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"On the list!"

Postby worfc » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:59 am

Game Balance, UI-improvements, "Deep"-inventory & Soldering-improvements

There are "about a bazillion" planned improvements to worfc -- most of them small, some of them medium, a few of them big. From time to time, I will be updating this thread in an attempt to give a preview of what's coming your way over the next few updates, and when those are planned to happen.

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EDIT: Below is pretty-much a copy/paste from the dev-blog post, but it's as good of a place to kick-off this thread as any.

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For the next couple of weeks I will be mostly doing chores related to wrapping-up the game and getting it ready to submit to the iTunes store. For the most part, the bugs are fixed, the features are in and things are nearly ready to go; from here on, it’s 99% paperwork and pencil-pushing to get vsn 1.0 out the door.

A few thoughts here for what is planned for immediately following the release of World of RoboFarmCraft v1.0:

First, I plan to do regular releases for the foreseeable future. The current plan is weekly updates for at least 4 weeks, then every-other-week for at least 8 weeks, then regularly scheduled updates based on the needs of the game at that point. Of course, this plan is open to change based on user feedback and there may be a hot-fix or two in there to deal with crises, but that’s the basic plan as it stands, today.

So, what’s coming up in the next few updates…?

* Beta-5 (in a couple of days.)

* I recently implemented the ability to give “Login rewards”. It’s not set-up for regular use, yet, but the idea is to give little daily “treasure chests” at first login.
* The game now saves an “offline” version if the farm can’t be uploaded to the server.
* There is some new artwork; most noticeably the logic-gates.

* Final betas and v1.0 (over the next 2-3 weeks.)

* As mentioned above, this is largely paperwork chores.
* We’ll be integrating all of the “real” artwork from the art department.


After v1.0, the high-on-the-list items are:

* Continue to tweak game balance, which is largely the price of crafting and the time it takes for crops to grow. What we have is pretty good, but I want to check the game-progress telemetry against the first bunch of public players. My goal is to present activities and challenges, while continuing to provide a sense of accomplishment and progress.

* Continue to make the UI run more smoothly/easily.

* Additional circuits to further the cause of farm automation. Some ideas:
- Chest-O-Matic: place a chest into it, and it has pins for select-next, drop-on-ground, add-to-inventory. Basically, this circuit allows programmed-access to a chests’s inventory with pins similar to what you have on the robot’s inventory.
- Select-O-Matic: (These are just working names :) ) A 3 or 4-slot item into which you indicate either tools or inventory, and it allows you to select that tool or item. So, for example, you could use pins-1, -2, -3 to select Hoe, Dibble or Saw. Or you could use them to select Iron, Copper or Silicon seeds. Etc., whatever you like.
- A “thumb drive” to allow saving/restoring robot/chip circuitry.

* A way to visually differentiate chips-in-inventory. Maybe by colors (dyes made from flowers?), or maybe a 4-char “label” that can be read by a Text Comparator. Then again, the Select-O-Matic might make this moot.

* Deep-inventory — so you can craft using materials that are stored in chests, stored in your inventory. I haven’t yet decided if this should be always-on or if you craft a (consumable (but cheap-to-make)?) deep-search circuit that allows this behaviour.

* Allow multiple-stacks of the same type of item in inventory (incl. chests), as a switch. When active, you could have multiple stacks of (currently) 200 of something, they would just occupy multiple inventory slots, as if they were separate items.

* Improvements to soldering. These are many and varied and not-clearly-defined, but the soldering UI is definitely a weak spot in the app. Some ideas include:
- “Modes”, so connections can be made/broken with fewer taps
- More user control over trace-paths (possibly including segmented traces.)
- A “probe” that can be put on traces to display the signals passing.
- Single/10-step mode to aid with debugging.
- A separate “lab” where circuitry can be tested/explored without altering existing circuits.

There’s actually quite a bit more, but that’s what’s near the top of the list, and should keep us busy for a while. Again, I’ll be updating this thread on a regular basis as the list evolves.
Posted by WORFC, board admin, moderator, game author.

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Re: "On the list!"

Postby worfc » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:02 pm

External login/recover-farm

Oh, the other thing I forgot to mention that's high on the list is: the ability to login with some external token-based system (example: Facebook).

Right now, if you delete the app & reinstall, your old farm will remain on the server, but the app will create a new "userID" for you, and you'll experience it as a start-over farm. (While you don't create a userID/password, the app creates one on your behalf if there isn't already one, and that's what is used to login to your farm.)

That works "ok", but isn't very good, for example, if you upgrade to a new device or have to do a factor reset or, for whatever reason, lose the app and have to start over.

The planned feature is: you'll have the option to login via Facebook* and, henceforth, the app will use a token provided by Facebook as your userID. In this way, if you reset your device and reinstall all your software, you can then login again with Facebook*, and your farm will remain in tact.

NOTE: This will be entirely optional. If you want, you can continue using the current system. However, it would stink to lose your farm!

