Taxing week

Have I mentioned how much I hate doing taxes? Oh, I did? Ok, nothing to see here.

Apart from dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on paperwork, this week has been spent on fixing stuff in the story script engine. That seems to be done, now, so I’m starting to move on to other tasks. I’m still thinking of releasing a small app for writing Story Script modules in, but I’m not quite done testing it yet, but I’ll be playing around a little with it during the week, and if it seems solid, I’ll probably make it available for anyone who feels like beta testing it. Secondly, I’ve started working on the core Pirates and Traders 2 code itself.

Unfortunately, nothing that is worth taking screenshots of yet, but as soon as I have something, I’ll post them. Currently, I’m working on the Character Status view, which has a number of interesting issues. I’ve previously written about my intent to set up more “permanent” relations for the player; i.e., characters that you’ve interacted with a lot should “remember” you, but for that to work, there needs to be some very clear feedback mechanisms in place in-game. After all, it is not reasonable to expect that a player can remember that the Comte Domingo de Viamonte is really, really pissed at them – this information needs to be available easily. I’m still thinking on how to represent it in the story dialogues/scripts, but in the status window, my plan is currently to create a social map (i.e., sort of a wheel with the player in the middle, and the color of the spokes indicating the relationship between PC and NPC). I intend to build something similar for the in-game factions (as suggested by a couple of people for the game before).

Working on the status views will probably take the rest of the week (at least), but once that’s done the game should be closing in on “playable”.

 

 

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.