Monday, January 31, 2011

Star Traders RPG v3.1.6

A new release of our epic space role playing game Star Traders RPG has been released to the Android Market.

The newest release, Star Traders RPG version 3.1.6 includes a number of feature updates and minor bug and performance fixes.
  • Star Traders now sends Hazard toasts for ANY loss of Captain Health
  • Improved Hold / Cargo UX to display AU distance to market, buy/sell labels and coordinates (hopefully still fits on all screens!)
  • Improved long distance move performance and memory management (working towards better navigation!@!!!!!)
  • New Explorer (Intrepid Explorer I, in honor of Spaceman Spiff!)
  • Fixes Alien ship backgrounds
  • Fixes Narvidian ship backgrounds
  • Fixes Zoom map performance bugs
  • Updated Officer Mute Options
  • Added new Military Officer feedback dialogs

Legendary Items - Investing in Equipment

One of the concepts that has held strong throughout a long-standing Trese Brother's pen and paper game (World's Edge, at is the concept of magical equipment that grows with a character, and through a story. It is an idea that has always fascinated me in game design, and one that I think forces a player to be more invested in his or her character, and the legendary equipment that they might be carrying.

The basic concept is thus--magical items are powerful, unique, and rely upon their own innate power, but also upon the power of the connection between themselves and the individual wielding them. Therefore, you cannot tap into the greater powers of a magical item when you pick it up. It is not an on-off switch. The sword does not gain its max +10 damage effect as soon as you touch it. Instead, you must learn about it, complete quests with it, and generally invest time, energy, blood and sweat in order to gain its greater powers.

This concept probably works best with pen and paper role playing games, but it is an idea that the design team at Trese Brothers Software is working on bringing into Secrets of Steel. What do you think? It means the legendary magical items you find in the world will start at less than their full potential--but you can watch them grow into their true might. It may mean that quests are required to forward their growth, and that you cannot easily shift powerful, magical equipment around between characters whenever you want. But, for me, the results have always been a more powerful sense of achievement and self for the characters who has decided to carry the burden of these immensely powerful item, and who has bled to take them to it to its highest potential. As a gamer--where does your heart lie?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Interview with Trese Brothers has posted an interview with Andrew and I on their web site about Star Traders, Android development and our upcoming release, Secrets of Steel.

"Cory and Andrew Trese are the team behind Star Traders, an unashamedly old-school RPG that might just be the most in-depth Android game currently on the market. They took time out from working on their latest project to speak to Droid Gamers about their gaming inspirations, the future of Android and intrusive fast food adverts." --Mark Horne on

Obviously a very positive piece about our part-time efforts in the Android development arena. I personally cannot say enough good things about the Droid Gamers web site and the staff we spent time talking to and e-mailing with. Mark this time, and Jason last time, have both been really cool and very helpful.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Secrets of Steel - Monsters Revisited

[ To wrap up a project I started posting a while ago, here is the first publicly published Secrets of Steel monster collage. Thanks for all the support and excitement you have already shared about our upcoming, immense fantasy RPG! ]

Friday, January 28, 2011

Star Traders - Alien Incursion

In some of the darker Spice Halls across the Quadrant, you can hear the rumors. the stories, the warnings. But, with so few survivors, it is clear why the alien menaces within the galaxy are rarely discussed. And with only the most suicidal Military Officers and Captains actually seeking the alien, and there are few who get close enough to have hard information to report.

Those who have, tell horror stories of immense ships, unidentified technologies and weaponry, speed and maneuverability that make escape almost impossible, and crews in the thousands. Such reports are obviously spurious, spawned from fear, ignorance and faulty instruments. Do such alien craft exist? I find it highly doubtful. But, if you see one--you should run. Unless you are insane enough to try to capture it. Only the wildest legends claim that such ships have been captured. Have you ever met a captain who has bested the alien?

