Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles, a single developer can make a open world settlement builder.

The core loop is surprisingly simple. Build more faction population and more captains and commanders appear…so the bigger your settlement the more content unlocks.

See the soultree on the world map for how far you are…

I am adding stuff to explain that to the tutorial… but will take a bit get done.

So whatever your block. Just build more… need more resources. Build up the industry are…

Always build!

In other words, remember the ABC. Always. Be. Constructing!

So if I messed up a harbor construction by getting and putting them down out of order, is there a way to fix harbors and reconnect them? I can’t figure that bit out.

I’ve done that so many times, I usually just start over, tear down and rebuild both harbors, seems to work.

OIP

Also, I found a little joke that was put into the game. I encountered a pirate who wanted to join my colony, he mentioned that his group likes to rob banks and pull pranks. Sometimes they eat sarks and fishes.

Wow, I hadn’t heard that song in ages. Blast from the past!

I like finding things to add to my colony. New lighthouse:

I guess one thing I’m still a little confused about this game is resourcing, in that there seems to be a limited availability of resource pools in the game and they can be used up. That seems to run counter to the suggestion to always be constructing, since connecting up all those towers will be the factor that counts against resource usage. So, you can actually build too much? or at least get to a point where you can’t really build any more. Am I missing something?

If you watch this clip (from around 6mins in):

You can set up resource trade routes for workforce from allied settlements and get a 1 for 1 trade. Resource trade routes do NOT deplete!

I think getting setup with your own resource nodes is your way to start out, but you can use your captains and ships to setup these resource trade sources for your expanding settlements.

Part of the ‘fun’ of your building project is managing these relationships and routes and then protecting them. It’s not all about conquest and extraction, its also about cooperation and trade with other factions.

I’ve reached a similar conclusion, except now I’m constrained by the number of ships/captains I have available at any given time. I’m scrambling to make it work but I have some trade routes that reach halfway across the map, which means I also need protection from pirates so it feels like I spend half my time now scrambling from battle to battle!

Not that I’m complaining, it’s fun blowing up pirates. Plus my entourage is full of dozens of various flapping and squawking things that can make pretty short work of pirates.

Anyway I think I’ve kind of dead ended my campaign, maybe? I found the turtle thing that made one group really happy, but the Mancers seem to want me to find some hidden knowledge and the Imperium wants me to find some gateway to another world and I don’t know how to make those events trigger. I am enjoying just making new trade routes and, you know, more and taller towers, but I’m not sure if there’s anything else I’m supposed to be doing. Of course there are two other campaigns, I could check out what’s going on in those …

I think ATM a bug is allowing you to multi faction…
Which folks seem to enjoy…

Haven’t decided to keep that or make it you can only get one wonder per playthru .

A patch will come Tuesday …will have a solution by then :)

The game isn’t really about mainlining or conquering all but just about building a cool chill settlement of their own design and having fun with it…

But conquest is good trip too.

Might balance it to be a tad tougher. I wanted a relaxing game. , but the ferocity of the player base is sort of asking for a bit more challenge…

Ok, I was wondering that, if I was supposed to be able to keep all the factions placated. One group got mad at me for letting in too many pirates, but after a while I was able to put more refugee groups in place to grow their populations and I think that made them happy.

I’m cool with the whole thing being pretty chill, I don’t need a bunch of factions trying to tear down my cities. But, being as free-form as it is, sometimes I’m a bit unsure if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, or if that even matters.

My advice (not that you asked) is that unless you think there really is a more challenging game in your current design just waiting to get out, don’t compromise your vision. I’m sure you can tweak things to be more challenging in some ways, but how likely is it to satisfy those vocal players, if the thing you set out to build is something different?

You know your game best, and what it can accommodate, but that’s just my gut feeling. You’re unlikely to satisfy the complainers. Now, if you’re getting “I love it, I just wish…”, then that sounds like something worth chasing.

I figured it was time to move on from my initial campaign so I jumped into the second one, the Mancer campaign. I figured I’d take some ideas I had, hopefully with a better idea to planning, having learned from development in the first one. With the first one, I kind of migrated my main outpost around the map, following the resources as I used up what I started with. This time, I figured I’d stay more central and use shipping to just bring all the necessary resources to me and grow that main city.

This worked pretty well, except that I was limited by the captains I was able to turn up. As with the first campaign, I got a bunch all at once fairly early on and could ship whatever I wanted to wherever I wanted. The complication this time around was that, being the Mancer campaign, their population grew the most aggressively and being in opposition to the Imperium I started to run into the problem of Imperial captains not wanting to work with Mancer cities and resource centers. I don’t know how many times I had to listen to a captain tell me that the war may be over, but they can’t work with Mancers. I was able to build one particular outpost to focus on Imperium population, and eventually got their queen to show up - that started to give me options for shipping to at least that one spot, then freeing up a Mancer captain to go the rest of the way. Kind of a headache, but I guess if the game never pushed back at me it wouldn’t be much of a game.

