Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Price list, improved land, minimap display, and more!

This has been one of the more productive weeks I’ve had in a while. I had tentatively planned to do Ludum Dare this weekend, not having any inspiration from it, however, I decided to keep working full steam ahead with Colonial Sea Trader. And I managed to do quite a bit.

The first order of business was fixing the ugly looking square box from last week. I determined the cause of the problem was the resolution with which I was drawing the box. I set the resolution to be constant. In addition, I now only redraw the box when resizing, otherwise I just shift the texture coordinates, which allows the game to run faster. Redrawing the minimap was actually one of the longer tasks done each turn, so speeding that up helps quite a bit!

The eagle eyed among you will notice two additional changes in the above image from previous weeks. The first is that the land looks quite a bit different. While debugging the minimap, I discovered the textures weren’t being applied correctly. In the process of fixing this, I discovered a number of other issues, the most notable was that the game didn’t look the same in the compiled version as the editor. To solve this, I first determined that it was the frequency of the bitmasking operations that was the issue. In the process of discovering this, I turned the frequency way up, and I found this version, which I quite like. Let me know what you think!

The other change is that there is another button working in the bottom left hand corner. That is the price list dialog. Here is what it looks like in action:

Note that you can sort by any of the columns. I’m going to work on prettying up a few remaining issues with this, but overall, I’m quite content.

I did another video, which you can see a bit more gameplay. Take a look at it below.

On tap for this week is fixing a few remaining bugs observed in the price list. Assuming all of those go as planned, I next plan to start working on price rumors, where when you visit a port, you will get an idea of what the price of goods will be for other nearby ports, and possibly even exotic ports.

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! You can also subscribe to the Old Ham Media YouTube Channel, where I post frequent videos showing the progress of gameplay and more!

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!

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- 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.

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- 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.

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- 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!