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Third Time’s The Charm for Disney Infinity

DisneyInfinity3.0_1

Our house was big on Skylanders since the product was released when my daughter was of the age when playing with action figures was still a big draw. For me, of course, it was a decent game I could play with her, although being a brand new franchise, there was no appeal from the figures themselves aside from the fact that they looked cool and that the technology and concept was cool. We fanatically collected each and every one we could find, at least in the first generation, and have a whole bucket full of them in the basement still.

Disney Infinity, on the other hand, seemed like a crass cash-in on Skylanders rampant success. Version 1.0 dropped right when we were looking for a boost to our “collectible figures that appear in your video game” fever that was breaking around the time of Skylanders Trap Team, so we picked up DI1.0, and took it for a spin. It didn’t last anywhere near as long as our Skylanders obsession did. The gameplay in DI1.0 was uninspiring as it was nothing but a series of (wide) open world platforming elements that paled when compared to Skylanders action combat design. DI1.0‘s desirability, of course, rested on it’s figure’s recognition. Whereas Skylanders figures were no-name characters (they never even got a Saturday morning cartoon!), DI1.0 had characters that everyone knew and loved from some of the more recent Disney products like Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles. No doubt banking on the idea that kids (and lets not kid ourselves, parents) would like to have a Sully sitting by the TV, Disney seemed to have skipped out on making the actual game compelling enough to stick with, relying more on the draw of the figures to move the game (or at least to sell the figures to Disneyphiles).

As if to prove the point that it was entirely about the figures and not the game, DI2.0 arrived after the runaway success of several Marvel franchises, most notably The Avengers. Rather than just add those characters to DI1.0, Disney pumped out DI2.0. All new characters, all new software, and I had hoped all new gameplay.  Sadly, that wasn’t the case. In fact, I was significantly less impressed with the gameplay of 2.0. Thankfully, I had gotten the base set for over 50% off it’s MSRP.

Now we’re into DI3.0 which has been kicked off by — you guessed it — another wave of Disney property overload in the form of Star Wars. 1.0 seemed like kind of a “market to Skylanders fans” while 2.0 was a “market to young kids who love The Avengers“. 3.0, on the other hand, is like the fulmination of the aging of the demographic. Tons of people love Star Wars, and so far it’s been mostly adults who I’ve been hearing from in regards to wanting DI3.0 at least for the figures alone.

I’m not a massive Star Wars fan, but I like it better than The Avengers, and certainly more than the kid-focused franchises upon which DI1.0 was built, but fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, I’m not going to buy your shit a third time…at least that was my plan before Pete of Dragonchasers fame posted some videos of his gameplay in 3.0:

 

It looked better than 2.0 to me, and much better than 1.0, but I’d already spent the money on 1.0 and 2.0 starter kits, and wasn’t impressed with what I had gotten in each of those. Once again, Pete rode in to the rescue: he reminded me that you could get the software only if you owned a previous “portal”, the platform that you place the figures on to get them into the game. I have 1.0 on the Xbox 360 (but no 360 any more), and 2.0 on the PS4, and since the PS4 edition was $10 cheaper for some reason, I picked it up last night via PSN. Thanks to a fortuitous arrival of a payout regarding a class action lawsuit against Sony for something regarding the Vita, I didn’t even have to spend my own money on it!

At this point, let’s cut to the chase: I’ve already spent more time in DI3.0 than I did in 1.0 and 2.0 combined. To make that even more astounding, I don’t even have any 3.0 figures. In order to not piss off their consumers, Disney, like Skylanders, allows you to use old hardware and to carry your figures through so that your investment in generation 1.0 or 2.0 doesn’t need to be shelved when playing 3.0. Yes, that means Jack Sparrow can be piloting a land speeder, so pedants need not apply. It’s important in this case because Sony basically bought me the game so I could test it out before deciding to commit, or else I wouldn’t have spent the money to buy the game, another portal, and some 3.0 figures.

What is is about 3.0 that’s “better” than 1.0 and 2.0? First, I should address the elephant in the room that DI users and fans might have noticed I’ve glossed over, and that’s the Toy Box. The Toy Box (TB for short) is a construction kit built into the game that allows you to take elements of the pre-constructed game and build your own scenario. It also seems to be what the marketing is heavily focusing on this time around. 1.0 was basically a beta for this, as it’s tools were fairly limited. You had to unlock the building elements by playing the core game and then buy them using Sparks, which is a currency you collect while playing. This was slow, painful, and in my opinion, not worth it as it required me to play the boring core game to get to the “good stuff”, which in it’s infancy wasn’t even really that good. It was better to download the scenarios that other people made than to slog through the game to unlock things for yourself. 2.0 improved on it, or at least offered more interesting elements to unlock, like all of the stuff from the Marvel universe, but not enough to want to play through the boring game to earn it. It also gave you a dedicated house you could furnish and decorate.

