Bulwark Update 8 – Back to Work!

It’s been a while since I last updated this blog. I guess the reasons behind it are simply that I haven’t had much time to work on Bulwark due to my studies.

Good news then, that I’m finished for the year and I can re-focus my efforts on seeing this through to the end.

I have started work on the final two themes for the last 10 levels of the game. I will be making use of an industrial theme for some and a space theme for others. With the addition of these two themes I now have a total of 4 themes across the 20 levels.

Image

A sample from the space theme.

Image

Sample from the industrial theme.

I have also begun the laborious process of optimization, bringing poly counts within safe limits and minimizing the number of draw calls per frame. In this the process of this optimization I have also re-designed a couple of enemy units and made slight alterations to the majority of models on screen. Whilst there is minimal increase in frame rate on PC, the increase in mobile performance has been incredible.

Whilst I am still a fair distance from the finishing line I feel that the development of Bulwark is coming along nicely and should see a release before the end of the year.

One thing I did notice from some player tests a few weeks that the interface for the mobile edition needs some work, primarily the size needs to be increased for better readability but also the colours slightly darkened so to match the majority of the levels more.

I will have some more screenshots in the coming months of level progress and some new themes and ideas.

For now though I leave you with a screenshot Bulwark running on Android :).

Image

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bulwark Update 7 – Issues, Delays and Severe Lack of Sleep

So I haven’t posted here since August and in truth Bulwark is pretty much in the same state it was back then, I have had some major life changes and my commitments to University have grown a great deal in the last month or so.

I am currently spending whatever free time I get developing the spawn lists for the 20 that are to be in Bulwark. It has been of a considerable challenge creating a balance that is both fun to play and not overly difficult. I have found that each level has to increase in difficulty at a gradual level without overwhelming the player with too many enemies or introducing too many different enemy types at one time.

Good news is that I think that I am almost finished with the programming side of game development, I can only think of a few key features that need to be developed off of the top of my head. I have to make it clear when funds aren’t available by shadowing the purchase icons and I also need to complete the way the game saves data.

I am probably going to utilise Unitys PlayerPrefs class to store data on completed levels and bonus objectives and then tie that to a colour coded system that will enable the player an easy to way to track their progress through the game.

I have begun developing a second Unity asset that will hopefully provide a useful toolkit for procedural generation. I am hoping to develop a set of tools that enable developers to generate levels for a variety of different genres. This project is currently only in the opening stages and I still haven’t figured out the specific generators and methods that I will employ but I will hopefully keep a record of progress on this project on this blog.

At the moment I am having to push Bulwark back to at least  January/Feburary release window. More details to come soon.

Bulwark Update 6: Really small update.

This is more of a post to remind myself that I am still working on this. Things have been a little all over the place the last month and I get the feeling I’m into a period of slowdown for now. I am away for 2 weeks after which I plan to write a comprehensive update in which I reflect on development. For now I want to say Bulwark is moving forward but it is not the game I dreamed it to be, personal issues and some other factors have steered the game in unknown directions. I am hoping however as a result of this to push the release forward and aim towards an October release.

Bulwark Update 5: Platform confirmation and some bad news.

This past 10 days have been an absolute roller-coaster I have been through more highs and lows than I can count with regards to my personal life. As a result of this Bulwark has hit a slow down and I am having to make some major changes to the planned game.

I have now lost my character artist and the current budget does not allow for me to recruit anyone new in the time I want to finish the game, as a result of this I am unfortunately going to strip the visual novel functionality from the game at this time.

I, like many an independent developer before me, set my goals too high for this project and as a result am having to cut back some of the ideas that made Bulwark unique. This has been a tough decision for me to make and I am really saddened that it has had to come to this. In all honesty I am not confident enough in my story writing ability to be able to have made it engaging. I may however finish up the script and release it as an extra in the download along with the sketches and ideas I originally had.

So I suppose the point is that Bulwark is to become a more traditional tower defense game, the visual novel functionality is all developed and ready to go and will live on in my visual novel asset, which I am hoping to release an update for by the end of the summer. It won’t be much, just a visual upgrade and another sample or 2 perhaps.

Moving on!

I can happily now confirm that Bulwark will be released on the following platforms:
PC, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Linux, Mac

I am also looking into possibly porting to Ouya before release.

That’s all for now folks :D,

Blake

Visual Novel System Complete!

Yes it’s finally done and dusted. My Visual Novel/Conversation system for unity is now finished :D.

This tool is designed to enable you to quickly implement a conversation system. This tool is designed for use in Visual Novel and RPG style games. However I see no reason why it can’t be used in any game that requires a speech solution.

