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[wow],

You guys have been busy:)

First and foremost, this was meant to be very simple and free.

Many of the criticisms and suggestions that have been brought up are actually in the works for the expanded version I mentioned earlier.  Some of these include:

black market dealings
special missions
being able to invest in research and development
making the game compatible with regular screen readers
saving games

Most of the suggestions break down readily into player convenience changes such as the last two on the list, and actual game play changes such as the first few.

Some of the player convenience issues will eventually be rolled into the free version of the game as well.


I've been taking notes from people's responses and integrating ideas where we do not already have something similar that we liked better.

One last issue.

This is not dealt with in the documentation, and perhaps should be more explicitly than it is in the tips and tricks section, but:

All combat statistics of enemy ships are calculated from your own ship's stats.  This makes the enemy ships relevant throughout the game.

Second, there is scaling of weapons, but it's possible no one on the forum thus far has gotten that far.  Once guns go beyond 10, they begin adding damage at intervals of 5 guns.  Thus if you have 30 guns you're doing 6 times normal damage at the beginning of the game with 1-9 guns.  Scaling hazards and other dangers is something we want to address in a paid version, so that enemies and obstacles of all sorts present more than mere annoyance factors as time goes on.

It's very gratifying to see the responses, and your suggestions, as I suspected early on, are very helpful.  Keep them coming.  Thanks guys, and we appreciate your support and feedback.

Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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Brad, Aaron here. We sure appreciate folks giving the game a try in spite of it's being  of the wrong genre. As for the speech issue, the voiceover script and my recordings are supposed to be unusually decent about not having issues with being choppy, although with recorded speech clips it's difficult. If you mean that there are actual pauses between speech clips, it could actually be that the game isn't getting the sounds for the speech output read from disk fast enough. On my little Asus t100 tablet, I've installed the game on an sd card. It works great except occasionally there is a slight pause interrupting speech as the game has to wait for the sd card to coughf up the next speech file. If you notice that subsequent times when you go back and repeat what was just spoken which you thought had pauses in it, and the pause is gone for subsequent chunks of the same speech output, this indeed is what the problem is. You may also just mean that some of the speech files are actually clipped too short. For instance the number 60 the tee sound at the end is almost completely gone. When combined with the right speech file coming after it, such as 8, it sounds great in my oppinion, but when the number 60 is spoken just as the number 60, and there is no speech coming after it, it doesn't sound so great at all. I've recognized this a bit myself and I've been slowly making corrections to fix some of the speech files, but for the most part I feel I did a decent job.

We use this type of speech because it is reliable. It is a lot more work to do speech clips though especially if I would like to not suck at it.

That said, Jeremy and I are just completely blown away, we thought this game would be received farely well especially given it's price, but this is a lot better than we were expecting. Thank you all! After I get back to being available for coding in a couple of months, I expect Jeremy to start cracking the whip and slave driving me to code the expanded paid version of this. Jeremy is correct, we will be trickling some of those updates down to the free version as well.

brad wrote:

Hi.
Space theamed games aren't my thing as others have said.
I tried this, but don't really like the stile. The game it's self is good but it's not my kind of thing.

One Thing I'd look out for is choppiness in speech. Sometimes I've found the numbers not to sound natural?
Like it would say, 1, stop, hundred stop and stop seven stop. That could just be me being picky though.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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If the hazards in the game actually scale with your ship upgrades, then is there really any point to carrying on upgrading your ship's stats? sinse practically speaking they're going to be doing the same thing game wise.This is why even in the free game it might be nice to have some practical bennifits from your ship upgrades later on.

I also agree with Frastlin about the information, I never used it accept for pointing out space hazards sinse most often by the time I reached a given planet the information was already out of date for that planet. Hence my earlier convoy idea or a way to get to somewhere quickly.

On the choppy speech issue, I found that once I altered the kew speech delay to 50 it sounded much more natural and less chopped, which was very helpful. While I wouldn't be aversed to playing the game with Sapi output, I persnally enjoy human speech in games as it's a break from my screen reader, particularly if you start atmospheric things like missions, story sequences news papers etc.

