Tales of NovaMundi – Week 124 of Development

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

For the past two weeks, we worked on the historical aspects of the game, as well as the fauna along with some improvements in combat and UI. We produced a single version, v0.30.1.

Historical Content

Based on the research done by Manuel (our Muisca history/culture/linguistics advisor), we integrated a list of 221 historical names that would likely have been used by the historical Muisca, obtained from documental sources. We used these to replace the ones we had in place which were generated using Markov chains based on Muisca-like place names (a poor source in the first place).

The component that selects names for units was improved to reduce the number of collisions by rotating through the full list and falling back through the different categories (male/female/unqualified genre) as needed.

I also did a first approach at improving the names of the territories; we’ll eventually have a proper reflection of the hierarchy of cacicazgos the Muisca had, but for now, I’m at least assigning names of large historical Muisca territories to the “quest” towns, instead of just using random names.


We still need to work on a big iteration for the combat aspect. That was the plan for these two weeks but things went in a different direction. At least we worked some small improvements for usability, making it easier to select units by increasing the size of their click mask, and increasing the zoom overall of the combat scene since we weren’t making full use of the screen real state anyways (our battles are small skirmishes, max 15 vs 15 units and commonly stuck together real close, so we were wasting a lot of space.) Maybe we should allow the player to zoom in and out in this scene since the zoom level is untied to the exploration range (unlike in the normal overworld mode)

Mysterious New Unit

We finished the visuals (model, animations and icon) for a new upcoming unit type, which I won’t unveil until its gameplay effects are implemented (hopefully soon!).


Andean condors are massive birds, among the largest in the world that are able to fly. Because they are so heavy (up to 33 pounds), even their enormous 10-foot wingspan needs some help to keep them aloft. For that reason, these birds prefer to live in windy areas where they can glide on air currents with little effort

National Geographic website (link)

The imponent Andean Condor is a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuelan Andes states. It is distinctive of the Muisca territory so we were long overdue to add it!

We are also in the process of adding the Puma, and some other animals species to make the world feel more alive.

In a semi-related change, I remove “European” food from the loot you can get from enemies, considering it is too early in the time period for it to be available in these lands.

User Interface

We are experimenting with a new layout for the action buttons (in order to implement it I ended up doing a big internal refactor, organizing the way we had laid out the UI components which had grown out of control). However, I believe we are going to change this again to a more “minimalistic”, more accessible design, with the buttons placed in a row at the top right corner instead.

I also configured the new set of portrait parts to the female and elder male types.

We are also working on adding sounds to the UI so that it feels more responsive.


We were interviewed (in Spanish) by Outline, a creative community from Mexico. The interview is pretty informative and includes gameplay as well, so please give it a look and share!

Tales of NovaMundi – Week 122 of Development

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

For the past two weeks, we continued working on terrain generation and visuals. We produced 3 versions ending up in v0.29.0.


The biggest change is the addition of the “Compress time” command; now if you press Shift while exploring, time will happen at 2x so you will move faster. I believe this is a need to prevent long travels from becoming super boring but I am still experimenting with this (may add some +/- commands to lock the time compression rate).


New appearance for the Conquistador Cavalry, more similar to the concept. Kept the old one as “mounted pikeman”, may use it sometime.

Added some more variation to portraits, disabled the wooden clubs from the guardian’s portraits since they were looking a bit cartoonish cavemen to me; we will replace them with narrower staffs probably. The next version will feature some more variations still. Also, we reset the “framing” of the portraits in order to display more of the face even if we miss some details of the equipped weapons.

We are also working on a new non-military unit, we should be ready to unveil it on next update!

Terrain visuals

Implemented some visual fixes in the grass objects, and added a new texture for the rocks so they blend better with the grassy terrain. Rocks are also populated more sparsely.

The paramo (Andes tundra) biome also saw some work with the placement of the mountains there and the removal of the snow peak biome pending yet another planned overhaul of the biome placement that allows us to have more control over bigger areas of terrain instead of relying on the heightmap.

For grass texturing, we discarded some of the textures we were using and tweaked the tiling and normal scale values of some others.

A new particle system for rain was developed, although it hasn’t been integrated yet into the main game scene.


