In November, Josh Raab stayed with us to work on the Studio Wumpus real-time digital board game, Sumer. In short, a real time platformer digital board game. The game play can be partially compared to the board game, Lords of Waterdeep where players work on gathering resources and constructing buildings to further aid them in their quest.

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The gods have given you life, and so you shall serve them! Command workers to grow barley, herd goats, and brew beer, then sacrifice it all to gain the favor of the gods and be crowned the first King or Queen!

But Sumer is a bit more than that. The fact that it is a real time video game makes things quite interesting as suddenly you will have to consider the fact that you are racing other players for resources. But I guess I’ll just let the following video describe the gameplay rather than text.

Before Josh’s residency we did a little interview to hear about his expectations. Afterwards we decided to see how his expectations stood up against reality, after a month on the farm.

Before your stay, we asked you how you thought Kollafoss would differ from your usual place of residence. Now, after the residency, how did it actually differ?

I thought I would be socially isolated and spending time walking around in nature. In fact, I didn’t feel isolated at all – I could chat with people online whenever I wanted, and Jóhannes and his girlfriend Adda were great company (as were their super sweet cats!) I also didn’t go outside very much, partly because the weather wasn’t too amenable to that. On the other hand, I was correct in predicting I wouldn’t have any social obligations and could spend my time however I chose. That was quite a nice change after the exhausting pace of life in New York, and it let me (for example) finally start catching up on my backlog of video games.

What was the most interesting element of your stay?

It was interesting to see how my lifestyle would change when I had practically no guidelines. I started sleeping very late (no surprise) and trying to maintain a more or less regular schedule of 7-8 hours of work followed by a few hours of relaxation. I split my leisure time between playing games and working on my side project. It was great having enough spare time to do both of those things!

What was the hardest thing about this experience?

Being apart from my girlfriend was tough, of course. We did video chat sometimes, but it’s different from seeing her every day and being in the same place. I also missed playing Smash Bros with my friends and competing in tournaments, though Jóhannes was nice enough to set up an N64 emulator on his Ouya. I don’t think I had realized how big a part of my life Smash had become.

We thank Josh Raab for a great time, and we are looking forward to the official release of Sumer!