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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.


TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


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Progress Update - 1/13/2017


Ahoy! Just wanted to give you guys a quick update on what has been going on this month, and some things to expect coming into next month.  

We have a big investor milestone meeting coming up on the 19th, and all of our time has been focussed on getting all the systems we shared with you, via youtube, stable and clean. Of course, those systems are not fully fleshed out game features just yet, but it's a strong foundation built on the engine that is allowing us to expand out on things with gusto.  

Into the coming months, we will be focussing on what is defined as a “minimally viable product”, that is to say, “what does this game experience feel like, with polish, for a short play session”. So while it may not be perfectly balanced, we need to demonstrate polished animations, some competency with enemy AI, and strong visuals (particle effects, graphics, etc). This also means a grasp on what the actual UX is in a 3d space, which revolves around the process a person gets from a keystroke, or series of keystroke, from a selection to an action.  

Working through these things over the next few months gives us an opportunity to start being more open, again, with some of our thinking, and intentions, with design. While we do not expect EVERYONE to approve of all our choices, the product is too early on to allow for any design by committee. We will be responsible for creating the foundation of what the experience is, and leave opportunities for systems to be modified and expanded upon. And this is much of the reason we are so focussed on tools and our own development pipeline. The more clean and streamlined that is, the easier it would be for any of you to do, as well.  

Some of you in the community have brought up the possibility of a QA, and that is a pretty solid idea. We love getting a chance to talk to all of you, and answer questions. If nothing else, we can always say that we pride ourselves on transparency, even on topics that are taboo and perpetuate chaos and confusion… (web based cookie clicker FTP clone, anyone?) But first, we are gonna get the current build into the hands of a few of you, and have some footing to get both technical, and experience driven question from all of you. So expect us to start taking in questions in a couple weeks time.  

That is pretty much it for the time being, but if you have any questions, you are always able to reach out to any of us, and you will hear back from us.  

*high five*



TUGv2 Progress Update

After a long period of development with TUGv2, under the new engine, internally dubbed “eternus”, we are proud to share the progress we have made so far. Please do keep in mind, that we are building everything from the ground up on our own, to facilitate a lot of unique future goals, so not all systems have been complete. In order to hit our goals for this month, we had to be sure we focussed on systems that made the most sense, to share something today. So be aware that what you see is incomplete, the systems are not final, and we still have a long way to go until it's “complete” and polished. 

As for advancements: 

Art: we have FINALLY been able to define visual consistency to work hand in hand with graphics development. And while we are still lacking some general systems like Particle Effects, and proper animation support, to facilitate polish, the general look of the game has really started to define itself. 

Technology: Our team is broken into 3.5 major technology groups internally. Core engine has pushed forward our eternus engine, and lowered the bar to entry for hardware requirements, how much that bar has dropped, is still subject to some negotiation with art and design, but it's still at least lower than the Dx11 spec as it stands. There is a lot to be said about what the engine does, and can do, but i'll let Josh speak more to that in an update early next year. 

The tools team is a massive change for us from the first iteration of the engine with TUGv1. Not only do they create tools that allow for our own team to develop content faster, but also allow for modders to change parameters within the game with relative ease, and even develop their own tools from an extensible framework. This is also another topic to expect being spoken of early next year. 

On infrastructure, the ability to create accounts, upload and distribute mods, and be able to house a growing community of players and creators, we have come a long way. While I KNOW Nathan is going to love digging deep into share the emotional themes behind proper documentation and planning of systems, we will be sure he tones it down so as to not over excite himself (does sarcasm read well in blog form?) 

And about half of the gameplay team is building systems that sit somewhere between gameplay, and core engine team. Little bits that give the game a great quality of life, that people may not fully get the implications of, until it's revealed to them. Stuff like persistence of “simulated” data (what happens when off screen”, logic and power stuff, and even object datas and interactions. 

On design and the other half of gameplay, it's been all about making sure tools, and engine are supported so we can accomplish various goals. For now, lots of SYSTEMS are working, and we now have a chance to play and iterate to make the game “fun”. Lots of work still goes into narrative and mythos consistency, defining the “laws of nature” within the world, and the general approach to learning of complex systems is also a thing, but at this point it comes with a great deal more focus. 

On the topic of communication, both recent, and going forward, I accept full personal responsibility for how things have been handled to date. The process of game development, and more so, software development, is a difficult enough thing to maintain internally as a group, and a great deal more consideration should have been taken from migration of our v1 to v2 work. We will ALSO communicate the plan for coms moving forward, early next year, so you know what to expect, and we can be held accountable to it. 

While we have been active and responsive to community on various channels (Discord chat, email, NK forums), we have neglected a few outlets for various reasons. However regret does come from lack of communication on our Kickstarter page. It was not considered a community to this point, simply a blog outlet channel, one of MANY, and no proper path was given to alter that outlets means of connecting with the project. This mistake, across a slew of others, were opportunities for us to learn and set a plan of action for communication into the new year. We have a lot of progress to share from this point forward, which will be more consistent. 

As for “when the game is going out” to the community, some of you guys are going to be getting it sent to you soon, hopefully by end of week. HOWEVER, it's not going to everyone, just yet. The first hands on have to be with some of the developers we have in the community, to help us catch some bits, so we can do a better job on supporting our own developers getting the game done. We will roll out launches to various groups within the community, and likely put out some kind of sign up in the next couple of months, to start phasing people in. 

