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December 09, 2019, 12:59:08 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsProsperous Universe – Sci-fi trading MMO
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Mjeno
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« on: March 15, 2018, 11:17:24 AM »


Prosperous Universe is a massively multiplayer economy sandbox simulation in a realistic sci-fi setting played through a customizable expert user interface in your web browser.

The game is DRM-free and runs in web browsers on PC, Mac and Linux. It has been in development since 2015 and went into First Access in late 2018, with over an hour of tutorial videos already available to our early adopters. Have a look at the first tutorial video to see what Prosperous Universe currently looks like:



Gameplay

In Prosperous Universe, you are the CEO of your own spacefaring company. Explore the galaxy, design spaceships, forge alliances, and most importantly: produce, trade, transport, and profit. Your business is managed entirely through a highly customizable user interface named APEX, which is accessible via web browser on any desktop computer. Thousands of players share the same, persistent universe, contributing to a single, purely player-driven economy. A true sandbox game, Prosperous Universe allows for unique experiences, a multitude of play styles, and all different levels of time investment with no grind to speak of. You may play for free or pay a monthly subscription to become a Premium user – Prosperous Universe will never be a place for microtransactions or pay-to-win. With its emphasis on realism in everything from the economy to space travel, Prosperous Universe provides a unique experience to players of all backgrounds.


Example interface setups for navigation and production


Space flight tutorial

Setting

Our setting is rooted in "hard" sci-fi, with no alien races or over-the-top technology to speak of. In the near future, humanity will discover an asteroid threatening to destroy Earth a mere hundred years later – just enough time to construct generation ships and leave the planet for good. The game begins right in the aftermath of Earth's destruction, with different factions setting up colonies on new worlds.



Art style

Striking a balance between usability and sci-fi flavor continues to be a hard task. While the APEX interface is pretty enough for testing, we are planning on giving it a gradual visual overhaul throughout the coming months. Outside the game itself, we hired Maciej Rebisz to create artworks for promotional purposes as well as an animated trailer, which is to be released once Early Access draws closer.

 

 

About us

Our core team consists of three full-time employees working from their respective homes in Germany, with Maciej Rebisz from Poland creating art on a freelance basis. All other members of our company, simulogics, are fully dedicated to maintaining our previous title, Airlinesim.

Hope you guys find the project interesting! We write a development log for our homepage and IndieDB every Sunday, which I intend to start posting here as well. You can also track the development progress on our roadmap. If anyone wants to sign up for testing, just shoot us a line in this forum thread!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 08:54:29 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2018, 05:07:08 AM »

Development log #122

While Julian took a breather this week, Martin has implemented customization options for notifications and Michi took care of some backend stuff to pave the way for more advanced flight mechanics.


Martin
Slowly but surely, I’m wrapping up my work on the notification feature. This week I finally added a configuration tile that allows to enable or disable push notifications per alert type and the maximum frequency at at which you want to receive them. The set of rules by which the system decides whether to send a push notification at all now also takes into account whether the user is currently connected and if so, suppresses all push notifications until the user is offline again. All those rules will evolve over time to get closer to something that “feels right” in terms of getting all the notifications you want but not so many that you start to feel swamped.

Last but not least, I tried a first experimental integration of the alert sound. So whenever a new alert pops up while you’re in the game you’ll get to hear a short alert custom-made by Mjeno. And no worries: I also added a quick and easy way to disable that sound at the push of a button. Wink


Michi (molp)
After last week’s refactoring fun, this week started with the not-so-fun task of cleaning that refactoring up and adjusting existing parts of the code to the way we handle things now. The good news is that at least the server part of one of the two refactorings seems to work. The bad news is that the larger part of the refactoring of what we call ‘locations’ in the game still needs to be done on server and client. I guess I will start with that next week. But we don’t do these refactorings just for the joy of it, we can already see some effects: The code handling flights and traffic has been further simplified and adding new types of flight segments (hype alert: take-off and landing) should be way easier now.

Besides that I’ve been monitoring the alpha test closely and fixed some minor bugs. I added an additional column to the commodity exchange tile to better visualize the total supply and demand:




Julian (Mjeno)
I’ve been taking things slow this week to compensate for my pre-test crunch hours. I took care of some things that have been piling up, like writing a game overview on TIGForums and almost finishing the music for our upcoming trailer. I also partook in some discussions about game design this week, which is a field I really love. We’re still working on optimizing long-term engagement for different player types, which is impossible to test right now, since our alpha tests only run for a few weeks each.

