U3.5 is being written using the ZXodus][Engine. Here are some of its features:
- 9×9 tile multi-color (8×1 pixel attributes) viewport.
- 16 column text window (6×8 pixel font).
- 256 multi-color (16×16 pixel) 2D tiles.
- 256 multi-color (16×16 pixel) 3D dungeon tiles.
- 128×128 tile world map.
- 32×32 tile mini-map viewer.
- 16 town maps of 32×32 tiles each.
- 4 three-dimensional dungeons with eight levels of 8×8 each.
- 9×9 encounter maps.
- 16 NPCs per town.
- 11 character classes.
- two spell systems.
- melee and ranged combat.
- Ultıma 4 style dialog system.
- three channel music player.
- one channel sound effects.
Here are a couple of questions from the FAQ that aren’t covered elsewhere on this site:
How do NPCs work?
There are 16 NPCs per town. Each town has a table of NPC start positions. Each NPC has a dialog tree. You can script other behaviour such as giving and taking objects. Shops are handled separately.
How do melee and ranged combat work?
All combat takes place in the top-down 2D view. Ranged and magic attacks can thus target enemies within the 9×9 viewport.
What is multi-color?
Normally the ZX Spectrum can manage only two colors per cell (8×8 pixels). Multi-color is a software technique that increases the available colors to two colors per bitmap byte (8×1 pixels) by rapidly updating the attribute frame buffer as the screen is drawn. It is not possible to do this across the entire screen so the effect is limited to the viewport.
Is compression supported?
Infrequently accessed data is compressed using LZ77 or LZSS. Text compression is handled on a per-language basis using digraph compression.
What is the software license?
The ZXodus][Engine is commercial, closed-source software. Licensing is based on a 5% royalty on gross revenues. Which is to say, if you give your game away, it won’t cost you anything to use ZXodus. If you charge for your game, it will cost you 5% of the price you charge per copy sold. There are no up-front costs, but you will have to submit a game proposal.