: : : : : The I of the Dragon

Background

Nice People

Once upon a time there was a problem. Most stories nowadays seem to start with "once upon a time" but very few authors are ready to admit that everything starts with a problem. Imagine a world you would like to live in: lush green hills, dense but alive forests, breathtaking mountain ranges, unbelievable sunsets and romantic nights full of stars. Fill this idyllic place with a few prospering towns full of nice people. Now guess how long a world like this could manage without developing a problem? Well, this one set a new record: 642 years.

There were omens, of course. Two-headed simoran calf born from a perfectly normal simoran cow, green sunset for two days in a row, multiple sightings of unknown beasts in the wild... Do you really think anyone paid them any attention? Nice people never do it until it's too late. The only good part in being nice is always having some undefeatable noble hero to protect you in case a problem arises. Just be ready with a beautiful maiden to please him and you're all set...

Unfortunately, in this case it didn't work: heroes mounted their roadrunners and loped away looking for glory, maidens waved them goodbye and never seen them again. In a few years, when whole cities were never heard of for a while, even very nice people started to notice that something seems to be a bit wrong.

There is a second line of defence for the nice people. No one expects you to go out and fight if you can pay your taxes, send a son or two to the army and properly bribe a town chief. Armies were gathered, sent and, as the gentle reader has already guessed, promptly disappeared. A few survivors managed to get back and describe the nature of the problem. Monsters, hordes and hordes of them. You know, usual mix of wild bloodthirsty beasts bent on destruction. Let's not go into details yet, just say that it didn't make life any easier. Knowing that you've done your best and it wasn't enough is not much easier to handle than knowing that you didn't do anyhing.

Magic To The Rescue

Luck seems to always side with the nice people, just as heroes usually do. In this case luck ensured that a whole order of mages who called themselves Unkh-Agorites lived and helped people of our beautiful world. No one seemed to remember when it was established and what gods it served. Most people assumed that their local deity is called Unkh-Agor but no one seemed to know what it ought to look like and what kind of gifts it would like to get, so most men just used proper forms of speech ("In the name of Unkh-Agor get out of my tavern!", "I swear by Unkh-Agor I've seen it with my own eyes!") and hoped for the best.

Only mages really knew what their religion was about. Well, at least the High Council - you just can't expect the same level of knowledge from a simple village boy who learned only a couple of spells to control his magic rug and tame wild beasts...

In fact, Unkh-Agor was not a god, not even a man. He was a dragon, the last dragon. Most of the mighty protectors have flown away to pursue their own ways (it's another long story, let's just say that there is a limit even for dragon's forbearance and humans, especially very nice ones, are not the best neighbors in the Universe). Only one of them remained for a while: Unkh-Agor. One day he has flown away too but left a prophecy that one day dragons will be needed again and humans will have to pay for their cruelty.

Unkh-Agorites wrote down this prophecy in their chronicles and promptly forgot about it - after all, they were humans too. Only now, when the predicted catastrophe finally started, they decided to do something about it.

There was a part of the prophecy that told about arch-nemesis called Scharborr who was powerful enough to turn even dragons into his evil slaves. There was a long and involved story about immense battle that dragons fought against him, about mountains burnt to the ground with the dragons' fire breath, immense earthquakes, volcanoes and a lot of equally impressive stuff no one belived anyway because no human eye-witnesses survived to confirm it.

Most of the prophecy consisted of first-hand description of Scharborr (pretty impressive, by the way - a lot of terrifying adjectives in a superlative degree, colorful descriptions of various anatomy parts such as horns, scales and reproductive organs that he, fortunately, never ever used due to lack of mates) and his ugly deeds. It told a story about banishing Scharborr into some undescribable place and predicted that someday he will finally escape and start to wreak havoc once again (he's just way too powerful to stay where he was put by mere magical dragons, it seems).

