Magical Renaissance

December 2014-July 2017

Magical Renaissance is a work-in-progress mobile game app
inspired by Italian painting and cultural history of the 14th century.

※ All game screenshots show actual footage of the prototype ※

Conception

The player takes control of a 14th century Italian city state, striving for prosperity while battling over hegemony with a rival state. The game is over if one of the princes is killed in battle or one state is bankrupt and can be pocketed by the other.

The two-player game is inspired by large-scale 4X strategy classics, but aims to break them down to a more dynamic and casual format. Also bringing in game mechanics of collectible card games, Magical Renaissance combines much-loved strategy genres in a unique mixture.

Artwork

Unlike many other takes on a medieval game setting, Magical Renaissance focuses greatly on the authentic yet playful representation of a specific period in the history of art: The quiescent late medieval aesthetics of the Italian Trecento.

All textures, 2D sprites and citizen portraits are assembled and composed from major works e.g. by Giotto di Bondone or the Sienese painter school with the aim of maintaining the richly textured and painterly feel of the originals.

Gameplay I: Boards and Units

Magical Renaissance reduces the isometric worlds of the 4X genre to two 3×3 boards per player. Citizens are rearranged between working in the city (left screen), where they create wealth, material and cultural goods, or serving in the army (right screen) to protect their prince and fend off enemy forces, marauders and feral wildlife.

Unlike in many other games, new units are not trained in buildings. Instead, peasants join the city every other turn and can be equipped with an item and a class designator, modifying their work potential and combat abilities

Gameplay II: Buildings

City development and the obligatory technology tree of the 4X genre are replaced by a novel feature in which the player has to select from a list of city structures before the match, similar to the deck-building mechanics of collectible card games.

Each buildings has distinct functions and belongs to one of three color-coded branches (Military, Culture/Spirituality, Infrastructural/Engineering), creating a great number of possible combinations for build orders and activity curves.

Balancing Testing & AI Basics

For fine-tuning the game rules and balance, I am working on a testing site, where skirmishes can easily be orchestrated and reproduced. I envision an AI system in which the battle is “forked” over an AI decision and the branches played through to a certain extent, enabling the computer to decide on the move with the most favorable outcome.

Finally, battle results are exported to XML files, enabling further potential for statistical analysis.

Development

All programming is done in the C# language using the Unity3D development platform.

In 2016, I presented my idea and an interactive prototype at Talk & Play #17 hosted by BerlinGameScene.com.