getinthedamnbox: games, sounds, and other work by Matt Boyd-Surka

Bulwark in the City of Flesh

Developer Diary #001

January 13, 2018

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I started developing Bulwark in the City of Flesh about a year ago. It was originally a twin-stick action game, then a society simulator, and then a dozen other things before it reached its current form.

Through Bulwark, I’ve learned about animation, lighting, navigation, level design, and scores of tiny Unity quirks. I’ve fussed with FMOD, battled with Blender, introduced myself to ink, and perfected my workflow in Reaper. Whenever I became knowledgeable enough in a subject to realize I’d been doing things badly, I doubled back and tried to do them better.

I’d been avoiding infini-projects like this one since The Story of the World almost killed me in 2015. I know how nightmarish the cycle of MAKE→LEARN→REMAKE can be, but if I want Bulwark to exist, this is the only way.

In the past, when I’ve gotten mired in projects of this size, keeping a diary helped push me forward. That's why I'm starting this one.

With that, here’s what I’ve done with Bulwark most recently, since the start of the year:

  1. Refactored everything. Weaving through the spaghetti to add new features was becoming impossible, so it was time for a deep untangling.
  2. Wrote dialogue. I have a few hundred lines so far.

My next tasks are:

  1. Finish refactoring. There are some scrapped features I still need to replace.
  2. Add audio/video toggle. I’ll describe this once it’s further along. It’s been on the backburner for a while, and it’s the reason I knew refactoring was going to be essential.
  3. Write dialogue. I’m closing in on the end of the first act.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.