I’ve really only spent time with 3.0 in what they call the Toy Box Hub. This is a gateway-slash-tutorial zone that you can use to learn how to build, how to use vehicles, how to fight, and how to use a new feature called “sidekicks”, which are basically combat pets you can earn, summon, and equip to help you in any DI world you play in. The TB in 3.0 is a lot better in terms of operation. You don’t have to play the game to find pieces to build with, although you can if you’d rather not pay for them with Sparks. This allowed me to look through the elements that DI3.0 offered, and they are extensive. There’s elements from various Disney properties like Mulan and Maleficient, but also entire set-pieces from Star Wars and The Avengers which would allow you to create the surface of the Death Star, Stark Tower, or the Ewok tree-city (and who doesn’t want to punt Ewoks from the catwalks above the forest floor? Eh? EH?)

I stayed inside the custom house for quite some time for a few reasons. It’s the first Hub option I chose. One thing that really struck me, though, was that Disney wasn’t just slapping a trendy veneer on 3.0 with Star Wars in mind: they really dug deep into their catalog. While in the house, you can place a device that allows for NPCs to enter and mill around. NPCs, for the most part, look like a Minecraft take on Weebles, but are recognizable as either generic folks or iconic Disney characters. In my house I saw some of the more famous characters like Wreck-It Ralph and Rapunzel, but it took me by surprise when I ran into Pete’s Fucking Dragon and Darkwing Duck. Some of the NPCs even quizzed you on Disney trivia — like the names of the hyenas in The Lion King or a totally-left-field question on The Love Bug (Google it, kids). That’s some serious back-catalog stuff right there, and that was when I realized that Disney finally got it, that they understood that pulling punches and narrowing the focus of the releases to home in on what’s currently popular from their stable is only good if they wanted to move units and not care about the experience. Opening the doors to a wider audience by incorporating more than just the new (or upcoming) hotness is going to provide touchstones for more people once they’ve been reeled in by the faces on the box, and to me, at least, leveraging the monumental catalog that Disney has at it’s disposal is like an almost unlimited amount of meta-content to chew on. In one section of the TB Hub you can visit Flynn’s Arcade from Tron, and I played a Disney created adventure set in Gravity Falls. My primary sidekick is, of course, Mabel, armed with throwing knives and a Roman Centurion helmet, which made me laugh maniacally.

DI_Announce_TRONI had a lot of fun with what I was able to get to, and I only got to try so much because I didn’t have a 3.0 playset, and because I just spent so much time enjoying the Toy Box Hub. I think that 1.0 was a bookmark, 2.0 — like most second entries in a trilogy — was the weakest entry, but 3.0 seems to has learned from it’s deficiencies and has been built with a more advanced user in mind: it’s Disney, so they have to include younger gamers, but whereas 1.0 and 2.0 seemed to focus solely on kids who had less familiarity with advanced gaming concepts and might only be interested in characters they have experienced, 3.0 seems to have grown with those audiences at least so that the gameplay is more palatable to older players, and have given them the knowing wink by pulling in content from almost a century’s worth of characters.

Of course, now I have to track down 3.0 playsets. Right now, I can get the Anakin/Ashoka Clone Wars playset, which I’m OK with, but the Luke/Leia play set isn’t out until the end of the month. They also have the Inside Out playset, but…yeah. There’s also the singles, like Han Solo and Chewie, Yoda and Vader, and I know my daughter would want Sam and Quorra from Tron Legacy. So It looks like I’m back on the hook for collecting figurines.

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Can We Ever Get Out Of Our Own Way?

There’s a popular saying that “hell is other people”. I’ve used it, and I know that others use it to indicate how much they dislike the behaviors of others, comparing having to endure the public attitudes and ignorance of others to eternal damnation. According to this maxim, we’ll never be able to escape the stupid, and at times that’s especially true in the video game community.

I’m linking this video because while I find things I can take personal offense to, I find parts of it kind of funny. Kimmel’s job is to take almost any situation and put a humorous spin on it. 364 days out of the year we require the application of this formula from our comedians because pointing out the absurdity in every day life, magnifying it, and turning it back to us is pretty much the textbook definition of comedy, and if we’re honest with ourselves, helps us to put our troubles into perspective.

