As I outlined in The Idea behind Network Traders, the core mechanic of the game are merchants that travel from one device to the next. The concept is simpler as it may sound, but requires some explaining nevertheless. So please bear with me while I explain.
When you start playing Network Traders, you receive a couple of merchants. These merchants are at home on your mobile device – smartphone or tablet. But they would like to exchange goods with other players, so they leave your device if you give them a chance to. This is done by “trading”, i.e., connecting your device to that of another player via a Bluetooth connection, established from within the Network Traders app. Via this connection, merchants travel from your device to that of the other player and vice versa.
This was actually the most complicated part. Imagine your little trading people packing up their things and hopping over to somebody else’s phone. Say good bye to them and hope that they will come back someday.
How do Merchants trade?
Your city has one speciality, one resource it produces that few others have.
Your merchants stuff a certain amount of this good into their backpacks and head off. Once they arrive on another player’s device, they unpack their goods and start trading. One unit of their native resource is exchanged with that of their current host city. Then they pack up again and wait for the next opportunity to leave, which is when the current host player trades again.
Two things may happen now. Either, your merchants have some of their goods left and take the next opportunity to travel. On the next player’s device, another unit of their goods is traded. Or they have run out of their own goods and decide to come back home. This means waiting for an opportunity to trace back their steps.
Collecting Foreign Goods
Just as your merchants travel to your friends’ devices and trade their goods there, so do the merchants of everyone else. You will be visited by foreign merchants, and they will bring their wares to your market. So to some degree, you control what goods you gather by trading with people who have interesting goods to exchange. But much of it will be by chance. The more you trade, the more merchants will visit you and fill your warehouses with all kinds of exotic things.
If you want to learn more about how trading works technically, read my article on my last major game server rework. For any other questions, please use the comments below this article. And if you want to read more news about Network Traders, just follow me on Twitter!