Btw, if you need help voice acting I would be glad to contribute sinse I have both a digital recorder and on stage experience and have voiced several games including Airic the clerric, some parts for the upcoming Sarah 1.2, and 3D velocity.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Dear all and sundry (especially all),


My comment about hazard scaling was somewhat more ambiguous than I had intended.  I want them to be more dangerous, yes, but, I also am thinking of allowing the ship upgrades to impact your chances of interacting with the hazards.  There were several things that I was not happy about with the hazard system but that I let go for ease of coding and simplicity's sake for this version.  Also too, hazards would not scale ridiculously.  I just would like the same uncharted meteor at first to be as scary later.  However, no one hazard is supposed to wipe out the ship, unless the ship is in bad repair to begin with.  This is a brief (however brief) nod to physics and the fact that hazards in space would often be, even in the case of uncharted meteors, something you would spot a long way off.  We're still playing with this aspect of the game is the simple answer.  Once we put it together and get the reaction of the beta test team, then we'll make a final decision.  In many cases, our beta testers have anticipated most of the points that were brought up.  Some were not implemented due to our deadline, and some due to design decisions.  Some, honestly, due to oversight.

The information gathering is something that we will be hitting as well.  However, information gathering was meant to be a hit or miss proposition.  The game uses a turn method to determine when supplies shift currently.  This turn based strategy had some advantages in simplicity.  However, it also meant that information is not always accurate.  Some inaccuracy is true to rl business tips, and some of it represents difficulties in interstellar communication.  While these are better in 3051 when the game is set than in earlier points of the timeline, there is nothing in the documentation, or in our concept, to suggest that it is as easy as say interstellar communication in something like the Startrek universe.  This is not, pick up the phone and get a clear concise message.  It's more like earlier telegraphic or wireless messages where one mistake at either end can garble the information.  That takes care of the design side decision.  The coding decision to go simple meant that the information gathering while, I felt it was an important component to include, would not be as effective as we would wish.  So we made it 5-20 credits of investment, and I noted in the tips and tricks section that information is generally only good for 3-6 moves.  That's not a hard and fast rule.  Sometimes you'll get lucky and information will last longer.  It's merely an average.

As to the choppy speech, Dark, I agree.  I have my settings different than the defaults.  Our defaults were a compromise position.  Many of the testers appeared to have fiddled with this as well.  No speech engine will satisfy all people.  Certain people prefer different eloquence voices for instance with Jaws or other engines that use it.  Some people despise SAPI.  We knew that this voice choice would be problematic for some people for that reason if nothing else.  Add the necessary choppiness in places, and some of the pause and clip issues Aaron mentioned, and I knew this would cause issues.  However, I agree with you that a real human voice does make a difference.  Also too, such voices, even when used sparingly, do give a character to certain developers' games.  As to voice acting, we might take you up on it.  Our first goal with this project and with Interceptor however was to depend on as little outside help as possible, both for ease of access and knowledge that work would be finished when and where we needed it, and to know that we could actually do the entire project start to finish with as little outside input as possible.  Arrogant? No doubt, but we're toddling here, and very proud of the first steps:) 

One responder was asking me about accepting volunteer help from the community, similar to what was done with Entombed and other projects, and that's a possibility for aspects of later games. 

Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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Hi.

I appreciate hazards always beeing dangerous, the problem however is if a ship with 5 deflectors is just as likely to get damaged as a ship with 15 deflectors, well you've just practically wasted over 2k credits on upgrades that don't actually do anything.

It might actually be nice if there were ways to bennifit from those upgrades, for example perhaps with higher deflectors your chances of getting more cash from debris fields increased, or maybe there would be certain opportunities open to you such as entering battle sites to gain salvage that would not be with lower levels of upgrade.

Regarding information, I understand that the information is intended to be inaccurate, however the problem is the size and configuration of the map, sinse from what I have seen only one planet is usually within 3-6 moves of your current location.

One way to settle this might be to actually limit information availability. So on one planet your more likely to get information about closer planets than distant ones.

Another way might be as I said to occasionally offer the player chances to get quickly to one of the other planets.

