I'm the female half of the team at Stirring Dragon Games (we're the ones making Unknown Realm). We're going to be posting a lot more about the game in the coming weeks, but I did want to tell you that the main character's gender is not locked to male. We plan to do an update about our character creation sheet down the line.

    People who back for the collector's edition(PC) will get a DRM free copy of the game. There's a bit more in the comments on the project and we'll be adding more about that as the project progresses. We are still making some decisions regarding digital distribution (we would love to be on GOGl). But it is likely there will be a DRM free version of the game one way or another. But first things first - we have to have a successful campaign. :)

    As for Linux...our PC platform should work with Wine, although we haven't tested it yet, so don't quote me on that. We honestly weren't expecting a lot of demand for a Linux version...every version (/Mac etc) has to be built from scratch and with a small team (just the two of us) we have to be careful not to spread ourselves too thin.

    Thanks for your interest! "
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  3. MrBuzzKill Arbiter

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    It's very probable I will back this. Got a really good feeling about the game and the devs.
     
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  4. Rhuantavan Arcane Patron Developer

    Rhuantavan
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    Backed of course. Big box, C64 version. Oh yeah.
     
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  5. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    Looking at 1:27, I already know a great potential avatar for the codex.

    That is false information, btw. If you do development correctly, you only have one code base across all platforms (with minimal platform deviations).
    That is, if you don't do stupid shit like using DirectX (which really is 100% unnecessary for this kind of graphic). Hell, they could just do software rendering and it would be fine :lol:

    Of course, you still have to set up the compilation pipeline per platform, but that takes what, 2 days most?

    Either way, it should be fine if it runs on Wine.
    What a rhyme.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  6. commie The Last Marxist Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Funny. All these edgelords here quickly fapped and broke the bank on getting a VGA 386 to replace their C64's(assuming they actually played on a C64 or even were born then). Now all of a sudden, making games in more that 4 colours is AAA? Methinks the hipsters doth try hard too much.

    PS. Game looks like any other lazy retro shit vomited on steam by the shitload. C64 palette is the in 'thing' these days. Just making it look like crap from the 80's shouldn't get a free pass.Those Ultimas came with all sorts of added lore books, and stuffies that made the world come alive beyond the limitations of the age. Garriott didn't make the games look like that because he thought to be all 'retro chic' in the coming decades, but due to technological constraints. Why accept such presentation now when you don't have to? If you have a great game, present it as such. I'd rather see this game use D:OS engine or even bloody Unity than appeal to faux nostalgia. If I want nostalgia I'll play the original games of that time!
     
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  7. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    Yeah, it's interesting as a technical exercise, particularly the C64 cartridge, but I wouldn't play this for the same reason I can't play Ultima 4 now: it's boring and repetitive. It looks like it's mostly a storyfag game in a format totally unsuited for it, and implementing shit combat for the sake of some kind of authenticity(?) suggests they've never played a contemporary blobber.

    However, the single most disappointing thing from looking at the Kickstarter page is that there's so little emphasis on worldbuilding and background lore, something which put the Ultimas head and shoulders above the other games around at the time despite the admittedly pretty basic mechanics (until U5).
     
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  8. thesheeep Arcane

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    You do realize what a significant increase in production cost that would mean, don't you?
    3D is expensive as hell because it takes a long time to create. And that is multiplied by the size of the game world, which is supposedly quite a bit in this case.
    Low pixel graphics aren't expensive at all. Hell, most coders could do that themselves with a bit of effort.

    That said, with that budget, I don't know what they are planning to do. It is just weirdly high for a project with those looks.

    Well, others will take "just" oldschool graphics for that instead, so what?
     
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  9. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    ?
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
    In case you couldn't already tell, we are big fans of companies like Infocom and Origin Systems that pioneered the tradition of including physical components or “feelies” with their games to create a rich, immersive game experience. We want to bring back that tradition. We don’t think any classic RPG is complete without this important added dimension. So, our physical components have been designed to fit as integral parts of the story and gameplay.

