Ambitious Seven Kingdoms: Origins, Design, and Development of Seven Kingdoms

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Ambitious Seven Kingdoms: Origins, Design, and Development of Seven Kingdoms

“Enter the world of Seven Kingdoms, a world of intrigue and diplomacy, of trade, conquest, and espionage” (Whitehouse et al. P#). Seven Kingdoms is a series of "fantasy real-time strategy" computer games (Enlight Software Ltd.). There are four games in the series:

  1. Seven Kingdoms which was released in 1997 (Enlight Software Ltd.).
  2. Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries which was released in 1998 (Enlight Software Ltd.).
  3. Seven Kingdoms II: The Fryhtan Wars which was released in 1999 (Enlight Software Ltd.).
  4. Seven Kingdoms: Conquest which was released in 2008 (IGN 2008).

Titles one through three were designed by Trevor Chan of Enlight Software and developed by him and Enlight Software (Enlight Software Ltd.); however, the fourth title was developed by Infinite Interactive (IGN 2008). Furthermore, Enlight Software released the source code and data for Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries and the source code for Seven Kingdoms II: The Fryhtan Wars under the GPLv2 in 2009. (CITE) Also, there was a release of Seven Kingdoms II: The Fryhtan Wars HD which incorporates “HD support” among others in 2015 (Steam).

In this paper, I will exposit the origins, core elements, and development of the Seven Kingdoms series, excluding Seven Kingdoms: Conquest. In the core elements, the empire building elements of 7k is based on the types of scores the game tallies.



Development of Seven Kingdoms began after the releases of Capitalism and Capitalism Plus. (Enlight Software Ltd.). In fact, Seven Kingdoms could be based on Capitalism code. the3dfxdude, a developer for the 7kaa OSS project, speculated,

"I'm pretty sure that things like the town, buildings (firm), economy (nation), world map, reports (info), all were derived from capitalism code. So it's not far removed to say that 7kaa is based on capitalism, plus strategy game concepts of the day. I would say it was more influenced by Warcraft 2 on that aspect (fantasy RTS), but primarily based on capitalism " (loki & the3dfxdude).

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“Recently I was able to acquire a mint copy of the original capitalism. I played through the tutorial. It is a fantastic game. This game alone establishes Trevor's design genius. Now all the in-game concepts transfer pretty well in 7K, and the story backdrop of 7K enriches the experience. So, while not knowing the original code behind Capitalism, I would say 7K was a well executed variant to the design. It's clear why many people of the day praised the games, even if he was not well known” (loki & the3dfxdude).

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NEW PAPER ADD NEW INFO FOR THIS ONE: Ambitious Seven Kingdoms: uniqueness of Seven Kingdoms as an RTS

Lets take a look at the strategy game concepts of the day. Trevor Chan said, “My understanding is that most of the real-time strategy games on the market today have been following a paradigm that has been hugely commercially successful but also hasn't been advanced much since Dune II.”(CITE) “Most,” but not all. Mike Fahey, some writer for some website, showed, “Blizzard took the formula established in Dune II and expanded upon it in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans” (CITE). Therefore, some RTS did advance since Dune II.

Warcraft 1 and 2 were games part of the RTS genre at the time of 7k development. Warcraft 1 was released in 1994.(CITE) Warcraft 2 was released in 1995, two years before 7k was released. (

Therefore, this was a strategy game of the times during which 7k was developed, thus influencing it.

In addition to being based on Capitalism code and influenced by Warcraft 2, Seven Kingdoms is influenced by the empire building elements of Civilization. Lets return to the previous quote about real-time strategies and empire building elements. Trevor Chan mentioned, “I am a big fan of Civilization. And like many gamers, I was hooked by real-time strategy games when they first came out in the mid-'90s. Expectedly, my dream game would be a real-time strategy game with the empire-building elements of Civilization.” (


Trevor Chan later mentions. “The fantasy elements were added to the game after the empire-building part was solid” ( The positioning or context of the second statement leads one to interpret it as the empire building elements of civilization were implemented into Seven Kingdoms

We can see that reviews in the 90s often compared Seven Kingdoms to Warcraft 2, Civilization, and others. For example, Chris Jensen of said, “Seven Kingdoms is a thinking man's Warcraft, blending elements of Powermonger, Civilization, and Command & Conquer (Jensen 1997). So we see here a comparison to Warcraft and Civilization, but there is a bit more to this review. Beginning with praise for Trevor Chan’s game design and mentioning his published titles Capitalism and Capitalism Plus, he hints “True to Mr. Chan's design philosophy, there is an intricate economic and diplomatic engine lurking underneath” (Jensen 1997). This shows a commonality with Capitalism design as a theme of Trevor Chan.

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Jaded of said, “Combining features of Warcraft II and Civilization, Seven Kingdoms posits a world where seven of earth's great Kingoms have gathered to struggle for control of a new land (Jaded 1997). Again, we see the similar comparison to Warcraft and Civilization. Therefore, reviewers noticed the result of the origins of Seven kingdoms being based on Capitalism and influenced by Civilization in the context of Warcraft.

