You Must Build a Boat
10000000 was our favorite mobile-exclusive game of 2012. The match-three puzzle game offered an innovative take on a worn mobile genre, and we had trouble putting it down. The game’s lone developer, Luca Redwood, recently announced the follow-up to 10000000 with the simply titled, You Must Build a Boat.
Redwood calls the game a sequel to 10000000, but it began its life as an expansion for the game. It will be offered for free to players who own the game on PC, and he is trying to work out a way to make sure players who own the game on mobile devices can download the game for free, as well.
You Must Build a Boat has a familiar art style to 10000000, and retains some of the puzzle mechanics. Redwood is playing coy about the core gameplay, as he hasn’t released any images from that portion of the game yet.
Where did the name You Must Build a Boat come from?
One of the things people told me they really liked about 10000000 was that it was really clear and up front about what the game was going to be and what was expected, so I wanted to do that again.
It was tempting to call it 10000001 or 20000000 for recognition but there isn't a score counter to get free in this game, so it doesn't make sense.
So, in the same vein, to win this game – you must build boat.
Is this a 10000000 sequel? Or just a large expansion? Or neither?
A sequel. It was an update, then a big update, then DLC, then an expansion pack, and now it's a sequel.
It's weird. I think it just comes down to my way of making games – have an idea, iterate putting that idea in and if it doesn't work (90-95% of the time) get rid of it. Otherwise, iterate on the next idea. I just keep repeating that until I arrive at the experience I want to give, but I kept going and going and going.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment where it crossed into sequel territory, but at some point I looked and saw there was a bit of a Triggers Broom situation.
On top of that, part of the reason the whole thing ran out of control is that I didn't have a clear destination experience in my mind. When I stepped back and said, “This is a new game and a new experience,” everything got easier.
Why not sell a whole new game? Or sell the expansion as DLC?
I would have liked to have put You Must Build a Boat on sale as a fresh game. 10000000 has lots of fans, and I could have recouped the development cost without much trouble, I think.
But I'd already said that there was a big free update coming, and I have to stick to that. There’s a good chance it'll be a big business mistake giving it away for free to 10000000 owners, but it's the right thing to do.
Will You Must Build a Boat have new music from the same artists?
Yes! I've got two artists working on music. Matthew Klingensmith (DwarfCorp), who did the original theme for 10000000 and now Whitaker Trebella (Pivvot, Polymer, Nimble Quest, and more). I've already got a couple of tracks in there and they are just as catchy.
You mention "choose-your-own-adventure" style choices. Will there be more of a narrative this time around?
There is to an extent. Like 10000000, this is meant to be a game that you can just pick up and play, so I'm trying not to go too deep on the narrative side if it ends up being a contradiction.
The choose-your-own-adventure part comes under that wing too. My idea was to have a ‘Have Fun’ button, and when you press it you have fun. That's the button that explores your location and comes up with an interesting decision for you to make.
In general, I wanted more discovery and more content than 10000000, but keeping the same up-front goal, with some surprises and turns along the way.
You also mention capturing monsters. Is that a Pokémon-esque addition?
Yeah, that’s fairly accurate. The goal with this change is to keep the same frantic gameplay that really worked well from 10000000, but try to put in more strategy and thought, too.
In the current iteration, you can bring one to two captured monsters along with you. They each have different strengths and weakness. Some might not do a lot, but give you passive bonuses. Some might be a huge help, but only in certain situations. Some strike directly, some give the player more control by manipulating the board, and some massage the RNG more towards your goal.
I'm trying to end up with a situation where, sure, you will have some favorites that you really like to bring along that complement your play style, but there is a subset which work well for this dungeon or mission, and which ones to take is an interesting decision to make.
Can you talk about the puzzle aspects of the game? Will it remain mostly unchanged from 10000000?
This is probably where I spent the most time iterating. I tried some pretty radical changes, like a turn based mode that looked and sounded really good, but the game is all about the frantic action so it just didn't work.
I think, for this part of the game I've tried to do improvements rather than big changes. Things like wood and stone are gone because matching them wasn't particularly fun. You can find items in any tile because that’s more exciting, There are more things you can encounter and have to deal with during a run. You are directly upgrading your tiles, and that’s more of an informed choice to what you want now to upgrade too.
Do you have a release window in mind?
I have an idea of where I'd want to release it, but I'm not committing to anything. This is because of the way I make games. I decide on the experience and then iterate until I feel that the game provides it, so I can never predict for certain when that is going to be.
That said, I'm pretty happy with where it is, which is why I thought it was finally safe to announce what I was doing. It's more about polish and tweaking now.
For our thoughts on 10000000 (as well as Redwood's) check out some of our previous coverage, as well as our Afterwords feature on 10000000. For more on You Must Build a Boat, check out Redwood's blogs here and here.