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Interview: The Tangut Prophecy


The Tangut Prophecy is a FOnline Engine based singleplayer role-playing game set in ancient China. The game looks very promising so far and CrazyLoon took the time to answer a few of our questions about it. Additionally, he also provided a bunch of new screenshots too, so make sure to check them out!

1. What can you tell us about The Tangut Prophecy? How many people are working on the game and what's the current status?
The Tangut Prophecy is the game that I've been working on for the past almost 3 years. It is a FOnline based, historical fiction singleplayer RPG set in XII Century China. The game covers the small evenlope of peace time, about 40 years long, starting in 1167, between 3 historical Chinese nations: the Western Xia of the Tanguts, the Jin of the Jurchens, and the Song of the Hans. We seek to bring the harsh reality of medieval China, along with a focus on player choices and story telling, to the singleplayer experience. The game will be available for download, free of charge, when finished.

I'm the only official, committed member as of today. It pretty much has been this way ever since the inception of the game. It's almost like a full time job for me. I work on everything: Writing, scripting, graphics, mechanics, you name it. So if you see something crappy, feel free to blame it all on me. I do receive help from other people occasionally. A friend of mine for example, who is a professional working in a major Taiwanese company, lends a hand on the graphics from time to time. I also received some help on animating the horses and other animals in the game. Just things like that in general.

As for the game's current development status, it is going okay. There is still a lot to do. I don't want to put a timer on myself; I have seen enough games being ruined by inadequate development time. Who knows what we would've gotten had Troika spent 6 more months on Arcanum before it was released. Anyway, I'm looking at 2014/2015, not promising anything. Speaking of which, I'm also looking to recruit 10-15 beta testers once the game is ready to enter the testing phase. More details on that coming soon.

2. How historically accurate is this game going to be? Is it possible for the player to meet prominent personae like the emperor Huizong of Song?
The setting is going to be very accurate. Many aspects of the setting, like the government policies at the time, the effects of past wars and events, the effects of Han culturism versus native nomadic lifestyle of Tanguts and Juchens, mystics and spirits, the feudal ladder, all will be reflected by NPCs and quests throughout the course of the game.

As for meeting the Song Emperor, specifically, no. As a matter of fact, you will not be able to meet any of the reigning emperor of any state in the game.

3. Will the game use a stats and skill system similar to Fallout 1/2 or are you going to change it from the bottom up?
It uses same system. The only change is that some attributes govern different aspects of your character than the original Fallouts. The attributes will weigh a lot more evenly in terms of importance.

4. Do we get only one character to control or is it going to be possible to traverse 12th century China in a group too? If so, what's the group size limit?
You can get up to 5 companions.

5. You've been talking about a mounted combat and even posted a rendered image of a man sitting on a horse. Will the player be able to ride and fight on horses as well?
Yes, but the option to mount is only available in certain larger scale skirmishes. The player and regular NPCs are all dismounted by default: In towns, interiors, and basic combat. Outside of that, horses and camels are used for transportation purposes, kind of like the car seen in Fallout 2.

More details on the actual purpose and usage and the mechanics of mounts will be revealed in the future.

6. In your game announcement, you've mentioned quests with multiple branches and consequences. Could you provide us with an example of such a quest?
Ah, no I'm going to spoil anything, hehe. Although, before I do that, I would like to make one point perfectly clear. Yes, with this game, I do focus on giving players choices and multiple solutions to their obstacles, but linear questing is not inherently bad. One of the most memorable RPG quests of all time, for me personally, is the half ogre conspiracy in Arcanum, of which we all know, was a very linear quest from start to finish. That alone, I think, shows that linear questing does work.

