Blog

The Inventory Story

Recently, we’ve been hard at work developing the inventory system’s UI and UX with added focus on accessibility for vision or motor impaired adventurers. Read on below for a look into our on-going process as we develop your inventory, one of the staples of every great adventure.

Obligatory disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress and is subject to change and any weapons or items on the screens below are placeholders.

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Mission Dispatches

As we’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing we love quite so much as a great story. We love telling them, reading them, and living them. To us, a perfect tale is one which captures our imagination and takes us on an adventure, one that engages us and allows us to glimpse some of the mysteries of the universe. This is what we hope to bring to you through Tau Station’s missions.

As it happens, it’s time for another update on the missions we’ve been working on, so here’s a peek at three more of the stories you may encounter as you explore Tau Station’s universe.

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Tau Station Status Report: March

 

March is winding down and we’re wrapping up another month’s work on Tau Station. We’ve made some exciting progress this month, including adding more features to the mission builder and nailing down a format for displaying information across the game in a way that both fits with our aesthetic and supports our commitment to accessibility. These improvements, along with other work done this month, pave the way forward for even greater progress on the universe.

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Metric Time in Tau Station

If you’ve been following Tau Station’s progress, you know we’re creating a science fiction universe in Perl for people to enjoy. As of this writing, the time in Tau Station is 194.18/89:189 GCT.

A digital clock displaying Galactic Coordinated Time of 194.18/89:189
A digital clock displaying Galactic Coordinated Time of 194.18/89:189. The numbers are in the order year.day/segment:unit

“GCT” stands for “Galactic Coordinated Time” and that’s a variant of metric time. Our software developers wish we had that in the real world, but alas, we don’t.

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A Visit to Three Stations

One of the first things you’ll notice as you travel throughout the universe of Tau Station is the different nature of each and every station you visit. With humanity scattered after the Catastrophe, the survivors on each station rebuilt and developed their communities in response to the specific challenges they had to overcome. In a recent post we invited you to read about some of the inspirations behind Tau Station’s missions. Today we’d like to share how the space stations themselves, with their unique backstories and societies, have served as muse to our process time and time again. Come and visit three of our stations below!

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Tools of Survival

With humanity fighting its way back from near extinction and rebuilding the very foundations of civilization, you’ll occasionally find yourself in situations where life and death are just a hair’s breadth apart. The supplies you’re carrying with you may well affect the outcome. Weapons and medicines are key to the survival of any adventurer who wants to make a living (emphasis on living) on some of the galaxy’s more dangerous stations. Today we’d like to introduce you to two of Tau Station’s corporations that provide those supplies, and show you some of our concept art for their products.

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Tau Station Status Report: February

February has drawn to close and Tau Station’s universe has continued to grow and evolve. In some ways, it’s been a tough month. We’ve been reviewing all our processes and identifying where we need to change our approach in order to meet our development goals. This has meant reevaluating priorities, changing our focus in a couple areas, and generally pushing harder on timelines. The results have absolutely been worth it, though, and we’re seeing that difficult work delivering results. We wrapped up the month with some big additions and improvements to gameplay, accomplished our first major data migration between servers, and we’ve built up a solid momentum for moving forward. Enjoy the new status report about February.

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Missions – Your Window Into Tau Station’s Universe

We love a good story. The art of storytelling predates even that of the written word, and we’re pretty sure humanity’s tales will be here long after we’re gone, possibly for some alien race to pore over and ponder what kind of weird and wonderful creatures we once were.

More specifically, the narrative is one of the core pillars of Tau Station and we consider it in every aspect of game development and universe building. Through Tau Station’s missions you’ll discover the stories of its universe – its histories, its people; the living, breathing, and evolving culture of a human civilization on life support. Below, we’ll give you a peek at three of these missions that deal with different aspects of a galactic post-apocalyptic society.

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Interstellar Travel for All – A Socratic Exchange

In one of our recent posts we described some of the work we’ve been doing to improve Tau Station’s star map. This week we’re going more in-depth about the process and will even show some of the code we’re using.

Initially, a canvas map was all we offered the player.

A three-dimensional rotating set of stars and their names, with some connected by wormholes.
The <canvas>-based star map.

 

But as we said in the last map post, a canvas is only selectively accessible, and doesn’t work with screen readers or in browsers that don’t support JavaScript. Thus we wanted to reduce the star map into its basic HTML representation, so that we could progressively build it back up into a canvas rendering.

When we approached this, we asked ourselves one question:

What is this thing, and what does it do?

Ok, so maybe two questions.

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Tau Station Q&A #1

We’ve started getting some great questions from those of you keeping up with Tau Station’s development, so we decided to gather some of them and share our answers with everyone. We’re loving the questions so please keep them coming. You can send them to @taustation on Twitter, or through our Facebook page.

If you’ve asked something that isn’t answered here we’ll do our best to respond to it in a future Q&A post. And if you find some of our answers a bit cryptic, maybe you should sign up for our upcoming closed Alpha so you can be one of the first to start exploring the universe.

On to the questions!

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