On the note of “our future”, we have determined that “paid mods” is not the right thing to do, if for nothing else cultural reasons. However, this doesn't mean that modders will not be rewarded or compensated, it just means it will be coming from NK. The actual final cost of the game, is a bit up in the air, though do know that we are leaning AWAY from the idea of FTP. 

Expect us to make more mistakes moving forward, it's a process of our getting better, if nothing else, we can at least promise to be transparent with everything (no matter how taboo), and hold ourselves accountable for the decisions we make, and learn from them swiftly. xoxo, ino, who still lives in his car. 

xoxo, ino, who still lives in his car.

Discussion Update - 2/8/2016


Hey all, it seems that lots of people are taking bits and pieces of information from different places, so here is a breakdown of something with specifics, so there is not any hearsay involved. Please note, we will update this list as discussions advance a bit further as well.

Strongly considering giving TUG away for free, but don't know what that looks like yet

  • monetization for TUG is all about aesthetic, not gated content 
  • design and experience are not changing with this consideration 
  • game is playable offline and moddable, so not really something that allows for us to gate or control content, since you could just mod around it 
  • discussion is needed with community over next year to figure it out. 
  • focus on getting into as many hands as possible, both dev and player

Mod monetization/support

  • important to give modders a way to earn living from amazing work  
  • quality control is first priority, not everyone can just monetize (skyrim fiasco)  
  • empowering amazing modders = more amazing mods and support  
  • (thoughts) would need to be proven modder, and proven content  
  • (thoughts) near professional level quality to be considered  
  • how it works unclear, community dialog needed, a year till decision, at least  
  • doesn't mean people are paying for every mod  
  • NK interested in licensing mods that make TUG better as an experience monetized mods perhaps optional with some aesthetic reward

No updates to DX11 TUG, but new engine getting done fast important because...

  • DX11 is limiting who can play
  • OpenGL will be able to reach a great deal more gens of hardware and paves the way for Mac and Linux in the future
  • comes with better performance across the board
  • comes with “new” art style and awesome graphics improvements
  • comes with improvements to dev environment (faster content, better mods)
  • 1) powerful behavior and analytics tools available to all players and modders
  • 2) powerful distribution system to share and distribute work
  • 3) new modding platform with real-time debugging
  • 4) new tooling platform with direct engine integration

We will share details of these things over the course of our development, and we are only a few months away from being able to show progress, which we will do as regularly as possible.

Follow up on free and general thinking behind it


Lots of questions came up after last weeks vlog, so here are some follow up thoughts to start a YEAR long dialog we get to have around it before we even need to make a decision.

Also, AMA tomorrow on r/tug, where you can poke at our brain meats until your hearts content.

Progress update, openGL, where we are at, and where things are headed.


Hey everyone, Ino here! It's been quite some time since I was able to personally post something to you guys on a formal channel. What can I say? It's been a crazy year... crazy, but great.

As some of you may be aware by now, we successfully raised another $8.5 million to expand on TUG, move into openGL, and put a lot more emphasis on tools and modding bits. Our team is expanding, and we are doing even more rad stuff with tech, art, and design.

We also pushed an update out to TUG on steam just prior to the holiday break, which helped a great deal with stability across the board. If it's borked for ANYONE, please email so we can start digging into details to understand some of the problem, and see if we can get hot fixes out for some of these issues.

OpenGL is currently in development, and we are preparing the team to move away from the current DX11 engine, over to OpenGL, this also means that we likely won't get another major content update out to current TUG (tug 1.0?) for some time... almost a YEAR! This sounds rough, but after a lot of thinking, we know this is what is going to be best overall for our community, the project, and the future of this Nerd Kingdom. Still, we will do some other interesting things with the current version of TUG with mod jams and some interesting research projects, that will allow us to leverage our shiny new mod distribution system that is nearing completion. 

Additionally, and this is potentially a HUGE change... we are seriously considering making TUG a free game... and I say this knowing FULL well that we already have people who have committed their own earned money to help us. So we are not taking this thinking lightly, and its going to take a lot of dialog and thought into what it will take to make this work. I go into detail of why I personally, and we as a team, think this is important. But the short of it being, we want to get this in the hands of as many people as possible, modders, researchers, players, and builders.

The great thing about solid financial support, is we have some freedom to build something great, and not have to worry about "monetization schemes". To be clear, how we will monetize is unclear, but we have a bit of time, and a few ideas to think through. With this said, any "monetization" we apply to TUG, wont impact any of our backers ability to play. You all believed in us, and have been nothing but supportive... it's not our intent to drain anyone of all the moneys. Treating TUG as a platform, as its intended, means we have a lot to consider.

We are also working on getting backer physical rewards taken care of. But if any of you are interested in digital bits instead of physical ones, we will make that an option when we send out backerkit stuff.

I go a tad into detail on some of the above thinking on my vlog here, in case you were interested:

(edit: anyone who absolutely hates this and has lost interest in what we are doing as a whole because any of these topics, please email me directly, and i'll do what I can to make this right with you.

For technical issues regarding the current version of TUG, email

If you wanna follow along in the stuff we do, feel free to follow me @inoritewtf or @nerdkingdom. And if you want to send me a much more personal message of your love and or hate of what is going on, my personal email is