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Early development

Hey everyone! Today I thought we’d do something a little different. This article is going to take us back to Staxel’s humble beginnings where we’ll take a look at some old screenies and concept art. Enjoy!

A very early mockup of the transition of seasons.
A very early mockup of the transition of seasons.

Staxel’s been through a lot these past 4 years. Starting in 2014 it was originally going to be a puzzle game until the team decided to steer it towards the farming, village-life game it is today!

Mockup of showing more of the puzzler idea.
Concept art of an individual divot
Concept art of divots in the world
Concept art of divots in the world

Originally you were going to be based on a farm that was transported into the middle of a waste land, along with other ‘divots’ of land from other parts of the world. These ‘divots’ were going to contain a puzzle to solve. The reason we moved away from this idea was because creating these divots proved to be far too time consuming to create just one, where we wanted a lot more.

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The first two years were heavily focused on engine work. Staxel uses a custom engine which has been developed in-house since the start of the project. While we’re constantly working and improving on our engine, the real content only started being put in a couple of years into development. As you can see above it was well worth the effort! We still have this server somewhere, and us devs boot it up once in a blue moon for a lil’ bit of nostalgia.
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Here’s the first mockup we did for one of our original Staxel characters, “Jen”. It’s actually pretty close to the mark when you look at the style we finally settled on. The main differences being the upper body and the level of detail each villager has.

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And here is the very first Staxel character, our mascot, Harry. I don’t remember exactly what we were working on when we were adding these but I think it might have been rendering. We had hundreds of these titans scattered across the game world, forever looming over the players. I must say, logging in was much less terrifying once these were taken out.

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Here’s a screenie of when we were working on the render distance. This one was taken before we’d done any fine tuning on the world gen, and before we had thought of the idea of an island. Back then the world generated infitely. We decided to go with an island because we felt the player didn’t need an infinite amount of space and thought it would take focus away from the farming and village life aspect of Staxel.

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I’m going to finish up with this old gem. This one was taken within the first couple months of development, where we jokingly titled it ‘Wardrobe Simulator 2014’. It’s always so bizzare going through these old screencaps and realising how far Staxel has come! While Staxel is all well and good now, I sure am going to miss all those wardrobes.