Hale RPG

This post would be slightly longish post about an RPG game called Hale

Hi all,
If you have been reading this blog for sometime you would have realized that the writer has a thing or two about RPG’s. While defining RPG as a genre is hard, here goes nothing. In Role-Playing Games where you start from being the poorest of people, person and then gradually become the most powerful (levelling up, gaining xp) and take all sorts of challenges and quests and usually set in fantasy or medieval setting.While the game developer is free to change or implement some of these or more things one could arguably call a game which has the above elements an RPG game.

First of all let’s get the obvious things out of the way, Hale can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/hale/ and the wiki and issue/bug tracker can be found at the same site.

Now the project is being by a lone developer called grokmoo and uses subversion on sourceforge.net. One can find the compilation instructions as shared by me on the site itself. As they say a picture says a thousand words so let’s have a go at that for starters.

Hale svn screenshot

Well, the game by itself is right now in its infancy even though it might bill itself as a beta. There are just couple of side-quests and there are a few bugs.What I have found about the game a little peculiar is that the game save files are in non-free binary format for which I opened up a bug. Hence when you run on bugs like this one has no idea what to do. I remember FLARE (whom I hope to review some other time) and Dawn-rpg, the code of both incidentally is now hosted on github.I do like both the games because the savefile formats are open. It makes it easier to figure out things in one way.

Anyways, apart from that the other thing which I hated or would like to see better is a way to keep track of the graphics which it uses from opengameart.org. I am instantly reminded of Dawn RPG’s two files, the AssetsLicenseInventory.txt and Assetscheck.sh , the .txt file giving name and credit to resources or/and people from whom the contribution was taken and Assetscheck.sh which would check if any graphic had some explanation or not in Assetscheck.sh, something similar would go a long way in opening this game a bit more.

~/games/dawn-rpg$ ls Assets*
AssetsCheck.sh AssetsLicenceInventory.txt

There are also issues of the game not checking so that there are no characters from the same field. You could have two Elf’s, both being rogues or adept or whatever and the game would not bring it your notice.

Right now the game suffers from underexposure and no other developer. For single developers finding time and motivation can be challenging but we live in hope. Even though it is early days yet, the game does have few surprises, already to its credit and more are in the offing.

In other news, SDL 1.3 came up in the Debian world .

$ aptitude show libsdl-1.3-0
Package: libsdl-1.3-0
State: installed
Automatically installed: no
Version: 1.3.0~20111204-1
Priority: optional
Section: libs
Maintainer: Debian SDL packages maintainers
Uncompressed Size: 887 k
Depends: libasound2 (>, libc6 (>= 2.12), libdirectfb-1.2-9, libpulse0 (>= 0.99.1), libx11-6, libxcursor1 (>
1.1.2), libxext6, libxi6, libxinerama1, libxrandr2 (>= 4.3), libxxf86vm1
Description: Simple DirectMedia Layer
SDL is a library that allows programs portable low-level access to a video framebuffer, audio output, mouse, and

This version of SDL is compiled with X11, caca and DirectFB graphics drivers and OSS, ALSA, NAS and PulseAudio sound
Homepage: http://www.libsdl.org/

As can be seen on the homepage, the roadmap still has some to-do things yet and people are talking about June 2012 as when it would be ready. What would be interesting to know if libsdl gets a freeze exception during Wheezy freeze or not and how quickly do other games update their code to be compatible with libsdl1.3 and maybe use some of the features as given on the roadmap.

That’s all for now, Happy gaming 😛

5 thoughts on “Hale RPG

  1. @Redshirke – do agree that it was on oversight on Grokmoo’s part. As I was involved in the project (more as a QA and talking board) I did ask him to make sure that the credits are there. Unfortunately, as it happens in such hobbyist projects both me and Grokmoo had to part ways because there were some bugs that he wasn’t able to solve and there was not much else to do/explore in the game.

    It is still very much in a recoverable state as the last code was written in the middle of last year so hopefully not much of bitrot might have set in. I am not sure how much he was able to use SDL 2.0 but then it’s a single-person project.

    For the github move he tried but then came back and used sourceforge.net . Github is good only when you have an active participation .

    See https://github.com/Grokmoo/Hale

  2. The point with number 3 is if you do a detailed listing of the contributors then getting it in various GNU/Linux distributions would be far far easier. Apart from that if you have something like that then it is also easier for people to know and use the art, the art assets or/and be able to connect with the upstream author if they want it rendered differently or whatever. Lots of things.

  3. Hi Shirish,

    Thanks for your post and the extra exposure it brings.

    I would like to make a defense of some of the points you have listed here:

    (1) Although I agree the actual game content is in its infancy, the overall game is not. In fact, I consider the engine to definitely be in “beta” status at this point, as it is nearly feature complete, at least for my purposes. There is also an included editor which is in at least alpha status.

    (2) I do not agree with the characterization of the game files as “non free”. They are in a fully cross platform, cross JVM format (the Java binary class file format). This has a lot of advantages, but does have the primary disadvantage of being not human readable. That being said, I’m not sure why you would want to edit a save file. There is an in game console for “cheats” or similar things you might want to do. Also, all of the actual content files are open and easily editable.

    (3) Keeping track of the graphics contributors at a very detailed level is a good idea, but not one I thought of when first starting out. Also, most of the graphics are contained in sprite sheets and are drawn from many sources, so it is not necessarily an easy thing to do. In any event, all of the authors are listed in the contributors text file.

    (4) The game does not currently warn you if you are trying to play with an unbalanced party, as you said. It isn’t a bad idea for a new feature. However, the market for this game is definitely those who are at least a bit familiar with some basic RPG conventions, so I don’t think it will be a problem in practice.

    Anyway, thanks for your continued help with the project.

    1. It would have been polite to let artists (like me, Redshrike) know that you were using our graphics. I only came across the Git by blind luck several years late. You have no legal obligation to do so, but it’s important for artists to know this stuff. One reason I haven’t focused on my RPG enemy set in the past year or more is that there was very little apparent interest.

      1. I’m the developer on hale. I’ve had occasional help from others (especially Shirish), but it is pretty much a one person project.

        My apologies for not letting you know about using your art. I was lax during the early stages of development when I was just grabbing whatever open source assets I could find; and did not reach out to many of the artists whose art is used in hale.

        I’m not currently actively working on hale but I am still planning on coming back to it within the foreseeable future. Right now life is just a bit to busy for me.

        When I do get back to things I will probably move things over to github or another site due to the issues these days with sourceforge. I am using LWJGL and will also update to the latest version of that (the project doesn’t use SDL). The next big feature planned is procedurally generated maps. I agree with Shirish that better attribution (on a file by file basis) would be a good idea so that is another thing to work on.

        I would certainly be happy to see new art from you along the lines of your current stuff, and would definitely take a look at using it in the future. I don’t have any firm plans at this point that will require new art, though.

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