It’s been a little while since we’ve communicated much about Catlandia, but we’ve been hard at work. Not that anyone has been feverishly checking the site for updates, but we’ve added a couple of pages with some more information about the project. Here’s a quick lil’ timeline of a few major things since we last said anything.
We announced Catlandia at the same time we first showed it off—as just a little garden scene with a couple of cats—at GDX, a Game Development convention in our hometown of Edmonton. The fine people who organised that event were able to secure space at our summer K-Days festival, so we went along with the latest version.
It was still a barebones experience—the scene was bigger, and the cat had walking animations for both left and right!—but it also had the beginnings of our cat customizer feature, so people were able to build their very own cats. This was the first time we showed the game off to a general audience, and were thrilled with the feedback we got. We didn’t have much to show, but people love the idea of a cat RPG. Of course they do. Cats and RPGs are both awesome.
After some thought, we decided we wanted to release something for people to play a lot sooner than it would take us to make Catlandia. Or, looking at it another way, we originally conceived of Catlandia as a quick, five-hour or so game. Then, things started ballooning as we considered the story we wanted to tell, how long it would take people to finish it, how long it would take them to finish the side content we started planning…
…And crucially, how long it would take a small, four-person team to actually make all this stuff without any money
So we decided we’d put the main project on hold and make Catlandia: Prologue first. This is a much smaller, self-contained story focusing on two new characters, and their interactions with some of the originally planned characters, in a situation preceding the events of Catlandia. I’ll write a new post up at a later date exploring some of the details of this adventure.
We hate coming up with names. It took us a good long time to settle on Catlandia, and we were dreading coming up with a company name. We decided on Byline X. It pays a little homage to how the original team met, and X is a cool letter.
Not much else to say, but we figure it’s worth mentioning.
Classic Video Games Championships
We got back to work after the K-Days event, and focused hard on getting the battles running. By November, we had them working enough that you could defeat enemies, with various weaknesses and bonuses taken into account. We took the now Catlandia: Prologue to the Classic VIdeo Games Championships event in Edmonton, and allowed a few avid gamers to give it a whirl.
We’d come from a single screen with a few cats to talk with, to that plus a wooded area to explore, with random encounters with several enemy parties and types, and a simple quest involving a teapot.
Milestone: Achieved! Full Combat System
And right before we made this update, we finally arrived at a pivotal point in development. While we still have to work on enemy types, parties, and decision making, along with more abilities, items, equipment, graphics, animation and so on, the combat system is essentially in place. All the rules for the features we intend to be a part of Catlandia: Prologue’s combat are in place. Equipment is equippable. Abilities can inflict more than just damage, and heal more than just health. Our twist on the traditional MP system is in there, and our three-attack, three-defense system does what it’s supposed to.
The future of Catlandia
It’s been a blast working on Catlandia, and we’re always excited when we have opportunities to share what we’ve been doing. We’re happy to have made it far enough that we can start making some more regular updates on our progress. In the near future, you can expect more posts on various aspects of the game’s features and development. And maybe, just maybe, a demo.