Captain Lanzo IV
Military Officer of Cadar
Elite Titan Commander, Rank 12

[ New ship art is coming to Star Traders for the dreaded alien races. Dare you stand against them and risk all? ]

Star Traders RPG Player Comments on v3.1.2

The newest release of Star Traders RPG v3.1.2 has been received well by our current and new players. Just read some of these reviews:

by Gary (January 28, 2011)

Having played Elite over 25 yrs ago helped a lot. Approaching lvl 100 n kicking ass. Great game that gets updated regularly. Great on Galaxy Tab.

by Lee (January 28, 2011)

As close as you'll get on Android to the original elite PC trilogy. Great for passing away nightshifts! Keep up the good work.

by Seb (January 28, 2011)

Deep space adventure. Lots of updates and constantly adding features.

by Victor (January 27, 2011)

Best app available in terms of depth and gameplay. My first game paid app that I have no qualms purchasing

by bnoury (January 27, 2011)

Fantastic. Harkens back to the old rpgs of my younger days. Buyer beware. This game is addictive.

by Arnaud (January 27, 2011)

Durée de vie top, contenu très dense, développement très actif (évolue vite) et réactif (corrections en - de 24h). Accro après prise en main acharnée.

by Tim (January 27, 2011)

This game has amazing depth and does a decent job of filling the Frontier Elite 2 shaped hole in my life...

by Aaron (January 28, 2011)

This team of creators is just phenom. Game is great, they update very regularly, AND no ads.

by Robert (January 28, 2011)

Love it great game, like a very simplified mass effect. Nice time passer yall

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Secrets of Steel - Monsters and the World

Excited to see Secrets of Steel moving right along! Remember this post from a while back?

Thanks to everyone for your feedback on the blog. Keep your eyes here for the latest Secrets of Steel and Trese Brothers Software news.

The first game in the "World of Steel" trilogy is now getting a reboot on KickStarter:

Star Traders RPG v3.1.0

A new release of Star Traders RPG v3.1.0 has been released to the Android Market.

This update is strictly a bug fix update and attempts to close some of the problems from the past 24 hours.

  • Menu Icon Restored
  • Startup Crashes Resolved
  • Map Performance Resolved
  • Zoom Map Crash Resolved
This update should fix any problems that you are experiencing after the 3.0.7 or 3.0.8 releases.

We are considering a beta edition of the game, discussion ongoing at the forum:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Star Traders RPG v3.0.7

A new release of Star Traders RPG has been uploaded to the Android Market.

This release primarily focuses on fixes and performance improvements.
  • Huge performance improvement for some devices
  • Update 5 Ship Statistics
  • Update 2 Ship Upgrade Bonuses
  • Fixes bugs with Awards and associated unlocks
  • Fixes some glitches with starting ship selection
  • Updates some fuel use equations for surveillance operations while in orbit
  • Displays version ID on main menu

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Star Traders RPG v3.0.6

Released 1/25/11

- Fix Pirate Rep Issues
- Added 4 Officer Dialogs
- NEW Edict, Permit and Rank Toasts
- 43 New Ship Designs
- Starting Ships Improved

- Recruit and Unlock 5 Officers
- New Ship Icon
- New UX w/ Galaxy page

- Unlock Awards
- New Character Classes
- New Starting Craft

- Rapid Depart Combat Option

- New Rumor UX
- Ship Images in Dry Dock

- Dry Docks & Repair Camp
- Spy & Blockade Jobs @ Military
- 3 Part Sound Track

Monday, January 24, 2011

Star Traders RPG v3.0.5

A new release of Star Traders RPG has been uploaded the the market.

v3.0.5 doesn't add any new fancy features but it does improve a lot of UI and add new notifications.

