Author Topic: Welcome to Schattenländer! (Start Here)  (Read 66815 times)

Offline Hellequin

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Welcome to Schattenländer! (Start Here)
« on: January 14, 2007, 03:05:25 PM »
Schattenländer - Into the Darklands.

In 1992, Microprose made a computer RPG called Darklands which is a cult classic.  Set in the Holy Roman Empire of the 15th century, it's basically medieval Germany where everything the peasants believed is true.  It's an unbelievably deep, immersive look at the middle ages.  Its tagline: In medieval Germany, reality is more horrifying than fantasy.  Fans have entreated the company to release the source code for ages, to no avail.

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Current status: RELEASED.
Version 0.1d available from the M&B Repository here.


Contains one major bonus over the originally announced 1.0 content... try and find the added companion.  Here's your hint: After you meet him the first time, look for him when pyrotechnics would be displayed to best effect.

This 0.1b release addressed a number of nonfatal bugs found by our early adopters of 0.1 (thanks, guys!), and some which just hadn't been squished before release.  It also adds some pleasant audio as you start the game.  The 0.1c finished the bugfixes on alchemy brewing and makes it possible to check your potions' ingredient requirements even if you can't currently manage a dose, bugfixes offensive potions other than the starting three, introduces functionality on the Ironarm and Quickmove family of potions, and changes the church bell sounds to shorter and quieter samples which are further quieted when you're resting.  The 0.1c2 release was identical to 0.1c except that the language folder, which is used to alter many small things about the game, and was supposed to be included right from the beginning, was now included.

The most recent release, 0.1d, adds the following features:
  • More variety in random encounters
  • Weapon and armour quality deteriorates with use (although a high Artifice skill will largely prevent this)
  • Full functionality on all potion types.  Heal with New-Wind, slow your foes with Stone-Tar, enhance your bow with Trueflight, and many more.
  • Full functionality on all saints' blessings, except those dealing with local reputation, and the special ones which are unique to one or two saints.

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Schattenländer aims to reproduce as much as possible of this amazing game in the form of an M&B mod.  We have high hopes; the game was essentially menu-driven, and we have access to the full text of all of its menus.  The art of the game is similarly available, as soon as Armagan and team implement the ability to associate a graphic with a menu.  And we have already finished implementing some of the elements of Darklands combat never before seen in a released M&B mod - see screenshots below!

The Schattenländer team (updated Jan15/07):
Coding
  • Hellequin, lead designer and scripter
  • Fisheye, advisory geezer-type
  • Bryce777, scripting and misc., once free from Leaguer of Maedhros
Sights and Sounds
  • Talak, for permission to use his models (as seen in Band of Warriors)
  • Cartread, for his goblins and skeletons, oh my
  • Pope, era-appropriate models and gear as yet unspecified
  • Jeansberg, music maestro extraordinaire
  • Great Duke, modelling in a brokered deal for explosions code, specifics TBA
  • Stoned-dude, potion models just in time for v0.1 release (yay!)
Content & Data
  • Seengs, novice modder, currently assigned to sequencing and scene design
  • Firefly, sequencing volunteer
  • Breyean, Darklands county survey   
  • Blankshield, sequencer and data-entry
  • Saijonas, saintly cataloguer and career placement officer

We're still recruiting!  Contact me by PM if you're interested.  A Subversion repository and versioning system, already in place, will mean that you never have to wait for access to the code, regardless of who's doing what at the time.  You don't even need to know how to code; many of our tasks (see below) require nothing other than a functioning brain and some good ol' gamers' patience.

We especially need a skilled modeler willing to undertake some challenging collaborations (Dragons! Wild Hunt!) and to be Schattenländer-focused.  I'm offering serious top billing if he (or she) succeeds... because Schattenländer is going all the way.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 01:11:51 PM by Hellequin »

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Schattenländer - Into the Darklands
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2007, 03:08:40 PM »
Stylish cities (credit to Maw for finding out that this was possible):


Provisional map:


Fear the alchemists!




« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 04:32:45 PM by Hellequin »

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Schattenländer - Into the Darklands
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2007, 03:55:08 PM »
What's this all about, then?

