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We hope you’ll share your wheel barrow stacking expertise with us, come release.

February

Lot’s of work on Landlord’s Super this month. As we get closer and closer to the Early Access release, you can expect to see more and more delicious content.

We’ve also been guest appearing on a podcast about Game Development, but it’s not out yet, so shhh…

Oh, check out these 5,000 images of car parks from Sainsbury Archive. They’re amazing.

 

 

The Quintessential Construction Simulator

West Berklands becomes awash in copper colours during the Autumn season.

Seasons & Dynamic Weather

To end the month we added more detailing to the Seasons & Dynamic Weather in Landlord’s Super. Autumn and Winter got the most love, with autumn leaves filling the world with reds and yellows. Winter is the stand out effort though as the temperature drops into the shivering minus values and the world of West Berklands’ freezes over. If the weather permits, it might even snow and you’ll be playing in a real winter wonderland. Greg tweeted an accelerated example of this weather scenario below. Remember, this is all dynamic, once the temperature rises above 0c then the ice and snow will begin to melt away, and the dead trees will reveal themselves once again.

Snowfall in winter will cause snow to build up on the environments in Landlords.

Greg joked over on twitter that – as the game is set in the UK – the first sign of snowfall should stop all vehicles (including your own deliveries) from functioning… We think it’s not only a fun poke at the UK’s inability to deal with snowfall, but also an interesting mechanic. What do you think?

You can view a better quality version of the above video over on the MinskWorks Discord.

Your notebook is your best friend whenever you’re lost or confused in the open-world of Landlord’s Super

Onboarding & Game Intro

Most of January was spent making sure the on-boarding for the game is at a point where we’re confident players can enjoy the game without needing to refer to an online guide or wiki (Though we do hope the community works together to build a wiki as there are many, many hidden mechanics in Landlord’s). Unlike most open-world games, Landlord’s Super is designed to be fully player driven. There’s no mission structure or markers on a map to follow, all actions and goals are player driven. If the player want’s to work on bricking up the house their very first day? Sure, they need only get their hands on the tools and supplies needed. Likewise, if the player wants to earn a few bob on their first day, they can head straight for the job centre and start searching for work. Such an open design means it’s easy for players to feel overwhelmed or without direction. We’re hoping the notebook can help alleviate these fears for some players, while others can just simply ignore it and go about their business.

 

“Reclaiming” some bricks about town will mean you can get your property on the rental market sooner, but the locals might not be too pleased with you helping yourself so freely…

Additional Tools

We felt the Cement Mixer was too expensive for such an essential early game item, so we created a cheaper variant, the Hand Mixer!

The Hand Mixer is much cheaper, but requires the player use up energy to get a mix together, it also looks a little dodgy

We’ve also been having a lot of fun stacking objects around the world into our wheel barrow, and then rolling them down to be used on the house…

Speed Paint

Ruta did a speed paint! This is a video of her working on the texture for the fruit machine in the Anchor Tavern. Name and design were hers, as you probably guessed…

Ruta recorded herself making the texture art for the fruit machine in Landlord’s Super.

 

 

Discord New Emoji

Discord community Scotsman and all around great guy, Bear-In-The-Air made a fantastic new emoji to better reflect the Jalopy play experience…
It’s a flipped variant of the original Laika emoji by DIOOOH.

Jalopy in the Scottish Sun

Stuart Cullen did a great writeup of Jalopy on Xbox One for the Scottish Sun. You can have a nose over here.

 

 

Thanks again for your continued support. If you haven’t already, be sure to Wishlist Landlord’s Super, follow Ruta & Greg on twitter, and join the discord!

Next month is a shorter one, but hopefully you can expect to see some of the Rental gameplay loop.If it’s not up to mustard though, we’ll have plenty more for you. Maybe even a podcast or two?

Till next month,
Ruta & Greg

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“Ah ****, here we go again…”

January

That’s 2019 done for us here at MinskWorks. We had a bumpy start to the year, but we’ve found our footing and are excited by the prospect of releasing Landlord’s Super next year.

We hope 2019 lived up to all your hopes and desires, but if not well, it’s in the bin now. Either way, with the Early Access release of Landlord’s Super looming, 2020 is bound to be a better year overall.

The project is taking a little longer than we anticipated. This is mainly due to it being a much more complicated and bigger beast than Jalopy. Another factor is that we now have the luxury of being able to go over and iterate on how we’ve implemented stuff, with feedback from our community that we can trust. Jalopy was worked on outside of this advantage, and released early with a lot of compromises. Landlord’s Super will surely release with it’s own issues in Early Access, but with the support we’ve been given from both the Yogscast and our community, we’re already seeing that this game is a level above the work on Jalopy.