Generally, everyone who ends up as a target of comedy either take their ribbings or understands that what’s said and laughed about today will be long forgotten by tomorrow (considering the hour that these talk shows air, “tomorrow” is a matter of minutes). Everyone, that is, except the gaming community, which I’m sure is absolutely no surprise to you, dearest reader.

One one hand, I’m heartened by the fact the Kimmel’s earlier bit on YouTube Gaming garnered the most kickback of any bit they’ve aired. That means two things: a lot of people who know what YTG is or who use YTG have watched Kimmel’s show (so he’s welcome for that!), and that there’s enough people out there who feel strongly enough to register their indignation (ideally, good for us in the gaming community).

Being gamers, though, the…flavor of indignation could be charitably described as “unpalatable”. Of course Kimmel is going to feature comments that provide the easiest hooks and the funniest punchlines because that’s his job. To him, it’s just another day at the office. To a lot of gamers, though, it’s retreading an old trail that we know that we’ve left behind a long time ago. Gamers aren’t antisocial loners who live in their parent’s etc etc etc. I could tattoo that on my forehead, but there will always be a cadre of people out there for whom that stereotype is their one and only understanding of what we do and who we are, so it’s to those people Kimmel’s bit is pandering. Unfortunately for us as the butt of the joke, the comments that Kimmel provided as fodder do absolutely nothing to help dispel that stereotype.

Blaming Kimmel is pointless because he’s a comedian and I’d actually be confused had he taken a different tack. Instead, I have to blame those who thought the best way to rebut his insinuations was to write violent and incoherent comments. Yeah, it’s YouTube, so it’s technically it’s a sport unto itself, but like how I would expect Kimmel to take the approach he took, I can’t say I expected anything less from our little band of miscreants.

People need to really sit and think about how maybe their behaviors aren’t actually helping solve the very problems that they’re railing against. Maybe their foul mouthed tirades are helping them to let of steam, sure, but in the end, painting yourself as an unhinged jackass is only going to reinforce the stereotypes you’re trying to convince people aren’t true. Can’t take a joke? Can’t form a sentence? Can’t present a counter-argument without sarcasm and violent, foul language? That’s the epitome of being socially inept. Thinking that telling someone to “tie fish line around your balls and jump” is more creative than moronic has less to do with defending the honor of your community than it is about being seen by your peers as witty and snarky. As someone who finds this behavior abhorrent but who is also caught in the dragnet that you’re cinching around our collective community, thank you for your contribution, YouTube commentators.

I like to daydream about what we could accomplish as a community if people who had these levels of rage were actually funneling it into avenues that put the community first instead of putting their own 0.5 seconds of peer attaboys ahead of the betterment of our hobby. These people have passion, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s destructive passion. It does no good for anyone to burn the house down in order to save it, which is why I feel the need to write this post, and why I wish I could somehow calmly explain to those who take Kimmel’s skit at face value and who think even less of us as a community than they did before that bit that we’re actually nothing like how he has portrayed us, and how those comments do not represent us as a community. We’re obviously not all like those commentators, but being good students, hard working adults, and loving parents and spouses doesn’t bring the inherent funny, so we won’t get airtime or opportunity to have that kind of Real Talk.

In the end, our fate rests on the shoulders of my daughter, and your daughter, and your son, because those are the people who are growing up far better adjusted than the people whose first thought is that they’re going to take the fight to Kimmel at the helm of a loaded YouTube comment. Our kids aren’t going to need to fight situations like this, because there’ll be nothing funny about people who play video games. They’ll have grown up with a decent balance between going outside and staying inside. They’ll have made real friendships that exist online-only and won’t bemoan the death of face-to-face interaction for the benefit of a tired punchline. As an adult, I am only riding on the leading edge of such progress, not driving it. Our kids will grow up in a way that will be the absolutely best rebuttal of shticks like Kimmel’s, and will neuter any arguments held by those who think we’re all a bunch of antisocial losers.

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Action Packed!

TimmYTurner_ActionPacked

With my wife away on an annual weekend vacation with her sister, I was left unscheduled for three whole days. Since my daughter is well into the age range where she’s more or less self-sufficient, and because she had a friend over Saturday and into Sunday, I had no agenda. That’s a pretty dangerous situation, since I’m more apt to fill my free time with the things I want to do, and not the things I should do. But it’s OK; the lawn will be there for another day.

