Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Playing with video, improving map UI

This week I tried something I’ve never done before, posting a video blog entry. I won’t do this every week, but I will try and do it at least once a month. In the process of doing this, I found a lot of issues that I hadn’t otherwise noticed.

There are a few things that I pointed out that I know about and haven’t had a chance to resolve yet, but I discovered a few key issues while doing the vlog. The biggest thing was the minimap image looked absolutely horrible. After thinking about it for a few days, I came up with a new approach which is much faster, and looks better compared to what it did before.

I’m still not really happy with the minimap overall, but I haven’t figured out what to do about it, yet. It is coming, however, and I expect to be fully there soon! I’m looking at pixel scaling algorithms, or perhaps a custom shader to improve the look of it somewhat, not sure what I’ll do yet.

I found it quite interesting at how fast the game plays in the build version. I think I want to slow it down actually, which is interesting because when I play it in the Unity window, it runs much slower. Still, I’ll have to come up with a better way, stay tuned!

I also spent some time learning about how to import Emojis, it turns out that my text rendering engine can support emojis, and thus all I have to do to add them is to get the data in to the right format to use, and import them. I haven’t gotten there yet, but when I do, it’ll improve some use. And no, I’m not talking about using smilies, see my previous blog for what I’m talking about using.

This week I’m going to sit down and do the price list. I’ve got it started, it’s time to get it to a working state. This might be delayed if I decided to do Ludum Dare again, but I should have time notwithstanding to finish this price list!

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Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Starting the price list

This week has been one of those that is more behind the scenes progress than code progress. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what I want to appear in a price list. There are some things that are obvious, and others that are less so.

First of all, I want a system such that one doesn’t know the actual world price list. In ye olden days, you wouldn’t know the price of something in the entire world, and I want to reflect that. But there are some rumors of prices that you will hear, in addition to the prices that you have observed at a particular time.

There are a few different systems that I have seen for such a system. The first is that of Pirates!. In that game, there is no price list at all other than what you see, but you can periodically receive prices of the prices in rumors. These are stored in a journal which you can review if requested. The price lists are typically seen by talking to people in a bar, which is a reasonable approach to update the prices.

The second is that of Winds of Trade. There there is a global price list, along with the date, price, and fidelity of the prices. While I like that general approach, it’s not quite what I’m wanting to do. It’s too accurate.

The approach that I’m looking to do is somewhat of a hybrid of the two. I want the rumors to exist. When you visit a tavern, you will get some idea of what prices are like in other parts of the world, particularly if you “loosen” people’s tongues. But I think it makes sense to collect your observations in a single point.

I think this will have 2 different modes, one that sorts by city, and one by good name. The City view will only show a summary of the key goods in a city, which will be used to get an idea if you need to go to a city, what else can you bring there or get from there that will be useful in other locations.

The goods list will look at least somewhat similar to the Winds of Trade screen, but will probably add a bit more information. Winds of Trade focuses on a fleet of ships operating independently, while Colonial Sea Trader focuses on a single ship, or possible a fleet of ships operating together. In either case, you are in a known location. I will take advantage of that to show where a city is with respect to your location, and how far away it is. This should help with determining your next location you wish to travel to.

Okay, all that being said, I did do a bit of work with the code of the game. I improved a few things that showed up when I played the game compiled vs in Unity. This is an example of the fixes I worked on this week, before things were showing through this graph, making it look rather ugly.

This week I hope to get a prototype set up viewing the prices of items by the item type. I’ll also keep working on stuff to improve the game further.

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Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game- Continuing goods editor, setting up more menus, doing “homework”.

This is another week of lots of behind the scenes changes, although there are a few things that are a bit more visible as well. The main thing that I’ve been doing is setting up the UI to be ready for a few new menus that I’m adding, including price lists, although I haven’t actually made said menus yet.

The items added were the 4 buttons on the left, of which one of them was the existing level goals button. One that particularly gave me troubles was the price lists button. I didn’t like the original one very much, and someone had the suggestion, why not just use the currency icon? I decided, sure, why not?

