1/26/2020 in devlog
We're in between releases. The post-PC Gamer rush has ebbed away a bit and we're slowly setting our sights on the next named release. But before that happens, Michi is shaping the upcoming maintenance patch into a big bundle of QoL improvements and bugfixes while Fabian continues to wrap his head around the complexities of the game, especially the different starting profiles and the general "new player" experience.
My week was kind of short and primarily focused on interviewing the first batch of candidates to replace Julian some time later this spring. Julian and I interviewed six candidates and almost all of them left a very good impression…it's going to be a tough call!
On Friday I had the honor to speak at the 20th anniversary party of NLnet Labs in Amsterdam. I was invited to talk a bit about what we do and how we ended up doing it, which happens to be quite an unusual story going back all the way to 2002. The other talks were very interesting as well and the event as a whole was great fun. Thanks for having me!
That said, I plan to be back at actual game development (for once) next week, getting started on the preliminary work for our next named release. It's going to contain some features that our players most certainly are going to love!
This week I continued my “getting to know Prosperous Universe” month by delving (back) into the new-player experience. For example, I compared starting packages based on how clearly they suggest the first short-term goals to players, whether there are interesting choices to make right from the start and where players can go after following the recommended first steps. From my findings, some of the packages could use more love than others or maybe could be replaced entirely, but this is also a matter of making changes to the tech tree as a whole, so we’ll certainly get back to it later down the line.
Besides packages, I also went over the first-few-sessions experience and accessibility in general and compiled a long list of potential problems and suggestions on how to go about solving them. This is something we will discuss rather soon, since improvements for new players are quite high on our list, especially if they’re “low-hanging fruit”.
Lastly, I also took a quick look at MM prices and actual market prices for minerals and ores, which revealed a few balancing issues, especially in comparison with early-game agriculture. We’ll look into it further, but you can probably expect some balancing changes in the not too distant future.
I continued to work on the next maintenance release this week. We decided that we will release it on Thursday January 30th and you can check out the official release notes on the forums.
I kept all the boring bugfixes for this week, so there is not much to show. One bug is rather interesting and a few players tripped over it in the last few weeks: All currencies in the game have two decimal places but they are not shown everywhere. Usually one would use decimal places in FX or ComEx orders, but the sidebar,
FINLA and other commands don't show them for the sake of simplicity. The component that displays the amount of money is aware of the decimal places though and rounds up and down accordingly, e.g. rounds up if the fraction is >= .5. We received multiple reports that contractual payment conditions could not be fulfilled even though the players seemingly had the money. In the end the rounding was the culprit. The players were only fractions of a unit short, but APEX displayed the rounded up value.