Book of Travels is a TMO: A tiny multiplayer online game

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How do you make an MMO on an indie studio's budget? Well, you don't. It'll never work. So instead Might and Delight, the studio behind Shelter (opens in new tab) and its sequel, are making what they call a TMO instead: A tiny multiplayer online game.

Book of Travels, with its low-res graphics and indie sensibility, won't have many players on its servers, but that's one of its selling points. As the Steam description (opens in new tab) says, "Other players are few, but your paths will cross - it’s up to you to choose to travel together or go it alone. Find vehicles to reach far flung places or just amble through woods together. The absence of guilds and social structures makes your temporary fellowships unique and memorable."

Another unusual selling point is that players won't be able to talk to each other in the regular way, but will instead have to learn symbols to communicate. And the only way to learn them is by experiencing the concepts they represent—the example they give is that to learn the symbol that means "city" you have to travel to a city.

Travel is central to the game, but there's no overarching plotline to guide you along its paths and you'll have to find your own way, click-to-walking your way across the countryside. And while Book of Travels does have experience points, it's not doing those in the traditional way either. You'll gain them "by exploring, being courteous, gathering and trading. Battles can be rewarding, but you will learn more in defeat than in victory."

Book of Travels is launching a Kickstarter on October 17, and aims to be released on Steam next year. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.