And of course, we’ve just made our second tutorial video available to the public! It provides you with an introduction to the game as well as an overview over the basic actions you can take to keep your company afloat. If you’re a tester already, this should answer most of your questions. If you’ve never seen gameplay before, the time has come to take a first look:





As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:53:42 AM by Mjeno » Logged

Mjeno
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2018, 02:45:38 AM »

Development log #123

In a rare case of sociability, the simulogics team left their respective caves to get together IRL this weekend. Michi has an upcoming overhaul of the location system to report, while Martin is about to roll out the customizable notification feature to the alpha test. Julian meanwhile has found his true calling as a sniper.


Michi (molp)
I am reporting from the engine room this week. I spent the whole week working on the location refactoring as we like to call it. I’ll spare you most of the technical details but still want to give a quick overview.

When Martin and I started to work on the project we only had to deal with star systems and planets. So we decided that the location of a ship for example is defined by the system and the planet. Since we don’t need the spatial position of a ship to check if it’s at a planet the location itself is nothing more than the system identifier and planet identifier. A location would look like this [ABCD, 1234] with the first part being the system id and the latter the planet id.

With that system in place it was easy to perform various location-relevant tasks like checking if a material transport from ship to ship or ship to base was possible. We simply had to compare the ids in the location.

Later we added a third datum to the location: orbit. Orbits are relevant when ships drop out of FTL flight for example. In that case they are within a given system, but have no reference to a planet, but are on an orbit around the sun themselves.

As you can imagine these locations stretch all the way across the code base and are hard to maintain if they change: A ship for example has three stores (cargo, STL fuel, FTL fuel) and all three stores have a location. When the ship moves we have to update all three stores as well. This gets messy quickly, so we designed a new location system that I am implementing right now.

When I am done with it we will have a far more flexible system that allows for future implementation of all kinds of cool stuff: space stations in orbit around a sun, ships with production capabilities (think mining barge) and so on.


Julian (Mjeno)
While the bulk of my work time was spent on our team meeting this weekend, I did get around to some classic PR work again. I had a call with Mimimi’s Johannes Roth, who gave me some valuable advice regarding our launch preparations. While Early Access is still a couple of months away, building up relations with the press and gaining enough momentum for the launch to succeed is a slow and time-consuming process.

That is why, this week, I started going through the press list I made a couple of weeks ago, and started looking for individual journalists who might be personally interested in Prosperous Universe. Rather than sending out mass press releases (which is something I might do once when the game comes out), I decided to focus on a handful of people to reach out to beforehand. To find them, I searched for reviewers with a penchant for sci-fi and/or simulation games, read some of their work, and looked them up on social media. (Side note: Some news and reviews websites do a terrible job of crediting their writers.) Lucky for me, Surviving Mars came out the other day, and most gaming websites reviewed it. It’s a sci-fi strategy game focusing on realism, so reviews about it provided a good starting point for me to find journalists who might be interested in Prosperous Universe as well.

Lastly, here’s a new tutorial video for you to enjoy. It’s meant to provide our testers with a list of commands they can look up specifically, but watching it from start to finish should at least give you an idea of what’s currently possible in the game:






Martin
Very little to report from my side this week. I had to deal with lots and lots of work for an external client, with many small work items, calls and admin stuff sprinkled all over the week. That means that I rarely got the chance to focus on one bigger thing. Fortunately, all I had actually planned in terms of Prosperous Universe this week was wrapping up the last remaining items of the notification system so I can finally roll it out to the alpha server and start on something new during the next sprint. I didn’t quite manage to tick all the boxes on my list due to the aforementioned work situation, but I’m tempted to just push the remaining items back into the backlog to start with a clean slate next week. Usually I’d just take care of it on the week-end, but we had the annual simulogics team meeting this Saturday and Sunday, so that wasn’t an option.

Anyhow, see you next week, hopefully with news about exciting new stuff Smiley

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:54:25 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2018, 06:05:49 AM »

Is that a live action video transmission I see? That's something I actually miss from older games from the 90's.
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Mjeno
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2018, 02:59:05 AM »

It is indeed! And there'll be a lot more where that came from. Glad you like it!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 07:43:51 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2018, 08:10:14 AM »

Development log #124

With Michi still locked in the engine room, Julian was able to confirm some exhibition events, and Martin finally started working on a whole new feature, arguably the single most important addition to the core gameplay: Corporations.


