Story Writing and other things

Apologies for the long time without a word, guys. Basically, things are still extremely hectic in my private life after the move, and I’ve had way too much to do at work as well. Interesting stuff, mind you, but it’s also meant that I’ve spent way too many evenings lately working on… work… rather than working on code for my games. Sometimes that’s just how things go.

I’m still working on the narrative engine; mostly fixing bugs and writing out a small story that tends to continually break the story engine (Ashton has helped with that too…). The new storyscript is a lot more compact, but rewriting everything and adding new functionality has also allowed me to add all new bugs to the mix. Hopefully I’ll be able to stamp the last one’s out soon.

If I succeed with that, I am considering releasing a small app that can translate stories written in the new StoryScript, and present them as simple “choose your own adventures”. The app already exists (it’s my test engine, which Ashton also uses to test story scripts for Dwarf King) so it’s not a lot of work to also release it. I know there are some of you who like writing a bit, so why not? It would be a free app, of course (I might add a few example stories, but there wouldn’t be much of a game there, unless someone takes the time to write something more extensive for it).

When I’ve finished fixing the story code, I plan to work on a beta release of Pirates and Traders 2. I also have a plan to release a bug fix release of Pirates and Traders (including some fixes that will make the game more accessible to blind players). I’m hoping I’ll get something done about that during March.

Thanks for your support.

 

New Year 2015

Happy New Year.

As mentioned in the last post of 2014, the end of that year had me in the process of moving home – a process that takes a while. That process is still not finished (indeed, one can only speculate about when it might be), but it has reached the point where I once again have my evenings free to work on my various projects – such as MicaByte. So if you have been waiting for a reply from me on some subject, you should soon receive it; if you haven’t heard from me before the end of the week, please ping me again.

Apart from that, I’m just getting back up to speed on development work. Current focus is working on the narrative engine and converting stories from the old script system to the new one.

And I’ll try to start blogging/posting more frequently again. Until next time.

 

Comments back on…

As you may have noticed if you’ve visited here once in a while, I’ve turned comments back on for the blog. I turned it off some years ago, due to the amount of spam that it generated and since the forum more or less filled the need for somewhere to discuss. Now that I’ve closed down the forum, I’ve turned on the comments field again, so that people who do not like to use Facebook, have an alternative to contact/comment on my games. Comments are powered by Disqus, though, as I didn’t want to go back to the fully manual spam removal of the past.

Anyway, if you have comments, feel free to state them here, on Twitter, or on the Facebook page. I rarely have the time to respond right away, but I do always (try) to respond.

Summer update 2014

Vacation time has come, which means that I’ll probably be travelling around a bit. This also means that I’ll not always be able to reach my e-mail, though I’ll try to get some time to respond to things at least once a week. I’ve had difficulty responding in a timely fashion throughout most of the first months this year, so I don’t expect this will change all that much. I hope to do better once summer vacations are over.

Current plans remain unchanged; I’m working to get the beta of P&T2 ready; it’s not as far along as I’d like, but there is time yet. I also plan to release one more update of the existing game before going on vacation. Unfortunately, I updated my development environment earlier today, and … Google’s Android Development toolkit struck again – breaking pretty much everything. So – as I write this – I’m basically reinstalling everything. Assuming nothing else gets broken, though, I hope to get the new version out later this weekend. This will primarily be a maintenance release to try and fix some problem areas in the game, but if they test out okay, I might add one or two small new encounters as well.

Have a relaxing summer holiday, if you’re getting any, and happy 4th of July to our US fans.

Pirates and Traders 2 Progress

ic_launcherA lot of people have asked about when Pirates and Traders 2 is coming out. As a general rule, I don’t answer that question, since I know from experience that hitting deadlines outside the day job is pretty much impossible. It’s hard enough hitting those deadlines in the day job.

I would like to have the game in beta by the end of summer. Whether I make that, though, depends on a lot of different factors, though – some of them outside my direct control. There is also the matter of determining the right state to make the game available at; there is no point in releasing it while it still contains obvious, major errors. In addition, there is the matter of feature completion. While I will probably cut some features for the beta (port attacks is a likely example, for instance, as that is completely changed from the original), the game does need to include a reasonable subsection of the functionality from the existing game. I don’t think I will get much useful feedback from the beta if it is from the start a significantly worse game than the original.

At the moment, I think this is still possible to achieve. The core of the game is there – the ports are working, although there still remains a few features to implement for the game to be playable (governor + recruiting crew). Ship combat still needs some work, although it is mostly functional now. Events and encounters need to be implemented. But if those things are in place, the game is going to be very close to playable.

I know, however, from many years experience that these kind of estimates are worthless. If I worked full-time; sure, I could tell probably have given a pretty good estimate of when I’ve done all that. But not with this as a part-time job. So all I can tell you is when I would like to have this ready. By the end of summer. Whether it will be ready? Only Davy Jones knows.

March already?

Why does February only have 28 days? It has no business being that short – always feels the lack of those two extra days when I’m busy. Anyway – a little bit of the current status.

I’ve been trying to release new screenshots/graphics regularly each week, but this weekend just got too busy. I’ll try to resume with that this week or the next. Apart from that, the first few months this year have gone into heavy development.

Much of January was spent working on the code in Dwarf King. Most of the framework for the game is now in place, although there remain some parts that are still not fully developed. I’ll have to go back through some of the code there; but I don’t want to build a lot of functionality in there that I might then decide to throw away. At the moment, I’m pretty much waiting for some of the content for the game to be produced (i.e., maps, storylines, etc), while I work on other aspects.

An important milestone for Pirates and Traders 2 was reached, when I received the new in-game map. That required some re-work of the game engine as I ran into some unexpected performance issues, but most of those should be solved now. I love the new map (which I posted on FB), and work is now progressing on filling in the map data. Unlike the original game, the P&T2 map will be a grid map, so every space on the map needs to have data encoded (name, description – if it’s an interesting place, special features, etc). It’s a lot of work – unfortunately – but I think the result will be worth it.

Finally, I’ve been working on a major “rebuild” of the Small Battles combat engine. Combat is an important component of Dwarf King, and it is of course not irrelevant in Pirates and Traders 2 either. I experimented with a couple of different combat models, but I’ve now eventually – I hope – settled on the version I’m going to use. Assuming things work the way I want them to, it’ll be a simple turn-based combat system, played out on a hex grid. I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the new version in the past weeks, and assuming I soon get rid of the last bugs, I might do some alpha testing of that soon and integrating with the Pirates and Traders as well as Dwarf King engines.

Next Stops:

  • Finishing the Pirates and Traders 2 map data.
  • Integrating the combat engine into Dwarf King and P&T2.
  • Finish up the next Pirates and Traders update.

Now, back to working out the kinks in that battle engine.