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Whispers in the Moss: the ASCII RPG

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#1 Retro Owl   Members   


Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:55 AM



I'd like to present to you my current project, a console-style freeware RPG with ASCII graphics called Whispers in the Moss. What sets this game apart from other ASCII based games is the graphics. I'm personally not aware of an ASCII game that makes as serious an attempt at really utilizing ASCII's potential and using it as ambitiously as I am doing with WITM. I certainly don't want to brag, but it's no doubt a fact that with ASCII games gameplay usually comes first and the graphics are pretty much the lowest priority. I'm approaching things differently.


The actual game engine is about 95 % completed, so now I'm moving on to the creative process of writing, implementing the story and creating maps, which is of course painfully slow. One symbol on the screen still works as one "tile" in my game, like in most ASCII games, but due to my use of colors, I have at my disposal far over 25,000 unique "tiles", and that's not including dynamic, moving tiles (water, smoke, etc.). I want to add a lot of detail to the maps, so making one simple map from scratch can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, and I have to make dozens and dozens of them...


More information on my website at http://www.retrowl.net. I'd also appreciate if fellow game designers would follow me on twitter (@retrowl), I'll be sure to follow you back.


Here are two gameplay videos showing what the game will look like.


This video shows the battle engine, which is now fully functional.


Earlier video with a very poor quality (sorry about that), which shows some of the first areas in the game, talking to NPCs, browsing shops and menus etc. The battle engine was not yet finished when this video was made, which is why you'll only see enemies attacking the player and the player not being able to fight back. Also, the lighting effect indoors looks awful in this video, but I've already fixed it.



Edited by Retro Owl, 12 February 2013 - 07:03 AM.

#2 Dan Mayor   Members   

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:25 AM

I'm a bit impressed, in the modern age with everything geared towards top end graphics I'm assuming that this is entirely custom code.  Quite a great learning project for someone to undergo.  It's a nice example of putting an innovative twist on a concept that most would consider "done to death" and you are taking your time to do it all quite well for the technology at hand.

Dan Mayor

Professional Programmer & Hobbyist Game Developer

Seeking team for indie development opportunities, see my classifieds post


#3 Retro Owl   Members   


Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:22 PM

Thanks for the comment!


Everything's custom code as you assumed. As you put it, this kind of RPGs are "done to death", which is exactly why I'm willing to put so much effort into this. In the end that's the only thing that can set my project apart.


That's not so important anyway as I'm doing this just for the fun of it, and I've also had a dream of completing such an RPG for about 15 years. I hope I get it done before the midlife crisis starts kicking in.


Why do I choose to stick with ASCII graphics on an age like this? That's a good question. First of all I'm not a particularly great programmer. Secondly, I'm not good at graphic design, but I also want to do everything myself. I also believe ASCII games never really even made an effort, when it comes to graphics.


It's not my first (and certainly not last!) venture into ASCII graphics. Here's a gameplay vid of a side-scrolling ASCII shooter I was working on a year or two ago. It's actually completely finished and playable, but I never got around publishing it.


#4 Retro Owl   Members   


Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

I have uploaded a new gameplay video. The video shows the game's opening cut-scene, which fans of ASCII art might appreciate. :) It also shows the first few minutes of the game. The quality of the video is once again quite poor, sorry about that. I think I chose the wrong rendering preset...


The game engine is now fully completed and the first continent has been fully programmed. I could theoretically release this as a playable demo anytime, but we'll see. At the moment the game has perhaps one hour of gameplay (at least when all the side quests are completed), 11 maps (including two towns, a large forest and the first small dungeon), 11 unique enemies (two boss fights), and something like ~15 small side quests (there will be LOTS of them in the game). I'm creating more content every day and the game is progressing in a steady tempo.


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