This iteration was meant to focus on combat but art integration and needed tweaks in the exploration just haven’t let me charge into it. However, I did some small high-impact changes, like increasing the size of the initial enemy sizes so they are less of a joke.

We also did some work in the audio aspect with Mr. QuietGecko, doing a pass over the attack sound effects to make sure all of them were covered, and tweaking the volume for the different combat actions.

Project and Community

We participated in the Steam Summer Sale (along with our other game, Ananias Roguelike).

We were also interviewed for our state’s TV news, and a couple other podcasts (more info here)

Kay and Xenia

This week I’d like to shout out to Kay Tila, a member of our discord community which has been helping a lot with playtesting. My story with Kay goes back a loong time including the original “Expedition” project and probably more stuff I’ve done along all these years. Thank you for all your valuable feedback!

(Español) NovaMundi – Entrevistas y Artículos Parte 2

Entrevista en Retrus Gamer

Link – Los amigos de RetrusGamer, una gran comunidad de juegos retro de México, me invitaron a conversar acerca de roguelikes, diseño de videojuegos y por supuesto NovaMundi.

Entre algunos temas hablamos de:

  • Diseño de videojuegos
    • La historia de los micropagos incluyendo el rol de Raph Koster de Ultima Online como parte de Electronic Arts, y sus efectos negativos en la experiencia del juego.
    • Elementos de diseño roguelike como la “procedimentalidad”, la alta dificultad, la estrategia por turnos, la muerte permanente y la no meta-progresión.
    • Qué es un juego retro, algunos juegos retro que me gustan y el diseño de juegos retro más allá de su fecha de salida.
    • Balance entre historia y jugabilidad en el diseño de juegos.
    • Diseño de juegos para móviles, cómo funciona actualmente, publicidad engañosa y destrucción de la experiencia del usuario con publicidad dentro del juego.
    • Diferentes tipos de MMORPG y Battle Royale y mecanismos que usan para enganchar a los jugadores.
  • Slashware y nuestros proyectos
    • Historia de Slashware, Slashie, Ananias Roguelike y NovaMundi, incluyendo de dónde viene el nombre “Slash”.
    • El contexto histórico y cultural de NovaMundi, los retos que hemos encontrado al momento de desarrollarlo.
    • Relación costo/valor de NovaMundi y Ananias, posibilidad de ports a consolas a futuro para NovaMundi y la decisión de sacarlo primero en PC para poder iterar más fácilmente en el diseño.
  • Otros temas importantes
    • Anime con batallas con demasiado diálogo.
    • Forma adecuada de preparar y presentar la birria (tatemada o en caldo).

Entrevista en Noticias Teleantioquia

Link – El noticiero local Teleantioquia hizo una nota sobre NovaMundi para su edición de las 7PM del 24 de Junio de 2021, hablando acerca del proyecto, de qué se trata y algunos aspectos de su desarrollo.

Entrevista en GamesTravelers

Link – Fuimos invitados a una entrevista en conjunto con Mauricio Betancourt, para hablar acerca de NovaMundi y de la escena de desarrollo de videojuegos de Medellín, los retos y oportunidades que se tienen.

Algunos de los temas tratados

  • Qué es NovaMundi, algunas diferencias con juegos de estrategia tradicionales.
  • Transformaciones temáticas de NovaMundi a lo largo de su historia.
  • Razones para sacar un juego en “Acceso Anticipado”
  • Razones para incluir elementos de historia local en los juegos.
  • Estado de la industria de desarrollo de videojuegos en Medellín y Colombia.
  • Diferentes formas de aproximarse al desarrollo de videojuegos, construcción de empresa vs. desarrollo indie a más baja escala.
  • Tips para las personas que quieren realizar videojuegos.
  • Programas gubernamentales para incentivar el desarrollo de videojuegos y algunas ideas para que fueran más efectivas.
  • Impacto del mercado local de Colombia.

Gameplay con Simernio

Link – El artista líder del proyecto, Simernio, nos visitó desde la lejana ciudad de Envigado para jugar NovaMundi y comentar un poco acerca de cómo llegó al proyecto, los retos de crear ambientes procedimentales y los planes que tenemos a futuro.