Well, while doing so, I decided I didn’t like my current currency icon, and have been struggling to find a new one. In doing so, I learned a lot about Unicode support and Emojis. I selected a set of Emojis that were interesting, and added them as supported characters in my fonts. I have been using TextMesh Pro for my game’s text, which made that interesting. I had to pick a set of Unicode characters that I wanted to include. Of these, not all were supported, but I am considering including the following in some ways, which I haven’t fully determined yet. These are ♁♂☜☝☞☟☠☡☢☣☤☥☦☧☨☩☪☫☬☭☮☯☸☹☺☻☼☽☾☀☁☂☃☄★☆🌣🌞⛅🌤🌥🌦🌧🌨🌩🌪⛈🌬🌫☁⛆🌢☂☔🌂⛱❄❅❆🎐☃⛄⛇⚿🔑🔏🔐🔒🔓⚓⛵🚣💎🔪🕭🕯🕰⚙⛭⛮⛏⛓🔨🔧🔩💍📕📖📗📘📙📚📜💹📈📉📊🗠💰💱💸¤¤❄❅❆✨❇❈⛪⛩🕌🕍🕋🛐🌐🌰🌱🌽🌾🌿🍀🍁🍂🍃🌵🌲🌳🌴🐴🦄🐮🐷🐪🦏🐘🐂🐃🐄🐎🦌🐐🐏🐑🐖🐇⚖⚔™✉⛺⛵. Text Mesh Pro doesn’t support color fonts so far as I can tell, which really limited the characters that I can find.

Beyond that, I’ve been continuing work on my editor. It’s still very much a viewer, but here is what I have so far!

It’s probably never going to be a pretty dialog, but it should do what is intended, or so I hope.

Lastly, I finally did what I’ve been needing to do for some time, I played the classic game “Pirates!” for “homework”. It was quite interesting to see how that game plays, and while it is to at least some extent different, the trading and feel of the game are similar to what I’m hoping to achieve, albeit with less story and piracy. One key thing that I’m going to add as a result is a journal of your various major events, which should be coming soon.

Goals for the next week include getting the editor to view everything, including loading any arbitrary files, hopefully adding new goods, and adding some of the UI elements, most likely a “Quit”, and possibly other related things.

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Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- New Website, adding livestock, and making it easier to add new goods!

For some time, I’ve been working on a new website. I’ve wanted to leave the temporary home of my Amateur Radio blog that for the last year has hosted my game development efforts, but is is certainly time to move on. As of today, this is the new home to all of my game development efforts! It will host my weekly development blog that I have used to inform those of you following my work over the course of the last year as to what I’m up to! The main site also features more information about my game, which will be gradually improved as I proceed.

I’m working on a few other ways to reach out better to people who are interested, including a Discord, doing more videos, possibly an occasional video dev blog to show what I’m up to, etc. Let me know what you would prefer, and I’ll consider it!

The main direct progress on Colonial Sea Trader this week was working to improve livestock. Among other things, I set a preference, both on an individual need as well as a per city/ good bases to prefer to use certain goods over others. Now, for instance, Cows can provide food, but their use for food is discouraged, instead preferring to rely on other forms of food, so that they can increase in numbers and make milk.

I also added quite a few livestock, including Cows, Horses, Llamas, Donkeys, and Goats. I improved them such that they all prefer certain types of climates, where they will grow better.

The main thing I plan on working on this week isn’t directly related to the game, but rather a tool to make adding new goods easier, and do verification of such goods. Right now, I’ve been making all of my changes in to an XML file, but that’s increasingly becoming annoying, an example of which can be seen below.

I hope that making a tool will make it a bit easier for me, and a lot easier for someone who isn’t as familiar with the game as I am. It doesn’t look like much now, and probably won’t look super fancy ever, but it will make the work of adding goods far easier. I’m planning on releasing this tool to the public at some point, likely with the next test build that I release, if I can get the tool done in time. I’m also going to try to allow for light modding with the build, which will just be tweaking the goods, starting conditions, etc. Lastly, I’m considering working on a tool to create custom maps, which I will try and make available.

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates!

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Improving the seed functionality, adding new goods

One of the problems that I’ve noticed for a while is that water is significantly overproduced compared to the other goods. This week I hunted down the cause. I found that the largest reason was that water is the one good that can be produced anywhere without needing anything, and thus water would be stored even if it wasn’t needed in other places!

To solve this problem, I’ve decided to take a couple of stage approach. First of all, I’m adding a lot more goods. I’ve long had a list of about 60 goods that I wanted to add, and now those are getting added! I’m probably going to have to redo a few things while making this happen, to allow for better display of information, and buying goods. I’ve had a few ideas for how to make this happen, but once I have the full good layout, it should be a bit easier.

I’m going to try to add most of the plant goods that I’ve had in mind to do for a while. I’m also probably going to add new goods like wood that are pretty much common world wide, which should reduce the large water stockpiles that exist.

The last thing, which I’ll have to do some playing with, is setting out initial planting conditions. I’m not 100% sure yet this is required, but it is something that I will be keeping an eye on as I continue the goods additions.

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates! 

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- More UI fixes

This week I continued to work on fixing a number of UI issues that have been shown for some time, but I have put on the back burner until I completed the UI redesign that I’ve been working on for the last month. The most significant was fixing the line so that it shows above the city labels, as seen here.

A few other issues that I looked in to were to improve the text rendering somewhat, improving performance, testing performance in the normal game mode (And found it to be sufficient), ensured that the top dialog would always be usable, and fixing the way the line is displayed that was poor in a few instances.

This week I’m going to start tackling game play for the first time in a while. Specifically, I’ve noticed that water is significantly over produced, and I’m hoping to get to the bottom of that. Furthermore, I want to ensure that food is being produced at a reasonable level, and see why luxuries are overproduced. It might take a while, but I’m hoping to get to the bottom of this!

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates! 

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Making sure the right dialog was visible.

This was a week of bug fixing primarily, although I did start to add functionality that will be useful in other areas. The major item fixed was making sure the dialogs display in the correct order. I’m still working a few details out, but it’s coming together nicely!

The other issue that I’ve been working on is figuring out what to do with the labels when you zoom out. Thus far I’ve started to add in the capacity for the UI elements on the map to increase in size when you zoom in, but it’s coming along still. I should have that addressed this week, which will allow for the UI to look better at all zoom scales.

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates! 

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Polishing dialogs

This week was primarily spent polishing the dialogs edited last week, as well as fixing a few visual bugs. The biggest change was a few upgrades to the cityscape, which you can see below.

Also fixed was a bug that didn’t show the correct value of the goods, and other dialog bugs. I will spare you an image of them, trust me, they are there.

This week I want to fix a few visual issues. Basically, those items that appear in world space don’t have a consistent look. They sometimes appear behind the ship, sometimes in front of it, and sometimes even between the ship, all of which just don’t quite look right! They also don’t scale well with size. This week I plan on fixing all of these issues! I’m also hoping to get the website ready to go, however, I’m wanting to try out one additional thing before I’m ready to put it to the test.

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates! 

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Dialog upgrade finished, city look finished, speed improvements.

A good deal of progress has been made this week! The short is, I have completed the theme application, which uses better text packages, supports localization, and easy asset upgrades for most of my future work! Here are a few sample images of what has changed. Note that I’m still going to tweak the edges of the city, seek first.

I’m still going to be working on improving the graphics, but less diligently for a while. I started to do some bug fixing. I started to fix bugs, including some that speed up the world generation, UI issues, and that sort of thing. The camera now centers correctly on the ship, some crashes were fixed, I removed some dead code, improved my organization, and a lot of other things that aren’t easily seen, but make a difference to me.

This week is bug crunching. The main item on deck is improving the way that the UI elements display on the world map. They don’t scale well, and often don’t appear at the right level, I’m going to be playing with that some to improve the looks. I also hope to do some work with the website to get it into a reasonable condition.

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates! 

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Improving the look, continuing to work on the town layout, starting a website

This week has been an interesting one. I’m continuing to work towards getting it ready to show off. To do so, I improved the look of the mountains and terrain in general, I started working on a website, and continuing to work on the town layout that I’ve been working on for a few weeks.

Looking at the terrain, I realized that I had made it too flat in appearance. I fixed this, as can be seen above.

I also have started to replace the city layout, as I’ve mentioned a few times before. You can see how it will roughly look, although I’m continuing to improve it. The next version the buildings will look different, and the city label will contain more information, slightly. I’m fairly confident I can have a fully working version of this by the end of this week!

As mentioned, I started a website. I have a host, and will be continuing to work on improving things further, although I’m still trying to decide exactly what it will look like. Stay tuned, I hope to have something in the next week or two. It will result in a new blog location, and I’m going to try to import everything from this blog to the new one (At least, all of the dev blogs for this game). My Amateur Radio following group will be happy to have this return to it’s original purpose!

If you haven’t yet, feel free to like me on Facebook, join my Google Group, subscribe to my Sub Reddit, or follow me on Twitter, where you are likely to get frequent updates!