Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chaos Reborn

I suppose the big question is - why am I remaking Chaos? And why now? The main reason is that the game was very popular with its players, despite is many flaws, quirky bugs and poor graphics. So the logical thing to do is to try to improve it and bring it up to date with today's technology. I have, of course, tried to update it before with 'Lords of Chaos', and in a way with 'Magic & Mayhem'. Although these were good games in their own right, they lost something of the essence of the original Chaos.
One of the reasons I think Chaos worked well is that it was a great multiplayer experience appropriate for the technology of the time. You could gather up to eight mates to play a game in a relatively quick game, despite its plodding turn-based nature. It was also a psychological game of bluff where you were never sure whether an opponent's creature was an illusion unless someone disbelieved it. If you chose to disbelieve it yourself then you were foregoing a valuable opportunity for another spell. There was the minor inconvenience that your spell selection had to be done in secret, which meant other players had to avert their gaze from the screen, but this was a brief interlude in the chaotic fun.
The game also had great replay value because of its random, chaotic nature. No two games will turn out the same, and most of your plans and strategies won't play out exactly the way you envisaged them. Randomness in games is a very interesting issue which I will touch on again in future posts. Many of my colleges in Ubisoft would often say that they don't like randomness - they want more determinant decision making based more on skill than on luck. However, randomness does inject a fair dose of tension and fun into a game. It also means that you have rarely, deterministically lost a game before it is over. In Chaos there is usually everything to play for. Your opponent may have a dragon bearing down on your wizard, but then you might just be able to slip your eagle behind him and slaughter the dragon summoner before your wizard gets fried. It's a fine balance, but I believe that the randomness in Chaos mostly contributed to the fun of the game. What people say they want, and what they actually enjoy are definitely two different things.
I also have to confess that I have been surprised and puzzled at the number of requests I have had from people wanting to remake Chaos or re-engineer it for a new platform. I have always agreed to these requests, but each time thinking that there must be something about this game which is different to all the others I have made. You can find a list of these remakes on the Chaos Remakes Wiki.
Another important consideration is that I wanted to start a project that would be both manageable and have some traction. Chaos gained widespread distribution because it was featured in the cover tape of 'Your Sinclair' on two occasions. Therefore there are probably a few veteran games players left that were exposed to it in their youth and may have some fond memories of it - at least in the UK.
As to the question 'why now?', the answer is that I have the opportunity to do it and the desire for a change. I have been working at Ubisoft Sofia for more than five years and seen the studio grow steadily. I was the creative director for the recently released Vita game, 'Assassin's Creed III: Liberation.' I left Ubisoft in March this year, ostensibly on six month paternity leave to help my wife look after our twin babies. I decided that I wanted to stay at my home with my family for a while longer. So now I am on my own, working in my bedroom, just like I did all those years ago when I was coding in Z80 assembly language on my 48k ZX Spectrum.

79 comments:

  1. Randomness is something that seems to scare many game developers, or at least those working for high profile publishers (who clearly want things to work exactly as intended, and often as the previous game they're making a sequel/rip-off to worked) - and yet fundamentally, some of the most engrossing gameplay is found in that fantastically unpredictable area between bugs (the Quake series' rocket jumping for instance) and the 'emergent gameplay' which led to the founding of new game modes and even spawned entirely new IPs based on them.

    Indie developers have the advantage of being able to embrace randomness and emergent gameplay without the obstacle of a publisher who wants it 'just so', and that's one of the many reasons why the indie scene is doing so well.

    Chaos, Lords of Chaos, X-Com and so on have all had an element of unpredictability, a reliance on invisible rolls of the dice, and I believe that is the primary reason they're so enduring and infinitely replayable.

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  2. I absolutely agree on preserving the randomness of the game in order to maintain the original charm and character. I always loved it whilst playing Chaos when someone would be able to, seemingly out of nowhere, be able to level the playing area or throw a rather large metaphorical spanner in the works; you could always play the numbers, but there would also be a good chance that somebody could come out of nowhere and give you a damn good spanking.