Enormous Scope
In contrast to normal M&B, cities in Darklands feel huge.  Many quests, interactions, and even combat can occur before you ever leave your starting city.  We accomplish this the same way Darklands did: rather than walking from place to place in an M&B scene, you transition from one area of the city, from one shop to another, using a hierarchy of menus.  Once we get menu graphics, you'll see just how different these areas are from one another - whether you're in Cathedral Square or the Krafmarkt, down at the docks or looking for trouble in the slums.

It's possible that after implementation we may also choose to implement M&B scenes to represent some of the key streets.  We'll only do this if we feel that the M&B scenes successfully convey the same breadth and diversity that the menu texts do.

Ninety-two cities of varying size dot the map - if you've blown your local reputation in Bohemia, perhaps the Prussians won't mind - and a limitless set of castles, mines, satan-worshipping villages, ruins, hemitages, caves, and dragon-ravaged countryside lie before you.  Find unique and semi-unique locations like the prophetess, the witches' sabbath, Devil's Bridge and the fortress monastery of the Templars, while avoiding or dealing with a host of random encounters which will test every aspect of your skills - from blizzards and plague-ridden refugees, to cruel alchemists and the Wild Hunt.

Invoke 125 individually detailed saints, from Saint George the dragon-killer and Saint Michael (the archangel), to Saint Catherine the Astonishing and Saint Jude - patron saint of hopeless causes.  Brew sixty-six potions, from al-Razi's Noxious Aroma to the Smaragdinian Tablet's Breath of Death... if you can find, and afford, the rare reagents they require, and the even rarer secrets of their making.

Become a legend
You will journey with a tight-knit party of adventurers, not a small army of troops.  All of the possible NPCs you can recruit will be companions, able to train and be developed as you see fit, but your party will be severely limited to no more than a few trusted friends.  Battles will be small, by M&B standards, but the enemies will be tough.  A toggle from our Schattenländer-specific configuration menu will allow you to choose between a Standard difficulty and a Hard one.  Experienced veterans of M&B should, if we've done it right, experience a challenge even from the Hard setting, and even after their characters have matured considerably.

Your adventure will challenge all of your skills, from combat to tracking to haggling.  What a pity your party size will be too small to allow specialists in every area.  Do you neglect one approach entirely, or do you begin to generalize?  That'll be up to you.

There is no overt magic - at least, none that you (as god-fearing folk) can access.  But saintly intervention is very real, as is alchemy.  Prayers to a saint can help get you out of trouble, avoid a situation, gain access to a situation, heal your wounds, or boost your skills/stats as combat turns against you.  Alchemical potions can distract your opponents, harden your armour, mend your flesh, and even be thrown across the battlefield to set fire to your foes!  We strongly recommend, though do not require, that each party have at least a priest, an alchemist, or more commonly both.  You can choose to play one, maybe even both, roles, or you can recruit companions who fulfill those roles; the objective is to make either approach fun and competitive.

Your reputation will precede you, both locally and globally; rescue a caravan near Hamburg, and you'll see better treatment there, while driving off a plague of knockers from a mine near Leipzig may be told and retold across the breadth of the Empire.  But get caught sneaking into a banker's office at night - to retrieve records of his bastardy, so as to sway his politics as rebellion begins to foment - and you can end in fighting through crowds to rescue your companion off the executioner's block!

And when we've implemented all of that, we'll start adding new content, too. ;)

Radically changed system
Never level up again!  Instead, see your skills rise as you use them, or as you spend hard-earned pfennigs on the services of tutors.  Play through the most entertaining character creation mechanic ever implemented in an RPG, now successfully ported to M&B, but do so with care - after you start your adventure, only the rarest of circumstances will ever change your attributes again.

Make skill rolls using a hidden dice-pool mechanic, where you're never perfectly guaranteed success... nor ever absolutely guaranteed to fail.  Test the best speaker or most skilled surgeon amongst you... or the slowest runner, the noisiest walker.  Make smart decisions; if you fail to play to your strengths, life will only get harder.

Forget the M&B skill list, in favour of skills like Persuasion, Artifice, Scholarship, and Quick Learner.  Over half of the original skills now have new, and critically important, roles to play in your search for glory.  Think a former abbot, now fifty, has no role to play in a band of glorious heroes?  Think again.

