Spicing Things Up


No Hex Gambit: Respawned news just yet. Still working through those bugs and prepping for another console certification. I’m disappointed that we didn’t hit the summer release date I hinted at, but it takes what it takes!

Work continues on the new Food Trucker project in the meantime. My list of art and sound needs is long, but the features I have planned for launch are looking like they’ll all be sorted out before the end of the year.

My last fun one is the difficulty system I’m working on now. Space Food Truck had a flat difficulty select based on hot sauces: mild, hot, etc. The new game will have a customizable menu with lots of options like truck HP, crisis intensity, shop price hikes. Each aspect you make harder cranks up the spiciness, and the spicier you get, the bigger the score bonus you’ll receive for beating the scenario!

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What? Prototype is Evolving!


Hex Gambit: Respawned update: Some unfortunate networking bugs cropped up this month, so we have to get those sorted out before submitting the game to our last launch platform. Creeping ever toward the finish line!

Alex (my old partner) playtested the new Food Truck game this month! That was momentous because he was the lead designer on Space Food Truck, so I was eager to get his thoughts on the new direction. Very constructive, and fun to watch him encounter all the new mechanics for the first time.

I added the proper menu flow this month, from the startup logos to the “Press whatever to start” screen. It’s weird how much more real that makes the thing feel. Like it’s no longer a prototype, but a real game that needs a lot of art.

I also added the ability to rename your food trucking business and choose its logo, so fantasy food truck logo design has become sort of a side gig.

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User Friendly


Feeling like there will be some movement on the Hex Gambit: Respawned front soon. I say that a lot, so take it for what it’s worth. Last year’s July post was when my side of HGR’s development wrapped, so happy anniversary! Porting to every platform and adding crossplay multiplayer takes time, but the publisher is doing a great job from everything I’ve seen, and it will be very cool when it’s ready.

It’s been a long limbo, but the new Food Truck game is keeping me occupied! Hard to believe it’s a year into development now.

Early in the month I ran some in-person playtests, took note of the times I had to verbally nudge players in the right direction, and am in the process of converting those into in-game nudges. Space Food Truck is a neat game design, but I want this Trucker to be more self-explanatory and approachable. A lot of awesome art is also starting to materialize, which I’ll show off sometime after HGR launches.

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Food Truck 0.1


The Food Truck project has a tutorial implemented now with some fun dialogue and an in-game help menu, so last month’s mission of getting the game ready to teach new players is accomplished. I even recorded myself doing some voices for a couple of characters, which is a goofy first.

Next up for Food Truck is to get some 0.1 testing feedback, see how well those tutorials are working out and what people think of the current levels.

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Hex Gambit: Respawned‘s console certification continues. Nothing but steady progress to report at the moment. Release date/trailer will be posted here and on twitter @onemanleft. Getting a summer release window vibe, if that helps you hang on!

Still filling my pre-launch time getting a head start on the new Food Truck game, which is getting into solid playtesting shape. I broke a lot of stuff a while back, but was able to play through all five of the game’s map scenarios this month.

I’ve got the highscore goals for 1-3 stars honed to a sweet spot challenge-wise, and am working on getting dialogue and a help menu in. Next month, the game should be able to teach testers how to play without me being there.

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Spinning Plates


Hex Gambit: Respawned is in the process of being certified by PlayStation, X Box, and Nintendo right now. I think I’m supposed to be staying all mysterious about it until the big announcement. Did I make a game?! Or was it all a dream?!

The new Food Truck project gives me something controllable to focus on while we wait. I recently started plugging some shippable art and animations in, so I can envision how cool the finished product will be. It’s great motivation.

I’m focused right now on making cooking more satisfying than it was in Space Food Truck. No more randomized recipes that don’t really make sense. I’ve got lots of real recipes, and they’re all illustrated so you can see what the meal you just cooked actually looks like.

Normally I’d announce a title and start posting art and videos for the Food Truck game. But HGR hasn’t launched yet, so it’s not time for that. Things are kind of wishy washy at the moment. But at the end of this weird stretch, I’ll have a game out this year and be positioned to follow it up with something equally cool next year.

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Hex Gambit Update


I’ve seen lists of marketing activities and even a proposed release date for Hex Gambit: Respawned! But I’m not allowed to talk about any of it yet, so we’ll have to be patient a bit longer. Stay tuned.

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The Shortest Month


A little family vacation time made my February even shorter than usual, but I’ve just about got all of the Food Truck prototype’s card animation sorted out. Adding animation broke basically everything, but it’s almost stable enough to play again, and it’s much prettier.

I also did a bunch of playtesting for the release candidate for Hex Gambit: Respawned! Found a pretty amazing bug, too. Crowned, golden minions are like the boss fights in HGR’s campaign, and Lolli’s ult is to steal enemy minions. He could totally trade a Runner for a boss character. We fixed it.

I get genuinely nervous when I know it’s been worked on for months by the publishing team and I crack it open for the first time in a while. But HGR is working great! And it has online multiplayer now! And I’m talking to marketing people about launching later this year.

This iteration of Hex Gambit started production in 2020. The original started in 2017. It’s about freakin’ time guys. This is the year.

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First on the Hex Gambit: Respawned front – no news from the publisher this month. Submission to the stores is the next big milestone, and that is supposed to happen very soon. So I will continue pretending like that game is old news and totally finished, so I can focus on this new project and not go crazy.

When I do hear something, I’ll post here and send an update to the Kickstarter backers. A moment of silence for those backers who have died of old age and will not see the mountaintop.

… … …

Now to the alternate reality of Food Truck Returns (working title)! I spent this month getting all of the cart art in, and animating transitions for cards drawing/discarding/charging. Card animation is tedious work, so I took a break from that last week to design and model the truck in glorious 3D.

Some stumbling this month as I transitioned the project to Unreal Engine 5 and explored what a Lumen and a Nanite is. The new light and reflection system is FANTASTIC, and “forget your triangle count” is pretty cool, but it seems like these are not toys for Switch or Steam Deck (and I want porting to not be a headache if it happens). So unfortunately I think I’ll be doing things the old way for now. Excited for the day I can stop baking lighting.

Categories: Food Truck Returns

Year of More Patience


Before I write these New Years Posts, I like to peek back at the previous year to see I where my head was at. Man, oh man.

This time last year, I thought Hex Gambit: Respawned was coming Summer 2022, and I thought THAT was going to be an awful long wait. I was half right, because it HGR is now coming in 2023 and it has been. A. Long. Wait.

I don’t mean that porting HGR and adding the multiplayer is taking too long. That’s a complicated process, and it’s taking as long as you’d reasonably expect. But launching games and knowing that people are playing them is important for a game developer’s self esteem, and I haven’t had that since Space Food Truck launched in 2016. That’s six years of drought.

That aside, I’d say I had a productive year.

  • I designed and implemented a bunch of multiplayer stat tracking and UI stuff for HGR.
  • I finished a Pirate Tactics prototype with tons of complicated RPG elements.
  • I have a about a six month head start on a solid Food Truck follow-up game.

So it looks like next year will be “the year I become a real game developer again” – one with a big game made recently for sale on a store. No matter how that launch goes, it’s gonna feel really good to have something out and finished.

I think that going forward, it would be nice to launch something every 2-3 years, so you and I don’t have to endure another long dry spell like this.

Thanks for checking in, and best of luck chasing your dreams in 2023!

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