Harmonia – Moddable, Tactical RPG

Posted: 15th August 2012 by Maxim Bardin in Uncategorized
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Harmonia is an online, moddable, tactical RPG with a flexible scripting language that allows the community make their own content.
The first goal is $15k, and almost $1k already been pledged with 24 days to go.
As you can see from the screenshots, the developer uses Ubuntu which is a great sign for us the GNU/Linux gamers.
An early alpha demo is already out so you can try and see what the game is about.


Update #1 – Play the demo!

Try out the first public development snapshot of Harmonia!  In this demo, you play the classic text-based version and it is NOT representative of the final game.  For more details, including the FAQ, please read our updates.

Harmonia 0.0.1a (Windows / Linux) – Development Snapshot


What is Harmonia?

The Harmonia project consists of two main elements: an online TRPG (Tactical Role-playing Game) set in the Kingdom of Harmonia, and a robust game engine built for custom content and modding.

The game uses SDL, a cross-platform multimedia library, and will be available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS/X.  If there is demand, we can also port the game to the following platforms: Android, AmigaOS, AmigaOS 4, FreeBSD, BeOS/Haiku, iOS, Mac OS 9, MorphOS, OpenVMS, PlayStation Portable, Syllable, Symbian, and webOS.

Both the server and 3D client running on a single computer.
Both the server and 3D client running on a single computer.

The game casts you as leader of a band of heroes fighting alongside other players’ forces. Your battalion explores the world, traverses large dungeons, completes quests, and engages in strategic combat against other armies on the battlefield. As you complete areas of the game, you unlock new classes, races, flair, and abilities for your characters and your account.

The game's scripts are modifiable with any text editor.  In the future, we'll provide a variety of visual in-game tools to assist new developers.
The game’s scripts are modifiable with any text editor. In the future, we’ll provide a variety of visual in-game tools to assist new developers.

Behind the game, Harmonia is also a platform for players and developers to create their own games hosted on their own servers. The Harmonia engine allows all of the game’s assets, including zones, character classes, and abilities, to be modified using a lightweight, flexible scripting language. These scripts are open for anyone to edit, and can be modified and recompiled while the server is running, allowing designers to tweak their creations even while playing them. In this way Harmonia provides an infinitely moddable tactical RPG engine.

Sculpting 3D terrains from a simple script file is fast and easy.
Sculpting 3D terrains from a simple script file is fast and easy.

Together, these elements create an online gaming experience with limitless possibilities. Once a player completes all of the content on the official Harmonia servers, they have the option to either create their own content and run their own server, or join one of many unofficial servers hosted by the community and explore player-made content. This opens the game up for endless expansion as we, the developers, take notice of top-quality player-made content and integrate it into our official servers if the creator so desires.


Play the Text-Based Version

The text-based MUD version of Harmonia has been in development for over five years.  The server is always online, and open to the public.  If you’d like to play this version of the game, all the instructions necessary to connect are here:


Most elements in the game, including all spells, classes, quests, and gameplay rules, are scripted using the Lisp-inspired Harmonious language.  These scripts can be easily modified and recompiled while the server is running, and new zones can be plugged into the game simply by pasting a new folder into the “/scripts” directory.  Zones can have their own custom spells, complex puzzles, equipment, and artifacts with unique effects far beyond simple stat bonuses.

The first floor of the Elemental Tower, as shown in the classic text-mode environment.
The first floor of the Elemental Tower, as shown in the classic text-mode environment.

Almost anything can be implemented using this scripting environment.  Here are some examples, many of which are currently already in the game:

  • a stone that solidifies all nearby swamp into stone when used,
  • an offensive spell that changes its element based on the weekday,
  • a Sokobon-like puzzle zone with pushable boulders,
  • a maze with teleporters, switches, keys, and logic puzzles,
  • a blacksmith NPC that exchanges gold and rare material for randomly-generated equipment,
  • a cursed zone that becomes haunted during the night.


Scripting Examples

Scripts can be short and simple, like these weapons in the Bandit Camp zone:

Some simple weapons in the Bandit Camp zone
Some simple weapons in the Bandit Camp zone

…or they can be very dense for more complex tasks.  Here is a sample from the blacksmith’s script, run whenever a player speaks to them:

Complex code for the Harmonia blacksmith.
Complex code for the Harmonia blacksmith.


