Realms Beyond – A classic turn-based fantasy RPG

Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale

The Bard's TaleWhen The Bard’s Tale by Michael Cranford was first released, it foreshadowed a feature that would become standard in games today—an intro. In the case of The Bard’s Tale, it was an animated title screen that was reminiscent of a cartoon, showing a bard playing a song. Bard's Tale Intro Screen
Naturally, the lyrics of the song appeared as text only on the screen but this was pretty impressive stuff in 1987 on the C64! The bard would stop playing to take a sip from his mug once in a while. One of the listeners sitting next to him would imagine the adventurous scenes portrayed in his odes, appearing and disappearing in graphics bubbles above his head.

One of the interesting and often overlooked things about The Bard’s Tale is that its character system was actually pretty similar to that of D&D...

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Sound Design #2: Attentive music matters

On the technical side, modern computer game development, especially in the field of roleplaying games, it appears, is very heavily focused on the visual presentation. Eye candy sells, there can be no doubt. Many will argue that music and the sound design are somehow important, too, but for the most part, it is the graphics that draw players in.

Back in the early days of computer games, computer RPGs never really considered graphics as their key focus. A large part of the reason was that hardware limitations kept things in check and so, game designers turned to music and sound effects to create the proper atmosphere. Nowadays, we have come to think that a bunch of hyperrealistic graphics with some epic music underneath make for great atmosphere, but you really couldn’t be more wrong.

Music ...

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Exploring the World #2: Camp and Survival

You’re an adventurer. For most of the time, that means, being a traveler. And you can’t just keep walking all day long and then on through the night. So what do you do when you reach a clearing in the woods at dusk and have no idea how much longer you will have to walk until you may reach another city? Camping is what you do. You pitch a tent for the night and you try to get some rest.

Camping in Pool of RadianceFor most D&D-based games, resting was an extremely important feature because it enabled you to recharge your spells. Aside from the elementary feature of memorizing spells or powers, in Realms Beyond, your party members will be able to use the time during an encampment to cook, eat, hunt, collect food, cure wounds or to identify items.

But encampments don’t come for free...

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Source of Inspiration #3: Wizardry

Whenever the conversation touches upon old-school computer roleplaying games, the subject turns to just how difficult those games were. With that in mind, I think it is time to talk about Wizardry, the legendary RPG series developed by Sir-Tech. THOSE games were hard to beat! Seriously hard! Similarly to the Ultima games, most of our team’s first contact was not with the first Wizardry game, but rather with later entries in the series, typically, starting with Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna.

Bane of the Cosmic ForgeIt may sound strange, but the very first thing that comes to mind when remembering Wizardry IV is its copy protection. The game allowed you to play through the entire first dungeon but then would ask you for a series of digits from a list that was included in the box...

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Sound Design #1: Details are everything

To fork into some different territory and cover more aspects of Realms Beyond, we have prepared a few blog posts about game design and technology. To start things off, let’s have a look at the sound design.

It’s an obvious thing: Atmosphere is not only a visual thing, and it’s not only created by gameplay. There are many more factors at play, so many, in fact, that it’s hard to even count them. Atmosphere is what you get when you put all the components of a game together and everything fits. Often overlooked, but without a doubt, one of the key elements to create an engaging sense of atmosphere is the sound design. Imagine, if you will, an RPG without driving combat themes, or an epic main theme. It would feel like a movie with the TV muted...

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The Regions of the World

The world of Realms Beyond will offer various climate zones, regions and locations below and above the surface. To give you a first look at this variety, we have created just a few examples of very different settings our game will take place in. Please keep in mind, that the visuals you see in these video clips are not in their final but in pre-alpha stage. Naturally, the camera path in these videos covers only a small portion of the respective game levels.

Aside from the visuals, the music in these snippets will also give you an idea how our in-game music will try to underscore the mood of these scenarios.

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Our forums are online


Welcome traveller!

This welcoming place is the official forum of Realms Beyond and it is intended for helpful, entertaining and constructive discussions about the game itself, as well as some other topics related to roleplaying and/or fantasy games. To prevent total anarchy, disorientation and, of course, harassment, please keep to the following guidelines:

  • When posting to a thread, pay attention to the conversation and try to remain on topic
  • If you are looking for potential answers to general questions, please make sure to read the official postings and FAQ first. Use the search function to find solutions to your problem that may exist already. If that didn’t help, find a suitable existing thread to post your question to or start a new one
  • Spamming, obvious trolling, and vicious flaming...
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First Screenshots

In this post, we would like to present you with the first screenshot gallery with images that we have taken directly from the pre-alpha version of the game. We should point out, however, that parts of the engine and visuals are still work in progress.

As you can see, our isometric engine is optimized to display a lot of items on the screen at the same time, without suffering any performance hits. This has been achieved by combining pre-rendered 2D shapes with 3D meshes. By using dynamic real-time lighting on all these elements, the implementation of things, such as different times of day, are easily possible and have become quite important for our world simulation as a whole.

There is another interesting aspect that you may find intriguing...

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Source of Inspiration #2: Ultima IV

Ultima IVChronologically speaking, to say our sources of inspiration begin with the SSI Gold Box games is actually a bit off. It may have something to do with the fact that most of us are not old enough that we actually entered the world of computer RPGs with games that came before Pool of Radiance. But as a matter of fact, by 1988, when the Gold Box series first commenced, Ultima was already on its fifth sequel with Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny.

Ultima IV Start ScreenIn all honesty, most of our team members never actually spent much time playing the original Ultima Trilogy but that’s not altogether detrimental. The one thing the Ultima series is most remembered for is its unique approach to character generation...

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Combat System #1: Turn-based, RTwP and the Open Game License

After all this talk of exploration and adventuring, let’s turn our attention to more exciting things, such as combat, shall we? It’s a truly complex and crucial subject and during the time when Realms Beyond was merely an idea, we bounced around a number of approaches how to implement a tactically deep, but also entertaining, turn-based combat system in the game.

Dragon Age combat

We knew right from the beginning that we wanted a classic, turn-based system. Other options were certainly worth discussing and evaluating, but none ever struck us as ideal. We all played Dragon Age (the first and best part) which had a real-time combat system with a Pause-option. Nobody here felt comfortable with the concept of having a similar combat system in our game.

So why did we choose to go strictly turn-based over...

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