NovaMundi – Week 85 Update

On the “wildlife” front, we added deer into the world. They pop up, move around, idle and graze, and then fade out. We are working in the interactions with them (first one will be being able to hunt them). We also added more variety of parrots (red and green).

Responding to feedback from tired explorers, the European encampments are now equipped with bigger, more comfortable tents for the members of the expedition.

We are gradually adding procedural lakes into the world; we are now creating the surface of the lake and placing small ones (which look more like pools) in the world. I toyed around with the idea of simulating rainfall to define their shape and placement but quickly found out it won’t work for us unless we implement an erosion model. Instead, I’m going with the idea of merging heightmaps so we have better control of their placement and appearance.

We are now using particle effects for rainy weather so that the field of view reduction makes more sense to the player. Still need some tweaks to differentiate them from the normal “mist” caused by cold weather in high altitudes.

A big chunk of work was put on the “zoomed” exploration, you can now walk around our test temple ruins, grab stuff and return to the overworld. We are going to add more of these locations (mainly caverns), where you will be able to find remnants from other expeditions.

We are adding usable items including medicine, bandages, and medicinal plants (which you can now find and pick from the world). Next version we are going to implement their effects on the party members.

The Discovery Journal is now filled with entries based on the events that happen on the expedition in addition to the discoveries that are made. It still needs some improvements for a more fluid layout but it’s a good step forward.

Finally, the Tqnda campaigns now start on their own hometown, where the player can setup their expedition. It still needs a proper artwork (as well as the journey to the Emerald Jungle).

That’s it for Week 85! Please remember to follow us on Steam, and add the game to your wish list if you like it.

NovaMundi – Week 84 Dev Update

This week, we worked in the entire flow to select scenario and sponsor, and give them different starting quests, items and starting location. This also included a new screen for “Land Selection”, dreaming on a future where we could provide more worlds to explore in addition to The Emerald Jungle.

On the content side, we focused on adding more content for the “Tqnda” scenarios including two units (Explorer and Warrior) and models for their exploration camp.

Tqnda is a fictional culture inspired by the Muisca. When playing with them your group will move quicker through the jungle and will have an increased chance of foraging medicinal plants and bonus to their effects.

We also did a lot of internal work in order to be able to create the new “Inventory” popup, from where you will be able to use items.

Some other smaller changes included allow using Ctrl to extend selection of units in the “combat” mode, this is in preparation for the “Zoomed Exploration” mode (that’s the way you’ll be able to explore caves, temples, and other cool places). There were also some minor fixes in the procedural portrait composition to make hair color match beard and eyebrows.

Another big, non technical change, was re-categorizing the game as a Survival Adventure game instead of “Strategy”, after lots of debate within the team we believe this more clearly reflects its style of gameplay.

That’s it for Week 84! Please remember to follow us on Steam, and add the game to your wish list if you like it.

NovaMundi – Week 83 Dev Update

Since I intend to recover the rhythm of weekly updates, I tried to get a measure of how many weeks we’ve been working on the project. I’m using November 5, 2018, as the start date of the project on its current incarnation, and removing about 8 weeks to account for times when we were not fully working in the project (because we had to switch to client work, mainly). The project has changed so much all this time… it’s been a huge labor of exploration on different themes and gameplay mechanics.

So, welcome to the development update for week #83. Here we go!

Overworld visuals


Quite a bit of work here including the addition of the first wildlife (butterflies, fireflies, and parrots) as well as palm trees (planted both at the beach and in palm forests in the coast) and three new types of trees for the jungles, bigger than the other and with a different, more isolated placement. We also tweaked the beach textures for them to not reflect as much light.

Also, we added a new model for the European “explorer” unit, adapting the design we had to the more “bulky” style of the other units.


We also created models for progressive constructions of outpost buildings, although these are pending integration.


I laid out some foundation design for three scenarios, each one placed on a different era of the land (“First men of the Land”, “Great Highland Nations” and “Visitors from beyond”). I want to highlight that The Land is the protagonist of the game, and each scenario will provide a different core mechanic around it. More info to come soon, but for now want to confirm that the scenarios with European-inspired explorers will not include settling into the land, just exploring around and completing specific missions.