  • Fixed Pirate Defeat Reputation Bugs
  • MAJOR Improvements to Pre-Combat Text & Hostility Information
  • New Contract Void Toast w/ Warning
  • New Contact Expiration Toast w/ Warning
  • New Defeat - Looted Toast w/ What was Taken
  • New Defeat - Searched Toast w/ What was Taken
  • Now Show all 6 Ships in RPG
  • Fixes 5 Awards with Confusing Requirements
  • Fixes Some Awards Text/Grammar
  • Adds Missing Awards Toasts for Excellent Patient
  • Grammar Fixes
  • Increased Star Hero Minimum Rank to 12
  • Improved Contract Fail Toasts
  • Improved Contract Victory Toasts
  • Improved Docked - Exchange Toasts
  • Improved Enemy Ship AI
  • Updated 72 Ship Designs to v3.0.5 Edition
  • Added more than 40 new ships
  • Some new hidden rumor types to support economic system
  • Improved Damage Application Routines For Ram
  • Improved SFX Performance in Combat
  • Improved Reputation Toasts during Blockade
  • Improved Reputation Toasts during Trade Ban
  • Improved Officer Dialog for First Mate
  • Improved Bonuses for Scout/Smuggler Officer
  • Improved Toasts for Damage to Captain in Combat, Explorer, Harvest
  • Improved Harvest UX

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Star Traders RPG v3.0.4

New version of Star Traders RPG for the Android OS was released today.

This new point release improves a number of game play aspects and includes some user interface enhancements. Some devices will also run slightly faster during flight.
  • Auto-Waypoint Following Contract Accept
  • Mate advice about Contracts
  • Mate advice about Morale
  • New Mutiny Warning Toast
  • New Space Accident Toast
  • Fixed HUD Bug with X,Y coordinate updates
  • Fixed over-fuel use due to agility upgrades on some Bounty Hunter ships
  • Improved UX workflow with officer dialogs when No-Scroll is off
  • Updated Thulun flag to match image button requirements

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Star Traders RPG v3.0.3

A new release for Saturday! Star Traders RPG v3.0.3 is about to be uploaded to the Android Market and GetJar.

The second feedback-based refinement release to v3.0 the 0.2 release includes a number of important feedback requests and fixes.
  • Officer advice in dialogs instead of in toasts
  • More officer advice
  • New rumors about officers
  • New informational rumors about officers
  • New informational rumors about advanced game details
  • The main map draws faster
  • The ship fly fasters with less flickering
  • Removed loading dialogs for many devices with enough memory

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Star Traders RPG Player Responses

Players love Star Traders RPG for Android. Just look at some of the five star reviews we got this week:

5 Stars by Joseph (January 20, 2011)

One of the best games available for android, id give 100 stars if I could, reminds me of the old starflight games

5 Stars by Matthew (January 20, 2011)

Just came back to the game after a long break from it, all the new changes look amazing

5 Stars by Thomas (January 20, 2011)

There's no reason to not buy this. It's perfect.

5 Stars by K. Jeffrey (January 19, 2011)

I don't do five stars often but this game is unique in the corporation of both physical travel and stock system. I am not even a sci-fi fan. GreatJob!

5 Stars by Rich (January 18, 2011)

Awesome game. Takes a little bit to get accustomed to how to play, but well worth the time!

5 Stars by Justin (January 18, 2011)

Played it until my phone died twice the first night I downloaded it. Fantastic game, worth every cent. HTC Incredible

5 Stars by ed (January 16, 2011)

A great combination of other old space sims. One of the best games on the Droid.

Star Traders RPG v3.0.1

This bugfix release improves a number of features in Star Traders RPG v3.0

  • Renames Officer "Recruit" to "Officers"
  • Fixed some FC
  • Fixed bugs with Contracts Button in Palace

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Game Nostalgia = Amazing Gaming

Everyone is growing up with computers and video games now. Just like childhood movies, the first and best games you played hold a special place in your heart. But, unlike most childhood movies (which can be very hard to like when you see them again, decades later), childhood videos games still hold that appeal, challenge and excitement.

For example, a few years ago I went back and defeated the Contra series for the Nintendo. I never had a Nintendo as a kid, and could only play Contra at my neighbors house. I never gained enough skill (or hours playing) to actually beat it, though I loved the game. Going back, I obsessively mastered that game and crushed it. And I loved every minute. And it was still hard! Contra, and so many other games from past decades are still amazing games, even if they do not have the most top notch graphics. Like movies, often the top notch graphics (or too much CG) causes the designers to lose sight of good gameplay.

