First, I'd like to state, out in the open, that I have now set a deadline for this project. I will have it to "open beta" status as of August 1, 2008. Can it be done? Absolutely. Can I do it? "Yes". Anyhow, this gives me a little over three months from today to get more or less everything done. After that point, the only changes should be small tweaks based on playtesting. With any luck, this aggressive timetable will get me moving and producing like never before.
Coming hot of the heels of that bold declaration, it's time to discuss this week's progress. There are no screenshots. Again. Get over it. However, after extensive tinkering, begging, pleading, and other unspeakable acts, I've gotten the socket functionality I want dropped into VERGE so that I can proceed with my diabolical plans. Yes, that's right; I said sockets. That means this does network stuff. Cool network stuff.
I promise tasty, visual-type updates next week, so stay tuned.
This, however, does not mean I accomplished nothing. Even more (and more dramatic) design changes have been made. The economy system is starting to shape up and feel complete-ish. Now it's simply a matter of getting enough other things done that I can drop it in and do some field tests.
I've also decided to use a more literal representation for star systems, notably, that each actually has a star and orbital bodies now, instead of the old "representative" system. I still feel like it's a bit cluttered feeling, but it's also more intuitive to navigate, and gives me the opportunity to add more personality to each system.
The technology and defense systems have also been revised and are kind of fused together now. This is one is fairly satisfying, since it feels like a more balanced and complete set of mechanics.
All of the changes, while described vaguely here, are pretty significant in determining just what the end result will be. I'm pretty confident that these revisions are leading to a much better and more interesting game, and so I'm actually kind of glad that I put it off for as long as I have and am revisiting it now.
Apart from that, I "finished" a couple menu screens. Sadly, as awesome as I was convinced my UI system is, I've discovered that it still takes a while to put the elements together. However, it's lightning quick to make changes afterwards, so it's not a total loss. Also, the mini-map was an awful monster to wrangle with; I just want to throw that out there.
I encountered a bit of an issue with Lua when mixing "integer" and non-integer math. Fortunately, once the cause was discovered, it only took a few small fixes to get everything working again. Thanks go to Kildorf for helping me get to the root of it.
The done-for-now options screen:
The still-very-much-a-work-in-progress galaxy screen:
I'm quite satisfied with this week's work, even if I don't have a whole lot to show for it here. Here's hoping for another solid update next week!
Not quite the progress I was hoping for, but progress none the less!