Nota en “La Nota Positiva”

Link – “El juego se parece en sus características a otros comerciales y conocidos como ‘Age of Empires’ e inicia con un contexto histórico en el que se desarrollará la trama; después el jugador conoce su equipo de indígenas Muiscas con diferentes características y habilidades”

Tales of NovaMundi, Week 120

NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see!

These past two weeks we focused on terrain generation and visuals; we produced 4 versions ending up in v0.28.2.

Procedural Vegetation Placement

Spent quite a bit of time in improving the “plains” biome, placing grass and rock objects on them. That may sound simple, but it required a lot of trial and error tweaking the quantity of objects (to obtain an adequate performance) and their placement (to look organic and nice).

While it already looks much better, we still need to do some work in the terrain texturing; we did some tweaks already in the strength of the normals, and changing the textures we were using, but it is still too random and patchy. We need to have it match more with the placed vegetation and the surrounding features.

Looking for a way to place the new vegetation, as well as to cover the forest biomes with trees (something that was left on a weird state after previous weeks’ changes on the biome placement), led me to make a big refactor on how vegetation was placed in the map. There were two different algorithms being used; the first one (“brute-force”) seeded the map randomly with trees and then “grew” in almost random directions from the seeded trees, and required a control structure to prevent placing too many trees clumped together (these collisions were expected due to the lack of control on the growth). It provided good, organic results, but there was too little control which caused issues when trying to match it with another features (like the biomes map), and overall I hate brute-force approaches personally.

The other, more recent algorithm, used cellular automata to simulate the growth. It had more control but its performance was far too slow because of the overall size of the map and the resolution of the vegetation grid. I could have made it work by subdividing the map but that would probably have brought additional complexities in the intersections.

So, I decided to replicate an algorithm I was already using for the heightmap generation, making it a bit more generic. It’s a mix of the two previously described, with objects being seeded into the vegetation grid, but instead of having a C.A. run thru all the matrix (expensive!), the seeded objects are added to a queue, which is processed checking each object for growth into the adjacent cells (with a % chance). When a cell grows, it gets added to a new queue, repeating the process a number of times. This, together with making the final location of the objects a bit fuzzy so that they don’t look like they are aligned in a grid, seemed to bring the best of both worlds together.

I used this not only for vegetation but also for rock objects; I’m not completely happy with how they currently look though… we still need to do some work in their visuals for them to blend together with the terrain.

Yet another third big refactor was needed to make it easier to add new types of vegetation to the generator without having to duplicate boilerplate code to load the new prefabs correctly; all these refactors also allowed fixing these cases where a single tree stood in the middle of the map, and acted as if it was a forest, since now the check is made versus the map of biomes.

Terrain Visuals – Vegetation

In addition to the placement of the objects in the map, a lot of time was invested to make these objects look nice in our overhead perspective and dynamic lighting conditions. This involved a lot of experimentation with the different assets our artist had created, selecting which ones worked and tweaking the shaders to be used and their parameters (balancing their level of detail with our camera distance).

Another small but important change that was made, was tweaking the material of the existing forest trees, for them to be much less reflective and thus appear darker and greener for most situations. We probably changed them as part of the many iterations of visual tweaks and didn’t notice how bright they looked. So now they make the entire landscape look closer to the are we are referencing (the high Andes)

New Enemy Unit! Conquistador Cavalry

The Conquistador Cavalry is a quick unit with high attack that shows up in the later stages of the invasion and will test the skills of the player. On their current shape they are already formidable enemies, but we will be adding a special attack for it in upcoming versions, making even more dangerous as it charges thru your ranks giving you little chance to strike back.

Performance improvements

While wrestling with the addition of more objects for the plains, I noticed a small tiny thing that was causing a tremendous performance overhead; the clipping plane of our camera was set way too deep, much more than we needed! just by changing it a little bit we are culling the rendered objects by about 80%. We still need to do a lot to improve the performance (including optimizing the shadowcasters, but this should help a lot already especially in lower spec machines.

Also, since the addition of the detailed grass means more object are being rendered, I restricted it to the High and Ultra graphic levels.

