It's been a little while since we've pushed new features to the game. But that doesn't mean that we haven't been building them. One thing that tends to happen, at least for me, is that I'll start working on something and get it to a sort of prototype state and then leave it for a while to go work on something else. Partly because I get distracted and partly because I want to get some feedback from the other devs before I keep going.
So what does that mean for today? Well it means that we decided to finish up some bug fixes and put out a new round of alpha quality features! I'll go into some details below but in short I think we have a few new things that are exciting to play around with.
The first and biggest change we made was to redo our login system. Persona was nice in that it handled what we needed it to and was decently easy to integrate into our flow. However, since it is no longer supported by Mozilla and wasn't very customizable, we decided to go our own way. So we coded up a login/signup UI whose functionality is based around Firebase. This way, we get the security of not having to store your passwords like we had with Persona and we can combine it with the ease of use of client-side login. Right now, we are only using Firebase as an authenticator. That is, if you choose to use an email/password combination when logging into our site, we store those credentials on Firebase and they securely store and authenticate each user. If you use one of the social media buttons, it is Firebase that handles the oauth flow for us and confirms or denies the authentication. If that doesn't mean much to you, don't worry about it. The short of it is that we aren't storing any more personal data than we were before and now you have more options for how you would like to log in. Also, if your email address that is registered with each of the social services (or our site) is the same, then it doesn't matter which one you choose to use each time you log in. It'll just work.
Since Google Moderator is going away soon, we needed a good way to continue our user-added content polls. worked hard and made a replacement for us. As a bonus, it gives our user forums a nice, new, integrated feature as well.
The idea here is that the author of the post will pose some sort of question in the first post. Each reply will then have two voting buttons, up and down. The post with the largest score (score=#upvotes-#downvotes) will be displayed at the top. We will be using this to solicit more plant responses from you guys in the future. But you are also able to create your own polls, just click on the voting category. I wouldn't be surprised if we come back to this in the future and give it some upgrades.
One thing that's been lacking since our UIv2 update was the sound control. You could either have your computer speakers on and listen to our game, or you could have them off and hear nothing. Sorry that it took so long to fix, but here's a start. If you click on the sound glyph near the top right of the game screen, that'll toggle the mute. However, if you want finer grained controls, you can go to the settings menu and use the new sound tab and change the music and sound effects sliders separately.
So, while Paul and I are programmers, Andy keeps us grounded with good user design. While you've been able to teleport to any street for quite some time, it required you to look up the unique code that represents each street. Now we took that one step further. If you click on the icon just to the right of the map button (looks like a person standing on a circle), you will see this new menu that allows you to teleport to any street that you can think of. Just type your search in the box and click on the street that you'd like to travel to. It's that easy.
I know that the world can seem a little empty still. Not everyone has found their way here or they just don't have anyone else online when they are. Well, that's OK. Now you can send your buddy a message about the cool thing you found so they can check it out when they have the chance. Like all the things that we are showing you, this isn't the final version of the mailbox, but it does allow you to send basic messages, view your inbox for read and unread messages and reply to a specific message easily. Hopefully in the near future you'll be able to send currants or items to your buddy so that they can get started mining right away.
I've been using a little of my time to work some on the auction house. We wanted it to be completely contained within the game instead of going to an outside browser window. I also personally wanted to get some more functionality out of it (buy orders, price history graphs, etc.). So there's not much to show in the way of all of that yet, but I did make a major change to the way it's all going to look. If it looks familiar to you, that may be because you've played EVE Online in the past. I actually haven't, but I've been reading up on how their auction system works and I just love it so, shamelessly, I've borrowed a lot from their styling.
I don't even know how he does it so fast, but it was just like yesterday that Andy said he was going to add a calendar. And then he posted a screenshot like an hour later. It would have taken me a whole day to make it look that nice. Granted, it doesn't really do too much yet, but it will. Maybe you could put custom events there or share events with your friends, etc. The possibilities...
You know how when you right-clicked on most of your items, it was hard to actually drop them because it would scroll off-screen? Yeah, that was my fault. But luckily Paul took pity on you guys and decided to fix it. No more off screen buttons. Yay! There are a number of other small changes/fixes that have been included but I just wanted to point out the ones that you guys might find interesting. If you want to see the full list of changes since last time, check out this list of commits on GitHub As always, let us know how we're doing or if you have any comment or questions. P.S. If you get stuck somewhere in game or you want some extra currants, feel free to drop us a line using the bug/suggestion reporting icon (top right). It automatically notifies us in Slack and one of us can email you back if you leave your address.