Monday, April 24, 2017

Dev Blog- Colonial Sea Trader- Yes, it has a name finally! Also, UX improvements

Well, I've been talking about it for ages, and it's finally happened. This is no longer the unnamed Sea Trading Game, it has a real name! And that name is Colonial Sea Trader.

Still working on the artwork, of course, but there it is!

And there's more! I've been working on improving the UI considerably. I've reduced the amount of things on the screen, showing just the important stuff. I've also done the start of an effort to improve all of the dialogs. See the start of it below. Note that there will be tweaks, but it should be something like what you see below.

Other improvements include the start of keyboard shortcuts, which can be expanded easily further,
improvements to the map edges, studying some of the edge cases to improve the display, and starting to do work to improve some of the artwork.

This week I'm planning on continuing the UI updates I did last week, and in general will be working on the polish of the game. I might also improve the tutorial, world creation, and other such things, I haven't decided yet.

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!  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game. Let's give it a name, and fix UI stuff.

Well, I've decided to finally give my game a name. Right now I've been floating two titles, "Colonial Sea Trader" and "Columbian Exchange". Perhaps not the most original names, but, hey, it's better than "Unnamed Sea Trading Game" that I've been floating for over a year. I'm quite interested to hear what you have to think of, let me know.

In conjunction with the naming decision, I also released a new video. This will probably be the last one from this channel, I'm going to work on a dedicated channel soon for this game, but I'd like to get it named first.


A few other things that I did:

  • I upgraded to Unity 5.6.
  • I improved the way the layout changes with resolution, I think it should be more consistent now. I'm going to be improving a few other of the displays as well, but overall...
  • I've now made it so the entire screen is visible, and not the the small portion visible before.
  • I fixed a number of bugs.
  • I have a new camera system in place that I think will take me to the final system. Lines are no longer visible, although I need to improve the cloud system a bit to get it perfected.


My goals for this week are as follows:
  • Improve the image display slightly.
  • Make my final name decision!
  • Numerous bug fixes to make the game feel more like a game.
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!  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game- Making rectangular worlds, larger worlds

For most of my development process, I've been making square worlds. I've long wanted to play with rectangular images, but I haven't had it happen yet. This week, I worked on making that change, as well as improving the overall speed! Finally, I improved the rendering of the worlds to look better for large worlds.





There are still a few things that I'm adjusting, namely the behavior of the minimap, some of the world layout, etc. I also temporarily reduced the number of cities displayed, to make the rendering quicker.

This week I'm going to fix a few of the issues I'm still seeing with world rendering, and work on speeding it up as well. I'm then going to work on some balance, and if all goes well I'll work on re-making the main UI, although I'm not particularly confident that I'll make it that far.

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! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game- Adding map labels, steeper camera angle

I've continued the trend of updating the UI, some slight performance tweaks, and other related things. The dialogs are still in need of a pretty massive overhaul, as in the main UI, but I'll be working on those at a later date. For now, check out the latest improvements!


The next UI I'm going to work on is reducing, if not removing, the side panel information bar. I'm just really not happy with it, but I haven't figured out how to improve it quite yet.

Another likely update is the buying/ selling process, which I've never quite been happy with.

More likely improvements for the next week will be focused on gameplay fixes. I'm still working out exactly what those might be, but I am quite convinced that

Lastly, I will work on non-square play fields. I've long been using square fields, but I feel it would be more realistic to have something rectangular, and I'm going to work on implementing that.

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!  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game- Depicting the wind on screen

The main accomplishment this week was to improve the loading screen, which now looks like this:





I also changed the intro screen, which now looks like this:

I've also been playing around with the angle of the camera. Here's a much steeper angle than is currently shown, just to give you an idea. I haven't decided yet what I will do, but it's at least an interesting perspective. Obviously if I do this then something will have to change with the text, but I'm interested to hear your thoughts.




The last thing I did was to fix a few bugs that have been driving me crazy in regards to dialogs. Principally, I changed the trading goods dialog so it all fits in the window, no more overdrawn images! I also fixed a few issues where certain dialogs wouldn't scroll depending on where the mouse was.

For this week, I'm going to continue to make visual changes. I feel like this is the single most important thing for me to work on, and thus it is my main plan going forward for the next few weeks. Expect lots of UI and graphical changes, and more images than text, for the weeks to come!

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!  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game- Loading Screen created!

I finally have a loading screen that actually works, as can be seen below. It took quite a bit of time to get everything running smoothly, but overall I'm quite happy with the progress! Take a look below at how it works!


As with last week, I found a number of other issues while putting this together, and was able to speed up the process a fair bit. There are 3 threads that are involved in creating the world, one that creates the textures, one that creates the world, and a third for the UI updates, which is the least used thread. I'm still going to try and improve it someday, but for now, I'm quite content.

This week I'm going to do some bug fixes, and probably some more graphical improvements. I'm hoping to get a reasonable demo of the game done soon, and maybe even a name!

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!  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dev Blog- Sea Trading Game- Threading the world creation process

For some time, my game has taken about 10 seconds to load, and it has been left as a blank screen while that was happening. I've long wanted to do something about that, and this week, I was able to start tackling the problem.

There were a few different ways that I thought to try to make this happen. The first that I tried was using the Asynchronous loading for scene management. This works great if you have a large number of objects that needed to be loaded, that each object doesn't take a long time to load. That didn't mix well with my game's system, where the loading time essentially happens with one slow object being created.

The next system I tried was using a coroutine. This didn't work, as the UI thread was still locked. There was a somewhat related option left, although it proved to be quite difficult in the end. The solution was to thread the world creation process.

I should note that the entire process is a single thread. This made a few things easier. The largest difficulty was that Unity's random number generator only supports the creation of random numbers on the UI thread. I managed to work around this by using the System.Random engine, but it took quite a bit of work to get it all to work properly.

Having this system in place is somewhat meaningless if I'm not giving the player an idea of what the system is actually doing. In order to make that happen, I added debug code to my logs to start to test the system before I start to work on the UI. While so doing, I effectively profiled the world creation process, and I noticed that one particular part was taking 90% of the time. I was able to speed up this process considerably, and now the time takes only 3 seconds, at least on my computer.

This week I'm planning on working on the UI part of the loading system. I am hoping to also get a better game over screen in place, which I was also able to start working on in this week.

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!