Monday, July 16, 2018

MoonQuest hits Early Access after seven years in development

Creator explains protracted dev time in wry post-mortem.

Procedurally generated Terraria-like MoonQuest has launched in Steam Early Access, after a whopping seven years in development.
The game looks like familiar survival and crafting fare set in a bizarre alien world. Players mine the game’s environment for both resources and adventures, building structures and crafting new equipment to sustain themselves in a world populated by hopping spiders and weird long-necked horse-things (NOT giraffes, I know what they look like). You can also wield environmental hazards like fire and lava to your advantage.
What’s fascinating about MoonQuest’s launch is the length of time it has taken to produce. Its Melbourne-based creator, Ben Porter, quit his postgraduate job way back in 2011 to build the game, which at the time was known as Moonman.
After MoonQuest’s launch, Porter published an article on medium in which he charted the reasons for MoonQuest’s protracted gestation period. To build the game, Porter designed his own engine, right down to individual tools such as a sprite editor “because all those other sprite editors out there do not do exactly what you need.”
Porter also cites several other reasons for MoonQuest’s glacial turnaround, such as potential dev time spent preparing a crowdfunding campaign, and the lack of a clear idea at the outset. “Say you want to make a game with an infinite world where the player can keep walking in one direction and never reach the edge of the world. You will need to build a decent amount of technology to support that. A couple of years later you realise (from a game design perspective) that, no, you don’t actually need an infinite world. Throw away all those data structures and algorithms that you’ve built.”
It makes for an interesting insight into how time consuming game development can be, especially if you don’t prepare yourself in the correct ways.
MoonQuest is available now for £9.29 on Steam. You can see its curious world in action below.


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