The board is set, the pieces are moving. For many years people have patiently waited for ToME3 to be released, for many years I have tried. But I always burned out of developing it too fast. It was a pile of old crappy code I could not stand working on anymore... So one day I set out on a new venture, to rewrite it all from scratch, to forget code I could not bear using anymore and to focus on a new engine, and a new game. This was about six months ago, and now after 20 private alpha versions I am ready to unleash the Tales of Middle-Earth: The Fourth Age and T-Engine4 onto the world!
This is the "spiritual" successor of T-Engine 3, the basic idea is the same: to make a roguelike game engine that allows the game maker to focus on making a game, not on handling the trivialities of coding. Being the lua fanatic I am the engine obviously uses it, and much more than in T-Engine2/3. There is a very small C core that is mostly unaware of any high level designs, it simply provides access to graphics, sounds, input, ... T-Engine4 can handle many things and is meant to be easily extended. Its lua core is documented and based on a simple OO design, leveraging the full power of Lua. A list of features can be found at http://te4.org/ but the most important ones are:
- single unified UI using OpenGL on all platforms
- support for many roguelike concepts from scratch without imposing limits on what can be done with them
- easy input (keyboard & mouse) support
- generic save/load code using serialization, simple objects do not even need to be aware of it, it works auto-magically
- support for both graphical mode and traditional ASCII, potentially at the same time
- many other things, checkout the site and try it
Tales of Middle-Earth: The Fourth Age
Because an engine is nothing without a game (and because I wanted to make a game), I developed ToME4 at the same time. As I developed ToME3 I was starting to feel restricted by the theme I had setup for myself, that of the quests for the ring in the third age. Do not get me wrong, I love the setting but it felt to me like I was meant to follow a pre-existing story and had little room for improvements, all I could do was bastardise it. So I took a hard, but IMO needed, decision for ToME4 and scrapped that altogether. It is based one hundred and twenty two years after the fall of Sauron, in a world that is in relative peace under the guidance the High Kings of the Reunited Kingdom (Gondor and Arnor). The player is not "the chosen one" that goes on to save the world from level 1 but instead a simple adventurer, out for glory and treasures. While there is a grand-evil-that-must-be-stopped it is revealed slowly as part of the player leveling up and should feel much less intimidating. The biggest gameplay change is probably the switch to a new stats&skills system. The primary stats are now Strength, Dexterity, Magic, Willpower, Cunning and Constitution (with a hidden Luck stat) and the skill system has been changed to follow a "standard" pattern for most skills. They are now called talents and usually have 5 levels. All talents are organised in talent types, usually 4 talents per type. This forces to have some interesting designs for each classes, melee classes have gained a lot from it and now have many combat techniques they can use. Some races, classes and other "things" also need unlocking before they can be used. Fear not, the mage class for example is indeed in the game but requires unlocking to be available, as are others. There is mainly two reasons for this design:
- it allows to not overwhelm a new player with too many unknown choices at birth
- it allows to give "rewards" without winning the game
At the start the player can be a human, dwarf, elf or hobbit and either a warrior, rogue or archer (with subclasses for each). ToME4 (and T-Engine4) are meant to be enjoyable by anybody, as such there is no hidden "macro", or tons of useless and cryptic options. Key-bindings and graphical modes are set-able in game with the main menu (available by pressing Escape from the game). Mouse support is available in most dialogs, it can even be used to activate talents. Both ToME4 and T-Engine4 are now in public beta, meaning they are usable but not done. T-Engine4 is mostly good and I did not modify it much for some weeks now, except to add some new independent features (like new map generators). ToME4 story is fully planned in my head and was meant to be split in two half. The first half is done and playable (and such the game is currently winnable), the second half will be implemented during beta. Now go to http://tome.te4.org or http://te4.org and download it!