Emerald Woods – with Graphics! [v0.2.0]

A new version of Emerald Woods is available! we are inaugurating its graphics mode, hoping this will allow a lot more players to enjoy an adventure of lonely discovery in the woods! You can play online for free, or download the game (both graphics and character versions) at the itch.io page.

We have a lot of plans for Emerald Woods, but I figured it would be good to have this version out before we dive into the final leg of development for NovaMundi. We are in the process of preparing a roadmap with our many ideas and future features for the game.

Following is a detailed journey through the changes bundled in this version.


Of course, the most significant change for this version was the addition of a completely new UI using tiled graphics. I ported the latest developments of JSRL as a foundation, but much additional work was required, as Emerald is already a beast compared to the sample JSRL roguelike, and its UI is much more complex (with the toolbox in the HUD, and the window for the recipes).

But that’s not all! we are even ideating a completely original tileset taking inspiration from the likes of Unreal World, Dwarf Fortress, KeeperRL, the Gameboy Zelda titles, and more. I’ve been working with fellow artist Mapedorr (who did the graphics for 404 Rhythm not Found, as well as a big secret Slashware project we’ll disclose in the following months). We did a couple of iterations, landing on what you see below as a general style; however, down the road we realized it will be SOME time until we are able to integrate it and make it complete enough because of the content of the world, its procedural nature and how you can build/destroy it freely.

It has been quite a complex process, just to determine what we should aim for. Everything is easier with a characters-based display because you rely completely on the imagination of the player, so you are exempted from having to decide on a visual style and you can target a broad range of players (that is, IF they get over the no-graphics barrier). But of course, we want to be able to reach more people, and then you have to choose. Some of the previous ideas leaned a bit more into a classic jRPG / Pokemon look, which I think may still work.

In any case, implementing this is not doable right now so we’re keeping that front open for the future. For now, I settled on using a 1-bit tileset and coloring the sprites based on their in-world color (same as used in the characters display).

I initially used Kenney’s 1-bit tileset (inherited from JSRL), but then found it a bit too “comic” proportions for my vision of the game; I dug Denzi’s diary and found something closer to what I wanted (I have this magic connection with Denzi for some reason).

In any case, in the process of choosing between them, I added support for multiple tilesets. This will facilitate future modding work (but still need some work to have a lot of data external to the game bundle so that people can more easily have fun with that).

After settling with Denzi’s tileset, I selected and created the graphics for all the current animals, and filled many other gaps (an advantage of using such simplified tileset is a programmer can still do that)


SlashwareKnight-010, “Stoltverd”, has been working on the design front in preparation for future development iterations; this has included expanding the list of craftable items, and along with that the materials that you can find in the world and how you harvest them with tools you can improve.

We have also been designing new areas of the world that players will optionally be able to explore to uncover a story, and improvements in the pet system so you can teach them tricks and have them follow you around just for company or to perform some useful duties


For some time I’ve been debating how to add some aids for the players not to get lost (since I discovered, painfully, that players (modern players?) don’t really enjoy that). The obvious answer is an automatic minimap, but before going into that I’m experimenting with some less direct aids. This version includes “waypoints”, you can use the O key to cycle thru them, and there’s an indication in the HUD on what direction they are. Still experimenting to see how well this works.

Discovery Journal

Another big late change included in the version was the first version of the “Discovery Journal” or Field Notes, as they are called inside the game; we are now keeping track of the animals you have captured or the crops you have harvested. This is just a first effort at giving players a sense of progression in case they want to embark on the task of discovering the world.

Colombia GameDev Summit – 2022

Medellín, Colombia. November 29, 2022

Organized by Rocket Ride Games, the first “Colombia GameDev Summit” took place at the Click Clack Hotel, offering food, drinks, and a very decent lineup of speakers for a great afternoon of game development experience sharing in the famed city of Eternal Spring.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Swedish indie game publisher Raw Fury had people fly to Medellin to meet with the local developers and share a little bit about their selection process.  Mea Nilimaa, Games Scout, opened the talks with recommendations on how to have a successful pitch, and some of the pitfalls developers commonly fall on when contracting with publishers: what happens if you fail a milestone delivery? what are your rights over the IP and subsequent sequels? and the other projects your studio is working on?

After the opening talk, there was a section featuring founders from Colombia game dev companies.

Luis Correa, a local from Medellin and founder of C2 Game Studio, shared the journey of “Project Monolith”, their ambitious action-adventure game that started development many years ago, was a recipient of an Epic Megagrant, and finally got a publishing deal this year. Luis shared the ups and downs of indie game development, and some tips to overcome the inevitable loss of motivation and push forward making the best use of the resources you have at hand and the skills of your team.