    I believe Chaos is absolutely ideal for multiplayer, and this is where the huge amount of good-will towards the original game springs from, and I can't wait to see it on iOS and Android devices, where it deserves to be in my opinion.

    It may amuse people that I made an attempt myself some years ago, but eventually abandoned the attempt whilst waiting for the Websocket protocol to become standard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9PKJCUZxM0

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  3. I agree with what you're saying here, but the one issue I think needs addressing and that you've basically said you ARE addressing is wizard vulnerability. The Eagle example is a good one (not so much versus a dragon though, which has a higher functional range [move + fire] than even an eagle so should be able to zone it out), and also the extreme effectiveness of mounted wizards versus non-mounted wizards.

    I have a recording of some matches I had recently with a couple of friends of mine that illustrate both of these points well, and I will write annotations for them with this remake in mind.

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    1. Yes, I am aware of this problem. Wizards are tremendously vulnerable and flying creatures have a huge advantage against them. I have some proposals to deal with these issues, and any ideas would be welcome.

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    2. I think it actually makes sense for wizards to be vulnerable, at least in the beginning (until they start creating magic shields/armor, using shadow form, and/or riding a mount. It's weird to see wizards (such as level 8 computer wizards, who could have very high attack and defense) being able to beat ogres, giants and such hand to hand.

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    3. My first thought about flying creature vulnerability would be a random 'duck and cover' stat in line with the Wizard's other stats -- an x/10 chance that any given flying attack will be ignored. Tweaking the specific stat range will give you as much scope for protection, statistically speaking, as you need, whilst still leaving all of that lovely, lovely randomness :)

      Also, while I'm here: YAY! CHAOS REBORN! (Ooo... Plush Gooey Blobs...)

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    4. I think something simple like having wizards start the game with a "magic barrier" which is destroyed by a successful attack. It would then take one more successful attack to actually kill the wizard. Just gives them one "life". Just an idea anyway.

      And I love how you can play a style just to upgrade your wizard and turn him into a one-man killing machine. A natural combat 5 defense 5 wizard + magic armour, sword, wings and bow is better than a Golden Dragon!

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    5. "Yes, I am aware of this problem. Wizards are tremendously vulnerable and flying creatures have a huge advantage against them." I'm not sure there is a problem here, its just how the game work. Chaos!

      Eagles and bats needed special tactics with lions and dire wolves. They didn't break it. (Although, Magic And Mayhem had the anchor spell, which would suck flying creatures to the ground, but also it could be cast on ones own wizard to beat a whirlwind spell. And that whirlwind could be self-inflicted to throw off enemy creatures. Clever.)

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    6. I never thought of it as a problem, though. Chaos matches were so quick that even if you died before you got a spell off (Wizard one casts lightning bolt on Wizard 4!) the game never lasted so long that it seemed unfair. Also, as to defending your wizard against being attacked, that was a huge part of the appeal. Having such a vulnerable piece meant protecting it was critical, hoping you'd get that elusive Magic Armour spell, Shadow Form and hopefully Dark Citadel. It could be frustrating if a computer AI achieved all that and sat in its citadel for turn after turn, but that was all part of the charm. Perhaps I wouldn't tolerate it so much today, but even getting Turmoil and casting that never caused frustration so much as excitement ("Has it finished casting yet?" "No, come back later").

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    7. I agree that I also, in hundreds of games, never saw this as a problem. In Dungeons and Dragons (the old versions of it that I play), Wizards gets d4 hitpoints per level, whereas a Fighter gets d8, cleric d6, etc. Chaos mimicking this makes perfect sense; the wizard is supposed to use his magic spells as his offence and defence (not his stats). In Chaos, this means summoning something big and powerful and having it eat the eagle for breakfast. Or throwing a 'lightning' or a 'magic bolt'. Or casting Magic Wings and flying away. Or teleport. Or Magic Shield. Or Magic Armour. Or a steed. Or attacking the enemy mage with another creature and having the eagle vanish into oblivion when the wizard dies.