On a related note, I also removed ambushes by indigenous populators, so now there is no possible combat between Europe-inspired cultures and established nations of the land in the “Visitors from beyond” scenario.

We created logos for 6 different sponsors for two of these scenarios, each one will provide different starting conditions and quests.


User Interface

The biggest change here was the addition of tooltips with detailed descriptions for commands and status area, which really helps with onboarding. We also integrated the icons for the movement mode change and the clear climate indicator for the night, and tweaked the description of some quests.

Exploration & Discoveries

We tweaked Field of View bonuses and integrated the exploration range for mapping and main camera, and also added a new discovery image (Eagle).

Character Interaction

Some visual fixes in the eye direction on character portraits (so they stare each other) and in the composition where we had some issues with overlapping facial hair.

NovaMundi – July 2020 Dev Report


It’s been three months since the last update. And many things have happened… but before delving into the dev update, some general announcements.

First off, the name of the game is now NovaMundi. Expedition is now the underlying engine (players will likely never know about it). We did some heavy branding work for it, as you can see on the new website.

We are also now in Steam, where players can now wishlist us! we created a brand new trailer to launch there (Soundworks by QuietGecko and voice by Nash Makado), as well as a pretty detailed gameplay video (which went quite well for not having any script, except there was no combat).

It’s hard to make an interesting 3 months changelog, so I’ll focus on the more visible aspects (but of course there was a lot more work in tweaking and fixing stuff under the hood).

Overworld Visuals

We improved the display of shorelines with a better transition to grass and undersea terrain.


After many iterations, we are back to displaying the full party in the overworld, which I think looks great! You can also now rotate the camera by dragging with the mouse, making full mouse control much better.

We added back the fog effect with some special controls so that it’s only triggered up in the mountains and doesn’t conflict with the sea.

As usual, lots of work with lights and postprocessing, including some important fixes with the rotating Sun and Moon’ lights to prevent objects from being lit from below, and more tweaks to make nights look good (not too dark, blue instead).

Another big thing we restored was the dynamic zoom for the field of view, getting rid of the vignette effect in favor of this to avoid wasting a lot of screen space. This will come with challenges to make sure things look good at different zoom levels but we are up for it.


We also worked on trying to add more variety to the terrain including some efforts to add grass objects (so far no good results and we had to pull them back, mainly because billboards not working well with our tilted perspective) as well as adding color variations to the trees (but we ran into some issues to make it work with our current tree models)

Interaction with the Natives

Native towns are now populated with a chieftain, who shares info about the culture of the settlement, as well as nearby animal species, plants, and tribes. You can also initiate barter with the chieftain, whose inventory stocks daily based on the production values of the town.  Offers are now evaluated based on the perceived value of the items and an expected trade margin.


We also redesigned the “dialog” interface, it’s no longer a floating popup but it’s anchored to the bottom of the screen, and the portraits are bigger. More “fragments” for native populators were integrated and we fixed them so they would look to the front.


The camping visuals were improved for both the dialog and the actual display of the expedition camping (instead of the full fade to black). Forced camping was also removed so it’s up to you if you’ll drag around your tired companions for days and nights.


AI was improved to attack back when attacked (instead of just standing there), and we fixed pathfinding, making battles flow much better.

UI was also improved by showing a panel with the summary of units when multiple units are selected and allowing selecting all units of the same type by double-clicking.

We also created a visual effect for the arquebusier firing and integrated the corresponding sound effect.


You can now mount horses (need one for each expedition member), increasing your movement speed in plains. We are still working on the visual model for it (using a placeholder for now).


The map is now shown full screen and you can zoom and pan it. We also did a complete redesign of it, changing how forests, mountains, settlements, land and sea are portrayed. This also including drawing a border around the discovered area instead of relying on color contrast.



Added back gold veins and the ability to create mining camps, adapting them to the latest changes in settlements (so you can transfer people and food into them). They now generate gold based on the number of workers until they deplete.


