Sep 23, 2016

Progress Update September 2016

Where to begin? Not long after my last post, development on Bulldog stalled badly. I had a few other game ideas kicking around and after some soul searching I decided to put Bulldog on the backburner for a while and start developing one of the more promising (and less ambitious!) ones. I made some good progress, and even trialled some changes to my development process.

At my day job as a developer we've been transitioning over to a Test Driven Development process. I've embraced a lot of these ideas, such as Dependency Injection and Mocking for my part-time games development. Its really shown me where I went very wrong with Bulldog's development from the outset.

Now, fast forward 6 months or so and I'm about to abandon the new project, (code-named "Collie") and switch back to Bulldog again. What the hell?!

This is for several reasons:

  1. My design for Collie isn't really mature enough. 
  2. While working on Collie, I never stopped thinking about Bulldog, and kept coming up with cool new ideas for it, which suggests to me that my subconscious really wants to build that game, not Collie. 
  3. I've hit a bit of a wall and can't find motivation to continue on Collie at the moment. Perhaps related to #2?

So... you wasted seven months?

Not exactly. Working on a new code base, it really illustrated to me the problems I was living with in Bulldog, and as mentioned earlier, I can really see where I've gone wrong with singletons and statics all over the place.

I'm excited about getting Bulldog back on track again, and have great plans for resuming development and refactoring the codebase to correct my previous mistakes that prevent proper unit testing etc.

I've also learnt a lot about focusing on the value of new features, and developing the most crucial things first, not the coolest or hardest ones.

On this note, I came to the shocking realisation recently that Bulldog is at its core supposed to be a survival game, but after 5 years of development, I haven't coded the ability for the player to die yet! I've got procedurally generated terrain, real time shadows, pathfinding, a custom UI, status effects, loot tables etc. But if the player's health hits 0, the game locks up. What the hell?!

So yeah, I'm coming back to the project with a healthy dose of "What the hell was I thinking?", a fresh perspective, some new development skills and a renewed passion for making this game.