Monday, June 29, 2009


Hello everyone!

What's going on?

My exams are over (getting results today) and I've had some time to code again. I've done some rewrites of bad code. Cities have a simple coordinate system, created for a linear map. I also extended the admin panel again with some extra fields here and there.

The rest of this post works towards “ProtoFlow”. Hope it can help you in one way or another.

The explanation of the coordinate system copied from the script (as comment) :

CeasterTrade uses a linear map system, which looks like this:

(Hongkong) <- 10 min -> (Brussels) <- 20 min -> (Capital) <- 15 min -> (Washington DC) <- 6 min -> (Rio De Janeiro)

The Capital is in the middle, and the distance to a next city is given. You can calculate the distance to another city by making the sum of the distance to each city in between.

For example: Distance from Brussels to Rio = (Brussels -> Capital) + (Capital -> DC) + (DC -> Rio) = 20 min + 15 min + 6 min = 41 min

The order of the cities and the distance between them is important.

We go out from the Capital, which has CO = 0. Every number in a CO stands for 1 minute. When the CO is positive, it's right from the Capital. When the CO is negative, it's left from the Capital.

So when: CO = -60, that means that city lies on 60 minutes to the left of the Capital.

Then we can easily find the order by arranging them in descending order.

Back to the example, each above city would have these coordinates:

(Hongkong, CO=-30) <-> (Brussels, CO=-20) <-> (Capital, CO=0) <-> (Rio De Janeiro, ) <-> (Washington DC, CO=+15) <-> (Rio De Janeiro, CO=+21)


I’m very happy with where my game is right now. I have a descent framework, with some good basic features. It’s playable. The only thing is, I don’t think it’s fun, and it doesn’t look fun. Honestly, for me, it doesn’t necessarily have to be fun. This is an experiment and a journey. But, I think there is potential in the basics I’ve laid. Now I will have to polish it into a good game.

UI is needed to show the potential

To make good use of the basics, I need a good UI. At first I didn’t think it was important for a preview / ALPHA, but I started thinking…

“I think there is potential in this game.”

For other people to see this potential, I’ll need to give them guidance. From the start on I had the UI in mind, and acknowledged its importance. This thought moved to the background while creating a working prototype, and partly because of my lack of experience with javascript.

An innovating and interactive 2.0 game interface

I like to design an UI, and my dream is “an innovating and interactive 2.0 game interface”. I expect it to be less romantic to implement it in reality. Many of my ideas for a good interface are from the period before I started coding. And I still like ‘em. So I can just start working!


The browsing through shops has been important since the beginning of this game’s design. I decided I would use a “linear map” and chose the same for cities.
The only thing what was bothering me was how to fit it in the UI in a decent and pretty way.

Somewhere down the road I had an idea for a cool way of showing the shops, on a “linear map” without all that annoying scrolling. I only didn’t know how to look for it (I didn’t have the right vocabulary).

Advanced javascript UI

Yesterday I decided I would explore the world of advanced javascript and cool interfaces. So I just googled “advanced javascript UI”. The result was some interesting sites and… CoverFlow!

This was what I was looking for… the magic ingredient for my shops. To some of my readers this may look dumb to not know this (I wouldn’t know) but to me it is new.

This is what CoverFlow is: (now I remember where I got my idea from, safari and apple)


Now I had something to work with! I needed CoverFlow, I needed it to be javascript, and it would be cool if it used Prototype (the javascript library I’m working with). A quick search on google showed me ProtoFlow. Now I hope I can rework it to a feature of my game-with-potential.


I know I have promised you some posts and that I would post more often, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to accomplish that. But, for faster updates, follow me on Twitter!

I suggest you download twhirl (

See you later!

PS Don’t be surprised if I’ve changed my mind about the UI the next time you hear me, I do that sometimes ;).

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I like that word. Sounds like a cool title, but maybe a little over the top, since I mean a 2 weeks break. But I didn't do much the past weeks either.

My exams start next week, so I won't be able to do anything. But I hope I can start with renewed energy after that!

As from the 24th I'll have lots of time. (that doesn't mean I'm going to work on my game full time, though)

I also made a new (temporary) header for the prototype. Didn't took me long, but I kinda like it for now.