Development Log Week 76

Once again, Michi spent a week at simulogics HQ so we were able to work in the same place. As you might have guessed, we were mostly busy with getting our new website out of the door, but we also addressed some other issues, including the current elephant in the room: How to design the material tree?

New website

Obviously, we launched our new website this week. Most of the work involved ironing out the final design issues, applying the design to the previously mentioned authentication app and finalizing the content. We're quite happy how it turned out and we will continue to add more content over time.

New forums

Technically, there wasn't much to do to get the forums running. In fact, they've been installed and operational for about a month now. But I still feel like mentioning it separately because it was such an exciting step for us and for the project. This really marks the day we opened the door for an actual community and we can't wait to see how it develops.

This also means we're ramping up our publicity game now, trying to get the word out to as many people as possible. If you know of a friend who'd enjoy a game like Prosperous Universe or you are active in any kind of online community with an interest in space and/or MMO business simulations - be it Reddit, a discussion board or any other type - we'd really appreciate you recommending us. Once the game starts, we need critical mass to get our simulated economy up to speed!

Material Tree Editor

We've been dealing with the material tree on and off again over the past months, mostly when Michi and I met at simulogics HQ. In a sense, it's what makes the game what it is: All the features we have are nice and good by themselves, but things like a player's progression throughout the game, the interdependencies between factions and star system or the difficulties of reaching a higher population level or settling on an exotic planet all depend on what the material tree looks like.

The challenge is to design this tree. So far, we have tried to do it manually in code, but we are planning to have hundreds of materials and resources in the game, with a variety of preconditions, dependencies and progressions. At some point we had to admit to ourselves: The manual approach won't work. We need tool-support to make the design process faster, more convenient and more robust. We also need a way to adjust the material tree once the game has launched and we can't just change things anymore without disturbing existing entities in the game.

Consequently, we sat down and came up with the specs for a material tree editor. It's something that so far hasn't really been part of our project plan and will most likely delay a few other things, but we are confident that the additional effort to develop this tool will pay off big time in the future.

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