URR 0.8.3 is all but done! All the three main new features have been implemented (three new policies), a range of bugs have been fixed, and right now I’m just playtesting all this new content to try to make sure there aren’t any new crash bugs introduced by adding this new stuff. Assuming nothing monstrous presents itself, I plan to release this coming weekend at the latest. The main focus of the 0.8.3 release is the three new policies mentioned previously (slavery, pastoral, and cultism) which change the economic structure of the civilization, the generation and size of cities and towns and farms and a general appreciation of all that is environmental, and the placement of “cult” altars throughout a nation. This final point is the last feature I need to double-check, since this involves interacting with the generation algorithms for things (homes, public buildings, public spaces) that I haven’t really looked at in many many years. Nevertheless, I don’t anticipate much in the way of difficulty here, and this should all appear soon.

In the meantime, since I might be working at the same time on a larger future release with many exciting new features, today I’d like to share with you all another new generator I’m rather pleased with: the alcohol generator.

Long-time players will know that alcohol names have been generated for some time, and you can ask an innkeeper about them, but one of the main features of the larger future release I am definitely not working on is the generation of all trade items, the ability to purchase them, exchange them, etc – and so alcohol was one of those which had to find its way into the game. These took a little while to make but I’m very happy with how they look; the alcohols of a particular civilization will share features like bottle colours, bottle shapes, and label designs, but you’ll always be told what alcohol the bottle contains whenever you encounter it. (I would also like to add the ability for you to drink them and maybe get some amusing hallucinogenic effect, but that’s not a priority).

Probably the toughest part to decide on was “what should go on the label?”. Since all the alcohols have procedurally-generated names (and nations have a national preference for wine, beer, or spirits, and the name generator takes account of that) I thought for a while, quite naturally, about putting the names of the drink in question on the label. However, this ran into two issues. Firstly, it was hard to create a generator that makes sure all possible names can appear on viable labels – the alcohol names can have a wide range of varieties, including with some very long words and some very short words, and making sure all could be generated and accepted was unusually difficult. Secondly, once I had a working test version of a small subset of the above, it simply didn’t look that good. I’ve almost always avoided having actual text in URR’s procedural graphics generation, and ultimately I just didn’t like how it looked; the text really stood out from the rest of the bottle. After considering a bunch of other possibilities I therefore settled on a model where the label would contain a shape, design or pattern appropriate to the aesthetic preference of the civ (square, diamond, cross, octagon, circle) and that would do enough work to distinguish the bottles from each other, without having to put the actual name of the drink within the image itself.

Anyway, I do hope you all like this PCG booze! And I’ll see you all again in a few days for the 0.8.3 release.

16 Comments

  • I remember watching that YT video from around 2015? of a presentation you gave and you’ve mentioned there your ideas on potions generation mechanics that involved PG of vials and it was so awesome and I was thinking recently whether you ever would implement that idea and here you are. It looks so much more detailed and refined than when you first presented it, but I still love those original potion vials designs as well. Thank you for the update and have a great day!

    • Thanks so much Pavel, I’m really glad you like them! Yeah, I remember the graphics you are thinking about, they were from a much more “traditional roguelike” era, I think. I might bring them back, but I don’t think it’s super likely. Thanks so much!

  • Those labels look great. I also really like the shape and shading of the bottles and their lids!
    One criticism I have is the checkerboard pattern on the neck of the bottle. I’m not sure what its purpose is and it looks a bit odd.

    I love the idea of visualizing hallucinogenic effects from consuming psychoactive drugs. Could be applied to alcohols, potions, poisons, plants, etc. Would also be interesting to have them tied to culture and religion too. Maybe monks or priests use them to communicate with their god(s)? When the player talks to them they can get a piece of prophecy or even random poems or riddles lmao. Maybe it could also work for an alchemy system? Making potions and poultices from herbs they find in the wilderness or purchase from a healer? Maybe an unlucky player could pick and eat an unidentified flower or mushroom and be (un)pleasantly surpised!

    Also, I will help test the Linux version of the game when the time comes.

    • Hi Taylor, thanks so much for the comment! I’m really glad you like them. Pattern on the neck – that’s really interesting feedback, thank you for letting me know. I’ll give that some more thought.

