ToM Research, Part 3 

My final batch of research for Tribes of Mexica was online based, although unlike my original approach, this one revolved more around online resources instead of standalone websites.


This is actually an Incan artifact, but virtually all Mesoamerican cultures had a fascination with masks.

First up were documentaries and educational TV shows, both of which were readily available on YouTube. Not only were these fairly credible — and the parts that were theoretical were clearly outlined as such — but they also focused on the details of everyday life.

How did the Aztecs dress? What did they eat? How did they store and transport goods? What sort of tools did they use? Et cetera. These tid-bits were rarely glamorous, but answering such questions is vital to making a world come to life.

Mainstream movies like the Maya-based Apocalypto were also a nice reference, although like any fictional works, they were taken with a grain of salt.


An excerpt from Jonathon Dalton’s “Lords of Life and Death.”

Google Books was a decent resource as well, although most of its content was fairly limited (a dozen or so preview pages per entry). What it did lead me to, though, were various Aztec-themed comic books. These were a great visual reference as they took place during the civilization’s peak, showing it as a thriving culture rather than focusing on its ruinous legacy.

Finally, I tried contacting some professors and Mexica enthusiasts, but my e-mails wielded few results. However, I had much better luck getting in touch with alternative history writers such as Chris Roberson and picking their brains as to what kind of research they did for their novels.


A map of Lake Texcoco, the heartland of the Aztec Empire, that I snagged from Aliette de Bodard’s blog.

As things stand right now, the entire setting and story of Tribes of Mexica is planned out. Now how much of it actually makes it into the game is another matter, but I’d rather do an extra bit of homework than be completely under prepared.

Posted by Radek Koncewicz
@JustRadek, designer at Incubator Games