Hello everyone! I am so pleased to say that the first major milestone for 0.9 has been accomplished: all new graphics for Ultima Ratio Regum 0.9 are now finished! Every possible item you can find in the new release is procedurally generated, with most generators have millions permutations; quite a few having billions; and a mere handful having “only” a few tens or hundreds of thousands of possibilities. So without further ado, here’s a list of what you can expect to find in URR 0.9:
Every feudal civilization has its own currency and nomadic civilizations are willing to use any currency from any state. All currencies have different values and exchange rates, and lovely procedurally-generated coins. The player starts with an appropriate number of coins (including potentially smaller-denomination coins) for their starting civ.
You can now buy, sell and trade all kinds of items with your procedurally-generated currencies: such as alcohol. Different civilizations like and produce different categories of alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) and each civilization produces a unique set of drinks. These can be purchased in a tavern and consumed, or bought from a drinks merchant and traded (much like almost every other item here).
There are now various elite or specialist trade goods, and one of these is whale oil. Only a few civilizations are able to produce it (generally those in polar territories) and it is sold in various qualities, and a range of jars with aesthetics appropriate to each civilization.
Much like whale oil, ambergris can be found for sale in a few civilizations that are able to deploy whaling fleets to hunt down their polar prey. As ever, even the visuals for ambergris vary from lump to lump, making Ultima Ratio Regum probably the only game in history to procedurally-generate whale vomit. As I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a mighty achievement.
URR 0.9 is replete with procedurally-generated books. They cannot be read yet (that’s 0.10!) but they can be seen, bought, and traded at present. One category is that of the philosophy book, which can be found in nations particularly interested in philosophical matters, and might address topics ranging from epistemology to theory of mind, and moral philosophy to ontology. I am looking forward to generating the content of these books later on, and again, hiding a couple of clues in them here and there…
We also find ourselves with history books! As with all the books, these comes in a range of qualities (the detail on the cover generally denotes the quality of a book, high / medium / low) and there are other little details as well. History books might cover the histories of families, cities, nations, religions, monasteries, or a range of other topics. Nations with the “aesthetics” or “scholarly” cultural preferences also gain books that look just a little different from the others – see whether you can spot them!
Biography books come next, which will tell the lives and histories of important in-game figures, both alive and dead. You’ll see on the left-hand side of the books the spines, which have two or three colours nicely spaced out for a feudal civilization, or three colours closely squashed together for a book that was printed and bound by nomads. Biography books can cover all sorts of people – rulers, priests, explorers, soldiers, artists, and more.
We could not, of course, generate a world full of interesting books without novels. Novels can have a range of genres such as mystery, weird, early SF (think Jules Verne etc), fantasy, tragedy, family, and so forth, each with different designs, different generators for their names, and soon, different generators for their content! From the design on the cover, of course, you can get a good sense of what genre the book might offer.
This brings us to holy books – each religion will have its own holy book, which you’ll find in low qualities (all over the place), medium qualities (in the homes of the well-to-do folks) and high qualities (in religious buildings and so forth). These (will) show the appropriate symbol for the religion in question and will, as you might expect, contain any creation myth, information about deities and beliefs, important parables and stories, etc. I expect these to probably be fairly lengthy books.
Next on the list are what we might call “death books” – records of deaths, funerals, burials, tombs, crypts, graves, and so forth. These come in various types depending on the sort of burial involved and the sort of people involved, and the nation producing the record, and these books can be bought in shops run by undertakers.
One of the new features in URR 0.9 is the “cultism” religious choice, whereby a civilization has a range of small religious cults (inspired by the Roman examples) rather than a single unifying religion or god which everyone follows. These are somewhat more elusive than the holy books of the “religions”, but cult books can also be found, displaying the symbol of the cult in question and aesthetic designs appropriate to the civilization that made them.
Language books, meanwhile, will – in the near future! – be used to teach you the languages of tribal civilizations that are not connected to global trade networks, and hence do not speak the lingua franca (which is to say, what we in the real world call English) that everyone else in the game speaks. These covers show a range of characters from the language in question – more characters = higher quality book – and are one of the book designs I’m the happiest with out of everything coming in 0.9’s release.
Fences! Yes, friends, I know you’re as excited as I am that URR now has procedurally-generated fences. Here are some examples of the visuals.
Textiles are one of the most common trade goods you’ll now be able to find in URR, in various sizes, shapes, qualities, and designs for all the different aesthetic preferences that a nation might have.