Warcraft? I thought it was warcraft 2? “context of warcraft goes an extra step from 2 to 1.


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Seven Kingdoms was designed based on my study and modeling of behaviors of ancient empires. While the world of Seven Kingdoms is fictional, a lot of attention has been paid to developing the details of its economic model, human behavior model, espionage model and diplomatic model. (

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Economic Model

The economic model consists of a balance between income and expenses.


Sale of Goods

lead in to “profit tier. What is the topic? sale of good. From to tiers??

There are three profit tiers:

  • First tier. mine resources and produce goods;
  • Second tier. import raw material and produce goods;
  • Third tier. import finished goods.

with these goods, you can:

  • sell to your villagers.
  • sell to foreign kingdoms (if player has a trade treaty or alliance with them). Note that players must consider supply and demand as "the villagers of foreign kingdoms will purchase goods from their own markets before they purchase goods from yours" (Whitehouse et al. P#).
  • export which is direct sales of goods to the foreign kingdoms via trade from the kingdom itself, not at your initiative. A player requires a trade treaty to export goods to another kingdoms, and again, one must consider supply and demand. WHY?

Also note in regards to supply and demand that "people with jobs will spend more money than Peasants." (Whitehouse et al. P#).

  • sell to independent village (if resistance is low enough)

It is possible to support your kingdoms without raw resources and trade via taxes. "there are two types of taxes. The yearly tax will be collected every January 1st from every person living in your villages" (Whitehouse et al. P#).

Special taxes may also be collected from each person living in a selected Village" (Whitehouse et al. P#).

"the Loyalty Level of all villagers in the selected village will decrease when a special tax is collected (Whitehouse et al. P#). Therefore, the player is limited in the amount of special tax income.

Recovered Treasure

Fryhtans "have hoarded vast amounts of wealth (Whitehouse et al. P#). If you kill the Ordo, the Fryhtan equivalent of a human general, it will leave a sum of money. It is possible that there are many Ordos in the lair, depending on the type of Fryhtan and the amount of time passed in the game. The amount of money an Ordo leaves depends on multiple factors but mainly stronger fryhtans leave more money. After the lair has been destroyed, a sum of money will also be left.

Aid/Tribute from Other Kingdoms

As a diplomatic overture, a player or the AI can request aid from their allies and demand tribute from their enemies. amounts are in increments that range from $500 to $4000. Another diplomatic overture is selling food at the request of a kingdom. Incremental amounts range from $5 to $30 for incremental amounts from 500 to 4000.

INCLUDES 7k2? no. can gain money from killing / destroying


Everything costs money. This is the balance aspect.

Human Behavior Model

Personality and Preferences

The Kings have personalities and preferences. The personalities range from war-like behavior vs peaceful behavior in addition to tendencies such as economic development and "trading tendency." The aggressiveness setting changes war-like behavior if it is set higher; otherwise, kings will have more peaceful personalities. Preferences are managerial such as "citizen loyalty concern" and "collect tax tendency" to practical such as "keep generals tendency" and "keep skilled units tendency" among others. CITE OR_NAT.cpp These preferences can be randomized with the setting "random kingdoms." In addition, AI personalities and preferences affect diplomacy and relations to other nations.


Whether friend or foe, a king will be unique in how he conducts diplomacy based on his personality and preferences. Maybe he prefers trade and wants a trade treaty or even an alliance. Or perhaps he demands the latest technology over money to build his army of war machines.


Kings hold "subjective relation levels towards the others", and "the opposite nation's relation level is not the same as this" (CITE ONATIONb.CPP).

It is affected by the AI's personality and preferences and will also affect the AI’s responses to diplomatic overtures.

Treat the kings well because they will remember your actions, but fear not; you can woo other kingdoms with gifts.


Your people "will have conflicting or complimentary loyalties to their commanders, to their kings and to their ethnic groups.

“Treat your people well, keep them fed, give them grants and medals, and promote the best of them to higher ranks, and they will remain steadfast, loyal, and efficient. Treat them poorly, overtax them, starve them, or earn a reputation as a militaristic tyrant, and their loyalty will suffer. And when loyalty is low, rebellion may soon follow.” (

They may even "turn traitor and join the forces of a more just king. Or they may do the same, but only for the love of money.” (

“As with the people in the empires, independent villagers all have their own human feelings which can sometimes lead them to uprooting and moving to a better place.” (

