Bandersnatch demo, the making of

After binge-watching all the possible endings for Bandersnatch in one sitting, I could not take this idea off my head, I had to recreate the game as something playable. You can play it online here

At first, I thought on doing it from scratch, creating a fake 3D engine similar to Akalabeth or the early Wizardry titles. After doing some research I opted instead to use proper 3D rendering, and adapt movement and appearance so it felt like a ZX-Spectrum game. I took our entry for the 2015 7DRL Challenge, Stygian Abyss, and started chipping off stuff and adding makeup until it felt decent enough.

One thing the engine didn’t have was support for interactive “prompts”, so that had to be added completely. Jucarave was up to the task and managed to do it during the last day of 2018.

Then came the question of designing all the game content; of course, the episode doesn’t directly reveal a lot of information about the game itself… however, there were some “design notes” scattered around Stefan’s ZX.

Stefan's crazy flows
Stefan’s crazy flows

I used them to recreate a possible game flow… which frankly doesn’t make a lot of sense 😛 but that’s what it is! I also incorporated some parts that were visible on the short gameplay clips shown in the episode.

(warning, spoilers below!)

flow
Reconstructed flow for Bandersnatch demo

Luckily, the engine had support for static maps, so I mapped out the flowchart into a level layout, with each choice being an interactive item.

Bandersnatch map

And that’s it, hope you like it! And by the way, you can check the source code here if you are interested.

Slashware 2018 Rewind

And so, 2018 is over.

Another year of awesome indie gamedev. Here is the story… stay tuned for the 2019 plans, coming soon!

OpenArthurianX6 saw its first milestone completed although not nearly enough dev time was invested into it as planned, Expedition was brought back to life as a game with a modern UI and a 3D look, work in Ananias halted, I participated in 4 game jams, wrote 4 articles, went to 3 events away from home, did a retro animated video, learned a bit of Unity and C# and a lot of PixiJS. All in-between a challenging year where I went full independent with Slashware Interactive, started hiring people back and had a lot of client work in order for it to happen.

See also 201420152016 and 2017 Rewind.

January

Ananias 2.4.4 was released after a long hiatus of dev, only to go to an even longer hiatus, with no further released being made over the year.

Created a page to gather resources for the maintenance of roguetemple. Worked on moving lots of content into its own private hosting, there are still some redirections to fix to make sure all migration is complete.

Created a couple of articles originating from my talk on the Roguelike Celebration 2017. The first one was “A short history of the “roguelike” term“, and the other one was What is a Traditional Roguelike.

Set up 7drl.com with an informative (and now outdated) page for the Seven Days Roguelike Challenge.

Did some work in OpenArthurianX6 for player’s party ranged attacks and mob AI, but didn’t really pick up dev.

February

What sad month, I was mostly completely busy with client work. However I did publish CvRL on itch.io

March

Haunted Mansions

Participated on the fourteenth 7DRL challenge with Haunted Mansions, managed to complete it and it looks fine but wasn’t really happy at all with the gameplay. Did further work on it to produce a mobile version (not yet published), seeking to find funds to develop it into a full-fledged game on GDC (ha!)

Flew to San Francisco for GDC 2018, went to a lot of parties there, got some contacts mainly for Digital Distribution and/or Publishing for Ananias but didn’t follow up on them thru the year (gotta make a better job at it on 2019). Also organized a roguelike developer meetup there and meet some cool nerds.

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April

Adapted the virtual stickers album I had made for Brazil 2014 World Cup, into Russia’s 2018. Invested a bit on it and got no money back.

Participated in Ludum Dare 41 with Golf Over Africa, was pretty happy with the results, a fun, focused game.

Game Screenshot

May

Did some work on OpenArthurianX6 on the projectiles, but again failed to pick up speed due to client work. At least created a fan-fic to guide further development.

Participated in a short, fun, LCD jam where I created Paladin’s Quest.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 7.51.11 AM

Took a stab at editing wikipedia’s roguelike article with my findings on the origins of the roguelike term. It has stuck there up to now.

 June

Finished implementing projectiles on OpenArthurianX6, but again didn’t really pick up speed. At least managed to lay some plans for work done in future months.

Thought on participating on procjam 18 with a pokemon town generator (with the intent of using it on a future version of MonsterTrainerRL) but failed, too busy. At least posted an article with a kind of deconstruction process that can be used to created similar generators.

July

All I managed to do was writing a pretty long article about “Ultimate Collector”, Richard Garriott’s stab at social gaming, and how it related to the Ultimate RPG project and Shroud of the Avatar.

ultimate-collector-ultima-items
Razimus’ Ultima collection inside Ultimate Collector.