Martin
Great news! I started working on Corporations this week! Corporations will be the first actual game play feature we’re adding in a long time. For the past few months, our focus lied on the basic core features of the game that were and are being tested in our closed alpha test - things like production, transport, trade etc. While that was in progress, I spent a lot of time adding “bells & whistles” required for general comfort and usability, like the notification feature I had been working on for the past weeks.

Now that we’re rather confident that the technical base for our core features is complete and working, we’re switching focus to the fun stuff again. Things that will eventually form the mid- and end-game content of the game and - arguably - will make it (even more) fun to play!


Michi (molp)
I am still locked in the engine room, tinkering on the refactoring I described last week. But there is progress to report: Last week I finished the server part of the location refactoring and now moved on to do the client part. The development velocity has dropped a bit since the client is written in JavaScript (a weakly typed language), which makes these kinds of refactorings harder. But enough with the techno-mumbo-jumbo, back to work.


Julian (Mjeno)
Over the past few weeks, I sent out applications for exhibiting Prosperous Universe on different events. I’m happy to say that two of them are confirmed now: Quo Vadis (April 24th-25th), the annual games business event in Berlin, and Games/Bavaria Vernissage (May 4th), a small but fun games exhibition in Munich. There is no entry fee for the latter, so come and meet us there if you’re in the area!

Apart from event planning, I spent this week reorganizing player feedback on the forum and continuing to stalk members of the press. The former was becoming more and more urgent, with feedback to our alpha test piling up throughout several forum threads. Players now have access to a list of requests for changes and features made by the community. Concerning press research, I got to say I was surprised how easily I could to find out more or less private things about people merely based on their name. It was handy, but also discomforting. On a more positive note, I was happy to see how many people seem to play and enjoy simulator games.

Last but not least, there’s a new tutorial video. It deals with our most sci-fi subject yet: space travel!





As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:55:03 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2018, 12:45:43 PM »

What makes you think you need a tutorial that's adding up to be over an hour long?
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Mjeno
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 10:32:25 AM »

The game is fairly complex and utilizes some concepts players might not be used to from other games. That said, "only" the first two are meant to get people into the game, the other ones deal with particular advanced aspects. Of course, everybody is free to start out without consulting the videos and we're currently working on alternative learning resources, i.e. written tutorials. Why, do you think we're going overboard? Wink
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2018, 03:24:14 AM »

Development log #125

With Easter getting in the way of work, it’s been a short week for the team. Martin spent his time working for AirlineSim, so he’ll be taking a timeout from devlogging just this week. Here’s what Michi and Julian have been up to:


Michi (molp)
If you have been following my recent devlogs you know that I am working on two refactorings of our code base. In the bigger of the two we are revamping everything that has to do with locations (ships, sites, storages, …) to have a more versatile foundation to build future features upon. The other refactoring is about flexibilizing the flight model in order to make it easier to use (code-wise) and easier to display in the maps later on. I am now at the point where these two refactorings meet, since ships have locations and if they are flying, they change frequently. It was a short week, due to my Easter vacation, so I’ll have to continue the work next week.


Julian (Mjeno)
For the most part this week, I’ve continued reasearching press contacts. I wanted to get a hold of some journalists attending our upcoming exhibitions, but I couldn’t even find out who that is going to be, so I switched back to my regular “sniping” routine. I’m going country by country - or rather language by language. Last week, I completed Germany with 13 people to write to. That doesn’t sound like much, but those few hand-picked contacts might be worth more than any press release to an anonymous mass of writers. I also think that this form of reaching out to the press, beside being a lot more personal and invested, is going to be more pleasant for all parties involved. I took the time to read the journalists’ pieces, really got into their work and - if all goes well - I’ll be able to show them a game they enjoy playing and writing about. I’d also like to emphasize that I don’t cherrypick people who are likely to give us a positive review; I’m solely going by potential interest in the genre.

Other than that, I started preparing the upcoming exhibitions: I planned our outfits and the setup of the table, designed and ordered a bunch of business cards etc. As our community grows, I occasionally check out videos and blogs about community management. This week, I updated our Discord channel based on some tips I got from a GDC talk on the topic.

Lastly, we have the fifth and final video of the alpha tutorial for you! It deals with the newly introduced Foreign Exchange feature:





As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:55:32 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 05:01:01 AM »

Development log #126

This week, you can catch a first glance at what exactly the Corporations will be. In similarly exciting news, Michi has been fleshing out the flight system, and Julian is getting everything ready for our first exhibition of 2018!