A third of course might be to alter the time period conditions of information, though I suspect sinse these are tied to the supply and demand of the different resources this would not be an easy option to implment.

Regarding speech, I do actually wonder if people have played with the settings. It's been a while sinse a game with human speech for numbers and a syntax genrator has been around in audio and I suspect people have got used to using sapi or screen readers. I actually find having a human voiced game quite refreshing, albeit I could see an issue if too many random factors or say the player having to insert his/her name into the game were introduced later on.

I will say with the speech delay setting the human speech is extremely natural accept for certain 10 digit numbers such as 40 and 60 as you said.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Agreed, hazards and upgrades should affect each other.  Also too however, the primary two stats on the ship that are most important for trading are fuel supply and cargo (at least currently as the free game is set up).  Deflectors, engines, etc are primarily used in combat or danger situations.  I disagree with you that they have no real impact.  If you have 10 or 15 of an item, and a hazard does 3 damage, that is much less of an inconvenience than if you have only 5.  Further, in combat, they do impact.  I don't know if you've engaged in enough combat to notice, but deflectors are always hit.  More deflectors means less damage to other systems.  They also make it harder for your ship to be hit.  Conversely, they make it harder to attack enemies as well.  Engines determine to a lesser extent if you get hit in combat as well. 

However, your overall points stand.  The combat system and hazard impact were both fine as far as they went for a short free game.  However, in something more enduring, and definitely in something commercial, they need a rethink.  That also stands to reason.  With TKS as a free game, we went for simple in all cases.  The mechanics are so simplistic as to be laughable by the standards of complex computer games, and not even worth mentioning in comparison to something as complex as a table top role playing game.  However, for what we were shooting for, they do work (however unsatisfactorily:)). 

As with everything in game balance, part of the trickiness is setting challenge high enough without ruining the fun.  Given your points, as well as those of others, it seems that there is a feeling that upgrading is not immediately obvious as a route of improvement to play as it is currently constructed. 

As to the information, all of those are good points.  I think that information gathering is not as broken as it might appear.  I've played both styles: i.e. playing looking for information whenever and wherever possible, and ignoring that aspect and just flying around looking for needy planets.  I've found that both work, and that a combination works best.  I check information.  If it is not useful due to distance, time constraints, or products available, I ignore it.  If it gives me information about a planet within 3-6 squares, I pursue it.  I also use the same methods when I purchase.  If planet A has lots of scientific equipment, and Planet B two squares over has little or none, I bounce back and forth.  Your points earlier about needing a reason to explore is a valid one.  Currently the game does not really encourage that as much as I would like.  The information gathering was the simplest way to institute that in a quick manner.

As always, thank you for the input.  We are listening and thinking about the points you raise and in many places, taking note of them for inclusion.  Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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As for speech, It kind of grows on you and I've found it is quite nice after a couple hours of game play.
More suggestions, better the game is and more people want it! That means people are excited!
Now, for a really wild idea!
For those people who don't like space games, what about something like darkover where there is a spacestation for people to sell goods to, but those who live on the planets don't have anything to do with the ships and live in a culture where bows and swords are the weapon of choice.
You could let people play in like an RPG style on their world of choice, on the world, people would be able to farm, be an assassin, create carvings, mine, be a blacksmith, and not only could they sell products on their world or to other players, but they can sell stuff to ship merchants and book passage on ships to go to different worlds.
Then you hit everything people are wanting in a game in one go!
I would say that BGT may become a little limited though if you wish to do the above things. I would suggest moving to C++ directly or go to python with the eventual integration of C++ modules for the complex stuff like collision detection or server control.
It may be advantageous to get more programmers! LOL

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After some more testing, I agree that the supply and demand should fluctuate a little less. I came across situations where I bought goods, flew 3 squares to a somewhat more detached planet, couldn't sell anything, and went back to the planet where I bought those goods from, only to discover that the demand is now very high so I can essentially sell the stuff I bought on that same planet, for a much higher price than I bought it for. Of course it doesn't happen all the time, but it'd be nice if it was a bit more consistent.
Also... I wonder if, for example, entertainment systems are actually always in higher demand on the more barren planets as is said in the documentation like paradise station? I didn't really find a link between those two factors but I may have to experiment further.