Star Traders RPG has a lot of amazing elements from games from everyone's past--Master of Orion, Sid Meier's Pirates, Nova and others. Many of the games in our pipeline, like Secrets of Steel, will have powerful echoes of legendary fantasy RPGs--ChronoTrigger, Final Fantasy, Shining Force.

What are the games from your past that you still love, and may have even gone back and conquered again and again?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Player Created Guide: Star Traders RPG Explorer Character Class

Koles, a Star Traders veteran posted an excellent how-to file on playing Explorer.

Explorer class - guide

It certainly is an interesting read and presents some advance techniques that weren't included in the official FAQ. Worth a read for any player on any difficulty level.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Star Traders RPG v2.9.1 Released

Star Traders RPG v2.9.1 has been uploaded to the Android Market. Included are the following fixes:
  • Fixed all reported FC
  • Fixed consistent crash on non-enUS devices (Swedish Conflicts Crash)
  • Improves Mutiny UX
  • Improves Game Toasts, Double Toasts
  • Fixes Negative Money Contracts
  • Fixes Unlock Bugs with Vae Victus
  • UI fixes for awards
  • Fixes map problems introduced yesterday with v2.9.0
  • Thanks to everyone who is reporting and playing!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Star Traders RPG v2.9.0 Released

Another weekend, another Star Traders RPG release!
  • Brand New Awards and Achievements System
  • Initial 25 Awards
  • 2 New Unlockable Character Classes -- Spy and Zealot (especially useful on higher difficulties)
  • 5 New Unlockable Starting Ships -- Great for Merchants and Bounty Hunters
  • 12 New Ship Upgrades -- Water Tank and Stealth Modules! Cargo Upgrades!
  • MAJOR Performance Refinements
  • Support for More Phones, Less Memory and Faster Movement
  • Tons of Grammar Fixes from Forum Posts
  • Reputation and Rank Bug Reports
  • More Informational Toasts to Keep Captain Informed
  • Refined Economic Simulation to Encourage Resource Trading

Friday, January 14, 2011

Star Traders RPG Hits 100,000 Downloads

Star Traders RPG has now been on the Android Market for 80 days!

Thanks to everyone who has been playing and responding.

A Difficult Decision

From the start, Star Traders RPG has been a game I like to play. As the developer, I have played a lot of Star Traders.

Star Traders RPG difficulty was a decision that was made very early in the game. A number of options were considered:
  • Scale by character level
  • Scale by {difficulty level} * {character level}
  • Scale by map area
  • Scale by absolute game length
  • Other more esoteric methods
The game's internal calculation system uses a difficulty scale for nearly every check -- shooting, landing, trading and repairing.
  1. The Star Traders RPG game difficulty system uses a scale heavily weighted by the game length.
  2. The game setting "Game Difficulty" is a multiplier that is applied after game length and map area.
The Game Turn

Star Traders RPG is a story of a space Captain wandering the galaxy among the ruins of a fallen civilization -- as the years pass, the ships get more deadly, the resources scarcer and the prices go up.

Therefore, the Star Traders RPG difficulty system functions like a clock. The clock is always working against the Captain and his skills. The number of turns used in the game directly determines how difficult the game will be.

For example, the test to explore a planet 4 years (208 turns) into the game is much easier than it is to explore that same planet 20 years (1040 turns) into the same game. After 130 years (6760 turns) the game has become incredibly difficult.

The Captain's skills and ship must be continuously advanced to keep up. At any point in the game the Captain is either ahead or behind the difficulty clock. The Captain can catch back up, but it isn't easy.

The Player's Level

The player Captain's level is used as the "average Captain." The game always considers the player's progress to be average compared to the trained killers of the Factions (or the hardened wandering nomads of the Independent Spacers.)

