The Full Commercial Release for the Amazing Commodore Vic-20 RPG, Realms of Quest III, is now Available!

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Realms of Quest III BeastiaryRealms of Quest III BeastiaryAs you may or may not know, those of us at Armchair Arcade have been following the progress of Realms of Quest III - the amazing Commodore Vic-20 RPG - with great interest for some time now. Well, we're pleased to announce that the full commercial release of the deluxe package is now available. What follows is Ghislain's post about its release, which was originally here, where we were previously discussing it:

[BEGIN]
Realms of Quest III is finally available! You can order it here:

Premium Edition: http://www.binaryzone.org/retrostore/index.php?main_page=product_info&pr...

Budget Edition: http://www.binaryzone.org/retrostore/index.php?currency=GBP&main_page=pr...

(premium means you get a plastic jewel case + 36 page manual, budget is disk-only)

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It was in February of 2009 (this year) that I had announced that I would be making DUNJON III. After a couple of weeks, I decided that this project would instead become REALMS OF QUEST III.

I posted on the VIC-20 Denial forum ( http://sleepingelephant.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3368 ) what was on my mind at the time as I was making this game. There were some setbacks but it was always 3 steps forward with the occasional step back.

(clockwise from upper-left: first mockup "proof of concept" for Dunjon III which would later evolve into Realms of Quest III, party menu graphic, saehn's magnificent splash screen for the intro, and the party traveling on the surface map)

(the above are saehn's enhanced graphics that are included in the commercial release)

(all of my spare time spent on this was not in vain as the above illustrates).

Again, a big kudos to saehn and darkatx (and of course, Kenz the publisher) for their magnificent art.

Would you believe that I originally conceived that it would take me 2 years to finish this project? At the time I started this project, I only had a bare minimum knowledge of 6502 assembly language.

I hope that those who order it get some entertainment out of it. If you'd like a sampler of what this game is like, you can also try the freeware version available here: http://www.psytronik.com/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&...

[END]

My order for a deluxe edition is already in!

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Bill Loguidice
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Well, we are talking old

Well, we are talking old school games here and certainly many of them had brutal food counters, and that didn't lead to bad reviews and lack of sales. It was just part of the experimentation in defining what such a game should be like, i.e., how much like reality should it be. Unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned, with the games that had each turn take off a food counter until you starved and lost health points, the timing was way off. Getting the timing right is key. I think aging is much more logical an inclusion than eating, sleeping and going to the bathroom, though sleeping is logical for restoring health and magic points. There are lots of ways to approach aging in gaming. For instance, you could age the characters one year after beating each dungeon. You could age a character six months to a year for every time they level up. Etc. Essentially you wouldn't necessarily have to be tied to a master clock, though certainly modern games could pull a master clock off with ease, since many typically track hours you spend playing (which could lead to an equation for player aging).

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Calibrator
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I'm with Ghislain on that (partly)

Yes, aging and "feeding" are good examples for those brutal pseudo-realistic 80ies RPG systems. The latter perhaps the most annoying sometimes as no food = death.
Yes, some people enjoy playing against these odds even if they are mostly not related to the plot (food is often NOT in small supply even though there is a crisis or siege situation!). Perhaps they are masochists, perhaps they like it simply complicated.
But: Where should this pseudo-realism end? I've yet to see an RPG where I have to go to the toilet - but I wouldn't rule out the existance of such a thing! Not going potty = death by exploding bowels? Necessary for the plot? Probably not. But think about the possibilities regarding experience points!

Joking aside: Food is clearly a sim aspect and RPG authors often decide to make their glorious epic a world simulator with some tacked on fights and drama.
Not necessarily a bad concept as some games have very well demonstrated (U7 with a party, Morrowind & Oblivion for solo characters to name obvious examples) but do I really have to gather & manage food to reach my plot goals?

Imagine Bruce Willis in chapter 8 of Die Hard where he interrupts killing terrorists/gangsters for a lunch hour. Or perhaps sleep an hour to get a new "level"?
When a major character in a Quentin Tarantino movie went to the toilet he got shot by his own weapon afterwards. Talk about punishment!

Aging should IMHO come into play when age is actually connected to something. For example building an existence, a family, marry & getting children. Perhaps even passing the buck to your children (family feud as a scenario for example)? Yes, there are some RPGs that come to my mind that explore some of these interesting concepts, with "SaGa Frontier 2" from SquareSoft being perhaps a prime example.

Any other use of aging (not "age" as a constant stat) is IMHO simply a method to punish players for taking more time to finish the game as usually older characters mean slower, weaker characters. That's at least my experience.

And also IMHO it's very bad design to punish players for their playing style. A game should be fun for anyone interested in the subject - not just the players rushing through it to keep their player characters at top performance. Some of us may not be as clever but are perhaps more thorough and explore every nook and cranny and try to solve every side quest...

Ghislain also said that he opted for a better interface and not something incredible complicated like in the 8-bit days where everybody assumed that you were willing to wade through the 50+ pages manual plus 8+ pages command summary.

Well, we are in the next century already and even if we are dealing with 8-bits here this doesn't necessarily mean that we still have to endure the "bad bits".

Kudos to Ghislain!

take care,
Calibrator

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loo
Calibrator wrote:

I've yet to see an RPG where I have to go to the toilet - but I wouldn't rule out the existance of such a thing!

They call that game "The Sims"!