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@Arjan I noticed the supply and demand fluctuations, but with only a few planets in the game the thing has to be fairly unstable otherwise you'd not be able to make a prophet. Perhaps if more planets get added to the game this is something that would need balancing out.

I do totally agree about planet descriptions though and making the planets as distinguished in the game as they are in the docs, indeed that might be a way to give players a reason to visit different planets, by having planet specific events that cause a major shortage of a particular item, eg, "there has been a power surge on Paradise station that has knocked out all unnecessary electronics, they are desperate to replace their scientific equipment and entertainment systems", or "Planet Darlin has had a tidal wave which wiped out their crops, they are in major need of antiviral drugs and wheat"

@Frastlin, I think your talking about a completely different game with rpg mechanics, assassins and what not, especially in the "oh look it's suddenly fantasy" type idea.

Even in those science fiction settings that had fantasy elements such as darcova or Mary Gentle's golden witch breed (one of the best books of that type I've read), it is how the two worlds interact that usually made things interesting, usually how humans or other off world ambassadors come to terms with a less advanced culture.

That would be a hole other subject for a full on rpg game, and not really all that much to do with trading as I said.

I also personally would be strongly against online multiplayer and multi character stuff. thered are hundreds of muds and the like already we don't need another. I'd prefer a single player complex game where my character! is the hero, or at least the protagonist.

Regarding people's dislike of the setting, well my first comment would be "tough luck just give it a try" :d.

I am not crazy about modern war or military settings, yet I completely enjoyed Gma tank commander, the original Time of conflict, lone wolf, zero site, judgement day and several others and would gladly try games in that setting just to see if there was some interesting gameplay going.

My second suggestion however, would be my above suggestion about possible mods for the game sinse as it stands it'd be relatively easy to mod into a different setting by changing the in game event text, names of objects, stats and commodities, sounds, and audio but keeping the essential gameplay. alternatively, Vga could just producing something in a different setting later.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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I like the emergency idea, and think it would go really well with a newspaper thing. I would rather not be told the same info every time a storm hit a place, I would like to tell for myself that they needed electronics, not be told. It would also beg the challenge of what do the articles mean when they report on something. Kind of like real life, when an earth-quake hit somewhere and the large shopping center in the middle of town suffered some massive dammage along with the homes in the near areas.

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The problem frastlin is given that people would probably see the same messages reoccuring multiple times, people would just end up learning exactly what emergency meant what anyway, so you might as well give people the heads up. Plus to be honeest, any emergency bulitin would! say what people wanted anyway, just look at charity appeals.

Smugglers actually does this in a fairly simple way, by having system wide events that occur to change the entire demand on a system, and clicking on a newspaper heading like "sirius needs more diamonds" you get the full story, but in Smugglers the events are pretty much randomized to occur at different systems. Given that we have specific planets in tks, it makes sense for them to have specific trade problems, which would also add to immersion in  the universe.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Planetary supply:  Dark put his finger on it.  With the few number of planets in the game, and the fact that we were going for simple, the supply and demand metrics are very very very very and did I say very? rudimentary.  The suggestions you've all made about this are good ones, and one of the first things that hit our revamp list was the methods of production, how that is telegraphed to the player, and why it happens.  These have ranged from modifications of the simple form to make it less drastic in its swings, to more extreme ideas involving limited supplies of certain items in game, to very complex ideas involving multiple factors.  Currently, we're leaning toward a simpler set up that models the supply and demand better.  One thing that you've brought up here, that struck me as a good idea, would be have some sort of planetary production modification.  If the planet is Vanaheim for instance, which is Earth-like but very far out in its orbit, then it stands to reason that it will need more in the way of food supplies, endentured servants, and radioactive isotopes for fuels.  If we can have modifiers for each type of world, that could put a break on certain items, and cause those planets to in general need certain items more.

