Howdy, howdy, howdy.

Finally, a place where I can claim First Post.

I’m currently working on a Silverlight game based on the classic “Solar Wars” space commerce/cargo game (which is itself based on Dope Wars, et al). Another inspiration for this game is Ambrosia’s Escape Velocity. I spent countless hours being a galactic menace in that game. Other games in this genre are Elite, Privateer and Freelancer. I plan on eventually having a networked, persistent universe…but that’s far in the future. My dream is a low-rez, casual version of EVE Online.

My project is a top-view game with two main modes: a map of the solar system or galaxy, and a commerce mode where the player can buy/sell commodities. The player tries to buy low, sell high, and transport special cargo in order to make money to upgrade his/her ship in order to make more money, etc. ad infinitum.

The first iteration of the game will be strictly event-driven. Click on a planet/space station to travel, and then do your commerce, maybe buy some upgrades or take a mission, then it’s back to the map. The player will start with a small, unarmed shuttle capable of carrying a small amount of cargo.

I have no idea what to name the thing yet. I’m sure my 6 and 8 year old boys will come up with something catchy.

So far I’m enjoying Silverlight and XAML.  It’s like working with any other taggy paradigm (html asp.net, xslt, etc.) so I’m comfortable with the angle brackets and attributes.  Man, it’s verbose though.  And a bit odd.  The first thing that really showed me how different XAML is from HTML is the way tables (grids) are built…the grid is fully defined before any content is added.  Then when you add the content you tell it which row/column to pop into.  Pretty nifty.

I can’t wait to get into doing some styles in XAML.  I can tell it’ll be handy as hell (much like CSS), but I can’t quite wrap my head around it yet.  I’ve only had a few hours’ experience so I’m a bit clumsy when it comes to remembering all the setter property thingies and whatnot.  Fortunately I found a tool called Kaxaml which should help quite a bit.  If you’re new to XAML or just want another wicked-handy tool, I highly recommend it.  It’s free (as in beer).  May the gods bless Robby Ingebretsen.

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