Century: 2020 status report

I wanted to take a minute to look back at the project that, over the past 5+ years, has taken up the largest part of my free time.
It is the Android game called century. It started 5 years ago as a small Python/Flask game I made for my own entertainment.
Since then, the game has changed stack and been rewritten numerous times.

A lot of the motivation to the thousands of hours I have spent on it, has been users writing encouraging messages to me, as well as being pro-active (bug reporting, constructive feedback, etc.). This communication has been spread through mails, Facebook and Discord.
I want to personally thank each of you who have been a part of this 5 year journey and rest assured that your words have fuelled the development of the game. For me it is a tool to silence out some rare, but hateful comments that come in once in a while.

Early 2016Century developed for personal use in Python
July 2016Start of rewriting of century in C# and Javascript
November 2016Battles and wars implemented
2017-2018Android app + engine developed
August 2018Closed alpha release
September 2018Open alpha release
May 2019Open beta release
2019Major engine improvements
short version of 4 years of development

What was done in the COVID year?

I decided to look back at what exactly was done in 2020.

I did a total of 24 updates available to the alpha users. That is an average of two per month. Impressive if I may say so myself. Considering I have a real day job, I need to spend more time being social from what I can see.

What did these updates include?

  • Reworked military equipment
  • Reworked factories
  • Improved news tab (before it was Javascript and laggy, switched to C# card view)
  • A lot of cosmetic improvements
  • Development of the game manual
  • Rework of battle system
  • Partial implementation of Spanish
  • Partial implementation of Russian
  • Way too much bug fixing
  • Way too much unit test development to find and/or avoid bugs
  • Way too much fighting with Xamarin Android not working
  • Way too much fighting with Pipelines not working

That was pretty much it. Hundreds of hours can be described in that short list.

I know a lot of you have wishes for improvements and new features and might be angry that I didn’t get to them. I do apologize. I am but one mere mortal, I have a day job, I have other hobbies (🎸, ✈️), I have other apps and games (that don’t get enough love compared to Century. They get 1 update per year), and a social life.

Rest assured your wish is on the todo list, and some day we will get to it

This is the actual list with all your wishes

2021: Goals, what is out of reach and what are the obstacles

Based on the learnings from 2020, I will try to see what can be achieved in 2021. This is of course non-binding friendly talk. For example, I spent my free time during the first 1½ months of 2021 contributing to an open source project and I do switch to other projects from time to time. Century has not even generated a single dollar in total over the 5 years, so my motivation is solely on the good words I get from you guys.

The biggest issue in 2020 has been problems with Xamarin Android simulator, which I always use for developing new features. This has eaten too much of my time, trying to get it to work. To this day it doesn’t work as it should. This is really annoying me as I am unable to come up with new things for the game.

This is limiting me and I have started to play around with the idea of once more changing the stack. I have a few things I like to take into account if I do a complete rework of the game:

  • Responsive version: For Christmas I got a new tablet and I noticed the game looks horrible on a big screen. The problem is that Xamarin Android isn’t the best for handling different screen sizes. The game right now is made for phone size. I would like to explore the idea of other stacks that could work on different devices with different screen sizes.
Little prototype of how it could look that I have started working on this year. Let me know what you think
  • Multiplayer: I must be honest and say that I rarely touch the AI, so it is not the best. I am considering if it would be better to develop as a multiplayer game instead. Let me know how you feel about this. This would also require a lot of reworking and a stack change

I haven’t decided on anything yet, but there are some interesting technology choices this year that fall within my areas of knowledge. The before-mentioned opensource project was using Blazor-WebAssembly, which could be used. Also, late 2021 Microsoft is coming out with MAUI. I am looking forward to see it and see if it fits this project. I dream of being able to play century on my PC or on a browser.

Some of these stacks would also make it easier to implement some kind of map solution, which I have talked with some of you about.

More community driven, less me

People sometimes write “I wish I could code, so I could help you”. This year for the first time I received some help. A guy called George from Russia helped with the translation. I really appreciate this (Thanks George!). I want more of this. I will be looking at putting things on github as open source for the community to improve and work on themselves.

I will probably start with localization (translating to other languages) and start scenario.
If some of you eventually find it boring and want something more challenging, you can always help with bug fixing.
This will require knowledge in C# and some experience creating unit tests.

Closing words

Thanks for a great year guys. Despite no financial incentive, I find the incentive of your support to be a great substitute for me. I look forward to see what can be achieved in 2021. I will naturally update you guys on the above mentioned things as we go through 2021.
The best wishes and keep on being awesome,