Happy new year! 🎉

I had a refreshing break with lots of games, including discovering Timberborn, which is a great base builder with a novel scarcity/weather mechanic. And beavers!

I used my first week back as an opportunity to reflect on my progress to date and where I’d like to go. As part of that I fleshed out my very first game design document.

And whoa, there is a lot that I’ll need to implement in order to achieve my vision for this game.

I then attempted to capitalise on my experience and skills as a software developer/team lead, to propose a very rough dependency timeline and set of milestones. Even though I don’t have the benefit of hindsight (to know if my thinking was in any way realistic), I think this was a really effective exercise!

I’m happy to share some of the first milestones I’m hoping to hit:

Date Milestone
March 2022 Core game engine and user interface finished; final simulation infrastructure
May 2022 Pawns, game events, and items
July 2022 Pawn orders and priorities, buildings, pawn skills, and metabolism

Each of these milestones I’d like to be fairly complete; not at a proof-of-concept stage (as many of these are right now), but at a stage that is actually playable.

I’m also aiming for July to be the first release of a playable alpha for my Patreons. By then I’m hoping it will be a reasonably entertaining sandbox game with at least 30 minutes of gameplay.

(Of course, these dates are essentially stabs in the dark, and it’s entirely possible I’ll blow past them with a wild, manic, uncontrollable laughter at how unrealistic they were and how optimistic I was back in January.)

These are only the first three milestones; I have later ones that may include as features:

  • A somewhat realistic database of real-world materials
  • A research tree, unlocking advanced buildings and abilities
  • More detailed thermal and radiative mechanics
  • Cute critters
  • Getting the game onto Steam
  • And plenty of other things!!

As I make progress in achieving each milestone I’ll be posting screenshots and GIFs to keep you all in the loop. But please keep in mind this is all work in progress, and it’s 99% being done by one person. And I don’t know what I’m doing 😅

I’d like to follow the Oxygen Not Included approach of releasing major gameplay updates every X weeks, so the game is always growing. I’d also like to get feedback and ideas as part of this process, so please do share your thoughts!

It was really fun putting together this design document, and I think really helpful; it helped me focus on what I need to actually have in the game, and it gave the whole game universe more of a coherent feeling.