MicaBytes

Halfway through 2015 already, so – as mentioned a few days ago – an update on where things stand, as well as some plans and announcements.

In case you were wondering, the “Pirates and Traders 2″ beta is not starting today. I will say that I had hoped that would be the case, but the past seven months have simply been extremely busy, and I’ve simply not had sufficient time to get it into a stable enough shape. Fortunately, summer is coming now, which means I will (finally) be less busy at work for a while.

I plan to (or have already done) a number of changes today, though – in large part as preparation for when the beta will start. One change is that I’m changing the domain/company name to MicaBytes. The old domains and e-mail addresses will continue to work for the foreseeable future, but the official webpage will shortly change to be http://www.micabytes.com. If you need to contact us directly (for bug reports, comments, etc), the e-mail to use will be support@ on the new domain.

Twitter account will change to https://twitter.com/MicaBytes. If you’re currently following it, you should not need to do anything to it.

On Facebook, I’ve been maintaining three different pages for the various projects I’ve worked on. These three pages will be “closed” (i.e., I’ll stop posting on them and probably delete them eventually) and be consolidated on  https://www.facebook.com/MicaBytes. As before, I’ll continue to post updates and screenshots on the Facebook pages, but now for all of my projects on the same page. I hope that many of you will join me in the move and “Like” the new pages. Unfortunately, I have to ask you to do this yourself. I am going to ask Facebook support to “merge” the two pages (i.e., move across the users of the Pirates and Traders page, at least), but let’s just say that Facebook support’s reputation is… not exactly superb when it comes to this sort of thing.

I’ve also set up a company account on Google Plus (https://google.com/+micabytes) which will be connected to a Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/micabytes). The youtube channel is where I’ll host trailers, possible let’s play’s etc in future. Nothing there yet, though. The Google Plus page mostly exists to link the different Google pages together. Let me know if there are things you would like to see in one place or the other.

The current plan for the near future is as follows:

  •  Release the first beta version of Pirates and Traders 2. I can’t make any promises about when this will be ready, but the plan is to get it out as soon as possible.
  • Follow up the beta release of Pirates and Traders 2 with additional features.
  • Release the first beta version of Dwarf Kingdom in September. This depends on my collaborators too, of course, but that’s the goal.
  • Release the second beta version of Small Battles. How soon this comes depends on the how the other work pans out.

ic_launcherSo, for the five of you patient enough to get this far, the important information: there is now a Google Plus community: MicaBytes Beta. This is an open community that anyone can join. Members of the group will have access to download the Pirates and Traders 2 beta (as well as the others, when they come) through Google Play. Note that you must join the community with the same Google ID as you use for your mobile devices for this to work. Also, think twice before joining the beta group. The first versions will probably feel like a step backward compared to the current game, and are almost guaranteed to have nasty crash bugs.

That’s all for now. Thanks for following us on the journey so far, and I hope you’ll come on over to the new pages.

 

More teasing

Or something. I hate doing these updates, because it feels like I’m just repeating stuff that I’ve already said, without providing the news that I know you want. Like… when is P&T2 coming out.

Sorry, still can’t tell you. Still incredibly busy. We’re mostly done with our move by now (still a few things to fix, but when isn’t there?), but just as I thought that I would have more time for working on the game, work pressure ramped up to 200. So I’ve pretty much been doing 10-12 hour work stints for the past month, and after that, there really isn’t a lot of energy left to do even more work on games. I know of indies who manage that… I really don’t know how they do it.

Anyway, I don’t mean to complain (and don’t worry about me, I know my limits by now) but it’s the sort of thing which keeps me careful of making promises, as I’ve said a number of times.

I still work on the game every day, though and we’re (slowly) closing in on a version that can be tested. The first version of the port interface is pretty much in place now. It is lacking a few features (the items shop, some governor options, and random encounters), but those will be added later. The two main things I am looking over now, which I want to wrap up before I let people at the alpha are the combat and the status views. Additional ships makes the ship combat engine that much more complex, which means there are lots of small bugs that need fixing. The status views simply need cleaning up; the problem with games with lots of information: trying to ensure that all of it is available when and where you need it. Part of that is also to cut away UI elements that are not yet useful; e.g., no need to have inventory management, if you can’t yet buy items.

Once the coding is done, I’ll go through the data files one last time to fix things so that not every Governor has an English name, and every second port is not called “Martinique” (don’t ask), and we’ll be good to go.

Now I just need to figure out a good way to do the alpha-test. Getting productive feedback from this kind of testing is harder than one would think – mostly because testing is work, no matter how “fun” it may seem to be to get to play a game early. This is one reason why some developers like to do the “pay to be beta tester” approach which has now become almost standard on Steam with early access; people who pay for the “privilege” also tend to be more committed. The other reason, of course, is that it establishes a revenue stream as early as possible which is always useful (especially if you’re trying to make a living from it). I don’t plan to make the alpha-test paid, but I still need to figure out how I’m going to work this.

Anyway – back to peering at logs with weird numbers and wondering why that button is showing up here and not there…

 

 

What comes next…

To celebrate five years of Pirates and Traders, the Gold! version is on 60% sale for the rest of the week on Google Play.

I had hoped to be able to announce the Beta of Pirates and Traders 2 this week, but alas – it is not to be. Easter had me down with the flu for most of two weeks, and with alternate members of my family being ill both before and after, the past month has been rather unproductive with respect to development work. So sadly, the beta of Pirates and Traders 2 is still in the future. I still hope to get this done before the summer holidays, though.