Post news RSS DevLog #4 - Poisonous Plants! [Video update]

Poisonous plants abound in PC simulation game "In the Heart of Borneo." Video log with latest updates!

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Greetings from Thailand!

It feels like my last update was a long time ago already. It’s been a busy few weeks!

I arrived back in Chiang Mai and just got over one last bout of food poisoning to round out my digital nomad experience.

After over 1.5 years of nonstop travel across the Asia Pacific, I’m headed back to Silicon Valley next week. (I’ll likely be tweeting about the reverse culture shock - @KarinESkoog.)

Vlog #2

My latest Vlog (this time with game art!).


Many of the changes made aren’t apparent in the actual build of the game. I’m continuing to make changes to the systems as I figure out better ways of handling different pieces of the game.

  • Changed display of Detour distances - Minor change, but I now display the Detour distance traveled separate from your “main” distance. I plan to show these separately in the final version of the game anyway (see “UI Mockup” below).
  • 1st village starts with Food! - Minor change but helpful!
  • Plants - These are fun. Plants randomly appear, which the player can click to “eat” or “add to inventory.” They may replenish full health, or they may poison you - now or sometime within the next day.
  • Placeholder village art - I spawn these when you approach a village, so villages (and eventually the store) feel more a part of the world. This is very much placeholder art at the moment and needs a lot of work.
  • Day/Night cycle - In the interest of placing more elements in the world (as opposed to the UI), the screen lightens and darkens depending on time of day.

Current Problems

  • Hard to get food! - The biggest problem at the moment is my ability to get food. Like the villages, the plants I added have nothing to do with my abilities as a player, but rather, chance. It’s very boring to die in the game, because I feel like I have no choice over whether I find food or not.
  • Few choices as a player. - I’m at the mercy of the game balancing right now, still with very few choices as a player. Events are random. Village distances are random. Plants are random. Etc.


  • Always give the player options. - Instead of making "search for animals"/"search for food"/"go deeper into the jungle" random Event options, I’m going to experiment with adding buttons for each of these items so the player can choose to venture into the jungle or forage for food as they wish.
  • Add progression to give the player more options and purpose. - See below point “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Game Theme - “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

When I was having trouble figuring out a solution to my food problem, another developer recommended I look at the pillars of the game and refocus the design on my main goals for the game.

I came to the conclusion that my game’s main theme is “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

This means that the player has to take risks (stocking up on supplies to scale a mountain), in order to progress.

Next Milestone

I will prototype this concept for my next milestone (“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”) - The player increases their Stamina (when they return to the main path), depending on the elevation climbed in one go.

The player will need to stockpile food and supplies to attempt this, as their Speed will decrease and their Hunger will increase.

UI Mockup

I made a few mockups quickly before starting this project, which have been useful as I brainstorm different ideas for the game. (I copied and pasted whatever I could find from the internet, just for my own personal use. It may be interesting for others to see how I started my design process.)

Funnily enough, much of this mockup is already outdated, as I intend to display as much of the UI in the world as I can.

UI Mockup

This shows my current thought of displaying the map as an overlay, on the side of the screen.

The random hills show that you can take a detour to build up your stamina, and the map always displays your main goal for the region, which, in this case, is scaling a mountain.

(I dubbed it Mt. Terror for now, because I just watched the TV show The Terror and apparently still have it on my mind. :))

Any thoughts on the theme “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger?” Any games I can look to as particularly good examples of this?

Until next time!

thatwilldo - - 178 comments

Very nice.

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