Procrastination gets the creative juices going

Hi, still unemployed. I have trouble getting anything done. Some small stuff on the script, but not much.
I’ve got some inspiration for a game, though. A relatively simple one, with lots of writing but little coding, using Ren’py as the engine.
“King of Dwagon Fortress” is the working title.
It’s a King of Dragon Pass clone, with a Dwarf Fortress-lite-like theme. Not straight-up rip-offs of either, but, y’know. Steal from the best and the popular. King of Dragon Pass is one of my favourite games of all time, and I’ve been thinking for a while that someone should attempt to make a modern clone of it. Dwarf Fortress, similar to King of Dragon Pass in its theme, is popular memetically, and the combination just has that delicious smell, doesn’t it? The roleplaying and gaming aspects of King of Dragon Pass with the sociopathic comedy of Dwarf Fortress…
Writing a KoDP game with Ren’py should be relatively simple. The game itself is a very close cousin to the VN genre, and certainly you can create quite complex simulations in Ren’py, if you add a lot of Python code inbetween the easy bits. KoDP is a game that runs through five seasons of the year, each year strewn with random events and other stuff happening, and everything happens on static screens sans animation: just background images, music, text and your excellent clan ring advisors. The most difficult bit to emulate would be the clan ring: seven people in the lower part of the screen that give you pertinent (and not-so-pertinent) advice, information and story; each advisor is chosen from a pool of “PC” nobles, with their own stats, main-gods and personality. Try KoDP, it is great; it was published in 1999, but the original publishers at A#Sharp are still selling copies ($20) when someone can bother to run the cd-burner. In any case, the game won’t be a completely clone; probably rather simplified, but still. Something very much like it.
Dwarf Fortress is inspiration for the setting, but in other ways, it won’t be very influential. The fact that the people in DF are dwarves (or is it dwarfs in DF?) isn’t really important, so the people in KoDF will be just humans. Bits I’ll steal: mining, underground, overground, comedic sociopathy, sieges, crafting and that there won’t be as much diplomacy as in KoDP: in KoDP, the game is centered on the fact that you’re in the eponymous valley with a bunch of other clans, while in DF, you’re a lone colony in the wilderness. Something between these two would probably be good.
I’ve been thinking about the setting further, and I’m thinking of simply hiding a lot of Finnish and Finnic fluff in a fantasy skin. Why reinvent sliced bread? So this game won’t have very much of my heartblood in it (like would be in the case if I ever make Three and One Hearts), but if it smells like Dwarf Fortress, booze and Finnishness, it should prove at least marginally popular: this is important if I ever want to finish the game, because I’m certainly not going to be able to do it alone.
The mythology of the setting will be Finnic, with a lot of animism. I mentioned crafting: in DF, dwarves sometimes get a feverish urge to create a masterpiece craftwork of some kind, which is a very neat bit of fluff to steal. One idea to incorporate this into KoDF would be that craftsmen get possessed by a spirit of an object (one that has died or maybe a new one that is yet uncreated), and then they create a treasure (with bonuses and uses as magical items as in KoDP). Magic would be shamanistic and sympathetic, good old “hard fantasy” style religious magic, not modern autistic Vancian engineer magic. In Finnic mythology, spells are cast by saying secret runes; in modern fantasy literature, you have the concept of “true name”, which is a bit taken from some real-world mythologies, but in Finnic mythology names aren’t the important bit, but the Origin Stories of things. Thus, if you know the Origin of Fire, you can control it, etc. This is very similar to the mythology in KoDP (Heroquests in particular; the whole thing is probably pretty common in world mythologies), but it’s a nice way to distance this game from other magic systems. Other spells are done by controlling spirits, etc. In KoDP, there were shamanistic Heroquests that were segments of roleplay, where a PC would attempt to re-enact old myths to gain the favour of the gods (or rather, to become one with them); there’s a lot of shamanistic Finnic stuff too, though it’s more commonly just travelling in the underworld or in the land of the dead for information or help. I’m still not sure whether to have something similar to heroquesting in KoDF, though.
In any case, if I ever write the basic code, the PC engine, and some basic events and stories and stuff in Ren’py, the next step is to go around to beg for someone to replace whatever placeholding graphics I’m using at the time. But that’s still long off.
I’m just writing this down to remind my future self of what a fool he used to be.


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