The Making of Muyscamuy – Part 3

This is the third part of a summary of the development of Muyscamuy, our entry for the Cultural Heritage Game Jam 2021. You can play the game online here. Read parts 2 and 1 if you haven’t!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

I integrated the content designed by Esteban (events, onboarding tips, and intro), making the game experience more complete.

Also experimented with a change in the UI to select an area first, before adding or removing people into it. In the end, it was a bit confusing and I decided to remove it. One thing that did make it tho, was automatically returning all workers to the community center when it no longer made sense for them to stay idle somewhere (like when they finished working a farm or building a building.)

Gecko improved the AudioManager and added sounds for events such as adding workers to buildings or farms and depleting a forest.

Finally, worked on adding the tooltips to the conversation window, which involved setting up TextMeshPro, migrating the Text elements, and replicating and adapting some of the logic we have set up for NovaMundi.

I did some calls for testing; initially, we had planned to have something more complete ready to test on the 17, but of course, it didn’t happen. I wonder how realistic these plans can be in a short game jam like this. Still, even at this phase, we got useful feedback regarding the flow of the game and for improvements in the onboarding.

End of the day the game still looked pretty plain and incomplete, but that’s fine because David told us he was working full strength on the visuals, and we still had a couple days…

…or did we?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Woke up thinking we still had one day and a half day and planning my Monday schedule to work towards completing the game. Alas, I was wrong. A 4am notification at the ggj discord channel warned about the impending deadline. Change of plans I guess… I started working early, we had until 3PM.

I let the team know about this (gecko was already aware). Up to this point, we were still pretty behind on the integration of the new visuals; David was still working on these, and he had to push forward quickly in order for us to make it in time.

I went on to implement a generic component for tooltips backed by a Dictionary and attached it to the components in the Events panel. Also added an “inventory” of the Tunjos you had made already, so the player could know which ones he was missing. Improvements in the onboarding and reintegrated the events data as Esteban continued pushing for it.

I figured out the ending text was still not integrated, ideally, we wanted to have better visuals for it, but time was just too short for that, we’d be lucky if we managed to integrate the basics.

This is when I got a notice from Edwin that he wouldn’t be able to jump into the project. By now that was kind of expected (and I didn’t even tell him we had one less day!) so I removed all the temporary UI and we were left with semitransparent flat color overlays.

Gecko implemented the missing sounds for UI and buildings and mixed the sound a bit.

David was finally able to send the long-awaited updated assets for the world. So it was time to integrate them! There was a lot of back and forth as we set on the best way to put them given the short time left until we finally settled on a way. I added the graphics and altered the scene to match the new layout.

Then I broke the game.

Clicking on the areas no longer worked. The clock was ticking, and stress built up in this fine Sunday I never intended to be working on, it was meant to be a family Sunday.

After much desperation, I found the cause: A single setting when importing the asset to be used as a mask for the click area threshold. Unity strikes again.

Spent some more time doing small UI tweaks, integrating the last changes in the audio made by Gecko, and updating the tooltips dictionary with last-minute additions made by Esteban. Did some final tests where I found the endgame was not being triggered (nice), fixed these, and we were set to submit.

The games were streamed a little bit after the deadline; they used the gameplay video you had to send along with the submission (which I became aware of 30 mins before the deadline, OBS to the rescue) and optionally a team member could talk a bit about the project. I was busy setting up Christmas lights so Esteban had to cover.

We managed to submit a worthy entry, in time, but this would not be the end of the Muyscamuy project.

November 22

After the rush of the jam, it was time to think about the future. I wanted to have an HD version of this game, and also take the time to polish and increase the content within it. So we set the plan for it. The whole team was happy with the results and we knew it just needed a little bit more love to really shine.

Another important thing on the list was the translation to Spanish (and possibly other languages in the future); Esteban suggested the use of Unity’s built-in translation system, which we had avoided so far to reduce dependencies, but maybe it was worth trying (especially since he mentioned it has a built-in integration with google sheets, which may reduce a lot of manual work we do currently for NovaMundi hmmm).

Manuel has started sharing the game in his channels (he is well known for his content about Muisca culture), and it has had a great reception (in spite of being English only for now!).

