Elega Corp May 2019 Update
Elega Corporation announced its new upcoming game, Kalling Kingdom, which is due out in July of this year. In the mean time, I hope to punch out at least a few development blogs here on ElegaCorp.com, and to launch Kalling Kingdom's website around the game launch as well. In addition, the team has been reduced to just myself for the time being. There are still going to be some opportunities here and there for contractors and I still intend to eventually create a jobs section here on the site for folks job hunting. For now, that can wait.
Kalling Kingdom Origins and Future
A turn based city simulator with a somewhat medeival fantasy setting, the game was inspired by a combination of other games and of course: life. For those who have played Breath of the Wild, there is a famous fetch quest in the game that lead me to imagine a game purely focused around city building in a setting such as Hyrule. Obviously, Nintendo was not planning to give me free reign over their intellectual property, so I went a different route in my thinking. Nonetheless, the inspiration from Breath of the Wild is strong, and what a fantastic game that has been.
In addition to Zelda, I have been impressed with titles like Democracy 3 from Positech Games. The creator of the game, Cliff Harris, seems to have a knack for creating really excellent turn-based and similar mechanics over the years, and that might go all the way back to his work on games like The Movies. Democracy 3 provides the player with a vast array of visual information while also being highly mathematical wherein you're given control over a country, make policy decisions each turn, and have to determine how to shift a country in your desired direction while keeping its population relatively happy.
Somehwat strangely, RollerCoaster Tycoon comes to mind as some part of the inspiration - it was one of the first isometric graphics titles I played and provides similar goals to that of a city simulator: managing profitability, expenses, and the happiness of a park population instead of a city population. At the end of the day, RollerCoaster Tycoon and many games like it function very similarly to a typical real time city simulator.
Kalling Kingdom Features and Hook
So what makes Kalling Kingdom different? Why does it compete with some of these titles mentioned, which are kind of legendary in their own right? My answer, you may have guessed, is that it doesn't. At least, it does not compete from the standpoint of scale. If you are the kind of player that loves sitting in front of a computer for several hours, analyzing hundreds to thousands of gameplay variables, micromanaging efficiency, or even just going on an action adventure (such as in Zelda) then perhaps Kalling Kingdom would not be for you.
The game is built for those who are seeking a laid back, relaxing experience. The idea behind the fantasy setting is not just so that I can shove in a bunch of stuff like magic potions, swords and shields, and exotic fictitious creatures - it is so that players can engage in a virtual utopia. The flipside of having Breath of the Wild has an inspiration is that, bizarrely, I found that one of the things that bothered me about the game is that the instant you defeat the big ugly villain in the center of the map: nothing happens. There is no reward, no epilogue even, the game just ends. There is no story to tell after that.
Yet, you spend the entire game exploring this decayed version of Hyrule. You see homes that were destroyed, a very quiet landscape for the most part, local town economies that just sort of slowly limp along. In other words, the whole world seems to continue on as if the ugly villain in the center of the map does not matter. All this to say: you spend the entire game preparing to fight against a darkness and there is no light at the end of that tunnel.
The fetch quest referred to above is one that creates a utopia amidst what was previously a nightmare landscape, especially the farther in to the center of the game world you go. You help to create a city that combines the background and talents of people from across Hyrule. Misfits and outcasts find a home there, and a group of other misfits and outcasts who accept them.
It feels amazing to make that happen as the player. In fact, it feels better than going to fight the main villain.
Makes you really wonder, doesn't it? What if we made an entire game around that kind of optimism? The emotional core of Kalling Kingdom comes from that feeling: bringing together people of all different backgrounds to create something new, grand, positive, and constructed as opposed to destroyed. Armageddon and post-armageddon have been done to death (get it?) in games already. As a developer, I just want to give it a rest. From a gameplay perspective, though, you still have challenges. To a certain extent, the player will also be free to pick their own challenges. The outcome remains mainly the same: do what it takes to survive by bringing together the people from across Kalling Kingdom, and beyond that - it is your choice.
To do this, it provides the player to option to engage only the numbers while incentivizing them to consider the variables behind the numbers.
Elega In Research
As has been true for a number of previous update posts: I like to include some information regarding what I have been doing research on in recent time. In a previous post, I had discussed the concept of finding new uses for old technology or doing more with less, including older, extremely slow by today's standard, microprocessors or CPUs. There is something riveting about the idea and I was pulled back to it again when I saw an older documentary the other night called Triumph of the Nerds, originally produced in 1996.
The documentary is a multi-part series that, in part, outlines the emergence of Apple, Microsoft, and the invention of the Altair 8800 computer. The Altair 8800, originally designed in 1974, included a 2Mhz processor: the Intel 8080. Yes, that is 2 megahertz. As in, modern processors run at a speed of gigahertz. What fascinates me, though, is that while modern processors are spending their time working on displaying user interfaces, communicating with processes over the web, running data packets across wires, and lots of other things: a 2 megahertz processor can still run at, by definition, 2 million cycles per second.
2 million cycles per second is a big deal, and I can totally understand why the Altair saw some remarkable success as far back as 1974. Can computers of today outpace it by multiple orders of magnitude? Of course. But consider that a human being who really knows how to use it could really take advantage of a machine capable of running 2 million instructions, or even half that number, within a second.
Why does any of this matter? Well, I am somewhat convinced at this point that while the world has since moved on to bigger and grander things with modern personal computers (and personal pocket computers in the form of smartphones), much bigger things are still possible with what is considered vastly obsolete or inferior technology. At the time of this blog post, I also found that there are Intel 8080a microprocessors (and the rough equivalents from other brands) available out in the marketplace for anywhere from $10 new to $7 used.
The trouble there, of course, is that you lose practical application in trying to take advantage of the 8080 processor. Especially for less than $7-$10: you could get a Raspberry Pi Zero, currently priced in its modern rendition at $5. Its CPU runs 500 times faster than an Intel 8080 at 1000Mhz, it can load a real usable operating system by modern users, contains 512MB of RAM, and has a number of other impressive features. What this means is that, even for a consumer, the access to vast computing power continues to be available at a bafflingly low price.
The numbers behind these microprocessors, both in terms of price and performance, are keeping me up some nights. For right now, the way to utilize this in business is not immediately apparent, and that is okay. I will just have to keep learning.