Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Linkrealms: Spellcasting Chickens!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 29, 2010

I was supposed to get this up last week. Better late than never I guess.

Let’s talk about the indie MMO, Linkrealms. And chickens.

I got a chance to talk with Herb, Dan, and even a tiny bit with Paul – the Linkrealms team – last week at the Utah Indie Night. Quite honestly, I thought Linkrealms looked about ready for prime-time more than a year ago. But these guys have held off because – while the technology and content is all there – the game wasn’t yet “fun.” It was a great software toy, but in spite of looking like a weird hybrid of Ultima Online and Second Life or something, they were not happy with the gameplay. There was a lot you could do, but nothing compelling you to actually do anything.

So, here we are, many moons later, and Linkrealms is still in beta. Still looking awesome. But now they are addressing issues of “fun.” And not just fighting-things fun. Their answer?

Chicken-breeding. And cockfighting, apparently. To be fair, wolves are also on the list, with the suggestion that other types of pets may be forthcoming after launch.

Quite frankly, they’ve created the most sophisticated magical chicken brains ever seen in a game. Pet brains are wired by a combination of breeding (with something like 4.5 quadrillion breeding possibilities) and training. Other pet characteristics are also caused by breeding. Pets can compete in tournaments, or accompany you on adventures. And they are not-just normal pets, either. Herb talked to me about how they can be taught to cast spells, etc.

One of the tools for training / controlling your pets is through food. Herb told me there are currently 28 different kinds of feed (“scratch”) in the game, all with different effects on your bird. He demonstrated what he called the “Spanish Fly Scratch,” which – a few minutes after consumed, leaves your chickens feeling frisky and ready to create your next generation of chickens.

He also showed a tournament between fighting chickens. Something else players can enjoy. Nobody call the Virtual SPCA, ‘k?

The other little treat he showed me was the developers-only screen showing the neural network-y looking  of every chicken’s brain. Or networks, rather.  This is used for development and debugging, so the player can’t actually have access to it. But it showed what was going on during a tournament, and illustrated the complexity of what they are working on.

I suggested that the whole fighting-pet tournament / breeding / training thing is complex enough to warrant its own stand-alone game. Herb agreed, but there are no plans to release it separately. It’s just all part of Linkrealms. There’s a heck of a lot going on with this game!

It’s pretty amazing what these guys keep doing with the game. Hopefully, the changes and fun-factor will be completed soon, and will soon go into release. While nobody will confuse it with an AAA MMO, the quality and sheer quantity of content may confuse a lot of folks who may not recognize it as an indie release that’s largely the work of only three people.

In the meantime, you can check out the screenshots and videos of the game in action at their site:

Linkrealms official site

Filed Under: Game Announcements, Utah Indie Game Night - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • Miral said,

    It looks very interesting. Sadly whenever you’ve posted a link to it (or I’ve remembered to check on my own) there haven’t been any beta slots free. 🙁