I also took the time to check the jam entries; I found out there were a couple more submissions from Colombian teams including Abya Yala, Oro, Guatika, and Norte de Aventuras. Interestingly, some of these were student projects for which the teacher had set up a matching jam.

So far our jam entry seems pretty solid; other than the fact that you can screw up by building two of the same type of building (you cannot tear them down) thus making the game unwinnable, and some audio bugs, I haven’t been reported anything game-breaking.

November 23

I talked with Nookrium, who was in the middle of a “Free Games” month on his channel. He said he had already noticed the game and it looked interesting… maybe he’ll take a look (hopefully by the time the HD version is public!).

I was contacted by Canal Trece; they thought the project was interesting and decided to write an article about it.

November 24

I did some progress in the HD version. Damn, this is how we should have shipped it for the jam, it was not a lot of additional work and it’s still completely web-accessible, but it looks 100x cooler.

HD version compared with the original jam version :/

November 25

The team met again for a retrospective. We agreed we need to push forward an improved post-jam version. Some of the top priorities we have on the list:

  • Increase the use of Muisca language
  • Improve use of wood as a resource, and add negative effects for destroying the forests
  • Make the effects of low favor more clear
  • Show how farms grow every turn.
  • Add more weather effects and plagues for the farms.
  • Come up with a fix for the unwinnable situation of building two of the same type of building.
  • Improve display of resources being used to build or craft.
  • Improve the underwhelming Game Over and Victory.

I went on to tackle some of these, producing a version with an improved user experience.

Manuel and Esteban are also now added to

November 26

I decided to upgrade to Unity 2020.3 so we could use its fancy localization tools. It was not super smooth, but mainly because of a weird bug in Unity that causes issues when updating the dependencies while you have your IDE open. That was hard to catch!

I managed to start working in the localization and even did some tests with Japanese (just for fun). Stumbled against the issue with TextMeshPro requiring some work in order to support non-latin characters. It wasn’t a simple fix so I discarded that for now (we’ll meet again when it’s time to add Japanese)

The thing that pushes and pulls from google sheets works really well, so I guess it was worth going thru the hassle of upgrading. Esteban and Manuel are now able to work in the texts and translations, and the flow to integrate their changes is much quicker.

We keep discussing some ideas to improve the visuals of the food values, including the addition of a new building where you can see it.

Esteban completed the translation to Spanish for the onboarding.

November 27

I implemented localization for the events and extracted some of the data (it’s a lot of text!). Esteban said he will continue the work and do the translation to Spanish as well. Gecko worked on improving the audio for the weather effects and a lot of other small details.

November 28

I put a new version up on the unofficial website (from the perspective of the jam). We’ll update with this one once the jurying is over.

The story of Muyscamuy continues, subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss this epic adventure!

The Making of Muyscamuy – Part 2

This is the second part of a summary of the development of Muyscamuy, our entry for the Cultural Heritage Game Jam 2021. You can play the game online here. Read Part 1 here if you haven’t!

November 14

Worked in the “Craft” system, which is really pretty simple (once you’ve built a forge you can select what item you are going to build, and it consumes resources daily towards its completion).

Using input from Manuel, further defined the “favor” system and the actual rituals to be performed at the temple, as well as further establishing the preparation for the “biohote” or ritual celebration, as the victory condition for the game)

Despite still being tangled by his final university exams, Esteban has started writing some events to happen inside the game, with different levels of rarity and choices, and defined as sequences. Gecko has also started his ideation process for the audio.

November 15

I started the day doing a livecoding session with the addition of being able to Make Offers in the temple, based on the design made the previous day.

After the stream, I implemented the effects of the rituals (increasing favor and increasing the yield of farms as they are growing if blessed). Also worked in the weather system (or rather, the “Storm” events) and its relationship with Favor and the ritual to stop them.

Added simplified Trading in the town center, where you could exchange resources for the gold you need to build the Tunjos.

Other important additions were a victory and a game-over condition, thus completing a playable game that could be tested. Some initial tests led to balancing some stats including the initial food value, harvesting rate, and forest resources. I released this version for the team to give it a look, receiving some feedback mainly on User Experience, but also some ideas to include “fishing” as an additional source of food (that one didn’t make it either)

I continued improving the UI and added some more placeholder graphics to the scene (forests and buildings) to continue building on the feeling of the game.

