Description

Ludeon Studios is an independent game developer based in Ottawa, Canada. Really, it's mostly just me, Tynan Sylvester. I do the design, programming, and publicity. I'm interested in systems-driven storytelling.

History

1986-2011: Early history

I started making paper games as a small child. At age 15 I started with digital game design by making levels for Unreal Tournament. Within a few years, I was doing contract level work for companies like Epic and Groove Games, and making non-Unreal indie games (which were all awful). In 2008 I graduated university and got a job as a designer at Irrational Games. I worked there on the BioShock PS3 DLC and on BioShock Infinite for four years. In February 2012, I left the company to return to Ottawa.

2012: The book, and prototype hell

2012 was the year of the book and prototype hell. I wrote a game design book, Designing Games, and got it published with O'Reilly Media. Through the same period I also started working on indie game prototypes. There was a music-driven action tower defense game, a zombieworld roguelike simulator, a construction and management game about a university, and a revolutionary urban warfare roguelike. All these prototypes failed. They weren't entertaining. This went on for almost a year, and I was getting depressed. Then, in desperation, I began a project I called Starship Architect.

2012: Eclipse Colony grows

In Starship Architect, the player would build a ship and fly it around, managing its interior. It was a bit of Dwarf Fortress with some FTL thrown in. Soon, it morphed into a colony game set on a planet. And the prototype worked! I found myself getting sucked in while testing my own game, and that never happens. So I kept iterating and growing the game. The construction system matured, then the food growth and resource models. I brought back the combat system from the urban warfare prototype and used it to drive pirate raiders who would attack the colony. I put in an incapacitation system so your colonists would die less often. Then I applied that to the enemies, and created a prisoner system so you could capture and recruit them. The systems kept growing - a simple psychology model driven by love and fear, traders of food, weapons, and slaves, seasons of growth and seasons of survival. The pieces began interlocking together, and the game's depth grew exponentially.

Early 2013: Eclipse Colony Blooms

By June 2013, there was enough of Eclipse Colony to show to people. One playtest in particular convinced me that the game really had potential. The two testers - a hardcore gamer and a casual gamer - started playing at 11pm and didn't (wouldn't) leave until 2am. One of them had built a colony far larger than anything I'd created in my own game, with industrial-size prisoner warehouses and defenses like the Maginot line. They both loved it. I knew then that I was going to make this game. I registered ludeon.com and created Ludeon Studios days later.

Late 2013: RimWorld

Through summer I worked on polishing the game up to be shown to the public. Finally, in September, I changed the name to RimWorld (after a long name search) and put out the First Look video. When that was successful, I released the game on Kickstarter. It was a huge success, earning $268,132 in 30 days. The end of the Kickstarter marked the first public pre-alpha release of the game.

2014 and beyond

We're releasing regular alpha updates of RimWorld with new content.

Videos

Pre-alpha trailer YouTube

First Look video YouTube

Images

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There are far more images available for Ludeon Studios, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!

Awards & Recognition

Selected Articles