Isaac Cortissoz, CEO of Killasoft, from Barranquilla, gave a talk about their workflow which is based on a solid pre-production phase where all the fun decisions are taken and tools are developed in order to have a smoother (and boring!) production stage where you are just executing a well-laid out plan. A very intriguing talk that created a lot of conversation on the scenarios in which these ideas can be applied. Killasoft is currently working with NetFlix on a videogame for the hit series “Money Heist” (La Casa de Papel) as well as their game INNER.

Then we had old-guard indie developer Carlos Rocha from Dreams Uncorporated, makers of the hit award-winning jRPG Cris Tales published by Modus Games in 2021. He was very happy and excited to go back to having talks with a live audience and shared the journey of Dreams, how they evolved as a studio through many games exploiting and refining curious and unique game mechanics, and their process to discover and develop “seed” mechanics for their games, sometimes finding marvelous inspiration when looking the “normal” things with different eyes. Carlos revealed he hoped to continue developing games until his deathbed.

Gamedev legend Eivar Rojas, founder of the Efecto Studios (the second largest game development company in Colombia) and Red Minas Coffee (the most sought-after coffee brand by game devs worldwide, someday), shared their experience signing with publishers, the different stages of a publishing contract and what to look after when you are in each one of them, as well as their tips to grab the attention of a publisher and to know when to pitch based on the stage of the project, the target platform and monetization model.

The event was organized in a chill informal space of the modern hotel, which allowed the assistants to have conversations in between the talks while drinking delicious soda and cocktails. Talking with fellow developers we were really happy to see so many new faces, some of which may be active actors in the continued growth of the local industry.

A second part of the event featured (either by design or coincidence) a number of women in leadership positions in the Colombian game dev industry.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Sandra Castro from the “Tan Grande y Jugando” game development community, shared her updated GDC’22 talk ‘Breaking the Gap”, with insights about the role of women in the video game industry, the many efforts currently underway to improve it from the perspective of the Latin American game dev industry, and how we all can contribute to improving the situation from our respective positions as founders and workers of the industry.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Marcela Rincón shared her experience as Talent Management Lead for Teravision Games, the biggest game development company in Colombia, makers of the acclaimed VR game “Captain Toonhead vs. The Punks From Outer Space” and the gamescom’22 hyped “Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game“. She talked about the many roles that are required to develop a videogame besides art and gameplay programming (the two disciplines traditionally more sought after to enter the company), inviting people to consider specializing in these other roles and strengthening their networking to get into the industry.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Finally, María Carolina Visbal and Paula Buitrago, from Colombian game development-specialist firm “IE Law Bedoya Visbal” closed the event talking about the importance of having the support of a specialized lawyer assisting your team from the onset of any M&A or publishing deal, so that you can see all the possible outcomes and drive the negotiations around them, and prevent missing small details in the law that can become big risks.

As always this was a great opportunity too to meet with friends from the industry from all around the country! Many thanks to RocketRide for organizing the event, and I hope this is just the first of many!

JSRL, now with Graphics! + the story so far [0.0.4]

You can now create graphical (tile-based) roguelikes using JSRL. Check it out at https://github.com/slashman/jsrl which is also now set as a repo template so you can create yours more straightforwardly!

A tutorial is coming soon. The demo at http://slashie.net/jsrl was also updated to the GFX version.

The character-based display is (and will forever be) still supported. OF COURSE.

A Timeline

I also took some time to dive into the history of the project and back-version it (for no helpful reason other than history), so here goes a timeline of JSRL

  • March 2013 – Rodney is released for the 7DRL Challenge. The demo of the unicodetiles lib by tapio000 was super cool, so I created a traditional roguelike game using it.
  • March 2017 – During the development of my 7DRL, PokemonRL, I decided to create a JSBoilerRL “a template project other people will be able to use to create their roguelikes in JS. It’s powered by unicodetiles.js producing similar output as my 2013 7drl, Rodney.”
  • November 2017 – The initial version of JSRL (0.0.1) is released as a standalone project (since it had only lived as part of the PokemonRL repository) and is immediately used for Rogue Program.
  • August 2018 – An attempt to create a trailer for Roguelike Celebration 2018 using JSRL is made, but was deemed not to be cinematic enough.
  • March 2020 – JSRL is used as a foundation for Emerald Woods. No changes are backported into it.
  • October 202 – JSRL is used for the Roguenet client. No changes are backported into it.
  • March 2021 – JSRL is used for Rainy Day. JSRL v0.0.2 is released, adding support to load static maps. (backported from the development of Rainy Day)
  • March 2022 – JSRL is used for SpelunkyRL. No changes are backported into it.
  • November 19, 2022 – Version 0.0.3 featuring Electron packaging (dev pushed forward by wazoo) and viewport scaling (backported from Emerald Woods) is released
  • November 26, 2022 – Version 0.0.4 featuring tile graphics using Pixi.JS is released, in preparation for Emerald Woods’ graphical version.