One element we were not sure how to integrate was the “Climate Change” part. I researched a little bit and found this article about how global warming is affecting the “páramo” ecosystem (Andes high-mountain tundra). These places also happen to be sacred for the Muisca, so that was a possible angle: I thought we could add an activity where the player could visit these paramos to get important gameplay bonuses, but these would not be available in the “Climate Change Challenge” hardcode mode (which would also feature more harsh storms and climate). Unfortunately, we didn’t end up implementing any of that in the jam version due to lack of time.

This day we also had a feedback meeting arranged by the jam organizers, where the teams could display their progress and get valuable input from experts. There were lots of interesting entries, and for our entry, the experts recommended we thought on 3 possible takeaways people would have after playing the game, what makes the Muisca different from other cultures and why was Maize so important for them; these didn’t have to be big lessons, just small things people would know after playing the game.

The qualities of the other games in the jam are very varied; some of them look pretty basic while others seem to have mid to high production levels. Made me wonder why the jam was not more clear about the assets you could use. I opted for us to only use assets created during the jam timeframe, but it’s clear some other teams made extensive use of acquired assets, which doesn’t seem too fair but was still legal under the rules of the jam.

Esteban and Manuel continued interacting so that the narrative elements we created were spot on with Manuel’s knowledge about the Muisca culture.

Gecko sent his first revision of the ambient / music track, which I believe ended up being used in the game almost with no modifications. It is awesome but what else can you expect from The Gecko.

I implemented a basic “rain on the camera” effect, inspired by a game I saw sometime in the past (I think it was Frostpunk). Also started working in the support for the in-game events that Esteban was writing.

November 16

Added support for events, and loaded as game data all the ones that Esteban had created so far (knowing in advance they were bound to change, but needed to make sure we were supporting all that was required).

As Esteban and the team continued working on adding new types of events, I kept updating the engine to support what was needed.

Manuel was finally able to review Gecko’s track and he loved it.

November 17

In-between dead “adulting” times, I’ve been reading Jordan Mechner’s fabulous “The Making of Prince of Persia”. Maybe someday this devlog will be similarly interesting. I still haven’t made it to the point where PoP hits success. It’s fun to see his back and forth between glorious 80’s indie gamedev (was he an employee of Broderbund? I gotta check that) and movie making.

Another live development session, this time focusing on the design and implementation of the “onboarding”. I cannot stress how important this is even (and more so) for jam games. I explored and designed it out of the dark, and did a quick implementation.

Set up a Trello board (long time no use Trello!) to coordinate work mostly with Esteban, since both Gecko and David seemed to be knocked out of action by other stuff.

David was finally able to send some more art! I increased the base resolution of the viewport to 960×640 (bigger, but still good for web embed)

I also worked on something I was trying to about so far: being able to define a “mask” for clicking on UI elements in Unity; this is not supported by default and had to wrangle a bit with it (You need to use Image’s alphaHitTestMinimumThreshold, and the texture you use needs to be imported following some parameters). This was needed so you could place isometric areas side by side and for the player to be able to click on one of them even if the enclosing rectangle overlapped another area.

After the streaming, I completed the onboarding, and worked in the Events module to filter out options and events out of reach because you didn’t have the required resources.

Esteban continued working on the narrative as we wondered how abstract it should be, or if we should incorporate a more structured plot. There was a lot of back and forth mainly between him and Manuel, as the events were further polished.

November 18

Continued improving the UI, fixing reported bugs, and implementing support for the new effects as they were designed. Also implemented a stunning title screen.

Esteban is working on the intro and ending; we are still deciding if we want it to be addressed to the player (like “This is a game about the Muisca, you are going to learn about them, your mission is to do this…”) or be more of an “in-universe” thing. We chose to favor the second idea.

For the first time, I sent the playable build to a close circle of known testers, to get their feedback and bugs.

November 19

Today, Half-Life (1998) is now as old as the first home version of Pong (1975) was when Half-Life came out. As pointed out by idspi.

I didn’t get to work in the game today, but Gecko committed his first changes to the repo, adding basic audio support and some sounds, while Esteban reported the intro and ending were written as well as another revision for the onboarding; he also finished writing a nee sequence of “Negative” effects, based on the interaction with the Spanish and other tribes.