Thanks so much for these posts and especially your patience exploring the game, @divedivedive.

I’m fascinated with what’s been created here, but I’m also thoroughly confused to the point that I had to step back to see what further updates Tomas will be making*. I want to meet the game on its own terms, and given how I was able to wrap my head around Falconeer eventually, I’m confident I’ll be able to do that with Bulwark. But I’m not there yet and I’ve only gotten myself frustrated to the point that I wiped my progress and started over, only to get frustrated a second time for the exact same reasons. : )

I think my main problem is that I can’t “read” what the game is telling me, even after playing through the tutorial messages twice and furthermore watching one of Tomas’ short videos. It looks like all the information is here, and its clearly communicating, but I don’t speak the language yet. Furthermore, I feel like this game is totally for me, complete with all its idiosyncrasies, and I’m definitely onboard for what Tomas has said about it being laidback and more about to process than the goals! But I also feel like it needs to better communicate what it’s doing. Or I need to try harder. Or, most likely, some middle point between us?

Whichever the case, I’m being patient, following the thread, really appreciating y’all’s posts, and waiting to see what changes will be made. I’m in no hurry.



* And I also want to echo @Nightgaunt excellent advice!

I think the exploration of the mechanics, is a double edged sword, there are moments where you elucidate something “by doing”, trial and error and it feels like that is part of the experience, but also there are parts of the game, where you know exactly what you want to do, but your trial and error attempts are not working and that leads to frustration.

For instance, finding a light house, dismantling it, then rebuilding it at a key chokepoint in several important tradepoints so I can drop my airship & war wing in to support a trade route under attack was a cool find.

Whereas, sometimes setting up a factional trade route, I have sometimes found I can’t connect to a specific existing settlement, until I’ve demolished and rebuilt some infrastructure. I knew what I wanted to do, but couldn’t fathom the logical mechanical way to do it.

The bonus is, there doesn’t seem to be much of a penalty in smashing existing setups down to adapt to changing resource locations or other explored/revealed better situations to use. I really like this about the game.

Tomas has released a new video, which may help answer some questions:
“On progression, tech-trees and goals in bulwark”

I’m having a lot of fun. I may not be expressing that very well, but I’m pretty hooked. There are still things I don’t fully understand, but they don’t get in the way of my continuing to build and development my settlement, just possibly preventing me from making the most of it. Here’s a few things I haven’t quite wrapped my head around:

As we discussed above, trade is a good option because, unlike setting up your own excavator, a trading partner’s resources never deplete. But, I can never get as much output from a trading partner as I can from my own refineries. I think you can max out at 20 output, or 20 steps, but I never get close to that when trading. I’m not sure if I’m ever supposed to, or that’s just one of the game’s tradeoffs - you’ll get resources forever, just at a more constrained rate.

Additionally, while I know the game tells you there aren’t any mistakes, and it is worthwhile to just go nuts and try building and connecting stuff - since your own resources can be depleted, it’s possible to just run out. Maybe not likely, there are a lot of resources on the map so you’d probably have to have a massive metropolis to get there, but it’s a little worry I always have in the back of my mind when building.

But! Here’s a detail that I had to kind of wrap my head around - once your city is built up, they don’t need resources anymore. That probably sounds so no-brainer that it didn’t really bear even writing down, but there’s this little vestigial piece of my brain that wants to have resources going everywhere. But it’s not like you’re supplying food and water to those towers, once they’re built up to your satisfaction they’ll “live” just fine, route those supplies somewhere else. Maybe even tear some towers down if you built them to connect up separate areas and they no longer serve a purpose. That’s one way to save on resources.

This game is kind of in a sweet spot for me, I tend to get lost in the details with bigger, more intensive city builders and this one is very much a “don’t sweat the small stuff” kind of game. I can see where that could turn off folks who love to dig deep into systems and make intricate plans, but it works for me.

I think my main problem is, that as a solodev it’s easier for me to create wildly original mechanics than it is to create a frictionless experience to explain them. I mean honestly that’s often half the work at a big studio.

Buuuuuut Bulwark is different in that if you let go of the need to “win” or make the “optimal” solution and just start fiddling with it, it does reveal itself. its hovering around 80% positive on steam and most of that is folks just digging the building and not caring too much if they do it “right”

There is muuuuch more of a tutorial than Falconeer. And those visual lines that confuse, they aren’t that required to use even, part of me wished I hadn’t included them at all.

Because it turns players into problem solvers who need all the info and intricacies rather than people who just wanna be curious as to what happens.

My main task atm is just telling folks, no don’t go conquering everyone or trying to win, chillout and the game will get to those parts eventually.

It’s also hella fast, you do an entire faction run in an evening, and that is how it’s intended not as a grind to put 32 hours in one city, but many small experiments.

So now or later will matter as this launch is teaching me where to add little bits of help, so yeh it will be slightly easier in a week or even a month.

but not massively so, cuz I also want players to learn to chill out and just build cool stuff, everything else is there to support the fantasy.

:)