Martin
After my short Easter break I continued were I left off and started working on the technical foundation for corporations.

Corporations will be the PrUn-equivalent of clans or alliances, meaning one or more players can form them to have private communication channels and similar social features. But beyond that, corporations in PrUn will offer a range of additional gameplay features. First of all, players will not just be members but also shareholders. This means that things like share-dependent voting rights, dividends or shares-for-services features are a possibility. Corporations could even list on a stock exchange some day.

Then there are “projects” that will allow a corporation to build structures for advanced mid- and end-game features like infrastructure and military installations.

And beyond that, the sky’s the limit. We intend to expand the possibilities offered by corporations over time. But first things first: My plan is to get the basic establishment of corporations finished over the coming weeks so we have that ready for the next alpha test. Stay tuned!


Michi (molp)
This week I was mainly working on the flexibilization of the flight model. The flight model up to now was pretty simple and consisted only of a few flight segments. Ships could only be in orbit around a planet, in-flight or (in rare cases of aborted flights) in an orbit around a sun. Later we added the departure and approach flight segments to spice things up, but the model itself was still pretty simple. Flights to other planets almost always look like this: departure, jump, charge, jump, approach.

While this made it easy to calculate the flights, it is not compatible with the changes we have in mind: There will be space stations in orbit around planets or suns and we want to differentiate between ships landed on a planet and in orbit of a planet. As you can imagine these changes lead to added complexity in the flight calculations and the simple and rigid method we used doesn’t work anymore.

Right now I am at the point where I ported the old flight segment types to the new system and all the tests work again. The next step is to adapt the client!


Julian (Mjeno)
Visual design is the most foreign aspect of game development to me. I learned to code a little, I can make music and sound effects, I can do business and marketing stuff, but I never got into any of the disciplines related to making things look good. That said, I had to tap into my inner designer this week. First off, I made new business cards for our stands at Quo Vadis and Games/Bavaria Vernissage:


They were thrown together in Paint.NET (which is not MS Paint, mind you!) and I’m actually quite happy with how they turned out.

Next up, both our homepages are getting redesigned. Our company page is super-outdated and getting revamped to present us as the indie game studio we’ve grown into. For that purpose, I had to gather a bunch of reference work, write a style guide and then provide feedback for the first batch of new logos and corporate designs provided by the agency in charge of the redesign.

The Prosperous Universe homepage is also getting an overhaul, for which I wrote up the guidelines. I also made a rough landing page mock-up:





Last but not least, I sent out newsletter #6 this week. With a distance of several months to #5, it was mostly a summary of our past milestones and a short announcement of our upcoming exhibitions. If you missed it, you can read it online and, to not miss another, subscribe in the top left corner.

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:56:02 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2018, 01:48:30 AM »

Development log #127

After the flight model, the material tree is in for a material overhaul (haha), and so is the game’s entire look. Besides preparing all this, the team has been getting ready to travel north.


Martin
I’m writing this on Thursday since I’ll be traveling to Amsterdam tomorrow for an AirlineSim meet-up. So if you happen to be in the area, why not join?

Concerning the past days of the week: Michi and I sat down - virtually - to discuss the material tree once again. Similar to the corporations feature I talked about last week, the tech tree needs to be taken to the next level, so-to-speak. It served its purpose quite well during the initial alpha tests, but now it needs to be expanded with mid- and end-game features in mind and with a more long-term and structured view on player progression. This is about as complex as it sounds and will keep us busy for quite some time and I’m sure you’re going to read more about here over the coming weeks and months.

Since I’ll be spending the vast majority of tomorrow on trains, I might do some work on the corporations feature or continue reading Persepolis Rising, the 7th part of the fantastic Expanse series, for…erm…research.


Michi (molp)
Besides what Martin already mentioned, I was working on two other things this week: The preparations for Quo Vadis and the space flight refactoring.

The Quo Vadis conference is just around the corner and Julian and I will be there to present Prosperous Universe to the attendees. While Julian is handling all things related to PR, I am in charge of technical preparations. Since the currently running alpha version already uses our live account backend, we decided not to use the alpha in the presentation since that would mean that every player would have to create a real account before trying out the game. That is just too much hassle. Instead, we have installed the game on an ordinary laptop. Of course that makes it pretty much a single-player game, but it will be enough to show the game’s core features.

The space flight refactoring is taking shape slowly. I was able to fix the visualizations of own ships and other player’s traffic in the universe and system maps.


Julian (Mjeno)
As I mentioned last week, both our homepages are about to receive an overhaul. More excitingly, however, we’ve decided to give the game itself a new and improved look. We’ve already commissioned some 3D art for our Universe map, System map and Planet overview and we’re currently looking for a sci-fi UI pro to help us polish the look of all the 2D elements. That’s why, this week, I spent a lot of time going through portfolios of freelancers and CGI studios I’m about to get in touch with. If you know someone who fits that description, it’d be lovely if you pointed them to us.

Most of my time, however, went into researching games events. We’re hoping to exhibit Prosperous Universe a couple more times this year, and since the festival season has already started, it’s about time we sent out some more applications. We’ve picked about a dozen events in all of Europe and some in Asia, so there’s a chance we’ll see you there in person soon (sorry, American players).

Lastly, as Michi already mentioned, our first exhibition is just around the corner. Since it’s a live event, I thought we could give Instagram Stories a spin, so keep an eye out on Tuesday for live updates from our Instagram account!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:56:34 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2018, 06:14:49 AM »

Development log #128

Today, we have a special treat for you: a video devlog! We cut together a three-minute documentary about our trip to Berlin and the Indie Game Expo at Quo Vadis. Check it out:


Michi (molp) & Julian (Mjeno)





As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:57:00 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2018, 12:58:41 PM »

Development log #129

With Michi gone for the week, Martin and Julian set out to exhibit the game and its latest artwork at Games/Bavaria Vernissage in Munich.


Martin

I am writing this from this year’s GameCamp in Munich, a fantastic bar-camp-style event that’s happening for the tenth year in a row now. If you ever get the chance to attend, check it out. Even (or especially) if you’re not directly involved in game making!

That said, my work-week was dominated by business-y stuff, primarily more preparations for the looming GDPR deadline. We’ll be ready by the end of May, but it is a lot of work and a few more technical changes will be required before I can wrap up this project.


Julian

At the beginning of this week, I continued my work of applying for exhibitions throughout Europe. Then I caught a nasty virus and took a few days of sick leave, hoping for it to be gone by the weekend. It worked more or less and, like Martin, I’ve spent the past few days in Munich, where we exhibited the game and revealed Mac’s latest Prosperous Universe artwork at Games/Bavaria Vernissage:


Among other works from different games, this artwork will be exhibited at WERK1 Café for the coming two weeks. Here’s a high-res version, in case you’re in need of a new wallpaper:


It’s always nice to be back in Munich, where I lived for several years until recently. I met many old friends at GameCamp, got some press contacts and attended talks on various topics relevant to my work for the game. I talked to a few devs of other (big) browser games about their monetization strategies, and I have to say I’m not sure I want to follow their lead. The more I learn about it, the more I realize that making money from a browser game in an ethical way is no easy task.

I’ll be on vacation for a couple of days to concentrate on writing a soundtrack. (I still write music as a freelancer occasionally.) See you in two weeks!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:57:56 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2018, 04:08:50 AM »

Development log #130

Excuse the bad play on words in the title, but our communications guy took a few days off this week, so that’s gotta do! While Michi wrapped up one flight-related topic and got started on the next one, Martin continued his merry preparations for the upcoming GDPR.


Martin

If there was one word to describe what I worked on this week it would have to be “infrastructure”. Following the mostly legal and organizational preparations for the new upcoming GDPR regulations, the technical ones followed suit. This primarily affects our sign-up pages and the emailing system that we use to send transactional emails, in-game notifications and newsletters to users that have an account with us. While the former was limited to rather small and straight-forward changes (like adding new disclaimers and check-boxes in the sig-up flow), the latter turned out to be a lot of work. A few minor things aside, that’s finished though and I can’t wait to lay my hand on more game-related stuff again.

Speaking of which….Michi and I did a quick brainstorming session this week talking about something that we’ve been sorely missing since the larger-scale alpha tests have started: Admin tools. At the moment it is really hard for us to help our testers in case of problems or to diagnose complicated bugs because some tools that only ever become important once the game runs outside of a local development environment do not exist yet. For example, a tool to easily take over a user’s in-game account without having to mess which actual authentication data would be extremely handy. So that’s among the next items on my to-do list…see you next week!


Michi (molp)

I finished most of the location refactoring so this week it was time to start something new that builds upon it: I started on landing and take-off flight segments.

