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Chuffing along

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What have we been up to recently? Things have been moving slow but this is expected as we must eat, and so do what funds that food - work! Unfortunately or fortunately (depending how you look at it) we have been busy working. This means Trains & Things has moved slower than we would like, as T&T is not our bread and butter. But lets get into it and tell you what we have been up too over the last few months!


Pain Points The programming department has been working on resolving pain points. Pain points are those things that take away from the fun smooth flowing feel of the game.

The biggest point of pain was having to manually take out a loan if you could not afford the purchase presented to you. This meant having to halt what you were doing, opening the company tab (or worse, leaving it open!) and taking out a loan from the bank, then you could complete your purchase.

This now works by changing the button to 'Loan & Purchase' and will automatically take out a l…

Back On Track

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In our last blog we said:
We have decided to halt development until Godot 3.1 is released, as there are two critical issues we require that [we] are expecting: LOD, and Multiplayer Timeout settings. We expected Godot 3.1 to include fixes for both of these issues, however they have been pushed back to Godot 4.0 which probably won't be out this year.

Now that we have had a break I want to get Trains & Things into some sort of ship-able product. It is 80% done so why not put in some effort and get it out there?

Finally, in talking with the team, we have decided to get back on the tracks and work around the missing Godot features, and we have put together a little list of the things we want to do before we consider shipping:

1) Performance improvements
2) Polish up a set of maps
3) Deal with some pain points
4) PR/Marketing/Social

It sounds so simple! In fact the biggest problem we are facing is a lack of time - which a successful Kickstarter would have provided. Instead all w…

Post Kickstarter

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Well, the Kickstarter is finally over and the results have been abysmal.
We only had a hand full of backers, so thank you to those people.

The Stats Lets look at some stats:

In the last month, we have had about 1,400 people come to our Kickstarter page with only 12 people following through - a conversion rate of 0.857%.

Reddit indicates that 43,800 people viewed our adverts, with 507 clicks - a conversion rate of 1.158%.
Youtube indicates that 29,000 people viewed our adverts with only 29 clicks - a conversion rate of 0.1%.
Twitter failed to even launch the advertising campaign and our attempts to reach out to them fell on deaf ears.
Also our attempts to reach out to the gaming press also mostly fell on deaf ears with the exception of gaming on linux

From my research a conversion rate of about 1-2% is normal.

What now? We have taken the last month to reflect and pester the press and twitter (with no luck). We lack the funding to be able to complete Trains & Things to the leve…

Kickstarter & Demo Now Live!

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Kickstarter & Demo Now Live
Trains & Things Kickstarter is now live! Go visit our Kickstarter page and support us. 



There you will find a link to a demo!!! YAY!

The demo includes two maps, a tutorial level and Hawaii, which you will have seen in many screenshots. It is also limited to 30 minutes of play time which should be enough to give you a good taste of the game.

Finally, I've put together video running you through the tutorial level in case you happen to get stuck.


Kickstarter Prep

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Mac OSX Build Good news! We have a Mac build of Trains & Things functional! But, we have no Mac to test our build on! So I've sent a demo build to a mate who has confirmed that it is working!

Secondly, you may have heard the news of Apple depreciating OpenGL and OpenCL.

Apples walled garden got a little bit scarier! I don't know what this means for Mac support for us in the long term, it really boils down to what the Godot team decide. Either way, I suspect that we will try to ship a Mac build but that it will remain officially unsupported - ie. if it doesn't work, we wont invest much time in it, but if it works for you, great!


Track Building Over TimeSince time began (early 2017 for Trains & Things) tracks have always built instantly. You plan the path they are to take, press the buy button and *BAM* instant track.
Yet it has always been planned that tracks would build over time. I've been putting it off, others on the team have kept nagging me to do it. The r…

Texas

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Terrain Yes we are dealing with terrain again! While we had 8-bit initially, then went to 16-bit but found using texture image editing software support lacking so we decided lets just make 8-bit work.
As we proceeded, I just wasn't happy with the terrain, and as you increase the terrain geometry it would start to "step." The final nail was to see the tracks again also going "jaggey" making things look terrible.

See what I mean?!

So whats changed now? Well, we've embraced blender as our terrain editing tool. My bro, the artist on the team has been programming the tools to allow us to use blender in our terrain pipeline. This has freed me, the programmer on the team to do some art!
What have I been doing as the artist you say?
Well, I present to you...

Texas 
Ain't she a beauty? This is based loosely off of actual GIS elevation data, which we take into blender and smooth out and exaggerate some features to make it playable in a game.

I have found the wh…

A reason to play multiplayer

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A reason to play multiplayer Coop is great! You can play at what ever pace you like and the game ends when you achieve a certain company value, although you can continue if you want.

Now for versus multiplayer this doesn't cut the mustard! We need something compelling to drive the player forwards. So we have finally done this!

As with every good railroad game, you can now invest in the shares of your competitors, and eventually to buy them out - if you can do that before they buy you out.

The challenge is making this some what self balancing to a degree. How do you restrict those players who are the bee's knees from stomping the newbs? Especially a problem if your a newb and your friend wants to have a game with you just to stomp you in 5 minutes flat *cough* Railroads *cough*. We have some ideas we are experimenting with here, no doubt these are not final and we will not tell you what these are. If anyone has some good ideas feel free to let us know. Fortunately, being bough…