12/22/2023 - news
As 2023 draws to a close, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on the year and provide a brief glimpse into what lies ahead in 2024.
But first of all, let's celebrate with a 10% voucher code, valid for PRO license purchases from today to December 26th:
Our journey in 2023 began with a makeover of the new player experience. As outlined in various devlogs, if we want to increase the amount of players, we have two options: spend more marketing money to get more players into the game, or try to keep players engaged for longer. Our work on the new player experience falls into the second category. We transitioned from a single UI tour to a system of tours that is interconnected with introductory contracts provided by faction agents. The tours introduce major game mechanics, like the UI, contracts, flights, trading and so on. With the help of SeaPear we also replaced the old tutorial videos with brand-new ones! All in all, this makeover was very successful, we saw a significant improvement in the retention of new players!
A project that wasn't as successful was the UI refresh. Given that we are still using a design that Martin and I came up with during the early days of Prosperous Universe, it really is time to let someone who knows what they are doing re-design the UI. We found someone and even started to redo some of the UI components, but eventually the project was put on hold in favor of more pressing matters. We haven't given up on the UI refresh though and hope to finish the project some time in the future.
In March, we introduced the first Monthly Economic Report. At the time, players suggested to create some sort of report to gain more insights into the economy. We liked the idea, but due to our limited dev-time couldn't make this an in-game feature. Instead, each month we publish a screenshot from our internal tool that tracks this kind of data. The reports now live on the forums.
In May Nick posted his final devlog as he, unfortunately, left the company. Lena and Michi assumed his marketing duties, concentrating on influencer marketing mainly on YouTube, but also Twitch. Performance marketing, which had not proven effective for us, is currently on hold.
Martin said it himself: Something's up when he makes an appearance in a devlog. In July he announced the good news. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has greenlit a new Prosperous Universe project. We have been keeping it secret up until that point, when we were able to secure the funding. The project consists of three major parts: a German translation, a politics update and an infrastructure update. The German translation is a requirement to get the funding, but it has been on our wishlist for a long time anyways. With the politics update we want to introduce a new politics system that allows more participation by the general player base and finally gets rid of the shortfalls players experience with the governor system. The third part will introduce new infrastructure projects and will also change how infrastructure is built and operated.
With the Liquidity Release, a major update has seen the light of day in July as well. It brought a host of new features. We introduced Leaderboards where players can compare themselves with others in many different categories, like amount of bases, ships, HQ level and most interestingly the production output for individual commodities and resources. The APEX representation center is a "show-off" feature that allows investing hard-earned currency to show your wealth to the universe. Another feature that has been received very well are loan contract templates. These extend the existing contract features and allow to hand out customized loans to other players. Especially new players profit from these, and it can speed up the early game quite a bit. The full release notes are available on the forums.
After the summer break we started to work on the German translation. We decided that it is not enough to "just" translate the game itself, but everything around it as well. That includes the website, the account system, the handbook and the Steam page. Although we planned ahead and added support for additional translations when we started Prosperous Universe this turned out to be more work than anticipated. We are happy to announce that the translation is done, and we'll be able to release it early next year.
Recently, work began on the second major milestone of the new project: politics. We envision a context system that allows players to switch back and forth between their company context and any government contexts that they might have. This allows players to have a separate set of screens for each context, creating a clear boundary between the company and the government tasks. We are halfway through with the implementation of the context system.
This brings us neatly to the tasks that lie ahead in 2024. As already mentioned, we will deploy the German translation early next year and with that out of the way we can focus on finishing the context system. This will be the foundation for the development of the politics system. Instead of having a single governor that rules without much oversight we'll introduce parliaments that can consist of multiple players. Everything from setting the taxes to outsource upkeep contracts for the infrastructure will be managed and voted upon with motions. These motions and the corresponding votes will be public so interested players can gain insight what their government does. We'll also remove the rule that restricts a player to only be governor of one planet at a time. Players can be member of parliament on multiple planets at the same time, allowing more participation in the political system.
We will also increase our marketing activity to try to bring in more new players. We are currently sitting at around 5000 monthly active players and hope to increase that number significantly.
As we look forward to an exciting 2024 with new updates, we're grateful to have you with us! The entire team wishes you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!