Unit portraits

We are experimenting with adding weapons to the portraits of the units; this may allow the player to more quickly differentiate them when seeing them on a list, and also increases variety, however I’m still evaluating how clumped they may make the lists look versus just having an item for the unit type.

Finally, I changed the portrait composer so that Guecha Warriors are generated with short or shaved hair, based on historical resources.

Upcoming mysteries!

  • We continue working on an additional unit, still being designed and conceptualized, hopefully we’ll be able to reveal more in the next update.
  • We are also already ideating the next scenario on the NovaMundi series and are pretty excited about it. We will release more info about it when it starts taking shape.

NovaMundi: Week 118 report

NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see.

These past two weeks we focused on improving the exploration aspect, as well as tweaking a bit of the game balancing; we produced 5 versions ending up in v0.27.0.

José Manuel standing next to the Indipayacu lagoon (“Water sun”, in Inga language), in Sibundoy valley, Putumayo. (Copyright Manuel Gomez)


I jumped the gun and removed the “time compression” mechanics, which were creating a lot of confusion with the players. So what’s all this about?

Before this change, you saw your expedition move at a constant speed on the map, no matter how tired they were or what terrain they were traversing. Instead, the speed at which the time moved forward was affected by different factors; this was made out of convenience to avoid the player being crawling in the map which might be frustrating and boring. However, we found out it was difficult to communicate the actual speed you were walking, and instead, players sometimes felt days were too short, or battles were happening too quickly.

So now the actual speed at which the expedition moves will be affected, and players will get immediate feedback when they are moving slowly due to burden, fatigue, or rough terrain.

In addition to this, individual biomes can now affect movement speed, including rivers being very slow to cross (now serving as a natural barrier for exploration), in anticipation of a future scenario where you’ll be able to use rafts and canoes. We are also checking this now when you camp (so you can no longer camp in lakes and swamps, sadly :))

A related small but important change was making time STOP completely when the player is not moving; this was something long overdue since it’s equally important for the player to be able to stop and think anytime during exploration as they can during combat.

Finally, did some small tweaks to the terrain grass patching so it looked less sharp (it started looking weird some versions ago and it had a big visual impact).

Game Balancing

On the playthroughs I made and based on the player’s feedback, I found out the game was a bit too easy on the latest versions. The following actions were taken:

  • The number of available units in towns, both as a gift and for hire, has been greatly reduced.
  • The amount of Experiences Points acquired in combat has been greatly reduced
  • The hit points have been duplicated for ALL units.
  • Increased damage, range, and attack speed for all ranged units.
  • Increased damage for all Spanish units.
  • Fuhuta (Panche blowgunners) and Spanish (bow) hunters have been removed from military

Countering to this, the power curve was flattened so you start meeting powerful parties more gradually. This is still being balanced and I still believe the first battles should be a bit more exciting, especially since you start with a big party, battling 3 or 4 enemies is pretty unexciting.

El Gallinazo peak, near Pachavita, Boyacá (OC Antoine VX)

User Interface

The Expedition Status screen was overhauled with smaller portraits, and now displays the expedition stats for its current burden, and all items on the expedition using tabs (not only the useable ones)

The barter screen was improved visually, but more importantly, I added a command to “match” either the offer or the request, making it much quicker to set up offers. I also added a short but hopefully useful onboarding for people to understand a bit how it works. We also have new art for some items.

As for the Transfer Items screen, I made some improvements to the “Transfer All” button so that the Blessings are included, as well as partial quantities of stuff when you cannot carry all of it. The food surplus, i.e. the rations you will waste due to them expiring before time, is also now displayed both when bartering and getting loot or gifts.


I created a first version of the Roadmap, following the suggestions of Kay Tila in our discord community, we need to put some love on it since it’s an important tool for people to know where we are heading (especially given we are on Early Access). We are going to be adding more detail to it, as well as concepts of what we are going to do.

I would also like to highlight the work we are doing with José Manuel Gomez, a Muisca descendant, historical-cultural researcher, and linguist from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He and his family have their origins in a village in the town of Pachavita in the department of Boyacá, Colombia. His knowledge and experience in all aspects of the Muisca’s culture and language are critical for us to provide a proper representation inside the game and make the game serve as a tool to teach and preserve the traditions and history of these indigenous people.

