View Full Version : ToME forever: Announcing ToME4 beta !

May 11, 2010, 16:16
The board is set, the pieces are moving.

For many years people have patiently waited for ToME3 to be released, for many years I have tried. But I always burned out of developing it too fast. It was a pile of old crappy code I could not stand working on anymore...

So one day I set out on a new venture, to rewrite it all from scratch, to forget code I could not bear using anymore and to focus on a new engine, and a new game. This was about six months ago, and now after 20 private alpha versions I am ready to unleash the Tales of Middle-Earth: The Fourth Age and T-Engine4 onto the world!

T-Engine 4

This is the “spiritual” successor of T-Engine 3, the basic idea is the same: to make a roguelike game engine that allows the game maker to focus on making a game, not on handling the trivialities of coding.

Being the lua fanatic I am the engine obviously uses it, and much more than in T-Engine2/3. There is a very small C core that is mostly unaware of any high level designs, it simply provides access to graphics, sounds, input, …

T-Engine4 can handle many things and is meant to be easily extended. Its lua core is documented and based on a simple OO design, leveraging the full power of Lua.

A list of features can be found at http://te4.org/ but the most important ones are:

* single unified UI using OpenGL on all platforms
* support for many roguelike concepts from scratch without imposing limits on what can be done with them
* easy input (keyboard & mouse) support
* generic save/load code using serialization, simple objects do not even need to be aware of it, it works auto-magically
* support for both graphical mode and traditional ASCII, potentially at the same time
* many other things, checkout the site and try it

Tales of Middle-Earth: The Fourth Age

Because an engine is nothing without a game (and because I wanted to make a game), I developed ToME4 at the same time.

As I developed ToME3 I was starting to feel restricted by the theme I had setup for myself, that of the quests for the ring in the third age. Do not get me wrong, I love the setting but it felt to me like I was meant to follow a pre-existing story and had little room for improvements, all I could do was bastardise it.

So I took a hard, but IMO needed, decision for ToME4 and scrapped that altogether. It is based one hundred and twenty two years after the fall of Sauron, in a world that is in relative peace under the guidance the High Kings of the Reunited Kingdom (Gondor and Arnor). The player is not “the chosen one” that goes on to save the world from level 1 but instead a simple adventurer, out for glory and treasures. While there is a grand-evil-that-must-be-stopped it is revealed slowly as part of the player leveling up and should feel much less intimidating.

The biggest gameplay change is probably the switch to a new stats&skills system. The primary stats are now Strength, Dexterity, Magic, Willpower, Cunning and Constitution (with a hidden Luck stat) and the skill system has been changed to follow a “standard” pattern for most skills. They are now called talents and usually have 5 levels. All talents are organised in talent types, usually 4 talents per type.

This forces to have some interesting designs for each classes, melee classes have gained a lot from it and now have many combat techniques they can use.

Some races, classes and other “things” also need unlocking before they can be used. Fear not, the mage class for example is indeed in the game but requires unlocking to be available, as are others. There is mainly two reasons for this design:

* it allows to not overwhelm a new player with too many unknown choices at birth
* it allows to give “rewards” without winning the game

At the start the player can be a human, dwarf, elf or hobbit and either a warrior, rogue or archer (with subclasses for each).

ToME4 (and T-Engine4) are meant to be enjoyable by anybody, as such there is no hidden “macro”, or tons of useless and cryptic options. Key-bindings and graphical modes are set-able in game with the main menu (available by pressing Escape from the game). Mouse support is available in most dialogs, it can even be used to activate talents.

Both ToME4 and T-Engine4 are now in public beta, meaning they are usable but not done. T-Engine4 is mostly good and I did not modify it much for some weeks now, except to add some new independent features (like new map generators). ToME4 story is fully planned in my head and was meant to be split in two half. The first half is done and playable (and such the game is currently winnable), the second half will be implemented during beta.

A new subforum has been setup on the tome forums for ToME4 as well as a
blog at http://blog.te4.org/ where I will post updates.

Lastly I want to present my excuses to all the people who waited for so
long without news, I tried to come back many times but never could. And
when I started TE4 I did not want to announce it for fear of losing
steam again, but now that beta is reached I do not fear anymore!

Now go to http://tome.te4.org or http://te4.org and download it!