Outposts now consume and produce food, and heal units stationed on them. Also added a new visual model for the outpost.


Transfer Items

The “Transfer Items” window was completely revamped on its appearance. We also added buttons to transfer all items from one side to the other, and only display the categories for which there are items,


We also now display the reason why you cannot close the window some times.


The appearance of the Discovery Journal was also overhauled, we even made an animated 3D model for it but decided not to integrate it yet.

We added discoveries when entering a native town or the temple ruins, and started adding their definitive visual representations. So far we have 3 different animal species and 2 places.


Discoveries are now integrated into the “Events” flow too, so you can discover animals from events such as attacks in the jungle.

We also added quests with rewards for discovering part of the map or reaching a number of discovery stars.

Saving and Loading

We did one first big push for game persistence, including starting a cleanup of our objects’ structure to make them serializable and allowing saving and restoring their state.

World Generation

Settlements and natural resources are now placed in a more smart way; valued stuff is now more likely to be placed high in the mountains (away from the landing point) so that there’s more incentive for the player to explore. Likewise, dangerous stuff is put in the middle so that you are not killed immediately as you make landfall.

We also added three new kinds of native settlements into the world: Advanced cultures with stone buildings, Nomads with round tents, and Farming people with wooden houses. This included adding a “capital” type of town as well as a smaller town for each.


We changed how the “Temple Ruins” work, removing the battle (for now) and streamlining the menu-based exploration, and integrating its music track.

Exploration radius is based on the explorers you have in your party (however we are still working on tying everything together so that it also applies to the main map window (maybe))

We added random events when exploring (Sickness, Accident and Animal Attack), and also are experimenting on when to show them.


Items and Units

Naval units such as Sailors, Officers, and Ship Captains have been removed for now, since we need to improve the sailing facet for them to have a reason to exists. We also added Mules that you can use as pack animals and balanced the cost and weight of the trade goods.

We expanded the source of names and last names for Spanish units, using this as a reference.


Reactivated the helper character in the home town, extending it so that it provides tips and information about the different units and items


Expedition – Children of Bachue: 3 Months of Dev

The last update was from January 20. Development intensity has varied thru these months but we haven’t stopped and we keep getting closer to a playable version. Here are some of the things we have done.

Overworld Visuals

  • Changes in lighting and color grading.
  • Add mist effect controlled by time of day and scenario.
  • Add new model for explorer.
  • Tween ambient light based on hour of day
  • Activate town labels, fix scale and colliders.



  • Tactical pause.
  • Improved selected unit display
  • Battle onboarding (First version)
  • Pixel perfect unit selection in battle.
  • Add Temple battle scene (and add support for multiple battle scenes)
  • Support for both “party members” and “bulk” units.
  • Limit camera movement to the combat area
  • Separate combat scene and overworld lighting.
  • Add shader to see units through obstacles.
  • Add support for “ambush” and “faceoff” combat placements


Nueva Esperanza mode

  • Restore access to hometown to supply expedition
  • Display background image for hometown instead of 3D scene.
  • Add some initial inventories to hometown
  • Add quests to establish settlements with gold prizes on return
  • Cash trade goods on return to hometown
  • Preserve map between voyages.
  • New settlement popup.
  • New UI for Temple exploration.
  • Reactivate camping with new UI.


Transfer Items

  • Add icon and info for the location
  • Highlight items that are being transferred
  • Add icons for units
  • Batch transferring for some items.



  • Start work localizing the Children of Bachue campaign to English (some infrastructure, still pending the bulk of translation work)

Music and Audio

  • Integrate “Spanish” music to exploration and towns
  • Remove “sailing” music (unified exploration theme)
  • Add Sea Ambience


  • Place stones as rubbish in grassland
  • Place mountain models in terrain.
  • Refactors in generators.
  • Add Coast type map
  • Fix additive texture painting
  • Place native towns (WIP)



  • Tweaks on forest placement and growth
  • Visual improvements in trees
  • Tests with low-poly forest blobs (discarded for now)
  • Disable shadows for trees (huge performance cost)


  • River shaders with animated texture and offset “flow” animation, as well as semitransparent blending
  • Carve valley for river
  • Add test river to generated terrain


Ocean and beaches

  • Improved settings to allow translucency
  • Improved seabed
  • Tweak colors
  • Limit ocean area instead of it expanding infinitely.
  • Paint rocky beaches based on slope


Expedition: January 20 Update

It’s been almost three months since the last update. And many things have happened!

