5/2/2022 in devlog
This week is all about custom private contracts, which just jumped forward on the feature list.
One of the results of our recent team meeting was that we bumped the topic of custom private contracts up on our priority list, which means we need all the details figured out. It's an often requested feature that also works really well for the changes to politics and infrastructure we're planning (and also the faction-contract aka "quest" system which, as the name suggests, will likely be contract-based itself).
What I currently have in mind is that you create your own contracts from a set of "building blocks". So for example, you could add a payment condition, then a delivery, and then another payment. Or you could have a delivery, a provisioning and a pickup without any payment at all (essentially a "barter trade"). Each condition could depend on a previous one or not, and each one might have its own deadline. When you're happy with your "draft", you'll then be able to send it to a potential partner, which puts the contract into a new "offer" state that can be accepted, rejected or edited on the receivers side with their own suggestions and sent back.
In line with the game's sandbox-driven philosophy, this system opens up lots of gameplay possibilities but naturally also raises quite a few questions, starting with what accounting value to assign to items when they weren't really "paid for" in the traditional sense. Additionally, we want to allow you to create repeating contracts or, in case you agree with your partner, cancel already closed contracts, which need to be handled cleanly as well.
By the way, in case you have any thoughts on the topic yourself, we're currently collecting feedback in a forum thread!
In conjunction with the Steam release, I also planned for a big influencer video to come out the week after, which was last week. If you are interested, we just got a massive influx from Real Civil Engineer's video. This really helped with getting even more players where they now have the option of playing either on Steam or on their browser. Aside from that, I also worked on the Steam store page and monitoring reviews that keep trickling in. A huge shoutout to all those that are helping coach new players on either Discord or the in-game chat. You guys rock!
This week has been all about technical maintenance, again! Due to the Steam release and an integrated video ad of a youtuber, we saw a large amount of new registrations. A dying, single node has been no problem so far, as it is just rebooted and is reunited with the rest again after a few minutes. This time we saw cascading failures: The load left behind by a dying node would be moved over the remaining nodes, pushing them over the edge as well. Unfortunately PrUn wasn't able to recover from these failures in an automatic fashion. Even worse: the error messages we received were misleading and we spent quite a bit of time looking in the wrong direction.
After a while of tweaking the game is running stable again now, but there is still some research left to do, which I will do this week.