Welcome to Planewalker Games! We are the home of The Broken Hourglass, a new CRPG in development for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computers.
Audio Interview at Four Fat Chicks

Male contributor Kristophe (weight not specified) has conducted and published a second audio interview with Planewalker Games on gaming site Four Fat Chicks. The new interview, complete with transcription, can be found here.

Our thanks to Kristophe and the ladies of FFC.


 
Rules and Mechanics: The Quantum Mechanics of Inventory
It is a truth universally acknowledged. A single adventuring party in possession of a well-organized inventory of powerful items must have already won the game.

To put it another way-inventory screens are rarely the most impressive features of computer games. Game designers have struggled with inventory management concepts since the days of Colossal Cave. There is no clear formula that provides the perfect balance of player convenience and intriguing simulation, but in The Broken Hourglass, we have designed inventory and rules relating to equipment management around these guidelines:

- Maximize the usefulness of carried objects by providing multiple equipment groups which players may select between using a single click.
- No equipment management "mini-games." Players should not have to be good Tetris players or trunk-packers in order to have their characters carry equipment properly.
- The game should not force players to leave interesting or important objects lying around. The game should also not force players to run a shuttle cargo service.
- No arbitrary limits on the number of items in an inventory.
- Ensure that all of the above still make sense while still preserving a concept of equipment weight and encumbrance.

There are two linchpins to our solution.

The first is the concept of party inventory. Every creature in The Broken Hourglass is considered to be the member of some party. The player character and his or her allies form one party. The garrison at the city gates would form another party. A merchant and his guards would represent yet another party. Just as every creature has an inventory, every party is granted an inventory as well. All members of a party may put items into or take items out of that party's inventory.

The following rules apply to party inventory:

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Mac|Life Takes First Look At Broken Hourglass

Print magazine Mac|Life has a first look at The Broken Hourglass in its March 2007 edition. The preview didn't make Mac|Life's online edition, but you can find it in the newsstand edition on page 86, along with a glimpse at independent RPG contemporary Eschalon: Book 1.

Many thanks, Mac|Life!


 
On the Fly, Chapter 6

On the Fly concludes this month. With Zephra down and Lyrio's future uncertain, Aenarii has some very important decisions to make. The complete tale will remain available here. And watch for a new serial, launching in this department next month!

On the Fly
By Bonnie Rutledge
Chapter 6


But facts are not emotion.

Maron found his master leaning out of the window.

"Pardon my saying, sir, but if you're of a mind to go jumping, can I have the month paid in advance?"

Aenarii did not reach for his purse, but he did pull back slightly, golden telescope in hand. He neither laughed nor scowled to answer the jest. "There are storm clouds to the north."

Maron noted the absence of Cathoun's mask. He scratched his thoughts for a moment over the implications before joining his employer in gazing upon the city landscape, glorious birthmark on the Empire's backside that it was. It took less than ten seconds to find the Master's point of interest. It took less than that for weariness to overcome his temper. "So you chased her off, eh?"

"With your assistance, Maron. Thank you."

Maron bowed his head and scraped at the marble windowsill, thumbnail like a pickaxe. The Master only thanked him for doing things that were questionable--stealing from the governor's coffers, relocating competitors to the river with rocks tied to their ankles, and not killing elves whenever the urge hit. Aenarii never offered gratitude for the usual offenses that come with being a servant of a Councilor. Roughing up merchants for a rollback of their profits in the market stood as standard practice. Bribery and extortion in order to push along contract negotiations boasted itself as more of an attractive feature of city economics than a blemish. The honest folk were the scandalous ones mucking up the system with their blather about fair trade and honest wages, and Maron believed they deserved every bruise they got for being a sack of sanctimonious ninnies.

The Master always used his given name, as well. "Thank you, Maron." "We cannot have the Imperial Economist seeing the real mining production reports, can we, Maron?" "You must lie to Zephra, Maron. Use your best judgment, Maron, and make her hate us."

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The Feyborn: Never a Dull Moment
feyborn picSometimes, when a human daddy and Ilvari mommy (or vice-versa) love each other very much, they have a baby together.

This usually does not make them popular with their neighbors.

The Feyborn (only occasionally known as "half-elves") are the product of cross-species mating. Humans and elves are sufficiently genetically compatible to produce offspring, but the match is far from perfect. Physically the Feyborn tend to represent a subtle blend of human and elven features, typically favoring whichever race their mother belonged to. Feyborn grow faster and for longer than either humans or elves, so fully-grown Feyborn are typically at least six feet tall. Their pupils have the unnerving appearance of being permanently dilated.

The mix of human and elven blood running through Feyborn veins leaves them unstable, and as a race they share three traits universally: sterility, sorcery, and madness.

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Q&A With Broken Hourglass Artist Ric Halliwell

ImageFor our bonus "fifth Monday" coverage, Planewalker Games brings you an interview with Broken Hourglass lead sprite artist Ric Halliwell.

PWG: How did you first become interested in computer art?

RH: I have very little art background. But when I first got a computer I stumbled into the game Dink Smallwood, I made a module for it, and I regretted not being able to create graphics for it. So then I stumbled into 3D graphics. Then I got sidetracked again... I can get quite obsessed wondering how to make new effects and new objects. It's endless.

PWG: So you didn't have pencil-and-paper art experience before you turned to digital art?

RH: Very little. I've never drawn pictures worth hanging on the fridge.

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