Development Log Week 94

Michi is on vacation throughout week 94 and 95, so it's Martin speaking! This week, I finally completed the chat feature's improved integration into the tiling UI. It took quite a bit longer than originally planned, but I think it turned out quite nicely. Because of this, I'll just plaster this week's devlog with animated GIFs of what I've been working on :-)

The original motivation for the overhaul was to allow opening all types of chat channels via the command mechanism that powers our tiling interface. So when you have an empty tile and you want to start a conversion with another user, you can simply enter the COMU command with the respective username:

opening a chat via command

Because you might enter an invalid or the wrong username, you need to confirm starting the conversion by clicking a button:

confirming a new conversatation

This only applies to new conversations. For an existing one, the tile will immediately show the respective message log.

Once I had the basic integration done I wanted to treat myself to an experiment I had planned for a long time: During early tests we realized that initiating, for example, a commodity trade between two players can be rather cumbersome. You have to describe exactly which commodity and which exchange you are referring to to your business partner and they have to find the exact item you are describing through the interface somehow. Wouldn't it be a lot easier if you could just mention "the thing" in a chat and your partner could just open it with a click of a link?

At the end of the week, I implemented just that: When you mention certain things on a chat, the input will be recognized as references to in-game resources or objects and converted to a respective link automatically:

automatic conversion of input into links

Anyone on the chat can than just click that link to open a buffer displaying the thing that was mentioned:

opening a linked item

My current proof-of-concept allows to mention users, companies, commodity exchange tickers and foreign exchange pairs. I plan on expanding this functionality to cover as many item types as possible, but I might have to improve the underlying logic a bit before doing so. For example, many item codes are ambiguous and it would be nice if they'd only be converted to a link when the respective item actually exists.

Let me know what you think about this new functionality, the chat feature and our tiling interface in general on the forums! I'm looking forward to your feedback!

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