Hi everyone! My name is James Bennett and today I’m releasing a mobile version of my passion project after over two decades. To check it out now click here.

Conquest! is a multiplayer war game set in the Middle Ages and features a blend of action, strategy, and RPG elements delivered in real time. It all started back in 1993 when myself and a high school friend, John Leth-Nissen, were introduced to a new medium, Internet Relay Chat (IRC). We enjoyed creating our own pen and paper games and built an IRC game from that passion.

Players from all over the globe joined to compete against one another in the world we created. The politics in the game would rival anything in the "real" world, and the stories were larger than life! In 1995, the first Conquest! "gathering" was held in Orlando, Florida where 15 of our most passionate players met face-to-face to share war stories, triumphs, and defeats. Three more gatherings were held in Chicago, Dallas, and Las Vegas.

In 2005 or so, I left the game to pursue other interests. I released the binaries and the game continued to run in one form or another for several years. In early 2015 a former player approached me about taking Conquest! mobile – and after all that time, I couldn’t help but come back to this exciting project! After many months in development, I’ve completed a version of the game for iOS, Android, PC, and Mac platforms.

Ask me anything about my journey, the stories from the original IRC version of the game, or why you should try it out today (for FREE!). I’ve waited twenty years to talk to you all! :)


Still around if anyone has any additional questions! :)

Thanks Reddit for the great AMA. Drop by Conquest! anytime and say hello. Cheers!

Comments: 50 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

TenNinetyFive19 karma

Now without trying to sound bad but don't you feel you're a little late to the party in terms of the genre of game this is?

_Romulus_20 karma

Definitely! But after this long, it's more of a labor of love versus trying to make a living out of it. I always wanted Conquest! to have a GUI and now it does.

RangersCrusader4 karma

_Romulus_2 karma

Thank you! :)

theexterminat4 karma

Hi James! That's really awesome to pursue something for so long. What's your favorite community story from the game?

_Romulus_6 karma

Hello! There are so many but one of the ones I like the best is how when the game first launched, Internet access wasn't readily available. So certain players would drive miles into work to check on their characters after hours!

theexterminat2 karma

If you make a game that makes people want to not work... You're on to something ;)

_Romulus_2 karma

It was highly addictive at the time. IRC was a good medium (though text based) as it allowed players to form (and break) alliances easily, plot strategies, and connect as a community.

Hardin_of_Akaneia3 karma

What would you recommend for someone who wants to try to develop an MMO?

_Romulus_4 karma

Lots of patience. It helps if you find an idea you like and are happy to work on it, even if there is not a possibility to make it big. For me, I simply enjoyed working on Conquest! so I didn't mind the time invested. Success for me was just getting it done.

vNtzY2 karma

Hey James! What do you think makes your game worth playing, I mean what makes it different from all the other MMO's on the market? And do you have any general advice for developing a game?

_Romulus_3 karma

Hi! My "elevator speech" is Conquest! combines strategy and RPG elements and delivers them all in real time. It is also free of ads and pay to play elements, so that's a plus too.

Beyond that, it has lots of depth and many paths you can take to victory.

My advice is, to enjoy working on it. The Indie game market right now is tough because the barriers to entry are very low. But if you enjoy doing it, you won't mind the time and possibly financial investments.

If you can find a team of like minded individuals, you can help each other through the rough spots. I would also work on community building as soon as you have a viable product.

Hope this helps!

hunger-games1 karma

What was your starting budget?

_Romulus_1 karma

Well, since I'm a team of one (plus one contracted artist) I didn't really have a budget. Since I started tracking last year, I've spent approximately $4000 but there were several missteps on my part along the way.

Suprime121 karma

hey any general tips for somebody who starts up studying game graphics or game development in general?

_Romulus_2 karma

Hello! For game development, understand the story you are trying to tell and how you are going to tell it. Do not underestimate the level of effort. Once I started on the Unity client (admittedly my first using that platform) it took ~6 months to complete development and artwork. And then we started Alpha testing. :)

Everyone and every game is different, so YMMV.

