Fresh Preserves™ Co-op (Part 1)

Soon I will release the first of my Fresh Preserves Co-op series, Lil Folk. Fresh Preserves will be an (unrelated) selection of short little games and experiences that serve two purposes:

  • First they allow me to work through various discrete aspects of Nambug in a concise manner. This will prevent engine distractions and inter-system conflicts while I think through core ideas and systems. It also allows people to play along with me while I work.
  • Secondly, (in theory) they’ll be self funding and auto-expanding. Each game in the series will cost $5 (USD) so the cost to entry will be low for any particular game in the series. The inclusion of “co-op” in the title also nests with this second idea…

The co-op element works like this: I will have little goals in terms of sales numbers which will function as quasi-stretch goals. I will release a completed product after my predetermined amount of effort (~40 hrs). After the release, each time one of the series hits a goal it will alert me to increased interest for that idea/game.

For example: after I sell 10 copies of Lil Folk I could add something simple like water (wells, rivers, etc.), but at 100 copies sold I might add something more complex. Perhaps an idea akin to grouping and expanded social dynamics.

Okay now a quick little blurb about the actual game! Lil Folk could best be described a life-simulation, or maybe a virtual pet. The eponymous lil folk will wander around the landscape, going about their virtual lives. Some will be born from the cave, and over time some will die. Under the hood it is a take on a genetic algorithm.

Each lil folk has a multi-dimensional matrix for a brain, with each element relating to a specific traits. These elements each have a chance to link to others, forming (extremely) simplistic neural pathways. As an analog to real life, certain pathways will be strongly featured and any break will lead to failure. What remains is hopefully what makes this game interesting: I’m thinking of the uncritical pathways as personality quirks.

As you follow around your favorite folk around their chosen tasks and interactions you can rate them, like an evolutionary Yelp (haha). Over each tick of in world time, folks with higher star counts will strengthen existing pathways. Folks with lower ratings will occasionally create new pathways or weaken existing ones.

I cannot wait to show off some more from this and future projects. If you’re interested in supporting my work, considering buying Lil Folk when it comes out. Alternatively you can support me on Patreon, where you will receive a free copy of each Fresh Preserve game for as long as you do so (and as I continue to put them out)

Thank you for reading! Please stay tuned.