Unit Loyalty

Unit loyalty is dynamic scoring of a Unit, representing the strength the Unit will stay with the owning nation. It is calculated by the game based on environment factors that are projected onto the Unit. Loyalty of a Unit is different than loyalty of a town, as a town's loyalty is a scoring of a town race group, which is merely a number of people, and they have no individual characteristics (if employed, it will be in their firm). Units may be in firms as well, but the loyalty effects may be different (TODO determine if they are of Unit class). This describes only a Unit class's loyalty calculation. There are two components of the loyalty mechanism. One is the current loyalty, and the other is the target loyalty (target_loyalty in code). Both can change at any time, but the current loyalty can have a direct effect at betrayal. Of importance is the betrayal loyalty. UNIT_BETRAYAL_LOYALTY 30 Loyalty and target loyalty is updated in update_loyalty(), which is called when the unit is generated, on the monthly cycle, and when the unit changes flags. Target loyalty is calculated, and loyalty is simple adjusted (exception are spies). Here are some aspects of the update procedure to target loyalty: 1. Units that are constructing buildings do not change their loyalty or target loyalty. 2. Spies are unique as they calculate their loyalty -- a random number between 70-90 -- and set their target loyalty to the same number. This has an effect of a constant high loyalty. This was removed in 7k2, and spies there act the same as their assigned occupation type for loyalty and target loyalty. 3. General units have a higher target loyal based on their command power, his relationship to the king (if same race +20, and bonus based on king's leadership), and nation's reputation. Generals must be rewarded if they have a contribution rating, or it will be a negative loyalty factor. 4. Soldier units cannot usually be rebellious when led by a general. Their target loyalty is based on the general's leadership + 30. There is also a +20 bonus of being the same race and a +20 bonus led directly by a king. However, that is simply is a buffer, since the target_loyalty is negatively impacted based on combat skill, and based on leadership skill. 5. All other cases, the target loyalty is 0. This means any worker or peasant will eventually betray you if you leave them mobile for too long. This makes sense because they aren't doing a job. When the current loyalty is updated, it trends towards the target loyalty by small increments or decrements. Events There are events that can immediately change the current loyalty of a unit. Examples of this are when the unit does not receive its salary pay or food, granting a reward, or demoting. Spies When hired, spies can no longer randomly betray the nation they are cloaked despite the loyalty level (see think_betray()). They can still betray based on unique events. Betraying The betray() function is used to switch units between nations formally (with announce or not). Spies use this for both an announce type and non-announce type betrayal. Independent units can also do this (TODO define better). Below are the conditions in which the betray action is handled. 1. Units that are constructing or on a ship cannot betray. 2. Kings cannot betray. 3. Loyalty calculated when betraying to UNIT_BETRAY_LOYALTY + random(5). Bonuses are +reputation and +30 if the same race as the king. Then update_loyalty() is called to update the target_loyalty. This is generally where loyalty is first assigned, but spies end up being recalculated. (Note in 7k2, the base loyalty calculation changed) 4. Generals will bring their mobile followers. 5. The unit will decide a structure of the new nation to move to, which makes their presence clearly visible. Independent AI Define how bonus units (freebie units with random skills) are generated in case there is a potential behavior issue that can identify spies based on the random stats.

Espionage Model

Espionage is conducted via spies, and all kingdoms can use them. Therefore, not only must you conduct espionage, you must defend against it. Defense involves having counter spies occupying the same location that an enemy spy may occupy. Keep in mind you may freely execute enemy spies.

There multiple methods of infiltration such as assigning a spy to an independent village. if a kingdoms captures it, the spy will be assimilated into the kingdom's population. Other methods include sneaking the spy into the location you want or revealing the change of coat to let the kingdom know about the defection and control the spy.

Spies can infiltrate any building as long as it isn't full and assume the role of that firm, excluding an inn. Depending on their role, they can execute spy functions such as sabotaging production or research, sow dissent, steal secrets or technology, but especially bribe other units to become additional spies.

You are able to to gain intelligence on your ally or foe by stealing secrets if the spy possesses a high enough skill. Spies can function as a replacement for researchers and gain technology for your kingdom.

One function is capturing buildings, aiding in the destruction of the other kingdoms and construction of yours. Soldiers in a captured fort my even hold your banner after capturing it. Another function is assuming the role of soldier, then general, and possibly be crowned king, thus leading to defeat of another kingdom and victory.


Ancient Adversaries


Works cited

Whitehouse, Chris, et al. Seven Kingdoms Ancient Adversaries Instruction Manual. Updated by members of the Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries OSS Project, 2.14.7, Interactive Magic, 1998: Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries OSS Project, 2018.



Enlight Software Ltd. “About: Management.” Trevor Chan CEO of Enlight Software Ltd. , Enlight Software Ltd.,

Enlight Software Ltd. “Enlight.” About: Timeline, - no




IGN. “Seven Kingdoms: Conquest.” IGN, IGN, 13 Mar. 2008,

Jensen, Chris. “Seven Kingdoms.” Online Gaming Review -, AirAge Publishing, 25 Aug. 1997,

Jaded. “Seven Kingdoms Preview by Jaded.” The Jaded Gamer's Pub,, 5 Oct. 1997,


loki, and the3dfxdude. “Question about 7kaa Design / Origins.” Seven Kingdoms Fans Message Board, 7kfans.Com, 12 Aug. 2018,

Steam. “Seven Kingdoms 2 HD on Steam.” Seven Kingdoms 2 HD on Steam, Valve,