Mark Damon Hughes  | Umbra README

(c) Copyright 2001 by Mark Damon Hughes <>

All Rights Reserved

Installation and Usage

  1. Unzip anywhere on your hard drive, which will create an "umbra" directory.
  2. Download Python 2.1 from <>
  3. You can now run it:
    cd umbra; chmod 700 ./; ./
    open the "umbra" folder and double-click on umbra.cmd
    open the "umbra" folder and double-click on umbra.bat
    These are all equivalent to `python -O UmbraTk.pyo`.
    Mac users:
    Please tell me if you're running it on a Mac, I'd like to hear about your experience of it. I don't have one handy to test it on.
  4. Send me email at <>, letting me know that you played and what you thought of it!
  5. Check back at <> every week for new versions and news.


You can use the following options on the command line: <OPTIONS>
If specified when you start a new game, you will start at the door of a temple, one sector west of the usual starting town (so head towards the sunrise to get back to town), with some minimal equipment instead of cash.
-viewdist {distance}
Changes the number of grid squares (2m*2m) ahead and to the sides that you can see. The default of 8 is just barely acceptable on my own machine, so you might want to lower it if you have a slow video card, or increase it if you have a fast one. (The default used to be 16, but the lighting slowed things enough that a lower default made sense).
Disables lighting, which requires some heavy processing at present; as soon as I can optimize the lighting code, this option will be going away.
A less drastic solution, this disables line-of-sight checks for lighting, so that light sources work through walls, doors, etc. This option will also go away when the lighting code is sped up.
A debugging tool, if you're not sure why it's so slow on your machine, this shows exactly what's taking up all the time. "turn" includes updating other creatures and your map. "redraw" includes, among other things, working out the lighting. "showMap" is the actual drawing of everything, "showSky" is just the sky-based part of showMap, and "update" is the redrawing of the player status bar. If your showMap is the largest part, your video card is not up to snuff. If your turn or redraw is higher, you need a faster CPU.
-size {pixels} (UmbraTk only)
Changes the size of the view window; the default is 480 now.
-fog (UmbraTk only)
Turns on distance fog, which makes objects "popping" into visibility more acceptable for some people.

Or for a text-only version:

python -O UmbraText.pyo <OPTIONS>

A typical text-mode map looks like this:

                                _S9 A_S   _S9 B_S8                         
                                _S9  _S9  _S9            #S6               
                      ..2  #S  C_S9 D_S8 E_S8  #S8                         
                           ..2  ..8  ==7  ..7  ..7                         
                                ..7  ==6  ..6  ..6                         
                      #S6  #S6 F_S6 G_S5 H_S5  #S5  #S5                    
                                ==4  ==4  ==4                              

@=Jack; Killer; Sneak; Techie; Arcanist|G=a door
A=a lamp; Boss Uxaru Fnuw              |H=a door
B=a window                             |#S=Stone Wall
C=a window                             |..=Grass
D=a door                               |===Road
E=a window                             |_S=Stone Floor
F=a door                               |

Each grid shows a 'map key' (@, A..H on this example), which is defined below the map; then a two-character terrain type, also defined below the map; then the light level, 1..9 indicating 10-90%, ' ' indicating fully-lit. Any empty grid is not visible, either because it is blocked by a wall, or because it is too dark to see.

It's not pretty, but it's usable if you don't have a machine fast enough to run the Tk version.

What's New

Version 0.11, released 2002Sep16

It's been a while since I last worked on Umbra, and there are several bugs or quirks that need to be fixed. So, I'm releasing it as open source - you should read the license if you're interested. Also take a look at the history.txt file to see what I've done and what needs to be done, if you want to follow my course.

I'm perfectly willing to host enhanced versions of it, and even maintain it somewhat, but I just don't have the time to work on it, and the frustrations of getting speed out of Tkinter or making a user-friendly Pygame game distribution are too much. If you want to get into that, set up a mailing list and I'll help as much as I can.

Version 0.10, released 2001Jul15

I worked on the magic system, but it's not available yet, so there's not much new this release (thus the restrained tone of the bullet items), but there are some significant bug-fixes.

Version 0.9, released 2001Jul08

Version 0.8, released ?

Version 0.7.2, released 2001Jun17

Version 0.7.1, released 2001Jun03

I'm almost out of alpha, so I spent the weekend cleaning up the code, fixing bugs, and not adding much new functionality. Thus the version number. I don't know how much I'll get done next weekend, as I have other plans, but I'll see what happens. This would be a good time to really start playtesting it, if you're interested; if you can get above level 10, I'll be very impressed - email me, and I'll put you up on a hall of fame!

Version 0.7, released 2001May28

Version 0.6, released 2001May20

Version 0.5, released 2001May13

Version 0.4, released 2001May06

Version 0.3, released 2001Apr22

Version 0.2, released 2001Apr16

Version 0.1, released 2001Apr11

First pre-alpha release

The Future, Coming Sooner Than You Think!



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