4/13/2020 in devlog
The team talks about a variety of topics this week including new planetary projects, aspects for helping new players assimilate into the game, art ideas, and investor dealings.
I finally implemented the SEO changes on the website and will be monitoring them throughout the week to see if there are any positive or negative changes in terms of web traffic. My hope is to also add more content to the website in terms of boosting SEO and from a UX perspective like an image of past and future releases that will highlight how far the game as come since its original inception. I also reworked the press release information in order to be ready for new PR contacts once Populous is ready.
The amateur artwork for the Prosperous Turnip was posted on Twitter and Facebook and I had to rework the background for Twitter since it only allows you to post in a landscape frame. I talked with Michi about doing some WWII/Cold War poster styled art for an interesting/not too difficult design-wise for social media channels. I'm working on a new image as of writing this and I'm excited to incorporate this new theme and improve my digital art making skills!
This week was primarily focused on two tasks surrounding "Populous" for me. The first was continuing to collect ideas regarding the new planetary infrastructure. We have a pretty good idea of the kinds of needs we're going for, but aren't 100% decided on the specific planetary projects. Some of them are pretty set in stone, for example there'll probably be police stations, fire brigades and hospitals in one form or another. Others, especially when it comes to non-essential comfort and culture, are more elusive. We've been throwing around anything from Wellness Centers, to Arcades, Art Cafés and 4D Cinemas, each with their own implications on the resulting building and upkeep materials of course.
The other major task was transferring the whole population concept (at least its mathematical side) into a spreadsheet format. While text documents make a lot of sense (to me at least) for high-level concepts and laying out the design reasoning, they become quite unwieldy once you're starting to tweak the details, values and formulas across dozens of sections and subsections. As a nice side effect, I think the spreadsheet will give Martin und Michi a much more efficient overview of things for when they start implementing it all later down the line, too.
I finished all outstanding tasks on the "new player experience" change list. The last two tickets were about the address selector and the list of production orders.
When you start out in the game and ask other players how to buy things or how to make money the answer will most likely contain the tip to fly to a commodity exchange. While this is a pretty forward thing to do for experienced players it is way harder for newbies. The reason for this is, that you first have to acquire the address of the commodity exchange and then type it into the destination field in the
SFC command. Wouldn't it be easier if one could just click on the comex' address somewhere without typing it? Meet the new address selector! Besides the search results from typing in partial addresses it now also has three more sections with the addresses of your bases, warehouses and the three commodity exchanges. Here is an example:
Some buildings have a lot of different recipes and finding the right one can be tricky. We decided to add a product filter as an additional (but optional) step to select a production template. The product filter allows to narrow down the available production templates to a list that only contains the corresponding products. It looks like this:
Besides these additions I also worked on a ticket that will change how the efficiency factors in the production lines work: From now on all efficiency factors will be multiplicative. In the past the efficiency factors have been added to the base efficiency value of the workforce. Now they will be multiplied with the base value. This will move the focus even more towards keeping the workforces satisfied.
With hiring-related stuff out of the way, I finally got around to do a bit of programming, just to be immediately pulled away from it again. Our plan was to only start working on the UI project we got funding for once all respective position were filled and the new people actually started to work for us. That's currently scheduled to happen in early July. But technically, the project has been going on since mid-December and therefore we have to do the necessary paperwork now already. That's the difference between a private and a public investor: The former is interested in how the money is spent, the latter is interested in that it is spent. Although a bit strange, I am happy to comply as long as it means that we are able to pay for the new positions we created which in turn will allow us to crank up the UI/UX qualities of the game to 11 starting later this year!