Category Archives: Return to the Roots

Improving Charburner for Babylonians

Charburner is a unique addition in Return to the Roots. There was an existing old artwork for the building:

So I went ahead and improved it step-by-step, using the Storehouse wall and roof style:

The original graphic kind of works as an example of what happens when you try to have too much detail: it becomes so busy you can no longer tell what you can see. I simplified the building to the Storehouse style as it was a successful one and removed some roughness by using more colors of the palette. The building’s color is no longer too close to the wheat’s color so that makes it easier to distinguish the elements. As the roof is much lighter you can see the darker elements on the roof. I used some shading and shadowing techniques to make the pick-axe more visible. I also removed handles from the water buckets to reduce detail that didn’t matter.

If nothing else I hope this kind of postings give inspiration for someone to start learning pixelart.

Map header’s last unknown byte now known!

Earlier all documentation has stated one unknown byte in a map file header that is between player HQ locations and leaders. I now know the meaning of this byte: Map Editor sets it to 1 if the map is invalid, in it’s terms meaning there are no players set. The game reads this byte when selecting a map in Unlimited Play and ranks the map as Invalid Map. It however also shows map title and size.

I noticed this just a moment ago after having a look those demo maps that I made. I used Map Editor to generate a map of correct size, title and author information and then manually pasted the bytes with a hex editor. Only now I paid attention to what header content the maps had when I just happened to open them in a hex editor.

Because this byte is used like this I throw a recommendation that any map that works exclusively for RttR should set this byte to 0x02. This prevents users of the original game from trying to play the map file. Any non-zero value in this byte prevents the map from loading in Unlimited Play.

RttR Campaign

I put some thoughts for creating a Return to the Roots Campaign. The first five missions would be made to work on original game so there would be things to do that can be experienced. There is no campaign support in RttR at the moment.

One idea that I forgot to put on that forum post is that I’d like to see a mission which has multiple goals and where player could end up playing just one of three possible next missions. So there wouldn’t just be 10 missions but instead the player would end up playing a different path. This would give more value to the player as there could be multiple endings. Maybe the player could choose from being good or evil by his actions in the missions…

Return to the Roots has a new domain!

Originally known as Die Siedler 2.5, now Return to the Roots, has a new short’n’sweet domain: rttr.info. This is a good road for the previously closed source German only project, now open source, to become friendly for the international audience ­čÖé

A question for all the readers: should RttR have monthly multiplayer activity in a single day? The idea in this is that you’d know for sure that one date when you can certainly find other players to play with, as this may be hard at times. Tell me what you think!

Where is the international community?

One of the things that I think is surprisingly missing is the international community for the classic Settlers games, meaning the first two games in the series. These were very different from the games that followed, The Settlers III abandoning the core road feature and everything going pretty much in the way I didn’t want things to go based on the first two games (and in my case especially the second game).

What I think is causing this is the small gap in the early years of 2000 that there was only Widelands. There was no S2 modding community, there was no open source project like Return to the Roots that would have kept things alive for it in the international scene. Transport Tycoon Deluxe, released around the same time, did have it’s community following since the late 90’s thanks to TTDPatch constantly providing new features and improvements to the game, later OpenTTD taking over and now we have a fully open source clone of TTD. And I think the same should happen with The Settlers II.

So here I am, finally adding a community support on this site. It has actually been there for a few days now, but I first wanted to get familiar with how it works and if it brings the useful features. It didn’t bring everything first, so I fixed things a bit, adding support for forum uploads for an example. As a design change was also forced I ended up again sorting the pages into new locations and now the menu should be quite nice and easy to follow.

I also included Return to the Roots content on this site. RttR is a bit interesting beast, technically it is very nice, but my personal feelings about their site are not strongly on the positive side. It looks too old school, it is based on custom page engine and it still prioritizes German language over English on many parts of the site. There have been some improvements but things such as appearance in Google aren’t things that are going to get fixed anytime soon (you can see the link, but no title, description etc.). This site instead appears on Google in it’s full glory and is ranked quite well.