To you all, thank you for your support, feedback and well wishes. We wish you all a very happy new year and know that together we’ll make this the best yet.

 

 

The Quintessential Construction Simulator

RoyalRunner

The ‘Motors’ of Landlord’s Super

MinskWorks is a studio which has a strong affinity for old clunkers. So it will be no surprise to you dear reader, to find that Landlord’s Super will contain some nods to British motoring legends of old.

A big problem with Jalopy was the lifeless towns. One way we’re trying to address this in Landlord’s Super, is to have smarter AI not only inhabiting the town, but driving through it too.

So far we’ve got 7 types of vehicle in the game. Cars such as the Tamworth Snooper or Bromich 1100 will totter about through the town and countryside, honking you if you dare get in their way. There’s also a great big flat-bed Stafford truck, which can deliver you building supplies straight to your construction site. Most exciting of all though, is Jimmy’s dilapidated old Royal Runner which, if you can ever get it running again, is not only fully drivable, but can be used to transport supplies and tools with ease. The Royal is Landlord’s very own Jalopy.

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While focus in Landlord’s is very much about building your property up to living standards in order to earn a passive income off, the world has become so big that we needed a way for players to transport stuff from one side of the map to the other *relatively effortlessly. Though the Royal is an excellent solution for this, it might be a while before you’re flush enough to upgrade from your trusty wheelbarrow…

*breakdowns / fuel issues may occur.

 

Laika User Manual PDF

To continue the motorised theme of this months newsletter, we’ve uploaded the Laika User Manual in PDF form on our website. You can download both a digital version and a printer friendly version. Thanks to both Seb and Bear-In-The-Air for their help with this, it wouldn’t be half as good without their input.

LaikaUserManual.pdf (1.34mb)
LaikaUserManual_PrinterFriendly (8.57mb)
LaikaUserManual_PrinterFriendly_ColourCover (8.82mb)

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Jalopy & the Other Road Trip Game

Early on in 2019, Jalopy’s publisher announced a new game. While this game has similar story beats to Jalopy. And while the game’s “Uncle” character could be seen as gender-swapped to an “Aunt”. And while the colour-scheme of the car in this game uses the same colour scheme as the Laika in Jalopy (Red replacement door included). And while the game announced itself as “From the Publishers of Jalopy”.

We have had no involvement in this game. Nor have we ever been asked to.

We’d like to detail exactly how we’ve been treated throughout this, but we’re still committed to fighting for control of Jalopy, and we don’t want to harm any potential legal route.

For now, we continue to clarify that there is no sequel to Jalopy, spiritual or otherwise, produced, developed, or endorsed by MinskWorks.

We’d also like to apologise for the lack of support and updates for Jalopy. But we hope you can appreciate not wanting to risk time and money on a project in competition with it’s own publisher.

 

 

Thanks again for your continued support. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Ruta & Greg on twitter, and to join the discord!

Next month should see much more focus on Landlord’s Super content, as we’ve both been doing a lot of work on the environments.

Ruta & Greg

Early Access coming to Steam soon.

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Winston delivering the player’s building supply order. Also, patiently looking forward to getting back down the pub, presumably.

December

The Christmas break will soon be upon us, though here at MinskWorks we’ve opened our presents early with our very own break away in Japan.

Japan in November

We spent most of November visiting Japan. Whilst the majority of the trip was spent gathering reference materials and researching for a potential future project, we did manage to sneak in getting a portrait done at the Kyoto Manga Museum…

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It was a privilege to be able to visit Japan. Especially during a Rugby World Cup, a World Boxing Super Series final, and the last days of the Kawasaki Arcade. Japan as a host country is second to none, with hospitality that is unmatched. Japan hosting the 2020’s Olympic games next year will be very special.

Due to spending the majority of our time abroad, this month’s content may be a little thinner than usual. Fear not, we’re still making progress on Landlord’s Super, especially so that the Xbox release of Jalopy is now behind us.

 

The Quintessential Construction Simulator

Landlord’s Super in Edge Magazine

For the 3rd time this year, Greg was asked to be interviewed for Edge magazine. This time, however, it was specifically for previewing the intriguing concept of Landlord’s Super.

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Featured in page 50 of E339 of Edge, Jeremy Peel interviewed Greg to discuss how “Thatcher’s Britain lives on as an idiosyncratic construction simulator”.

If Landlord’s Super isn’t your thing, it’s still worth picking up a copy as this issue of Edge features the games which defined the decade. Community member and personal support guru Seb had a copy delivered all the way to Germany! Thanks for the continued support Seb! You can order your copy here.

