I know what you’re thinking. “Wait, wasn’t it set to release at the start of April?”. Yes. But as it turns out, making a whole video game is a complicated process. I feel slightly sympathetic towards those Triple A companies that are constantly pushing back their release  dates.

OK, not really since they have massive teams of hundreds of people and if you can’t get that kind of man power to produce a complete project in a reasonable amount of time, clearly it’s a leadership issue. Our reason is less of an issue at all and more of some paperwork delays and choosing to add even more features and polish for a much better experience and final product. We will never be a company that just pushes things out the door.

If it weren’t for the aforementioned paperwork, we really could have called it done on April 1st by just scrapping a few details. But we wouldn’t do that. So luckily between delays with setting up the different moving parts needed to get a steam publisher account online, we decided to dig in deeper and add even more engaging elements for you to discover on your journey through Elphame.

What to Expect from Beasties of Greenhollow

Beasties of Greenhollow is a passion project of our talented developer, DiscoReptile. The game is an extension of a future project we hope to someday publisher, a larger title with similar mechanics called Elphame. For anyone familar with this project, you can expect to see lots of familiar faces in BoG! For everyone else, BoG is a great introductory to Disco’s rich modern and magic setting that’s brimming with exciting characters and Scottish mythology.

Where Elphame is more of a classic adventure game with puzzle features, BoG leans more into it’s puzzle roots. Tame your chosen team of beasties with irristable turnips and head out into the dangerous fairy filled realms at the request of a mask wearing stranger named Shellycoat!

With sixty-four beasties to collect, six realms to explore, tons of puzzles and challenges, and loads of items to equip, there’s a lot to see and do in BoG. It’s a casual and fun experience for anyone that wants to try their hand at strategizing with good old fashioned monster fighting. Gameplay-wise, it’s fast paced and functionally feels a lot like a card game.

Lastly, we want to make sure the game is affordable and plan to release the full game for only about $5. Very inexpensive even among most indie games with similar depth and length!

What Did We Learn Along the Way?

As our first project, BoG really taught us a lot. When I first reached out to Disco, I honestly thought it was possible to really make a finished project in three months. Realistically, you can make a game in less time, but not a game like BoG. An extra two months later, I realize five months should be the minimum going forward for anything with this degree of length, depth, and complexity. We still hope to make a game in less time next, but it will be a much simpler game with a much tighter scope from the start.

Next, I once again had to relearn that trying to overwork myself only causes more issues. I thought myself something of a generalist and I intentionally hired with a generalist mentality. I don’t think generalists– especially home learners– get the attention that they deserve compared to say specialists with college degrees. One aspect I had insisted on being added ended up dragging down our time expectations a lot pretty early on. I jumped on the task to to provide support to Disco who at the time was doing everything.

And I about keeled over from stress. I took a whole week off from my full time job to deal with the massive workload I’d inadvertently created and I still couldn’t get it all done. So after that week I hired on a very talented artist, Marcelo. But what I handed off to him ended up being outside his normal workflow which also dragged him down and we’re still trying to get out from under all that extra art. The game is a lot cooler from adding it, but wow was it ever a herculean task I never expected when I had the idea!

What I learned from this is that even if you have generalist talent, they still need to be allowed to be the specialist in their role. When a piece of work changes through too many hands, it gets increasingly difficult for anyone to actually do a quality job. You’d think I’d know this working in a factory-line style agency! It’s better to trust a skilled individual with the whole of a section of work so they can develop a consistent workflow that always results in a high quality and efficiently produced product.

What’s Next?

We still have a little over a week to wrap up BoG and we should be able to make our goal this time, assuming there’s no more delays from Steam setup. I think I got everything this time, so I’m not expecting anything to go awry. As fun as it was to develop this game, I think everyone will be relieved to be done. Besides the fact that it’s actually quite stressful to go from working on a game to actually finishing and publishing one, BoG really became quite a lumbering beast that we thought we had finished off a few times. We’re overall very happy with the result of continuously giving the project more time, but it really is time to move on now.

We have to ideas ready to go for our next project. One is a longer title like BoG which will get minimum five months to develop. It’s a click-to-adventure at it’s heart with quite a few surprises in store. Set in Scotland in the 1890’s, the game will follow two young detectives as they investigate a haunted caper. It will be a visually adventurous and joyful game full of colorful characters in a wacky world that spoofs real-world history. It’s a start to something we hope to flesh out into a much bigger series.

The other idea is much shorter with an estimated dev time of three months. This is likely the one we’ll do next due to the short timeline, but it’s also one near and dear to my heart. It will be the entry piece for my own personal series that frequently dips a toe into horror. But don’t worry, this game will be a lighthearted virtual pet that does it’s best to make your life easier and more fun with habit tracking and pomodoro/focus time features.

Well if you made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope you learned something about us and about game development in general. We’re very proud and excited to bring you Beasties of Greenhollow very soon and we’re very excited to get started on the next project. See you then!