Monday, May 2, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Wiring up the Captain

This week has been a behind-the-scenes work, while I've been adding new features, they aren't as showy. Specifically, I've been focusing on the abilities of the crew. These have proven to be more challenging than I thought they would be, but have resulted in a more robust system overall.

The first thing I've focused on is the ability to fish. This falls under the attribute "scavenge".  Scavenge simply put is the ability to use the resources of the land to make ends meet. What will happen is the food will occasionally be increased as one moves. Eventually some tiles will have more fish than others, but for now all tiles are the same. Eventually there will be a land scavenge ability, which will primarily be for water, some for food, and possibly even for goods, but I haven't gotten there yet.

Next I added a crew salary. No longer can one take a ship around the world without some consequences. There is no penalty for negative cash, but it is possible.

Lastly I've focused on the navigation ability. In doing so, I found a few bugs. One was that there was a memory leak such that after moving around for a while, the game would slow to a crawl. That issue has been addressed. Next I've added less than perfect navigation. I'm still tuning it somewhat, but the effect is comical. This is one of the better examples, I've seen instances where the ship essentially goes around the complete board just to go a relatively short distance.


In adding this feature, I noticed a small bug in my pathfinding navigation that was compounded by the abuse that I added in my navigation code. I'm still working on resolving that issue, but when it's done I expect the pathfinding to be smoother. I also plan on adding a preview of the path the ship is expected to take prior to starting the pathfinding. Lastly I added the ability to traverse over land, although it takes a considerable amount of time. This is realistic, as ships are sometimes ported across land to maneuver a small channel.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Ocean texture, better selection, and other enhancements!

This week I have been quite busy, doing UI/ niceties to upgrade my game. It's starting to take shape, and become something that I'm quite excited to have progress!

The most notable change is the ocean now looks more like an ocean, with slowly moving waves moving in and out. Here's a sample of what it looks like (Forgive the sudden jump when it moves back to the beginning)


I've also spent some work getting the ship's movement to look more realistic. The effect looks quite nice, and I am happy with it for now.

I've also improved the selection dialog for hold selection, as seen below. The boxes are now outlined with an "inner glow" of sorts, which improves the effect.

This week I will continue to work on the Captain. Specifically, I hope to start to show the effects of having a good captain from a poor one. I might continue a few UI elements that were started, but not finished, from last week. And if I have more time, I'll start working on generating more realistic maps than I have before, although that likely will take a few weeks.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sea Trading Game- New look, UI Design, including new look, use of tool tips, and single ship.

This, as promised, has been a week where I focused on the UI, as opposed to adding new features. I have made considerable changes, and I'm happy with what I'm seeing.

The biggest change was that the UI is now improved. You can see how things look below. In particular, note that one can now see a mini-view of the ship in the upper right hand corner. In addition, moving the mouse over objects will show information about that tile. I'm still trying to get some of the information more compact, but it is working for now at least.


There also have been a number of less visible changes. I changed some of the back end UI elements that make maintaining labels for cities easier. It also improved the look for when those labels overlap. I've pushed out the name of the captain, and the cash each ship has, to the front screen.

Coming next I'm hoping to improve the way the tooltip works. I've got a better idea of how to do things, but I haven't gotten there quite yet, it will take some work. I'm also working on improving the hold selection process.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Supplies and People

This week I put in a few changes that haven't fully been realized, but will start to be over the next few weeks. The biggest change is that I now have working supplies, that have a number of days that count down to show how much food and water is left. These changes will allow for a more realistic ship trading experience. So far there isn't any consequences of not having enough food or water on the ship, but that will come soon. It seems to be working, so far, and I'm excited for the day when this works as realized! Note in the image below that as the ship moves, and time passes, the food and water both count down.


There are a number of reasons that I haven't added the consequences yet of not having enough food. One of the big ones is that I want to to add a crew to the ship first. The crew will have abilities, such as fishing, that will make a difference in the rate of supplies going down (They might even increase supplies somewhat). I'm still working out the details of exactly how that will work, but it is coming alone nicely.

I have decided that I am going to alternate, a couple of weeks working on new game features, and a couple of weeks perfecting game features, and working on general user interface issues. I'm hoping this will keep the game moving along, while still keeping a focus on UI.

Next up I'm going to do some more work towards making this an actual game. Right now I have what I think will work reasonably well as a tutorial. There is a lot of things that I've taken short-cuts for that I don't really want to do in the main game. I'm going to start breaking out the game into a tutorial mode, and a non-tutorial mode. I suspect this will take some time, but I have a couple weeks. It'll be nice to see the game taking more form!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Slow week

I'm sorry to say there isn't more of an update this week, but some weeks are bound to be slower than others I suppose. This week most of my time has been spent tackling supplies, which proved to be harder than I thought it would be, and thus taxed me to my limits. I've now come up with a method for doing so fully, and started putting it together, but it will take a bit of time unfortunately. I should be able to have something this week, however.

Aside from that, I did fix a few minor UI issues, the most notable being that the text labeling cities appears in the correct order. This small change proved quite difficult, but I was able to get it in the end. You can see below what my final version actually looks like, note that the ship is above the labels of the city, but the city labels are above the cities.

This week I should be able to get supplies working to some extent. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to represent these as UI elements, but I'm getting there, slowly. Until next week!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sea Trading Game- New Compartments, improve UI, new artwork, and possibly a name!

This week has been quite busy, and quite productive. The most noticeable thing is that instead of assigning numbers, each port now has a name. I've also done quite a bit to make that name more visible, as you can see below:


These names are not final, but quite likely many of them will remain. I intend to have the names come randomly from a list of historical ports throughout the world in the key time frame that I'm working through, namely the colonial period of time.

I've also added a number of types of holds, and have types of holds selected for each. Here's the names of each of the types of holds. The artwork is far from final, but I'm trying to get at least a sense of what I want, and this is definitely helping in that department. I suspect I won't change it much if at all until the game has progressed a bit further.


All of the dialogs were given a careful scrubbing, and while they aren't perfect, I feel they are an improvement over what was there previously. Here is an example of just one of these improve dialogs:


Last, but not least, I've been giving some thought to the name of the game. I haven't decided on it firmly, but the name I'm working with now is "The Crow's Nest". What do you think? I'd love to hear other ideas that you might have!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sea Trading Game- Ease of trading, new hold types, hold system easier to manage.

This week has brought a number of changes, focused on making trading easier. For starters, I've decided that there needed to be a better way to find the cities to deliver goods. I decided for now I'm going to highlight the cities all the time, instead of the occasional blinking that would happen for the tutorial phase of the game. I also made that clue more obvious.
The ship has a mission to go to 14, which is clearly highlighted

Other areas include finishing the hold system. I now feel that it is much better, and more intuitive than before. Note that for now, stability doesn't do anything, but it will at a future date. This new system seems more intuitive than the previous system of adding/removing walls.
As you might notice, there are a few new types of holds in the above diagram. While they aren't fully implemented, I have created a different type of cabin, with hammocks, as was commonly used. I've also created a smuggling compartment, complete with a trapdoor. I'm considering a few additional types of holds as well, likely including a galley and a safe room.

Next on my list is to continue to work on the new types of holds, and polish a number of small UI type bugs that I have seen, hopefully improving that system considerably. Passengers, for instance, aren't quite where I want them to be yet. Then I plan to start some of the more interesting tasks, including storing supplies on the ship, that slowly are consumed. Then I will work on having more of a feel for the crew, which I know I want to have be a part of the game, but I haven't decided yet how I plan on that. I'm also going to work more on the task of naming the game, and maybe a few other tasks. Not there yet, but it is most definitely coming along.