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  4. Besides randomness, one other thing that I think is essential to Chaos is its simplicity. Chaos was a much simpler game than, say, Laser Squad or Lords of Chaos, and that was a big part of its charm; it was easy to explain to friends, and I used to play it often with a group of other teens, most of whom didn't like strategy games at all; yet, they were always game for a quick Chaos battle.

    Some things that one might feel tempted to add to Chaos (after all, they were present in your later Spectrum games), but which I think would prevent it from being the Chaos we know and love include:

    - an actual map (instead of just a rectangular arena)
    - hidden movement
    - an inventory system
    - quests (instead of just "kill all the other wizards)
    - puzzles to solve (even if just something as simple as finding a key to a door)
    - persistent RPG elements

    Again, I have nothing against the above -- I loved them in Rebelstar, Laser Squad and LoC. But I believe that they just don't fit in Chaos. Save them for the Lords of Chaos remake! :)

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    1. I agree about the simplicity, and the simple multiplayer arena battle will be there. However, I have something a bit more involved for single player. I will post the ideas over the next week.

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    2. Nice! A campaign would be awesome. I like the idea of the "Plane of of Limbo" though, but obviously a blank area would be a bit bland.

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    3. Oh, but it was never blank for long - and that was the magic. The arena would take form as the wizards battled. You started with a blank slate, but by the end, the vast gooey blob was being consumed by the magic fire and wizards cowered in their citadels and behind walls in their enchanted forests.

      Form from absolute nothingness: that was one of the greatest aspects of Chaos. From the blank arena at the start, ANYTHING could take shape. The late-game arena had always grown and evolved throughout play. It gave each match an individual narrative.

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  6. It's great that you're back, and working from your bedroom again. I look forward to Chaos Reborn.

    I am an old fan of all your games, and met you and your brother Nick one year at a World Computer Show when you were selling Laser Squad on the Amiga. Good days!

    One thing, please don't let this project go the same was as Laser Squad Nemesis. I really liked that game, and was disappointed when it ceased to exist. Was it the cost of the server and hosting it wasn't worth it? Anyway, that's the past. This new game is the future. I look forward to reading your blog over the months ahead.

    Good luck!

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    1. I echo your thoughts on LSN.

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    2. Ditto. LSN was *EPIC*, largely due to the turn based mode used: We-Go/simultaneous turn-based/asynchronous turn-based - call it what you want :)
      The biggest fail was the montly subscription pay-to-play model - this effectively killed the game :(

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    3. Let that be a lesson for publishers: we the gamers want to make a one off purchase and play the game for many years to come. We do not want yet another bill.

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  7. Does this mean that we will now be able to play multiplayer games over networks?

    Is there some way in which people can give you money now?

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    1. Yes, certainly network multiplayer. There is no way to give money now - it's a little bit early. I want to have a prototype ready before launching a funding campaign.

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  8. I'm glad to see you again on your own, doing your thing, instead of working for some random developer doing something you have to, without creative freedom.

    With the PC retail landscape currently pretty much fully digital, and with the easiness there is to publish something, or to fund something through pre-order programs or crowdfunding, this is the perfect time for a developer with the curriculum you have to strike on your own.

    Just promise me you won't take this newly re-found freedom to make crappy iOS or Facebook games, OK? :D
    Best of luck with your efforts, and count me on board of whatever you release.

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    1. Hey, don't insult iOS gaming by comparing it with Facebook gaming. :) Chaos, being turn-based, is perfect for tablets and phones; in fact, the original emulated version, available from Elite Systems, is very playable on my iPad.

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    2. ooh an ipad version of chaos would be fabulous. Maybe you should make it in html5, and then everyone could player it on just about any device if you published it with phonegap.

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  9. There are three ZX Spectrum games I still play regularly: Match Day II, Chaos and Laser Squad. You wrote two of them, so I can't thank you enough for all the fun times you've given me through the years.

    I think it's brilliant you're working on a Chaos remake and I agree 100% that it should be kept simple and chaotic. No hit points, no mana points, a bat can kill a golden dragon, etc. I would just recommend changing the part where you can get killed by lightning or a magic bolt without ever getting to play a single turn, since that is possibly a bit unfair to the player in question.