Landings and take-offs is something that we wanted to have in the game for a long time, because we think it will add a lot of depth to how transportation and flights in general will work. For example: not all ships will be able to land on every planet or even at all. There might be large freighters that are loaded and unloaded in orbit by smaller ships with landing capabilities. Since these freighters cannot land, they can be bulky, large and cheaply built. A consequence might be that orbital stations with attached commodity exchanges are popular, since the trading companies can save the fuel for a planetary landing and take-off.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Right now I added the segments to the flight model and worked out rough formulas to calculate the necessary fuel and timings for each. Orbital maneuvers like these tend to be very complicated in the real world, so I had to simplify things. In the game only the planet’s size and atmosphere and the ship’s performance are relevant. The larger the planet the more fuel is necessary for a landing or take-off. The atmosphere has two different effects: during take-off a thinner atmosphere is preferable since the engines don’t have to work against the aerodynamic drag. When landing a thicker atmosphere will reduce the fuel cost since some of the ship’s kinetic energy will be converted to heat due to the friction.

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:58:14 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2018, 05:04:36 AM »

Development log #131

Michi can finally show the fruit of his labor on the advanced Flight Control, Martin has been busy creating tools for helping stranded players, and Julian has started to stalk a new kind of prey: influencers!


Martin

As planned, I worked on the new admin API of the PrUn server this week. It's a classic REST interface that we will use to inspect and - if necessary - modify entities in the game. My current proof-of-concept merely allows to view the public details of a company and to add inventory to one of its stores. But (a lot) more operations will be added overtime as needed.

Even though Michi has been working on major rewrites over the past weeks that won't be making it into the current alpha test, I decided to base my work off the develop branch which the alpha test is running on. This way we will hopefully be able to help players in the current test with some issues they've run into. Thinking of one poor fellow in particular who's stranded in a lonely part of the universe without a single drop of fuel remaining in his spaceship's tanks...


Michi (molp)

As I mentioned last week, I am currently working on the flight model, adding landing and take-off segments.

After a bit of fumbling and tweaking, the landing and take-off segments are calculated correctly now, so it was time to update the user interface. When selecting a target destination, there is now a button (if the target is a planet) to toggle between landing or just orbiting.

Next I added an overview containing detailed information about all segments a flight has. Instead of describing every detail of it, I leave you with a quick demo:  






Julian (Mjeno)

Thanks to the exhibitions in Berlin and Munich and the subsequent week of music composition, I hadn't done any "normal" work for the game in almost a month. Coming back this week and looking at the massive amount of tasks ahead, I decided to rearrange them into a roadmap outlining the foreseeable future.

I then tackled the task at its very beginning: researching influencers! I spent some time entering relevant terms into Youtube's search bar and checking out the channels that came up on the first couple of pages. Youtube is said to be unfair to small channels in a number of ways, but looking for niche content I easily found quite a few Youtubers with only a few thousand subscribers each. I've come to learn that it's common practice to pay Youtubers for featuring a game on their channel, especially with ad revenue becoming a less and less sustainable source of income for small content creators in particular. However, right now I'm hoping to find a few small channels who are genuinely interested in Prosperous Universe, rather than paying some big channel to read a nice script about the game for us. I'm generally skeptical about sponsored content not being marked as such, but the prospect of a Youtuber telling their audience about being paid to promote the game doesn't make me happy either. I'm hoping to take money out of the equation completely and just build a good relationship with a couple of Youtubers instead; they make some videos about our game, we provide them with material for giveaways, listen to their criticism, and post their content on our channels in return.

I'll keep you updated on how that turned out!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:58:42 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2018, 03:46:59 AM »

Development log #132

The first admin tools have been included into the ongoing test, marking the biggest update to the current alpha yet. In the meantime, a storm is brewing at the publicity front and Michi is stretching his legs in the countryside.


Martin

It was a close call but I managed to finish the important parts of my work on the new admin tools I’ve been talking about last week and before. In fact, I already deployed them to our test environment and was able to help out the first player with a small… uhm… fuel supply issue. The new admin API is still a proof-of-concept and I haven’t bothered writing proper UIs for it yet since I first want to discuss a few design decisions with Michi once he’s back from his vacation. So the next item on my to-do list will once again be corporations… looking forward to that!


