2021 (ongoing, working title, etc...)

I am working on a new game about living in the woods in the future. The game design approximates modern forest management techniques, as well as some of the hunting, foraging, and land management practices of the Nisenan peoples indigenous to the foothills of the Northern Sierra Nevada and Central Valley. I think of the game as a portrait of the woods I grew up in and have recently returned to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some more gaming-centric touchstones:

  • What if Firewatch were actually about forest fires?
  • What if a fantasy action adventure game treated the forest as a complex living system, rather than as a static backdrop for adventuring?
  • What if a farming simulation game systematized social activities more and let you build relationships by inviting other characters to hike, build trails, or forage for food together?

I am using a mix of hand-painted textures, 3D-scanned small sculpture, and traditional 3D modeling and animation in blender. The textures for most foliage are painted outside, and then processed in photoshop to make the colors more consistent and help tile properly

Here are some early videos of the game’s systems working in the editor. Below is the result of some simple rules for plant growth based on shade and water over the course of a couple of in-game years. I’m not sure yet what the final timescale will be. In nature cedar trees like these grow over hundreds of years, but I don’t want to make players wait that long!

The sun, stars, and moon move in a semi-accurate way throughout the day and year: