Beartopia Devlog #1 - Intro and Origins

Hello Fellow Gamedevs and Indie Gamers!

This is GrizzliusMaximus and today, I would like to share with you some insights on the Game Design process of Beartopia. This is the first of my Devlog Series so I would highly appreciate a follow :). In the next Devlogs, I will be explaining in more depth on the different mechanics implemented in the game but for now, I will be talking about the origins of Beartopia and how it started.

Spawning hundreds of bears

Concept of Idea

The first idea of making the game Beartopia actually started almost 6 years ago (Thinking about it makes me feel old). I have made early implementations of the game and shared it with my close friends who took some interest in the game. That’s when I knew Beartopia had potential. Despite that, it took me several years until I finally came back late 2019 to re-develop the game.

Early Version of Beartopia in 2014

Beartopia is highly inspired by the Clay Soldiers Mod from Minecraft and the online game, Infectionator (If you want to know more about these Games/Mods, links are provided at the end of this Devlog).

Just like the Clay Soldiers Mod, Beartopia allows interactions between bears and items. Bears can grab onto nuts, swords, axes and pickaxes, giving them extra abilities.

Bears Interacting with Nuts and Planting them

To add more thrills, players can also turn the bears into zombies who attack and infect more bears into zombies --  similar to Infectionator. You can watch the helpless bears run for their lives as the zombies (who are programmed to run faster) chase them down to the ends of the Earth. There is no right or wrong in this game and you as the player are given the arbitrary choice on whether you want to be team bears or team zombies.

Zombies Attacking the Bears

Zombies Attacking the Bears

Game Engine

The game was developed using GameMaker:Studio mainly because that was the game engine that I got accustomed to the most. You can say GM:S is like my Pikachu :). However, there are other reasons why I picked GM:S. Compared to Unity, GM:S is easier and faster to implement 2D games with as it is built for 2D game development. I also found Unity to be very bloated and has a lot of processes working in the background (I’m sure there’s a way around this but I haven’t used Unity long enough to know how).

Having an infinite world to work on, along with unlimited amount bears and items to spawn, Beartopia needed to be as CPU efficient as possible. Majority of the time spent on making Beartopia was on optimization of code. For those Gamedevs out there who use GameMaker:Studio, I will be explaining this in more depth. For those who use other Game Engines such as Unity, don’t worry! I will be focusing more on the concept and not get too technical so you can follow along :).  However, there will be times when I will be explaining my implementations using surfaces, blend-modes and shaders which I believe is far more complicated to implement when using Unity (Another big reason why I chose GM:S over Unity)


Goals of the Game

One of the goals for this game was to make it follow the Minimum Viable Product concept or MVP. In other words, I wanted to make a game that is playable as fast as possible then later add-on more elements as I continued developing it. The first playable version only had you the ability to drop bears and turn them into zombies. Even at that stage, the game was pretty entertaining. Unfortunately, I lacked the confidence to release this sooner even when it already had all the key elements of a playable game. Fortunately, it hasn’t gone all in vain as doing so has helped me visualize and know the current problems of the game by play testing it myself. I have also sent early playable releases to my friends whose feedback helped me further improve the game.

The Big-Term goal for Beartopia is for it to be this creative playground where you help the bears build towns, communities and even cities. Unlike many other town-builder/simulator games, I wanted Beartopia to be relaxing and not stress-inducing. Simply watching the bears do their own thing should be entertaining enough. I also planned there to be several pathways for you to choose from, some of which will be destructive. None of these pathways are “wrong” and they should all be fun to see unfold.



 Beartopia Red House

So far, the largest thing that can be done in Beartopia is make the bears build their very own house, a task that requires a chain of smaller tasks. The game is far from done and there are still a lot more in store. I honestly do not know when I would consider the game complete as it is ever expanding to the likes of Minecraft. If you haven’t realized it by now, the game is available for free and has received a lot of positive feedback! I hope you guys will follow along with me as I continue developing Beartopia!


Clay Soldiers Mod, Minecraft



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