We finished the CREA Digital project and managed to push the game forward greatly. Then we continued working looking forward to having a public release this year. Below is a gameplay video showing what we have so far.

Doing a full changelog would probably be huge. Instead, I’ll share some pics of the more visible changes, noting that there are also great advancements in the music and sound effects.

We continue pursuing the best way to display the “overworld”; we did some changes in the perspective and added back the followers to the player (we are planning to add more variety to these units so instead of the same battle units you’ll have carts, people carrying stuff, etc). They also behave more organically now, following the player in a less rigid way.

The overworld is also now more rich with models for the different sizes of European Settlements, Mining camps, gold veins, and temples to explore. Native cities also are now displayed using different unique models for each in the history mode.


We added a separate procedural terrain generator for highlands, canyons, and deserts. It uses pure Perlin noise instead of the random midpoint displacement used for the island generator. This generator was incorporated into the history campaigns too, increasing their replay value; in order to do that, we had to make a hybrid out of it, to add predesigned content (or rather locate it at general positions in the map). Another big chunk of work was for the grass terrain, painting patches of grass to make it look less homogeneous.


One of the most visible changes from the last update is the appearance of forests, still a work in progress but it seems at long last we’ve found a way to represent them adequately and performing well. I decided to use full detail models instead of low poly shapes and made some tweaks to make sure it performed decently. We still need to do some work to cover more ground while keeping the FPSs up. Besides the forests, we also did a lot of changes in the lighting of the scene, as well as the post-processing effects.

In addition to the changes in how they are rendered, there were also changes in how forests are generated, placing clumps of trees of the same type together, and selecting them based on the type of tree. We also added a first iteration of drawing roads between locations on the map and having simple “conversations” along the way. The paths are broken down into segments, and the terrain along these segments is set to dirt. Next iteration will feature meshes instead for them to be much more clearly defined, for now, they also include some huts along the way, for a little variety.

For the island generator, beside a LOT of internal changes, we also changed the way beachlines are rendered, to make them contrast more vs the grass. “Snowy” mountains were also removed, giving these maps a more tropical look.


After exposing our working alpha to player testing, we discovered we needed to do a lot of work in player onboarding; we added a helper character that guides you through the first mission, we still gotta have him help you during your first battle.

The entire conversation window was reworked, dialog options are now added dynamically based on the options that are selected, and are capable of launching the Barter interaction or, completing mission objectives. This was complemented by changes in the town popup, to group characters inside buildings and then allowing the player to choose who to talk with.


Speaking of Barter, we revamped the Trade screen and after many iterations, we implemented the foundations of a bartering mechanism where you can trade goods with people in villages that don’t have a currency.


The minimap now displays the direction the expedition is heading, as well as the towns that have been discovered, the roads between locations, and the previously known places and areas at the beginning of each game. The sea is now also displayed more clearly, and the town markers are built based on the size of the location.


Of course, there was a lot of work involved in actually getting the “Children of Bachue” campaign ready in time for the CREA Digital deadline. This included finalizing the design and setting the generator for the first four missions, integrating the cutscenes art and voiceover for them, loading all conversations and characters data from design, and integrating the models for units in combat and overworld.


For the history campaign mode, we added a “narrative mode” disabling discoveries, temples, gold veins, building, camping, etc. and providing more direct control over combat. All this so that the player could focus on unveiling the story and the world.

In order to support some of the missions designed for the campaign, the Discoveries facet was improved by adding items to the player’s inventory on discovery, and adding quests related to bringing these items to a given location.

Similarly, a simple “tracking” mechanic was added where the player can find traces or general directions to the places he needs to find as part of his mission.

Some other smaller changes in the UI include testing a new, more readable font, animations to the compass needle so it looks more organic, and a mission briefing window shown at the beginning of each mission.