José Manuel, standing next to his great-great-grandparents house in Aguaquiña, his family’s village (Copyright Manuel Gomez)

Our visual artist, David Florez, finished a new art for the project, depicting a party of Muisca explorers crossing a cold Paramo (Andes tundra). We went thru two iterations, improving the clothing of our party to better protect them from the weather’s inclemency.

We featured this new art prominently in our participation on Steam’s Open World Sale last weekend. I believe it was a good chance to increase visibility, especially because of the high number of concurrent viewers to our stream (compared to our normal audience numbers). Our E.A. numbers (for sales and wishlists) are still low, but we keep working steadily.

New Units

We are working on two new units. More info to come soon!

NovaMundi – Entrevistas y Artículos

A continuación algunas entrevistas y artículos que han surgido del lanzamiento en Early Access de NovaMundi: La Lanza de Chaquén. Si no lo has comprado, aún puedes hacerlo aquí, apoyando el proyecto por solo 22.500COP / 12.99USD!

Entrevista para W Radio

Entrevista radial en vivo realizada para “La Hora del Regreso” de Yamit Palacio. (Incluye grabación)

“[…] evidentemente Age of Empires es una inspiración […] pero [NovaMundi] tiene una perspectiva diferente en cuanto a la explotación de recursos […] más que de eso se trata de explorar y descubrir los diferentes lugares.”

Santiago Zapata

Entrevista para Caracol Radio

Entrevista radial y artículo realizado por Juan Manuel Correa para “El Noticiero de la Mañana” (Incluye grabación)

Los personajes, las ciudades y el contexto en las que se centra el juego le permite al jugador conocer de primera mano cómo era la vida Muisca en el altiplano colombiano.

Juan Manuel Correa

Entrevista para Radio Nacional de Colombia

Entrevista y artículo realizado por Eveling Rico Albañil.

El diseño de los juegos de estrategia clásicos como ‘Age of Empires’, se da mucho desde el punto de vista de la colonización, porque es sobre adquirir recursos y poner la naturaleza a la mano del jugador. Nosotros queríamos hacer algo distinto, enfocado en la exploración, con el jugador dentro de la naturaleza pero sin tener que estarla explotando sino más descubriéndola

Santiago Zapata

Entrevista para Canal Trece

Entrevista y Artículo realizado por Tomás Tello Monroy.

Lanzarlo con acceso anticipado fue una decisión difícil, pero decíamos desde hace tres o cuatro meses: necesitamos que esto salga y que más gente nos ayude a definir en qué aspectos debemos enfocarnos”

Santiago Zapata

Entrevista para el podcast “Everybody Talking at Once” (en Inglés)

[NovaMundi] is also a game steeped in Muisca culture, and as such a great way to talk about the process of research, the semiotics of art direction, and the ethics of using procedural generation in stories about real places and cultures.

Drew Messinger-Michaels

Entrevista Web para Random Access History

Con la participación de Camilo Ramirez, Juan Carlos García y David Florez, miembros del equipo de desarrollo, fuimos entrevistados por el equipo de Random Access History para la página de facebook “Historia de Colombia en Memes”

Lo que queremos nosotros es que en el mapa del juego se refleje un poco la escala de lo que era la confederacíon Muisca, incluyendo sus biomas que tratamos de mostrar de la mejor forma.

Santiago Zapata

En papel suena muy interesante tener una mapa muy grande o infinito en el cual jugar, sin embargo suele no ser muy interesante, especialmente cuando se trata con temas procedurales donde puede haber mucha repetición, creo que eso es un buen punto en el que nos estamos enfocando, en una experiencia más compacta.

Camilo Ramirez, Programador

Desde la parte de arte es muy importante para todo el tema procedimental que haya variedad para que el jugador no se aburra de ver los mismos patrones. […] Lo que podríamos esperar a futuro es mayor variedad y enriquecimiento de los ambientes mostrados en el juego

David Florez, Artista Visual Lider

Puede que no seamos Muisca, […] pero vivimos y crecimos en los Andes, al lado de las montañas, en un contexto de ciudad pero hemos podido viajar por las montañas y páramos […] algo debemos tener entre nosotros que tuvieron los Muisca en ese momento.