In fact, if you come into Schattenländer with one thing on the tip of your tongue, make it that: Think again.

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The original game won the 1992 PC Special Achievement Award from Game Players Magazine, and is a classic (and still rewarding to play) to this day.  We hope to do justice to the original in an act of sincere homage.  Come help, or just wait and play.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 10:59:26 AM by Hellequin »

Sir Mc Dugan

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Re: Schattenländer - Into the Darklands
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2007, 01:18:52 PM »
Hey! I really enjoyed playing Darlands!  :P
Please go on with this Mod and good luck!!  ;)

saijonas

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Re: Schattenländer - Into the Darklands
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2007, 05:54:11 AM »
Just to pop my head in... The work has continued wonderfully, KUTGW.
Sorry I ghosted for a bit, but real life prevails and sleep wins every time over enjoyment.
I should be able to take (minor) assignments on and off over the next several weeks, send me something to do!

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2007, 02:29:31 AM »
If you're looking at this latest post - DON'T.  The release URL is up in the first post.  Go get it!

Xawery

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 03:12:49 AM »
Huzzah, a release! I'm *theoretically* in no position to play right now, but what the hell :)

@Hellequin & the gang: do you want any feedback? You say that this release contains bugs you are aware of (obviously), so I wouldn't want to waste time telling you things you already know...

Offline KON_Air

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2007, 04:03:41 AM »
How do I mine for potions?
I don't get it.

Yoshiboy

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2007, 11:11:38 AM »
I've played only a little but it looks like it has massive potential. Really nice job Hellequin! :)

Offline Nethros

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2007, 03:33:06 AM »
It's cool, but I think the random encounters should be a little more frequent, like they were in Darklands.

jeansberg

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 03:51:05 AM »
More frequent? I seem to encounter at least two of them every time I travel between two cities.

@Hellequin

I don't remember the details anymore, but I'll see if I can recreate it.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 03:57:54 AM by jeansberg »

Offline Raz

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2007, 06:00:12 AM »
I never played the original, but I have to say I have high anticipations of this! *downloading*

stoned_dude

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1 Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2007, 09:53:24 AM »
Congrats on the alpha release! i'm very pleased to see a good mod, with many new and interesting features, and with many more to come!

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1c Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2007, 03:59:37 AM »
A correction to the above - a small bug in the offensive potions other than the versions you started with may have caused them to blow up in your face, it wasn't necessarily just the scatter I discussed in the above post.  Fixed now, in...

Version 0.1c now up in the Repository.

Sorry for the quick updates, guys; the bugfix to brewing in 0.1b turned out to not properly trigger its code, so a 0.1c build was necessary to fix that and make it fully accessible.  I also took advantage of that to finish off the saints-enhancements fix, tone down the church bells, and give stats to the Ironarm and Quickmove families of potions (they, plus the offensive potions, are all that have functionality at this time).  Reagents and potions are also a lot less common at the ordinary merchant's store, now, though he's still got a few of each.

Same not-quite-savegame-compatible warning as for 0.1b, I'm afraid.  The complexity of Schattenlander means that it has, among other things, a lot of strings stored at game start (such as the description strings of potions).  Adding or removing even a single string earlier in the code than those will change their numbering and mean that your savegame remembers the wrong description string for all your potions, saints, etc.  I may try and put in some "filler" strings at the end of each strings file, so that when I have to add a new string I can remove one of those and preserve save-compatibility.  The release where I first implement this won't be backward-compatible to previous releases, but most small changes afterward will be compatible back to that one.

Enjoy!

Garth

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Re: Schattenländer - Version 0.1c Alpha RELEASED
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2007, 01:35:58 AM »
And just to whet some appetites... the upcoming 0.1d release, hopefully by the end of this weekend if this $#@! bug dies and I get enough time tomorrow, contains a pretty massive dose of new content in terms of the potions and saints.  You used to only have three potion classes, all of them in-combat types.  Look forward to more than a dozen, including more thrown potions and many noncombat ones, and a similar increase in the number of saints' blessings which actually work...

- Hellequin

*Drools inarticulately*