 

Jalopy in Forbes

Jalopy made it into Forbes this month. Matt Gardener reviewed the road trip ’em up and seemingly loved it, warts and all.

Titled “Jalopy is Charmingly Anodyne, Drawing Strength From The Mundane”, you can read the full review, here. Jeremy was quite pleased with how much praise the soundtrack got, deservedly so!

A Year

Talking of Jeremy, the last song in his Album ‘A Year’ comes out on December 6th. Titled December, the track closes an album chronicling the passage of time. It’s been a joy to listen each track against the backdrop of seasonal change, and also to continue to see Jeremy grow as an artist. You should give it a listen too.

 

 

 

Thanks again for your continued support. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Ruta & Greg on twitter, and to join the discord!

Next month, Greg’s year in review, more Landlord’s Super content and plans for the year ahead.

Ruta & Greg

Early Access coming to Steam soon.

Landlord’s Super hitting those Ken Loach notes. Can you spot the Jalopy Reference?

November

Happy Halloween to our American readers, or as the Britsh say, “Pissing hell, there’s already Christmas adverts on the telly!”

Hidden Mechanics in Games

One aspect we’re really trying to get accross for Landlord’s Super is the attention to detail in the hidden game mechanics. Landlord’s Super is a systemic game, meaning the systems are build independent of each other but all interact with one another. One example of this would be the urine system. In-game interactions can lead to the change of colour of players urine. Get beaten up and you’ll likely pee blood. Drink too much Doyle and your urine will likely come out black. This system can then be applied to the cement mixer. By peeing into the mix, players can then change the colour of the cement. Neato.

To celebrate this, Greg has been uploading hidden mechanics in games over on a twitter thread here.

The Quintessential Construction Simulator

New Environment – 20x bigger!

If your initial exposure to Landlord’s Super was at Rezzed back in April, we have great news for you! The playable environment in Landlord’s Super is now 20 times bigger than what was showcased back in April. Woah!

Originally, the game environment only needed to be compact to accommodate all game features. As the game has expanded significantly during the last few months, we’ve found the need to expand the playable space dramatically.

The April build shown at Rezzed showcased on the following:

  • Some basic construction gameplay at The Building Site
  • The Job system at The Job Centre
  • Skiving off in The Pub
  • The basics of the day to day framework in The Player Home

In the last few months, there has been a lot added to the game. To give you an idea of why the environment had to be expanded, here’s a few examples of revision notes…

  • Added AI Houses so all AI have somewhere to sleep.
  • Player now needs to buy their own tools & supplies at the Tool Store & Supply Store.
  • Added The Police Station to help deal with players who steal.
  • Player home is now a Caravan which can be relocated around the map.
  • Added the Mitchell & Sons Building, who deal in dodgy loans and finding suitable tenants.
  • Delivery Driver can get stuck down country lanes.
  • Player can now Travel On Buses.

And there’s a lot more we’re keeping close to our chest. We both really love this new environment. It’s taken many, many iterations to get it feeling both fun and believable, but we think the hard work has really been worth it. Places in-game being further apart also mean we’ll need to focus on getting drive-able vehicles in at some point. Toot toot!

In fact, we’re so proud of all the hard work that’s gone into the game world, that we’ve gone and got a print of it put up on the office wall, cor’ blimey, that’s a big of alright!

New Discord Emojis!

Ruta has made some Landlord’s Super emojis! They’re available over on the MinskWorks Discord server. :^)

Jalopy out on Xbox One, November 1st

As one final reminder, Jalopy releases on the Xbox One November 1st. That’s this month!

One more reminder, Jeremy Warmsley – the composer of Jalopy – is releasing the game’s soundtrack onto itunes & Spotify to coincide with the Xbox One release.

Again, from last week, here’s the Jalopy Xbox playthrough from Outisde Xbox crew.

 

Thanks again for your continued support. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Ruta & Greg on twitter, and to join the discord!

Next month, we’re away to Japan for a few weeks. So if you’ve any tourist tips, feel free to reach out to us! Don’t worry, the newsletter will arrive just as planned and contain all the good content! Thanks, again.

Ruta & Greg

Early Access coming to Steam soon.

 

 

refueling
Community member Spee-Dee took this great shot. Stopping to refuel during a road trip with Uncle.  Want to get involved in the community? Join our discord!

We’re into the full grip of autumn now. Steady progress is being made on both Landlord’s and the Jalopy Xbox One port.

After some feedback, we’ve tried to improve the readability of the newsletter. We’ve selected to use a lighter font and removed the background image. Hopefully this is now much easier on the eyes, but please do let us know if anyone is still struggling.

