Category Archives: democracy3

…So I ended up concluding that rolling those two bits of GUI together was not unanimously a good idea, but I think changing the car design one so those horizontal tabs became left hand side list items is a bit of a no-brainer so I did that:

I’m currently working on supporting toggling slot upgrades to be on or off, to allow more player control. I’m in a bit of a ‘usability’ mode where I’m making the game easier to use, and more welcoming, because its easy to get caught up into an Early-Access vortex where all you think about is expanding the game for people who already know how to play it.

However, that doesn’t mean that I am *not* planning a lot of expansion. I have some more music on order (yay!) and am getting all those untranslated strings sorted so that its a smooth translated experience in French, German and Spanish. I’ve also got some more artwork coming probably in the new year, for stuff like making your own air bags, some new machinery to make slots more distinctive, new animations, and some components like chrome and wood to make plush luxury interiors (plus cabin lighting!).

Basically Production line seems to be going quite well, which is just as well as I have lots of other stuff making demands on my time, mostly Shadowhand and Democracy 3 unicode. We have some teething problems with the windows build of Democracy 3 unicode, in that some fonts are not displaying right. We are aware of this and desperately trying to fix it ASAP, although the earlier build is now available as a steam beta option. We already have some thumbs up reviews in Chinese, which I take as a good sign, and hope to have an official press-release about Chinese Democracy soon :D

Shadowhand has been announced to the world recently, and will ship on the 7th December on Steam, GoG and the Humble store (oops…must set that up…) We have been promoting the game a bit on youtube, reddit and facebook, and our wishlists are thundering higher and higher. The more I play the game, and read peoples comments on it, the more confident I am that its going to do well. If you are wondering what I’m on about, you should go check out the game from the link below…

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The Democracy 3 unicode post. Oh yes

September 18, 2017 | Filed under: democracy3

Right then…here goes…

A while ago, we decided that what we really needed to do was translate our biggest selling game (Democracy 3) into Chinese and Russian, and also probably some other languages too. This probably sounds easy but its not, because Chinese and Russian and other fancy languages use non-ASCII characters, so we had to translate the games engine to use unicode instead of ASCII. In theory this is easy, in practice not, especially because there are a LOT of Chinese characters, and you cant just whack em all in a phat bitmap like you do with western characters. This means a lot of assing-around which was all done by jeff from stargazy studios (of Democracy 3 Africa fame) who is my able assistant in such matters.

Anyway, the ups and downs of this process are enough to write a major opera over, but suffice it to say, we think its actually done now. As a test, we are dipping our toe in the water by releasing just now (OMG!) a new beta build of Democracy 3 on steam. (Windows only, steam only right now). If you right click the games icon/name and select betas there is a no-password beta to opt in to this version. This version will only be served to you if your steam language is set to English (we will be changing this…), but it now gives you the ability to change language in the game and select from:

English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese.

You can do this under the options screen in a new drop down box. You can then enjoy wonderful screens like this:

And this:

Which excite me more than they should.

In practice what this means is we will be able to simultaneously support a bunch of new languages AND get rid of the silliness of separate builds for German French and Polish (WTF were we thinking…?). It also means we have some cool new rendering etch built into the engine which we have secret plans for…

ANYWAY… If you are an English speaker who also happens to be fluent in one or more (or even none!) of the above languages, and have Democracy 3 on steam, and feel like opting in to the beta and giving it a spin, we would really like to know what you think. Ideally you cannot tell ANY DIFFERENCE to how the game used to be (although perhaps the text is crisper). All we are really worried about is if it just fails or bugs-out on certain video cards. Any feedback is welcome!

Its so shocking that I’m posting about Democracy 3 again isn’t it? Next thing you know I’ll be telling you we have a release date for shadowhand :D

 

Wow, fifteen video blogs. Its amazing how I have found the time. Also you note that my physical appearance deteriorates with each blog. I must remember to shave and wash my hair one week. Anyway, enough of that, my blog readers come for Production Line updates, not men’s grooming tips!. Here is the latest video blog:

Its safe to say that pre-orders have exceeded my expectations. You people seem to like this game! I keep checking that there hasn’t been some big news article on it, and no! its just word of mouth and some cool youtube videos. I’m working my way through a seemingly never ending list fo fixes, tweaks and suggestions, and trying to patch the game only when I have patched something that is embarrassing enough that it pains me to think of people playing without that fix! I’ll try to slow down the release schedule and have fewer, bigger updates, as that means less time spending doing and checking builds and more time spent actually developing fixes and improvements.

