About a month since my last write up. I thought i’d write some more. Today I pressed the early access release button on Steam.
I hope at least some people will be interested in my work. As of today, it can be played. It’s not yet a finished game. But , with more work and player input i can hopefully make it into something nice.
I’ve been looking at some feedback I received and most if not all want a tutorial. As the game can be very hard to get into at first.
To new players, i’d advise starting out with the starting blueprints the city provides and , if unsure, go for housing, housing stands pretty much on its own and needs no other branches to function once built.
Now, back to that tutorial. Considering it’s such an important feature for people to know how to play the game. I’ll make sure I get this feature in asap. In the meantime I hope the ‘wiki’ pages provide sufficient info on how to get started.
Further down the line I’m also thinking about a stock market. I think it could be nice if you could trade stocks and invest in companies other than your own.
I have a leaderboard on Steam, your characters cash determines how high up you are. If you wish to be first, make sure you ‘pay dividends’ in the ‘financial’ page of your company. It’s also a safe store of money incase you bankrupt and need to start over.
Been about a year since my last blog post here. Time I should write again.
What i’ve been doing these past months.
It has been a very interesting several months where I have been very busy debugging the many thousands of lines of codes i’ve written.
Balancing the game as i went, adding tooltips with information. Choosing music that goes with the game… My biggest thanks goes to my steam friend nicknamed Argus, a great Canadian. And a patient tester. Countless hours have been spent, many hours of both fun and frustrations. But, having come halfway towards a fully released game it’s been a very enjoyable ride.
Needless to say that, when coding up until the morning hours, skipping my weekly judo sessions as i went, I had this sense of archievement when bug number 6141155 had been fixed.
Now, yesterday evening, I have been setting up the Steam store page for Ventura Inc. And I’m hoping for Steams approval, at some point in the next month.
In the meantime I have also requested several Steam Beta Keys to divide amongst friends, family and possibly interested Steam players. These keys will remain active for the duration of the final testphase. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. First comes, first served.
I worked hard to sufficiently test server stability. However, considering my current tests were usually limited to 2 to 5 players. I think it will be interesting to see how the game fares with way higher numbers. What I can say however is that I have been minimising the data sent between client and server wherever possible as to maximize the number of concurrent players on the server.
Now, a bit about the game.
As it currently stands:
The game is all about running a company. And choosing company ‘branches’ to make a profit. At present there are:
These branches, are all in some way connected to one another by the services or goods they provide to eachother. By design, you have a whole world of interconnected industries. Basically a simulation of reality.
The engineer makes the blueprints, wich are used when constructing a building. However, constructing a building needs a construction company willing and able to do the job. What this means is that you’ll be needing to buy a blueprint from an engineer, and sign a construction contract with someone too (if you don’t have one yourself). The construction branch will get to work , and it’ll need resources that it’ll hopefully have stocked up on. These goods can come from Factory, Steel Mill and Woordworking branches.
In general , alot of the branches, Steel Mill, Restaurant, Farms, etc can employ machines as a multiplier of their employees productivity. However, there is a tradeoff, as these machines will be using electricity wich is provided by a power plant.
All goods are transported by the Transport branches (Shipping & Airlines are still to be added when multiple cities are introduced)
Bank provides loans wich are often needed to fund your new buildings.
This interconnectivity can be a good thing, but also a bad thing, depending on where someone ends up in financial difficulties, it’s possible he drags someone else with him.
In theory it’s possible to have all the different branches in your company, however. I have designed the game for it to come at a cost. This might mean it’s sub optimal from a business point of view. As you’ll probably want to maximize profit.
The gameworld currently has just 1 city. And in that city there are around 1600 plots where there can be build. However, I will be releasing more cities asap, and i have provided a system to cope with the limit in land. Currently, when designing (Engineer) a branch building, you’ll be able to define the number of offices that building has. This means, that you’ll be able to rent out office space to other players. Plots also get exponentially more expensive for a company to upkeep. So having 1 plot is cheap, having 10 is probably not affordable unless if you’re massive.
With this I sign off, going to work on that wiki page tonight…
it’s been a while. It’s actually been too long. Sadly I haven’t coded as much as I wanted to in the past 3 months. This means the testing phase has been pushed back a bit.
However. I’m slowly but surely getting there.
Since the last two weeks I’ve been ramping up the amount of time I spent working on Ventura Inc.
I’ve been hard at work to put together a social panel with friends, ignores, a chat window, including private and public channels where you can chat with other players.
On the networking front I have been debugging my game with a friend who lives in France. We managed to run the game smoothly on his and my end. France – Belgium, a latency of 50 ms.
Very promising. Once the game is connected and loaded it consumes around 200 bytes / second on average. Wich is a very promising number to allow for many many players on one server. 🙂 Framerate ranges from anywhere between 120 and 400 fps for now , depending on the power of your pc. Either way, stuff runs smooth.
Furthermore, i’ve been developing several UI’s, this includes:
a list of available contracts
a list of goods for sale
a financial overview of your company
an event reporter
messageboxes triggered by the server (this tech I’ll use to inform players of important events)
Also, I finished the economy more or less. This means the populace now earns and spends money as they should.
Still not finished entirely is the transportation of goods between the different branches of your company. (and cities) This is something I’m still working on.
I have managed to get a bankruptcy event in. If your company value drops below 0, you’ll go bankrupt, possibly taking others with you.
Now, you might ask, what is the title about? Well , today I’ve been working on the save/load of the game.
All players will play on 1 server. However, the server needs to be maintained, and backups need to be taken on a regular basis. Making a savegame of all the data, wich is alot, took quite a bit of typing I must say (around 2 work days). When everything works in the end, it was well worth it. This is the result when loading a game for now. (Look at the bottom image – My buildings are half UNDERGROUND) – Now I have to look at what is the issue and fix it ofcourse.
Next up, planned for the coming weeks:
Finish up on the existing systems
Drawing buildings, vehicles, icons and add them to the game
Start of initial playtesting
Steam is releasing Steam Direct today and I’ll be looking at releasing the game on Steam. Release will however come after a sufficiently long testing phase in wich i established the game runs smooth and without bugs.
the past week I’ve been mostly occupied with technical issues. The sad story game developers sometimes come across. I’ve been working on the game since well over 6 months now. And each time you finish new functionality you come to a point where you want to debug the new features you implemented. That’s what this past week has been mostly about for me.
Basically, ‘Debugging’ is the big word here. Generally most bugs are fixed in a matter of minutes, some however take a bit longer. As was the case this past weekend. Checking your code, making sure it does what it is supposed to. I fix most bugs using just the ‘single player’ functionality of my game. Basically the game is ran as both server and host in 1 game application and you check if everything works as it should. This makes it easy to fix stuff. However, it sometimes makes you forget it’s a multiplayer game. And then you go back to your earlier implemented functionality and you notice it no longer works.
Now, this weekend was special in that I came across a big issue that nearly killed the plan to ever release the game if not fixed. Basically my players could join the server, play, but could never rejoin the server at a later point if they wanted to play again. When rejoining, lots of data was being transmitted between server and client, yet no game objects were ever received on the players end. I then went ahead and investigated, around 15 hours total (Friday , from 10 am in the morning until 6 in the following morning). Taking just a break to have lunch and dinner. When in such a situation i start to feel very uncomfortable as the morning approuches. This doesn’t happen often, a bug I cannot find in any reasonable time frame. But as morning dawned I came to realise my code was bug free.
What option did I left? If my code was indeed bug free… Maybe there was an issue in the Unity3d Engine I use. So I went ahead and started reading the many patch notes from patches that came out since I started using the game engine for my game. And suddenly, in one of the patches, I noticed: ” Networking: ReliableFragmented channel stops working after client has disconnected, then reconnects.” As described in the Unity 5.3.6p1 patch. And this gave me hope. Hope that not all the countless day and nightly hours I’ve put into creating the game were lost. So, I went ahead and looked at the networking class. And indeed, i had implemented a channel as ReliableFragmented. After 15 hours of trying to fix my working code, i just had to remove the channel with 2 mouse clicks and assign some game objects to be communicated over different channels. And indeed, the bug was fixed!
This, in my opinion, is proof that as game developer, and developer in general you need a very broad view on everything that happens. It shows that projects can fail where you do not expect them to. Unity3d, afterall is also a work in progress and in constant development. In this particular case it failed me a bit. However, it was great that they provide nice documentation where you can read about issues that have been noted and fixed in later versions of the engine.
For me, Unity3d, even with this issue has been a great experience. And I’d recommend it to anyone wishing to create a multiplayer experience. In general the HLAPI Unity3d provides makes it very convenient to write a networking game that works and is not susceptible to exploits. (They use server authority) It also allows you to, with sufficient coding of yourself, write a game that will scale well for many many a player.
I’m confident in saying my game servers will be able to host the game for hundreds of players per server. The biggest bottleneck will surely be the speed of the hard drives /SSD’s. I find i can easily keep traffic to any player down to the absolute minimum. The tools are there, you just have to know how to use them.
With that positive note I’ll end my post for today.
Today is the day that I went ahead an provide a pre-order for anyone willing to support the development in these last months before release.
With that I also created the forum and allowed registration on the website. If you register now, you can join in the discussions on the forum.
Registering will also be required for anyone that wants to play Ventura Inc. I’m currently engaged in linking the accounts on ventura-inc.com to the login servers of the actual game.
This means, once you register here at ventura-inc.com, you can pre-order the game here as well. Once the servers are up and running you will be able to play using the account you’ve registered with here.
It’s sunday morning, 6 am when I write this. I’ve been busy the entire night setting up this website. (As a solo indie developer you’ll find you always have stuff you can do. I personally work best at night when no one disturbs me.)
I found it was time today that the gaming world slowly got to know of the project I’ve been working on this last year.
Before going into the night however, I was in a day of drawing in blender. I come mainly from a background in coding. So my blender skills are sadly, not yet, top notch. That’s also likely one of the reasons I went with a strategy game. Graphics are less vital than, let’s say a fps. What I do bad in graphics, I more than make up in coding. And, you’ll find, in creativity too. I’m trying to create a competitive gameworld not yet seen before.
For those interested, a few screenshots of the work I’ve been doing yesterday. Time for a nap now. When I wake up I’ll go back to coding.
Hello fellow gamer!
Ventura Inc is a multiplayer only game in development by a single developer. That developer being me. I found in the gaming world there currently exists a lack of a strategy game that simulates running a business in a competitive manner.
The game is currently in development, and as such any screenshots or information released on this website is subject to change before release.
I'm always open to negative aswell as positive feedback and suggestions about the game as well as the website service I provide.