Seeing that we were running out of time and the UI visuals were still lacking, I tried to incorporate an additional artist into the team but the notice was just too short and we failed to onboard any of three different options I had in mind:

  • Paul Pereda, who did a lot of art for the Expedition project, had a lot of work and couldn’t help.
  • Mapedorr, fellow gamejammer who was already working in 3 gamejams at the time I contacted him
  • Edwin Saenz, a graphics designer with whom I worked years ago in the Flash version of ArcherFire, initially was going to participate, but in the end found out he couldn’t make it either.

So I had to take that role myself, which means we ended up with a minimal UI in the end.

Another important development made today regarding the theme and based on discussions with Manuel was how we were going to portray the game on the angle of cultural heritage conservation, since so far what we were doing was displaying some elements of the Muisca culture but not really putting them under the lense of being at risk of disappearing. We decided to highlight the role of the XVI Century catholic church in the persecution of the indigenous practices as one of the factors that contributed to them being almost completely gone. The game then serves as a tool to help that cultural heritage remain in time.

Continue to read Part 3, the grand finale of our journey!

The Making of “Muyscamuy” – Part 1

This is a summary of the development of Muyscamuy, our entry for the Cultural Heritage Game Jam 2021. You can play the game online here.

Here’s a sneak peek of the final results, but read on to learn about our adventure!

October 19, 2021

I received an email from the Global Game Jam newsletter announcing the “Cultural Heritage Game Jam”. I don’t have any time for jams, of course. Still, I label the email with a Star and move on with my life.

November 5

As I check the “starred” emails, I wonder if maybe it’s worth participating in this jam. I share info about it with the SlashwareKnights ring (cool people that have done projects with Slashware), to see if there’s any interest. David Florez, the lead artist of NovaMundi, gets excited and thinks this is a chance we cannot miss. Some initial ideas included minigames ala WarioWare, as well as something around Muisca crafts like goldsmith, mantle making.

It seems we are going to jump in, so I come up with a name for the team: “Nyiaoque” (grabbed it from NovaMundi’s dialogs created by Manuel, it means “Figure of Gold”).

The jam has officially started, but we are far from jumping full into it.

November 6

Juan Carlos “QuietGecko” seems to be interested as well. I met with Manuel to discuss some pending tasks for NovaMundi, but I also pitch him the idea and he was very interested, a potential ideal would be making a game around the tradition of the “chicha”, a traditional fermented corn beverage whose preparation could be traced back to the Muisca. It seems we have a team.

November 8

The team meets. Initially, I had the idea of leaning more into the educational and narrative aspects, but David thinks we should shoot for a game with deeper mechanics and gameplay. We decide to go for a strategy/simulation/tycoon game where you lead a Muisca community toward a still unclear objective. All we know for starters is it’s going to have some farming, building, and crafting elements, that we want to teach about the Muisca culture and language, and that we will stick to a single screen map with mouse interaction, for desktop.

November 9

Deciding what technology to use for the game. Based on the constraints we set, the short time of the jam, and the technologies I’m more familiar with, I considered JS + phaser2 (very familiar with it) or phaser3 (gotta do a project using p3 someday), or Unity (which I had used to create the board game prototype for Expedition, a lot of past 2D client work, and NovaMundi of course).

Another thing to consider was accessibility; since this is a jam I believe it’s always important to put as few barriers as possible for both the jurors and the players, so browser-playable was a must. My experience with Unity’s WebGL player was limited, but I figured if I kept the game simple, it should work fine (I recall I’ve seen people try to use it for huge games over 200MB).

November 11

I decided to go for Unity, and it was only 4 minutes into dev that I had to do my first StackOverflow lookup. Hit a wall with the rendering order of things in Unity2D, since it is decided by default by camera distance instead of the order of the components in the hierarchy, which was quite a shocker at first but then made total sense.

I ended up using a complete Canvas/UI-based approach, which worked perfectly well being similar to the scene hierarchies in phaser or DOM; since we were not using cameras or any kind of movement, this was a good fit.

On this first day of development, I added areas where you could put people, and the foundations of the day-based simulation system with the effects in farming, lumbering, food consumption, as well as a simple construction system consuming wood. Most of what the core of the game was going to be in the end, was set from the first day.

