When I was fifteen, sixteen, when I really started to program stuff, I definitely wanted to become a game developer.

It was almost impossible because it was — the dream was so big, that I didn’t see any chance because there were no schools in my hometown for studying…

And when I finally broke away from reality and became a cybernaut I thought: “Well, now I may have a little bit of a chance…” Because all I really wanted to do is games, and not only play games but create games.

At that time, in Medellín, in the early two-thousands, they had terrible Internet.
So, I would take a bus, would go to a cyber cafe, surf… maybe sixty minutes. I think I had about 7-8 games.

I would frequently sleep on the bus because I barely stopped at home. And that helped for about… almost two years… to survive… in the beginning.

I wanted to do a game where entire worlds were generated, then simulated in great detail, worked hard on it, but then found out that game had no future… and I said: “Wait a second, I have to synthesize this. Why don’t I use the things I have crafted to create smaller games in the future?”

And I didn’t have any idea what to do, but I knew I needed a theme, so I put a theme on a seven days game which then was synced to the roguelike gameplay.

I knew that could be a roguelike of the future, but I didn’t realize how much the impact would be on me.

Some bits of my early gamedev history (1999)

The 2000’s blurb at my story mentions I “somehow” learned QBasic; well, yesterday while visiting my university I remembered a bit about how that could have happened… let me share with you a little bit of my early gamedev history!

The high school I studied in was the junior of a local university, so every year they took us two or three times to it, for sports and cultural activities. But of course, I always ended up in either the library or the computer lab.

Here’s a pic of the library I took on May 2023

So I think it was 1999, after some initial encounters with QBasic in school, and having played a lot of DOS games on my PC. I had to take the chance of visiting the University library to try to find a way to create videogames, and after wrangling a lot with the library’s database, I finally found a book there: it was a 1986 Spanish translation of Tim Hartnell’s “Giant Book Of Computer Games” from 1983.

Image Source
The library still looks very similar (although it’s currently being remodeled so I couldn’t sneak in 😦 )

Of course, it was already an old book by then, but it was a treasure for me… it contained BASIC source code listings for over 40 games! I struggled to find an interpreter that could run them but just browsing the source code, and trying to figure out what was going on, was enlightening.

But it was not just the source code listings; the book was full of insights from Tim Hartnell discussing different genres of games, and his experiences while interacting with other developers of the time. It really made me fall in love with the idea of becoming a game developer and someday being able to make part of such a community.

I also remember I grabbed the book from the library (we could get books from the University library with our high school ID!), and I was meant to return it in a couple of weeks or so… well, I could never return it, and I remember feeling super anxious that they would charge me a lot of money whenever I managed to deliver it back! I eventually did it after (over a year?) so I could enroll in the University and well, they put into consideration that I was a school student but still charged me quite a lot.

It’s amazing how, back in 1983, game developers were already referring to a dark medieval past of gamedev and the awesome modern tools they had at hand.

Back to 99; I believe my curiosity led me to investigate more games including the “Friendlyware” BASIC games, and then peeking into NIBBLES.BAS and GORILLA.BAS in QBasic (whose source code, as far as I remember, was pretty unfriendly for the newbie). QBasic’s online help, OTOH, was a trove of useful information and I was eventually able to create my own games through 2000, culminating in ArcherFire (the ASCII version).

Prior to the book, I think I had seen some BASIC game listings in even older magazines for computers that were never available in Colombia (like the ZX), but the book is what really put me on track.

Years afterward I would visit the library a lot, now a proper university student; I recall some of my favorite books were a collection of Object Oriented Design and Programming which again shaped my software engineering and game development history a lot.

ZeldaRL: Weapons of the Hylian [0.10.0]

A new version of ZeldaRL is available after a single day! I couldn’t help it and added some much needed variety to the combat system, along with procgen improvements. You can play it online at, and check out the (old, ugly) source code at Contributions are welcome!

  • Add new weapons, armor, and shields, and place them in the dungeons 
  • Add variability to combat via random damage and defense ranges.
  • Remove dungeon doors
  • Change the appearance of trees for readability
  • Play get GFX and show the items description the first time you pick it up 
  • Only add blood if not blocked
  • Fix/update texts in the ending

ZeldaRL: Balance of the Kingdom [0.9.0]

A new version of ZeldaRL is available after quite a bit! its development was given some push due to the new Zelda game being out. You can play it online at, and check out the (old, ugly) source code at Contributions are welcome!

The game has been renamed to just ZeldaRL dropping the “Rainbow Maiden” subtitle as it was never something tangible that you could find as part of the narrative development of the game (just a random nod to someone from my distant past that is no longer part of my life).

Let’s start with the visuals: out-of-sight tiles are now displayed as grayed out, and there were many, many changes in the characters representing the world, seeking to improve map readability.

After the gameplay session of 0.8.1, a lot of balancing changes were done to make the game more enjoyable; the player now starts with double heart quantity, and the heart containers you acquire when winning a level now add 6 max hearts instead of 2. Hearts are now capped to 80, and the minimum max hearts value (if you die a lot) is now 10 instead of 6.

Also, the dungeons are now populated with more recovery potions, and a critical change to remove all spawned enemies from the level when you died finally should make exploring the overworld more possible during the endgame.

Before the fix, enemies would just pile up and make your life very miserable

In the audio aspect, there were two minor but important changes: I added a “step” sound effect (from Emerald Woods), which should provide better feedback when you are moving around, and I also swapped the overworld “Light World” midi with a better quality file so it’s less annoying.

I fixed a bug that was causing the shield to never be used (!) so now it’s back to action and having a 20% chance of blocking attacks which will add some uncertainty and variety to combat; additionally, there is now a 100% chance to block ranged attacks with a shield when facing the attack direction, which you can use to approach ranged enemies. This required altering the HUD to display the last movement direction.