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Jalopy out on Xbox One, November 1st.

The Xbox One release of Jalopy has been pushed back to November 1st! This extra time ensures we can deliver the best possible Jalopy experience on console, day one.

While you wait, Outside Xbox made a great video. Check it out below.

 

 

Jalopy OST to Release on Spotify

Jeremy Warmsley, the composer of Jalopy and one half of the band Summer Camp, is planning to release the Jalopy soundtrack onto Spotify. Jeremy wants to coincide this with the Jalopy Xbox One release, so expect more info on this next month.

 

 

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The Quintessential Construction Simulator

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The Photography of Peter Mitchell

While last month we took a brief look at the high-level design of Landlord’s Super. This month, we’d like to show you the visual inspiration for the game. Let us introduce you to the photography of Peter Mitchell.

In 1979, “A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission” was the first colour show, at a British photographic gallery, by a British photographer. When the history of colour photography in the UK is written about, Peter’s name is often omitted. A terrible oversight for someone at the forefront of such a recent style revival.

For people like ourselves, borrowing so heavily from the style whom Peter was the original narrator of, it’s important for us to celebrate his work as best we can. This month we share with you some comparisons of the in-game structures, drawn alongside Peter’s work. A side by side of the fictional town of Sheffingham, and it’s real-life Leeds inspiration.

While our work can’t hope to capture the same sense of time and place as Peter’s, this is our way of saying attempting to bring more attention to the importance of his work. We’d also like to extend a formal thank you toward’s Peter, for capturing such a polarising time of recent British memory.

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If you’d like to spread the word of Peter’s work, I tweeted about this last week. Even better, if you’d like to support the man’s work yourself, you can so here.

 

Thanks again for your continued support. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Ruta & Greg on twitter, and to join the discord!

Ruta & Greg

Early Access coming to Steam soon.
Wishlist now.

Thank you.

Last month we formally announced our next game, the Quintessential Construction Simulator; Landlord’s Super. This month, thanks, media coverage, and a clearer insight into the core gameplay loop of the game.

So first of all, thank you! We are blown away by the support for the announcement, Steam Wishlists have far exceeded our expectations and we’re on track for a solid Early Access launch. Like the theme’s of the game itself, game development is a precarious trade, so you have our humblest and deepest thanks for the support you’ve all provided.

Thanks to your enthusiasm, the media picked up the announcement. Here’s some of the coverage that stood out to us.

Special thanks to this comment.

 

Jalopy out on Xbox One, September 27th

Don’t forget that Jalopy releases on Xbox One on September the 27th. Thanks must go to Arvy (He of Shoppe Keep franchise), who has endured the gruelling task of porting Jalopy over to C# & through Xbox submission. More info in the link.

Jalopy & Greg in Edge Magazine, Again!

For all you Jalopy fans, Greg was interviewed in the October issue of Edge Magazine. The piece is a great insight into what games are doing to ensure they preserve the memory of the recent past, specifically the fall of the Berlin wall. Two other games were included in the article, OSMI2 & All Walls Must Fall. So if you want some more Berlin Wall action, check them out!

Jalopy was also featured in the July edition of Edge, including an interview with Greg discussing the inspirations, design ethos and future of the Road Trip genre.

 

Jalopy en France!

French youtuber’s Wankil Studio picked up and played Jalopy. Give the video a comment and a like to show your support!

 

The ‘inhell you even do in Landlord’s Super?

While the Announcement Trailer for Landlord’s Super did a great job of showing the minutia of the gameplayer, it didn’t do a lot for explaining to people what the heck we’d be doing in that world.

Landlord’s Super is a Life-Sim with deep construction gameplay set in 1980’s Northern Britain. You’ll be mixing concrete, then going for a pint. Searching for Jobs at Job Centre, then going for a pint. Laying bricks then going for a pint. It also has peeing mechanics that will give Death Stranding a run for it’s money (No water for the cement mix? Just pee into it. Oh, you spent all last night drink the in-game Porter, Doyle? Looks like your cement is now tinted black, friend!)

That’s all well and good in the moment to moment gameplay, but what will players be pushing towards? Why are they investing their time in this prison of poverty? Below is a high-level Core Game Loop. This details the overall gameplay loop found in Landlord’s Super.

At the core of Landlord’s is the property the player inherits at the start of the game. This property provides players an outlet to experience the Quintessential Construction gameplay, whilst also building towards the promise of fortune gained via the Landlord business. Also, there’s plenty of slinking down the Anchor Tavern (how else you going to regenerate your energy?).

That’s all from us this month. Thanks again for all the support. So far Steam Wishlists have started strong, and we’re getting a nice steady average. Once there’s more to show of Landlord’s we’ll do another big push again.

