Hello, my friends! I apologise for no February update, the COVID situation threw everything into disarray on the teaching front and it took most of February to get on-board with “online delivery” of teaching content (this being a common experience of many academics at the moment). But here’s the update I was hoping to post in February had a global pandemic not emerged. My head is inching closer and closer to full recovery; getting fewer strange head symptoms, getting them less often, and definitely generally able to do more and more screenwork as time goes by. I believe I’ve been working on URR again now for almost a year after my year or so hiatus, which is longer than I hoped it would take to finish things off, but I’m so happy with the so-close-to-final result I see before me now. Without further ado, here’s what I’ve got done recently:

– Several new bugs which arose through the implementation of docks have been fixed – for example, when you travel from a city to a town and then directly on again, the game no longer sometimes crashes depending on your movement options before arriving at that town.
– Equally, going town to town and then moving out of that town also no longer sometimes produces a crash.
– There was also an issue involving generating docks on certain terrain types, especially on the poles, due to the presence of ice confusing the algorithm and leaving it unsure whether the ice should count towards the number of ocean tiles the dock touches, or the number of land tiles, or both. This has now been resolved.
– NPCs who belonged to nations without explicit nation-wide religious affiliations were sometimes unable to speak intelligently about their religious beliefs, and this has now been fixed; NPCs in nations that espouse religious freedom can now comment on any religion appropriate to them, while NPCs in nomadic civilizations will also give appropriate answers.
– Some weird remaining bugs with NPCs dithering about and not knowing what to do when they reach a doorway between city districts appears to have been fixed.
– Weird grammatical issues that would sometimes arise in giving lists of responses to the player are resolved.
– Related to the above, the list-giving ability of NPCs has been reduced and tone down to prevent the player from getting a gigantic two-hundred-word response to what would ordinarily be a rather trivial line of questioning.
– There is no longer a rather rare bug when entering certain kinds of houses in middle-class districts which had, previously, either caused the game to crash or caused a lot of strange effects like chairs being generated in ceilings and so forth (although perhaps this was simply the procedurally-generated home decor choices of the civilisation, and I shouldn’t have intervened?)
– Fixed an issue with using docks sometimes not correctly putting NPCs into buildings to keep track of them later, and then looking at the new place you move to in the hope of finding them there instead, which crashes the game.
– Fixed an issue where the game sometimes counted all places for a dock it tried and found unsuccessful as potential dock doors the player could emerge from after travelling across the ocean, meaning that it sometimes took a long time for the game to randomly cycle through all the nonexistent dock doors until finding the real one; this no longer happens.
– Traveling in certain dock-esque ways no longer causes parts of the UI to sometimes disappear (this was hard to spot, but once I’d seen it, I couldn’t let it stay in).
– Resolved another issue where continual use of the dock system without ever leaving the dock system to explore a town, city or neighbourhood would lead to the game crashing because it could no longer calculate the length of time the player’s movements should have needed.
–  I found an unexpected issue where certain towns were unable to spawn all their buildings correctly, causing the game to crash when trying to find doors for all the relevant NPCs; I think this has been fixed, but I’ll continue investigating.
– Monasteries had stopped spawning due to an error in the algorithm that decided where and when they should be placed; this has been fixed, and monasteries appear again.
– A few remaining buildings that exhibited strange behaviour when you entered in day time then returned at night, or vice versa, such as monasteries, guilds, arenas and jails, have all been polished and these bugs should no longer occur.
– Entering a district properly now gives you information on its contents for when you subsequently travel outside (I think I mentioned this before, but it turned out to not be fully implemented; it now is).
– Abbots now tell you they are the abbot when you talk to them, instead of saying “Oh, I’m sure the abbot is around here somewhere…” before wandering off. NPCs are not supposed to troll the player.
– Towns that contain only a corner of ocean now spawn docks correctly instead of getting stuck trying to find a nice wide piece of sea in which to place them.
– Very rarely changing version or moving around save files would cause some slightly weird things to occur on the Load Game screen, but this has now all been fixed.
– Resolved a handful of strange issues with objects not appearing correctly on certain kinds of floors, especially in wealthier buildings.

