1/19/2020 in devlog
This week, the team has worked on various tasks such as managing job applications, making a mental image of the game's systems, and preparing an upcoming maintenance patch.
First off, sorry for my absence last week. I didn't really have much of interest to report and decided to quietly skip the development log for once. We had a call on Thursday in which I relayed quite a bit of community feedback to the rest of the team, most of which will be put through The Filter shortly.
The most important bit of my work this week was to get back to the first applicants to our PR & Community Manager job ad. If you applied for the job and haven't heard back from me yet, I'm sorry - you've probably not made it to the shortlist. Chances are it's due to a technicality; we've been going back and forth between our accountant and the ministry co-funding our development for the next year in order to find out what exactly the rules for the new position are. Unfortunately, we've now learned that the person would need to have a German employment contract, meaning that they have to reside in Germany. We don't want to ask anyone to relocate across the globe, especially since the job would still be remote and our funding is secured for only a year. That is why we've been focusing on Germany and its adjacent countries in this first round of replies.
While Michi is working on the user-facing changes of our upcoming maintenance release, I continued to work on framework-related stuff. I mostly finished the migration to the latest version of the actor framework we use and spent some time ensuring that everything stills works as expected. As mentioned before, the side-effects of this upgrade are minor performance improvements and some additional instrumentation that'll help us troubleshoot issues in the future as well as improve our deployment process (like shorter connection losses during upgrades). The latter will require some more work, though.
That's about it for this week. My plan is to also dive into some actual game development for once before the end of the month and I seriously can't wait for that to happen!
As mentioned last week, I'm deep into the process of grasping the game as a whole. This includes pages upon pages of notes on existing features, upcoming ones and all kinds of things I notice while playing. And given us systems designers like to keep "mental images" of the things we work on in our minds, it also includes creating actual visual models. Given the game's scope, these can get quite extensive...
I am currently working on a small maintenance update that we will release at the end of the month. As usual a whole list of issues, bugs and quality of life improvements etc have been piling up while we have been working on the last named release ('Expanse') and now is the time to work on these issues.
Here are a few examples:
When deleting the last building of a production line, the UI hangs and only a refresh of APEX will show the new correct state. I fixed that and deleting buildings works as intended now.
As mentioned last week, I doubled the amount of available plots on the three hub worlds.
Ever since we introduced the production fees, we received complaints from player that their production would not work for some reason and the next production order would not be started. This was in almost all the cases due to missing funds for the production fee. I included a new error message similar to the existing 'input missing' and 'no capacity' messages:
During the recent influx of new players, we noticed that base building is not as self-explanatory as it could be. After clicking the 'start base' button some players don't know how to continue and it is not very obvious what to do. For example, if the
PLI window is small, the UI overlaps the display of the planetary surface making the selection of a plot really hard. I decided to move the base building into its own window similar to the creation process of corporation projects. In this new UI, we have enough space to explain and guide the players. Here is a work in progress version: