Now that the Game Maker 2 fever has broken, it’s time to get back to the web version of the space trader game.

When we last left our project, I had been trying to get indicators attached to planets on the map for those who had stations in orbit. Right now, I’m working off the idea of representing planets, stations, jump gates, etc. with icons rather than with images. This saves me the personal bandwidth of having to model decent looking images for these things and hopefully can contribute to a general abstract aesthetic that I think I’m boxing myself into. In all honesty, I have seriously considered eschewing “graphics” altogether and going with a faux-ASCII look throughout all panels as a nod to the retro inspiration of TradeWars, to invoke a feeling of low-high-tech, and because I think it’d be easier than having to “sex up” the visuals, which is an effort at which I monumentally suck.

Also, need to change the color to work with those gas planets.

I found out that the issue I was having with the station representation was a misnamed variable in the drawing code, which is what I get for naming the canvas “_ctx” and the drawing point of origin “_ctr”. Now stations are represented as little red triangles overlapping the planet icon on the map.

With visuals in place, I learned that I have way too many stations. Out of 1000 star systems, only the 300 temperate planets are guaranteed to have stations because that makes logical, lore-friendly sense. That leaves 1685 other possible planets where stations could be placed (terrestrial rock or metal, gas, or ice planets). As you can see, there are a total of 1311 stations defined, or 1011 stations assigned to terrestrial rock or metal, gas, or ice planets. Put another way, there are only 674 planets in the entire 1000 star system map without stations. That’s not what I want.

The problem lies in that after I auto-assigned stations to TT (terrestrial temperate) planets, I took 60% of the remaining planets in the universe and added stations to them. That needs to be bumped down significantly, and I’m going to try knocking it down to 20%, which should give me about 337 planets in addition to the guaranteed 300 TT stations. That will leave about 1300 planets un-stationed. 600 stations in a universe of 1000 star systems is still about 60% population overall, which is about what I was aiming for originally, just with different (erroneous) math.

The reason such a high number is a problem is that I don’t want players to be able to bounce back and forth between stations in the same system to buy and sell their goods as that would defeat the purpose of the game. One way around this will be that a station with either buy or sell, but never both, a single commodity, but I would rather follow the TradeWars template of one station per system, or at least have as few stations per system as possible. I suspect I might have to do some additional refactoring to check a potential system for an existing station and skip it if it has one, or only allow doubling up if the system has a guaranteed TT station already.

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