This week saw an important addition to Conquest!: the ability to buy and sell goods at the local city markets. In Conquest!, each continent has different cities and each city has different markets. There can be a maximum of 10 markets in each city and they will be a combination of troops from each class (except the Vampire) and other commodities such as food or spies. Players are only allowed to purchase troops for their class. At the start of an Age, Conquest will randomly open 5-7 of these markets and over time will slowly open additional ones until each has 10. Markets will also change prices, based on having a surplus or deficit.
As a text based game, actions like checking the markets, buying/selling, going to the tavern, etc. were separate commands. With the new client we are combining these common elements to make the experience richer. For example, when visiting the tavern you have a variety of actions you can perform: hear gossip, see the top 25 players, set/view bounties on other players, etc. On the back-end these actions are still separate commands but the client masks this from the player. Here is the new city overview screen:
The two items we worked on this week are "Marketplace" and "Magic Shop". The latter only exist in port cities in Conquest! so that button is disabled in non-port cities. We have just started work on the tavern screen; hopefully we will finish that in the next few days.
The markets look like this:
The images for non-Fighter troops are placeholders for right now. You can see that, as a Ranger, I'm not allowed to purchase Soldiers. Clicking on an item you can buy brings up more details:
We still need to add the troop's additional combat attributes to the bottom (such as ambush, range, shield, etc.). Note that players can purchase items here or on the previous screen.
The magic shop looks like the Royal Vault screen, with the items laid out in a grid. Clicking on an item reveals the cost, quantity available, and a description of the item. Not all magical items can be sold, which is why there are only 3 pages instead of 4.
We have not finished all the item icons (there are 50 in total).
Now that I have done several of these scenes, replicating them is a matter of cut/paste in Unity. While I'm still a novice Unity developer I'm confident that I'll make improvements to the client over time (same thing happened with the game server earlier this year). I have also been able to leverage the work I did on the WIndows reference client earlier in the year (written in VB). While the code is not 100% portable many of the problems I solved in that client can be transferred to the Unity client.
There is still much work to be done on the Conquest! client; I'd estimate we are 30% complete at this stage. And right now the game isn't playable: players cannot travel, spy, or attack and none of the class commands have been implemented. But we are slowly chipping away and hope to make good progress over the next month.
On the server side, I modified several commands to send the client information it needs to support the design. These changes included adding the class name of the troop for a market and adding a keyword for each artifact (this determines which image to load). An area of concern I have now is the amount of raw data I'm sending to the client. Conquest! already uses a numbering system to send data (which results in smaller messages). But adding additional bytes going to a mobile client (with limited bandwidth) will have to be monitored.
Unfortunately, our Kickstater campaign failed to reach it's goal. Despite this, work on Conquest! will continue but it will take longer to complete without the funding we were seeking.
Follow the journey on Facebook or Twitter. Until next time, I hope to see you in the game.
James has been working on Conquest! since 1993.