This Is Bullcrap!

Diary Entry #1: Early 2018 – Mid 2018

This is the story of how this Bullcrap got started.  Well, where do I start?  About five years ago I had an idea of creating a card game that was fun, different and that everyone would like to play. I kept thinking that if there are good card games out there to play with friends on my phone, why haven’t I heard of them?  Doing a quick search I found that most traditional card game apps looked the same. Just a 2D table top viewed from above and some cards. Some had the same thing in 3D, but still the same. Plus there were heaps of poker games, which I had no interest in playing. Poker for me is much more fun played in person, plus I didn’t like the idea of encouraging online gambling.

The Idea

I had this idea for a long time, but thought I just don’t have the time to develop it. My job and lifestyle at the time was keeping me very busy. Then after work one day, I’m having a quiet drink with my cousin Lizzie, talking crap as usual. I mentioned to her my idea, and as we discussed it, I started to think: Why don’t I try it? I can make time. Fuck it, let’s do it! So it all started from there. (Thanks Lizzie!)

So how do you get started in game development? Figuring that out was part of the fun. I already had a bit of experience. In my childhood, I spent a lot of my time writing games (I’ll talk about this more in a future post) But that was a long time ago. I wasn’t up with modern tools, techniques or mobile development. 

Five Hundy – The first Prototype

One of my most favourite card games is 500.  With four players it is so much fun to bid, strategize and play. Plus there’s the hope that your partner is switched on and can help you win when needed. 

I started with a rough, very ugly prototype of 500 with four player’s cards shown on the screen. I used a development tool that I had handy. It wasn’t designed for game development, but I just wanted to get something started. I designed an algorithm to process each player’s turn and evaluate the play to figure out who has won.

Ugh… yuck I know! Not what I wanted to develop. It was a proof of concept.

After playing around with the prototype, I thought about how well 500 would translate to an app. Without 4 players it might not be as fun. I then started thinking about a game my friends and I loved to play called Bullshit. It was fun, easy to learn and had the added bonus of swear words! It was then I started to work on a second prototype.

Bullshit – The second Prototype

In my search for a development platform, I stumbled across Unity. It easily integrated with Visual Studio, which I already had some experience with. Plus, it allowed for cross platform development, meaning the game could run on mobiles devices, PCs and consoles. After going through a few of the Unity demos and looking at the code behind the scenes, I felt it was a good match.

I followed a few Unity online classes and read tons of articles and forum posts. I’ve been a pretty solid programmer my whole life and found I can pick up a new development environment and language pretty quickly. 

I found a great online tutorial for developing a 2D card game in unity. After finishing that, I took what I learned and wrote the basic functionality for the game. I developed the algorithm for the Bullshit, followed by some basic AI for the other players.  That prototype was still pretty ugly and buggy, but it demonstrated that I could put together a game. At this stage I had also started learning how to put together a basic server for multiplayer.

Better than the first prototype, but still pretty basic!

I had my doubts early on as to whether this was something people would like to play. There was a snow trip coming up, and I knew that the people going loved to play cards. I set a goal of bringing something to show them. Much of the weekend was spent on the slopes, and in the evenings there were a few crazy games of 500. So many arguments! Eventually I showed my friends the prototype and they loved what I was doing. That spurred me on!

All new Bullshit

After the trip, with some fresh skills and knowledge under my belt, I started a fresh project called Bullshit, which eventually became the game “Bullcrap” as it stands today. 

Here’s a picture of the early interface:

The basic nuts and bolts are in there!

Trust me, It got so much better! This story is more than just a dev blog, it covers some of the crazy things that have happened in my life since starting this game. So tune in, and I’ll tell you more!

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