6 min read

How to recover from a big, avoidable mistake... 😨

This one talks about recovering from big, avoidable mistakes. Also, more on Another Round dev progress and some background info on how we planned our next game (One Last Job)!

Hey, Lucas - I noticed Another Round didn't release in March.

Oops!

Hey there - thanks for stopping by. So yeah, it looks like you already know: I flubbed up.

How can you tell? Well, for one thing, in the last newsletter I said: Next month, I'll come back and let you know how the release went (good or bad), with all of the detail I can bear to share. And, rather than any of that, I've opened this newsletter with an "Oops!"

Oh dang, dude, what happened?

I remembered that we needed to have our store page live for some number of weeks prior to launch... on the day that the store page needed to be live in order for us to launch Another Round before the Deckbuilders Fest. The store page was not ready to go live.

Oh dang, dude...

Yeah.

There's a high-risk silver-lining to this mistake, though: I've decided to launch three of the games we're making in 2024 all at the start of 2025. Doing back-to-back releases of three games, all set within the same universe, feels like a weird enough way of making & releasing games that I'm hopeful it'll get noticed.

From a production perspective, we're still following the same plan; all that's changing is how we release and market our games. With that said, the new approach is definitely "all the eggs in one basket", and I'm grateful to have your trust that we'll do a good enough job that you'll still be hearing from me this time, next year.

So hey, how about some updates on production?

Another Round with Another Round

Alright, so what's new?

Heloisa (Behance) finished up all of the character art and got to work on the background. While we're all sad to see the dev-art go, I've got to say... The Old Fashioned looks like a place it would be fun to spend some time!

Julien (homepage) came back after Gumshoe and made a few BGM tracks for us which are freaking awesome - one's boppy, while the other is really groovy, and both are 100% loopy.

Drummond (Myopic Studios) figured out the stories associated with all of the major and minor events in the game. It is incredibly pleasing that he was able to write up 40-ish minor events, all of which are named after classic 90s songs (Common People, Welcome to Paradise, Prisoner of Society - amongst others!).

And finally, Robin & Billy (Hobfield Games) have mixed all of these pieces together with their design and programming talents to make a game that's truly beautiful and surprisingly fun to play; making card combos feels great, and everything has an undeniable personality that you can only find from these two - just take a look at how the cards all walk out at the end of each night!

Un ver vert verse un verre vers un verrier vers vingt heures

Do you know how hard game localization is? It's really, really hard. I mean, like... it's way harder than translating real-world stuff, because games - especially narrative games - come with just piles and piles of fictional lore which really only makes sense to the person who originally wrote the text. What's a cyberarm in French? What are mirrorshades in Portuguese? Why are directly translated jokes often incomprehensible?

We've been working with a really talented team of freelancers: Bea (X), Clément (homepage), Daniel (clane_k on Discord), & Dave (.avodavo on Discord) to bring Another Round to more players around the world, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the reflection and introspection they force me through every time they ask a badass question like:

    • What's the difference between "Night's Over..." and "The Night is Over"?
    • Is a security dino a real dinosaur?
    • Is it imperative that the genre is "aggro-synth"?
    • Does free show mean the band does not get paid OR is it free for the audiences?

Like...  what IS the difference?? what DOES that mean, and WHY does it mean that??? wait, dinosaurs????

Thanks to their hard work, Another Round will be available in Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, and English on release. I can't wait for everyone who's worked on this game to be able to share it with their friends & families, too. :)

Paper Prototyping with One Last Job

Can team management be fun?

One Last Job is a team management game, where you work to build your reputation as a fixer by hiring a crew to successfully complete jobs.

During gameplay, your crew is bound to see high turnover as they are hired, promoted, and retired (sometimes, "retired" 👻). Success depends on the skills and attributes of the crew you send; if a job benefits from sending a sneaky, careful crew... and you instead send your strongest, meanest, trigger-happy-est folks... well, that job is probably going to go hilariously sideways!

Digital "paper" prototyping with Figma

This sounds fun to me, in principle: it boils down the hours-long experience you can have playing tabletop RPGs with your friends into a condensed, action-packed, automated playthrough. I'm worried, though, that it might put the player too far away from the kind of fun they can find at the table with friends.

We needed to see if the game was fun to play in practice.

Using Figma, I drafted some descriptors/modifiers into a Figma digital whiteboard and invited Billy & Robin to build each others characters using a few of the adjectives provided (seeing as how they're good friends, they obviously were very kind and considerate to one another when identifying their strengths and weaknesses). In the end, we had two characters who were ready to do some nefarious work.

"Playing" the prototype, live

Next, we took those characters through a simluated job. A job is made up of three or more phases, and each phase has a challenge roll in order you must pass to succeed on the phase.

As we played each phase, we started to think about how to make this visually interesting – aside from having a computer handle the math, one big difference between a tabletop game and a video game is the visual storytelling and VFX you have available (you can't do TOO many explosions in a tabletop game before someone complains).

We settled on pawns: having representations of the crew interacting with a generated environment, with some slapstick-style comedy mixed in, could make for an entertaining approach (especially if you can name your crew after your friends...?).

It looks like we should be able to fit a lot of fun into this game, once we get past the basics of making it play!

What's next?

Since we had more time with Another Round, we've continued working on it. That should wrap up this month (April 2024), at which point it'll just be getting localization in, then we can send it to Valve for review and put that in the can -- for release in 2025.

Also this month, we'll start working on better stories for the jobs you'll run into during One Last Job. I look forward to sharing our progress with you on that, next time!

While you wait, hey... look at how cool the background music is for Another Round! I told you: boppy!