Mixed Mode RPG/SF&F: As to mixed mode rpg with SF and fantasy elements, I personally am not opposed to the idea in books, but it doesn't grab me as a player of games.  It has to be handled delicately in a book for me to even like it personally.  We picked science fiction as a genre to work within primarily because the first game we developed was set up as an SF game from the beginning.  The very first versions of Interceptor, our first game that will hopefully be released later this year, was developed when I was a computer geek in high school.  Having started Interceptor, the setting, the history, and the races grew up later.  Interceptor was a generic human us fleet against a generic alien them fleet.  However, we thought that we could integrate many of our game concepts into one setting, give them common elements, and make them thereby perhaps marginally more interesting to play.

Science fiction therefore became our default mode.  It's not Aaron or my first choice.  As I have noted, he is a big fan of westerns, and while I read science fiction a lot, I tend to be more on the fantasy end of things.  We might very well release mods of games to set them in another genre, or to give them another set of possibilities.  Further, once we have gone through our current batch of game ideas, it's possible we might branch into another genre.  I know Aaron would love to do a western.  I honestly like strategy games the best of game types, and there's more possibilities with those with modern warfare or futuristic warfare settings.  (Before someone starts pointing out dragons, wizards, etc for fantasy, I have a hard time envisioning armies of humanoids having hundreds of dragons helping them.  Not with the way dragons are depicted in most Western myth and literature). 

The simple answer to the genre and/or mod question is, it's a possibility further down the road.  If you don't like SF settings, don't give it a try.  However, I like Dark, like trying games for their possible interest despite their genre.  Some games, sound completely stupid to me in concept.  Packman is a great example of this.  However that game has been around 35 years and counting.  Further, part of the problem too is expectation.  Trading game can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  Monopoly is a trading game.  So is Settlers of Catan.  However, neither is similar to the other.  In the same way, even though TKS includes combat elements its main focus isn't on combat.  Some people would like that to be different or more detailed.  No game can do everything that everyone would like. 

I've been making more notes though, and you guys have given us a lot of good material.  Keep it coming.  It may not end up exactly where you'd like, but it's possible that we'll all end up with a compromise that we can play and enjoy.


Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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sinse interceptor is intended as a combat game I personally would prefer if the combat in traders just remained a slight part of things, though I do still think there needs to be more uses for the ship upgrades to make them worth while to the player.

I'll also add that combat is a major option in the two other trading games I know which both are themed around galactic wars, that is Smugglers and Star traders elite on the Iphone, indeed in both star trader elite and smugglers it's possible to get through the game as a pure combat pilot, explorer or pirate. Given that Traders of known space already works rather differently to both of those titles, I'd prefer if traders develops it's own gameplay style and challenges rather than just doing the same thing as the other mentioned games, particularly as i did find the trading in traders surprisingly interesting and could see it being more so if things like special events, more planets etc were added into the mix.

There would be ways to handle dragons realisticalAs to other games, well ly, (or at least as realistic as dragons get), in a fatnasy stratogy game. For example if it took one production unit of food and 1 gold to higher a normal soldier who did 5 damage each turn, a dragon would take 100 units of food and 1000 gold, but do 100 damage. thus the only way to kill one would either be flinging hundreds of soldiers at it, or some specific anti dragon (and likely equally expensive), measure, say a mounted balister.

To be honest though I think for me a turn based stratogy would only be interesting if it had sufficient plot and random factors to go with it in a single player setting. I've seen far too many games which are basically set stuff going, wait x amount of turns then throw stuff at stuff! I'd much rather something dynamic similarly to aprone's castaways with events that could go wrong, some distinguishing features in the units rather than being faceless armies, and some real things to explore and find not just square 1-5 with 10 gold and 20 wood in it.

One idea I did have on the audeasy list a while ago was an exploration and settling themed game set in somewhere similar to the weerd weerd west setting, ie, a fantasy setting but instead of one being medeival in nature, it's closer to the wild west (perhaps with a bit of steam punk throne in), both in fashions and ideas.

The reason for the fantasy setting is that not only could you then have dragon riding cowboys and marauding ogres attacking your wagon train (and who says that isn't cool!), but more mportantly you wouldn't then be tied to historical places or periods in American history.

for example, we know for a fact just how the railway (or rail road to use the American term), was built and crossed america in the late 19th century. However, in an alternate time, suppose instead of their being a central authority and a major company behind the train system, your community gets left alone and has to produce and build it yourselves, linking towns together and protecting trains carrying resources, trains which could get attacked.

