The Full Commercial Release for the Amazing Commodore Vic-20 RPG, Realms of Quest III, is now Available!

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Realms of Quest III BeastiaryRealms of Quest III BeastiaryAs you may or may not know, those of us at Armchair Arcade have been following the progress of Realms of Quest III - the amazing Commodore Vic-20 RPG - with great interest for some time now. Well, we're pleased to announce that the full commercial release of the deluxe package is now available. What follows is Ghislain's post about its release, which was originally here, where we were previously discussing it:

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Realms of Quest III is finally available! You can order it here:

Premium Edition: http://www.binaryzone.org/retrostore/index.php?main_page=product_info&pr...

Budget Edition: http://www.binaryzone.org/retrostore/index.php?currency=GBP&main_page=pr...

(premium means you get a plastic jewel case + 36 page manual, budget is disk-only)

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It was in February of 2009 (this year) that I had announced that I would be making DUNJON III. After a couple of weeks, I decided that this project would instead become REALMS OF QUEST III.

I posted on the VIC-20 Denial forum ( http://sleepingelephant.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3368 ) what was on my mind at the time as I was making this game. There were some setbacks but it was always 3 steps forward with the occasional step back.

(clockwise from upper-left: first mockup "proof of concept" for Dunjon III which would later evolve into Realms of Quest III, party menu graphic, saehn's magnificent splash screen for the intro, and the party traveling on the surface map)

(the above are saehn's enhanced graphics that are included in the commercial release)

(all of my spare time spent on this was not in vain as the above illustrates).

Again, a big kudos to saehn and darkatx (and of course, Kenz the publisher) for their magnificent art.

Would you believe that I originally conceived that it would take me 2 years to finish this project? At the time I started this project, I only had a bare minimum knowledge of 6502 assembly language.

I hope that those who order it get some entertainment out of it. If you'd like a sampler of what this game is like, you can also try the freeware version available here: http://www.psytronik.com/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&...

[END]

My order for a deluxe edition is already in!

Comments

Matt Barton
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This is truly an achievement.

This is truly an achievement.

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Mark Vergeer
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Jaw drops to the floor....

I will need to get this game! My VIC-20, 1541 and RAM expansion will be ready to receive this baby soon!

PS3: MarkVergeer | Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Calibrator
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Stunning!

Looks beautiful - esp. the sprites/shapes!
Very professional packaging, genuine 80ies-style RPG cover illustration
like SSI-titles or Bard's Tale!

take care,
Calibrator

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Ghislain (not verified)
I am humbled

I registered an account here but for some reason I'm unable to post here under it--so I'll post here as a 'guest' for now.

But I'd like to say that I am humbled by the warm reception that this game has received here. Especially from RPG enthusiasts here. During the making of this, I read quite a few articles by Matt Barton as well, which have been quite informative.

The VIC-20 was vastly under-served in terms of RPG games. But there have been a few of them, most notably:

-Temple of Apshai
-Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash
-Sorcery (1984, unpublished).

Mt. Drash wasn't really an Ultima game, but it had some RPG elements. It was a tragedy that "Sorcery" never got published. The creator had submitted it, but the publisher dropped the ball and never did anything with it. 1984 being at the tail end of the VIC-20's commercial life was also a factor. You can get it from here http://www.kdef.com/geek/vic/vicbjsw.html

Realms III is mostly influenced by the following CRPGs:

-Ultima IV (in-context game music + map)
-Wizardry (portrait combat + 3D mazes)
-Telengard (water fountains, thrones, 6 classic D&D attributes, algorithm to generate the mazes)
-Temple of Apshai (using the term "Dunjon" + font)
-Phantasie (for the variety of races that can be used for your characters + the evil Wizard who is resurrected).

While it's true that Realms III does not have any overtly complex plot or character development, I wanted it to embrace the dungeon crawler and traditional RPG conventions to the fullest: evil wizard, orbs of power, traditional attributes (STR, INT, WIS, etc), one "shoppe" to buy all of your gear, etc. In fact, when you 'solve' the game by killing Nikaedor, his "son" returns to avenge him and the mazes are re-randomized (and if you kill his "son", another "son" takes his place, etc). It's a never-ending game. Of course, your party becomes increasingly more powerful with each iteration. My main game tester solved it 3 times with the same party but kept playing to acquire more levels, more magic items, etc. What you see with Realms III is the RPG game that I've always wanted to play.

Of course, Ultima IV tried to break the "dungeon crawler" mold by taking character development to a whole new level -- but this was done because dungeon crawlers had been done to death on 8-bit platforms at the time. But VIC-20 users never really got to play an RPG on the same scope as say the first 3 Wizardry or Ultima games, save for the handful of examples I mention above. I'd say that Realms III has a plot that's slightly more complex than Akalabeth and Telengard but with the production values of a late 1980s Commodore 64 release.

Thanks to Matt's articles, I was able to discover Oubliette for the Commodore 64. As much as I really like the concept, the interface is very cumbersome. As much as I wanted to make a retro CRPG for the VIC-20, one thing I did NOT want is to have a cludgy interface like those early 1980s games. The one thing I am most proud of about Realms III is how smooth the interface works.