May 11, 2010, 16:33
Holy crapola, this is not an April Fools joke a month too late?!? This is like up there with "JADE finally released" in terms of total awesomeness... and this actually HAPPENED! :eek:

Pray tell that you used a real version of Lua, though, not a heavily hacked one for which there's no syntax highlighting support in any editor I've heard of? ;) I've always wanted to do a module for T3, but the wacky Lua stuff always threw me off because nothing I could find in a tutorial on the language actually WORKED! :P

edit: Any reason 2-letter character names are not allowed? "Ed" sounds perfectly fine to me ;)

May 11, 2010, 16:37
Lol thanks :)

Yes I am using either plain Lua 5.1(the normal VM or LuaJIT 1.1 (for the binary 32bit compiles) ) with no changed syntax.

May 11, 2010, 16:38
Ah yes I suppose I could reduce cahr name minimun to 2 ... :)

May 11, 2010, 16:39
Weeeee :)

Any reason I can't use the keyboard to select a race? The keyboard works fine later in the character creation process...

edit: Is there a "view map" command?

May 11, 2010, 16:52
No not really, race selection uses the very exact same code as the rest. Mhh...

There is currently no view map command (I'll probably add one that displays the map as 1 grid for 1 pixel thing), but you can scroll the map with left-mouse drag.

May 11, 2010, 18:00
I knew checking oook everday would payoff. I just hope my gpa holds up.

Therem Harth
May 11, 2010, 19:21
Wooo awesome! Way to...

Oh wait a minute...

* single unified UI using OpenGL on all platforms

You're kidding aren't you. :(

May 11, 2010, 19:28
What's wrong with OpenGL? What would you have him use instead? SDL doesn't support multiple windows (a must for Angband variants), DirectX is Windows-only, and curses is rather limited in what it can do.

Therem Harth
May 11, 2010, 20:08
Okay, you got me - I don't know what the alternatives would be. It just seems to me that using OpenGL and therefore requiring a modern graphics card is absolutely insane overkill for a 2D game.

May 11, 2010, 20:32
It's all in what you do with it. It's not like ToME is going to be trying to push millions of polygons every frame or anything. Bottom line is, you have to use something to draw to the screen. Your modern options are basically OpenGL, SDL, and DirectX. Presence of one of those does not imply that the game requires any significant amount of hardware to run. OpenGL's original incarnation came out in 1992. I guarantee you don't have a computer that could run ToME 2.3 but can't run ToME 4 because its hardware isn't strong enough.

I rather suspect (not that I've looked at DarkGod's drawing code) that he just stuck each character on its own textured quad, so instead of drawing characters at each tile, you draw the quads instead. This is dirt-cheap; you could do it on a Playstation 1, trivially. It also gains you some neat things like transparency (which could allow for better-looking fluid flows, layering traps and items, and so on), arbitrary scaling, non-tiled animations, and so on.

More importantly, though, OpenGL's more flexible than a strict tile-based approach. Things you just can't do with Angband's drawing system are trivial with OpenGL. Want a first-person dungeon? Tie the camera to the player's position, replace the flat textured quads with three-dimensional versions, and you're done. Bam.

Therem Harth
May 11, 2010, 21:21
Well, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. But I have to say, it is *slow* with the nv driver on Slackware 13. Even though it's not doing anything 3D really, it seems to exact too much of a toll for software acceleration to be any good,

May 12, 2010, 01:03
Edit: Woo! Download works again! :D:D

May 12, 2010, 01:05
Well, ToME turned into an abomination lately, let's hope this version will be better.

Few thoughts:
1) Can't turn off music. Which is as bad as its quality...

2) No idea how to disarm traps.

3) Game uses roughly 50-60% of my dual core processor...hmm...

4) It's SLOW.

5) No mana regeneration? Ugh...

6) Minor. Long messages appearing on the top are cut off.

On the good side:
1) Targetting, and quick key system is incredible.

2) Flying damage numbers and various info. I feel like playing a MMORPG or something alike, but still it's excellent.

May 12, 2010, 01:28
On #5 are you playing a race that doesnt regenerate mana?

Feels like a beta, but tis' seems a huge timesuck in the horizon..

May 12, 2010, 02:12
1) there'll be an option in next version
2) check your talents (Cunning / Survival)
3) yes it does
4) is your opengl implementation hardware accelerated ?
5) Arcane Blade I suppose ? You can learn Arcane Feed later on to regen some mana. Also some items can help. But yes they are NOT mages (although mages are playable, they need to be unlocked first)
6) Yes I must refactor this area a bit

Thanks for the good comments ;)

Well, ToME turned into an abomination lately, let's hope this version will be better.
Might want to explain how, so I can try to avoid it :)

May 12, 2010, 02:43
Killed by an blue 's'keleton, and noticed that time wasn't stopped when I died. The message display was going through, telling me it was the next day, then the next, etc, until it was the 1st of next month. Ah well, it's been good times so far, if not a bit brutal!

