Juha and myself have both been traveling recently so this update is a bit later than usual – like always, I spend the holidays back in the winter darkness of Sweden hacking away at the thornier parts of the Backworlds codebase. Recently this has been less about making fancy new features and more about cleaning up the codebase and making the game more portable.

This year the highlights included a revamp of the audio mixer in preparation for getting some non-placeholder sounds into the game, decoupling some debug systems to make it possible to work with public builds and adding basic controller support to the game. Backworlds is still intended to be played with a mouse and keyboard, but we want to provide a good experience even if you prefer a gamepad.

2017 overall has been a relatively intense year for Backworlds. Juha showed the game at a few conventions and got some good impressions from the players. We have taken care of the bureaucracy surrounding taking Backworlds from a hobby project to a commercial indie game – an interesting experience considering we live in countries with very different business laws, and none of us are nationals in the countries we live. Maybe most importantly we have done a first pass on production-quality art for all of the major areas in the game.

Juha has spoken about the process before so I won’t linger on it too long, but we have had to think a lot about how to utilize colors to make levels feel distinct and aesthetically pleasing, while still having enough contrast to make sure they are always readable. Earlier in the year I thought a lot about how to improve our tools but at this point we have a better idea of how much more we need to do. For instance, there are still some issues with the base art generator but at this point we are more or less done using it so it doesn’t make sense to spend time fixing it.

In closing, the IGF finalists have been announced! We’d like to congratulate all the nominees and honored mentions, and give a special shoutout to our fellow scandinavian developerĀ Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari who nabbed an impressive 4 nominations for the brilliant Baba is You. Also, thanks to my buddy Theodor who took the sweet header image.

Happy New Year from Juha & Anders!