Diary Entry #9: Mid – Late 2020
Getting back on the horse and starting up development again took some time. I decided to tackle small tasks when I could. Since I wasn’t working and Fi was, I was babysitting during the day. I was able to get things done while bubba was asleep. I eventually returned to work, but it was initially only a few days a week.
I had some blood tests done. My Oncologist told me that everything was looking good and that my immune system had fully recovered. That was a relief. With covid spreading around, I was worried about being more susceptible. During this time we were taking social distancing very seriously.
As I recovered, I struggled to find the time and motivation to keep moving Bullshit forward. The part of the game that I was struggling with was adding single player levels. It was a major overhaul of several parts of the game and it took a long while to chip away at it.
One of the design decisions I was struggling with was a level map. I originally wanted an overhead map of the various parts of the farm showing each level as a number. This is something done in several other games, but each mock-up I did just didn’t feel right. I even tried a 3D model of a field, but it looked rubbish.
In the end I just kept it as a simple screen with numbers on it until I could come up with something better. I had seen other games do this as well, so I left it at that.
Once the framework for the levels was there, it was fun actually fleshing out all the levels and chapters. I decided to split the three game locations I already had into chapters with 6 levels, plus a bonus level. I added a new game area called the “Hen Yard”. This would become the 4th chapter in the game.
The Hen Yard
When the levels were done, I did a whole heap of play testing. It was fun being challenged by my own game! Levels that were too hard, I simplified. The easy ones, I made harder. To diversify the game play, I added new goals. For example, rather than just getting rid of your cards, I thought it would be challenging to make you have to lie a certain amount of times. This means that whatever strategy you were used to would have to change.
Various combinations of wild cards on each level also made it interesting, as you never know what wilds could be lurking in your opponents hands. For example if you think a player might be holding a shield card, you are wary if they make a call like “Four Aces”. Even if you have Aces in your hand, calling bullcrap could still get you in trouble.
I was happy with the variety of animals to play against at this point, but felt like there could be more! So, I finally added horses to our stable of characters.
Can you defeat me? Neigh!
Game Over, Man!
With the levels looking good, I started focusing on the start and end of each level. Before starting a level, I put together a basic screen with the characters, goals and wilds in play. Later on I gave this screen a major overhaul.
The Original Level Screen
The end of each level at this stage was a very basic screen with some achievements. Looking at other games, I wanted to have this screen show a bit more, so I added a podium with the ranking of the players based on how many cards they had left. I then included a scoreboard showing the various stats and streaks you achieved. Finally there was a list of rewards showing some of the fun stats achieved during the game.
The new Game Over screen
Things were going really well by the end of 2020. I was feeling much better, and we had a happy little arrival. My second baby was born in early November. She was so cute, and it was wonderful to see the look on my first born’s face when we brought a new baby home. Having a new-born in the house meant that in order to help Fi, I had to take on more responsibility, especially with my eldest.
So, now I had two kids and was back working full time, I was struggling to find the time to work on the game. I had to learn to master time management…
Up Next: The Master Of Time…