Happy new year from all of us at Tau Station! Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we’ve been focused on planning. We reviewed all our current and proposed features, then mapped out the game flow so we can make final decisions about what we’ll include in our Alpha testing release. This month we’ll take all that information and create a revised roadmap, and we plan to come back to you in next month’s update with an Alpha launch date.
We’re also very pleased to welcome some new faces to the project: Peter and Ilya, who are joining us on the technical side, as well as Will, Al, and Greg on the narrative. We’ve got a great team of people building the Tau Station universe.
We’ve always envisioned the Tau Station Universe as a place of escape and adventure, somewhere you can go when you want to step away from the world for a time. It’s important to us that we create it in such a way that everyone who wants to can explore and enjoy the universe with us. We’re doing our best to build a user interface that is accessible to as many people as possible, and in today’s post we’re going to share a little bit about the technical work that goes into that.
Previously we discussed the tech stack that Tau Station runs on, but today we thought that we’d give some in-depth examples of the software hurdles we face. There will be Perl code in this blog entry, but the concepts should be generally familiar to anyone with a software engineering background.
As we mentioned in the tech stack post, we use Catalyst for our Web framework. For those unfamiliar with Perl, you could think of Catalyst as “Ruby on Rails” for Perl, but that’s not really accurate. What makes Catalyst so powerful is that unlike other Web MVC (model-view-controller) frameworks, it doesn’t have strong preferences for how you implement the various components. You’re not forced to choose a particular ORM for your model—you can even skip an ORM entirely—and you can choose whatever tools you wish for rendering your view (typically, the stuff you see in a Web browser). As a result, you can choose exactly the tools you need for each component of your system.
It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is just around the corner! Work continues at steady pace here at Tau Station as we head into the final weeks of 2016.
We’ve been reviewing our gameplay over the last two months, and have come up with some additional features around Orwellian levels and resource scarcity that will bring a lot of richness to the universe. More features mean more work time is needed for implementation, though, which isn’t reflected in our current roadmap. So we’re calling a feature freeze in December, and from there we’ll reevaluate all our current and proposed gameplay elements to decide which ones we feel are critical to have in place for Alpha testing. Then we’ll estimate the workload and timeline to create a revised, final roadmap to Alpha launch.
More to come on that next month. This is what we’ve been working on in the meantime….
In last week’s post, we explored Tau Station’s setting. This week we’re looking at some of the gameplay and mechanics we have in place. We’ll have posts in the future that look at each of these topics more in depth, but this will give you an idea of how all the components work together to create a rich, deep universe.
Who do you want to be? There are plenty of things to do from the first moment you set foot in the Tau Station Universe. Everything is there to help you create the person you want to be and achieve the goals you set for yourself. If you want to become a wealthy trader and start your own syndicate, then you’ll want to pay attention to what’s doing well in the markets and get your hands on some to sell. Someone else might want to become a mercenary and fight for a living. Right away they’ll want to improve their physical stats in the gym and start scavenging for weapons and armor in the ruins. Of course, these are only a few of the options available. A sly trader could start their career by mugging a few people and using those stolen credits to finance their market purchases. Similarly, the mercenary might start a medical career to save up enough to buy choice weapons and armor from the market. It’s all up to you.
October was a busy month for Tau Station. We made good strides in all areas of the game’s development although our overall plan for the month was perhaps a bit ambitious. With several team members taking some much-needed vacation time we didn’t accomplish everything we’d listed on the October roadmap, but we’re adjusting and rearranging the work as we go. Now everyone is back and we’re heading into November well rested and ready to move full speed ahead.
This month our Managing Director, Leila, also attended Game Connection Europe. It was a great opportunity to meet with other game developers and folks in the industry, and to start showing Tau Station to the world. We know that this was just the first convention of many to come for us and will be hitting the road with the game more next year.
Welcome to the first edition of Tau Station: Status Report. We’ll be posting an update every month to share what we’ve recently accomplished and what we’ll be working on next. We appreciate everyone who supports our game and want to be transparent with you about how the development is going. Also, it can’t be denied that knowing we’ll be going public with our progress every few weeks is a great motivator! This is our first post of this kind and it’s going to be a long one, so grab a beverage of your choice, find someplace comfortable to sit, and come along for the ride.
I’m doing heater runs in Taungoo when a contact I haven’t heard from in years asks me to quietly deliver a package to Nouveau Limoges, another station in the Sol System. The money’s good so I head down to the port, hop in Amethyst, and launch. Amethyst‘s an older ship and she’s higher maintenance than I’d like, but she keeps flying.
A little over 7 segments later (just over 1.5 hours, old Earth time) I arrive at Nouveau Limoges and that’s when the trouble kicks in. I’m a Consortium citizen, but Nouveau Limoges is a Gaule station and I forgot to renew my visa. Immigration computers notice my status and Amethyst‘s nav system is overridden to auto-deport me. Meanwhile, I was supposed to deliver the package in my hold within 8 segments and now it’s starting to change shape. I think I’ve been set up.