Juan Carlos García, Músico

Artículo en PlayGround

Mientras más se avanza en la historia de ‘NovaMundi’, los gamers se encontrarán con retos cada vez mayores. Por ejemplo, deberán enfrentar a las tribus hostiles Panche y Muzo, mientras que por otro flanco combaten con invasores españoles.

Redacción de PlayGround

Artículo por TierraGamer

Se requiere descubrir la ubicación de sus pueblos en la selva y convencer a sus miembros de que hay que unirse en contra de los invasores. Los guerreros más veteranos representan una ventaja en batalla. Pero también los nuevos reclutas. Un reto dentro de NovaMundi: La Lanza de Chaquén es que es fácil perderse. Todo debido a que los escenarios se generan de forma procedimental.

Gustavo Ángel

NovaMundi: Weeks 115 and 116

NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see.

These 2 weeks we focused on UI improvements and gameplay tweaks, ending in 0.25.2 (with 0.26.0 very close to release)


Quest towns will now give rewards as they join the alliance (including Suamox), and explorers are also now available at towns to join your party.

Normal “trade” in towns using “gold value” as currency has been removed; only barter is available now. The gold “tejuelos” (muisca coin-likes) have been added as a tangible trade good.

Consequently, the current way to add people to your expedition (“buying” them) has been replaced with a system where you have to spend “story points” to have them join your party; you earn story points in battle and also by completing quests, making discoveries or exploring the land.

User Interface

The round compass has been replaced with the compass bar at the top of the screen, and it’s now oriented to the camera to prevent confusions with mouse movement. In the place where it used to be, the “current biome” indicator has been added, in the future it will contain information about the bonuses and modifiers on exploration caused by it. The scale of the minimap has also been changed to make it actually useful.

The “Take All” button has been added to the loot screen, and the Expedition Status has been improved a bit to be able to use items quicker and with the units sorted by type.


The “ravaged towns” mechanic was added, as days go by, towns will be ravaged by the invasion force, so you’ll no longer be able to have their inhabitants join your party or restock supplies.

With the guidance of our linguistics advisor, we added some basic muisca words in some dialogs. This will become more elaborate in the future, but we want to start introducing some elements.

We also put some work in the ending sequence to give the players some gratification (IF they manage to win!)


We added the Crossbowman unit, replacing the historically inaccurate military archers we had in place for the Spanish forces. Indigenous archers also saw their range increased so now they are more useful.

World and Procgen

Added more vegetation to wetlands, which involved big changes on how forests are grown (now using cellular automata instead of brute-force growing in random directions)

Did some tweaks for weather to be less rainy, and disabled “foam” for rivers and lakes since it was causing them to look bad some times due to the low resolution of our terrain.

Finally, we added a bit of variety to the towns with the inclusion of more types of huts (bohíos).

NovaMundi: Weeks 113 and 114

NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see.

Week 113

Up to v0.24.2


With the English and Spanish bundles unified, and a lot of hardcoded English text (including procedural text) bundled, we finally released the Spanish version.

The reorganization will also allow new languages to be added more easily, although there is a lot of clean-up to be done since we are carrying a lot of old text from the previous scenarios and gameplay modes.


Some minor tweaks were done, like changing fog color to a blueish hue which overall reduced the scene temperature making it feel a bit more highland-ish. We still need to tackle this head-on with less grassy lands, more rocks, and more accurate vegetation (we are on it).

The Low-Quality modes also got some need changes with a more apt texture for the forests and fixes for the water to look ok. More optimizations are still needed to make the game playable with lower specs.


We spread the “informational” townspeople through many towns instead of having them all live in Ramiriquí, which was overwhelming to some players. We are still pending marking them as “informational” for easier navigation (especially when you arrive at a new town).

User Interface

The conversation window was updated with a bigger portrait and a darker background for better contrast. Also added a notification for when party members are healing (so you know the bandages are actually doing something), and shortened the onboarding removing unnecessary, redundant, shallow, cursory parts.

We also updated the “Barter” UI to the new design.


