Status Update

There have been some fixes and new development on HamQuest. Still nothing really new to show as of yet. I imagine there should be something by the end of the month, though.

I’ve also made up a quick console based prototype of yet another game, and at this point, I can say that the prototype works and the game will be fun, but I’m going to have to think about the platform on which it should be delivered.

The game is Island Interloper, and the point of the game is to amass wealth by buying and selling commodities in an ocean world dotted with islands. Actually it is something of a rehash of Pieter Spronck’s Space Trader for PalmOS circa 2002.

Currently the prototype allows the player to travel the ocean, dock at an island, and buy and sell cargo. It also requires one provision per day be eaten or the game is over, so it would technically be a completely playable game at this point if the console interface weren’t so clunky.

In creating the prototype, I decided to do a couple of interesting things.  One, the player “knows” about one and only one island… the island on which he is docked.  He knows nothing of the world at large. When travelling the ocean, he can detect an island when it is 10 days away.

Considering the world is 1000 units by 1000 units, and only 1000 islands are present, finding another island heading a random direction from the first one before food runs out can be a bit of a problem. It is just this very presence of danger and exploration of the unknown that makes for a fun aspect of a game.

Each island has a particular level of supply and demand for each of the various commodities, which generates a multiplication factor for the base price of the commodity on that island, so the normal way to go about things is to buy low, sell high, and go back and forth between two islands in this manner and become wealthy.

Except that I introduced a volatility factor that modifies supply and demand after a certain volume of items are moved. So island A may have cotton at 10 gold pieces per ton, and island B has cotton at 20 gold pieces per ton, but dragging enough cotton from A to B will close the gap in the prices after a while.  This feature works pretty well, actually, and since the player’s journeys are constantly bleeding provisions, it means that the player will be able to exploit a particular dichotomy between a couple of neighboring islands for a while, but will soon find himself in need of a new market.

So it would appear that I have the seed of a good new game forming.

But now it needs a venue. A console based game in C# is great for a prototype, but not for an actual game.  I would classify it as a primarily text based game, but it could be just at home on a web page as on a windows form.

One of my thoughts is that it would make a decent MMORPG on facebook, with a persistent world (with some manner of causing the supply and demand to reset itself over time). Unfortunately, such a game has a lot of moving parts to it: fbml, php, mysql, ajax.

But that’s what appeals, I guess.  Dunno where I’ll go with Island Interloper yet.  I think I’ll shelve it for a bit, and see what happens.


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