I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

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I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is a life sim with visual novel elements.

Growing up in humanity's first extrasolar colony, you and your family are refugees from Earth flung into a new world of wonder and danger. You have your whole life ahead of you: Will you become an engineer and bring modern technology to this jurassic planet? Or cultivate the alien plants and live in harmony with exotic nature? Battle the massive beasts which rule Vertumna, or nurture future generations of humans?

Your decisions matter; whether to study, learn to play an instrument, obey your parents or sneak out to explore the hazardous jungle. Adolescence is full of awkwardness and clumsy mistakes, but everything you learn will make you - and your colony - stronger. Your memories, decisions and friendships will be at your side when strife is near.

Exocolonist is in early development, aiming for a PC Steam release in 2021. It's gonna have all this great stuff:

  • Stats raising
  • 1000 story events
  • A card-based battle engine
  • 10 dateable characters
  • 25 weekly activities
  • 50 endings
  • Alien pets
  • Awkward confessions
  • Acne
  • Growing up
  • Dying young

For more news, check the Northway Games devlog, follow me on Twitter or join the mailing list:


Concept Art


Development Log

The Skillful Exocolonist

26 March 2020, 2:31 pm

Like any good life sim, Exocolonist has a variety of life skills. They affect which options you can choose during events, and how hard battles of that type will be.

Primary Skills

Skills are organized into social, mental, and physical suits, which matter mainly for card battles.

It was hard to narrow it down to only 12, so some are a bit overloaded – most knowledge is shoehorned into Engineering (the dry sciences) or Biology (the wet ones), while social sciences, arts and humanities are absorbed into your Creativity skill.

With survival on the line, some skills will come up more than others, like your ability to recognize and and interact with alien species (Animals skill).

SkillSuitWazzit for
EmpathySocialUnderstanding other people
PersuasionSocialCharisma to command people and speak in public
CreativitySocialArtistic ability and capacity for novel ideas
BraverySocialFor both social and dangerous situations
ReasoningMentalProblem solving and general knowledge
OrganizationMentalDedication to neatness, management
EngineeringMentalStudy of machines, physics, math, and programming
BiologyMentalStudy of plants, chemistry, and the human body
ToughnessPhysicalPhysical strength and stamina
PerceptionPhysicalAbility to find things and sneak past things
CombatPhysicalTactics and weapons
AnimalsPhysicalFamiliarity with xenofauna, hunting, ranching

Battles and Perks

Battles can challenge any skill, and are played out the same way whether your Combat skill is being tested (eg during sparring practice) or your Engineering skill (eg fixing a robot or taking a math test). Yes, you can even have an Empathy battle! More on battles later…

Once a skill reaches 30%, 60%, or 100%, it will unlock perks which grant permanent effects. Creativity unlocks crafting recipes, Organization lets you equip more gear, Perception makes collectible resources easier to find. Some unlock new career choices, shop items or give you a boost in battles.

I’m still ironing the perks out but they’re going to be cool and help make every playthrough different.

Kudos, Happiness and Rebellion

Three skills are different:

Kudos is the game’s currency – a virtual coin used mainly to reward children. For the most part the colonists don’t use money and instead share resources according to need (yeah… they’re Space Commies). But when someone goes the extra mile, or your kid finally cleans up their bedroom without having to be asked, it’s customary to say thanks with a few kudos. They can be spent in the supply depot on small luxuries like candy and fancy clothes.

Stress increases when you work, battle, explore, do just about anything. Too much and your performance suffers. It can be reduced by spending time relaxing.

Rebellion and Loyalty are at opposite ends of the same dial. It starts in the middle, and is affected by how you deal with authority. Neither rebellion or loyalty is inherently good or bad, but if the dial swings far to one side or the other it will close some event options and special endings and open others.

Colony Stats

The colony itself has hidden stats like Food, Defense, and Morale. These are directly affected by your actions – every time you forage for a new edible plant, or help repair an automated turret, or perform a particularly beautiful song on your photophonor. But you’re just one child and I don’t want to overstate your importance, so they’ll either be tucked away or hidden completely.

Although your actions may affect whether your colony survives, thrives, or fails, Exocolonist isn’t a colony simulator so much as an RPG. You’ll have your hands full managing one teenager’s skills, equipment, and future.

More posts at NorthwayGames.com


The Team

Contributors past and present:

Sarah Northway
Designer, coder, writer, etc
Meilee Chao
Characters, sprites, animation
Sarah Webb
Concept art, backgrounds

Sarah Roland
3d modeling
Lindsay Ishihiro
Creature sprites, writing
Leanne Roed
UI Design, consulting

Eduardo Vargas
Background illustrations