Are you planning on doing the development yourself?

Suprime121 karma

no. the school says we develop the games in groups so no one is doing something alone.

_Romulus_1 karma

Ahh that's great! What school are you attending?

Suprime121 karma

well im only applying atm! im trying to get into kajaani university of applied sciences in Finland. they say it's the best school to learn everything about game develpment

_Romulus_1 karma

Nice! Best of luck to you. The most important thing I have learned is to keep at it, as long as you enjoy it.

Sodiodium1 karma

What language did you use to build the game?

_Romulus_1 karma

We built it using IRC script, which was very much like UNIX scripting. Here is a snippet:

alias break {if (alliance[$1] == 1) {@ save[$ally[$1]] = 1 msg $helpbot[$rotate] err10 $0 $name[$ally[$1]] @ alliance[$ally[$1]] = 0 @ ally[$ally[$1]] = 0 @ alliance[$1] = 0 @ ally[$1] = 0 } {msg $helpbot[$rotate] err7 $0 }}

elektrakon1 karma

Im kind of late to this AMA, but I am installing it on my phone now! Thanks for giving me something to do today! I was wondering if you had any plans to monetize this game (via ads or micro transactions) or if this would be fully f2p? I am looking forward to learning the game, by the way!

_Romulus_2 karma

Hi, and thank you for your interest! At this point, after 20+ years working on this, my ROI would be incredibly low. :)

I have some ideas, perhaps just a banner ad on the login screen, but right now building a community is most important. I don't have any plans to monetize it at this time.

If you have any questions, ask on the in game chat and I'll be glad to help.

IXPrazor1 karma

Muds, Mucks, MOOS. Heck on my Vic 20 - do you remember those I had RPGs. The only reason they were not MMOs 300BPS modems were really not popular. Once the 300 Hayer V 32.bis came out plenty of BBSs offered "MMOs" of their days. As hackers 2600, Phrack, CDC, PHUN, L0pht we absolutely used to play our own MMOs.

I am familiar with who you are. I think your claim you invented MMOS before the term is a little deceptive. The dream existed since the 70s I forget the CATs name. There were plenty though.

Commedia dell'arte dates back to what the 17th century? Do not get me wrong Conquest was BADA$$!

I realize RPGs are not MMOs. Muds, Mucks or MOOS are their own. I understand what I had on my Vic 20 was MEH. And Commedia dell'arte was nothing at all like what we had today.

Again, I know who you are. To you know who I am? My last name is Schwartz. Saying you invented the MMO is a little carried away. Though you are a beast among men.

_Romulus_1 karma

I'm afraid I don't know who you are. If you played before, what was your nick?

It was a harmless hook. Per the Wiki the term "MMOG" was coined in 1995, 2 years after Conquest! was created, so I don't think I'm that far off. I never said Conquest! was the first. :)

History of Massively Multiplayer Online Games

The term MMORPG was coined by Richard Garriott, the creator of Ultima Online, in 1997.[20] The term probably derives from "MMOG", which can be traced back to the 1995 E3 Convention, when Dale Addink used it to describe Confirmed Kill.

ihatebeingblack271 karma

What was your starting budget?

_Romulus_2 karma

I didn't really have one, I just spent what I could afford, when I could afford it. Note, this is not a good way to go unless you are independent (and even then it might be questionable!).

Since I started tracking last year, I've spent ~$4000 USD but that doesn't count the number of man-hours.

ihatebeingblack271 karma

What was your technical background prior to this?

_Romulus_1 karma

I've been coding since I was young, first on a Commodore 64 and then PCs. I have a CIS degree as well and since college have some almost everything in IT: system administration, development, pricing.

So, my background is all technical.

ihatebeingblack271 karma

How many employees did you start with how many do you have now?

_Romulus_1 karma

One employee (me) plus one graphical artist I contracted with to do the art. It must have been a labor of love for him too, as I bugged him constantly! :)