    [​IMG]
    A truly retro ad for a truly retro RPG


    Our “Ziplock” bag edition is a tribute to the bygone era when games came in “Ziplock” bags. This version includes an old school D&D inspired “module” style manual with game supplements. The detachable cardstock cover doubles as an expandable poster on the outside and has the players reference and useful game information on the inside. This coupled with keyboard overlays and a parchment paper version of the world map (exclusive to the “Ziplock” bag tier) will give you a taste of the feelies without breaking the bank.

    [​IMG]
    Throwback "Ziplock" Bag Edition
    We’re bringing back the old school manuals. And these aren’t the normal cheap glossy paper manuals you find in modern games. In our boxed editions, all of our physical game manuals and the hand drawn bestiary will be printed on deluxe felt finish paper using traditional offset printing methods.

    Our artist, Raf, has been busy illustrating our hand drawn bestiary, inspired by the old school D&D monster manuals. All backers at the digital knight level and above will also receive digital versions of these manuals and the bestiary.

    [​IMG]
    Old school style pen and ink bestiary


    [​IMG]
    Collector's Edition Box: chock-a-block full of feelies
    Our collector’s edition includes a number of classically inspired feelies such as a cloth map, metal cipher token and custom engraved wooden dice straight from the taverns of the realm. It also includes a handy quest journal for jotting down any information you might want to explore further.

    [​IMG]
    Quest journal and engraved tavern dice
    For the true RPG collector, our very limited black edition box contains some additional premium feelies, including a realm stone, a charming pug companion mini figurine, and our one a kind engraved wooden keyboard overlays. Our PC keyboard overlays are designed to fit both the standard “101-key” PC function keys as well as the Commodore 128.

    [​IMG]
    Black edition wooden keyboard overlays


    [​IMG]
    The mystical Realm Stone beckons you to the land of Madrigal
    We can't forget the custom C64 game cartridge. This is not only the largest 8-bit RPG on cartridge ever, our cartridge will also have a custom injection molded case designed to look like a book, hence the name “Book of Lore” cartridge.

    [​IMG]
    Book of Lore game cartridge for the C64
    Please keep in mind our reward photos show working prototypes; the artwork and materials of the final versions may change a bit.
     
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  10. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    Those dice are lovely, and the monster manual is very Ultima 4, so I could see myself backing it as a coffee table poseur item, but $119 is a lot when the game seems to be a secondary consideration to the manuals.
     
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  11. Ranarama Learned

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    It's not a very deep well. You haven't already exhausted them? I can only play U5 and PoR so many times.
     
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  12. MrBuzzKill Arbiter

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    It seems they're making a point of being "actually" 8 bit instead of fake 8 bit wannabe retro games. Am I mistaken? I could be mistaken.
    This seems different to me than most retro-style indie games today. It's not BIG PIXELS 8 BIT LOL. More like, actually trying to capture the full aesthetic of gold box era while (hopefully) removing the bad/tedious things and introducing good things.
    What's "crap from the 80s"?
     
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  13. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    I'm weakening, as I knew I would. I see the $449 Tavern Owner pledge level allows people to name their own tavern, offer a menu and offer advice to patrons. :D A fundraiser would be amusing, but I wouldn't want to sabotage their game, just in case it ends up being better than it looks.
     
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  14. MrBuzzKill Arbiter

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    I'm sold by the fact that they're making the C64 version. So it's not just wannabe pixelley bullshit like so many games these days, they actually appear to know their stuff
     
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  15. Scrooge ⦅❛◡❛ॣॣ⦆*.・。╟╢ᎯƤƤᎽ*.・。 Patron

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    Codex 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    That looks pretty awesome actually :greatjob:

    Old rpgs without fancy gfx tickle my imagination way more than shiny modern AAA stuff. I find Wizardry VI where you literally run around in a stone wall dungeon wallpaper all day long more atmospheric than Witcher 3 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
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  16. Jrpgfan Savant

    Jrpgfan
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    Those are some neat features but the C64 graphics turn me off a little bit. I'm undecided if should back it or not.
     