I also talked about the jam with Esteban Martinez, a narrative designer who will be joining Slashware next year, he said he was interested to join but was unsure how much time he could invest due to his final university exams.

Captain Toonhead, a VR game created by Colombian company Teravision games, was out today.

November 12

Another team meeting! Esteban joined for the first time and we continued polishing the ideas for the interactions to be had in the game and the way we were going to handle the narrative aspects. We also reviewed some references for graphics and gameplay.

Following Manuel’s suggestions, Esteban read a transcription made by Clara Inés Casilimas and Eduardo Londoño, of a procedural document (see what I did there) done for a Spanish trial against the Muisca chieftain of Ubaque. “[…] a key item which shows the Muiscas adopting another culture, religious repression, and the forming of a new identity in what is today the centre of Colombia“.

From there, he extracted some ideas for the setting, the types of events that could happen through the development of the game, some possible ways the “religion” system could work, and the final goal of the game being the preparation of a great celebration.

November 13

We briefly discussed the idea of having continuous instead of day-based simulation, but that would have been a costly experiment and may set more expectations from the players of seeing animations and more “real-time life” in the portrayal of the world.

David sent the first assets for the phases of the maize farms, which were promptly integrated. I also changed the test background to something closer to the perspective and appearance I visualized for the final game, so that communication with David could be easier and the team could get a better idea of where we were heading.

I also added the “area inspector” bar, uncluttering the map so that the info of a given area was displayed on the bar instead of all around the HUD, and did a lot of UI tweaking.

Continue to read Part #2 of our journey!

EID 2021.2

Fixes some critical bugs found in 2021.1 with the transition to SERF0.29, and further improve user experience:

  • Prevent exploit to recover HP using Run command
  • Replace Luck with HP for clarity
  • Improve delay logic for better gunfight SFX
  • Replace fancy useless Miss messages with more practical numeric damage caused
  • Use bigger font by default for modern monitors.
  • Arm civilians so they can retaliate if you mistakenly hit them
  • Prevent civilians from going hostile when hit by enemies

Also includes

Download at

Elite International Detective v2021.1 – After 10 years!

It’s been over 10 years after I last updated this game! recent playthroughs made me want to fix some stuff so here we are!

Here are the biggest changes:

  • Much smaller map size, less boring exploration
  • Fix display of map when the mission starts so it actually makes sense
  • Show weapon stats in the HUD
  • Fix issue blocking the game when the crime happened in HQ city.
  • Increase the height of city description textboxes
  • Remove unused Lethality mechanic

Bundled are also updates to serf-engine bumping it to 0.29, allowing us to have:

  • Improved Urban map generation
  • Improved targetting (remember the last enemy)

Have fun!


OpenArthurianX6 – Milestone 9 completed – World split into chunks

The single goal for this version was not a simple one: to transition from a model where the player warped from one “Level” to the other, into a World model based in Chunks, allowing the creation of very big open-world maps with seamless transitions between them (ala Ultima VI).

This involved breaking the “Level” class, splitting its responsibilities into two classes: World and Chunk, and reworking how pathfinding worked so that mobs could still find their way between chunks. All around changes were made so that mobs, items, objects, and doors continued working fine, as well as NPC schedules.

So, there are not a lot of new functionalities to talk about here, but all this invisible work will hopefully pay off when making use of the engine to create big worlds.

The Demos page has been updated so you can play online or even download the win64 package.

Onwards to Milestone 10!

Tales of NovaMundi – Week 136

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

There was not a lot of work these two weeks due to personal issues and work in Roguenet and OpenArthurianX6, however, we continue improving the visuals and variety of the units.

Variations on hair styles and clothing were added for the Muisca units, and a first version of the updated European units was also integrated into the game, they continue evolving both visually, and in their role in the story. More to be revealed soon.

On the audio front, we added effects for the animals including solitary eagles, king vultures, pumas, deers, bears, and parrots. We also incorporated some fixes in the volume sliders to use a logarithmic scale and added a Master volume slider.

OpenArthurian: M8 Completed, Source Code Released

There was a short dev push after Milestone 7, only for a prolonged freeze period to happen afterwards. This week I decided to push forward so now the milestone 8 has been completed!