We still need to put more love on this but at least for now we tweaked some values in the materials and adjusted the lighting of the combat scene so it looks a bit better now in conjunction with the bigger camera angle.

Week 114

Ending May 2, with 0.25.0 in the works


Added a much-needed formation in “rows”, with the stronger defense units at the front, and the ranged and non-combat units at the back, and also increased the space between the parties to allow some initial flanking strategy.

Also updated the Guecha Warrior model to get up to date with the latest units visuals, it features both an exploration (covered for the cold) and a combat mode.


The addition of a new biome, Wetlands (Humedales de la sabana) required a big chunk of changes in the procedural generator for better handling of the biomes which also affected the placement of forests in blobs.

A biome Indicator was also added, however, it hadn’t been integrated yet, since we needed still to relayout the UI with the new upcoming horizontal compass bar. (coming out in 0.25.0)

User Interface

Display party members when trading to avoid confusion (I saw in some gameplays, and the onboarding kind of implied, that you started with an empty party and had to hire it from scratch, but that’s not really the case.

Also improved the loading screen with localized text and to make it more easily extensible with new unit types.

NovaMundi: Early Access release (Weeks 111 and 112)

NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see.

Week 111

Week 111 a.k.a. the last week before Early Access, ended with the (internal) release of v0.22.7. Of course, I had to prioritize what would provide the highest impact for the release.


To provide more variety, I finished the integration of the “Páramo” biome (Andean Tundra, which is very important to our game’s setting) including its terrain and vegetation (frailejones), and removing towns from there (it’s cold out there!).

Someday ours will look like this 🙂 source
Our paramos still need to sprawl a lot and cover more terrain (as well as include lakes)

A little bit downhill from them, I added more mountain peaks to the highlands band, placing them in clumps to improve their variety. The rendering of grass terrains was also improved, tweaking the metallicness of its textures which was making them look dull, adding more variations, smaller patches, and tweaking its tiling values. I also fixed some bugs in the heightmap generation which were causing ugly spikes of terrain.

Persistence – Save/Load

Of course, I wanted this to work great in our E.A. release, judging from recent experiences some friends had. It was already working great but I had to add the following stuff to the persistence list:

  • Missions status
  • Active items effects
  • Minimap stamps (i.e. the locations of towns)
  • Mountain objects

Of course, all of these things required refactoring of some sort, but they were a must to allow the players to split their runs into sessions since a run can currently take about 2 hours.

Scenario Content

A much-needed “intro sequence” was added. I designed the script based on the overall backstory we had in mind, and we recreated it as a sequence of “stonewall paintings”. It was quite a bit of work but I think it was worth it for people to get an idea of the theme of the game (a text window is just not enough) especially since the theme may not be familiar to some.

I also integrated the portrait of Nompanim, the Iraca, and fixed some dialogs.

Exploration Experience

I added a lot more random chatter from the party members to make the walking sections a bit more interesting. This also included adding (and serializing) a control so they don’t repeat phrases, which may be super dull. This still needs a lot of work to work properly within a context, follow some character or story development, and provide some variety in the text, but I wanted to have an initial version in to see how it feels and if it makes sense to continue developing it.

To prevent a game-breaking bug I noticed in an Early Access Preview run, I had to disable the possibility to Transfer men and equipment to the camps. I’m still deciding if it makes sense to put it back, gameplay-wise.

User Interface

Visual tweaks in Expedition Status (health bars, remove unneeded stuff, highlight important) and Unit detail panel (in combat), adding HP value and stats.


Based on some reports of low performance, I added two experimental Quality Levels with “no trees” and “no shadows”. We are still investigating what parts we should focus on to improve performance, but the game should already run well in gaming machines which is our main target.

Week 112 – Before Early Access Release

Our release was scheduled for April 13 (Tuesday) at 11 AM EST, so naturally, there were some last-minute, much-needed things, the top-most top priority. E.A. release was v0.23.0 (first public release!)

User Interface

The journal entry UI was still leftover from the previous appearance of the game and was long overdue to be changed. I updated it to the latest design, improved its readability, fixed some word-wrapping issues, and added an initial entry so it doesn’t look completely empty when you start.