Expedition – November 7 / 2019 Update

It’s been almost three months since the last update. And many things have happened!

We are progressing thru the CREA Digital project (ending this month). We’ve been working for the last 10 weeks.

Doing a full changelog would probably be huge. Instead, I’ll share some pics of the more visible changes, noting that there are also great advancements in the music and sound effects.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.14.10 PM

As part of the work in the new UI, we have rearranged the transfer items dialog and implemented some visual enhancements on it and the other dialogs of the game.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.18.55 PM

One of the most visible changes from the last update is the appearance of forests, still a work in progress but it seems at long last we’ve found a way to represent them adequately and performing well. It’s no longer a flat texture and it still conveys the sense of scale that I’ve wanted to portray in this overworld view.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.21.39 PM

This is far from the definitive look we want. We are still working on the lighting of the scene, the colors, contrast, and other graphical tweaks. As well as creating more models for the overworld locations.

Landing and boarding, as well as linking the party units model and the inventory model, so that the units you have in combat actually match the ones in your inventory.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 11.19.09 PM

Another aspect that was worked on heavily was the UI, including the HUD elements, the appearance of dialogs, and the size of texts and elements. We also added new indicators for the day and night cycle, the weather, and made the minimap show the immediate surroundings (instead of a scaled version of the entire map)

The idea to use a vignette to simulate LOS has been discarded for now. Zoom levels are now fixed too, so we are not emulating LOS at all. I believe this was an unneeded level of complexity.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.23.14 PM

Speaking about the map, a lot of work was put into redesigning its look. Not all of it has been implemented inside the game already (only minor parts of it).


Below we can also see the helper character, our initial effort to enhance the onboarding for new players with a “soft” tutorial. We have also been working at updating the portraits system with a new style and new sets for the native people.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.16.22 PM

There has also been some progress in the illustrations for the campaign cutscenes, although we are reworking it with a different style.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.17.58 PM

Combat has mostly stayed the same. However, we are doing a lot of work in redesigning the units, modeling them and creating new animations. We are in the process of integrating them into the game so hopefully, this huge chunk of work will be more visible next update.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.56.13 PM


Now, for some work that is less visible:

  • We have designed the entire layout for the Children of Bachué campaign, including defining 6 missions with different feelings and objectives, creating locations and populating them with over 50 NPCs with their dialogs and appearance. A lot of research and design work has gone into this.
  • As noted above, creating music, sound effects, and integrating them into the game, has been quite a bit of work. I’ll post a gameplay video soon so this can be heard.
  • Planning and casting for the voice over for the cutscenes
  • Refactors in the engine to support multiple food consumers
  • Support for the cutscenes with fading images and text, with automatic playback.
  • Creating mining camps
  • Returning to Spain sequence
  • Discovering towns.
  • Use procedural terrain for Children of Bachue missions.

Expedition – August 20, 2019 update

It’s been 44 days since the last update so let’s go!

CREA Digital winners


We were selected as winners for “Crea Digital”, a program from the Ministries of Culture and Information Technologies of Colombia, with “Expedición: Los Hijos de Bachué”. This will be a scenario based on the Muisca legend of Pacanchique, and the last years of the Muisca Confederation in the central Andes highlands.  We expect to make good use of these funds to enhance production, art and UX aspects of the game while producing quality content to be distributed across the country, inspiring children to become game developers in the future and teaching people about their history.

Changes in Exploration

After a lot of experimentation with the forests, including tests with 3d meshes, I decided to tackle the forest issue with a change of perspective. Of course, this isn’t a magical solution but I believe it’s closer to the sense of scale I want to portray.


For the “New Expedition” mode, the player now starts on land in the southeastern-most part of the map, using an adequate sea vessel based on the selected culture.

Regarding field of view, our first approach was to use zoom levels for this so that if for some reason your field of view was restricted, the game would zoom in so that what you could see would fit all screen. I found out this to be a bit confusing and troublesome from the art part, so we are now using a “vignette” effect instead.


We are also now detecting if the expedition is transversing a forest, in which case it moves slower and the field of view is also limited.