The various guards and soldiers and so forth that move around within the URR world have now – finally! – all beeen gifted with weapons and armour. On the first strong each nation can have a preference for a particular sort of melee weapon, either “short”, “long”, “heavy”, or “slashing”, and each of these will generate various sorts of weapons in various sorts of qualities, and sometimes with a little visual hint towards what sort of nation they came from. Here are the short weapons:
Next, the long weapons, where you’ll find poles, pikes, spears, and so forth. I wrote a lot more about all the weapons over here, which you can go and read if you’re keen on this aspect of the world generation.
That brings us to the heavy weapon category, which look like this:
…and the slashing weapons, finally:
Jewelry is an important addition to URR 0.9, displaying information about NPCs and rank and social connections and wealth and so forth, while also being valuable and diverse trade items. They might display religious affiliation, a gemstone, a cult affiliation, a military rank, or various other things, as well as having a range of designs and appearing made out of a range of materials, some very commonplace, and some extremely rare (and valuable).
URR 0.9 adds a number of new policies / cultural traits to civilizations, and one of these is the “Cultism” religious option, which generates a number of different deities and religious beliefs within a civilization, where each person might worship some, none, or all of the cults available. These have their own books and their own aesthetic styles, and in a cultist nation you will encounter cult shrines both in the outdoors, and in various buildings. These cults, for instance, worship the moon, the local castle, forests, and mountains, but there are of course dozens and dozens of other possibilities as well.
Yes, a major new update for 0.9, perhaps in fact the most important new addition: the generation of HEDGES. Are you excited for hedges? I am excited for hedges.
The throne rooms of castles will no longer merely possess the “throne” terrain feature without any visual, now you will instead be able to look and MARVEL at the opulent wealth that rulers sit upon.
Along with weapons (and, below, armour) we now have shields generating! I wanted to give these a very different look for each type of civilization (feudal, nomadic, tribal), and again, I wrote a lot about these in a previous entry, but here again are the shield for feudal civs, which can take a range of different shapes and of course generate in three possible qualities, with the higher qualities showing appropriate colours and patterns for its civilization of origin:
And nomadic civs, which have different colours and a more limited number of shield shapes, and instead here denote the value of the shield through how much of the shield we see these sorts of intricate patterns on:
And tribal civs, who have two shield shapes but again three tiers of quality (low, medium, high) with the higher qualities getting more colourful, gaining one band of silver, and then eventually gaining two bands of gold:
Coming back now to trade goods (although all weapons / armour / shields etc are ALSO trade goods themselves, of course, as well as having functionality, status, etc) we have the rather beautiful (if I may say) pocket watches! As before, URR exists in a sort of alternate 1600s-to-1800s world, where I have taken things I find interesting from each era and squished them together, and I’ve always had an interest in the initial development of clockwork and mechanics and marine chronometers and all this interesting stuff and what it meant for how we think about time and labour and so on – but the point here is that pocket watches now generate in URR 0.9. These are the rarest trade good in the world, and you’ll almost never find them, but they have extremely high value.
Naturally they vary in quality, and in shape, and they even tell you the in-game time!
Shovels and axes
No game would be complete without some tools for digging up treasure, breaking through walls, and so forth. These will have more importance later on, but for now are of course again generated, vary in quality, have slightly different appearances for different civs, and so forth.
Another rare and high-quality trade good, you can now find spices! These appear in jars in various quantities and qualities, and there are half a dozen spices you can find, all of which look different. Delicious!
Wood / Pottery
One of the trade good categories I am particularly happy with – which is great since it’s such a common one – is “everyday” good likes boxes, plates, jugs, these sorts of things. These come in four groups (wooden, earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain) and have a massive number of permutations for each possible civilization, different colours, designs, patterns, wooden textures, everything. I think these are absolutely gorgeous, I don’t mind admitting, and these will be some of the most common trade goods a player will come across.
Maps, beautiful maps! These will be found in cartographers. I do not yet know whether I will have time to implement the actual treasure-location part in 0.9 before December 31st 2021 (my deadline for release) but if I don’t, it will come immediately after in 0.9.1 early 2022. Either way, these have two forms, one showing local areas (the top ones here) and one showing global areas (the bottom ones here) and will need to be combined with all other kinds of information to figure out where something is located!
Much like rings, we now have necklaces as well. These display a range of different things, and have a range of different possible images depending on whether the necklace shows rank, or religion, or something else.
Now, within the sort-of-1600s but also sort-of-1700s and also sort-of-1800s world of URR, some nations have of course begun to develop firearms. These are rare, and it is absolutely possible for a world to generate without any firearms whatsoever, although this is relatively rare. There are two sorts of firearms in URR, “pistols” and “rifles”. There are various categories of the former such as duelling pistols and revolvers, which will of course have different stats and dis/advantages and so forth later on.
