Monolith of Minds

Of Dinosaur Forests and German Awards

Of Dinosaur Forests and German Awards

Hello lovely, button-mashing monkeys with exceptionally large brains,

This is Views from the Monolith, our infrequent newsletter (on Steam or your inbox) filled with our adventures in the world of video games. Let’s dive right in.

With everything we learned during Resolutiion’s creation, we have formed better processes. Development has become more structured and efficient, and for the last four months, we’ve been ahead of our own roadmap. After polishing the core functions and effects for the recent teaser, we started with the real fun part of indie-gamedev: designing the first biome.

The Forest

The first level needs to familiarize the player with the main mechanics, simple combat, some light puzzles, and plenty of fun character interactions that drive exploration and deliver story. For the forest we laid out a long stretch of meadows, caves, a lake-house, and dinosaurs with big ears; then filled it with props, items, and enemies.

Creating these initial spaces is a chaotic time, since everything we try to introduce opens up more issues: a new room needs an obstacle, that needs some collision, that needs some visual feedback, that needs an effect-library, that needs sounds. You get the idea.

During these early days, the Ghost of map and UI haunts the whole production. It is the one thing every game developer hates and therefore tries to procrastinate until as late as possible — a lesson we learned painfully with Resolutiion.

Back on the bright side of the forest, each new biome is an opportunity for new, fun encounters: helpful NPCs, strange critters, and mean enemies are the pulsating beat of any video-game adventure. Here’s a small selection:

King Balal

The ruler of the Dung beetles tries to reach the heavens by building a large tower of dirt, up which he resides, ready to meet the supreme being.

The Shepherd

This steady scarecrow is our friendly guide to the wonders of the sky-island. He seems to know his way around and never shies from sharing his insights.

Unifox

Half fox, half unicorn. Unfortunately the deafening airships have made this little guy as angry as it is cute, so you’ll need to calm it down with a Stone’s Soul or two.

German Computer-Game Awards

During hardcore development of Lila’s Sky Ark, something truly unexpected happened: Resolutiion got nominated for Germany’s Game Awards. We assume that there was some serious bribery involved by our publisher, but it must not have been enough — we didn’t win.

Still, being nominated for “Best Game design” with our first, twisted baby was surreal and entertaining. The whole (and honestly way too tame) award-show can be found on YouTube, but we doubt it’s worth anybody’s time, just to see various webcam-faces flicker by.

Maybe a bit more interesting is an interview snipped with Günther from the pre-show, where GameStar asked us about the importance of such events as well as how we see Monolith of Mind’s development as a serious studio. Spoilers: we don’t do serious.

The Quality of Life & Death Update

Almost twelve months ago we released Resolutiion. And boy, has it been a ride. Two major updates later (“The Red Plains” and “The Craftsman”) and we realized, that the journey of Valor and Alibii is not the end but a beginning. We wanted to tell a much grander story about humanity and technology; about death and rebirth.

To honor Resolutiion’s birthday, we took some time off our mad schedule, and collected a lot of feedback and bug fixes into the “Quality of Life & Death” Update:

  • various visual improvements,
  • remarkably reduced loading times,
  • earlier access to the fast-travel system (Theremin in Sunken City),
  • tinted map for clearer orientation,
  • progression changes, simplifying access to parts of the world,
  • Issue 879: a new secret,
  • bug fixes and general polish.

Happy birthday, Valor and Alibii.
The update should be out in late May, so stay tuned.

Free Pizza

To end this long and overdue newsletter, let us once more ask you to strengthen the ties than bind us: kindly wishlist Lila’s Sky Ark on Steam and join our Discord server for a slice of digital pizza. Having you around for the journey alone makes it worthwhile, and gets us motivated to write these lines every few weeks or so.

Thanks for reading up until here.
Feel free to follow some links above and take care.