3/17/2019 in devlog
In today's devlog, you can read up on what's happened in one of the most eventful weeks Prosperous Universe has ever had and, for the first time ever, take an extended look at some of our back-end statistics!
This week began with Martin and me talking about the upcoming features and who would implement which parts. I then started right away with implementing my first part: adding the local market as a planetary project. Similar to the Chamber of Global Commerce, the local markets can be built by anyone with a base on a given planet. We exclude the faction planets since they already have a commodity exchange and we don't want to have two different kinds of markets on these planets.
At the same time, the key giveaway on MMORPG.com started and we saw quite an inrush of new players in our newly resetted world. I want to show you some of the statistics we collected on this occasion.
First of all the active users:
We count active users on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You can see some irregularities due to an implementation error of the statistic aggregation that I fixed during this week. The white stripes are server down times. One can clearly see that sometime between the 11th and 12th the key giveaway started. After 24 hours or so, the giveaway wasn't on the front page anymore (only as a small banner in the sidebar), and so the amount of new players joining slowly declined.
Over the last week, around 700 distinct companies have been founded. This number does not include companies that have been deleted due to COLIQs. On the right, the total amount of starting profiles is shown, independent of faction. During the week, we adjusted the demand value for certain starting profiles that is shown during company creation twice to reduce the amount of metallurgists and fuel engineers. Changing the value had an effect, albeit a little one.
In these graphs, we plot the starting profiles by faction. As expected, the metallurgist is by far the most popular package with NEO Charter Exploration and the victualler with Insitor Cooperative. We are happy that only few players chose the new Fuel Engineer package since it has turned out to be a tough choice for beginners.
In this chart, you can see the total money supply in the game. It consists of all money new players bring to the game by selecting a certain starter package minus the money that gets lost due to company liquidations. The balance of the market makers is currently positive, so that is subtracted as well. As you can see, the market makers have a big influence, since the total money supply is stagnant even though new players bring new money into the game. We monitor the situation closely and have discussed countermeasures.
There are more statistics in development and even in production, maybe I can show some of them in one of the next devlogs!
I'm the one trying to get players into the game, and I'm pretty happy with the numbers shown above. I was lucky enough to get an intro to the MMORPG.com folks by our game designer Alex, who organized a giveaway for another game on their site a couple of years ago. And while the key giveaway certainly accounts for a large portion of new players, I also took the usual measures to beat the drum about the game world launch: posted on social media, sent out external and internal newsletters as well as a press release, provided some influencers with game keys etc. The most challenging experience was once again Reddit, where self-promo isn't exactly appreciated, but I think we got along alright in the end.
Finally, of course, I spent a lot of time talking our the community on our various channels. And while the overall numbers are quite satisfying, I'm even more proud of what some really active parts of our community have been up. Not that I deserve any credit for it, but it makes me giddy to see this level of investment with the game. Players have set up their own Discord servers, started writing tools and even websites to make calculations and projections for their companies. I'll share some of this stuff on our social media channels once it's ready for the public.
Anyway, here's a pretty gif I shot today of ships orbiting the three most popular planets! (Blue plots are player bases.)
There has been a long-standing bug in our issue tracker about many commands in the APEX UI being case-sensitive that really shouldn't be. At first this sounds like a trivial issue: Just didn't pay attention somewhere, forgot to handle upper or lower-case, happens to the best of us, easy fix. But as it's often the case, there's more to the story.
By now, there are a lot of different entity and object types in the game. And in 95% of the cases, identifying these items and loading them from the server works pretty much in exactly the same way. But for historic reasons(tm), all of these cases are handled with more or less individual code as well as their own commands and messages. Some shared utilities were written over time, but all in all, there is a lot of unnecessary duplication. That means that fixing the bug mentioned above could mean looking at, testing and fixing code in dozens of places. Of course yielding the risk of breaking other things in the process.
So I set out this week to clean up this mess. The majority of the work was conceptual in nature, figuring out what the common core to all these cases is and whether it can actually be harmonized. I also looked at how this refactoring can help us with other, related issues (like when do we need to send data updates to a client for items the user isn't looking at anymore). The majority of the implementation work will follow over the coming two weeks.
As always: we'd love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!