Trading Progress & Background Simulation

More progress has been made on the trading features for the upcoming 0.1.0 release with a few interesting but necessary detours. I'll fill you in and share a few new screenshots at the end of the update.

Background Simulation Asserts Control Of Development

The plan for development this last week was to work on the UI for the Universal Resource Price Index, the port, and the ship trading interface. Work started on Price Index and was going swimmingly (see the screenshots below) until I hit a wall in the planned approach.

The UI required certain elements of the background simulation to be completed in order to display meaningful data. It's difficult to display data to a user interface if you don't have an underlying data structure to work with. Rather than using mock data, which I would have to later redo, I decided it would be best to bite the bullet now and flesh out additional parts of the background simulation and data structure.

Parts of the background simulation that will be needed for this release include a rudimentary faction system, additional locations for trade ships to travel to, dynamic adjustment of the values of goods, ship travel, and ship data structures. Careful planning is needed for these features to minimize future rework.

In practical terms, this means that the 0.1.0 release will take a little longer to develop, but it will feature a more complete trading system than originally planned. The extra work now will also help jump-start the 0.2.0 release, which will include the next phases of ships, exploration, and factions. Some of those features will leak into this next release, though they may not have a huge impact on your gameplay yet.

Development This Week

As this week has proved, development plans can be fluid. Work will continue on the background simulation. Here are a few of the areas that still need to be addressed:

  • Ship data structures. - I need to plan out in more detail how I want ships to function and carry cargo.
  • Locations. - There need to be a few locations for trade ships to travel back and forth from. This will mean setting up a sector/system/location/colony system. It won't need to be 100% completed, but there will need to be a few systems in place.
  • Ship travel. - The distance a ship travels, how long it takes, how much fuel is consumed, and a few other details need to be figured out.
  • Rudimentary colony AI for production of goods and resources. - This part may be "faked" for this release with the intention of expanding it properly in 0.2.0.
  • Bid & Sales AI. - Colonies and ships need to place bids and sales on the market.

There may be additional details of the background simulation that aren't immediately apparent, so this is probably not a comprehensive to-do list. If and when the background simulation is to the point where it is sufficient for the 0.1.0 release, I'll return to working on the trading UI.

New Screenshots

The UI for the Universal Resource Price Index has changed slightly from the mockups, just as it did in the Developing The Trade Center post. More room was needed to display all of the information, so the left column from the original mockup was retired in favor of a pair of select boxes above the content area.

Original Mockup
Resource Data Tab
Component Data Tab

You'll also notice that the data tab has been reassigned as the default landing tab. This was done to provide more immediate information on what the good actually does. However, the UI will remember your tab selection if you wish to go directly to the buyers or sellers tabs on returning to the Price Index screen.

The tables from the mockup are still planned, but they are awaiting the work on the background simulation. There will be a few slight changes to the columns from what is shown, but they will largely be the same.

Private Beta Signup

If you want to sign up to be a tester for the 0.1.0 release, you can do so at the bottom of the Junction Gate Beta Preview page. You'll get an email once the release goes live with links to the beta and the tester feedback group.

Newsletter

Don't forget that you can also signup for the weekly newsletter at the bottom of the page in the footer. The newsletter goes out automatically on Friday mornings and is a digest with links to all of that week's blog updates. Right now there is only one update a week, but that may change in the future as the game takes on more shape and I get a few more media assets in place.

Conclusion

Feedback, questions, and comments are always appreciated in the comments below or on any of the social media sites. Now it's back to work on Junction Gate. Have a great week!

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