    Also, could you elucidate me on something? When I played Chaos with my brother, we noticed that computer wizards would sometimes disengage creatures from opponents by pressing "I" and then a direction other than the one the opponent was in. We tried it ourselves and realised that it sometimes worked, we could get away from opponents by pressing "I" and then another direction. Now this absolutely looks like a glitch, but because the computer did it too we could never be sure. 27 years later, could you confirm if it was indeed a glitch?

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    1. Definitely a glitch. I have no idea why it affects the AI as well.

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    2. Typical JG self-aware AI I reckon!

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    3. I knew this trick. It was a 'feature', like covering an illusion creature with a gooey blob to make it real. Pressing I for information and then movement would break contact. Useful for when your rat was trying to escape the unicorn.

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    4. Even more useful when you had a dragon stuck on a zombie. It was also funny when shadow wood trees would do it. Since they could not attack undead characters, they would sometimes press "I" and attack an empty space instead of not attacking at all.

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    5. Hmm, if this was a bug, doesn't it mean that the intention was that there would not be ANY way to disengage? If so, then what is the Manoeuvre Rating for? Or is the glitch simply that you had to do it from the creature information screen?

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    6. There wasn't supposed to be any way to disengage after you got the "ENGAGED TO ENEMY" message. The only way you could do it was by using the "I" glitch. What Manoeuvre Rating did was enable you to select your wizard/creature standing next to an opponent without getting the "ENGAGED TO ENEMY" message automatically, so that you could either attack or pull away from your opponent.

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  10. Great to see your blog start. I hope you enjoy working from home more than working for another company. :)

    Let me know if you want a chat about anything I added in Chaos Groove (UI stuff, etc..) Hope it proves useful!

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  11. I would like to leave here a suggestion. For single player games, why not have different AI personalities? Something I found fun in Final Fantasy Dissidia 012.

    AI types:
    Vicious, Valiant, Survivor, Calm, Conservative, Cautious, Extreme, Tactician, Random

    Good Luck on the remake.

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    1. Definitely a good idea. I will be spending a bit more time on the AI than I did with the original.

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  12. Fantastic news....

    You invented the multiplayer turn-based-arena-deathmatch genre, and now you will re-invent it.

    Chaos stands the test of time. I still play the game every year or so with my brothers and even sometimes with my parents. Its just a cool fun board game, without all the table-top mess - and it is random. The excitement of seeing your spell-list for the first time.

    The feeling of taking that leap of faith, not selecting an illusionary dragon, and trying to keep a straight face when "SPELL SUCCEEDS" appears on the screen in the hope that your opponents will waste a DISBELIEVE on it.

    The feeling of glee, as they waste their "DISBELIEVE" spell on your dragon when they should have been casting a MAGIC CASTLE.

    Its an awesome party game, unequaled by technology 1,000 times its superior.

    I'm glad you have your own strong ideas on how to proceed with Chaos, but could I suggest that you make a scripting language, and preceding a multiplayer match, share the rules of the games with all the clients. Doing this would enable players to not only play your vision of the game, but to create new versions of the game themselves.

    Spell ideas:

    'It' ... Cast on a creature, and all non-wizard-creatures are automatically attracted to that creature for x number of turns.

    'Frankenstein' ... Immensely powerful creature that you can utilize for a number of turns, before it becomes an NPC and turns on its creator.

    'Wind' ... Blow fire in a particular direction.

    'Succubus' ... Succubus has a ranged 'allure' attack. Male creatures (new attribute) with low romantic resilience will be 'enthralled' and drawn to the 'succubus'. A succubus will have 100% chance of killing an enthralled creature should they reach it. Attacking an enthralled creature will snap them out of it and make them immune to further alluration, but attacking may also kill that creature. A creature of the same wizard is permitted to attack their own creature but risk losing them should they win. Allured creatures are NPC until unthralled.

    'Tunnel' ... Create a passage between two tiles.

    'Doomsday' ... A wizard sets off a countdown to destroying the world and temporarily makes all other wizards allies in taking him/her down.

    'Quad' ... Double the horizontal and vertical tiles (easier with OpenGl than with the finite pixels on a Speccy).

