Version 0.4.4: Usability of Network Traders is finished.

DevBlog: Usability-Release

Another release of Network Traders is finally done. The focus of this version, 0.4.4, is usability. It combines various improvements to screen handling and user experience (UX) in general. Continue below to learn more about the details of this update!

From a technical point of view, Network Traders is already on a very good path. In the previous update, I fundamentally changed the networking architecture, resulting in significantly improved stability. Trading is now conducted quite reliably and without noticable delay. On the art side, we made major steps ahead with the new trade screen, resource icons, and buildings.

New Features in Version 0.4.4

Bluetooth Toggle button

The issues we tackled now are more concerned with certain behaviours a player would either expect or be annoyed with. For example, the game relies on the Bluetooth device being activated so that trading with other players can be initiated. If the device is not activated, the list of other players to trade with is empty. To fix this, the player firstly has to know that Bluetooth is required, and sencondly turn it on via the smartphone’s settings. This is potentially very annoying, so the game now assists the player. On one hand, they will get a notification if Bluetooth is turned off. On the other hand, the toggle button to turn it on is now integrated into the game. No more looking for the right settings, hence improved usability and more fun.

But Bluetooth handling is not the only thing we improved in this version. Here is what else we worked on:

Change Production Button
  • A settings screen was added with a cogwheel button right where you would expect it.
  • A new player who has not traded with anyone yet can now choose what resource they want to produce in their city. This will be very useful if you want to make sure you sell something your friends want to trade with you.
  • The network screen can now be zoomed and scrolled, as the number of cities you know will grow with every player you trade with.
  • You can now see at once in the list of traders online and close-by what people are trading. This should come in very handy if many players are around, and you have few merchants to spare.
A trade screen entry showing what another trader is producing
The button for trading with another trader now shows the resource they produce.

What’s next?

The current Usability update was an important step towards a first alpha release, but we are not there yet. Version 0.4.5 will introduce a new set of base buildings which will give you more options and change your merchants’ behaviour. So keep an eye on Games:Tech:Blog or just follow me on Twitter if you don’t want to miss any future news!

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