Therefore, the enemy captains the player will face are sometimes above, sometimes below and sometimes equal to the captain. The distribution and difference between the player and the enemy is controlled by Game Difficulty setting and the difficulty clock.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fantasy Adventure in a Vast, Dynamic World

Secrets of Steel, the newest Trese Brothers Software release is coming! Watch our blog for more announcements about this ground-breaking touch RPG, featuring:
  • 16 playable, unique characters
  • Vast story in which your actions truly change the world's course
  • Massive, expansive world with more than 300 regions
  • More than 200 original quests
  • More than 150 weapons, armor, and items
Get ready to to enjoy an epic journey through a world of scope and depth never before seen on the Android platform!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Star Traders RPG v2.8.5

Another Star Traders RPG Release!

Discussion over on the Star Traders Forum

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Star Traders RPG Fan Content

One of the most exciting things about Star Traders RPG for us is how much feedback it has generated from Android users around the world.

A great number of people have embraced the game and have sent in suggestions, encouragement and inspirational best wishes. Without those people, ST RPG would never have reached the point it is at today.

One such Captain, and regular poster on the Star Traders RPG forums is ehkamp

This player's exploits and exploration have taken her Crew all across the known Quadrant and beyond, the to very fringes of accessible space. Not only did she bring back a great number of Artifacts, but 5 very valuable Records were also created of her journeys.

With her permission House Thulun and I have coordinated to host these records where Pirates and Bounty Hunter alike can view them.

Among these records are secret details of the known wild planets and civilized outposts as well as in depth statistics on most of the game's secret and semi-secret ship technology.

These secret documents (and their publication on the Captain's forum) caused some stir!


I was pretty shocked myself and put up a few posts on Twitter at!/corytrese -- you know, just to warn my operatives that everyone was on to us.

Another shout-out has to go to PlayDroid who went as far as to build his own Player's Guide!

Star Traders RPG v2.8.4

A new version of Star Traders RPG and Star Traders RPG Elite have been released to the market!

Version 2.8.4 includes a number of bug fixes:
  • Fixes Reported Force Closes
  • Fixes Memory Exhaustion Issues on HTC Wildfire
  • Attempts to Improve Vega and Nook Support / FC
as well as new features for both RPG and Elite:
  • Improved Rumor System Including UX Improvements to show Sector Name, Coordinates and Distance to Captain for all Rumor Types
  • Added 6 New Rumor Types
  • Mercenaries Rumor allows for more recruiting
  • Star Traders Rumor allows for more ship designs
  • Star Port Expansion allows for more upgrade choices
  • Military Surplus allows for more repairs and upgrades
  • Military Closure causes the Military Base to be Offline for some time
  • Spice Trader Rumor causes Morale Boost and Extra Spice Rounds
it also includes some new ship icons for RPG, Elite and Mini:
  • 4 New Ship Icon Variants
  • 5 New Ship Designs
  • Images in Star Trader
  • Images in Dry Dock
Star Traders RPG has been designed to support both Landscape and Portrait play.

This release includes a number of updates for Options that target Landscape and Small Screen use.

  • Disable Starfield -- This Option Turns Off Background Display to Save Memory and Speed Up the Game at expense of no more pretty graphics
  • Toast Combat Results -- This Option uses a Toast to show the results of battle turns so that you do not have to scroll down to see them for Landscape or Small Screens
  • Long Toast Options -- You can now ask for different types of game toasts to be displayed for longer periods of time

More discussion of the features and feedback can be found at the Star Traders RPG Player's Forum:

Star Traders RPG v2.8.3

Rank Shuttle
Rank Ship is a low-level shuttle that you can always buy. This is so that if you want to store a good ship and trade down (or trade one in) you don't have to wait to find a Starport selling a shuttle or a fighter.

If you do not want to buy Shuttles than it is useless.

Dry Dock
Dry Dock requires Rank. Once you have Rank you can use Dry Dock. When you purchase a ship you can Trade In Current Ship or Purchase New Ship. If you Purchase New it goes into the Dry Dock.

Then, inside the Military Base you can use Dry Dock to switch ships. You can install different upgrades and have different cargo on each ship in Dry Dock.