Why Kickstarter?

Harmonia is still in the process of converting itself from text into the third dimension, but to go forward, we’ll need to expand the studio to include one or more artists, a writer to develop an intriguing storyline, more developers to create game content, and musicians to produce the soundtrack.  However, the most important issue facing us is that this project will take a great deal of time to complete.  We want to devote ourselves to working on Harmonia exclusively, which naturally means we’ll need salaries until the game is completed.

A top-down overview of the upcoming Cursed Prison zone.
A top-down overview of the upcoming Cursed Prison zone.


Funding Goals

We have big plans for Harmonia, but because of our small size and unknown status, we’re also realistic about our goals and fund-raising targets.

So, we’ve split our fund-raising targets into three categories: 1) The amount we feel we can safely raise to finish the engine, 2) The amount necessary to create a great game with a great story, and 3) The amount we’d need to produce the full game we truly want to make.


Initial Goal: $15,000

The Server: Although the server is essentially complete, we’d like to make it more efficient, expand the scripting environment, and finish connectivity with the new 3D client.

The Client: Harmonia’s 3D environment is relatively new and we’re still transferring over the interface from the old text-based game.  We have plans to overhaul the UI to provide a more intuitive, visual gameplay experience.

Artwork: The current Harmonia team doesn’t have a dedicated artist, so we’re hiring one to allow the development team (currently just one member) to devote as much time as possible to programming.

Polish Gameplay:  The centerpiece of gameplay is the ability to control more than one character at a time.  Our interface for that will be unlike anything we’ve seen before, so we’ll naturally spend a great deal of time working out the kinks.


$25,000 Goal

Goals at this tier focus on fleshing out game content, including artwork, music, and playable classes.

Full Game Content:  The Harmonia engine allows for detailed zones with extremely unique quests, puzzles, and gameplay challenges.  We’re going to push that engine to the limit with a set of 30 zones, one for each level of gameplay.

Much, Much More Artwork:  We want to produce a large variety of tile, sprite, and 3D art.  Time spent on creating art will be split between making zone-specific assets and miscellaneous assets to be used for anything, especially community-made work.

Exciting Adventure Soundtrack: In addition to being tech-savvy, the members of our team are college and conservatory-trained musicians and composers.  We’re dedicated to applying our training to produce the best soundtrack possible.

Over 50 Playable Classes:  At levels 10 and 20, each primary class has the opportunity to promote to one of two secondary classes.  With at least 32 unique classes by the end of the game, your force of 4 characters will have 1,048,576 possible class combinations.

Chapter-Driven Storyline:  Our storyline, consisting of 6 chapters, will involve civil unrest, the forgotten history of your fracturing Kingdom, an expelled sect of tyrannical priests, and an invasion from a dark, otherworldly realm.


$35,000 Goal

The project goals for this tier focus on the modding environment, PvP gameplay modes, and additional features to add further polish to the game.

Server Selection:  When running Harmonia, a server selection screen will appear with official servers up top and unofficial community-run servers below.  This gives players the chance to try out community-made content, and it gives developers the opportunity to see their creations played.

Character Customization: Character creation will allow for more visual features, such as the ability to swap out a character’s hairstyle, change their colors, and select from alternate costumes designed by our artistic team.

In-game Scripting Tools:  The Harmonious language is easy to script, but for players without programming experience who want to create their own zones, there will be a simple editor for maps, items, and entities that will require no scripting knowledge.  Once the basics of a zone are finished, programmers can then modify these zones to add their own custom scripts for more complex ideas.

Harmonious Documentation:  On our website, we’ll provide thorough documentation for every scripting command, as well as tutorials for both the total newbie and the seasoned programmer.

Skirmish Mode: In addition to adventuring, you’ll have a mode where you play against either the AI or another player’s force.  Every player will have a ladder ranking so they are pitted against a force of equal skill level.  Players will also be able to join forces to fight larger battles in 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 game modes, as well as a free-for-all mode.

All eight primary classes and their promotions.
All eight primary classes and their promotions.



