DungeonHack:About

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Thank you for your interest! We have a complex and ambitious vision shared by a community that has held together for years as projects rose and fell. Our Lead Developers are experienced professionals and we accept only reliable, capable contributors to work with us on our dream.

Contents

Introduction

Godhead is a Free / Open Source Software project to build an engine for Role-Playing Games (RPG) that are non-linear with large scale environments. Our goals emphasize procedural generation, modern 3D graphics, and dynamic, interesting worlds and characters. Currently, we are focusing on one such world.

Non-linear

Non-linear RPGs focus on the experience of taking on a player-selected role over experiencing a particular role in a narrative. Other Non-linear RPGs, such as those of the Elder Scrolls series, still retain the Linear RPG focus on providing a role in the form of stats and equipment that the player makes selections among to "advance". In Linear RPGs, advancement means getting the stats (usually by "grinding") to pass a test (usually a battle) and progress to the next section of the story. In Non-linear RPGs, advancement is made to bigger numbers and the next tier of stat and equipment options. Non-linear RPGs also typically retain an optional main story which in a Linear RPG would constitute the entire narrative available (minus side quests -- the "nib of a wing" from which Non-linears budded from Linear RPGs).

Godhead's gameplay design is a further evolution from Non-Linear RPGs. Neither the role chosen by the player nor the world we provide exist in isolation from the other -- both are intended to be experienced in interaction. DH will provide the experience of taking on a role in the form of creating changes in a dynamic world, utilizing changes in stats and equipment merely as a means to an end. However, there is nothing to stop the player from focusing on hunting-and-gathering of stats and equipment if they so choose.

Godhead has its roots in TES II: Daggerfall in terms of its original intent rather than the game produced in 1996. The imprint of this intent and the design choices that flowed from it are what have maintained Daggerfall's fond recollection. The intent was to maximize the freedom of the player to choose their own adventure within the world provided. The inclusion of features allowing customized spells and enchanted items (each being forms of equipment) fit with this attempt at what we could call meaningful freedom as opposed to random and inconsequential freedom.

Multiple Worlds

Our engine is meant to run "world modules" comprising the creative content and may not be developed by Godhead 'core' developers, but rather separate teams. One such team is working in collaboration with us to create the "native module" to be distributed with Godhead. This system is similar to the modding communities around many commericial games, or the various mods that Vega Strike or Spring have in the FOSS gaming world. Most of our gameplay content will be created in flexible and easy to modify formats (namely Python and YAML), which makes small modifications in the tradition of TES '.esp' mods possible, but also mods which would be more accurately termed 'total conversions'. Godhead is a game made by players. We give you the freedom to play the game how you want, not how we think you should play it.

Procedural Generation

We are tired of small play areas in games, or being boxed into a 'level', we want the freedom to explore and visit places that we have never seen before, just like the real world. However, creating a large world by hand is too time consuming and a whole lot of work. We think that it is smarter to use procedural algorithms to create interesting and varied terrain, cities, towns, characters, items, quests, and so on. However, the problem with this is that procedurally generated games often become boring and repetitive quickly. Our solution is to "generate and then hand tweak". We think there is nothing better for entertainment than a hand crafted story with hand crafted places, but the idea is to include the best of both worlds.

Initially, worlds will be pregenerated and this will always be the case for our native module as well. However, we are freely providing our generation tools also and we encourage people interested in procedural generation to work with us. The tools are separate from the game and need not be used just for Godhead.

Living Characters

Tired of worlds inhabited by NPCs, enemies, and mindless monsters who never do anything interesting? Tired of characters who exist for nothing other than the player's sake, who lack their own goals, motivations, or otherwise do nothing at all? So are we! We want to have living characters in our game. Characters who should react appropriately to their environment, to the actions of other characters, and the player. Characters should not be idle while the player is not around either. Every single one should have goals and motivations, whether they involve the player or not. In fact, the whole game world should work, live, evolve without the player's presence at all.

How are we to do this? Creating real thinking machines is very hard. Even AI researchers have not gotten very far over several decades in creating realistic behavior. First off, we think it is a matter of simply putting effort into such a system. Most games nowadays concentrate on cutting edge graphics first, and then gameplay second. Gameplay is paramount and character behavior is part of gameplay. It takes more than effort though. Secondly, we believe this problem can be solved with a change of attitude. If the characters in a game only exist because of you, the player, then they are doomed to only ever behave when the player is around. By planning a system to handle these things from the start and creating a system to suit, we believe it is then just a matter of filling in the blanks. i.e.: What a character should do given certain circumstances.

A detailed AI proposal is currently being written, but some discussions on this matter can already be found in our forums.

Community

Volunteer contributors are the lifeblood of the project and our constructively abusive team welcomes good collaborators. Look at our roadmap for tasks you could help complete. Learn how we're handling our work on the Game Development Information page. Introduce yourself to us on our forums.

Ours is a community of fans and amateur developers which began in 2001 as the volunteer staff of the Daggerfall Revisited project (ReDF). DungeonHack was begun by Chad Cuddigan as a one-man project in 2003. Chad later left, and in 2009 we changed our setting from a Daggerfall-alike to an original setting and game world titled Godhead written by Nils Pihl Bohlin. For more information, read our detailed history.

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall was a commercial game produced between 1994 and 1996 by Bethesda Softworks. Its Lead Designer was Ted "Tedders" Peterson; its Lead Programmer (and initial inventor of the lore) was Julian LeFay.

In 2008, Bethesda exercised its rights as copyright holders to the Elder Scrolls series and forbade a direct remake of Daggerfall. After a few years, our community found a new, original lore for our game Godhead written by Nils Pihl Bohlin, alias "broodsugar".