Monday, 28 July 2014

Imperial Conquest - Atari ST - My Version Pt 1

Some of you out there will know of my background as a war-gamer, yes I started out playing online games - and games with other people - as grand table top strategy games...

I've played many, from way back on the Atari ST with my favourite, and first, strategy games (like Carrier Command and then Imperial Conquest).

I particularly likes Imperial Conquest, it was written in STOS (a dialect of basic) and featured on the cover disk of STFormat.  And I wrote off with £5 of my pocket money to buy a real copy - which came back as a diskette - no box, it was a proper indy game!

The idea of Imperial Conquest was you had a world view, well a Europe high view, which showed the cities and armies and fleets as just dots... You could then click and see a smaller snap shot of the land... If you got it clicked on the wrong spot, you just had to go back up a level and go back down; there was no scrolling...

You held cities, and from them each turn you got income, a turn being a month, and then you paid from your income for armies/units you controlled, and you moved these army counters around to take other cities.

Very basic, but very addictive...

So, my next personal project is going to be an Imperial Conquest clone, this is to a) get me back into coding and playing war games, and b) to teach me some more platform portable 2D OpenGl Code.

 The first thing I did was trace an outline of Europe, using Red for Land, Blue for sea and orange for rivers.  These will be my terrain types for now... And I wrote a C# program to parse this image into a raw map, the map can be any size, I've tried everything from 640x480 to 4096x3096.

This is the top level, as per the original game, and you click on it and it'll zoom the view in...

This is where I've been adding configuration, I'm not sure what size to make this tactical level view, so it renders the terrain square as just a solid colour type for the moment... I've already plans for texturing this and adding coast lines, but I'm working on pure mechanics for now... Too many games rush to add visuals before making it work solidly....

So, I added an XML configuration:

Which lets me set the number of squares to render on this tactical view, and how big these squares are... I then played about

Before settling on quite a large view, to match what was given in the original game:

Now, this level of XML control is also extended into most all parts of the system, so this is more a war game visual representer engine than a game at present... But it works how I want it to.

The next Item I needed were some counters I could throw into the screen... So I went with an icon for Infantry, one for cavalry, and an engineer to help bridge those rivers:

I'm going to be keeping this very simple, and perhaps even may publish the code as a tutorial into using SDL and OpenGL.  Its also aiming to be cross platform, so you will see this on Linux soon.

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