Next Month we’ll be showing you the new, expanded game world, some of the reading material going into the research of Landlord’s Super, and some of the beautiful concept work Ruta is creating.

Till next month. Tara!

Early Access coming to Steam soon.
Wishlist now.

The developer of Jalopy is proud to introduce you to the world of their next game.

The Quintessential Construction Simulator

Landlord’s Super, is a First-Person Life-Simulation set in the murky midlands of the British Isle during the polarising years of the 1980s. Build stuff, get drunk, build stuff while getting drunk. Your choice.

Explore the Fictional County of West Berklands.

Interact with a diverse cast of characters, during the polarising years of the 1980s. An honest insight into ‘English Culture’.

The Quintessential Construction Simulator.

Order supplies! Mix your own cement! Assemble scaffolding to reach high places! Build walls brick by brick! The most ambitious construction gameplay ever seen!

Plan & Execute

Carefully manage your time and energy around time of day, weather, seasons, world events, union interference and your own well-being. Some days it’s better to soak yourself down the pub than risk working in the rain.

Speak the Queen’s English!

The game is localised in both American English and British colloquialisms.

Early Access coming to Steam soon.

Wishlist on Steam Now

So this week I was working on getting the job system up and running till I couldn’t go any further without needing to finish hooking up the dialogue system. I panicked because I lost a lot of time to the dialogue system in jalopy, and need to get a working build ready by end of next week.

Fear not, because I am a cunning bugger, and have knocked out a workable dialogue system. Details below:

The dialogue system in Jalopy sucked, so like everything on this project I was excited to start from scratch. With the dialogue system in Landlord’s Super, I wanted to keep something that felt more alive than the canned animations in Jalopy, but was also fast and reusable and didn’t hamper development speeds for a solo developer like myself.

With these two compromises in mind, here’s the current solution I’ve come up with:

There’s a lot of dynamic stuff going on here, so as to avoid the pitfall of creating endless canned animations.

  • The character has a static, full body idle pose
  • The character has an emotional reaction layer (happy, sad, angry, etc)
  • The character has lip sync tied to the typewriter effect in the UI
  • The character also controls blinking independently

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By separating all these and allowing them to work independently of one another, I can crack on with writing dialogue, and building the rest of the game. It doesn’t look perfect, but this system took me about one long day to get in, so it is fast. That’s also thanks to a little time saving elsewhere, though…

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Sage advice: You don’t need to model pants if the player isn’t ever going to see them.

Also, talking of time saving, Jimmy pays the player after a days work, so I was looking for the AdjustWealth function and came across these.

I vaguely remember coding in the ability to change the player’s urine. The idea being if they get beaten up too bad they’d piss blood, or if they drank too much Stout they’d piss black, but I can’t for the life of me remember why I thought this was a good use of my time.

Anyway, as the project starts coming together I look forward to sharing more with you all.

Greg

Here’s Landlord’s Super.

This is the next game I’m working on. It’s about being a builder 1980’s Great Britain. It’s life-simy / simulatory type thing. I hope the idea interests you.

Very few of you will probably know that before working in games I worked as a concrete erector, and later a steel erector. With Jalopy, I was drawing inspiration from my days driving a Minsk motorbike through Vietnam. With Landlord’s Super, I’m drawing from those days travelling up and down the country erecting and installing things.

The setting is a desire to show the Britain dear to me. A Britain that isn’t just tweed & jokes about being posh, but one that’s more diverse, more northern, more working class. For a visual idea, I’m drawing from the work of Chris Killip, Ken Grant & Peter Mitchell and from directors such as Ken Loach & Shane Meadows. If I buckle down and put in the graft, I’m hopeful that this game can be worthy of similar regard.

With how badly Jalopy’s code turned out, and it being stuck on an unsupported engine, I’m building Landlord’s Super from the ground up. This means it’ll take longer, but it also means I can learn from what didn’t work with that project.

The gameplay will focus on allowing the player to engage in an as real-to-life construction experience as I can achieve, whilst being wrapped in a life-sim layout. Some days you’ll be building scaffolding or mixing mortar or building a wall, brick by brick. Some days union interference might just mean you spend the day down the pub playing darts.

Another thing I found while showing the announcement page internally to non-brits, no one could understand the colloquialisms. So instead of dialling back the flavour, I’m going to localize the game in both American English & British colloquialisms.

Hopefully I don’t make a dog’s breakfast of the whole thing, but either way I invite you to join my progress as I make this game a reality.

Be sure to sign up for the mail list, join the discord, and follow @minskworks to be the first to see what becomes of all the ramblings above.