Thank you all, again, so much, for sticking with me for so long on this. I don’t know where URR will go from here and whether or not this will be the final version, but 0.8 has really turned into something I’m deeply proud of, and something I can’t wait to share with you all.

More soon!

21 Comments

  • Hey Mark, glad to hear from you. I opened everyday your blog and couldnt wait to get an update about your health and the status of the game. Good that you have recovered so well. Corona is doing a mess at our university as well, so i can imagine how troublesome it has to be.
    Regards and stay healthy,
    Adrian

    • Thanks Adrian, I really appreciate the message! I’ll be posting an update about all this stuff soon – sadly a less productive URR month, this time, as my head has got worse again, and as you say, the chaos isn’t helping! Hope you and your loved ones are safe and doing ok :).

  • Were you already in touch with the makers of dwarf fortress, your both concepts together can become really enriching in my opinion especially the concept of different society structures and generation part of world history…

    • Haha, yes, I’ve chatted with Tarn quite a bit, wrote a chapter for his first edited PCG book. We’re from such different academic backgrounds it’s super-interesting to discuss our approaches to generating this kind of stuff!

  • I cannot wait to play it. The premise of URR is inigualable in the vast expanse that comprehends most of the roguelikes we know — profoundity in worldbuilding is what lacks a lot in many projects, and it is refreshing to see that you, in a fantastic way, implemented it with enormous proportions in your work.
    There are nuances in URR which turns it in a very special game to look foward to.

    • Hi Filipe, and thank you for this lovely message! Super kind of you and I really appreciate the kind words. A lot.

  • hey mark, just read all your blog posts about the concussion and move to sydney. my sympathies man! dang. i’ve been casually waiting for URR since i first heard you on RL radio years ago. good luck finishing it up; i’m excited to play.

    • Thanks Max, I appreciate the sympathy and the kind words. Yeah, it hasn’t been… ideal… and things have taken another turn for the worse (See the update I’ll be posting in the next few days), but hopefully it’s not permanent. Fingers crossed!

  • Yes, and thanks for not giving up on this! So many awesome projects get interrupted by real life, injury, illness etc. like this one and they never realize their potential. I think it’s great that you haven’t given up on this as it’s such a unique concept. Stay safe out there.

    • Thanks Rain! I really appreciate the message. Yeah, it has been a hard few years, but I’m determined at the *very* least to get 0.8 out, and polish it past any major bugs if players find those. That’s the least I need to do to satisfy my own need to feel I’ve sort-of-quasi-“finished” the game!

  • Hello Mark,

    New user here! I found your game last October after watching most videos from the past few RogueLike Celebration meetings and immediately wanted to try it out 🙂

    I was just able to try URR 070b for the first time today, after months of trying to find an OS on which it can run, between Windows 10 problems and everybody else’s decision to drop 32 bit compatibility (it’s running under Wine on an old Ubuntu 18.04 that for now I don’t need to upgrade for now).

    Well, I’m definitely impressed and not only for the very interesting PCG approach: you made one of the best ASCII art interfaces I’ve even seen 🙂

    I was wondering: what do you think the compatibility situation is going to be for the next version? Do you expect problems in packaging it for Windows 10?

    • Hi Roberto, thanks fro this very kind message! So glad you liked it :). I don’t expect any compatability problems, but I’m just focusing on finishing the code right now. Packaging it and handling different platforms and hardware has never, exactly, been my area of expertise, so I’m leaving that to last; I might end up having to draw on advice and tips from others to get it working on as many platforms as possible, at least across the whole Windows family. Lots of people are reporting Windows 10 problems, so that is going to have to be fixed…

  • This is a late response, but thanks for the update. I do like the idea of the ceiling chairs and the troll abbots, though! Glad to hear that you’re feeling better, too.

  • Just wanted to say, I have been following URR for years and played every iteration and I sincerely think it is among the most interesting thing happening in gaming. Can’t wait for 0.8.

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