Wicklog 33: Officially hitting 1.0

The State Of Development

Not going to bury the lede: with the start of 2023, I'm officially moving Crescent Loom to 1.0. Outside of funded projects (i.e. grant-funded work), I'm not planning on adding new major features to the game.

It's bittersweet to say this — it feels like the closing of a chapter, but at the same time CL is being used more widely than ever before & there's still so much to do. Is this a victory, dropping out of a race? I honestly don't know. Maybe both.

It is a success. We held the second educator-focused Loomapalooza this summer and it's being used in at least a dozen colleges and universities as a tool for visualizing functional motor circuits, are we are continuing to adapt it for various educational programs. People are playing it and, if all is working as designed, seeing neuroscience in action in a way that simply doesn't exist anywhere else in the world.

However, the language CL is written in has not aged well. It was originally written in Monkey X, whose support was pulled and has been surviving as the open-source Cerberus X. It was the right tool seven years ago with its seamless browser exports, but it being extremely niche meant having to build most of the engine myself. I don't feel good about throwing more work into building on this foundation when better-supported engines like Godot can now export to HTML5 just as well.

I'll update the game itself to reflect this whenever I next deploy an update for bugfixes.


We took CL to three conferences this summer:

  • ISAGA (where it won "best game", which I find a very funny award to have. I guess I can retire, best game achieved),
  • the Neuroscience Teaching Conference (cozy, lots of teachers, in North Carolina),
  • and the International Congress Neuroethology in Lisbon (an angry man in a suit spent so much time trying to get attendees to not sit on the grass for lunch, it was quality entertainment).

I'd forgotten in the covid era how much conferences rule in spreading word-of-mouth info. I've gotten a steady trickle of emails from educators following the conferences, and there were a few people who I'd never met who'd found it in the wild and were already using it.

We've also picked up some new leads for getting grants (it's SUCH A PROCESS, by god) so there's some new fuel for that long-burning flame.

What's the future work?

I have said "Crescent Loom is going to follow me into the grave" many, many times, and that continues to hold true. Working on getting a grant for more development continues to simmer. Expect more Loomapaloozas and conference visits.

As far as development, I'm currently focusing on learning Godot with an eye on someday making something like a Crescent Loom 2 in it — ideally with the backing of a publisher or development team larger than just myself. CL has already proven to be a success, so I think that eventual pitch has a lot of solid material to work with. As they say, "if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together." I learned my first language by making an explodey spaceship game to prep for Crescent Loom — and to learn Godot, I've been making an explodey robot game. Expect a new kickstarter Q1 2023. ;)




Godot 3.5 => 4.0 migration notes


Play Anthropocene interview on Lancer Tactics