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* I say "Facebook", but maybe it'll be Facebook, maybe open-ID, maybe both, maybe something else -- I don't know. "...Something like that"! :)
Posted by WORFC, board admin, moderator, game author.

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Re: "On the list!"

Postby worfc » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:57 am

Circuit Lab & Signal Probe

The currently planned features are:

    * A space where you can lay-out whatever circuit you want.
    * Unlimited gates (or at least "very many") for experimenting in the lab.
    * Save/reload partial experiments for continued experimenting
    * Separate clock (not the system-wide one) with...
      - Single-step (fire one cycle then stop)
      - 3-step
      - 50-step
      - Normal/run
Also on the list -- probably sooner, if I can just figure out a decent UI -- is the signal-probe, which you put on a line and it displays all the signals (items, counts, text, whatnot) on that line. Once you start using comparators/sensors, you'll appreciate how helpful this probe will be. :)
Posted by WORFC, board admin, moderator, game author.

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Re: "On the list!"

Postby worfc » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:10 pm

Ok, today I sorted "The List" into "after v1.0" milestones. Things breakdown something like this:

NOTE: This is all approximate. v1.5 is "overflow" for anything I don't get to during its scheduled week. All the calendar dates are approximate and based on the assumption that I get all the final artwork in the next 2 weeks (possibly not true, because robot-sprite may be late, which means my start to re-doing all of the help videos/animations will be late. :\ ) So all the dates are likely to shift down, some.

[ EDIT Sep 22: Updated expected dates. It's currently looking like we'll submit v1.0 the week of Sep 27. Also updated the item counts.]
[ EDIT Sep 22: Final Candidate has been submitted for QA. 2 items on the list after it is approved, and one of them is "submit to Apple" :) ]
[ EDIT Oct 11: Updated expected dates, counts & progress. v1.0 shipped 10/8. v1.0.2. and v1.1 submitted ]
[ EDIT Dec 29: Update v1.5.5 is live, v1.6 submitted. In the future, plans for upcoming builds are in the release notes, posted as that build is submitted to Apple (Announcements forum) ]

Also, the big list for v1.0.1 isn't as bad as it looks. (a) I'm working on it now, while I wait for art. (b) a lot of it is simple stuff like "check for over-use of @autoreleasepool" and "refactor foo so that bar and baz both use a single utility routine" -- stuff like that which goes quickly. Personally, I'm more worried about the much shorter 1.1 and 1.2 lists. :)

All that disclaimer aside, here's the plan as it stands at the moment I type this. The ordering is likely to remain the same, though the dates may change. And I may steal stuff from later lists, if I "get crazy" :)

Lastly, the dates are "planned submit to Apple for review". You won't see them until about a week later, depending on the review process.


Milestone: Worfc v1.0.2 - app-innards cleanup: 10/06/2015 (hiding 46 matching cases) Submitted to Apple for review 10/2/15
Milestone: Worfc v1.1 - Content/help cleanup: 10/13/2015 (hiding 28 matching cases) Submitted to Apple for review 10/11/15
Milestone: Worfc v1.2 - UI cleanup: 10/20/2015 (hiding 53 matching cases)
Milestone: Worfc v1.3 - New Circuitry/automation: 10/27/2015 (hiding 32 matching cases)
Milestone: Worfc v1.4 - Social++: 11/3/2015 (hiding 19 matching cases)
Milestone: Worfc v1.5 - overflow: 11/10/2015 (hiding 13 matching cases)

Milestone: Worfc v1.6 - more app-innards: 11/17/2015 (hiding 17 matching cases) Submitted to Apple for review 12/28/15
"Upcoming release" plans are now posted with each update's release notes in Announcements (click link at top of this page).
Milestone: Future: 12/30/2099 (hiding 163 matching cases)

P.S. There are only 7 things on the list between "now" and "ship v1.0". Sadly, they're all "wait" and "paperwork" things. Stuff like "integrate all the new art" and "update the web-site with 'available in the app store!' " -- stuff like that.
WoRFC shipped 10/8/15. Now Available In The App Store! :)

Release notes for builds v1.0-v1.5 are on the web site.
Release notes for builds v1.5 and later, as well as plans for upcoming releases are posted to the Announcements forum.
Posted by WORFC, board admin, moderator, game author.

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You can also follow us on twitter: @roboFarmCraft
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Re: "On the list!"

Postby worfc » Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:55 pm

From now on (Nov 30, 2015), a list of the planned upcoming releases will be posted along with each build's release notes which are, themselves, posted when I submit the build to Apple for review (about a week before it hits the iTunes App Store). All of that happens in The Announcement Forum.

For example, the first such post is at the end of the v1.5 Release Notes post.

I'll continue to use this thread to post idea discussion and features about which I'm thinking, but that's where you'll see what sorts of things are bubbling to the top of the list.
Posted by WORFC, board admin, moderator, game author.

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