This tool is designed to enable you to quickly implement a conversation system in any kind of game you can think of! Primarily designed to produce Visual Novels this easy solution will enable you to add conversations with choice and consequence with ease.

Features

  • XML parsing of custom scripts
  • Fully integrated character manager/editor.
  • Auto/Skip button functionality
  • Player character thought parsing.
  • Scene management.
  • Questions with answers leading to different paths.
  • Save/Load functionality.
  • Matching voice to lines.
  • Scene dependent music.
  • In-line responses.
  • Basic conversation editor.
  • In-line conversations.
  • Auto-close of the dialog box
  • Close button.
  • Can now load characters from resources to save Scene clutter when designing.
  • Fixed a ton of bugs and made it Web-Player friendly once again by adding a ‘Save Enabled’ toggle for web.
  • Full custom conversation editor.
  • Custom Inspectors

Screenshots

Image
Image

Image

Where to get it

Get the tool from the Unity Asset Store!

LINK

 

Bulwark Update 4: Plodding Along

Not a long update today. More of a screenshot dump :). Progress is coming along nicely. I spent a lot of time over the last week working on the GUI, pretty much reworked it and I’m pretty happy with the result. I’m not much of a designer though, pretty sure someone else could have done something much better.

Any way without rattling on too much.

New Features/What I’ve Actually Done.

I implemented some basic save and load functionality which I’m not going to extend unitl all the levels are complete.

I’ve started the second ‘world’ of levels and aim to be half way through the levels by the end of the week(probably won’t happen though).

I’ve also almost finished all of the artwork for the enemies, I have ONE final enemy to model and texture then just set up a bunch of variant prefabs and I’m happy. Then it’s onto additional environment models for the sake of detail.

I also spent a bit of time working on the health bars for everything. Think am gunna rework the system a little bit and allow for two different positions based on the orientation of the object it is attached to. This should ensure that my the health is always easy to read and a lot clearer.

I spent some time on the framework of code, did some things to hopefully improve performance, will have to see how that goes tho :).

I’m pretty sure that I’ve done more but for now I’ll leave it at that.

New Screenshots

ImageImageImage

Bulwark Update 3: Minor Updates/A little bit about development

I was sat thinking this morning and I realized just how slow progress has been over the last couple of weeks. It’s remarkable how easily time gets away from you. I have been chipping away at bits of Bulwark and whilst I am getting there, I’m worried that I am not spending as much time as I should be trying to finish this up.

When I started this project it was a learning exercise that I aimed to complete in a relatively short time-span. However as I have progress the projects scope has increased greatly to a point where development is proving to be a challenge. I have to implement a new save-load system to accommodate for the player being either in VN state or game state and trying to ensure they can pick up where they left off. Not overly complex;but highly time consuming. This is the top of a never ending list of things to do, I have levels to build, a GUI to tweak a story to write and a whole other crazy load of things to do.

One vital element in developing a game is to stay positive and keep working, push yourself to complete one task every night you sit at your (sometimes dreaded) desk. There is always something to be done and one of the big benefits of being an independent developer is that I can just change roles at the drop of a hat. If some code is causing me to tear out my hair I can switch to the artwork or music, in theory this means I won’t burn out as fast. In reality however it can prove to be an incredibly exhausting experience, especially on days like this where I will be at work eight while eight then have to drive 30 miles home and work on Bulwark.

Developing a game independantly can be a great toll on life in general and it can be easy to question whether it’s worth the effort. I am well aware that I am but one of thousands of other developers, most of which are far more talented than myself. I am well aware that the odds are stacked heavily against me making any money from this endeavor. I know that I am having to sacrifice time with my fiancee, my son and the rest of my family.

So why put myself through it?

Simple really; I love games and I love making games. I guess it’s that childlike dream that I’ve always had of making games in my bedroom. I would love to see my game played by thousands, loved by many, and if it happens it happens and that will be a dream come true. The most important thing for myself, however, is that I have finished something, I will have something to show for my effort.

I guess my point here is simple. I make games because I want to and nothing will ever change that. If I were to offer one piece of advice to others making games alone, only do it while it’s fun. If your not having fun making your game then the chances of someone having fun while playing it are remarkably slim.

I didn’t actually mean to talk so much about this :/, apologies for the slight rambling/ranting tone. I just wanted to get some of these thoughts out of my head and out into the open.

Hopefully the next post will be a lot more to do with Bulwark and where I am with it :).

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. – Soren Kierkegaard