The first internal alpha milestone is coming up in a few weeks, so it’s time to wrap up the important tasks and add at least a bit of polish.
I had the pleasure of spending the first two days of the week in beautiful Prague, so it was a short one for me. Nevertheless I was finally able to combine the commodity exchange feature and Michi’s visualization code. As a result, you can now view supply, demand and trade activity for a material of your choice on the universe map. Whenever a trade happens or orders are placed, the map visualization is updated in real-time.
This is already super cool and fascinating to watch in and by itself, but it’s also exciting for another reason: This was the final major item on my list to complete the core parts of the commodity exchange feature. Following our current roadmap, this leaves only two major tasks I need to complete before we reach our internal Alpha milestone: Foreign Exchange, so players can trade currencies, and an integration with our existing account management systems, so we can start granting limited access to the game for early, closed testing. Exciting times ahead!
With our internal alpha milestone coming up I spent most of my time on fixing little bugs, things that we put on our “we’ll fix that later” list and usability issues.
Last week I told you about the command system we have in place for the tiles. It allows to type commands to open up specific tiles, for example ship information, fleet information etc. There was still a bit work left, so I finished that this week. The command interface is meant for players that have some experience with the game.
For everyone else it was quite hard to get into the game up until now, because you basically had to know what you are doing and there are quite a few actions that are almost only possible if you know engough about the command system. This has to change obviously when we want to show the game to other players and let them play. This week I started to work on these usability issues.
There are two issues I focused on this week: Context menu and tile state.
The context menu is available in the universe and in the system maps and tells you whether a planet or system has a commodity exchange or if you have a storage space there. The items are now clickable and will open the correct content tiles.
Tile state is the very technical term for the fact that changes in (for example) map settings should be persistent even when tiles are split, moved and of course if the players log out they expect to find their settings as they left them.