Procedural terrain

Worked further in procedural generation, adding controls to ensure a percentage of the map is above the sea, and smoothing out the mountain peaks to make them look more natural.


Hometown and Transfer Items

For the “New Expedition” mode, the player adventure will start at his “hometown”, where he must stock his Expedition to the unknown. He may come back to town to trade and restock.

The UI is still very early but finally settled on a design for this multipurpose interaction, which will also be used to trade with native towns, and to transfer things between the expedition and locations such as ships and outposts.


Voyage mode

The current approach for the long voyages in the open sea. It will be a separate mode in which events will be simulated and things will be handled at a higher level. Will probably add some navigation and weather aspects, as well as events with the crew.


Combat – Pathfinding

We implemented pathfinding in combat using the A* Pathfinding Project, it’s looking much better now.


UI Tweaks

Added a permanent minimap on the lower-right corner of the HUD, and compressed lots of UI info into the status panel in the lower-left corner. Also increased the size of the Town and Conversation dialogs and relocated them.


Also, after lots of research and experimentation, we were able to add “markers” for the command destinations, painting them over the terrain using “projectors”.


After evaluating different alternatives we settled on handling rivers as meshes generated from polylines (sequences of points), in order to provide more flexibility for their procedural generation. We also added animation to their flow. Their appearance is still work in progress.


Sound effects tests

We introduced speech effects for “commands” as well as random “expressions” from the expedition members during exploring, as well as new sounds playing when the units are injured or die. This is all still in test.


Expedition: July 7, 2019 Update

It’s been about three weeks since the last update so let’s go!

Don’t forget to check out the forums and discuss there, as well as follow the blog!

Cartography – Automap

We had made progress on this some months ago, but with all the changes in the design and now that we have procedural terrain, we practically had to remake it from scratch.


We are now generating the base map from the generated (or loaded) terrain, taking into account the heightmap to draw the shoreline as well as icons for the mountains and forests, and then displaying it as the player explores, including the position of the player and adding the discoveries he has made (see below).


I must say that it looks pretty cool.

Discoveries and Findings

This facet of the game is meant to provide the players with a motivation to explore the map. As you walk around you will find things such as animal or plant species, ruins or new cultures. When you find a new one you will have a chance to name it and will earn “stars” based on its rarity. You can always check your discoveries in your journal.

Discovery Journal

This facet is still very early in progress, it will be heavily based on procedural generation for the description and (2D) appearance of the findings you are making.

Procedural Generation

We invested a serious amount of dev on terrain generation, we are now generating islands using midpoint displacement fractal with preseeded key points and a lot of tweaking to make them look nice, be more controllable, and play well with the base procedural generation we had in place which was 100% Perlin noise.


We are also affecting the base heightmap so that plains look plainer and mountains look more dramatic, by scaling specific portions of the heightmap.

Dramatic Mountains


Combat now takes place on a separate “scene”, so when for any reason the player engages in combat (right now there are just random ambushes) he transitions to a separate area with a higher level of detail



Small tweaks on how things are portrayed in the overworld, to give a better sense of scale now that the combat has been moved to a separate scene.

Also, further additions to mouse movement so you can now move in the ocean and enter towns.

Title Screen

Working in the flows for both the Campaign mode and the New Expedition mode, you can now select the campaign (but there’s a single one, the Pacanchique one), or select the “civ” you are going to use for the procedural mode.


Expedition: June 17 update

Procedural Generation


  • Make individual features of towns “land” into irregular terrain when placing them.
  • Allow setting the tiling sizes of the terrain layer’s textures.
  • Paint terrain with rock texture based on its slopeness.
  • Place towns in grass band.
  • Prevent trees from being placed in steep slopes.
  • Select between premade or procedural terrain based on the selected game mode.
  • Paint “dirt” below trees and towns placed in the map with a semitransparent texture mask.



  • Release camera lock on the main unit when entering combat mode.
  • Add visible arrows as projectiles for archers.
  • Transition to Game Over scene when the main unit dies



  • Mouse movement in Exploration mode