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  17. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    wtf is this fucking "lol hipster retrostuff those graphics are ugly make something better pls" bullshit, I thought this was the fucking Codex where classical oldschool RPG gaming is held in high regard
    This looks good. I didn't even play the 80s RPGs back when they were fresh (mostly because I was born in 1988 and was introduced to gaming by my dad in the early 90s when I was 3 years old, so all pre-1990 games passed me by), but this looks appealing to me because there just seems to be so much love for the genre and era put into it. This isn't "let's cash in on the pixel nostalgia" retro, this is "we fucking love oldschool and want games like that back" retro.

    And did you even read the feature list? "Just some dumb archaic game" my ass. Secret locations? Large bestiary? Fucking choice and consequence? That's more than most modern RPGs offer.

    I, for one, get a very positive vibe from this.

    Anyone who bashes this for the archaic graphics should hand in their Codexer card.
     
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  18. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Did you even read that I mentioned the presentation and NOT the features? Redding is teh hard for Krauts it seems.

    Anyway, fuck off with shit arguments. Choice and Consequence as a 'feature' in a RPG? Next you'll be singing the praises of Romance options! So apart from shit graphics, you also welcome shit features in shit graphics? Let me guess, the static one colour icon of the villager will turn from red to blue when you choose to keep the sword of buttfucking instead of giving it back? Cool story bro.

    I'm exaggerating of course, but you miss the point. I wasn't complaining about the features but the presentation. There's no need to make it look like shit just to fill some perceived nostalgia. You think this will sell in any way to keep these guys active beyond this? If they have something decent, then present it decently. Shit minimalist graphics don't make things 'cool' and what is the point of 'C&C' when its presented in such a rudimentary way? I've news for you:there were much better looking games than this even in C64 era!Just aping Ultima IV doesn't make this game a classic of the ages. Problem here is they are trying to put modern RPG sensibilities in a presentation that isn't really that good in conveying what they are trying to do. Games in the past used other assets that I mentioned like maps, lore books, journals in order to flesh out what couldn't be presented.They didn't do it just for the fun of it. This game won't have physical additions like that, so will have to rely purely on the graphics to convey information and I don't think it's the right way to go about it. At least if they went with with 1990 256 colour EGA/VGA style, it would be exponentially better(Ultima 6,Wiz 6).

    Hell, take Underrail. It's not a pretty game, looks more primitive than Fallout and even Vogels recent efforts, YET there's enough graphical fidelity to provide oodles of immersion and ability to present a detailed world that HELPS the game. It's nothing to do with graphic whoring!

    Oh and you're a Thief fan....why play it in 3D? Why not play a 4 colour, 2D version? Why sell out to the next gen?

    [​IMG]
    By your reasoning, you should play this instead of Thief. Why don't you? Oh, what's that, because it looks like shit and is limited compared to what Thief with its late 90's engine can do and present?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  19. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

    Bumvelcrow
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    What concerns me more is the very basic combat, and a deliberate choice to make the game more complex to interact with in pursuit of a dubious aesthetic decision. If they'd done a modern take on the U4-5 engine, like Nuvie, then great - nobody loves pixels more than me, but I've yet to see anything that suggests that this is more than a nostalgia trip.

    Still might back it, though, depending on what the updates reveal. I'd love to be proved wrong.
     
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  20. karnak Arcane Patron

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    Honestly, I admit I have some difficulties playing in 8-bit graphics. Even though I started my gaming days in an old 48K ZX Spectrum, technology has advanced for some reason. Games should use the new hardwares to improve the gameplay. Unfortunately, most advances are specifically focused on graphics, using game mechanics that haven't evolved much in the last 5 years or so. Imagine if devs shifted their focus from graphics into gameplay options and interaction between player and world.

    Imagine an RPG with Ultima 7 or U6-like graphics, with a huuuuuuuuuuuge map, the ability for the player to start a family, raise their kids and use them as NPCs. The player character dies and we have the option to continue the game with our son/daughter or as one of our grandkids (with stats based on their upbringing). Meanwhile all the other NPCs would have offspring as well.
    The player character could start as a miserable peasant and then rise to become a sorceror-king. Wage war on other rival kingdoms and become the Emperor of the world. Manage our kingdom as if it were a strategy game, with battles between huge armies, resource management, designing and building castles or settlements, etc. Maybe the player could even waste the entire resources of the land and create an ecological crisis. Etc, etc...

