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.

Small Battles Closed Beta

As mentioned elsewhere, I’ve been working on Small Battles for the past couple of weeks. And after this latest round of improvements, I feel that it may be ready to go into more intensive testing.

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So what is Small Battles again? It’s changed a bit in the details since I first announced it, but essentially it is a large scale tactical combat system that covers ancient, medieval, and renaissance warfare. The game is intended to allow the player to refight any of the great battles of history of the era in a compact turn-based format and features low unit density (10-15 units per side), hex grid battlefields, and fast battle resolution (typically 6-10 turns).

I’m looking for people to help with private Beta testing of the game, before I release the first version on Google Play. Essentially, this means that you get early access to the game (through Google Play) while it is still in a somewhat rough state (though hopefully not too rough). I’m looking for feedback on a number of things, such as the UI and feedback mechanisms, as well as the ever-present need to test the game on other hardware/OS combinations than my own. I particularly need players who are willing to go multiple rounds with the AI and describe how they took apart the AI to me, so that I can try to improve it.

The beta version focuses on the Ancient world and features three “tutorial” battles, as well as the two historical battles of Dertosa (215 BCE – Rome vs Carthage) and Bibracte (58 BCE – Rome vs Helveti).

If you’re wondering whether this relates in any way to Pirates and Traders 2, then yes – it does. Assuming that this turns out to be not awful, I intend to implement port battles in P&T2 using the same system. Just instead of Legions, Catapults, and Archers, you’ll be fighting with pirates, sharp-shooting buccaneers, and cannons.

If you’re interested in helping, contact me with your name and e-mail address (need the one you use as your Google ID on the device(s) you intend to test on), either on twitter (@MicaByteGames), PM on Facebook, or by e-mail (support at micabyte com).

A short note on ads in the free version of Pirates and Traders

Those of you who play the free version of Pirates and Traders, will notice that the new version (2.9.0), has a different form of advertising than the game had originally. Most (around 90%) of the banner ads are gone, freeing up the GUI so that the free version now gets the same UI as the Gold version. The banner ads have instead been replaced by two interstitial ads; one that is shown while the game is loading up its data files, and one that is shown when you end a game. Why is this? P&T has always contained banner ads in – I hope – a fairly non-obtrusive manner. At least, I have never received any serious complaints about these, which leads me to believe that I succeeded in implementing them fairly well. However, they also have a down-side, and one of them is – I believe – that they make the app more memory hungry. I suspect this because the free version of Pirates and Traders suffers from a particular type of crash bug that is almost non-existent in the paid version of the game – and pretty much the only difference that could cause this bug between the two games is the presence of ads in the free version. This is why I reduced the number of banner ads in the last couple of updates, and why the current version now is being tested with almost no banner ads at all (there are still a couple in, but not in parts of the game that is frequently used). The decision to try it this way was given an extra push due to a recent chat with a Google representative, who urged me to try interstitials instead. So here we are. As always, you are welcome to give me feedback either by e-mail or on the facebook pages.