Emerald woods – downloadable! (0.1.4)

The streak of weekly releases continues for now, hope you enjoy it!

Play online (or download!) at https://slash.itch.io/emerald-woods

Downloadable build

You can now download Emerald Woods so you can play offline easily any time you want. We are using Electron for this hence the big download size, but that shouldn’t be a problem in 2022 (luckily!). The recent update to JSRL was really helpful for this.

This also comes coupled with an “up to date” check done at startup, it will let you know if you are using an outdated version so you can quickly zip there and get the latest changes!

Note that, at least for the moment, I’m also keeping the online version up and working; also for the moment I’m only producing builds for Windows, but if you are on Mac or Linux you can still play online.


I made some efforts to put some small constraints on exploration so it’s more interesting; you’ll now be heavily affected if you don’t sleep next to a campfire, losing a bit of your max health every day. Campfires are also a bit more expensive to create now and require Flintstone which is very rare (you start with 1 but can recover it by axing a campfire).

The idea behind this is to make campfires work as shelters, you need to build them at a given place to come back every night, dismantle and make another one deeper in the woods… if you want to explore further.

The starting cabin also has a “campfire” now, of course (should rename that to “fireplace”), so you can sleep cozily there.


The intensity of the walk sound effects has been lowered, and the sounds for inventory have been changed from a loud beep to something muter.

Got some new sweet sound effects from QuietGecko which were promptly integrated; these included sounds for crafting paint, building/destroying campfires, and painting stuff.

We also added a location-based sound loop for the campfires which we’ll be improving on the next versions so it fades based on distance.


There are no big visual changes for this version, however, several icons were changed including the berries, berry bushes, and mushrooms.


  • A critical bug causing the game to crash when hanging around the map borders was fixed.
  • Several instances of missing checks to make sure the player could carry were added (when pulling fruit, capturing animals, crafting items, or sacrificing animals), before they would cause the grabbed item to be lost.
  • Prevent contextual action waterfalling when some action cannot be performed in the chain, and restore input accordingly. This was causing the players to execute the wrong contextual action when their inventory was full.

circular-functions 0.0.5

circular-functions, my JavaScript library to serialize objects with cyclic dependencies has been officially updated to v0.0.5 in npm! Get it at https://www.npmjs.com/package/circular-functions (or just npm install circular-functions of course)

This includes an important tweak I made over 2 years ago to support “intermediate” serialization data, i.e. stuff you need to put into objects in anticipation of their deserialization but don’t want to keep in memory afterward.

I still gotta write a good, up-to-date tutorial for circular, but it’s been indispensable for all my games.

Ananias, Emerald Woods and OpenArthurianX6 use it. You may find it useful to aid you in serializing and deserializing your game data!

Emerald Woods – Paint the world

After almost 6 days, here is a new juicy version, hope you enjoy it!

Play online at https://slash.itch.io/emerald-woods

New activity! – Painting (the world)

  • You will now find colorful berries scattered around the world
  • You can now craft paint using colorful berries.
  • Use paint items to paint the world around you or your items.
  • Note: You can currently “poly-paint” (i.e. stacks of items get painted the same color)
  • Note: Painted items are merged as a single color stack in the inventory
  • Note: Painting (as in making paintings) is planned as a separate facet and will be awesome.


  • Change wall tiles to use block characters

User Experience

  • Add an explanation for movement modes
  • Pick things under the player if nothing in front
  • Add help for turning in Exploration Mode

Small fixes

  • Make campfire destroyable

Emerald Woods 0.1.2

After almost 3 years, here is a new juicy version, hope you enjoy it!

Play online for free at https://slash.itch.io/emerald-woods

The following are the major changes:

  • Full-screen mode!
  • Fishing v1: Build a raft and paddle inside a lake to get some fish.
  • Campfires now provide light during the night.
  • Crafting UX improvements: Imagine what you will make and then build a lot of them if you want.
  • Improved immediate on-screen help: Complete relayout and addition of the critical Transform command to obtain seed from fruits, as well as the toggle between Exploration and Work modes.
  • Increase hunger recovery for all items.
  • Tweaks in animal spawning parameters.
  • Fix critical bugs with an infinite inventory.
  • Fix bugs with an empty inventory.

Share your adventures in the community and upload your videos! if there’s enough interest the new version might take less than 3 years 🙂