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Old 04-23-2006, 01:34 PM   #1
Malifax
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The best combat ever seen on the Internet was found in a Simutronics game called "Orb Wars." The game took place in one-month campaigns where players would gather in the chamber, form teams of one to five participants each and enter contests lasting a random amount of time between 12 and 30 minutes. Contests took place on 100 x 100 grids, or maps, consisting of multiple terrain-types and dungeon-like features sprinkled with monsters of various types. The object was to locate the five orbs situated around the map and touch them to turn them your team's color so that at least three of the five were last touched by someone on your team when time ran out. Of course, guarding your orbs and overtaking your enemy's orbs was the name of the game, obviously where combat comes into the picture. Combat consisted of battle using spells, wands, potions and explosive crystals in real-time. The battlefield was presented in a 2-D overhead view of the map where you could see the terrain and watch monsters and players moving in real-time. There were six  wyzard types, each with unique strrengths and weaknesses: enchanters could recharge the wands and vials found around the map and on the corpses of killed monsters. Alchemists used herbs they'd found to cast all spells at 100% with no stat cost. Illusionists could use the invisibility spell to remain unseen with no drain of their concentration. Conjurers were experts with the lightning spell and could summon an array of creatures to guard orbs, break walls, attack foes alongside them, pick them up when they died, find other combatants, resurrect teammates, etc. Necromancers were masters of the death spell and possessed the ability to summon undead. And sorcerers, while they couldn't use wands or vials,  had higher stats and cast all spells at higher proficiency than wyzards of the other types. If you wanted exciting, fast and furious combat where the outcome was determined solely by your own ability, OW was it.

I really miss the game. I've attempted to purchase the game from Simutronics multiple times so that I can put it up on the web for free play, but I get no answers to my email. So I'm going to recreate the game myself. If this sounds like fun to you and you're a C++ coder or otherwise experienced in game programming and are interested in jumping aboard the project, please drop me a note: malifax@shadowfallrpg.com

Here's a PIC of the game recreated in Photoshop. The map was made of ascii characters. The game could be played from a terminal emulator (vt100, vt52 or ANSI) or a custom front end that presented the game  more graphically. Teammates appeared as numbers 1-4, enemies as numbers 5-9, critters as letters, artifacts/wands/vials/herbs/crystals/etc. as +'s, walls as [], and on. The linked jpeg is a pic I put together representing a view from the game played via FE. In the picture, the player (represented by ^ -- you could face n, s, e or w) has typed the fireball spell into his buffer to cast at the demon to the north. The demon has prepared a web spell and will cast it at the player. The player can melt the web from his body by typing "will," but it will cost him drain of some of his stats.
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:20 PM   #2
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It does sound fun - it could be implemented on a MUD using ASCII; might even do very well as a mini-game if not a full game. It could be implemented as a mini-game sort of thing on a fantasy MUD fairly easily, and would probably be a lot of fun - just as an alternative suggestion.
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Old 04-23-2006, 03:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ April 23 2006,14:20)
It does sound fun - it could be implemented on a MUD using ASCII; might even do very well as a mini-game if not a full game. It could be implemented as a mini-game sort of thing on a fantasy MUD fairly easily, and would probably be a lot of fun - just as an alternative suggestion.
I'd thought about implementing OW in MOO, but I'd end up writing a ton of C anyway. So I figured I might as well build it from scratch. I thought about adding it as a mini-game as well, but it's so good, I'd hate to hide it like that. I just want to see the chamber full of players like it was in the old days. The afternnons I said "one more game" and then looked at the clock to see that is was three AM are uncountable.

We played it at 2400 baud. The action will be sick at modern internet speeds.
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:03 PM   #4
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That does sound pretty cool, and would make a good mini/arena game for a mud.

Did you know how much time was left, or did it just end suddenly?
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Old 04-24-2006, 01:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Baram @ April 23 2006,21:03)
That does sound pretty cool, and would make a good mini/arena game for a mud.

Did you know how much time was left, or did it just end suddenly?
You could type "time" during the contest to see how close the end was. A gong sounded across the grid at five minutes and at one minute.

There were tons of other sounds too, indicating something happening in a certain direction. A "low horrid wail" meant someone was casting the death spell, for example. An explosion occurred when someone busted a wall or a crunching sound when someone was creating one with a wall spell. You could hear when someone died and in what direction they had fallen (some of this is shown in the pic). Sounds are valuable information to the shrewd, wiley player. If there were orbs fairly close together, we would push them into the same spot, cast a lingering teleport spell in the square and wall it in so that the orbs couldn't be touched without the wall being busted first. Someone would sit in sight, invisible, and lob red crystals at enemies while they attempted to get to the orbs. In the case that someone did break the wall down and step onto the square with the orbs, he'd be teleported away by the lingering teleport spell. So, the guardian casts another one and walls it up again. The way around that trap is to take a blue crystal, cast the phase spell, walk through the walls to the walled spot where the orbs are and toss the crystal "SN" (or, south and north) right on top of your head. The blast would go right through your phased body and explode the wall where you're standing to rubble. Then you can touch the spheres once the phase wears off. Now, if you're really good, you cast phase, walk onto the orbs, toss the crystal, let the phase wear off and touch the orbs, phase again, run ssn so that you're south of the orbs and facing them, prep and cast a lingering tele (or use a wand, if you've obtained one), prep and cast a wall spell and get back into clear space before your phase wears off. Crystals did more damage the closer to you they hit, so phasing onto someone while invisible and dtossing crystals on your own head was a great way to kill people.

Ah, man. Those were the days.
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Old 04-24-2006, 12:55 PM   #6
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Sounds great. I think the best of the best mud combat systems make advantage of the room size being stable and think of it like a game board, viewed top down, as opposed to this borderline "3d" stuff that attempts to show you things from your character's perspective and thus greatly limits what you can see going on around you.
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Old 04-24-2006, 01:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (tehScarecrow @ April 24 2006,12:55)
Sounds great. I think the best of the best mud combat systems make advantage of the room size being stable and think of it like a game board, viewed top down, as opposed to this borderline "3d" stuff that attempts to show you things from your character's perspective and thus greatly limits what you can see going on around you.
I couldn't agree more. This is why 3D is way overrated, IMO, except for FPS and maybe one-player "RPGs." This is why Orb Wars is the best combat ever seen on the internet. It didn't have fancy graphics, but you could see the lay of the land, use it to your advantage, and even at 2400 baud the action was fast and furious.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:41 PM   #8
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I couldn't agree more. This is why 3D is way overrated, IMO, except for FPS and maybe one-player "RPGs." This is why Orb Wars is the best combat ever seen on the internet. It didn't have fancy graphics, but you could see the lay of the land, use it to your advantage, and even at 2400 baud the action was fast and furious.

Sometimes, on a chilly autumn afternoon, I still enjoy finding the current most popular incarnation of the browser based multi-player game Hunt the Wumpus, and instead of hunting down the Wumpus, hunting down every last player in the game and killing them all until everyone else quits. Graphics for PvP, pheh.
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