An inspiring hand-illustrated app #MadeWithBolt

The illustrations, the writing and the glue that holds them together

Marko Kršul, graphic, web, app, and game designer, teamed up with his partner Sabina Rešić, illustrator and her freind Maja, writer and creator of the physical card game MagicWood to work on a digital re-imagining of her card game.

Marko Kršul, when not working, is being dragged through the woods by his overly enthusiastic Labrador Oskar. Perhaps it's fitting that the app he's currently developing with Bolt takes place in the woods.

Marko was a 5-year old Space Invaders addict. Too short to reach the screen of the arcade cabinet, his father would hold him up quarter after quarter. Impatiently waiting for Marko to grow tall enough, he solved his problems by buying him a Spectrum 48+, Marko's first gaming platform.

He started dabbling in game design eons ago, but had to get a "real job", creating designs for print, websites, applications and an odd teletext. Decades later after participating in a game jam with some friends he realized that building games was a viable career for him. With this new found confidence he went on to co-found Ventilator Shark.

Their first game was Space Rabbits in Space, a 2D platformer designed for touchscreen devices. The game is yet to be published (coming soon), but it already won the Best Indie Game award from Reboot InfoGamer.

A relaxing digital stroll through the woods

MagicWood is an inspirational app featuring 56 unique illustrations and corresponding voice overs, a card of the day with notifications, "ask a question" and a favorite cards option.

Come to the app every day and explore beautiful imagery coupled with a relaxing soundtrack and a soothing voice-over narrating a story to you.

Awesome plan. With only one minor flaw — I can't code.

The MagicWood team had a plan: Sabina would do the illustrations, Maja would write the content, and Marko would glue those two in an app, with Unity.

"Awesome plan. With only one minor flaw - I can't code. I know Unity, I can pseudo-code, but I don't know C#", says Marko.

Sabina's art was a huge motivating factor for Marko. He knew the cards would look incredible and so he felt it would be a shame to pass up on the project only because he did not know how to program. In addition to this, Marko had a clear vision of what he wanted to do with the app: How it should look, how it should behave, how it should feel.

Call it fate, but around that time, some Bolt ads crept into Marko's feed. "I did the impulse-buy and jumped straight down into the rabbit hole of visual programming and spaghetti."

Marko built a game design document and ran everything by the CTO of Ventilator Shark, Gabrijel Megan. Unusual for Mrgan (Whose last name translates to "grumpy") he liked Bolt from the get-go! So much so, that they began planning how to integrate Bolt into their company's workflow.

Can I call myself a developer now?

Marko went on to say, "I also liked Bolt from the start. It's intuitive and very well integrated into Unity. I create logic, Bolt worries about the syntax and "Live Editing" is a godsend!

The unexpected side-effect of Bolt is that I am now able to read the C# code, follow Unity C# tutorials and implement the solutions with Bolt. The latest sentence sounds like a knife-selling commercial, but I don't care - I can read C#!

Anyway... 4 weeks into Bolting and "Magic Wood" is 90% done. At the same time, I managed to Bolt-up a full casual basketball game. Can I call myself a developer now?"

"Magic Wood" will be out in October, on iOS. Shortly after, it will land on Android devices.