2/11/2018 in devlog
While Michi and Martin (!) continued working on the technical side of things, Julian has mainly been writing down ideas and planning tasks for the coming months. Martin spent most of his time implementing alerts, i.e. notifications a player receives outside the game when something noteworthy happened to their company. Meanwhile, Michi's system for FTL (faster than light) travel is nearing completion, and we can't wait for our testers to give it a whirl.
Good news everyone! I actually had several days of quality development time this week! Due to customer work, development of our new payment gateway and the Christmas holidays it has been almost three months (!) since I last checked in changed to the game's codebase. To be honest, that left me a bit shocked... I knew I was busy with other stuff, but I wasn't really aware of the amount of time that's passed. No wonder our release plans are as durable as a snowman in summer...
Anyway, I found back into Prosperous Universe's server code rather quickly and got to work. First item on the list: Alerts! Alerts are the first (and mostly internal) layer of our new notification system. When something happens within the game the player should know about - like a new trade for one of their orders, a workforce starting to become dissatisfied or a production line running out of work, to name a few - the system generates an alert. So far, all of this happens on the server only... my next dev logs will deal with the display of the resulting notifications in the client and how alerts get translated to actual notifications outside of the game (like sending an email). Enough work for the weeks to come :-)
This week I was busy implementing the counterpart to the departure segment of faster-than-light space flights I described in devlog #114: the approach segment.
Just like the departure segment it works like this: when jumping into a destination star system, the ships will not arrive directly at the destination planet anymore. Instead, they appear in a safe distance (0.5 astronomical units at the moment) of the planet and will have to do a short slower-than-light flight to the target. Below you see the current visualisation of a departure and approach segment while planning out a flight.
While this seems a bit arbitrary at the moment, this will allow us to implement some interesting game mechanics later on! Ships could be equipped with better navigation computers or planets could have special navigation hardware that reduces that safety distance and possibly shorten flight times.
I've spent half of my first week on the job gathering tasks for the months to come. Other than that, a surprising amount of work went into performance marketing, more specifically the dark art of Facebook advertising. It's a fascinating thing to get into, and I'm starting early to find out who our target audience actually is and how to reach out to them. So far, I've not been too successful, but there are already some mistakes I won't repeat. Right now, we're mainly trying to get newsletter sign-ups so we can let everybody know when they can join our next test.
Another thing I've been doing is reaching out to friends and acquaintances who might have advice for me. It may sound odd, but I highly recommend it to anyone embarking on a new adventure. People have been where you are right now, and it can save you a ton of time to learn from their mistakes. Besides many invaluable tipps concerning my new responsibilities, I've gotten plenty of press contacts and website lists out of this initiative. There are many things I would've wasted resources on had I not reached out to those more experienced than me. Luckily, I also learned that most of my own approaches are valid and I've even had some ideas my advisors found pretty clever.
Last but not least, I've been mapping out our marketing funnel (which is an ugly word, right?) and slowly turning my attention to more classic PR work like reaching out to press and influencers.