Saturday – Wildstar and Golem Arcana

Saturday morning was Wildstar morning. I’ve moved through Thayad and have found myself in a war zone. It’s a very densely packed war zone, almost ludicrously so. In some places it’s impossible to move without triggering aggro, but to the developer’s credit those situations are usually stocked with paper mache targets. It was during this segment that I realized something about Wildstar. When it launched, people compared it to vanilla WoW because of it’s focus on the end game raiding, and because both of them have a cartoon-like aesthetic that turned some people off. The rodent-like Chua and the…what are they? Rabbits? The Aurin, with their ears and tails and anime eyes, and of course the liberal use of humor rubbed some people the wrong way. The game seemed to lack any semblance of gravitas that I guess the “hardcore” players demanded in their raid-heavy, srs bsnes games.

But Wildstar can get really fucking dark. I remember that in Vanguard there was one quest in particular that had you kidnap NPCs for a mage’s experiments, and then dump the wasted bodies over a bridge. I thought that was dark, but Wildstar doesn’t let you forget that you’re technically at war with an opposing side over control of the planet Nexus. It’s not just being on a battlefield that’s their way of reminding you, either: you’ll meet NPCs who end up as cannon fodder, use of chemical weapons, experimentation on citizens and soldiers, and other horrible things. I don’t mean to minimize the actual atrocities that humanity has applied to humanity, but of some of the things you see — and participate in — in Wildstar happened in real life, they’d easily be considered war crimes, and if that doesn’t negate the perception that the game is just a lighthearted WoW clone, than nothing will.

Later that night I managed to fire up Golem Arcana. I don’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but in case not and for those not in the know, it’s a miniatures board game from Hare Brained Schemes, my new favorite indie developer (they did Shadowrun Returns and are working with Catalyst Game Labs to bring Battletech back to the small screen for realsies this time). Like BattletechGA is about pitting armies of minis against one another in certain virtual scenarios. Unlike BT, though, GA has a technological component in that you are given a stylus that pairs with a smart device like a tablet or smartphone, and you use this stylus to select the minis on the board and the board itself. The GA application handles everything that a traditional tactical game has you crunching: action points, damage tracking, skills and abilities, terrain modifiers, and everything else, which frees you up for focusing on the tactical aspects of position.

At first I wondered why you’d even need the minis, and even after playing the two tutorial games I’m still kind of scratching my head because the app gives you an overview of the map and the soldiers on the field. You can work with the units either by clicking on parts of their ID cards, or simply by using the stylus to scroll through options on the screen. The board itself is just there to tap on so you can pick a place to move to. But there’s the visceral feel of seeing and moving the pieces around the board that bridges the gap between another stack-of-papers wargame played live with another person, and the isolation of online multiplayer where people are more focused on their devices than they are on actual interaction. I give it a thumbs up, and it made me wish there was a similar, more in-depth treatment of Battletech, because that would be amazing.

Sunday – Steam Shopping and Guild Wars 2 Free As In Beer

Yesterday morning I picked up two new games. The first was Sword Coast Legends which releases this month and already has me stockpiling adult diapers for the date. SCL is a licensed Dungeons & Dragons property, which is good because I like D&D. It seems to be another dungeon crawler in the vein of oh so many: Diablo for the slaughter, Baldur’s Gate or Pillars of Eternity for the party composition, but the absolute goosebump-inducing best slam-dunk part of the game? The dungeon master tools! I’ve watched a few live-streams of the early builds of the game where the builder tools were featured, and this is probably the closest we’ve gotten to an actual successor to Neverwinter Nights. That’s not to disparage Neverwinter or to look down on the intense moddability of Divinity: Original Sin, but the tools and the fact that the game can support an actual DM who takes over NPCs and can drop monsters and modify the terrain on the fly while others are playing clearly nudges it ahead of the pack of claimants. I am very excite for this.

The other game I scored was an embarrassing omission from my library: Satellite ReignI’ts a party-based, real time, cyberpunk homage to Syndicate. There’s nothing in that description I do not love, but it only recently released and while I have had the game on my radar since it went into Early Release on Steam, I opted to wait it out. I am glad that I did, and that I did notice that it had been released, because when it comes to nailing it, Satellite Reign nails it. The visuals are top-notch, evoking the absolute best vision of “classic cyberpunk” I’ve seen in a long, long time. The gameplay is easy to learn, but stupidly difficult to master (being real time means a whole lot of thinking on your feet). There’s stealth, hacking, taking over ATMs to syphon money into your bank accounts, research and development, and, of course, the “we don’t call it that” Persuadeotron, although one that works differently from the one you had in Syndicate. I’ve found that the more games I buy, the fewer I actually don’t regret having purchased, but this should have been a no-brainer, so I’m excited that it was, in fact, a no-brainer.

And in tangential news, learning that Guild Wars 2 basic is now free to download, free to play, makes me happy. As Syp said on Twitter, though, anyone who wants it probably has it by now, so ANet and NCSoft probably weren’t seeing too much revenue from new sales anyway. What ANet didn’t say in their PAXPrime presentation, though, was the situation surrounding those who buy Heart of Thorns. There was contention that the price of the expansion was kind of high, and that the expansion also includes the core game which many saw as the reason behind the high price. For new players, it was a steal; for the rest of us who already own the game, that’s excess baggage that we’re being asked to pay for.

Addendum – Literature!

In other, non-game related news, a story of redemption. I had purchased the book The Martian after the groundswell of positive reviews, and because it’s being Made Into A Major Motion Picture(tm), so in order to lay claim to “the book was better” (although that may not be the case, based on previews I’ve seen), I’d actually have to read the book. I heard it had humor, and real science, both of which I enjoy to varying degrees.

After starting the book, though, I realized that while I enjoyed high degrees of humor, my enjoyment for high degrees of technobabble is at an all time low. The novel starts out like a goddamn chemistry textbook, and while I like chemistry (probably my third favorite science), I had expected a novel, not a lecture, even if that lecture was being presented in comic-strip-in-prose form. I admit that the heavy hand of science fatigued me to the point where I eventually didn’t care to pick it up again.

It wasn’t until I mentioned it to The Martian and Golem Arcana pimp BlueKae that I figured I should give it another go. There had to be more to this than just dry college prep chemistry, the way people were going on about how brilliant it was. So I picked up where I left off, with the protagonist still stranded on Mars (it’s not called The Martian for nothing, or for reasons you might otherwise expect). There was some residual coursework to be done, but then the story picked up as a story once the focus started splitting itself between Mars and NASA back on Earth. Now we’ve got a drama! After than, the book started working for me: the science was mixed with humanity once other humans entered the picture, and the humor was more humorous because of it.

I also finished a set of short stories by Hugh Howey, who is firmly seated in my list of top five authors. Wool was amazing. Dust was astounding. Beacon 23, an anthology about a damaged war “hero” who mans a remote interstellar navigation lighthouse, was interesting. Plot-wise, I don’t think it can touch either Wool or Dust, but Howey has a great writing style that fits the short anthology model perfectly. He keeps the plot moving without miring it in a lot of fluff, but still manages to provide a decent amount of back story and pathos to the characters and their situations that the story never feels like it’s sacrificing weight for length. He’s also really good at putting truisms into words. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words to convey an idea or a thought or an experience to someone who’s never experienced it, and it’s even harder to string those words into a sentence that says so much with seemingly so little effort. Howey is exceptionally good at doing just that, which makes his books entertaining and cathartic on many levels. You can get the five part Beacon 23 for the Kindle for $0.99 per installment, and if you haven’t read Wool or Dust (both of which have been at least optioned for movies or TV, which pleases me greatly), go for the omnibus versions of both.

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Watch Several Seconds of Hot Commerce Action

Here it is! A rough-cut of what it’s like to dock at a space station to buy trading goods. Contain your excitement, folks, there’s enough here for everyone.

I wish I had the patience to get the jump gates working before I’d recorded this, but that’s a system I just haven’t worked out quite yet and requires some thinkin’.

Menus and Messaging

I had updated the menu system a bit. The original system had each menu parented to an empty game object which I could latch on to in order to show or hide the visual elements. In order to keep things more organized, the three different menu controller objects are now parented to a “purpose game object”. What the video shows is the “station purpose” menu controller. It’s an empty (invisible) game object which contains all of the game objects which contain the menus needed to drive the station experience. The reason behind this is that I can turn the top level controller into a prefab and have the station menu framework “portable” and self contained for each and every scene.