I sort of like that idea, of starting out from a few people in a wagon exploring around, mining, planting, cutting logs etc, and finally winding up with major industrial cities building locomotives! big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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If one wanted to totally avoid combat, one can just higher soldiers of different levels. Then as your cargo becomes more valuable, you need to make sure your soldiers remain happy and upgrade them with the latest tec. In a sense, you are not doing combat yourself, you are making other people do it for you. One could then just go and attack pirate ships to get money, but I think instead of ships just leaving credits, they should leave some different types of goods. That way you can't really get away from the idea of trading, you still need to sell your loot, but one needs to still be looking at prices to sell goods. Also, if one is not transporting goods all the time, keeping around their army would get really expensive...
I wonder if people can upgrade their ships, so they can add like a hidden door so it is harder for pirates to keep some goods hidden away.

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I like these ideas Frastlin, because again they're things we've not actually seen before in games especially the idea of highering some sort of mercinary escort.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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41 (edited by frastlin 2014-06-24 06:05:30)

Haven't we all read books about merchants and how they are depicted as either wealthy and fat or emotionless and cold? They are not the most glamorous of profession off the top, but there is a reason why they are wealthy! That is what this game is trying to convey right?
What are the characteristics of merchants in books? What do a lot of them have in common?
Here is what I can think of:
1. They bargain (It would be really awesome to see that implemented some how!)
2. They don't ever fight except for the occasional villain.
3. They all have large estates with very high security and lots of rare items.
4. They are very involved in politics.
5. They often move from being a retail merchant to becoming a business owner and selling specific products as their specialty.
6. They have a lot of jewelry!

Can other people come up with other stuff?

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I'm really proud of myself! I just beat a short game, with these stats. I promise I'm not faking them.

Statistics for Playthrough of Traders of Known Space - a free game from Valiant Galaxy Associates, on Version 4
The game lasted 1 hours, 23 minutes and 2 seconds and ended on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 12:7 AM - The player beat the game! woohoo!

In a career spanning 15 years (short mode), the player accumulated 284833 credits.
At career's end, the envy of all space merchants was trading in a vessel with the following capabilities:
Integrity: 19 / 19
Engine: 10 / 11
Gun: 20 / 20
Deflector: 5 / 5
Cargo hold: 1180 / 1180
Final score: 363633!

skype name: techluver
Feel free to add me.

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[wow], that is a lot of cargo... How dare you beat me!!! big_smile Congrats!

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@Harielst, that is very awsome! though i suspect the reason you did so well was your gaping cargo hold. I did notice sort of a major progression bonce I started upgrading the hold space and being able to haul more goods.

@Frastlin, with merchants it depends upon what you read and what traddition your looking at. Shakespear gave us a lot of the portrates of the fat, lazy and often less than pleasant merchant dripping with duels as you describe, which coloured a lot of literature especially in enperialistic settings like ancient rome or monarchical Britain.

There are other literary tropes associated with merchants however which are very different. Games set in the sort of period that Tks is set in, ie a time of war, and which portray perchants as also being ship captains tend to employ the idea of the merchant adventurer. This is a very different character seen often in 19th century literature, in westerns and pirate stories and even occasionally in romances. someone who is brave, cunning and not afraid of danger and who makes a prophit by their whits as much as by simply calculating numbers or employing the right people. This is also why those sorts of characters are often portrayed as bending the laws, smuggling, pirating etc as much as engaging in legitimate trade.

I actually find it quite interesting that in literature merchants are portrayed as such colourful, individualistic characters, while these days most people who work in business are anything but, ---- well blaime global corporations for that I suppose, but leaving my left wing leanings aside, my point is even if you are talking in terms of literary architypes, there are a lot of different characteristics associated with merchants and they could be portrayed either negatively or positively depending upon the situation.

It's actually a little surprising to think that these days we don't really have anyone who fills that roll in western society anymore.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Statistics for Playthrough of Traders of Known Space - a free game from Valiant Galaxy Associates, on Version 4
The game lasted 1 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds and ended on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 10:25 PM - The player beat the game! woohoo!

