Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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Continental Trade Route Association

by Swedishpancaces - Jam Entry

"Continental Trade Route Association" (CTRA) is a game about, you guessed it, building trade routes. The idea is that you are the manager of a powerful company that manages all the kingdoms trading. You construct routes and buy traders for gold and they in turn will deliver goods between the cities and give gold to you. We wanted this game to be a very relaxed managing game and I think we are on a good way to achieve that. However, since our idea was very ambitious to start with, we have yet many things to do. We are both extremely happy with what we accomplished in such a short time scope though and we hope that the idea of what the game might be in the future intrigues more than just us.
In the meantime I hope you'll enjoy playing what we have so far!


How to play and game mechanics:
Click on a city (with left mouse button) to start build a route. Everytime you click on the ground you'll create a new routepoint and you can curve it however you like. You have to end the route in another city. Be wary though, not only does building routes cost quite abit of gold, but if you construct a route, say over a mountain, this path will be very dangerous for your traders.
You can hire more traders to travel your routes. Once hired, they themselves will choose where they want to go and the most efficient way to get there. Different traders carry diffrent goods with variating quality (level).


What we did wrong:
First of all, this games connection to the theme is quite vague. I mean, when we thought of the idea we said something like: "Well, the roads change shape... Right?..." The idea was also very ambitious which made finishing it in time quite impossible. So next time we will definetly work on the idea for abit longer before starting. We'll also try to prioritize the right things since we spent an awful amount of time on neat little things that the game as a whole could have done without.


What we did right:
As a team we have never worked this efficiantly. Having a set goal made it alot easier to focus and actually make something. We've also learned alot during this Ludum Dare which was my first (Marcus) and Julius second. Over all, we're very proud of the work we did
Even though the game isn't finished we feel like we've accomplished alot. We think we've built a steady ground upon which we can continue to build and polish. We hope that you'll give it a try and see if it has potential. We are very thankful for any feedback given to us. Enjoy Continental Trade Route Association, thank you for your time and great work everyone who participated!


How to play:

1. Buy a trader and watch what town the trader appears in.
2. Build a road to a neighboring town.
3. ???
4. Profit!



Right/middle mouse - Move camera
Scroll wheel - Zoom
Left click - Build roads

Axis-Aligned Studios, Marcus Karåker and Julius Häger

Downloads and Links




NPException says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 12:03pm

Am I doing something wrong? I connected two towns, and clicked on the "Hire Traders" Button and hired a trader. But I don't get any money and I don't know where the trader is. How exactly do I start in this game?

dreadzilla says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:58pm

I figured out that the best way is to create a trader first to see where it ends up and then create the trade route from where the trader was. I had over 200 hundred traders and made lots of cash. :) There is no end goal I believe?

I like these kinds of games a lot. It was fun watching the traders travel the routes. It was hard to be able to see the information tags on the traders, since they moved rather fast. There was neither a clear goal, nor an end game that I could see.

Fundo says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:33pm

@NPException In this version of the game your hired traders will spawn in a random town. So to make it work properly you should first hire a trader and see where it ends up before building your first trade route (as pointed out by dreadzilla). Sorry for not being very thourogh with this.

Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:17pm

As you said on description the game needs to be polished, but I encourage you to finish because I think is a good inital point to make a game. Congrats!

Mekuri says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:29pm

All in all a nice idea. There was a bit of quirky behavior with how to do the trade routes, or maybe I misunderstood it- I did manage to get several merchants trading and a good profit rolling. Games like these are awesome, but hard to add lots of content in such a small amount of time. I'll look forward to seeing a post compo version of this.

Imperial Unit says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 2:34pm

It was definitely relaxing, almost hypnotic, to play until all the towns are connected. Pixel terrain was well done, gameplay and camera were smooth. Had a quirk where it seemed to draw the pink line from the wrong town. Can see the underlying potential of the game, with more time to develop complexity and a risk/loss factor to the gameplay, it should be a fun management game.

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 9:21pm

I had a blast playing this game! The only thing that really bothered me was the inability to destroy/undo roads, and perhaps that there wasn't so much of a competition. Some thoughts:

- Showing statistics of usage of the roads would be nice, so you can see how you could re-arrange roads.
- Being able to click on a merchant to see status would also be nice, instead of following with the mouse.
- Statistics or maybe sprites to see where goods come from and where they're going.
- Ability to see supply and demand for each town.

Well, I could go on, but I think that you have ideas for yourself's. I just wanted to show that I really appreciated your game :)

As a bonus, here is a video of what happens when hiring 3000 merchants (mapping the scroll wheel to send left clicks). Note the hickups every merchant-update loop (?)

Fundo says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 9:54pm

@johnbrynte Thanks for the feedback! Yes those were things we planned for but really didn't have time to implement. Maybe in the future we'll make a more playable version of the game, but right now we are going to rest and play the other entries.

Haha, can't believe you actually got 3000 merchants. All those merchants look like a snake. We're so happy that you all appriciated our game. Seeing this really makes us want to push on and create more content. Thank you all!

Marcus "Fundo" Karåker

Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:59pm

@johnbrynte Yeah, those hiccups are what we call: super bad panic mode ludum dare "it works" code.
It's checking event probability for every trader every second, and that code isn't very optimized...

janiq says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 11:28pm

The game is good to play, I guess I like the idea of making profit :-) But i think you have to add more content because it gets too repetitive very soon.

LRP says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 4:52pm

nice !

James Coote says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 4:14pm

Looks good! I really liked the map and the mechanic of linking together cities was fun to build up in the initial stages of the game.

After a while though, there wasn't much challenge to the game, since there wasn't anything draining on my money as far as I could tell. I could kinda build whatever trade routes and it'd all be good. I guess there would have been a maintenance cost per-mile of trade route and/or cost to keep the traders supplied? I only later worked out you could hover over the traders. Being able to click on them any maybe micro-manage them a bit would have been good as well. Likewise for the cities, and for areas on the map, some better indication of what goods were in supply/demand.

I'm guessing that then, it'd be all about carefully adjusting the roads to, say, avoid hidden robber hotspots or make the most of going through certain areas to maximise the amount of goods acquired versus not using up too many supplies and having the merchant train starve?

There were a few odd things as well, such as the bug with where the road placement started. That got me really confused before I figured it out. Highlighting the city where the road starts would have also been good. And so many times I tried to right-click to cancel placement. This seems to have been trained into me subconsciously from playing so many strategy games over the years, so might be worth putting in as well. Also, it seemed like sometimes the water/mountains were blocking my route but not other times? Again I'm guessing that was a bug and the idea was to make mountains impassible or affect the trade route so you had to think carefully about not just drawing a straight line through a mountain range or over a desert or across the oceans.

Overall though, I liked the direction it's headed!

nihilaleph says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 2:10am

Very nice concept! I'd love to see more to this later too! It still needs something to be against you of course, and someway to make the merchant stats important, I didn't see what they were affecting really...
Oh I had the same effect of @Imperial Unit, The pink line always started with my first city, or some other when I did something like clicking twice the same city of something...

Anyways great entry!

hijomo says ...
May 2, 2016 @ 2:08am

This is a really cool idea. the balance is way off but thats not much of an issue. I loved watching all my traders mass around the map.

JonathanG says ...
May 9, 2016 @ 2:28pm

Well done! It is simple but entertaining, and as you say, a good starting point :)

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