And so, 2020 is over.
Another year of awesome game-dev. Here is the story.
All in all, there was a lot of work in Expedition / NovaMundi, focusing mostly on improving the procedural generation but also doing a lot of further exploration in thematic and gameplay aspects. OpenArthurianX6 also saw some important progress with two more milestones completed tho it is still not finished. Emerald Woods and Roguenet were created and are likely to see future development.
I participated in 3 game jams (7DRL, AdventureJam and js13k), gave talks at Colombia 4.0 and two local universities (Unipanamericana and ITM), had a presence in 4 virtual events (Game Developers Carnival, Tokyo Game Show Online 2020, DevCom 2020, Colombia 4.0 2020). Learned a lot more of Unity and C#.
Slashware Interactive continued operations, supporting the development of NovaMundi and focusing in our main client (Zynga).
I started the year by wrapping up work in Expedition from CREA Digital, mostly working in visual tweaks and some procedural generation…. maybe? my records are not very clear but I know there was some groundwork done here for future months.
I completed milestone 4 of OpenArthurianX6, which involved being able to use items as well as having some foundations for the inventory system, the big work was yet to come.
For Expedition, we did some further work on rivers, now rendering them in a way that was more fitting with the new appearance of forests, and also worked on the visuals for the oceans.
I participated in the 2020 7DRL Challenge with Emerald Woods, a relaxed survival and crafting game where you live alone in a hut in the woods where you can roam around exploring caverns and abandoned buildings. I was pretty happy with the results and was my first cooperation with Mapedorr (as well as important contributions by friend QuietGecko). This was my XXth 7DRL entry, keeping my record of submitting an entry for every single one (with varying levels of half-bakedness). I continued working on it thru the month, producing 2 improved versions.
I also worked hard in OpenArthurianX6, managing to complete milestone 5 after a LOT of work to make the inventory system work as I wanted, with drag and drop between containers and the world.
There was also some important work in Expedition’s procedural generation, in order to generate “Coastal” maps inspired by Colombian geography (replacing the “island” generator for the maps with sea).
It doesn’t look like I managed to invest a lot of time in Expedition in April, but I worked on making the beaches look a bit better, and probably continued improving the visuals.
I teamed up again with Mapedorr and QuietGecko (and two more friends) to participate in AdventureJam 2020 with our entry, No Salem D’ La House. The end result was incomplete but looked pretty nice.
I also participated in Game Developers Carnival, a virtual event conceived, I think, as a response to the physical GDC going down because of COVID. It was pretty fun (tho I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy it if not for my super powerful gaming PC)
For Expedition, I continued working in the beaches, added different “cultures” into the game and also completed the “bartering” system.
I also did some work in Emerald Woods to add fishing, but I don’t think I released it.
Further work in Expedition focusing on improving the UI as well as explorations to actually create a fun game with procedural generated dialogs and cultural discoveries.
Following advise from Rami Ismail, I created a board game version of Expedition (and then created a videogame version of the board game). It was useful to come up with a core gameplay cycle and balance it a little bit.
I then worked on integrating that design into the game, including adding random events and a full screen scrollable map.
I also decided to rename Expedition to NovaMundi, after a long process involving many considerations and feedback, and proceeded with the launch of our Steam page as well as the creation of a new trailer.
Following up on the initial reception of NovaMundi, I went on to consider some aspect of its theme and focus, which took a lot of energy. In parallel I continued developing some gameplay aspects such as expiration days for the food in order to make exploring more challenging.
We also participated in Devcom 2020 (virtual) with some interesting contacts, and I also “revived” the Temple of the Roguelike forums doing some work in the theme but also in the rules and finally deciding to kick out an old time troll.
Thematic exploration continued for NovaMundi, while at the same time subsystems for camping, hunting, and cavern exploration were further developed.
I participated in js13k with 404 Rhythm Not Found, again teaming up with QuietGecko, Mapedorr and agar3s (thus briefly assembling back the Black Mamba team). A good entry not without its failures (but still got a good place in the scores) and pretty fun to work in.
We also participated in Tokyo Game Show 2020 (virtual), which was pretty event-less besides some streaming sessions.
The Roguelike Celebration (virtual) took place. It was fun, informative and inspiring for future projects.
Continued exploring different theme possibilities for NovaMundi, including a fantasy world fighting against giant bugs. (Still on the cards!)
A new project was born fueled by roguelikecel (but also something I wanted to make since a long time ago), roguenet, a social space in roguelike format. I managed to create a fully functional version of it if a bit raw, as well as a rexpaint map loader.
I decided to halt the development and art efforts for NovaMundi until some things regarding the theme and gameplay directions where decided. Based on consultation with many experienced friends, I planned some changes in the theme including focusing on an authentic representation of the Muisca people, focusing on historical scenarios and reviving the Children of Bachué campaign.
I was also appointed as an advisor for Marketing for the winners of the CREA Digital 2020 initiative, sharing my experiences and learning thru the journey of many talented and energized teams.
I gave talks at both Colombia 4.0 and Congreso Economía Creativa ITM (link).
For NovaMundi, I completed the translation to English for the first scenario of the Children of Bachué campaign, in preparation of having a demo that includes it.
I also pushed hard in procedural generation for rivers, wrapping up work from past months and shacking the foundations of my current generation process.
Some more work was done in roguenet, polishing the user experience in preparation to some initial public tests. It’s currently up and running here, tho it’s mostly empty (there are plans to include more content in 2021)
Finally, I decided to revive the 1884 Golf Over Africa project, doing a BIG push on it and releasing a new version.