As of this writing, Tau Station is about half a million lines of code. Most of that is Perl, a language that is famously concise. Were it written in Java, for example, it would probably clock in at well over a million lines of code. When a codebase gets to this size, it can be very hard to maintain. This is how we manage that complexity.
Continue reading "Making Complex Software Simple"
Tau Station relies heavily on open source code. Our database is PostgreSQL, with database deployment management handled by sqitch. Our main programming language is Perl 5, we use Redis heavily as a fast cache for non-critical data, and so on. Lots and lots of open source code.
For our developers who want to share some of our code with the open source community, we simply ask that the code not have “Tau Station-specific” code in it. In other words, part of the fun of Tau Station is discovering its secrets by exploring the universe, not reading them in source code.
So we’ve released two more modules which, we hope, others might find useful.
Continue reading "Building a Universe with Open Source Code"
This post focuses on our experience of educating on web accessibility across a truly remote team. Read on to gain an insight into how we supported team members spread across Europe and Australia to create an accessible game.
Continue reading "Remotely educating our team on web accessibility"
We use Git as a version control system in our development process and GitHub to host repository. Our workflow is similar to
git-flow, but with some simplifications since our product doesn’t use versioning – the only actual version of our game is production. Well, it’s not completely accurate as there are also snapshots of the game on our internal servers, but production is the only version which is accepted for bug reports.
Continue reading "Our Git workflow"
In this post we’ll cover some information and challenges in creating an accessible autocomplete box. A good autocomplete box is accessible by default and will allow all users to navigate intuitively, either by keyboard or mouse. Many of you may have used an autocomplete box before and not even realized that the keyboard shortcuts intuitively used were also there to allow impaired users access to the same functionality.
Continue reading "Accessible Autocomplete Box"
In earlier articles we introduced the economic exchange system we use to help us build Tau Station. Further publications explained how it helps us to write clean code and simplify our combat code. In this technical blog post we look at the economic exchange system in a little more detail.
Continue reading "Extending Economic Exchange Conditions"
So, we have discussed the important of clean code before. That article showed how economic exchanges could clean up otherwise messy steps involved in the processes of cloning. But what happens if your mess is bigger than a single step? – In our new technology blog post, we invite you to join us for (code) combat …
Continue reading "On writing clean code … for combat"
In previous articles focusing on the technical side of creating Tau Station, we’ve discussed how our team is working hard to utilize inclusive design, how they’ve created an authoring tool to provide meaningful choices for players, and about their focus on writing clean database code. Today, we are going to discuss artist choices about borders which make game’s user interface (UI) visually complex and interesting, while still allowing the art assets to be usable in a variety of situations.
Tau Station has many different types of artist elements that use non-standard borders and edges. A design like this can be implemented in a variety of ways; with an older approach, which utilizes files in a PNG format, and which only consist of the file having one layer, or a newer approach, which is more complex, but which utilizes more layers and which is less limiting. We will focus on a new(ish) technique which seems to often be overlooked by many front-end developers, even in 2017.
Continue reading "Borders with Cut Corners in a Post-HTML5 World"
More than simply linear paths or interactive stories, our missions in Tau Station provide a unique adventure in immersion. To advance through the universe of Tau Station, many difficult decisions await. Missions are one of the main sources of experience in the game, and completing them will help you to understand the Tau Station universe better. Passing them won’t be easy, however.
In order to provide the narrative team with enough level of creative freedom, we are constantly improving and developing new features for our mission authoring tool: Mission Builder. Now it’s time to uncover some of the internal details and show what goes on the behind the scenes while playing in Tau Station.
Continue reading "Mission Builder Reloaded"
One of Tau Station’s goals is to build a game that can be accessed by all players. For the UI Team this means focusing on usability and accessibility.
We are working hard to implement Tau Station’s Inventory.
Continue reading "Inclusive Design in the Inventory"