MAR-APR/24 Status Update

Current Progress


  • Gonna revise how rambly I am going forward, I just deleted 2000+ words I wrote in early March about long term plans. Too much day dreaming about the future :) Bad habit.
  • Gonna focus on a mix of my PBBG dev logs in their discord + project updates in here. Not gonna list anything other than something near or already deployed in these updates. Too much info/writing.


  • Registration / character creation workflow had a few UX issues that have been resolved.
  • Switched to a Hero Layer first approach that should move into City-level and then Empire-level mechanics as you progress. The goal here is the standard “evolving game mechanic” system most idle/incremental games use to move you along without overwhelming you Day 1 with complexity.
  • Similarly, a number of ideas are going to be gated behind the prestige (being active, being in the top half of your faction) mechanics for unlocking additional things for future games. Basically, a mix of scoreboard and upgrade currency for future games to buy faction-specific bonuses. The hope here is to keep the first time experience simple enough people aren’t overwhelmed with options as I expand the game.
  • Hopefully for a late May (25th-ish) launch of Playtest 0 that is basically just a mechanical playtest to work out obvious bugs/balance issues for running a proper first playtest/game.

Dev Blogs in PBBG Discord

01 - Introduction

Official Blog:

Official Playtests:

Hopefully starts Phase 0 play test it in late May 2024. Basically, internal mechanical testing before I advertise publicly for players outside of this discord/my gaming groups.

Playtest 1 Design Doc (through Playtest 5 Roadmap):

I’ll sometimes post the non-conversational portions of the dev blog if you prefer RSS / website format to the threads in Discord. This is mostly a backup of the dev blog so I don’t lose rather than something you can comment on.

The focus of this devblog is on the decisions/lessons that I believe are applicable to a wider range of games in the PBBG genre rather than specific “idle rpg with tick-based strategy” hybrid with a side of tabletop roleplaying which is extremely niche that the actual game is.

The devblog focus is (short form content / summarized content that might have longer blogs):

  1. Game Design / Game Dev specific decision making theory (why I decided on X, how I got to X as the reason)
  2. Crosssection of Business with Game Design (why I made X business decision that was integrated into the game mechanics and how it affected the design of the game)

The areas you’ll need to go to the blog for (long form content):

  1. Technical stuff I found interesting.
  2. My day dreams about being a “retired but self employed part-time via hobby projects” software developer.
  3. The morality of game design under capitalism. (i.e. Why my game has whale caps of $50 per month)
  4. Changelogs for play tests / other projects
  5. Play Test Post Mortems explaining what changes are going to be made and why
02 - Gear Consumption as a Core Mechanic

The current contenders for the throne of full loot multiplayer games are basically in two categories based on the concept of a “full loot” multiplayer game genre where everything you have is lost and you have to go back to regear.

For those interested in successful implementations of that concept:

  1. Rust, V Rising, and the “Survival” Genre Games
  2. Eve, Albion Online and other “Hardcore Full Loot MMO” Games

Why was it discarded as an option?

Idle RPGs/PBBGs are more focused on a casual audience. While you could shoehorn the mechanic of a full loot game into a PBBG there is not much point when a simpler, less psychologically painful, and easier to technically implement that people are also accustomed to exists.

What do I think is a superior alternative to it?

That mechanic is ammunition.

While, technically, I’m using high fantasy equivalent consumables as ammunition instead of bullets, the mechanical lesson is the same.

  1. People are used to expending ammunition. The idea it gets consumed is built into the concept of a consumable. The fact you “use more” when you die lacks the negative gaming psychologically ramifications of losing gear you farmed for half an hour because of a bad matchup or other “not my fault” reason in the player’s mind.

  2. You don’t need the normal sinks of things like repairing gear and creates constant demand for the items in a player-driven economy loop of (gather -> refine -> craft into consumable). There will be NPC faucets in the form of markets and NPC sinks, such as consumables being destroyed on failed actions (i.e. You got PvP’d or PvE’d and lost), but no one in the shooter genre gets tilted over using up 5 bullets and having to run from the fight the way people get tilted in other games where you legit die and lose your inventory/gear.

  3. You don’t need to do anything “special” to implement or explain it to players. It is natural to assume a consumable gets consumed so people are not surprised (and may not even care or notice) the occasional pvp event speeding up consumption since it just consumes from a central stockpile/inventory. There would need to be logging/explanations in the UI but I bet half the people will never check the logs of “unusual consumption” from pvp and other failure conditions that accelerate consumption of resources.

  4. It naturally fits into a per-action concept where a character is performing actions and consuming a 1 quantity of something at the same time (if not an accelerated consumption failure mode, such as PvP or difficult PvE in PvP zones)