August

Serious work put into OpenArthurianX6, including its first source code release for backers! Still at a very early stage but at least gave them the opportunity to play around with it and have an idea of what it can do.

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.20.31 PM

I also created the retro-looking trailer for Roguelike Celebration 2018

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 7.42.04 AM

September

Participated in the js13k 2018 with ArcherFire: Duet of Aces, a hotseat two players shooter with music and animations in 13 KB. Results were pretty good although the judges didn’t think so.

afdoa

More work in OpenArthurian happened, adding support for ranged enemy attacks.

October

Flying around and client work let little time for indiedev. Went back to San Francisco for the Roguelike Celebration 2018, where I organized a tournament for Ananias and gave a talk about the connections between D&D and roguelikes.

Adam Boyd receiving his prizes at roguelikecel
Adam Boyd receiving his prizes at roguelikecel

Also attended Colombia 4.0 in Bogotá which was much better than I expected, got to meet some indie publishers and learned a lot in the talks.

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November

OpenArthurianX6 had its own website created, and lots of work went into it to finally complete the first planned milestone.

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Having finished some of our client’s projects, we started working in the Tech Demo for the revamped Expedition. For a long time was deciding what to do with it, finally settling to using Unity, and making a real-time game in 3D.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.10.37 PM (1)

December

A lot more work was put into the tech demo for Expedition, you can sail around the map, there are different weather effects, you can land with your party and walk around, check your map, navigate storms, and some other things detailed in three updates 2, 3 and 4.

exp4-3

Wrote an article about the connections between D&D and roguelikes, based on my talk in roguelike cel 2018.

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 4

We have been working on the tech demo for about eight weeks now.

There has been a lot of work on design and planning for the completion of the tech demo, including the test campaign. Some of the things we did since the last update:

  • Test modal storm event, taking the player to a separate scene with rough waves.
  • Make camera orbit the player following his heading
  • Different levels of rain

exp4-3

  • Test layout for 3D rendered cutscene
  • Reactivate Minimap and include more position markers
  • Show latitude and longitude minutes
  • Surf effect for the ship on overworld mode.

exp4-4

  • Tests for other units following the player while in land exploration
  • Tests on appearance for Campaign Details screen
  • Tests for soil and trees on the map
  • Display wind direction and change randomly.
  • Point of sail calculation affecting the ship’s speed. (Wind direction vs heading)

exp4-5

  • Navigation from game to title screen.
  • Ship info tooltip on the campaign details screen.
  • Populate campaign details screen with a long list of crew members, including tooltips with their names.

ex4-1

The project’ artists have also been hard at work, delivered the first pack of art for the portraits, and a new cover art which we are still deciding if will be used for the title screen or for the website and marketing material.

Slashie.net updated

Some minor maintenance on my projects’ website, powered by ReactJS, ended up with pretty big changes, the most visible one is the revamp on the “collaborators” section, which now shows what games I worked with that person.

Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 2.22.21 PM

Additionally, I added an “activity” classification per project, which can be either active, paused, stalled, stopped or finished, to reflect on what is the perspective for future work on it.

I also relocated the filters into the header and updated the texts a bit.

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 3

We have been working on the tech demo for about six weeks now.

exp-dev3-1
More UI tests, working compass

Some of the things we did since the last update:

  • Labels hovering on towns with their name
  • Decrease depth of field of view during night
  • Torchlight during night
  • Pause time button
  • Show hour of the day
  • Allow docking ship in town
  • 3D town scenes (then ditched)
  • Working compass
  • Test title screen and flow
  • Test event popups
  • Test town Popup
  • HUD relayout and temporary UI elements
  • Test “New Campaign” screen and flow
exp-dev3-2
A storm sinks the ship

Another aspect we also invested quite a bit of time on, was changing the whole water system to use a different library. Even tho we are not using all the features of the plugin (the entire refraction system, for instance), it has allowed us to display foam in the shorelines, create the Storm scene with big waves and simulating buoyancy on the ship, as well as some additional effects.

Roguelikes and D&D: A profound connection

Miniatures on a grid board utilized for a Dungeons and Dragons game in La Mesa, California
Miniatures on a grid board utilized for a Dungeons and Dragons game in La Mesa, California  (source)

Finally, after many weeks of delays and many hours of work, I managed to finish a new article based on the research I did for my 2018 talk at the roguelike celebration. I hope this article provides useful insights and allows having an additional approach to roguelikes as a genre on its own.

Many thanks to all the friends who provided useful feedback. 🙂

Can we find useful insights on what a #roguelike is, by examining the results of the efforts of the developers of rogue and other early roguelikes to bring their beloved #dungeonsanddragons hobby into the world of computing?

You can read the article HERE