I hope you enjoy this new version! please join the discord if you want to discuss it!

Emerald Woods – Papermap [0.2.14]

A new version of Emerald Woods, the chill no-combat solo farming roguelike where you can die, is now available!

Play for free for now (online/windows) at, we are still in an “Earlier Access” phase, so let us know any suggestions you have in the discord!

There are two big important related gameplay changes in this version; the first one is the addition of a map of a fragment of the world around the starting place, detailing the geography and the location of the nearby stations. Using this, players will have much more guidance to start exploring the land, instead of just wandering randomly. The experiments on how this works in-game have been successful so far but I’m keeping an eye out for any feedback about it. The map can be found in a ruined station, next to the starting cabin.

Genco Stations and offices have been revamped both in appearance and function; the loot you can find on them has been reduced in quantity but increased in relevance as these are the only places where you can find tools that give access to features in the game. Their placement is now also smarter since more control is needed over the number and location of them, and some of them will be locked requiring players to find a key first.

The infrastructure of the template system for locations has been improved along the way, which will allow for more interesting handcrafted content in the future.

The main change in the UI is the removal of the classic roguelikey “message box”, replacing it with shorter messages in the map; a lot of what was being displayed there only made sense for the character-based display since that one lacks a lot of options for visual feedback. As a result, the HUD is now cleaner and the player can focus on the area of action.

Some additional assorted changes:

  • The cavern and outdoor lakes are now differentiated
  • The quantity of meat obtained from slaughtering big animals is now capped to 2
  • Stones in the world are no longer solid
  • Reduced quantity of generated stones by 50%

Emerald Woods – Hunter [0.2.13]

A new version of Emerald Woods, the chill no-combat solo farming roguelike where you can die, is now available!

Play for free (online/windows) at


  • Improve chances of meeting animals while exploring the wilderness (control placement in front, and retry quicker)
  • Prepopulate caverns with inactive animals
  • Ensure clues are unique
  • Reduce raft cost to 30
  • Add a knife that can be used to kill animals 😦
  • Allow leashing animals, making them follow you (if you have given them enough nuts), and adding them to the journal
  • Prompt the player for confirmation when going to sleep and will wake up starving
  • Remove waypoints when destroying campfires
  • Remove grass before placing floorings
  • Add a Settings panel and allow changing the master volume
  • Change capture small animals quest to capture ALL animals

NovaMundi: Spiritual Experiences [0.40]

NovaMundi is a procedural exploration game with tactical combat in which you lead a group of indigenous warriors and explorers to traverse the vast and dangerous territories of the Andean mountains seeking to unite the Muisca populations against the first wave of Spanish invaders in the XVI century.

NovaMundi is still available on Steam Early Access! GET IT NOW (or wishlist it) if you like what you see!

v0.40 continues with the focus on sidequests which at the same time triggered some engine work. Additionally, out of nowhere, there was work in the zoomed exploration which may be significantly exploited in the future when more caverns are added.

Caverns Exploration

Out of nowhere, I decided to add a minimap to caverns exploration including markers for the units, an indicator for the camera location, clicking on the minimap to warp to that location, and uncovering the minimap as units explore it; it was a lot of work that probably won’t be fully exploited in the current version.

Additionally, made it so that the battle music overlay only activates while in combat

Procedural Generated Discoveries

Some of the sidequests we had designed required visiting a “kind” of place in the world, located nearby another place; to support that I included placing the markers in the world (for paramos and spots in the rivers), and then wiring together these places with the quests after procedural generation was done so that when you talked with the quest-giver he could give you details on the direction and distance of the place.


We worked on a bunch of sidequests (TI-5, TI-7, MQ-5, MQ-8, MQ-23), as mentioned, some of them were of a new kind, requiring you to visit places

As a new sidequest required a day counter, I added support to allow multiple of such type of quests. Some QA rounds revealed bugs in MQ-0 and MQ-4 that were also fixed.


Modified the merchant restock routines to include a limited amount of “rare” goods they can have every day; they also refer to them in their greeting.

Assorted fixes

  • Add missing journal fragments for the main quest
  • Prevent exploration music cooldown from resuming music while town music is being played.
  • Make the mission briefing text area scrollable
  • Add a visible Tunjo slot for party members.
  • Fix issues selecting units in combat (conflict with minimap)
  • Fix raiders encampment prefab restoring issue.
  • Land places on terrain when restoring the game

Farewell San Vicente, artık Türkçe olarak mevcut

In “Farewell San Vicente”, our entry for Global Game Jam 2023, a family flees their home in the countryside displaced by “La Violencia”, the civil war in 1950’s Colombia.

You can play it online, or download it for Windows, for free, from its page.

Thanks to LonelyTranslater, the game is now available in Turkish.

Bu, güzel, sevilen topraklarından kaçan bir ailenin çetin yolculuğunun hikayesidir. Kolombiya’daki birçok ailenin kökeninde buna benzer hikayeler yatıyor.

İki nesil önce, binlerce insan, kırsal kesimdeki evlerini terk etmeye ve şehirlerin görece güvenliğini aramaya zorlandı, daha sonradan “La Violencia”, diye adlandırıldı. iki partiden de nefretin o kadar yüksek olduğu, masum insanların sırf şüphe için ya da şanslıysa işkence gördüğü ve öldürüldüğü bir zaman; evlerini terk etmek zorunda.

This version also includes some gameplay tweaks to make it more challenging.

0.4 Changelog

  • Add Turkish translation
  • Fix localization issues
  • Make the game more challenging via economy tweaks
  • Increase carry capacity for caravan
  • Increase the market value of items at Uramita