World Building – My Hobby

Posted by | June 24, 2014 | Gaming | 7 Comments
Strange Tree

Or, what I’ve been doing in my spare time with Cris out of commission and healing up with her family back in Tabasco :)

Long-time readers are familiar with my life-long hobby of playing video games. I’ve covered it a few times in my Expat Gamer series. That led to me paying more and more attention to Kickstarter and Indigogo projects as I’ve begun moving into the crowdfunding world over the past couple of years, and the rise of independent game companies with niche audiences is something that I’ve been interested in for a long time.

Backed by the knowledge that I was already planning on getting back to the four-book fantasy series I started writing in 2008 later this fall after we get settled into Palenque, I had an idea. Why not, instead of simply finishing the series and marketing the books, create an entire media enterprise out of the lore and characters?

Cue a few months later, and I’m heading a team of seven guys who are currently working at making an independent, niche video game. Most of us have been playing games since the early 80s. Our specific genre experience is mostly based on fantasy and science fiction MMORPGs. While I’m familiar with consoles (owned up to the 360), I’ve always been principally a PC guy. (July 3rd update: we have just added a seventh team member who will be working on networking and coding for C# in Unity). 

There’s a lot of work in front of us. We have a rough production schedule presently; from now until March of 2015 we are building our prototype (10 zones: 1 city, 1 multi-tiered dungeon and multiple outdoor zones) and getting it into a playable stage so that we have a working alpha.

trap door

hidden stairs


fallen tree

In March of 2015 we are launching the pre-crowd-funding campaign that will run from March until October of next year, during which I’ll be publishing previously written chapters alongside lore, character art, screenshots, videos, Twitch feeds of our developers, and the expansion and creation of forums, social media channels and beyond.

We’re using the free version of Unity 4.5 presently while all of us learn the tools, so everything you are seeing are things that are either created from scratch (we have a modeler working with us presently in Blender also), or found in the free Unity store. In March of 2015 we’ll be purchasing our Pro + Team license and then making a bulk purchase of assets we’ve had our eye on. From there, we’ll be polishing our prototype with better art assets and ensuring that everything is ready to go off without a hitch when we launch the crowdfunding in October.

Hardest part? Learning all of this :) But there is a plethora of YouTube content out there for people who want to do the research of independent developers talking about the overall growth of this genre and the tools needed to make it happen. We hold no illusions that it’s not hard work; most of us are putting in 2-4 hours per night minimum as often as we can around families and work and other commitments.

But the groovy thing is that we’ve come a long way in the past few months of just getting in there and playing around with the tools. We are finishing up our prototype city in two weeks, and one of our team members is spending the next couple of weeks working on getting us to the point where we can log in with our characters and start testing mechanics/combat/etc.

At which point we’ll be splitting into separate teams of individual maestros; I’ll be working on lore and quest content, as well as continual chapter content (the four-book series I was originally planning on writing; I wrote the first 12 chapters back in 2008 when I was still writing sci-fi and fantasy shorts to sell + a novel…until the content writing started paying more money and I switched!) and team management, and everyone else is filling multiple shoes.

Which brings me to side point of this blog post. We are currently looking for 2 – 4 other team members who want to come on board and be part of a small, 10-12 man team who will be spending the next three years working on creating this game and producing it for a niche audience.

open cave

overhead map

outside zone

overhead view

Currently we need those who are comfortable with Unity (at least on a hobby/dabbling basis) and have at least 2-4 hours per day to invest in this hobby.

More specifically, we are looking for at least a couple of programmers/coders and then a couple of artists for concept art + in-game touch-up design (coming back after primary development and adding details to zones, like plants, extra light posts, a painting on a wall, the fringe on a cloak, the design of a breastplate logo, etc.)

You won’t make money. At least not for three years. Any dime we bring in through Kickstarter, website and etc. will be towards funding the game development. We will all be splitting the costs of Unity 5 in March of 2015 evenly between the team members, as well as any other start-up costs.

Then, in roughly 2-3 years, when we have a finished product that we have taken through various alphas and betas and beyond, and we release it to the public, we will all share equally in the spoils of war.

So if you are an intern, a passionate gamer, a college student…we don’t care :) We just want to see if there are a few more hungry gamers out there who want to join a team of guys who have already been working on this project with all of our passion for the past three months on a regular basis.

The screenshots show that we are getting there :) We also have videos, as well as a Google+ group we are using as our personal forum, and we are doing most of our team networking through Google Documents/Google Drive, plus we have weekly TeamSpeak meetings that last for 1-2 hours on average going over the schedule and our high/low points with development.

And oh yeah, this is a non-travel blog post for my regular readers. Along with running Marginal Boundaries, I’m also working on this project, as well as another project in Spanish from here in Mexico which has a built-in Facebook community of nearly 100,000 people and a PR3 websites with 20k per month.

Give us a shout if you think you want to be a part of the above project. For everyone else…stay tuned as we bring you our regularly scheduled programming related to immersion travel and life abroad :)

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About T.W. Anderson

T.W. Anderson is the founder of the Marginal Boundaries brand. He is the writer, editor, videographer, photographer, and social media guru alongside Cristina Barrios, the other half of the brand. In his spare time, he is the creative director of the Saga of Lucimia, a forthcoming MMORPG from Stormhaven Studios, LLC.


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