Welcome everyone to The Descendants of Volos board game development diary blog. Today we’re just announcing that our project will be released for you to play the early alpha version on Tabletop Simulator. For those who never heard of TTS yet, it’s a game available on Steam. It allows people to create their own board games in digital form. Unfortunately, TTS is not for free, but once you buy it, you’ll be able to play all kind of board games for free including The Descendants of Volos*.
*The Descendants of Volos workshop item is still set as private so you won’t find it on steam yet. We’ll announce that separately!
It’s a big step forward especially in our current pandemic situation. Since the time we’ve created the first digital version of our board game, we’ve been able to improve our internal tests a lot, because we don’t even have to leave our homes to play it.
Those who already did their own board games on TTS probably know how hard it is to maintain the content, especially when constantly introducing iterative changes. And DoV game isn’t any different. We have over 1200 cards and various elements. Many cards are duplicates, however it’s not efficient to import the same card image multiple times because of limited computer memory. Instead, it’s better to import one card from one image and make it’s clones. Another difficulty is when you upload a whole deck of cards, as you need to give them names. At the first iteration we went through all cards individually and named them correctly (so that the user can find a desired card with the in-game search feature), and we also made sure that each card has a correct number of clones. It was the worse experience ever.
We’ve realized that it’s impossible to develop a game in such a way, so we’ve decided to invest some time to automate the entire process. If you’ve read one of our previous posts, you’ve probably seen that we had developed our own tool that helps us to create this game. Now we’ve added an ability to export our decks directly to the TTS format:
In addition, it exports the database in lua format, which is then read by the game with other very complicated lua scripts that we’ve made. Here you can see the initial table with things being set at the edges.
This is how you see the game when you start it. You shouldn’t touch anything yet. Just press a button at the bottom of the screen, and…
… the entire process of naming, grouping, cloning, etc., that previously took us days, happens in a couple of seconds. Now the table is ready to play and everything is up to date.
For us developers, it’s a life changing thing. We can focus on modifying/adding/removing cards, and we don’t have to worry that something is incorrect in the TTS. Sadly, some other elements, like figurines, panels, dice and the map, must still be updated manually. However, at this stage of development those are changed very rarely.
We can’t specify the exact date yet, because we’re still working on the tutorial. After all, you can’t play the game if you don’t know how to play it, right? 🙂 As soon as the tutorial is complete, we’ll shout out loud about it! Shooting from the hip, a “guesstimation” is that we still need 1-2 months.
Unfortunately, the first version of the game will be in Polish language 🙁 Mainly because not everything is translated yet. This is an alpha version of the game, and there are still lots of adventure cards with stories being modified or even completely rewritten. This game has an insane amount of text, if looking at all the cards. So we hope that you keep your fingers crossed for us and still have some patience, and look out for the next development diary of The Descendants of Volos board game.