Also, this:
http://www.kongregate.com/games/Rete/dont-shit-your-pants

Bill Loguidice
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Good point! Even though I

Good point! Even though I like to think of "The Sims" as part of the "Virtual Playground" genre, it has many, many RPG-like elements, and - particularly for the later games in the series - I would not be adverse to calling it an RPG (leveling, missions, goals, interactions with others, etc.).

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[About Me]

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Ghislain (not verified)
Detail vs abstraction

Interesting discussion about the philosophy of RPG design, I really like to read about these things. What went on through my mind as I programmed Realms III is that I think about the most cost-effective way to add features, especially because this was for a retro platform where memory is actually finite (even if it is a maxed-out VIC-20).

One unusual feature in an RPG that I found hilarious was Oubliette's 'seduce' option. It's a humorous way to find a use for charisma (considered by many to be a 'junk' stat). I struggled a bit on how to use charisma in Realms III, but I decided to use it for the (G)reet combat option (it only works with reasonably intelligent monsters--you can't "greet" a giant blob, for example) and as a saving throw modifier VS charm attacks.

I remember talking to a hardcore wargamer a few years ago about Axis & Allies (the WW2 board game), and he dismissed it as something as a Risk-like game for the masses. He confessed to me a few years later that he finally tried it and that he had a lot more fun playing that game than the traditional hex-based ones like World in Flames, Advanced Third Reich, etc. Calculating something like line of sight for every move may add a certain amount of realism, but they make game playing a chore.

I think that I probably would have played most of the Ultima series to their completion if it didn't require torches and food in order to explore the game.

Some RPGs do away with sex entirely (male/female) because they don't really add to the game. I struggled with this somewhat but I decided to go with it. Having male/female characters doesn't really affect the plot of the game, except that males get +2 STR while females get +2 CHA. While having a higher STR gives a better advantage for starting characters as opposed to having a high CHA -- it is really STR that becomes the junk stat compared to CHA later on when you encounter monsters who employ charm at the more difficult stages.

Matt Barton
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I liked the way World of

I liked the way World of Warcraft handled food. First, they made it fun by giving you a "cooking" skill that you could level up, learning additional recipes and working with more advanced raw materials (this was tied into fishing in a nice way). They didn't take it as far as they should have, but it was a good seed idea. What I liked was that your character never died of starvation or the like; it's just that eating certain foods would give you temporary stat bonuses and speed up your hit point recovery. Thus, you could keep your character "well fed" for that extra edge, but it wasn't necessary for survival. Drinking water was only necessary for magic-users who need to quickly recover their mana points. Again, characters aren't dying of thirst, but only drinking to speed up a process.

I wouldn't be opposed to using food in other games, and perhaps the idea could be extended to other areas. Perhaps a light source isn't essential in a dungeon, but maybe having good lighting would boost your ability to hit monsters and reduce your chances of being surprised.

I'm trying to think of how age could apply and coming up short. It seems like the leveling process is already a type of "aging." The bulk of this seems to be pushing towards making older characters less desirable to play--and can anything imagine how that could be fun? One of the biggest rewards of any RPG is seeing your characters grow and become more powerful. A punishing aging system would just impair that.

Let's put it this way--if your RPG had an option you could turn on and off for gradually aging your characters and reducing their stats, who would play with it on? I know I'd pop that thing off the second I knew it existed.

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Bill Loguidice
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Aging would just be

Aging would just be incentive to finish in a reasonable time period and not allow you to play forever with the same characters. Again, in Phantasie it was pretty unobtrusive, you just had to be careful (if memory serves) of not rolling a character with a high starting age who might not make it to the end of the quest. Also, age varied depending upon race. Humans I believe could live into their 80s, while other races were much longer befitting their fantasy stereotypes. Of course their starting ages were higher.

I forget what game it was, but I remember one where if you made your character too young they couldn't know certain skills yet, and too old they had lots of experience but other stats were reduced. Wish I could remember what that was...

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adamantyr
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Kudos!

Congrats on your full release! Looks beautiful... although I'll offer a minor bit of criticism that the box and cover art is pretty "busy"... :)

I really need to get off my duff and finish my game engine so I can get to the fun part of manual writing, map design, and thinking about what clever marketing messages I want on the back of the box.

Adamantyr

Ghislain (not verified)
LOL
Calibrator wrote:

But: Where should this pseudo-realism end? I've yet to see an RPG where I have to go to the toilet - but I wouldn't rule out the existance of such a thing! Not going potty = death by exploding bowels? Necessary for the plot? Probably not. But think about the possibilities regarding experience points!

Ha !! :) That was funny, I let out a big chuckle after I read this.

adamantyr wrote:

Congrats on your full release! Looks beautiful... although I'll offer a minor bit of criticism that the box and cover art is pretty "busy"... :)

Thanks! Though I really like the front cover, but it's a matter of opinion and design philosophy.

Quote:

I really need to get off my duff and finish my game engine so I can get to the fun part of manual writing, map design, and thinking about what clever marketing messages I want on the back of the box.

Good luck to the success of your upcoming game. Yours is obviously taking longer because it is larger in scope.

The writing of the manual was quite the job in itself, however! Although it was not as tedious as having to write code and test it. These are the marketing strategies I came up with for the the back of my box :)

It arrived in the mail today...

... shrinkwrapped! What an amazing professional job Psytronik does.

A huge sigh of relief. REALMS OF QUEST III is now truly finished.

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