Julian (Mjeno)

Boy have I been busy this week. Looking for influencers who might find Prosperous Universe interesting, I went through hundreds and hundreds of Youtube and Twitch accounts. I’m done with researching influencers for now, having amassed a sizeable list of potential candidates. All that remains is contacting them, for which I have designated several strategically sensible milestones in the future: As a general rule, smaller influencers will hear from us when the next alpha test launches, mid-sized ones when we move to the beta phase, and the biggest ones will be contacted once the game goes into Early Access. A similar plan exists for journalists. This way, I’m trying to strike a balancing between building some buzz over time and not approaching too big of an audience when the game isn’t finished enough yet. Gathering people and integrating them into this plan is all I’ve been up to this week.

I'll keep you updated on how that turned out!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:59:01 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2018, 12:38:36 PM »

Development log #133

With a lot going on outside of game development, this week was mostly about planning some upcoming milestones. Here’s a couple teasers of what’s to come!


Julian (Mjeno)

Let me start off by saying that this week was a little crazy for the team. Among other things, my city was flooded by a rainstorm so massive, entire cars where flushed away like driftwood. Needless to say, this and other incidents took some of our time and attention away from game development. But do not despair, for we still checked some boxes and did a little planning. Here’s a couple of teasers in a numbered list, Internet-style:

1. We’ll have one, probably two very interesting people joining the team for a while to help us work on game’s visuals and game design.
2. Michi got some work for the upcoming space stations feature done. He’ll tell you all about it soon.
3. Plans for the next alpha test are materializing, and even the closed beta is appearing at the horizon.

That’s all I can tell you for now. Sorry for teasing, you’ll learn more in due time!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:59:21 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2018, 10:11:00 AM »

Development log #134

This week, Michi can finally go into detail about an exciting new and important feature: space stations! Meanwhile, Martin got busy with the backend for upcoming tests and Julian dove into the world of clans and guilds.


Michi (molp)

As promised by Julian in last week’s devlog I am going to talk a bit about the space stations I am working on today.

If you have read the background story of the Exodus Council faction or had a look at our feature list, you probably have seen the terms ‘Orbital Structures’ or ‘Deep Space Structures’. Both describe space station like structures and they will play an important role in the game. For example since not all ships can land on every (or in some cases any) planet these ships need ways to load and unload cargo, refuel and so on.

In the beginning there will only be a few space stations, like Exodus Council’s Cibola Station. Later in the game player corporations will be able to build and control their own space stations. Space stations differ from planets as there are no plots where players can found bases. Instead space stations will be able to host modules like a commodity exchange, or ship service docks for example.

Since space stations are an important feature we decided to implement at least a functioning base version during the alpha phase. Since I have been refactoring how locations work in the game anyway, this week was a good point to get started. I added space station support to our world editor, and new game worlds (for example in the next alpha) will contain Cibola Station. This station is the starting point for players that choose the Exodus Council as their faction and contains a public commodity exchange.

While I managed to implement most of the space station details in the server, there is still some work left for next week Smiley



Martin

Well, this was a strange week. For reasons I’m sure I’ll touch on in one of the next devlogs, I didn’t actually plan to get much work done this week at all - neither for Prosperous Universe nor for any other project. But due to, let’s say, “scheduling changes”, I ended up having a lot more time at my hands than anticipated. At the same time, I didn’t want to get started on anything big because I expected to be interrupted at any time.

So I went though my personal backlog of “things that need doing but always fall through the cracks” and took care of a bunch of these, mostly affecting the backend and our build infrastructure. I’ve also started planning the next major pieces of backend infrastructure that need to be put in place before we can start the upcoming alpha and possibly beta tests that Mjeno already hinted at last week.

That’s about it, though. Sorry for being such a tease this week, but it’ll clear up soon. Promised!


Julian (Mjeno)

This week marked the beginning of my last phase of research into PR contacts. With press and influencers already out of the way, the last remaining entity we are going to inform about future milestones like the beta and the game’s release are clans. Prosperous Universe being an MMO, we thought it might be interesting to look into existing clans from other MMOs, especially the ones interested in trade and peaceful collaboration. Unfortunately, several hurdles rendered this task somewhat frustrating and ineffective.

