An immersive adventure game set on the faces of a six-sided die (real-time, web, text and command mmorpg)
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Tale is intended to be an immersive, quirky, humerous, text-based, multi-player adventure game set on the faces of a six-sided die and played in a web browser.

Thematically, Tale takes place in a fantasy world that combines magical medi-aeval Fairae with certain Viking motifs and smashes them up against a premature mechanical Victorian era inhabited by creatures that might have evolved from the seminal cyan-haired creatures from Lemmings. On an unrelated note, I have never taken drugs; close friends tell me I do not need to.

In terms of Gameplay, Tale is intended to borrow from Zork/Adventure and MUDs room exploration and melee; the original Zelda for top-down perspective tactics, strategy, and world exploration; and Final Fantasy for magic and combat. Or something completely unlike those things since I have never excelled at any of those games and have no idea what I am talking about.

The Tale world is called Dya, and is like a single six sided Die, or 1D6 in the Nerd parlance. Each face of the die corresponds with various factions and alliances, political motivations, character alignment, key signatures, dominant forms of life, biomes, and pedigrees. Euia, Occia, Borea, Austra, Oria, and Dysia are the names of each face from 6 down to 1 vaguely from nice down to quite naughty.

In terms of Music, Chris Pasillas has scored and is responsible for rendering theme music for each face of the world. The Euian anthem with which the game begins was originally scored for a church event DVD in San Luis Obispo when we were in college called "Getting on the Bus". It is our intent that it will get stuck in your head, that you will occasionally wake up and sing it in the shower to shake your spirit out and make you ready for just about any adventure. Bring it.

In terms of art, Tale is drawn in Inkscape. I do my own stunts. Honestly, you can do them if you want. In any case, Inkscape saves vector graphics to Scalable Vector Graphics format, which in turn is a well-formed XML language. Much of the Tale art is programmable; its layers can be permuted, sorted, and transformed. Particularly, the avatar, rider, and ride graphic contain hundreds of layers for visualizing various combinations of equipment, character gender, and breeds of mount from equine to piscene. The vessel graphic has layers ranging from boat to warship with three styles of sail plans and can be refit for zeppelin and rocket plane modes. I plan to do something similar for castles. There are plates of individual trees and giant mushrooms that include boundary boxes and pathing squares to assist in programmatically composing them into scenes.

Technologically, Tale is a Python-based game engine built on the Twisted asynchronous event-driven IO system. Presently, Tale is designed to run through a LigHTTPd daemon that hosts static content and serves as an HTTP proxy for the underlying Tale game engine daemon that both manages the world and persistent session state for all connected users. The Tale daemon communicates with the web browser over either push or pull messaging (the design is flexible in acommodating either strategy, whichever works best). If NodeJS matures and V8 implements ECMAScript 5, abandoning Python and its handy generators in favor of a securely user-customizable engine built entirely in JavaScript might be persuable for some components. Components that do not need events or persistent state, like the game Wiki and graphics generators will probably be managed with FastCGI and possibly Django. Give unto Dyo that which belongs to Dyo.

If Tale is to scale to become massively multi-player, it is intended that the game engine should grow to run on multiple hosts, permitting a single game instance to be played by a large number of players. This would be accomplished by distributing the nodes of the world tree and balancing the scope that each node is responsible for managing based on player activity. Ryan Witt and I have an inkling of using the Chord algorithm directly for running various distributed hash tables across the nodes of the world server.

The Tale world tree is a single root with six children (one for each die-face), where each face is divided into six tiles (one for each pip), and each pip is divided recusrively into quadrants (a quad-tree) to the finest granularily room (axiomatically having the length and width of exactly one room). Events and Objects move and propagate in and out of rooms to larger and smaller rooms, but not directly across adjacent rooms of the same size. This permits certain optimizations, the authoring of simple map/reduce style event propagation and physics simulations, and flushes well with Zelda-like room to room movement.


  • Twisted Python (python-twisted)
  • LigHTTPd (lighttpd)
  • Python simplejson
  • Chiron installed in www/chiron
  • git submodule update grabs Python on Planes