    'Bog' ... creates tiles that consume double movement points for enemy creatures.

    'Ally' .... Whilst at least one other enemy wizard exists, forces a particular wizard to be allied to you (cannot attack). The alliance is broken when either wizard perishes or there are no other enemy wizards remaining.

    'Clone' ... Copies an enemy creature, if the enemy creature is an illusion, then the spell fails and the illusion is now real.

    ... and on and on and on...

    Balance is everything, and as you wrote in your blog, randomness is everything. Powerful spells need to be earned or granted infrequently at random. Powerful spells require some strategy of counter.

    I love this.

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    1. Some nice spell ideas there! I like the simple ones - bog, tunnel. Ally is interesting too - it changes the nature of the game in an interesting way - but what if there are multiple ally spells cast? I guess if you cast ally on another wizards ally, you have to steal that ally. We can't have all wizards being allied - unless that automatically ends the game in a draw. Doomsday is also interesting - but I am guessing the caster of the spell wins the game if the countdown succeeds?
      I won't have a scripting language, but all the game data should be accessible and tweakable.

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    2. 'Frankenstein' ... Immensely powerful creature that you can utilize for a number of turns, before it becomes an NPC and turns on its creator.

      A simpler version: the creature is an NPC from the start, moving towards and attacking the closest creature it sees. Naturally, it implies that a wizard doesn't have to cast it adjacently to him/herself.

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  13. Will you be implementing any of the improvements/additions from Lords? That fire can get awfully out of control without a Flood to calm it down... although that's part of the fun.

    Also, what about unfinished/unimplemented spells in the original? Magic Sleep and Blind seemed (in my mind) to make sense in the game. And Turmoil... don't change that at all.

    I'm still reeling from the news, so I'll just calm down. Chaos, Laser Squad, and Rebelstar have always been favourite games of mine, so a new Chaos created by the man himself can only be a good thing. Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll be great.

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    1. All spell ideas will be considered - old and new. I can't remember exactly how I intended sleep or blind to work, but they are certainly candidates for resurrection, so to speak.

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    2. If they are based loosely on old school D&D, sleep puts a random amount of hit dice of monsters to sleep but has an upper limit on the power of monster that can be affected (e.g. 2d6 hit dice, max hit dice of creature that can be affected 4+4, this varies from version to version). It's a fantastic spell, possibly the best 1st level spell there is.

      The Cause Blindness spell, on the other hand, in D&D, gives an enemy -4 to hit and enemies +4 to hit him and the monster is going to blunder about somewhat haphazardly.

      I'm betting it's a long time since you roleplayed ;-) White Dwarf used to publish D&D material in the early 80s, Chaos was once connected to Games Workshop, who published White Dward... for those here who may wonder at the connections.

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  14. Seeing the background to the blog made me want a Chaos T-shirt. Is there or can there be such a thing?

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    1. Nice idea. This is something for the future though.

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    2. yeah we'd all buy a chaos t-shirt if they were available. not sure you'd make enough money to code full time on it though.

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  15. Julian, I'd just like to say that like many others here I loved all your Spectrum games from Nebula onwards. But Chaos was the high water mark. It managed to achieve something no other game has done, get three generations of my family all huddled around a TV set playing for years. Even in the late 90s we'd dust off the old Spectrum 48k, plug it into the TV, and play a few rounds of Chaos at Christmas. The ability to pick the game up easily, and in our case have a single person at the helm controlling the game (we never used illusions), made such games possible.

    I'm not sure why Chaos has this allure about it, but I hope you can recapture that magical formula with this new one. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have try. Good luck!

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  16. My all time favourite Spectrum game. Will we see Gooey Blobs back in the game? Can't wait!

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    1. The Gooey Blob will definitely be included.

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  17. Mr. Gollop... As a relatively newcomer to the Spectrum scene, let me assure you that Chaos graphics aren't that poor in my eyes. I like the pixelated charm, simple and effective. I read that you're going for 3D graphics, in which case it must be pointed out that the graphics for the remake might risk to age faster than the timeless Spectrum graphics. Best of luck with the project though, I really hope it will turn out wonderful!

