Several screenshots from Custom.exe, the editor.
|Original author(s)||James Paige|
Etheldreme / December 3, 2017
|Written in||FreeBasic, C, C++|
|Operating system||Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Android, FreeBSD|
|Platform||x86, x86-64, ARM|
|Type||Game creation system|
|License||GNU General Public License v2+|
The Official Hamster Republic Role Playing Game Creation Engine, abbreviated as OHRRPGCE or OHR, is an open-source, "All-in-one" game creation system. It was designed to allow the quick creation of 2D role-playing video games (RPGs). It was originally written by James Paige in QuickBASIC and released in late 1997 or early 1998. In May 2005, the source code was released as free software under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and it was soon ported from QuickBASIC to FreeBASIC and to modern operating systems.
The OHRRPGCE is designed to be simple to use and to create full Final Fantasy-style RPGs without any scripting. HamsterSpeak, the custom scripting language used by the OHR, is very simple and is intended for users with no prior programming knowledge. As it is specialized with many hundreds of available commands, it provides flexibility although it does not attempt to be a general-purpose language. HUDs, battle systems, special effects, customized menus, and entirely scripted non-RPG games can be created with it.
Most of the OHRRPGCE's games are amateur and made by novice game developers. However, other games are full-length RPGs, some of which have been released commercially. Sidescrollers, puzzle games, arcade remakes and first-person dungeon crawlers have all been made with the engine. The game editor (commonly called 'Custom'), which includes graphics, map and numerous other editors, is fully keyboard-based, though also supports using a mouse for most tasks. The game editor can be used on any supported platform except for Android.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the engine are its strict technical limitations. It runs at an 8-bit color depth, by default creates games that run at a 320x200 resolution, and its editor prefers keyboard controls instead of using a modern graphical user interface toolkit. These are hold-overs from the original Mode X graphics mode used under MS-DOS. Many other restraints are due to the engine originally being written in QuickBasic, and thus having terrible Real mode memory limitations. There are plans for removing most limitations, which the developers have been implementing gradually since the FreeBASIC port.
The engine's mascot is Bob the Hamster, the protagonist of the game for which the engine was originally built for, Wandering Hamster.
The OHRRPGCE was created by James Paige as a generic engine for personal use, starting in mid 1996 and building on previous free and commercial games created by Paige and Brian Fisher and released under the Hamster Republic name. The engine was created alongside its first game, Wandering Hamster, demos of which were released in late 1997, and which is still in active development as of 2017. Initially he decided to release the engine as shareware, offering only a crippled "4-Map" version to the public. Many people wanted the full engine, and James gave it to anybody who could mail him what he deemed a "Good game". After a few months of this, he released the full engine as freeware.
The November 9, 1999 release of the OHR was the first version to include the HamsterSpeak scripting language. The OHRRPGCE does not use version numbers, but rather named versions, starting with the "handshake" release on November 29, 2002.
On about May 19, 2005 the engine went open-source, and since then has been developed by a team of dedicated programmers. Not long after this, the engine was successfully ported from QuickBasic to FreeBasic to run natively on Windows and GNU/Linux. The OHRRPGCE gained the ability to play sound files as well as other music formats with the release of "Ubersetzung" on September 21, 2007.
The engine was later ported to Mac OS X in the Zenzizenic release (May 6, 2011), and to Android in the Callipygous release (April 4, 2016), as well as the OUYA, GameStick and Amazon Fire TV Android consoles. A number of OHRRPGCE games have been released on the Google Play, OUYA, and other stores.
In 2017, versions Dwimmercrafty and Etheldreme added widespread mouse support to the game editor and preliminary support to the game player. Etheldreme is the first release under a new 3-monthly release policy, in response to Dwimmercrafty and Callipygous being endlessly delayed despite active development.
Comparison with other game engines
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RPG Maker Series: Although technically far inferior, the OHR does offer many features that some versions of RPG Maker do not include. These include generally much less restrictive tiling and mapping, a side-view battle system, portraits, a built-in graphics editor, and a simpler, albeit less capable, scripting language. On the other hand, RPG Maker generally offers better story progression tools, higher color depth and resolution, and more complex built-in effects.
Sphere: The OHR is less script-driven than Sphere is, making it much faster. It has more tools, such as built-in graphics editors, a fully working textbox system, combat system, deeper map-editor, and a simpler scripting system. As a whole, the OHR is more streamlined and easier to use than Sphere, but because Sphere is so reliant on scripting, it may possess better results, more complex games, or games of more genres. Although the OHR has been proven capable of recreating many arcade games and has a number of original sidescrollers.
Game Maker: The OHR is specialized towards RPGs, and as such, they are made both more easily and quickly on it. However, Game Maker surpasses the OHR in terms of both graphical limitations, and overall engine flexibility. As with Sphere, scripting knowledge is required to make RPGs in Game Maker.
- Bradley, Simon (26 November 2005). "Porting the Official Hamster Republic RPG Creation Engine". QB Express. Issue 16. Pete's QBasic Site. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Plotscripting". OHRRPGCE-Wiki. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- OHRRPGCE Developers. "Plans". OHRRPGCE-Wiki. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Red Maverick Zero (June 2009). "Interview: RMZ vs James Paige". HamsterSpeak. Volume 27. Super Walrus Land. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Wandering Hamster (archived 1997)". archive.org. Archived from the original on 11 October 1997. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- "Wandering Hamster". OHRRPGCE-Wiki. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- Paige, James; et al. "Timeline". OHRRPGCE-Wiki. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Paige, James; et al. "4-map version". OHRRPGCE-Wiki. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- OHRRPGCE Developers. "What is new?". Hamster Republic. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- W., Tim (2007-11-28). "OHRRPGCE: Ubersetzung". IndieGames.com - The Weblog. IndieGames.com. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- "OHRRPGCE". Google Play. Retrieved 7 April 2016.