      Also, yes, I think these are all super interesting possibilities! Nethack for instance of course slightly toys with the “Hallucinating” status effect, but I think there could be a lot of fun things to do here, both in terms of how alcohols or other substances are woven into the game’s cultures, and also what effects they could have on players…

      And thank you! It is, STILL, a planned thing in the future :).

      • No problem. Thank you for writing these blogs, I love reading them!
        They patterns on the necks of the bottles aren’t bad, they are just too… perfect? I’m not sure why but they stick out for me.

        I posted an image to an alternative pattern, which is just a simple paper label with a border. It is very crude but it should get my point across lol. I may try doing a wicker pattern if I can…

        That is good to hear! So many options open up to the player, especially if the effects can be applied to others >:)

        No rush. I have been lurking for a few years, I can lurk a few more!

        • Thanks Taylor, I really appreciate you saying that! It means a lot to me to get feedback from readers :). I’m really glad you enjoy the blog. (And indeed, there is now another post up for your perusal…)

    • The shape of the bottles leaves the neck as the only place where you can hold the bottle firmly with one hand, grappling it around the neck and helping with the other hand when pouring the contents. Even if the space is tight like bottom right bottle, it is enough to hold it with a thumb and an index finger. The glass can be slippery so the neck of the bottle has some bandage with high friction so that the bottle wouldn’t slip. I think the checkerboard pattern resembles the wicker basket type of cases people used to make and still do for wine bottles, for the same reason so that they wouldn’t slip and fall. But that was just my guess for what it is, but it doesn’t look out of place for me at all.

      Bump for the effects, that is yet another underrepresented worldbuilding aspect in roguelikes. Only one 7drl called Alan’s Psychedelic Journey comes to mind that features hallucinogenic effects. Also Land of Strangers creator AgingMinotaur wanted to implement this in his game, but hasn’t yet done that.

      • After thinking about it, I believe you are correct. Makes sense that the neck label would be there. I posted an image here of a mockup I did of the neck labels made out of paper. I’m not sure if it is better but it was fun to do lol.

        I agree! I love those small little features that add to the atmosphere. Potential to affect gameplay in interesting ways too. Thank you for mentioning these, I had not heard about them but I will check them out.

        There is a recent mod for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind that implements something similar to this for its skooma and moon sugar drugs. I think there is also a mod for alcohol effects too but it doesn’t have the fancy shaders. Even if you don’t play Morrowind, check it out because it is pretty to look at!

        “Adds new skooma mechanics including animated skooma pipe smoking, psychedelic shaders and sound effects, and skooma addiction.”
        https://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/49920/

        • I still kinda enjoy the original checkerboard design more. URR’s core idea and main message (I think) to the RL community is in presenting the posibilities of art and design in games using only ASCII/ANSI symbols that hasn’t been articulated enough [people just can’t stand boring rectangle rooms in dungeons anymore], so the more art/design there is in the game – the better, even if it’s just a small checkerboard pattern or something)

          I became strict ASCII permadeath turn-based games enjoyer but yeah there was a time I used to play Morrowind a lot. With its cult status Morrowind gets lots of mods espacially so that it would look sharp and new on the modern PCs.

          • Thanks Pavel! Yeah, it’s the visuals and the wider sort of “cultural” procedural generation which really fascinates me, and of course which I *am* trying to build a game around, not just a snazzy world to explore 😉

        • Very interesting! It’s always fascinating what people make mods for, but that one sounds very entertaining.

      • Pavel, yes, that’s pretty much what I had in mind! That said though, I realise now it’s the only bit of the graphic that isn’t varied / changed up in different generations, I might add some variety to it after all…

        • Adding variation is a great idea! That would be a bit complicated, I presume, but that’s the goal – more variation. Also then maybe even the colour and the shape of the cork may get some variability. Brandy Maker’s Mark for instance dip the whole upper part of each bottle in melted red wax to get a unique “seal” on every bottle. Maybe some bottles can even get a glass cork, or whatever it’s called? Though the ammount of possible output results of the generator just with the three main parts that are the shape of the bottle, its colour and the label is very diverse already.

          • Actually should be pretty easy! The cork colours also should vary already, but maybe that’s not clear, I’ll add that in as well.

      • Hey Taylor, I actually really like how that looks. I think I will add a bit of variation to the neck label, rather than it just always being a checkerboard 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *