Cultivate: Before Time Dev Blog #6 – Scriptable Objects

This post is aimed at coders – it probably won’t make much sense if you’re not a programmer.   When designing the coding architecture for Cultivate, I decided Unity’s Scriptable Objects were the way to go for several parts of the project. ScriptableObject is a class your classes can inherit from. They create objects that Unity originally designed to store large quantities of data to be shared between MonoBehaviours.   For… Continue reading

Jen’s Coding in Unity: Procedural Mesh Generation Udemy Course

This is the first of three blog posts about Jen’s Udemy courses. Before I start, if you just want a money off coupon, here they are! Coding in Unity: Procedural Mesh Generation Coding in Unity: Introduction to Shaders Game Writing: Storytelling through Video Game Design (Gwen and I made this one together!) I released my first Udemy course in May 2017 (Coding in Unity: Procedural Mesh Generation). It’s a course designed… Continue reading

CULTIVATE: THE ART – What makes a quintessentially quaint village?

We live just outside a small city, but within driving distance (or cycling, if we’re feeling brave!) of Devon’s beautiful, rugged Dartmoor in one direction and Cornwall’s quaint villages in the other. When we venture to the tors of Dartmoor, the streams, the woodlands, or to the villages dotted around the Cornish peninsula, we are reminded that there is something about these places that draws us to them. In Cultivate:… Continue reading

Cultivate: Before Time Dev Blog #5 – Diversity and Playersexuality

  In many games, non-player characters are playersexual (they have no sexuality of their own): if you want your character to pursue a romantic relationship, a non-player character will respond favourably. While this has its own merits (gaining favour with NPCs can be fun), it gamifies relationships and conveys them as transactions.   In games where the characters are playersexual, the characters aren’t fully formed in that they require the… Continue reading

Cultivate: Before Time Dev Blog #4 – 2D Sorting order and Sprite Fading

Between The Trees

So that the character can move behind objects like trees, I’ve set up a system that orders everything correctly on the screen using Unity’s sprite sorting order. Objects that are higher should be behind objects that are lower down.   I’ve added colliders to each tree as well as to the character to stop the character walking through the trunk, and the trees become semi-transparent when the character goes behind… Continue reading

CULTIVATE: THE ART – Trials with tiles!

We knew we wanted to develop a tufty style of terrain for Cultivate: Before Time. The question was how to go about this… We originally tried having one large sprite for each area of the terrain, but there were two things that nudged us in the direction of tiles instead: Having one large sprite for each area would mean each area would need to be designed individually, whereas with tiles,… Continue reading

Cultivate: Before Time Dev Blog #3 – Swaying tree shader, HSV shader and Ink

Swaying trees

This week, I’ve been working on two shaders. One to make the trees sway in the wind:     There are parameters that let us change how fast and far they sway to accommodate different wind strengths, though they start to look a bit disturbing above a certain speed! I’m still working on improving this shader to make the trees sway at different speeds dependent on where they’re located.  … Continue reading

Cultivate: The Allotment #2

We’ve started covering patches of grass with cardboard to kill the incredibly tufty grass underneath. This is part of our no-dig method, where we’re seeking to keep the structure and life in the soil intact. By putting cardboard (recycled from a local shop!) on top, we’ll kill the grass, but its nutrients will go back into the ground.     The partially filled (with water) plastic bottles are to weigh… Continue reading

Cultivate: Before Time Dev Blog #2 – Scenes, Character and Fade Shader


I planned how to structure the game within Unity, and decided to use multiple scenes for different aspects of the game. So for example, there’ll be a menu scene, a base scene which controls the overall behaviour of the game, and a scene for each area in the game. There’ll be several areas including the village, caves, a beach, and a prehistoric rainforest! The base scene will always be loaded… Continue reading


Howdy folks, Gwen here – Living Ember’s writer and artist. My blog posts will be about the story and art mischief I’ve been up to…   The evolution of art style and tree design…   We’re in the process of developing our art style. Though we are fans of pixel art and games like Stardew Valley, what we want to achieve with our art style is a drawn style more… Continue reading

Cultivate: Before Time Dev Blog #1 – Tiles, tree brush and a Unity tilemap shader

Development on Cultivate: Before Time has begun!   Hello everyone, Jenny here – Living Ember’s programmer, game designer and composer. I’ll be sharing development blog posts each week to show you what we’ve been working on – you’ll be able to see how creating the game is progressing. Gwen will be writing separate posts about the artwork and story. We’re making Cultivate: Before Time with Unity – a game engine which… Continue reading

Cultivate: Before Time Game Music

We’ve spent some time thinking about what style(s) of music will work well in Cultivate: Before Time…   The game is set in the Cornish countryside in a range of terrains, and has a twee, relaxing style. It’s all about exploring the surroundings to find items and knowledge to help you cultivate your land and to discover the story of the place. After researching different music types, we realised Celtic… Continue reading


Our mission is for our game CULTIVATE: BEFORE TIME to be real world relevant, using real permaculture principles. What better way to learn about what works and what doesn’t – and how exhausting and satisfying growing things is! – than by actually doing it?   As we go along, we will be posting about our allotment journey. The photo above shows our little patch of land. As you can see,… Continue reading


An Overview… Cultivate: Before Time is a twee farming adventure with a strong narrative based around a time travel accident that propels a whole village into prehistoric times.   The player is invited to explore the quaint village, prehistoric terrain, rugged moorland and mysterious caves in search of resources, tools and knowledge, learning to cultivate their land and survive in another time. Along the way, the player forges friendships, tames… Continue reading