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Wild Passage | 1 Year Recap


Our blog dedicated to our creative process and endeavors. Everything from current projects, past projects, to our own adventures! Beware things may get personal and/or technical!

Wild Passage | 1 Year Recap

Edgard Ortega

Finally, it's done! We have completed our submission of Wild Passage to Indiecade 2016

Looking back

Exactly one year ago we made a prototype for a game we were tentatively calling "The Beast Project" and submitted it to Indiecade 2015. At the time, both Garrett and I were working full time at Intel while toying with the idea of starting Polymath. 

During the long commute hours to Intel, we jammed on ideas about a procedural adventure game. We talked about wilderness exploration, fantasy worlds, discovering unknown places, and our love for old adventure games. We reminisced on adventures we had of our own, camping out with friends in islands, or hiking through the desert. After work hours,  we cobbled together our first adventure gameplay prototype. This prototype was extremely "hardwired", everything was hacked together and it had no extendable systems, but it was a start...

Back then, the vision for the Beast Project was not very refined. We had cool ideas about physical inventories, storytelling without text, a companion canine, and creating procedural content that would give emergence to endless adventures. There were just so many features we were excited about, but we knew we had to narrow it down...

These early conversations and prototype still inspire and set the tone for the game we now call Wild Passage.

A Change of Pace

Since this time, Garrett has switched jobs, I've left the corporate world to go "Full Indie", and we've partnered with our friend Alejandro Cannizzo in founding our company. We took several months off from development to write more about Wild Passage, discover its lore, invent its inhabitants and hone in on those core feelings about adventure and storytelling. Through many paper jams and sketching sessions, we reframed our ideas about the core mechanics of the game. 

For a few weeks, we ran paper game jams where we hashed out ideas about content, items and enemies. The result was actually a rather fun D&D-esque board game that to this day tempts us...  tabletop Wild Passage anyone? Maybe one day...

For a few weeks, we ran paper game jams where we hashed out ideas about content, items and enemies. The result was actually a rather fun D&D-esque board game that to this day tempts us...  tabletop Wild Passage anyone? Maybe one day...

A New Start

With clearer vision and refreshed minds, we spent the last 6 months rebuilding the subsystems of Wild Passage and developing its visual language from scratch. The current version, although bare in content, is much closer to our vision. We've developed subsystems for item handling, health, ability collision, weapon mechanics, AI... We've established our art style, modeling guidelines, and created a custom rendering system within UE4 that leverages modern rendering techniques while harkening to that strongly stylized aesthetic we grew up loving... complete with night/day cycles of course!

Most importantly, instead of a hacky prototype, we finally have a stable architecture that can grow and support the various content ideas we once had. We finally get to focus on building out this adventure world we once imagined.

So what's changed?

Although not readily apparent from screenshots, the new world of Wild Passage packs a host of features that will actually help us with the final product

Ultra-fast inventory management

True damage responses with gameplay repercussions D:

Fully dynamic lighting setup and FX!

Physical world responses that make the world come to life

We've also developed a scalable collision system , and designed all the content in a true modular and procedural fashion... two quintessential components for this kind of game

Thus far, we're really excited about what we've built with only 2 of us and a little help from collaborators. We've armed ourselves with our own Wild Passage toolbox and learned so much about our game and development in general. Although we've come far, this is barely the trailhead of our own development adventure.

In the months to come, it's time to focus on gameplay content, procedurals, and finding a way to extend our resources to make Wild Passage a reality.