    Of course, all of the above is easier said than done. I know that the work involved in programming such a thing would be huge. But this kind of thing was already dreamed by the early game developpers. Unfortunately, it wasn't easy creating such stuff on cassete tapes or floppy disks. Things like Dwarf Fortress seem to try and grasp such concepts, even if it's most experimental.

    Let time pass. Who knows what sort of Incline the RPGs of the future shall bring?

    Anyway... I'm still waiting for Darklands 2, after all these years.:(
     
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  21. MrBuzzKill Arbiter

    MrBuzzKill
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    Yeah I'm still somewhat cautious about this, even though the devs give me good vibes. I will wait for some more updates where it will be clear if the game itself is their number 1 priority and not being "retro" to the point of being OCD about it.
    If I could make a game, I would probably go for the late 90s - early 2000s isometric aesthetic, just because it's the most visually pleasing medium to ME. Have you considered that they, being products of a certain age, simply like the way this style of graphics looks?
    examples?

    Btw, are you also mad at Dwarf Fortress devs and everyone who still uses ASCII graphics for being hipsters?
     
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  22. almondblight Arcane

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    What are you basing this on? Interaction looks pretty straightforward to me. It looks like it even contains mouse support for people who want to play it that way ("The game is point and click ready just like any other PC game you would download or install these days").
     
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  23. commie The Last Marxist Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Well for good looking C64 games:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Etc. Point is you can make complicated games and decent looking as well(for the time)



    But this is the argument I see people are making here.If you like this:

    [​IMG]

    instead of this:

    [​IMG]

    Then you are OMFG GRAPHIX WHORE FAGGIT AND U CALL URSELF A GAMER HNNNGGGGNNN REEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(autistic screeching)

    Whereas the reality is that we'd be fine with this:

    [​IMG]


    The point is I'm not asking for AAA graphics,just as in the example above I'm fine with 1995-1998 graphics for flight sims because of the simple fact that presentation,immersion, complexity and feedback were at a high enough level even then to make the gameplay satisfying and given what these RPG authors are trying to do they should be using even slightly more modern presentation. They certainly aren't trying to just make Ultima I, but a game with more complicated mechanics presented in the same rudimentary style.


    Oh and Dwarf Fortress comparison isn't correct. The 'graphics' are merely a kind of placeholder representation of the world and can be swapped out if one so wishes. This is different from what this game is trying to do here which is shoehorning modern sensibilities about RPG's into a faux retro veneer as a deliberate act.To use the flight simulator analogy again it's the same as taking DCS and making it in Flight Simulator 1 engine.


    Anyway, fuck those faggots that dare to complain about people wanting better graphics when to a man if they were alive at the time, I bet any money each of the bastards swapped out their Atari 2600's for a C64 and then a Amiga or Atari ST or VGA PC as soon as they could and they were graphic whoring all the fucking way with Cinemaware games. These are the same cunts that now upgrade their video cards every year and PC every other year. So to them I say spare me your bullshit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  24. Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

    Zorba the Hutt
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    Is it really "faux retro" if they're actually making a version to run on a C64? Seems different to some of the truly "faux retro" games we've had recently, more of a labour of love. I understand if people are turned off by the graphics, but as someone who spent years on a C64 I'm glad something like this is being made, plenty of Unity shit on Steam for those who can't handle these graphics.


    Did you miss Infinitron's post above?
     
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  25. MrBuzzKill Arbiter

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    Oh I agree, people do tend to go overboard in the other direction where they see actual modern graphics as catering to the mainstream and therefore bad. Or some shit.
    What I'm trying to say here is that the devs obviously enjoy this particular style of graphics and it'd be strange to blame them for it.
    There obviously will be some "outdated" UI designs but you could argue that people enjoy that type of retro experience as well.
     
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