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  18. Firstly, this news has made my month, nay my year! I've always been a fan of your games, especially Lords of Chaos which I must have sunk many an hour into.

    I know I won't be popular saying this but I wasn't a huge fan of Chaos. I prefered its successor and Magic and Mayhem was also good fun. With regards the multiplayer - I thought Lords of Chaos did this well too, again I recall playing with 3 friends each taking it in turns and everyone else looking away from the screen. Great memories.

    I liked the idea of making it harder to make more powerful spells in LOC like getting a Dragon Herb and Couldron to summon a dragon for instance. I also liked the 'Undead' aspect of some summons, kinda like a rock, paper, scissors thing.

    Whilst I realise the draw to Chaos was its simplicity. Similarly, I thought LOC was simple to use but also had some depth to it (and randomness).

    The other obvious plus point of LOC was the use of terrain and its affect on movement - it'd be difficult for a Centaur to cross swamp for instance - more difficult than a Troll possibly. Also the use of obstacles and visibility. You couldn't see an enemy in a forest for instance - excellent for ambushing. Good strategies etc.

    I would be delighted to see any iteration of Chaos for you Julian and you have now made my year. Congrats!

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  19. As much as i enjoyed Chaos - Lords of Chaos was even better!

    Just saying... ;-)

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  20. Right on, bro. Thanks so much for X-Com. I played games on the ZX28 but don't remember if I played this one.

    The players who are driven by “fairness” and having “control” are the people who want their skill and ability to do everything right in the right order to be recognized and have their egos stroked.

    I’d rather have my skill and knowledge show in preparing for horrible things to happen. If there’s no risk there’s little emotional investment for me, and not much reward. Most console games and competitive multiplayer titles these days there’s no risk. They just cater to the players’ power fantasy. To hell with that.

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  21. Sad to say that I have never played Chaos, but did have (and still do!) Lords of Chaos on my Amstrad 6128 on disk. Really enjoyed it, so am chuffed to see that you are working on this update!

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  22. I cannot even begin to say how many hours I used to play this game, or how excited I am to see it reborn. I was a massive Laser Squad fan too. This is great news.

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  23. I want to say thank you for the countless hours of joy I've had with your games.

    When UFO first came out for my Amiga, I bought it day one. I was sixteen years old. Now I'm 34, and I still play it.

    Generations of console and home computer systems have come and gone, along with hundreds of hit and AAA games. UFO is still the one game game I would take to a desert island. It still is the game that has the power to pull me inside its world and forget about everything else like no other game I've played after it has ever done.

    Thank you for the joy, Julian!

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  24. Great news! Good ideas are scarce these days, so fingers crossed and wish you the best of luck!

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  25. This is some of the best gaming news in a long time.

    Chaos (along with Rebelstar, Laser Squad, Lords of Chaos) ate up much of my early gaming life.

    It's great that you're doing it off your own back without any publisher interference as well - it can only be the better for it.

    Good luck - I think you've got a lot of old Speccy users holding their collective breath for this one :)

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  26. Brilliant, I'm very happy that you are considering this. I had some much fun playing this on my spectrum, and play the emulated version on my iPad. I will certainly be looking forward to your work!

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  27. Can we ask that you keep the turmoil crashing bug? no other game has the same heart stopping tension that you experience when you see an AI player cast turmoil. Each second of silence while the screen flashes makes you hold your breath, before you breath a quick sigh of
    relief at hearing the pzzzzzzzzzt-kschow of the piece moving successfully. Repeated until either the spell succeeds (yeeyyyyy), or the game crashes (aahhhhhh).

    As for the problem of flying eagles (which we never found to be a big problem when we played), just make them highly lawful and quite hard to cast like golden dragons. Or maybe your could have a 'flying' state, so when a flying creature is cast, it's initially on the ground and must spend a turn moving from grounded to flying. Then you can make it so that flying creatures can only be attacked by ranged weapons or other flying creatures, and cant attack ground creatures if flying (unless it also has a ranged weapon). If a flying creature wants to attack a ground target, it must spend a turn moving from flying to grounded state. You could then assign different movement rates for flying and grounded.