The full 1.03 fix list is this:

[version alpha  1.03]
1) Click-dragging on a slot to build a conveyor or a production line no longer launches the details window for the slot.
2) Fixed bug where the wrong entry was deleted on supply stockpile contents lists if the scrollbar had moved.
3) In game settings menu now pauses game, and some other menus now pause and resume previous speed when closed.
4) Facility and slot placer GUI now postpone the autosave kicking in to avoid corrupt saves.
5) Fixed crash bug with loading large save games.
6) New resource route highlight GUI for when you select a slot that has a resource stockpile.
7) Fixes to resource routing to recover from cases where resources-in-progress cannot get to their destination.
8) Fixed anomalies with slot details window not refreshing accurately.
9) Clicking a resource importer no longer shows a slot details window.
10) Checkbox now has a visible tick.
11) Fixed bug where time would pass when game was in alt-tab mode.
12) Fixed missing sales data for games with over 2,000 sold cars.

6) and 7) are the big ones, which solve a lot of issues, along with those save game fixes. I’m going to try and pack a whole bunch of tiny GUI improvements and fixes into the next patch.

Also worth mentioning we have a sale on right now for political animals, 40% off on steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/458630/

I know politics in the US has got very newsworthy lately. In the past when political events happen I have tended to run some satirical promotion or ads for Democracy 3, and I’m not doing it now just because people are so angry they are lashing out at everyone, and I’m just staying out of it. Also I’m going to GDC next month and don’t want to get involved in any political arguments. I *did* take the time to look at Democracy 3’s immigration code and noted that extreme border checks do actually reduce terrorism according to the game, and also cheer up patriots and annoy liberals. I guess it should also have a negative effect on capitalists (who tend to support free movement of labour) and maybe a hit to technology, as tech companies are especially keen on free movement. I’m surprised people haven’t done a ‘I played democracy 3 like trump’ video yet.

Anyway, enough politics, lets remind ourselves you can order production line right now :D

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A while ago we announced that from 21st November to 2nd December, all the Democracy 3 revenue from steam (including DLC etc) would be donated to war child. We finally did the maths and the total we are donating is $15,166.92. Yay! Biog thanks to everyone who continues to buy this game, and to Wayne Emanuel from War Child who talked me into doing it (I didn’t need much convincing tbh). For those people wondering what on earth War Child is, its a charity whose mission is…

To protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children caught up in war. 

I often feel guilt at having such a cushy life, sat in a nice office in the countryside in a country that hasn’t been invaded since people invented guns, having never faced real poverty or the threat of violence. I can’t imagine how it screws people up to witness war as children, let alone to lose friends and relatives to war. I know we all like our war games, I still play Battlefield One most days, but lets not forget that war isn’t just movies and cool games, but something that continues to blight peoples lives, especially in Syria right now.

Anyway…enough preachy stuff. We raised $15k, which hopefully helps quite a bit.

In other news, all our games are discounted by various amounts in the steam sale. Maybe a cute game about animals and politics will tempt you this festive season?

Happy Christmas.

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A few random things went into the latest build of production line this week. I was working away on the GUI for the supply cache wossnames when I got the first sparks animations so I put a test one in (others coming soon), which swallowed up a lot of time. I also fixed some proper zoom-out colors, fixed a disappearing pallets bug, did a fair bit of optimising and also fixed the game so I can quit to the main menu and launch/load a new game without any crashes, which makes things feel slightly more usable. There is also a bunch of new visual assets in there, but I don’t show them off in this video, namely some new pieces of machinery for making stuff, a coffee machine & water cooler for the admin guys, a sofa for the marketing team, and so on.

I’ll be polishing, bug fixing and tweaking in the next week.

Oh BTW, Political Animals is in the Humble Store sale right now at 25% off, so worth picking up. Plus all the steam revenue from Democracy 3 is STILL going to War Child. Help us hit $10,000.