Super Bean Caravan

Here’s a frustrating development:

I’ve been so busy with Footrub (which is nearly finished, by the way!) That I haven’t been working on Bif Borf. I’ve been trying to ween myself off of dreaming about that game too much; if I think too hard about it, I’ll think about stuff I want to add, and then the game will just never get done, so I’ve been letting myself dream up maybe-in-a-bit projects that might be a nice palate cleanser down the road.

I gave in and worked on one for a few hours, and now it’s another damn project.

I got farther in two hours of experimentation with Super Bean Caravan than I had in like a year of Bif Borf tinkering, which on one hand is kindof exciting to see how far I’ve come as a programmer, but it’s also frustrating that now I know I can just START A GAME whenever I have the whim. I’ll try not to let that ruin my life.

Let me tell you a bit about it:

Super Bean Caravan will be an evolution of my old Tonerlands game, Bean Caravan.

In the old game, you collected beans in order to move and collect more beans, and bumping into monsters entailed paying up some beans to not die. The ultimate goal was to either visit the huts, or find true happiness. (It’s just kindof sitting around in plain sight if you’re brave enough to go for it.) There was a risk/reward element of hanging back in more bean-rich areas vs. pushing through into more monster-inhabited areas, and knowing when you’re prepared enough to tackle either the slow but safe route, or the fast and dangerous one. (I squeezed a lot of nuance out of that sheet of paper.)

This new re-imagining is also a game about collecting beans and surviving a trek, but with new elements such as real-time action, rewards for exploration, and a slightly more involved battle system.

Basically, eating a bean in Super Bean Caravan gives you ten seconds of life to explore a little world. You use this time to uncover beanstalks to harvest, treasure to collect, and Wisdom Houses that lead you to the next little world, until you ultimately find True Happiness. Eating beans also gives you two pip, which are unpredictable little fireworks you can use to startle off any monsters you encounter (If you don’t want to bribe them with beans, that is). Locations of many items are randomized on every play, so it’s never the same game twice.

It’s going to be far less ambitious than Bif Borf, aiming to be a game that can be played to completion in around an hour. Even now, as a prototype state without much animation or frills, it feels like a strong, exciting challenge for a player’s time and resource management skills.

I’ll have a demo soon. Subscribe to my newsletter if you want to know as soon as it’s out!