• Chris

We're Still Here! Promise.

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Happy November everyone!

Time is just flying on by here at Moonlight Kids, and while we've been pretty quiet the past handful of months (sorry about that >< we're trying to be better!), we have certainly not been idle. In this update I'll go through some of the bigger things we've been working on lately, and clue you guys in to what's coming up!

Oh by the way, I'm Chris 👋 I primarily do programming and game design, and also handle some of the less interesting things like project management and biz ops. Two recent obsessions of mine are the game Outer Wilds and the book The Fifth Season.

Anyways, on to game stuff!

"the undergrowth"

Justin has whipped up a new area, tentatively titled "The Undergrowth." This sprawling cave network winds under much of The Deep Woods, mixing motifs of darkness, hidden magic, and deep ancient roots.

Early working concept of "The Undergrowth"

crafting traits

I've spent a lot of this last month giving our crafting system a big ol' face lift. If you've played a demo of the game in the past, you may remember a system where you collected resources and attempted to combine them together in hopes that the system would spit out a cool new item for you. In theory this was pretty cool, and got some good initial reactions, but as the game got bigger it began to reveal some underlying problems.

Since our items are sometimes whimsical and wacky, and often have names that lean more on fantasy tropes and world-building than mechanics, figuring out which items went together could sometimes feel random and arbitrary. Ultimately we found this way of crafting required too much memorization, and somewhat discouraged experimentation since so many combinations couldn't yield anything (which is exactly the opposite of what we wanted!). In the end, there were just too many possible combinations of resources, and not enough possible outputs.

So we gave it an overhaul! Now resources have inherent "crafting traits", and it will be combinations of these traits - not specific resources - that yield item outputs. So we can keep the list of traits to a minimum and still fill the world with an abundance of fun resources to collect. Most importantly, experimentation now yields a successful result more frequently! It also makes it easier for players to start picking up on the patterns of crafting, since you just have to think about obvious trait names ("parts", "magic", "unstable"), instead of random item names ("Tin Can", "Indigo Thistle", "Crackle Candy").

Anyone still with me? If all this is a little hard to follow in text form, just know that with these changes crafting will allow for more experimentation, and more fun stumbling into new craftable outputs :) Down the road, once we have more art around all this, we'll post some examples with handy visuals.

new enemies

Ankit and Justin have been working hard on getting a slew of new enemies designed, animated and implemented into the game. While we don't want to spoil them all for you, here's one to chew on (har har har).

Gumblop with trapped Spritelings

Introducing the Gumblop! This slimy fella will prioritize chomping on your Spritelings, stealing them away into his belly. After that he'll fight aggressively, and you'll have to take him down to get your trapped buddies back.

spriteling updates

We've also added some new underlying Spriteling systems this past month, including giving each type a unique "Active Ability", and figuring out how we want to handle Spriteling death, and what the process is for the player to revive them. We're pretty stoked for the way all these things are shaping up, but it's all still pretty rough around the edges right now. Look for more updates (with visuals!) on all this in coming months.

We've also added a 3rd new Spriteling type to the mix! Gonna keep this a bit of a secret for awhile longer, but just know that they're 🔥 hot stuff 🔥 ;)

text effects

Custom text effects! With a fancy new tagging system, our writer Alex now has a bunch of tools as his fingertips to add all kinds of fun personality to dialogue. We're still tweaking things and working out some specifics, but here's a sampling of the new effects as they stand now.

Boil: This is applied to all dialogue text by default, just to give it some subtle motion and life.

Shake: For big emotional impact moments. Can be combined with font size change (as seen here) for additional oomph.

Wave: A smooth, stylized text effect for those super suave moments.

What's on the docket?

So what's next? In terms of development, the next few months we'll be turning a lot of our attention to environment development and level design, hoping to build out a bunch of new areas and puzzles that make up the Deep Woods. For obvious spoiler reasons, it may be hard to share most of that as we're going through it, but we'll certainly set aside a few pieces to talk about. And of course, there are many other aspects of the game that will still be getting updates, and we'll keep sharing progress on those.

On the event schedule side of things, we recently announced that we'll be showing at Dreamhack Atlanta from November 15-17. If you're going to be at the event, please come by and say hi! We'll be showing the same demo that we took to XOXO back in September (which was also a blast btw, thanks to everyone who we met there!).

Ok whew, that's all for now! We are really going to try to be better about doing this on a more regular basis. In fact, if another post isn't out by the beginning of December, tweet at me! Hopefully I don't regret this...


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