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  28. Wonderfull. Synchros of the past days got me excited about being granted a role in creating this type of game. Amazed how your ideas here show how it may be in works already in collective unconscious (/something greater above my reality tunnel). Ideas flowing, feat. mixed emotions. How dynamic are turns? Great thanks to you all =)

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  29. Have you considered developing this for the Wii U? Surely it would be a perfect fit - solves the problem of your friends being able to see whether your spells were illusions and everyone can see the game on the big screen while ppl select.

    Also, if your looking for timeless graphics in 3D, the likes of Warcraft 3 have a great style that never looks old

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  30. So keen. Have never played chaos but xcom is one of the very few games that I still play over a decade after release. Really interested to see what the mind behind that masterpiece will do with this.

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  31. Julian Hi

    As one of those veteran gamers who started with rebelstar raiders, chaos, rebelstar and the fabulous X-Com games (still playing TFTD on Steam) it's wonderful news to hear that you are remaking one of my all time faves, the aforementioned Chaos, brings back happy memories of MANY hours crowded around an overheating spectrum trying to remember which exact gooey blob held the monster :)
    Good luck to you and i will watch developments with interest

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  32. Hi Julian,
    I have loved this game for 27 years,i bought the Games workshop(whatever happened to them lol)version,and still consider this one of my top 5 games ever(up there with Sensible soccer,uncharted,doom and,ahem...xcom),i have often thought that this game would work awesomely on Xbox live,but i can see your point vis a vis cost,have you considered releasing it on the indie games slot on xbox,it would be cheaper for yourself and for the fans,and i think you would have a little hit on your hands.Also nice to see firaxis did a solid job with the new xcom,not flawless but one cant have it all eh?Now i need to chase up Mike singleton for a remake of Lords of midnight............

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    1. Didn't he already remake that with 'Doomdark's revenge' or something similar? I seem to remember something like that, anyway ;-)

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    2. Sadly, Mike Singleton died recently, so you will have a tough job convincing him to remake The Lords of Midnight. I believe he was working on an updated iOS version, which may still see the light of day, plus a 3rd game in the series, which might not.
      The cost of licensing Unity for Xbox is one of the prohibitive costs, but I will investigate the possibilities.

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    3. Sad to hear about Mike Singleton,hes a legend in my eyes for that game alone,Doomdarks was a follow up and slightly inferior in my opinion.
      As for costs on the XBox indie front,couldnt you do a kickstarter appeal,i think this would be a good way to involve the fans as well,and i know i would certainly contribute,as strategy games of this type are sadly lacking on the xbox,and if it was a success,maybe you could make a rabid fan happy and go for Rebelstar next?Anyhow,cheers for responding Julian,you are a gent.

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  33. Hey Julian,

    Really happy to hear that you're developing Chaos Reborn, I just found my way here randomly after playing one of those many remakes. I've been a fan of Chaos since those heady days of the Your Sinclair cover tape (which I think I've still got). I think one of the best aspects for us was that gambled you had to take around whether the make real or illusionary versions of the more difficult creatures to cast... and whether to do it quickly and try take out a near by opponent, or wait and hope for a more law/chaos orientated world.

    Anyway my two pence worth if you're looking for ideas; What about adding some form of Mission Editor if you're going down the mission based line of Lords of Chaos? I really got into the single player quests, but always wished that there were more available. (Likewise with Laser Squad)

    Actually, a quick question too if you can remember so far back; Were the squad names from Laser Squad random, or based on people you knew? And for that matter how about old Sterner Regnix?

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  34. I played Chaos only shortly, but Lord of Chaos is one my all-time favorite. I wait to play this reborn chaos thing, yet what I really wish to see is new LOC someday (not Magic and Mayhem, which was a good sport though). It is good thing to have some quest like finding keys for magic chest to get slayer, that you look for while competing against rival wizards. To choose spells with which you can survive in different arenas/levels is also interesting.

