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, it is a sloping plot. It is 2.8m by 26m, with neighbouring plots either side. Within this space we will grow many things – but there is much to do before growing can begin.

The ground is lumpy and covered in tufty grass – and therefore often slippery in our delightful wet English weather. Our first goal, therefore, is to create a mulch path down one side so that we can cultivate our allotment without injury!

We are going to try out a no-dig method: this involves covering the grass with cardboard to kill it in places. This allows for the soil and its ecosystem of bacteria, worms and bugs to be kept intact, and the grass’s nutrients are reabsorbed by the earth rather than removed. We’ll keep you updated on how it goes!


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 dinosaurs and crafts useful items. They discover the truth behind their trip into the past and must decide whether to return to their own time.

What do we want to achieve with our game?

  • Science! We want to be more scientific in terms of how environmental factors affect plant growth and take interactions between different plants and animals into account.
  • Non-transaction based relationships. Many games use transactions to build friendships/relationships in-game: giving gifts = friendship. We want to get away from this style of relationship building.
  • An interesting world made richer by story. We want the world of Cultivate: Before Time to not just be about farming, but to also be about exploring and discovering story.

Ultimately what we want to achieve with Cultivate: Before Time is an enjoyable experience due to its real world relevance.

We believe the latter will increase the former. If the player can emerge from the game with a greater understanding of permaculture principles and have achieved in-game friendships that weren’t ‘bought’, all while delving into a prehistoric time travel tale, that sounds like a worthwhile adventure to us!

What is permaculture? And how exactly are we intending on achieving the above? That’s for future posts! If you’d like to join us on our development adventure, sign up to our newsletter, or follow us on twitter @livingember.

Here’s a little design we’ve put together for the logo. Meet Bunsen, our little logo bunny…