Okay, now here's an example. I touched on it a little bit on RPGCodex, might as well expand on it more elaborately here:

Hired as one of the caravan guards, you are traveling with the caravan to reach another city. (Working as a guard is only one of the many choices to enter the caravan. There are also other paths besides using the caravan. Let's skip the build up and focus on the caravan part only) Your pay only comes if you travel with the caravan the entire trip and arrive at the destination together. (Currency is quite limited in the game, and you cannot farm for infinite amount of gold or equipment) As you trend under the scorching sun, one of the travelers' horse dies. He continues to march on on foot, struggling to keep up with the rest of the band. Eventually, he stumbles and falls. As the caravan leaves him behind, and with the ever rising heat of the desert, his death seems inevitable. (There is a paced build up, characterisation and dialogues before these events, as well as reactions from your fellow travelers) Let's explore several of the available options when dealing with this quest:

A. You sacrifice yourself and give your horse to him. This is what one would consider the default, selfless, goody two shoes option. In The Tangut Prophecy, don't expect that extra XP and reward, and more often than not, it will end up hurting you, a lot. This choice opens up several other options/outcomes. Let's look at a few of them:
1. He rides away and leaves you behind. Now you have to figure out a way to get out, which opens up new options and a couple of new quests that are only accessible if you are left behind. You will most likely die there though.
2. Your selflessness/foolishness touches him. He feels guilty and kills himself, leaving you your horse. Which of these outcomes you get ties back into the build up. This opens up certain branches.

I want to add also, extreme values of Luck makes the game very very wacky and comical. I'll just leave it at that. This opens up other branches too.

B. Acquire a horse.
1. You buy one from the caravan master. There are different ways to buy it, depending on your character. From paying out of your own pocket, to pooling, to getting one for free, to trading your pay, and such.
2. You steal one. Now of course the caravan master will recognise that horse. So you can either have that poor guy take the risk, or you swap horses and you take the risk. This can again open up other branches, and can also result in #2 of Option A. You can even give him the horse and then turn him in behind his back.

C. Another option you have is sharing your horse with him. You travel in half speed and put your pay at risk.
1. You both arrive in safety but you lose your pay.
2. Same as #2 in Option A.

D. Ignore him and leave with the rest of the caravan. Again opens up other branches.

As you can see, some of these options result in the same/similar consequences, while some of them lead to completely different paths. Of these different paths, the same thing repeats. It all depends on what you do at different points. There are other additional choices to solve this quest that I didn't list. I don't want to give too much spoilers and reveal the context and what exactly the branches open up to, but you get the idea.

7. To what extent will you force the combat in your game? Are we going to fight relatively often or is it maybe a secondary aspect of the gameplay?
Not relatively often, but still a major aspect of gameplay, if that makes sense.

8. The Tangut Prophecy has been developed using the FOnline engine as a base - did you consider implementation of a coop-mode for two or more players?
Nope, never even crossed my mind. The Tangut Prophecy is a text heavy singleplayer RPG with turn based combat. I just don't think that would translate well into a cooperative experience.

9. To get to the end: What is the most significant technical problem or limitation you had to face during the development using the FOnline engine?
I knew what I was getting myself into, so the technical limitations, so to speak, didn't really bother me. Most of them have a workaround. Like for instance, character creation is hardcoded, but you can easily do something simple like a forced dialogue sequence to work around that. Seriously, the single most significant limitation, more often than not, is me and my lack of mastery with angel script.

10. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. The screenshots you have shown so far are pretty good looking and we are tensed to see the finished game. If you'd like to add something, you have the last word!
I would like to thank Lexx of The Rotators team. Thank you for the opportunity. Folks out there that are interested, feel free to check out the game's MODDB page and the main discussion thread here on FODEV. We're working very hard everyday to bring you the game. The game is coming soon.


Wow just wow, I never thought about seeing something like this. I can't wait for it!! It would be cool to have multiplayer too!!

btw, finally someone makes a single player mod! +1 to that

John Porno:
nice job with the interview, interesting game.

Couldn't help but wonder if he knows the true meaning behind "soon", though.

Good to see this is still alive, when I first read about this I was surprised to see something that was made using FOnline engine that didn't have anything to do with Fallout except for basic stat system. Glad to hear the engine limitations don't bother you, too. Good luck with it, CrazyLoon.

Yeah, it is refreshing to see a game on the engine that does not look like a Fallout MMO again. I hope to see more of such projects in the future.


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