New Year, New Blog…

 

Hello world!

All I have to do is gaze out my balcony at the lush green hills, flocks of lime green parrots, ringlets of sweet-smelling smoke, and nightly thunderstorms to be reminded of the beauty of my home-state.

It’s officially 2019, and the jungle lives on in the dusty city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico, home of bad tomato games.  We are a startup indie studio with a big dream: To be the first in-house video game developer based in Chiapas. With a team of passionate, like-minded individuals we are currently working on our first title, “Balam and the Spirit Within,” a 2D Mayan inspired action adventure platformer.  

In this blog you will find:

  • Monthly updates about the game’s progress.

  • Links to downloadable game content.

  • A bit of culture, history and a taste of what day-to-day life is like in Chiapas.

  • A bit about our team, including photos of our four-legged “game testers.”

  • Words of encouragement for EVERYONE.


Join us and find out what it REALLY takes to make your dreams come true.

Here’s a quick recap of what happened in 2018:

In January 2018, our company founder, Uzzu, began prototyping some simple mechanics with a programmer friend.  At that time the game was going to be called “The Dreamkeeper” (featuring this little fellow below), and it was more of just a hobby for Uzzu.    

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Uzzu hired a team of talented individuals from all over the world to create a vertical slice for “The Dreamkeeper.”  However, something didn’t feel right with the project at that moment. While working with this global team, Uzzu realized that he really wanted bad tomato games’ first title to embody something that truly represented Chiapas. It’s from this desire that “Balam and the Spirit Within” was born.  After four months of hard work the team finished the pre-alpha of Balam, which consisted of approximately 20 minutes of gameplay.

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Link to downloadable pre-alpha:

(Give it a go, and tell us what you think in the comment section below. To play you must use a controller.)

For better or worse, Uzzu was not happy with the final product.  It’s understandable that as human beings we tend to have high expectations and always want more. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it’s important to put what you’ve accomplished in perspective and give yourself credit when credit is due.  This act motivates us to keep pushing forward with productive energy instead of feeling defeated. Needless to say, at this point Uzzu was feeling a bit disappointed and decided to take a break from Balam.

Imagine this: Three months later Balam was on the back burner.  Somehow in sweltering 100-degree heat (typical weather during the punishing summer months of Tuxtla Gutierrez), in a mix of sweat and blasting banda music (from the salon de fiestas next store) the creative juices began to flow once more. We started working on a new game about a clown named Pogo and his best friend, a dachshund named Sachi. This time we focused on first developing a strong game concept and story. In a creative tempest of brainstorming, mood boards, concept art, and outlines, Balam seemed to be all but forgotten.  “We will do Balam another time,” we reassured ourselves, “once we have the experience.”

And then we received the email that changed everything…..

Indiecade 2018 Santa Monica

“You have been invited to participate at the Indiecade Festival 2018 in Santa Monica…” Two weeks later we packed our bags and traveled to Santa Monica, CA, to show Balam to the public for the first time.  We were very nervous as we had no idea what the reaction would be. Would people even like Balam?

To our surprise and delight, it seemed that overall the attendees really enjoyed playing Balam!  Indiecade provided a welcoming and intimate space that allowed us to interact and receive fantastic feedback from the gaming community.  We will definitely be incorporating YOUR suggestions in upcoming alpha and beta versions of Balam. (I will go into more detail regarding these updates in a future post).

Watching you all play was the highlight of the event. This inspired us to keep pushing forward :)

Watching you all play was the highlight of the event. This inspired us to keep pushing forward :)

All in all, we had a wonderful time at Indiecade.  Afterwards, we knew that Balam was definitely the game we NEEDED to make.  We haven’t looked back since.

Gamacon Mexicali 2018

After Indiecade, we got invited to attend Gamacon 2018 in Mexicali.  We had so much fun at the event. Gamacon really had something for everyone. It provided a positive space for gamers, their families, and young people with a variety of interests and passions.  It was nice to watch you all play and to receive your feedback. We also got to meet a bunch of other indie devs from Mexico, which was awesome.  

The highlight at Gamacon: Lucha Libre!

The highlight at Gamacon: Lucha Libre!

So there you have it, 2018 in a nutshell. Stay tuned for more tacos. I mean updates… Tacos, updates and video games, what could be better?  Clearly I’m hungry, so with that, I’m out folks. I wish you all a Happy New Year!  Remember this:  Being authentically YOU is the greatest gift you can give to the world.

Cheers from Chiapas :)

Elaine Christine
Narrative Designer

PS. If you want to receive regular updates about Balam, subscribe below :)

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