Of all the games I've ever worked on and later abandoned, The Stumptown Trail, or: The Traipse of Wrath is the one I still want to go back and finish someday.

Why? Because my heart is totally into it. I've got dozens of pages of design documents, massive spreadsheets of item values and multipliers and other calculators designed to help me iterate on my prototype and test the game concept with friends.

I pitched The Stumptown Trail to friends as a modern-day retelling of The Oregon Trail for the millennial generation. Instead of your family setting out from Independence, Missouri with a wagon full of buckshot and bacon, you recruit a ragtag group of misfits from Brooklyn via Craigslist, pile into a car, and pool your money and resourcefulness in the hope of making it to Portland without going broke or dying an ignominious death. 

Like many games I've worked on, The Stumptown Trail depends on time passing and events firing based on relative probability. I've always been fascinated with games that have a very clear set of inputs for the player and slowly reveal their workings through the triggering of specific responses. In this game, events could fire based on the time of day, the number of passengers in your car, the amount of money you have, which car you chose, what city you're stopped in, and so on.

I haven't talked much about this game because I really do want to finish it someday. For now, here's a glimpse into an earlier build of the game as my painstakingly rendered car barrels down a tree-lined highway toward a new life in the promised land.

A rough, work-in-progress capture from the game running in Unity

A rough, work-in-progress capture from the game running in Unity