Also, found an iron greatsword on dlvl 1. I tried to wield it without first removing my equipped sword. I got the erre 'can not wear: iron greatsword (cannot use currently due to an other worn object).' The problem is that the iron greatsword has vanished! It's not on the ground, it's not in my inventory, and it's not wielded. >.>

May 12, 2010, 08:48
Ahh the dreaded inventory bug !
I'll fix it thanks :)

Yes combats are more brutal than in T2, it gets a bit better as you level and then gets harder when you get near the current end game :)

May 12, 2010, 10:53
Might want to explain how, so I can try to avoid it :)

I don't want to start ToME-bashing here. Just few things, if you insist. Those points are not necessarily ToME exclusive.

1) Mega inflation of things like hit points, damage, etc.

2) Too much of everything. Abilities, spells, classes, races, monsters. It looks like a trashcan of ideas.

3) Total mess of abilities and spells. Some are under "m", or "U", or somewhere else. Casting through submenus is a chore. How many keys must I press?

4) No balance at all. I don't usually see that as a problem, but it is in this case. Some things, like stats of few races, are inherited directly from Vanilla, and doesn't fit at all.

5) Automatizer sucks, compared to squelching in other variants. It is powerful, but it is the same for all characters. Adjusting is a headache.

Well, that's it for now...offtopic OFF.

May 12, 2010, 12:43
Ah I see, well mst of your points are either addressed or have no bearing in T4 :)

May 12, 2010, 13:17
Ah I see, well mst of your points are either addressed or have no bearing in T4 :)

From what I saw so far, that's true. Although the balance is debatable...:)...

Played some more:
On both gain talents (second after G) and use talents (m) screens there is no way to scroll down/up. So I can't see entire talent tree. One workaround while 'G'aining is to use +/-, but while casting/assigning("m"), lower positions are not visible at all.

On 800x600 11th and 12th keybindings in the lower right corner overlap 1st and 2nd. So I changed the resolution, and game window went all white. That happens every time I change resolution. Reloading helps.

I can use mouse to select item from inventory, but can't select Use/Drop from subsequent menu, keyboard only.

As I wrote before, targetting is excellent, but for some reason I can't target empty spaces. Apart from attack spells forced to target monsters all the time, I have no idea how to use controllable phase door. Arrows doesn't move the cursor, neither do mouse.

If there are no monsters around, last space used is targetted. Funny, so far thats the only way to use above mentioned phase door...

May 12, 2010, 14:01
I do liek the fact that some combo are easier/harder but it should be within some reason.

Maybe I should allow mousewheel scroll in those screens (and inventory) but if you move with the keyboard it will scroll.

When targetting you can do shift+direction to move freely.

As for phase door, what level was it ? At level 4 you get targetted teleport, at level 5 you get targeted teleport AND target selection.
So you first need to choose a target (like you or a monster) and then choose the location (which should be automatically free movement)

May 12, 2010, 17:28
I got to Old Forest. Apart from slaughtered Peer Gynt, game started to lag too much to be comfortable. I think I'll wait for the next version...

May 12, 2010, 20:43
Sweet! I haven't tried it out YET, but thanks a ton for all the work you've done. I just beat TOME 2 for the first time today and am currently killing off Ringwraiths so I can give the void a try. Once I'm dead or successful I'll give TOME 4 a try. From what I've read on the forums it sounds like it'll be a ton of fun.

June 13, 2010, 02:47
Bad-friggin-ass. I'd say I've been waiting patiently for this, but really I've been keeping busy playing Hengband, having kids, working on the career. Little things ;).

And yet, I'm still here, checking back in every once in a while to see how progress is going. To say this makes my day is an understatement.

Maybe Dimwitt and others are out there somewhere, too...

June 13, 2010, 03:07
I don't suppose a ipad/tablet/phone version would be possible at some future point, would it?

January 3, 2011, 23:36
Is there a chance, that the engine will be released to the public?

I mean, engine and game seem to be seperate enough :)

Edit: It seems to be available!


Short feedback on the tutorial module:

The message-screens can only be closed by "Esc", it seems, but that is not mentioned - i needed to try a bit to find that out.

Messages are always repeated after dying - that can be annoying after some deaths :)

The key "," is mentioned as being the one to pickup things the "@" is standing on - but that does not work. Instead "g" works ...