On this page, I will publish the concept of my game, as well as some general information about it. This page will develop over time and probably change quite often, so check it often.
Bronze and Faith will be written in Java. In early development, it will be Ascii-based, but it will get a graphical tileset as soon as possible.
The name "Bronze and Faith"
The game will have two driving aspects. One is the Bronze, which stands for hard labor, crafting, survival, learning Skills, gathering resources, trading and eventually acquire- hence the name of the game- one of the most valuable metals from the bronze age, bronze.
Faith stands for the natural and supernatural phenomena which you need to interpret. Live by the culture of the ancient people, impress them with knowledge and luck. This is the role playing aspect, which will be deeply satisfying if you like placing yourself in other dimensions. It handles the interaction with other people, the atmosphere that you get by living in a community.
Why Bronze Age ?
The bronze Age is an era in which we can truly say that mankind is in struggle against nature and where nature still imposes some rules. Mankind has a hard time defying the wildness that comes from the vast forests and dangerous animals. Furthermore, I got quite an impression from reading "Stonehenge" from Bernard Cornwell, even though it is mostly a work of fantasy. People hate each other. They go after their instincts, they believe in irrational things but still they try to achieve something big, to change the fate of humanity for good. This mentality is a very interesting one. Let's say we can allow slavery, but we can also see how religions and beliefs start to spread. Combine this, and you will have a very creative pool of elements you can immerse yourself in. Sure, many other eras provide even better support for this. But, aside from Stone Age, you won't get the feeling that you just invented the wheel.
Why roguelike ?
That choice should be obvious. First off, I can reduce workload from designing (even though I do have some experience with that, also with 3d modeling). I can really concentrate on the game mechanics and make it complex. Of course, this is where roguelike pays out again. A complex system is hard to place by hand. It is easier to let some algorithms do most of your work and create random content.
Before I ever came to play roguelikes I always wanted to make games. I never started this though, because I never imagined how to start. Roguelikes provided me with a better understanding of how games are designed and built.
Religion is a very strong feature in my game concept. It is not much like the magic we know from common fantasy games. Religion and wonders will be much more subtle, if even controllable at all. First of all, religion depends very much on social interaction as well as on the player's display of himself. For example, you can become priest and never talk to people. This won't help you very much: people will be bored, they get the feel that they can't control their fate. You can stick with the boring grey robe you get when becoming the priest in a large clan and do your old sacrifice rituals once a month.
On the other hand, you can also play a much more interesting religious character. Be on your own, learn how to use herbs and use weather forecast. Follow your human instincts to predict events or even make them happen intentionally, just so your prophesies come true. Invent a god, by defining his appearance, his personality and how he shows in nature, how he influences people and how he created the world. Then, go for some stupid outcast people. Gather them around you and impress them with your knowledge. Get some bones, color your skin and learn or try out some new rituals. The more you do for the other people (healing, weather forecast, or just general blessings), the more faith they will put into you. Pretend speaking with the gods and soon your followers will do anything for you. If you go into an unlucky clan, pull off your show and do a few very precise predictions, resulting in the clan becoming more prosperous, you can expect to become the next high priest. Hell, you can even mandate the construction of a new temple, attracting more believers from all around the (virtual) world.
Then, there is even the possibility of getting rid of any other Clan-Leading element. Invent theocracy! Do some war on behalf of a bloodthirsty God that you invented yourself. Religion will be at level with earthly strength, so if you are a bad fighter, you can devote yourself to the mystics of the Bronze Age and make other people do your work.
Professions are very important when it comes to living with a clan. Living on your own demands a bit of every skill, but you don't need 12 ships built by next year, do you? So, a profession choice means you will devote yourself to it and try to be the best ever. Let's take the carpenter profession for example. From your wild beginnings, you know how to fell a tree and how to make wooden spears by burning the points in fire. However, the quality is very bad. This is definitely not enough for a carpenter. If you really want to become one, you will have to take an apprenticeship. You will pick up some very basic work for a more experienced carpenter. You go gather some lumber, peel bark and haul finished goods. Eventually you will gain skills and your teacher will teach you how to cut a tree trunk into boards, how to make a wooden door and how to do build a roof on a house. Then, either you surpass your teacher with your skills, or he passes away, you become the leading carpenter of the town. People will come to you, asking for stuff they need to be done. They will barter with you and want to trade. Maybe they will give you something they make out of their own profession (pots, tools, food, slaves, their daughters). You can also get work orders from the clan chief. These orders will mostly be compensated with food, depending on the chief's personality. So, if you don't work, you can't get better stuff. If you don't work, people will get annoyed. They don't feed you. So you will end up being a survivalist living in a town with high carpentry skills which he doesn't need for himself.
I think it would be interesting if you can get apprentices as you grow old (maybe teach your own son). The will do some basic work for you, so you can concentrate on the heavy stuff.
Choosing a professions means that you will provide your fellow clan members with your services or products (or both). In return, you will earn their respect and get all the stuff you need to survive.
I am still working on this, but I can already tell you how it will eventually look like.
First off, you can't do everything profession-related from the beginning. How would a 12- year-old know how to build a house? He needs to have observed some other people do it for some time or he needs to get taught. Then, as soon as he knows how to do it, will he do it right? NO. The result will be of bad quality. Mostly because it depends on other skills as well.
For each profession, there will be a quite huge skill hierarchy. At the beginning, you may know how to destroy things, like felling a tree. But you don't do it properly, so the resulting logs are all splitted up and broken. The more often you do this (and if you get better tools), the better the quality will be.
The skill system works with unlocks and each unlock has a proficiency modifier. The unlocks are interrelated as well, which makes this system very complex. Let's take the construction of a house.
You know how to fell a tree and your skill proficiency in felling trees is 100%, which can fall down over the months if you don't fell any trees at all. You know how to carve them into logs, know how to split them into boards, how to work with wood over water steam, all with skill proficiency 80%. Then you know numerous other small "recipes", such as carving toys or wooden weapons, all with a proficiency of approximately 50 %. Your overall carpentry proficiency will be around 75%, because the basic skills (for creating the resources, not the final product) will have a bigger impact and decrease more slowly over time. With an overall proficiency of 75%, you will understand quite fast what you see.
You see people building a house in some foreign town. At the beginning, you will get a boost of 2%, because you already know so much about carpentry. By inspecting the house, you get another 4%, 3% more from gossip with the workers (who will share from their observations but can't properly teach). Your first impression gave you around 9% knowledge about building houses, slowly increasing by 1% per week as you repeat your observations or increasing like 5% each time you build a house (which will have a miserable quality, even less than 9% because your logs aren't even perfect). The easy way will be to talk to the town's carpenter and ask him to teach you how to build a house. You give him a nice piece of gold and after a week, your knowledge about building houses has risen to the maximum possible by theory (let's say 70% for building houses). The rest is up to you. You build houses (which will be of good quality) until you are up to 100%. That piece of gold really paid out, because one month later, your clan chief wants you to build 10 new houses for newcomers to the village, earning you much more than that piece of gold. Having high proficiency will result in better quality, shorter work time and maybe the invention of some new recipes.
As you see, the skill system sounds very complicated and complex. I need to see how I make them depend on each other. But in the end, I think there is enough to make each profession interesting enough so people have enough work to do until they have fully explored a profession. I want to make sure that players need several in-game years to master a profession, maybe up to twenty years to unlock the last skill.