The making of Muyscamuy - Final days of the jam
This is the third part of a summary of the development of Muyscamuy, our entry for the Cultural Heritage Game Jam 2021.
Saturday, November 20, 2021
I integrated the content designed by Esteban (events, onboarding tips, and intro), making the game experience more complete.
Also experimented with a change in the UI to select an area first, before adding or removing people into it. In the end, it was a bit confusing and I decided to remove it. One thing that did make it tho, was automatically returning all workers to the community center when it no longer made sense for them to stay idle somewhere (like when they finished working a farm or building a building.)
Gecko improved the AudioManager and added sounds for events such as adding workers to buildings or farms and depleting a forest.
Finally, worked on adding the tooltips to the conversation window, which involved setting up TextMeshPro, migrating the Text elements, and replicating and adapting some of the logic we have set up for NovaMundi.
I did some calls for testing; initially, we had planned to have something more complete ready to test on the 17, but of course, it didn’t happen. I wonder how realistic these plans can be in a short game jam like this. Still, even at this phase, we got useful feedback regarding the flow of the game and for improvements in the onboarding.
End of the day the game still looked pretty plain and incomplete, but that’s fine because David told us he was working full strength on the visuals, and we still had a couple days…
…or did we?
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Woke up thinking we still had one day and a half day and planning my Monday schedule to work towards completing the game. Alas, I was wrong. A 4am notification at the ggj discord channel warned about the impending deadline. Change of plans I guess… I started working early, we had until 3PM.
I let the team know about this (gecko was already aware). Up to this point, we were still pretty behind on the integration of the new visuals; David was still working on these, and he had to push forward quickly in order for us to make it in time.
I went on to implement a generic component for tooltips backed by a Dictionary and attached it to the components in the Events panel. Also added an “inventory” of the Tunjos you had made already, so the player could know which ones he was missing. Improvements in the onboarding and reintegrated the events data as Esteban continued pushing for it.
I figured out the ending text was still not integrated, ideally, we wanted to have better visuals for it, but time was just too short for that, we’d be lucky if we managed to integrate the basics.
This is when I got a notice from Edwin that he wouldn’t be able to jump into the project. By now that was kind of expected (and I didn’t even tell him we had one less day!) so I removed all the temporary UI and we were left with semitransparent flat color overlays.
Gecko implemented the missing sounds for UI and buildings and mixed the sound a bit.
David was finally able to send the long-awaited updated assets for the world. So it was time to integrate them! There was a lot of back and forth as we set on the best way to put them given the short time left until we finally settled on a way. I added the graphics and altered the scene to match the new layout.
Then I broke the game.
Clicking on the areas no longer worked. The clock was ticking, and stress built up in this fine Sunday I never intended to be working on, it was meant to be a family Sunday.
After much desperation, I found the cause: A single setting when importing the asset to be used as a mask for the click area threshold. Unity strikes again.
Spent some more time doing small UI tweaks, integrating the last changes in the audio made by Gecko, and updating the tooltips dictionary with last-minute additions made by Esteban. Did some final tests where I found the endgame was not being triggered (nice), fixed these, and we were set to submit.
The games were streamed a little bit after the deadline; they used the gameplay video you had to send along with the submission (which I became aware of 30 mins before the deadline, OBS to the rescue) and optionally a team member could talk a bit about the project. I was busy setting up Christmas lights so Esteban had to cover.
We managed to submit a worthy entry, in time, but this would not be the end of the Muyscamuy project.
After the rush of the jam, it was time to think about the future. I wanted to have an HD version of this game, and also take the time to polish and increase the content within it. So we set the plan for it. The whole team was happy with the results and we knew it just needed a little bit more love to really shine.
Another important thing on the list was the translation to Spanish (and possibly other languages in the future); Esteban suggested the use of Unity’s built-in translation system, which we had avoided so far to reduce dependencies, but maybe it was worth trying (especially since he mentioned it has a built-in integration with google sheets, which may reduce a lot of manual work we do currently for NovaMundi hmmm).
Manuel has started sharing the game in his channels (he is well known for his content about Muisca culture), and it has had a great reception (in spite of being English only for now!).
I also took the time to check the jam entries; I found out there were a couple more submissions from Colombian teams including Abya Yala, Oro, Guatika, and Norte de Aventuras. Interestingly, some of these were student projects for which the teacher had set up a matching jam.
So far our jam entry seems pretty solid; other than the fact that you can screw up by building two of the same type of building (you cannot tear them down) thus making the game unwinnable, and some audio bugs, I haven’t been reported anything game-breaking.
I talked with Nookrium, who was in the middle of a “Free Games” month on his channel. He said he had already noticed the game and it looked interesting… maybe he’ll take a look (hopefully by the time the HD version is public!).
I was contacted by Canal Trece; they thought the project was interesting and decided to write an article about it.
I did some progress in the HD version. Damn, this is how we should have shipped it for the jam, it was not a lot of additional work and it’s still completely web-accessible, but it looks 100x cooler.
The team met again for a retrospective. We agreed we need to push forward an improved post-jam version. Some of the top priorities we have on the list:
- Increase the use of Muisca language
- Improve use of wood as a resource, and add negative effects for destroying the forests
- Make the effects of low favor more clear
- Show how farms grow every turn.
- Add more weather effects and plagues for the farms.
- Come up with a fix for the unwinnable situation of building two of the same type of building.
- Improve display of resources being used to build or craft.
- Improve the underwhelming Game Over and Victory.
I went on to tackle some of these, producing a version with an improved user experience.
Manuel and Esteban are also now added to slashie.net
I decided to upgrade to Unity 2020.3 so we could use its fancy localization tools. It was not super smooth, but mainly because of a weird bug in Unity that causes issues when updating the dependencies while you have your IDE open. That was hard to catch!
I managed to start working in the localization and even did some tests with Japanese (just for fun). Stumbled against the issue with TextMeshPro requiring some work in order to support non-latin characters. It wasn’t a simple fix so I discarded that for now (we’ll meet again when it’s time to add Japanese)
The thing that pushes and pulls from google sheets works really well, so I guess it was worth going thru the hassle of upgrading. Esteban and Manuel are now able to work in the texts and translations, and the flow to integrate their changes is much quicker.
We keep discussing some ideas to improve the visuals of the food values, including the addition of a new building where you can see it.
Esteban completed the translation to Spanish for the onboarding.
I implemented localization for the events and extracted some of the data (it’s a lot of text!). Esteban said he will continue the work and do the translation to Spanish as well. Gecko worked on improving the audio for the weather effects and a lot of other small details.
I put a new version up on the unofficial website (from the perspective of the jam). We’ll update itch.io with this one once the jurying is over.
The story of Muyscamuy continues, subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss this epic adventure!
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