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  35. Is there any chance you can do a remake/reboot/revamp of the XCOM series after you finished with CHAOS? :)

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  36. Excellent news!

    I spent *so* much time playing Chaos. Every few years I get nostalgic and play it for a while...even thought about coding my own. What a treat to hear that you're writing a follow-up.

    Thanks for so many fun-filled hours...and fond memories!

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  37. Hi Julian,
    I for one can't wait for Chaos Reborn. My friends and I lost large chunks of our summer school holidays playing Chaos in the late 80s. The randomness is a fundamental aspect of the game, making it a game that I still come back to 25 years later. I was chuffed to find Richard Quirk's Android version recently. I am now able to play Chaos on my tablet - which I do most days - and without the 5 minute wait for the tape to load!
    In my opinion Chaos is the greatest game ever written. Perhaps game designers today should take note - eye candy and special effects don't make a great game. The balance of strategy and the fact that no two games are ever the same make Chaos great. How many other games from the mid 80s are still played on a regular basis by an army of fans? Chaos remains while many games from last year lie forgotten.

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  38. The biggest compliment I can pay is to say is if there was an android version (Amazon market) I would buy at once. If you do produce a new version then if you could offer a retro (true to specky) version/mode just in case you get carried away and try to hard with the new version. Playing the computer was always great fun and would work as well as the multiplayer option.

    If you need nay testers then I would be happy to assist on any platform I have available.

    Thanks for all the smiles over the years
    Kind regards
    Kit

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    Replies
    1. PS Always loved it when you pulled of along shot on a low percentage golden Dragon and then everyone tried to disbelieve. Epic game and still have a copy with an emulator.
      Kit

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  39. Can't wait - always loved the fact that you started with a blank map and the map would grow and appear as the game went on - similar to boardgame Hive

    Where do I sign-up for Beta Testing?

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  40. Chaos : The Battle of Wizards was, and still is, the best game to play with friends on the ZX Spectrum.

    Trying to hide your hands on the keyboard so they couldn't see if you pressed Y or N for Illusion? Being the last player to choose a spell and casting an illusion dragon, that was fun.

    Blank playing area always at the beginning, it fills up really quickly with gooey blobs, walls, magic woods, shadow woods, and then theres always the highly elusive Turmoil spell.....

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  41. playing Chaos as a teenager in the 80's has a lot to answer for, namely my addiction to gaming and fantasy. All of this answering too is tongue in cheek ofc, and I adored the game. Recently 2 of my fellow gaming junkies had a LAn party where we got round to trying to pin down the best game we ever played. We eventually decided it was too difficult to summarize over 3 decades So split our answer into 3, 80's 90's 2000 onwards. Without exception we all chose Chaos as our top 80's game. The tales of magical battle are too numerous and varied to pen out here, but suffice to say mindblowing in the random complexity of Battle. This is leading to me to my final point, I have always wondered why this wasn'ty reworked for a modern generation PC, and I am very glad to see that it looks like it may well arrive one day. However I am so inspired to revisit Chaos, and keen to see it in action, that I have started coding myself (First time since BBC B basic). I am trying a chaos related game myself. Wish me luck and I hope I can assemble even half the measure of game that was then, in the modern age. the sole aim really is to play it myself and with my Friday night, w 2 LAN party life long friends and achknowledged game junkies. I have as a back-up plan this news of the remake by the original designer and that is going to send me to bed with a smile and sparkle in my eyes..lol

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  42. I can't wait to play this game. I hardly ever buy games, but you could easily get me to pay $10 for this game on my iPhone; yes, it has that much power over me.

    Like many people here, I have some suggestions. They're not very serious, just some fun ideas I had.
    Belief: spell that makes illusions real
    Attrition: powerful offensive spell that is also harmful to the caster
    Fairy: creature that heals the caster or other creatures instead of attacking

    I also loved the ideas Tunnel, Bog, and Clone from a much earlier post by Chris.

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  43. If I had ONE wish within the gaming world it would be that Julian Gollop remake Chaos... Most likely my favourite game of all time, remade with nowadays technology by the same guy that managed to inject the magic in the first place. Can't wait!!

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