In a career spanning 26 years (unlimited mode), the player accumulated 216623 credits.
At career's end, the envy of all space merchants was trading in a vessel with the following capabilities:
Integrity: 50 / 50
Engine: 36 / 36
Gun: 30 / 30
Deflector: 32 / 32
Cargo hold: 645 / 645
Final score: 391073!
That, my friends, took some effort during some times. Its truly a fun game.

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Just as a dark, nasty, and evil challenge to the community, I will say that the posted scores thus far have not even come to within a tenth of the high score posted by our beta testers.  And, just to add more fuel to the fire, I'll note that our 2 highest scores were held by the same beta tester and were far from each other.  Now, that said, when I tried to equal or beat the high score, I  was forced to yield to the posterior toughness of my opponent and give up.  smile  However, my best score I believe is somewhere around 2.3 million points iirc. 

Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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That is another comment, I think the score should be something like (time) / (total monitory value). I'm not 100% sure how to calculate the score, but just leaving the game and playing something else and coming back is not really playing the game LOL...

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Frastlin,

Currently the game calculates your score based on three primary factors and one penalty.

1. Ship upgrades.

2. Cash.

3. Number of years playing.

4. Negative points scored for hazards hit after they're made visible, rescue by the Solarian patrol, and half score if you die.

The most important of the above for building a high score is cash.  The others do have an impact, but a high cash game will generally beat out a high upgrade game. 

Honestly, I'm not sure that a score makes sense for a trader game.  I included it primarily to give more significance to avoiding having to be rescued and plotting courses to avoid hazards.  That and for the competitiveness that it engenders.  As I noted in the other post, our beta team got very competitive over this game.  One thing I do like that Aaron included in this, and that is included in Interceptor, is that ability to copy and paste score information to other media.

Be safe, and thanks again for the comments,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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49

2.3 million points... In a short career? I hope not! What's the highest that has been scored in a short career? makes for better comparison IMO because unlimited is... Well, unlimited.
If the short career high score is in the millions then I definitely have some more things to do.

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Arjan,

That is a fair point.  I believe 2.3 was my best on standard.  However, I have a short game I played the other morning.  I'll post stats.  Now, I do want to say, I got extremely lucky with my placement and a couple of early hits with high ticket items like weather satellites and radioactive isotopes.  Another thing to watch for too when you're buying and selling is profit on less bulky items.  No the difference between buying anti-viral drugs at 25 and selling at 60 is only 35 versus a potential of 300-600 with radioactive isotopes, but you can often carry more drugs than isotopes.  One drug run I made where I had collected drugs from multiple planets, I sold 400 for a profit of 25 credits a unit.  So I made 10,000 credits off that one transaction.  For those who are anti-gather information, that proved fairly helpful in this game as well.  I used a combination method of checking when I had cash and thought about it, and tried to shape courses to take advantage of it.  It didn't work out every time, I once got stuck with a cargo full of scientific equipment.  However, it worked out at least 40-60% of the time.  One note too about upgrades.  I built up guns, engines, and integrity early as well as cargo hold.  After a certain point I built up primarily cargo hold. 
Ok, enough philosophizing.  However, thanks for the reality check, our high score was made on unlimited mode.  The guy played for 86 years iirc so minimum of 1072 moves.  As I said, I tried to beat it, but I had to give in.

Statistics for Playthrough of Traders of Known Space - a free game from Valiant Galaxy Associates, on Version 4
The game lasted 1 hours, 14 minutes and 12 seconds and ended on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:9 AM - The player beat the game!woohoo!
In a career spanning 15 years (short mode), the player accumulated 1337616 credits.
At career's end, the envy of all space merchants was trading in a vessel with the following capabilities:
Integrity: 75 / 75
Engine: 70 / 70
Gun: 80 / 80
Deflector: 35 / 35
Cargo hold: 1200 / 1200
Final score: 1622616!

This at least gives a goal to strive against.  I am sure it's possible to do better than that even on short mode.

Good luck,
Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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