39 Days to Mars is a co-operative steampunk survival-adventure game. You play as Sir Albert Wickes and The Right Honourable Clarence Baxter, two 19th century explorers who have been chosen to pilot the HMS Fearful on its maiden voyage to Mars. You must keep the two explorers alive through the trip by attending to their needs, while at the same time keeping the ship from falling apart and solving the problems that arise.

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0 comments by surrealix on Jul 22nd, 2015

What's New this Month?

It's been a while since the last update, but things have been moving along. I've been starting work on ship decorations, improving useability after more playtesting, and wrapping up the last of the puzzles (at least for the first stable release).


Now that the puzzles are all laid out, I've started shifting focus to how the final game is going to look at feel. Up until this point, most of the artwork has been temporary (albeit in the style I'm aiming for), and I need to shift gears and start locking down content. This is especially important for the ship, because if the scales and sizes are going to change, I have to do that now before everything gets drawn.

One of my biggest concerns at the moment is that the ship is very content-heavy and busy, and the monochrome color scheme makes it difficult to read. I don't want to change the art style, but I do need to find a solution to this. I spent an afternoon sketching out some ideas:

This is the original.

Playing with colour grading and using different lighting could be a way to slit up areas of the ship and draw the eye to the current problem.

Using subtle tones or colours give a bit more depth to the ship and help make sense of the drawings.

One drastic option is making the ship white, which separates it nicely from the decoration & background behind, but almost hides the characters.

I've got a few more ideas to try, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts or suggestions about this below!

What I'm working on, in 140 characters.

Jul 2
Diving back into puzzles for 39 Days to Mars after a fortnight's vacation.

Jul 7
Today I started work on some art to turn the square boxes into a real spaceship!

Jul 8
The ship decoration is starting to fill out the scene, albeit with temporary artwork.

Jul 9
Replacing the old "inspect" cog animation with a more readable, updated version.

Jul 21
Started integrating animations for 39 Days to Mars! I'm shifting some of these from the old format to the new, and starting to animate the ones I don't have yet.

Jul 22
Animation blending for Albert's walk cycle. It's still missing the idle state though.

Until Next Time

39 Days to Mars is drifting in and out of a playable state. It's very rough, but if you're interested in giving your feedback or helping me to test it out, get in touch!

Don't forget you can follow @philipbuchanan on Twitter for more regular updates and development pictures!

Post comment Comments
coffins May 11 2015 says:

As I see, obstacles of game looks like Don't Starve (Somehow). Well, it's definitely interesting. However, what exactly must keep me playing?

For example, in Don't Starve I must keep lighted areas lighted, meanwhile my health, mind or hunger level can fall down and I should plan each day to survive without any loses. Otherwise, night will catch life of player.

+2 votes     reply to comment
surrealix Creator
surrealix May 31 2015 replied:

I've yet to play Don't Starve, but the sense of pressure you mention is something I'm also hoping to capture in 39 Days to Mars. If you don't keep pushing forward with the puzzles & minigames, then problems compound and soon the ship is falling apart around you.

+1 vote   reply to comment
veeyah May 10 2015 says:

Aaahhhh! Amazing visuals! Excited! The art style is going to be a huge selling point for this one. :) Keep it up!

+2 votes     reply to comment
dhruvmarkcollins Apr 18 2015 says:

This is gonna be an awesome game !!!!!!

+2 votes     reply to comment
MrValtor Apr 4 2014 says:

Looks great! Glad to hear that it's coming to Wii U!

+2 votes     reply to comment
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39 Days to Mars
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Coming Q1 2016
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Lara Croft GO is now out on mobile! T.co . I'm proud to have been part of the dev team at Square Enix Montreal.

Aug 27 2015

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Aug 25 2015

Other than indie games, I work as a programmer at Square Enix on Lara Croft GO. It launches Thursday and I'm excited! T.co

Aug 25 2015

This evening I'm working on more interface graphics for the mini-games and puzzles in 39 Days to Mars. #indiedev T.co

Aug 24 2015

Last of the #LD33 #gamejam updates. It's not quite a game, but it was a fun challenge. T.co

Aug 24 2015

Leg placement for a terrifying monster. (#LD33 game jam for the day). T.co

Aug 23 2015

Started a little late, but took a quick break from spaceships to make a cute city generator for the #LD33 gamejam. T.co

Aug 23 2015

More items in the game make for fun screenshots! Plus it's a #screenshotsaturday on Saturday! #gamedev #indiedev T.co

Aug 22 2015

Working on more artwork for the ship. This time with lighting effects! #screenshotsaturday #gamedev #indiedev T.co

Aug 17 2015

Every spaceship needs a kitchen. This time with final graphics! #screenshotsaturday #gamedev T.co

Aug 9 2015

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