Realms Beyond – A classic turn-based fantasy RPG

rpg tagged posts

Combat System #2: Hexes vs. Squares

As you may recall, we touched upon this particular subject some time ago very briefly when we talked about our die rolling experiments with D&D 4th Edition: Six sides are better than four. Let’s elaborate.

This particular subject led to some of the most heated discussions among ourselves while we designed the combat system for Realms Beyond. There are times in the development cycle of a game that can lead to actual combat. Only in those cases, it typically gets resolved with arguments and words rather than the use of force and weapons.

Players of traditional D&D campaigns and those of the SSI Goldbox Games used to prefer dungeons and battlefields that were based on a square grid. Wargames and virtually every turn-based strategy game, on the other hand, favor hexagons...

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Source of Inspiration #5: Phantasie

Phantasie boxesBy now we can safely assume that you have heard about roleplaying games, but have you ever heard of a Roleplaying Odyssey? Let me introduce you to Phantasie, a game where the front of the box promised such an experience. And for the most part, we can acknowledge that it pretty much reflects the memory we have of the game.

Looking back, Phantasie might have been a pure Ultima derivative. It featured a large world for you to explore on foot as you searched for the next town or dungeon. However, it did not feature 3D dungeons. Instead, you would kind of unveil the passages of each dungeon on some kind of map screen...

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World Building #2: Where do you start designing an open world roleplaying game?

Dragon Avatar

Up to this point, most of our blog posts have covered sources of influence and inspiration and some general game mechanics. What we have not covered at all so far, is the world of Realms Beyond. That’s where I come in…

Some of you may know me as “Dragon” in our forums and I am the Creative Director of Realms Beyond, which means, I am overseeing the creation of the content that you will eventually play in the game.

I do have a background in game design and I’ve worked on numerous roleplaying games before, in a variety of capacities, and when I joined the Ceres Team some time ago, the first order of business was the general world design.

Dungeons & Dragons Player HandbooksWhile we’re using assets and code from the never-released Chaos Chronicles project, we decided early on to create the actual content for Realms Be...

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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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World Building #1: 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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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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