Ultima Ratio Regum

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Ultima Ratio Regum
Alpha Project
Developer Mark Johnson
Theme Strategy Games
Influences Dwarf Fortress, Civilization, Total War, Nethack, Supreme Commander, Tomb Raider
Released ~Summer 2012 (alpha)
Licensing Closed Source
P. Language Python
Platforms Windows
Interface ASCII, Keyboard
Game Length Hour or two
Official site of Ultima Ratio Regum

Ultima Ratio Regum is a semi-roguelike heavily inspired by Jorge Borges, Umberto Eco, Shadow of the Colossus, Europa Universalis and Civilization.

Updated 11th August 2013: VERSION 0.3.1 has just been released, and can be read about and downloaded at: http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/


- 16 hand-drawn languages, assigned to ancient civilizations.

- Ziggurats, containing fully three-dimensional dungeons (multiple staircases which retain coordinates between floors). - Procedural generation of riddle puzzles in ziggurats.

- Extensive graphical update for many items, accessible through the ‘l’ook function – stairs, doors, walls, stone blocks.

- Several secret items and hints towards future features and story.

- Over 100 tweaks, bug-fixes, and general improvements.

It seeks to generate realistic histories, though ones containing a few unusual happenings and anomalous experiences. Combat is rare and deadly – whilst these mechanics will be modeled in detail, exploration, trade and diplomacy factors will have just as much effort put into them.


A generated world – coastline, ocean, volcanoes, mountains, hills, biomes, rivers…

Worlds can be generated over a vast array of sizes, climates and types, but all ultimately with no fixed objective but a world full of civilizations and factions to be allied with or battled against. It aims for depth in character development and world events, but with stuff in the ‘middle’ – constructing buildings, city growth, resource management – abstracted out (as many other games exist which cover those). Political and social dynamics will be modeled via a complex system that aims to generate both a history for the world, and the current state of political affairs when your game begins.


Exploring a ziggurat; all outdoor areas change colour and shading according to season and time of day.

Fundamentally, URR aims to have several key aspects:

Art Generation: Ultima Ratio Regum will feature significant amounts of complex generative graphics, ranging from planetary atmospheres to ancient temple murals, landscapes to military rankings, and from sword designs to family coats of arms. The game aims to explore what can be done with ASCII graphics to detail and explore a deep generated world.


One of the many remnants of ancient civilizations...

Ancient Exploration: Set in the 16th/17th century, the game contains a number of relics of earlier civilizations, which can be explored. These temples and tombs will be full of murals generated according to ancient myths (see the art generation objective), but these murals serve not just an aesthetic purpose – they will give clues to the locations of artefacts, or catacombs containing great wealth. They will also contain procedurally-generated puzzles, mazes, and other challenges.


Some of URR's generated ANSI art.

Linguistics: Different civilizations – ancient and contemporary – will have different languages you may not necessarily be able to speak at the start of the game. Ancient languages can be learnt to give greater insight into murals or ancient texts, whilst contemporary languages enable you to communicate beyond your empire’s boundaries, trade with others, and handle yourself in other empires.


A procedurally generated door - runes, vines, bricks and everything else are unique to this door...

Multi-Square Units: Ultima Ratio Regum will include a large number of units that span many squares, a significant break from the roguelike norm of one-square-per-unit. Catapults, ballistas and other siege weapons take up around 5×5 squares and behave accordingly.


The ever-increasing Guidebook, full to brim with URR knowledge. Which is not to say there aren’t some secrets lurking out there…

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