The Demos page has been updated so you can play online or even download the win64 package.

Along with small fixes, this new version (0.10) includes the following:

  • Allow ending Combat using C while in combat mode (and no dangerous enemies nearby)
  • NPC Schedules! they will hop from location to location (including opening doors when needed), and sleep during the night somewhere.
  • Added two test NPCs to Iolo’s hut (Corvus and Calista) and a test schedule for them.
  • Line of sight reduced based on time of the day.
  • Atmospheric color based on time of the day
  • Sleeping mobs won’t talk, and will wake up when attacked.
  • Neutral mobs will now flee when attacked.

Furthermore, I decided to release the source code of the game at this point! it was initially planned to be done on v1.0, but I figured it has been long enough to put it out there for people to start toying around with it. You are welcome to take a look at the github repo!

Onwards to Milestone 9!

Tales of NovaMundi – Week 134

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

We have been working hard on adding the definitive content. A new version, v0.34.0, was published.


King vultures (Gallinazo Rey) now fly on the lowland forests and wetlands. Large and predominantly white, the king vulture has gray to black ruff, flight, and tail feathers. The head and neck are bald, with the skin color varying, including yellow, orange, blue, purple, and red. The king vulture has a very noticeable orange fleshy caruncle on its beak. This vulture is a scavenger and it often makes the initial cut into a fresh carcass.

Characters and Quests

We added a complete set of 16 new characters including their dialogs for both Spanish and English. These include the leaders of 6 Muisca territories, and several characters sharing the trades and traditions of the Muisca.

This also included the implementation of a more defined set of quests to unite the Muisca territories, designed based on our research on potential sources of conflict between the Muisca territories, as well as their beliefs and needs. The Quest controller used internally had to be updated to support the new conditions to complete the tasks, as well as to improve its support for chained quests.

New trade and quest items were added, and the caverns system was also reenabled so that these quests could be completed. The Dialog Controller was also improved to support dialog fragment variations based on flags so that the conversations can be a little bit more dynamic and contextual.


We took the first step to display the Muisca population center including more huts and a palisade since these are essential elements for their architecture. We still need to work on the definitive unique elements for each town.


On October 12, most of the devteam assembled to chat (in Spanish) about the state of the project and our approach to the topic of the European Invasion of these territories which started in October 12, 1492, including how the topic has evolved in the game to its current shape where we focus on the player combating the divisions between the Muisca first and foremost, portraying a scenario where it would be harder for small bands of explorers to gain political advantage in the territory.

We also talked about our plans to transition out of Early Access, and some things we wish we could have time and resources to add into the game. Click here to see the VOD.

I also participated in IndieCade’s IndieXchange 2021, in their panel “Finding Business & Funding Success Around the World” sharing a bit of the story of NovaMundi’s funding and some ideas for fellow game developers.

Tales of NovaMundi – Week 132

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

It has been five weeks since the last update. A new version, v0.33.0, was published.


Gecko continues working on improving the audio of the game; the UI effects are almost completely covered, and we began experimenting with spot ambiences with the towns.

New Unit models

We decided to take the leap and remake the appearance of all the units; we are looking forward to abandon the previous “bulky” anatomies replacing them with more anatomically correct bodies with more details and higher texture quality.

We still need to add more variety to them, and we are still working in the Spanish units as well as the integration of these new units into the game (as well as improving the workflow to integrate new fragments and variations more easily)

The DevTeam at DevCom 2021

We participated in DevCom 2021 (pitching a separate game we are planning for 2022). However, we also did a devteam stream, talking about the (updated) history of NovaMundi.

Some of the topics we discussed included:

  • The many shifts on theme for the project and their effect on the ongoing development.
  • The current work in many facets of the game, as we approach the end of Early Access.
  • The feedback we have received from the Early Access phase from streamers such as Nookrium and their communities, and how we have integrated it into the game. (including the work we have done to make the game feel more alive)
  • Classifying NovaMundi as part of a genre. RTS? Survival? Strategy RPG? Roguelike?
  • WarTales – we noticed it.
  • Playing the current version of the game, some tips from the experts!
  • New roles for upcoming non-combat units.
  • Recent changes in exploration and navigation such as time compression.