There also was a small footnote half-smudged by the careless copyist a few centuries ago which said exactly this: "Only one creature could fight and defeat Scharborr again - the dragon. I, Unkh-Agor, have laid an egg for you. Be really careful with it - it's your last chance to redeem the human sins. The egg is hidden in the small stone temple located in".

People Are People

As you should know by now humans are very nice in the land of Nimoan, even government officials and remaining army personnel. Unkh-Agorites did for them what they could, even if it's not even nearly enough: they used magic to transport the whole populace into the Void where they can be safe for a while and would not require neither food nor a place to live. There is only one problem with this solution: would there be a place to return to and someone to perform the transportation magic again?

Here, my gentle reader, you come to the scene. With all the towns demolished by Scharborr's monsters, last few Unkh-Agorites hiding in their secret monasteries and no power to start with - could you save everything? Could you? Well, at least you can try. Survive as the young dragon and develop your magic and strength. Destroy the invading monsters and rebuild the human civilization, make people understand their mistakes and correct them. Make life better for everyone (except Scharborr, of course). The rest is up to you.

Gameplay

A mystical land filled with magical creatures is your playground. And this time you are a not some puny magician, or a stupid barbarian. You are a Dragon! A power to be reckoned with... Fly with the wind. Protect the people, fight the monsters, set fire to forests, level entire mountain ranges!

Your magic beast has some inherent abilities (different for each of three dragons) and multiple characteristics that you can improve by distributing experience points (base stats are also different but you can develop your dragon any way you wish).

Of course, some different kinds of magic are there, so you won't be limited to throwing flame at monsters. Freeze them, tamper with their minds, summon familiars, heal friendly monsters that citizens tamed, learn to locate important objects or teleport to them directly.

Multiple complex unit behavior routines. People protect towns from monsters and gather enemy souls so you can upgrade their town

Features

Technology

  • State-of-the-art inhouse Direct3D-based engine with full support for hardware T&L and multitexturing
  • Huge levels: each one has tens of square kilometers full of rolling hills, mountains, dense highly-polygonal forests, stones, buildings and other objects
  • Real-time terramorphing lets you level down whole mountain ranges and raise new ones instead. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Craters - you call the shots
  • Both static and real-time lighting supported for the best speed and quality
  • Time of the day with smooth real-time lightmap blending - watch magnificient sunsets and don't forget to look up at five thousands of stars visible during the night. Try to find some familiar constellations
  • Every graphical subsystem has a complete implementation of real-time smooth Level of Detail algorithms which allows to show huge landscapes and thousands of objects without noticeable framerate drop even on low-end machines
  • Skeletal animation with smooth blending of different animations makes for an incredibly fluid life-like motion
  • Particle systems with more than 50 parameters allows us to model realistic explosions, magic rays, fire, smoke, fractal lightnings and a lot of other effects
  • Photorealistic texturing includes both "high-level" textures (roads, etc) and aperiodic detail textures with individual texels less than 5 centimeters in size
  • Time control - if you find the action too fast, pausing a game might not always be convenient. So you'll have an option to slow down the game and fine-tune the game time speed to match your personal gaming style. Slow motion effects look cool too...
  • 3D sound with Doppler's effect and MP3 format for music let us create an immercive aural environment. Burning trees, dying monsters, sizzling magic - feel like a real dragon. Music changes smoothly in reaction to the game events

    Assets

  • Three dragons available, each with its own inherent abilities (fire, acid and ice based) and different set of stats which greatly increase replayability value. Make a "fighter"-type dragon, a "mage" or a "sniper" to suit your tastes - possibilities are endless
  • Twelve unique areas representing different landscape types: mountains, deserts, forests, steppes, snowy hills, etc. Each area size is more than 10 square kilometers
  • Hordes of hideous monsters (about 40 types)
  • Ten types of human models - archers, knights, common folk, etc
  • All the models use skeletal animation with smooth blending of different animations
  • Almost a hundred types of landscape items (trees, boulders, buildings, etc)
  • More than sixty spells with breathtaking special effects for each one

    Official URL

    Official Site
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