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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gotta Get This Off My Chest...

We have had SO MANY PEOPLE contact us saying "omg dude what's with the goofy UI? It takes up so much of the screen!" or "why have you used grid-based movement? It's too limiting!" . Well here's the story.

The people who keep asking us this must be too young to remember this, but back in the late 80s and early 90s there were some incredible turn-based first person RPGs out there. Let me show you some screenshots:

First of all, there was the Might & Magic Series:

Back in the 80s they looked VERY basic, but they had this amazing core mechanic of turn-based, grid-based movement through vast an intricate worlds. The back-ends of the games were incredible, but due to the limitations of the day, the graphics were less than spectacular.

But then computer technology started improving and by the early 90's the Might and Magic series started looking more and more amazing. Character portraits started coming in, textured environments and animations were all happening, but still the games kept their turn-based, grid-based gameplay style, and still their worlds were massive and exquisitely detailed.

Other games were coming along too, and using similar gameplay styles, and they proved just as popular with their audiences. Titles such as Eye of the Beholder (above) and the Wizardry series (below)

All of these games had a lot in common in terms of graphical style, gameplay methodology, world size and progression. But they also all shared a similar UI. After all, these games had a lot of info to show, since they were a computer proxy for traditional role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. The player needed to know info about their characters, about what they had readied and what was going on. The game window was just a part of the HUD, not the main feature of it.

Yes, young ones, before people played with this:

They played with this:

And they LIKED it. So please, the next time you plan on commenting on our game and asking us "what's up with the UI?" or "Why do you use that dorky grid-based movement?" keep in mind that Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox is not trying to be the next Elder Scrolls game. It is not trying to be the next WoW. It is a homage, a re-imagining of a bygone era of role playing games. A re-birth of an old genre into a new world. And it is done like that DELIBERATELY.

To put this complaining of non-classic RPG fans to rest, please be assured that Malevolence DOES have a slimline UI option for those who are either too young or too close-minded to remember or appreciate the classics, or for those who simply prefer the sleek new look because you were never into that sort of game:

Much as I hate to rant, these ridiculous questions have been asked of me so many times, sometimes innocently, other times quite rudely (as in "The UI looks gay and the movement system is stupid" or "Are you making it grid-based because you're a bad programmer and that is easier?")

While I have said it multiple times before, you now have a visual representation of it, so hopefully it sticks better. There is a slimline UI option coming in the game. It is optional for those who aren't classic RPG fans.

Problem solved. Now I'm going back to fixing bugs in the alpha so the testers don't shoot me ;-)


  1. Love the history lesson. Sad that kids don't play these games anymore. There's still a nagging part of my brain that feels like half-life changed gaming in a bad way. All of my favorite genres seemed to die off when FPS took over.

    More excited than ever to play this now. You put screenshots up from two of my favorite games of all time (M&MIII, and Wizardry VII). Nice to see you're coming from the same place I am.

    Can't wait until I can give you my money.

  2. Ahahaha thank you! It's nice to see that some people see RPGs the way our team does! I hope that Malevolence can give you the thrill that the classics did!

  3. Well said. I played Eye of the Beholder for many hours and look forward to this excellent and graphically superb homage. Here here.

  4. Great post - some of those darn kids need to learn a bit more and appreciate game history, I say! I'm more of a Wizardry guy (as I played it first before M&M and Dungeon Master), but M&M is definitely another core RPG series I got plenty of play from. Can't wait to see how your game turns out. Of course, I'm old school enough to actually ask if it'll be on a disc. But I'm also crazy as well for still owning a ton of PC RPG's from back in the day.

    Anyway, good luck with the game - it's looking quite cool so far...


  5. Thanks for the feedback, Greg! Yes, as you can probably tell, we feel quite strongly about the issue, but we're still planning on offering both options for the youngn's out there! But you and me, we can stick with the classic UI option for old time's sake!