Hello everyone, David here! The team is deep in development mode right now, and I with them, but this blog was too important to let slide, so I hope you all take a moment with me here, because this one is largely about you.
Starting a company is fulfilling work, but it does keep you busy and focused on millions of little details. So it took me by surprise when I started seeing notes of congratulations from friends and colleagues for hitting my one-year mark with MetaArcade.
And what a year it’s been! What began as a fun idea for remastering Tunnels & Trolls for digital platforms has really started to catch on with gamers and storytellers who are eager to try their hand at putting their own adventures on the platform and letting the world see their work. As we did with our first prototype of Naked Doom at Gen Con and PAX West, we decided the best way to get your feedback on the idea was to bring our early Adventure Creator to PAX South and have you join us in creating the first ever “PAX South MegaAdventure.”
Over the course of the show, dozens of you joined us in the MetaArcade booth and left your mark on the MegaAdventure by adding your own creations to the game. The MegaAdventure grew to over 350 different frames across three adventures, one for each day of the show.
Today—it’s our absolute pleasure to add the three days of the PAX South MegaAdventure to Sneak Peek. You can now play through the MegaAdventure on your own device, using your pre-existing characters or rolling up brand new ones. Although I’ll warn you—the MegaAdventure is best suited for veteran characters: some of the moments across the experience have pretty forbidding saving rolls and exceptionally hard combats to win, even more so as the show went on! Day 3 in particular has some challenges best suited for survivors of Buffalo Castle, Naked Doom and the first MegaAdventure days. And definitely don’t forget to spend your Adventure Points!
The creation process of the MegaAdventure for me was a bit of seeing a dream come true. We had a wide range of people come up and add their work to the game—spanning from industry journalists and hardened RPG players to new gamers and young children. Some people came up with an idea for what they wanted to create and we were able to find art and audio to make their visions real. Others didn’t have any preplanned thoughts, so we turned to the art archive, hit the Random button, and started with whatever random image the platform put forth. In each case, attendees created their own narratives, using the core mechanics of Tunnels & Trolls to let players “choose their own adventures.”
In most cases, all it took was an intriguing piece of art and a bit of music to make something tight and compelling. Add a few saving rolls, some combat, and some common sense choices, and suddenly you’ve created your own playable adventure which we were able to demo right on the spot. It was pure joy for me to see people’s faces light up when their work was playable on the big screen, especially when we credited their names in the adventure itself, and it reaffirmed why we’ve been grinding hard on this over the past year.
The structure of the MegaAdventure is intentionally linear. In order to let people create whatever they wanted without any encumbrance from what previous creators added, we ended each vignette with a teleport sequence, taking you to your next adventure without any need to connect to what transpired previously. This has led to an experience which feels a bit like a mix of an old school dungeon crawl with a dash of Quantum Leap added. You never know what you’re going to run into next, as you’ll find a strange assortment of creatures, rooms, traps and treasures in adjoining sequences without any real good logical reason why they are there.
That’s intentional and it’s fine—as long as you don’t try to force the narrative to make sense in your head. Just pick up your sword, don your armor, and gird your loins to head into a series of mini-adventures created by all walks of gamers.
I’ll ask you to use the experience to inform your own thinking of what we might all be able to accomplish together as we work to gather your feedback, harden our code, add more art and audio assets, and ultimately start a similar Sneak Peek for the creation side.
We’ve been absolutely delighted with the creativity we’ve seen thus far in these very early stages for our Adventure Creator, and came away from our interactions with you at PAX South with many ideas on how to steer the development of our platform going forward. Now more than ever we’re keen to hear your thoughts on where to take this next.
I want to give a big thank you to everyone in the community who’s given the game a try, sent in your feedback, and helped us create the MegaAdventure. Here’s hoping for many more in the years to come!