For the past couple months, I've been working on developing Bonesweeper into a bigger game, with the support of a grant from Screen Tasmania! I want to share as much of the process as I can. Keep an eye to this thread in the weeks and months to come! :)

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Bonesweeper draws inspiration from Minesweeper and Tetris, having you dig up fossils and then assemble them into skeletons. I released a rough prototype last year exploring those core concepts, which you can play today!

The full game will expand beyond the prototype, adding an interactive map to select dig sites from, a museum for assembled skeletons, and a customiseable player avatar (plus more species, more dig environments, and an optional less stressful skeleton assembly "puzzle mode")

I'm really excited for the new dig selection screen, which will have a slider for controlling geologic time to give some extra context for where fossils came from (and will probably have more than just Australia).

I'm also looking forward to the museum, which I hope will be a space for players to reflect on the cool stuff they've discovered, and maybe bump into` some educational content (like 's "Beepedia" but more interactive)

Experimenting with using shape keys to get seamless dirt tile variants. Not sure if I'll stick with it, but it's an interesting way of getting a bunch of variation from a single model

Dig phase is getting closer to being functional in the new codebase

I've also added some camera controls, with the intention of having some dig sites that are bigger than a single screen when fully zoomed out.

I want to give players the choice of a number of different "flag" types as part of character customisation. I don't know how widely they're used, but I've seen these little plastic markers in photos and thought they were cute

Spent last night implementing applying settings during play. Not particularly interesting work or outcomes, but it's nice to be doing this in more robust/flexible ways than I was in the original prototype

Continuing to work on dig gameplay, I did a first pass implementation of special abilities. Default dig actions are now defined as abilities (but without a cooldown), which unifies a bunch of code. Eventually these will have icons rather than text.

Me: Oh yes, I'll be doing much better looking skeletons in the full version of Bonesweeper.
Also me: Behold: Testodon!

I spent some of today working on an in-game way of communicating development progress. This will be nice to have moving forward (test data pictured - the game's a long way from being that finished :D )

The march mid-month Bonesweeper progress status update is up, which talks about how I'll be tracking progress and where things are at right now. Enjoy!

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@Cheeseness I think they're pretty widely used, particularly with an identifying index on them? something you'd also be likely to see would be a size/color reference I think, something like
but i've only heard about any of this as it has intersected space stuff

@Cheeseness I'm having a real hard time digging up any hard evidence of that though. color reference might be less important for paleontologists than archaeologists? articles I skimmed just now indicate paleontologists draw where the bone fragments are in their grid which says to me that they don't stand out well in photos but I'm inferring a lot

@ChateauErin I haven't seen colour reference before, but I do frequently see size reference doodads such as what's seen in the 8th photo here (random image search result)

I'm in the process of lining up a chat with a palaeontologist where I'll run queries on this stuff, but most dig sites seem to have indexes hung from a string grid suspended across the pit (and rely on extra annotation on photos or field notes, I guess?).

@ChateauErin I get the impression that there might be different markers used for "there's something we should be digging/paying attention to here" and stuff that finds its way into photos

@ChateauErin FWIW, I live in Tasmania (even more frequently left off maps, but seen here, of course!)

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