When is it out?

The number one question I’m receiving right now in relation to “Pirates and Traders 2”. The answer is still “Uhm…?”. The game engine is pretty stable now, but there is still work to do. But if you’re impatient, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

The first release will be an “open-beta” style thing; i.e., not all features will be 100% working, though the game will be entirely playable. That approach works best for me, as I don’t want to be tempted to keep the game under wraps until everything is perfect. Partly because I know many of you will be writing me with suggestions and ideas soon, so I might end up implementing some stuff differently in the final version than I had originally intended, and partly because the way I work (on a part-time/weekend basis), I don’t have any guarantees on what kind of pace development goes at.

What I need to do before releasing the game out:

  • Finish hooking up the character relationship engine, so that these will form and change.
  • Convert some of the old encounters/stories to the new game engine.
  • Go over the ship combat engine one more time, try to squash any remaining bugs.
  • Make it so that getting defeated by pirates does not result in getting put on trial. :-p
  • Squash some bugs in the item pricing algorithm.
  • Generally polish up some aspects of the game UI and fix any remaining bugs there.
  • Add music/sound to the game.
  • Add local saves (currently it only allows cloud save).

What probably won’t make it into the first release:

  • Port attacks. This is an entirely new combat engine, and I want it to work correctly when it is introduced.
  • Some of the new game mechanics I have planned, such as careening, more complex ship modification options, coordinated warfare (e.g., where a governor requests help to lead an army against an enemy port), overland travel, etc.
  • A bunch of the new graphics. Some will probably be in, but most likely not all. I’ll also be setting aside some of the money earned by the “gold” version for further upgrades (more character graphics, more icons, etc).
  • New stories. There is a set of new stories planned for the game, including a conclusion to the Cimarron saga, but I probably won’t get most of them ready before launch.

All of this stuff should come later – as long as I have the time to work on the game.

There’s a risk in releasing in this manner, of course, in that there is always a risk that some players may be disappointed, and rate the game poorly (which hurts downloads more than one would think) and it makes it pretty hard to gain any attention on gaming websites. Well, the latter is probably not that big an issue, because I can count on one hand the number of sites that reviewed “Pirates and Traders”. I’m not expecting more for P&T2.  The former is more worrysome, but those are the breaks. It may not make the best sense from a financial POV, but I think it is the best for my capacity to work on this, and other stuff.

So when will it be ready? Well, definitely not this month. And I won’t promise March either, though it is a possibility. April though? That ought to be pretty realistic, and there is another thing making that month special – April, six years ago, is when Pirates and Traders was first released on the Android market. So let’s go for that. Assuming nothing massively unexpected happens, the planned release date for “Pirates and Traders 2” will be April 21, 2016.

There. Happy now?