Then we also have rifles! There are five categories here such as hunting rifles, repeating rifles, blunderbusses, and so forth, and each looks different, with the usual set of possible permutations of colour, wooden colours, little shapes and indents and so forth displaying the shape preferences of the civilization it comes from. Equally, in both pistols and rifles, although the “normal” high quality items will have a little bit of gold (in the right-hand side of both pictures), one might, very rarely, come across a hideously garish and hideously expensive firearm inlaid entirely in gold…
Musket / pistol balls
You can’t have (rare) firearms without musket and pistol balls, and these now spawn and can be bought and traded, and are (of course) procedurally-generated, and have various images for a stack of them up to a certain number. The larger ones are for rifle-type weapons, and the smaller ones are for pistol-type weapons.
We also have gunpowder bags. These are one of the least-varied generators in the game (mere thousand of permutations, instead of the usual millions or billions), but I didn’t want to spend too much time on a relatively rare / obscure item, and I think they look fine, so they’re good enough for now. I’m sure other things will be in bags later, so the explosive sign depicts what’s in these.
In banks you’ll now find ingots, well-guarded. As you might expect there isn’t a great deal of variation going on here outside of colour and the precise location of the “shine” on them, but they get the job done. For now they cannot be picked up – in the future, though…
We now have gemstones! These will appear in jewelry shops alongside rings and necklaces, and we have a range of different sizes, shapes, qualities, and so forth. These will be very expensive, high-end trade items, and pretty rare compared to the other two possibilities. Aren’t they nice, though??
We now have bows and crossbows! There are various sorts of bows (recurve bows, longbows, etc) which can appear in various sizes and qualities; the medium quality has a little bit of colour on the bowstring and a slightly lighter grip, while the highest quality has some gold on the grip and two colours (in all cases the colours are, of course, appropriate to the civilization that created them) on the bowstring itself. I’m really happy with how these look.
And crossbows. Again, we have various types (ordinary crossbow, arbalest, siege crossbow, etc) which vary in terms of size and the specific things shown on their designers. As usual, the qualities vary a little, with the medium-quality crossbows having some grey symbols of an appropriate shape, and high-quality crossbows having a larger number of golden symbols on the wood, as well as a gold overlay on the front of the crossbow itself.
Bolts / arrows
You can now buy arrows and bolts from fletchers. Arrows fit into bows, bolts fit into crossbows, and large bolts fit into siege crossbows (a rare permutation). The higher-quality versions have light markings on them and the image changes depending on how many are in a given stack; once it goes over a number the image doesn’t grow further, but as you can see here, they go up to almost a dozen for the smaller arrows, and close to that for the bolts, while siege bolts are larger and hence take up a lot more room.
Now, at last, we come to armour! I am incredibly happy with how this is looking so far. First we have helmets, which naturally soldiers and sometimes guards in feudal nations will be wearing when appropriate, and likewise those in nomadic nations. These have well over a billion permutations, I believe, and a massive number of variable parts, styles, and colour patterns. In the below picture we have low-quality helmets on the left, medium-quality helmets in the middle, and then high-quality helmets on the right-hand side.
And, now, cuirasses! Again we have the usual three qualities, and again we have well over a billion permutations here, not including the nice colourings around the neck on the high-quality ones. As you’ll notice the main things that shift are the shoulders, the “torso”, and the lower parts around the pelvis, but there are many other components which shift as well. I am, again, really really happy with these.
Third, greaves. Like gauntlets (below) greaves were tricky to make vary all that much; there’s only so many variations you can have on a piece of armour designed to fit around a foot / ankle / lower leg, especially since that shape doesn’t lend itself to a lot of meaningful aesthetic variation like the helmets and cuirasses. Nevertheless, I’m happy with what we’ve got here!
And finally, gauntlets. Like greaves it was surprisingly tricky to make these vary on any significant level. There are still hundreds of thousands of permutations, but many of them look broadly similar. That said, though, I’m very okay with these – I have to continually tell myself that not every generator has to have billions of massively-different permutations, and that a few generators which offer a little less variation than some of the others is, indeed, acceptable.
A procedurally-generated game that procedurally-generates games within itself? Well, how could I resist. Another sort of trade good you’ll be able to find in 0.9 are board games, which have four main archetypes (Go, Pachisi, Chess, and race games). These are millions of permutations of these games, and URR also generates custom rule-sets for every one of them (!) although you cannot presently play these games-within-a-game. One day in the future, though…
So, there you have it! This is a pretty comprehensive list of the sorts of items you’ll be able to find in the world of URR 0.9, with an anticipated release date of December 31st 2021. I’m right now working on them all to correctly spawn in shops and making sure the player can look at each one correctly without the game being unable to figure out what the image should look like (this combination of tasks is the next sort of “landmark” for 0.9, which I’ll post about once it’s all finished), and there will be more on this soon. Thanks everyone, and hope you enjoyed this post!