The new v2.8.3 edition fixes HTC Wildfire and HTC Tatoo issues. Sorry about htat.

New Features
The Captain now controls how many people go on an Expedition or Harvesting!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Star Traders RPG Mini

There is a new edition of Star Traders RPG on the Market

  • Star Traders RPG the original and free version (6 Megs, Music and Normal Size Map)
  • Star Traders RPG Elite the full epic vision (7 Megs, Music and Huge Size Map)
  • Star Traders Mini the micro download edition (2.3 Megs, SFX and Normal Size Map)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Star Traders RPG v2.8

A brand new version of Star Traders RPG has been uploaded to the Android Market!

New Features
  • Military Dry Dock Allows Multiple Ships Per Captain
  • Landed Repair Camps Allows Makeshift Ship Repairs
  • Performance Improvements Allow 12% faster map
  • Military Contracts Button Allows Ranking Officer Contracts
  • Supports Vega Tablet
  • Supports Nook Color
  • Increases Maximum Rank to 18
  • Increases Maximum Reputation to 1000
  • Improved Leveling UX
  • Waypoint Distance Calculator Fixed
  • New Military Shuttle for Ranking Officers
  • New Trade-In vs. Buy Option

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Star Traders RPG v2.7.9

A new release of Star Traders RPG has been uploaded to the Android Market and is now available for both Star Traders RPG Elite and Free.

Changes in 2.7.9 include:

  • Reduces/Eliminates Death Due to 1 Crew
  • Fixes some Grammar Issues
  • Fixes some Difficulty Issues, Exploration Damage & Cache Bugs
  • New Options for On-Screen Buttons
  • New Options for On-Screen Bridge Button
  • Larger Screen Support (Nook & Generic Tablet)
  • Improved Ship Icons
  • Improved Contract Performance
  • Several New Ships
  • Improved Availability of Military Gear for some Factions
  • Map Performance Tweaks for Very Small and Very Large Screens

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Monsters and the World

These days, I am finding myself looking at many of the opposing forces within classic RPG design. Secrets of Steel, an upcoming Trese Brothers Fantasy RPG, will be a classic tactical RPG. As a long-term gamer, an avid pencil and paper story teller, and now a game designer--these topics easily fascinate.

And, most importantly, the decisions we make should cater to the way that gamers want to interact with the game world. That continues to make this blog, and your comments, one of the better ways to get feedback from our gaming community and followers!

So, the question of the day--how believable do you want the world and the enemies (so often simply called "monsters") to be? Many RPGs gloss over the mass variety of monsters stalking the world, giving no explanation or waving a hand at it and calling it a "sudden wave of evil monsters" that have inundated the realm. On one hand, the player wants to encounter a wide variety of creatures, in powers, look and appearance. This keeps the game interesting, moving, and help in may cases to define different areas of the world as being unique. On the other hand, that mass variety of monsters is unexplained and often lacks a consistent feel, reason, or connection to the world.

For Secrets of Steel, we desire to both tie the enemies to the world, to differentiate the monster base, and to make the different regions and environments feel unique. Placing monsters by region and environment is a big step in the right direction. Certain types of snakes are always found in jungle or swamp territories (swamp asp), while others (rock snake) are found in the mountains and even others (sand rattler) are found in desert or dry highland territories. Another step in the right direction is to recognize and include the humanoid type monsters (ogres, goblins, trolls, etc) that are in the world and make them more a part of it. Doing this cannot be as simple as letting you fight them. The cities and villages around which they live must be aware of them, talk about them, warn you where and how to avoid them, and often hire you in quests against them. Depending on the enemy type, and the location, they may have a language of their own, or speak the language of the villagers, and may have their own crude or sophisticated living areas and villages.

From my point of view, the important part is to recognize that there are monsters in the world, and try to bring those varieties into the storyline, dialog, and quests of the rest of the game, so that they do not feel disconnected from it all. Some games do this very well, while others isolate the monster community completely. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

[[ Attached is some recent concept art of different types of monsters that may be included in Secrets of Steel RPG ]]