I also started to switch over to a messaging based system for inter-object communication. Unlike traditional business app development, Unity allows you to write scripts and attach them to anything. In some cases, what you write determines where it needs to be attached, like a movement script to the player object. In other cases, it can be open to interpretation. For example, the DOCKING process that shows the “Press ‘F’ To Dock” button was originally in a script attached to the station trigger, because the station trigger is what detects the player when he crosses the trigger boundary. Responding to that “F” key, then, needed to display the station menu, which required communication from the trigger to the menu controller — which is a totally different object in the scene. And then when the player wants to leave, he has to click the UNDOCK button. It doesn’t make sense to have the menu control the player’s undocking event, so the menu button needed to communicate with a script on an object that makes sense to handle undocking process, which happened to be the same object which handled docking. Not super optimal, but it’s logically organized to some extent. What also complicates things is that each object that raises an event needs to know specifically who to send it to, so an event-raising object needs to Find() or have an Inspector-added reference to the object and script which will handle the event. That’s called “tightly coupled” and removes a lot of the flexibility that Unity normally provides.

Messaging is a kind of lazy developer’s way of communicating between objects. It’s less about sending a message than it is shouting someone’s name in a crowded plaza. In a messaging system, a script subscribes to one or more “named events”, like “onPlayerDocking” or “onCommodityListSelection”. That subscription is called the listener and also contains a callback, a reference to a block of code that is called when the listener hears it’s named event being “shouted” by the other side of the equation, the broadcaster. These names are broadcast in response to an event, like a button press or a collision. The benefit of a messaging system is that objects don’t need to know about one another…they don’t even have to exist, technically, because when someone shouts “DOUG!” in a crowd, if there’s no one named Doug, then no one responds…end of story. While this is way more flexible than tying objects together in a very specific way, it also has it’s potential downsides. I’m not sure what the processing cost of messaging is compared to tying objects together. There’s also the fact that one shout can be answered multiple times. That’s pretty good if you want to announce the presence of a player in a pirate-infested asteroid belt, but you also don’t want every pirate in the scene to swarm the player; that would be disastrous. And as I said when I started this paragraph, messaging can be looked at as kind of lazy. Shouting an event with the expectation that it’s going to get picked up by someone somewhere is fine if you obsessively catalog your broadcaster-listener pairs, but forget one listener and you’re in for a potential world of hurt trying to debug a system with no real connection between the two end-points.

For now, I returned to the tight coupling of the menu buttons by putting the “big event handlers” at the top of the UI hierarchy. I know that the station-purpose tree is always going to be there in that form, so having events handled that far from the object that raises them is OK by me. I’m keeping the messenger system on stand-by for other situations where I’m sure I’ll need to set up some kind of “fire and forget” system where tight coupling isn’t going to be a wise decision.

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The Invisible Hand Shows It’s Face

I had a post written up illustrating how testing development theory can reveal opportunities to evaluate assumed notions when it came to mechanics, but it turned out that the post I had written that was based on observations was wrong because my test situation had an incorrect calculation! So huzzah for test cases!

Instead, I give you this, my market testing UI:

BuySilver_Round1

 

In this example, the listing on the left shows all commodity items that I have defined. Each shop will either buy or sell (not both) every item in the system. The price is based on a few factors such as the demand and quantity on hand over quantity recently sold. Because it’s a unified interface, the list shows how many units the SHOP has, and how many the player HOLD has (I defaulted the player to have 1 of everything for testing). Each item also has a BUY (Shop > Hold) or SELL (Hold < Shop) button that loads the item data into the BUY/SELL panel on the right.

That side panel allows the player to move items from SHOP to HOLD (+) or in the inverse direction (-). The direction is based on the BUY/SELL status of the item, although players can move quantity between the cart and the shop until they select CANCEL (abandon), APPROVE (buy), or click another BUY/SELL button. The details panel takes the quantity in the cart, multiplies it by the price per item calculation, and presents a total debit (or total credit) for the transaction.

Standard stuff, right? Here’s where the magic happens:

BuySilver_Round2

 

After having purchased my 8 units, things have changed. I am now significantly poorer, with only 36 credits to my name, but I have 8 more units in my hold, bringing me up to 9 whole units. I’ve also really spoiled things for the next rube who wants to buy silver, as the change in shop quantity has caused the price to jump to 88 credits per unit. Sadly, I can’t afford another item of Silver, although had I bought fewer and not wiped out my bank account, I could return to buy more — at a higher price than I had originally paid.

A jump from 58 to 88 credits for taking a measly 8 units of product is kind of a steep jump, so there’s some fine tuning to be done. Demand is actually a factor based on the makeup of the population in the sector, which is currently represented by a flat percent value. Later on, I hope to add in “event factors” which can shift the prices of entire classes of commodities in either direction based on need or scarcity as a response to things that happen across the universe or just in the current sector.

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