Based on both my playthroughs and some others made by testers, I did some tweaks in the unit stats, nerfing the range of all ranged attack units (especially the Muisca Archers, which were extremely overpowered), and balancing the rate of appearance of the Panche Raider when compared to the blowgunner. I also added the “Panche” Archer (that is, the possibility of Muisca Archers to appear in Panche parties since they belong to the same technology group).

I also removed the random variation of stats per unit (so for example all Guardians will have the same stats, so you don’t have to go cherry-picking), and changed the damage function to be much less random (so high Attack units like the arquebusier are much more dangerous now!)

Forest size was also reduced (but not enough, as we’ll see later on!)

Week 112 – After E.A.

Besides bug fixing (many thanks to the people reporting bugs!), we produced four subsequent builds, ending up in 0.24.0

Procedural Terrain

Drastically reduced forest coverage, based on player’s feedback this was a top priority due to the terrain being almost completely covered by forest previously, leaving little room for strategy when exploring (deep forests/jungles are dangerous places where you get lost easily, the player should think twice before delving into them)

Add lakes both big lakes and at the tips of the rivers.

Also increased the size of the “Páramo” areas, although they are still too small and will require some changes in the future to spread beyond their “height bands”.


Add language selection to settings, and did all the changes required for localizable texts to be dynamic. Tested this with the incomplete Spanish localization bundle, and then decided to push a bit to see how much it would be required to complete it. I managed to advance a lot but then found out some additional work would be needed especially for the procedurally generated dialog (not that it’s super complex procgen but still…).

For the moment, I disabled it but since we are having a lot of people interested in my home country (Colombia…bia…bia!) this will come in pretty soon!


Added controls to set the volume for Music, Ambient, and Sound Effects, both from the title screen and also in-game.


We incorporated a new title screen, in the future we want it to be rendered in real-time with animations and reacting to the time of the day; but for now, I decided to just put a pre-rendered scene due to performance concerns.

We also did a lot of tweaks in the lighting of the intro scene, added some flickering, fixed some gaps in the texture of the walls, and added the images of some unit types to the loading screen


The appearance of the automap was revamped to fit the theme of the Muisca, it now resembles a stone wall painting, with improved, more readable labels for the town names.

I also removed the “encampment plans” flow when camping, so you no longer have to pick a spot and what tents to use, it’s much quicker now.


You can now check the info about your opponents.

NovaMundi: Weeks 109 and 110

NovaMundi is coming to Steam Early Access NEXT WEEK! remember to Wishlist it if you like what you see.

Week 109

We sent the Early Announcement (April 13), this was followed up by more tweaks in visuals for the build which was now accessible to press and influencers, as well as critical fixes and visual improvements in the FTUE.

Another thing I worked on was the Caverns, which we had neglected a little bit. The idea with the caves is them serving as interesting places you can explore from the overworld, to find treasure but also meet with danger. I am planning to populate them with some entities based on Muisca lore (research in progress which, so far, seems to indicate we’ll have to fill a lot of gaps), thus departing a bit from the historical setting and into the mythological.

I enabled them back and reworked the lighting as well as made it so that you explore them with a single explorer for now. In there you will find “Blessings” you can use to improve your units in combat. This needs further development to add dangers to them as well as different rewards (or none!), but for now, you can at least explore them from the overworld, including persisting their state on save/load.

Week 110

I worked in the quests so that the game is actually winnable (including displaying a placeholder Victory screen!). This was something that was needed now that the build was out of the wild (who knows if a fierce Let’s Player decided to go all in and try to win the game 😀 ).

Back into procgen, I worked in the placement and size of the trees in the forests, making them bigger and more special as you went into the depths of them, and improving their spacing.

Finally, I started working in the more detailed biome handling for the terrain and vegetation, including the integration of the páramo (Alpine Tundra). This is still WIP but at least the map is now partitioned in biomes which will make it easier to create different themed areas (as well as integrate the upcoming Wetlands biome). In the process, I had to tackle an ugly bug that prompted me to create the procgen map visualizer tool, which will be helpful for future development (river placement looks horrible here, I know).

Tundra and snow-peaks in red and white.