First, a lot of clans are focused on PvP. Most other MMOs place a bigger emphasis on combat than PrUn, and fighting together appears to be a big reason to form clans. Second, clans are not businesses, unlike media channels and influencers. Therefore, they hardly ever provide any official contact info. More often than not, the only way to get in touch is to join a forum or Discord channel for the purpose of becoming a clan member. Third, most clans are short-lived. I imagine it to go like this: Someone falls in love with a game, has a couple of friends playing it, and decides to give their group a name. They then come up with a logo, write a bit of lore, and set up a page. A couple of months in, they lose interest in the game or at least in managing the clan and nobody takes their place. The clan page stays up, and only spending several minutes on the site, it dawns on me that this clan hasn’t been active in years. You would be surprised how many inactive clans still have homepages from as far back as 2012. Last but not least, I sometimes struggled to distinguish playful, in-game tribalism and actual political agendas. For instance, some German clans like to put an Eagle in their logo. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I did wonder why such a real-world symbol with real-world history and meaning had to be slapped onto a fictional group. Maybe it’s just my own distaste for patriotism in general, but I went out of my way trying to find out whether a group had an actual political agenda. I read forums, followed external links, stalked profiles and signatures etc. to make sure I didn’t end up inviting hateful groups into our game.

As you can imagine, all this made the search for suitable clans somewhat tedious. I did find a few, but it’s a disproportionate amount to my time investment. If you’re reading this and thinking “I have the perfect clan for Prosperous Universe”, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 09:10:34 AM by Mjeno » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2018, 09:07:33 AM »

Development log #135

While Julian is getting the PR material ready for the next, bigger alpha test, Michi is working hard on an ever more versatile flight model. Today’s biggest news, even though not game-related, comes from Martin, who has become a father on Thursday!


Michi (molp)

I am still knee deep in code implementing the space station details, particularly the navigation code.

Before, the space stations and the location refactoring ships could only fly to planets and would directly land on them. Now we have way more possibilities: ships can be sent into planets’ orbits, they can end up in orbits around the sun and now space stations are valid flight destinations as well. Since space stations can be orbiting the central star or a planet, navigation got more complicated, at least to implement, not for the players.

I wrote a lot of test cases to prevent regression errors in the future and they are all green at the moment, but I still have to implement a few things in the client to see if the visualization part works as well.


Martin

This week, I kind of got involved in another project: My first child was born! So please excuse my de facto absence for a couple of weeks until I have figured out how to do the whole work-life-balance-with-a-baby thing. :-)


Julian (Mjeno)

This has been a rather exciting week for me. I’m done stalking people now, having amassed a sizeable collection of press and other contacts for my PR offensive later this year. I finally got back to things more directly affecting the game, the company, and the present. We are currently working with a freelance game designer who helps us with things like progression systems and balancing. Right now, we’re discussing what an average player journey could look like, i.e. in which order they get to know the game’s mechanics, how long and how frequent their play sessions will be and ultimately what keeps their interest depending on the player type they represent.

Game design aside, I’ve been busy rewriting descriptive texts for our homepages, social media channels, press kit, database entries and wherever else you can currently find the game online. Both the game’s site and our company page are in for an overhaul, new company logo and claim included. Some of our current material is outdated, and we’re slowly getting ready for the next test run, which will be advertised to more players than the ones we held so far. The overhaul has been in progress for a while, but an end is in sight now. Baby steps – but steps nonetheless!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2018, 12:58:34 PM »

Development log #136

Martin is taking some time off to adjust to the new life situation, Julian is getting the overhauled texts and homepages ready, and Michi’s focus has shifted from space stations to orbiting space ships and improved maps.


Michi (molp)

This week I finished the work on the navigation code for space stations. One of the last parts was to make sure that the navigation from and to stations around planets and around the sun are working properly.

I then started to work on a change that I was looking forward to for a long time now: polishing and improving the maps. We are still not ready for a complete overhaul, but I started to work on the technical foundations. Ultimately we want the maps to be more interactive and to show more information. I started with the planet surface map that is located in the planet information panel:


Players can already see their base, the commodity exchange and other players’ bases but there are no ships, no space stations etc. Also nothing besides the player’s own base is clickable to get more information. This will eventually change and I made the first steps into that direction.

In the new flight model, ships can land on planets, but also orbit them, so I started to display the ships and their orbits:




Right now only the player’s own ships can be seen, but I’ll add other traffic and space stations as soon as I can Smiley


Julian (Mjeno)

There’s nothing I could write to remotely touch on the awesomeness of molp’s entry this week, right? I’ll make it quick, then: All texts for our new homepages and other online appearances are ready to go, and I’ve started to tackle our company page’s overhaul. Plus, we’re preparing a big round of questionnaires and interviews with our testers, so get ready to hear more about that very soon if you’ve been playing the alpha. I’ll have a lot more to report next week, when I’m finally done with the ongoing freelance work and start to catch up on my working hours for Prosperous Universe. Talk to you then!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!
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