As much as I love games like Ultima IV or Pool of Radiance, I'd say that the CRPG that I've spent the most hours on is Telengard. While it is a bit slow (it's done in BASIC), it is simply a fun game. You roll characters, you step out of the Worthy Meade Inn and then you get burned to a crisp by a LVL 4 DRAGON :) What an amazing concept!

Bill Loguidice
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Thanks for the great

Thanks for the great comments, Ghislain, and for stopping by. Hopefully we can work out the account issues.

You mentioned the influence of "Phantasie", which I'm not shy about being my favorite CRPG series. You also mentioned the wonderful feature your game has of being able to play pretty much to infinity. With that in mind, do the characters age? One of the things I liked about Phantasie was that while you could play long after completing the game (though not with your randomized dungeons and restart feature), it did have a character aging feature that would start to affect your stats. I forget what the age was for human characters, but once you were an old man or woman your stats would go down. Were you able to incorporate something like that? (and I realize it's an obscure feature and for all the time I played the games it never came into play for me since I was careful to start with relatively young characters)

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

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Ghislain (not verified)
No aging in Realms III

No, there is no aging in Realms III. I've never programmed age in any of the RPG games that I've made -- I assume a very abstract timeline where the adventure takes place where aging is not really a factor. A funny thing is that in the SSI gold box games, age is used, but only when casting certain spells (such as haste)--I once tried to camp my party for 365 consecutive days and none of the characters in my party aged at all.

I know that Wizardry and Oubliette employs aging when you rest at the inn -- which adds an extra element of difficulty.

Also in Realms IIIl, there's no need for keeping track of logistical supplies such as food, lighting, etc. The game assumes that an adventuring party is well-equipped. There is ammunition, but it's simplified where the party shares ammo in a common pool (sling bullets and arrows). While it's fairly easy to rest at an inn when you're traveling on the surface -- when you're trapped several floors deep in a dunjon and you're low on spell points, you get a real sense of urgency.

Bill Loguidice
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Aging
Ghislain wrote:

Also in Realms IIIl, there's no need for keeping track of logistical supplies such as food, lighting, etc. The game assumes that an adventuring party is well-equipped. There is ammunition, but it's simplified where the party shares ammo in a common pool (sling bullets and arrows). While it's fairly easy to rest at an inn when you're traveling on the surface -- when you're trapped several floors deep in a dunjon and you're low on spell points, you get a real sense of urgency.

That's good. I've rarely liked RPGs that require you to eat or make seeing (torch, spell) in a dark area annoying. Also, pooled ammunition is a good compromise to unlimited ammo or constantly having to have it equipped.

The aging thing is really not a big deal in the slightest to me, but since you were making some concessions for successive generations of baddies if the players chose to continue after winning, I thought you might have put something in there. Good stuff, regardless.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

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Matt Barton
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Aging is probably an

Aging is probably an important factor in some games, but I'd probably lump it in with eating/drinking, sleeping, and torches. They may make a game more realistic, but not in a fun or interesting way. That doesn't have to be the case, though. I can imagine scenarios where timing is important, so that you need to plan your campaigns around seasons. That has definitely been a factor in real-life military history, where the seasons played a pivotal role (thinking of the two major invasions of Russia in particular). I could see a type of "campaign planner" in an RPG where players had to think rationally about when they wanted to embark on certain quests, perhaps choosing them based on their location and time of year.

It's also arguable that people aren't affected by aging as much as some might think. In my martial arts course, for instance, we find plenty of examples of older men who seem just as able as younger ones. I guess eventually sheer muscle atrophy and the like will degrade their performance, though it may turn out their incredible muscle memory and experience will trump a younger man's extra speed or strength. In any case, a 70-year old black belt who has been actively training since his teenage years would be a formidable foe regardless.

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Bill Loguidice
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Aging some more

Certainly I'm the first to believe in hard training for keeping one young indefinitely, but the fact of the matter is that performance does decrease the older you get (the last Rocky movie had an excellent examination of this). With that said, that's offset by experience. So, for instance, in an RPG, you might have a 25 year old Level 10 character with high strength and dexterity, or a 50 year old character with slightly lower strength and dexterity but is level 25. The greater experience would offset performance declines. It's all about balance. You could have that same level 25 character with the stat levels of a 25 year old and have the character be a god, but unless that's your intention - to have a character ascend to god-hood - having some type of balance mechanism in place to keep things real makes sense.

In "Phantasie" for instance, unless you already started with an old character, your character would definitely have aged by the time you finished the game's main goal, but you wouldn't have necessarily reached the point where stats would start to diminish. It only really came into play if you wanted to bring that character or characters over to the next game. To me, that's fairly realistic. Of course on the downside as is typical for RPGs, bringing over characters was not really worth it as they were stripped of quite a few things.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

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Matt Barton
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As I recall, some of these

As I recall, some of these early games even had a fountain of youth or some such you could find to reset the age of your characters. In general, though, unless we're talking huge gaps of time between games, I don't see why it should be such a factor. It isn't even a factor in many TV shows, in which the characters never seem to age at all (Simpsons comes to mind).

The more I think about it, the more age just seems like a pain in the butt and not worth messing with in a game (provided it's not part of the theme or important to the story somehow). That said, it could certainly lead to some interesting situations where you're forced to deal with the infirmities of old age--but usually any efforts to "force" players to deal with unpleasant, un-fun stuff leads to bad reviews and lack of sales.

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