Role: Melee Fighter
Traits: Soldiers are balanced fighters with useful melee skills, magical abilities, and reasonable defenses.  They are leaders with useful skills and spells to benefit their group.
Strengths: Soldiers have a variety of skills to exploit low-defense opponents like Archers or low-resistance enemies like Warriors. In addition to fighting, they have a variety of useful abilities to aid their group.
Weaknesses: When there is no clear Weakness in an opponent, Soldiers struggle.  They are also vulnerable to heavy-hitters like Knights, and tend to be high-priority targets because of their leadership skills.



Role: Offensive Melee Fighter
Traits: Knights are fast, powerful, massive centaurs that hit their enemies hard.  They specialize in dealing heavy damage and disrupting enemy group formation.
Strengths: Knights, as centaurs, are able to move quickly through open terrain types such as Fields.  With their armor-piercing attacks, Knights can easily break through the strong defenses of Warriors, or push and pull opponents on the battlefield as they please.
Weaknesses: Knights have several hit points, but very little defense or magic resistance, so they can be difficult for priests to keep alive in tough fights.  Centaurs are incredibly slow in rough terrain types like Forest or Desert.



Role: Defensive Melee Fighter

Traits: Warriors are stout, strong, slow, dumb fighters with a near impenetrable defense.  They are protectors who always belong in front of their weaker allies.  Warriors specialize in maintaining stable group formations.
Strengths: Warriors can safely absorb extreme damage from strong opponents such as Knights and Archers and protect their weaker allies from harm.  They can also bash mobile targets to the ground to prevent enemy forces from moving.
Weaknesses: For all their defense, warriors deal damage very slowly over time.  They are best paired with Archers or Magicians to make up for their lack of offense.  Warriors also suffer heavy magic damage.



Role: Physical Ranged Fighter
Traits: Archers are capable of fast, deadly strikes from afar that can cripple nearly any opponent, but they have no offensive or defensive ability in close combat.
Strengths: Archers unload deadly volleys of arrows from the back ranks of your force, dealing unbelievable amounts of damage to even the most heavily-defended targets.
Weaknesses: Despite their strength from afar, Archers have virtually no fighting abilities in close-ranged combat.  If caught off-guard by a melee opponent, they may die very quickly.  It is best to find a melee fighter to take the hits for you.



Role: Strategic Melee Fighter
Traits: Birdsoldiers can fly and maneuver around opponents during combat with ease.  Although frail, they are very effective hit-and-run fighters and excel at harassing the back ranks.
Strengths: The Birdsoldier can instantly fly to the back ranks of any opposing group and release a flurry of attacks against spell casters, forcing an otherwise stable force to lose their formation.  They are the most magically proficient melee class.
Weaknesses: Birdsoldiers are physically weak and tend to lose direct one-on-one melee confrontations.  To be effective, Birdsoldiers need to take advantage of their mobility to recharge their abilities safely out of combat.



Role: Magical Ranged Fighter
Traits: Magicians use powerful offensive spells to inflict magic damage to weak-minded from the back ranks.  They have various utility spells as well.
Strengths: When fully rested, Magicians can unload an extreme amount of damage to single or multiple foes almost instantly.  They are most effective against low-resistance classes like Knights and Warriors.
Weaknesses: Once mana reserves are depleted, Magicians are frail and vulnerable in melee combat, so they should be kept in the back ranks at all times.  They are especially vulnerable to attacks from Birdsoldiers.



Role: Healer
Traits: Priests are the primary healing class for the group, making them an essential member in all confrontations.  They have various utility spells to aid their party members.
Strengths: Priests are the most effective spellcasters available.  During combat, they can keep the tank at full health and provide quick recovery between battles.
Weaknesses: Because of their abilities, Priests are top-priority targets and extremely vulnerable to physical damage.  They are pathetically weak and absolutely useless in melee-combat, so they must be protected in the back ranks at all times.



Role: Support Caster
Traits: Monks use a variety of buff and debuff spells to keep their forces at peak fighting condition.  In combat, they use hand-to-hand abilities as well as both offensive and healing magic.
Strengths: Monks take quite a beating physically, making them effective tanks against melee classes.  If they choose not to use their support magic, they can use their offensive spells to tear opponents who have weak magic resistance to shreds.
Weaknesses: Although their bodies are trained to take a punch, they’re not trained to withstand powerful magic.  Monks suffer greatly at the hands of magicians and are ill-equipped to effectively defeat them.