Space Trader Journal 1

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a game called Space Trader. Since smartphones hadn’t been invented yet, it ran on Palm devices. I was perhaps twelve years old at the time, and I loved to play this game. I spent weeks trading goods, fleeing from pirates and police, and trying to earn enough money to retire to my own moon.

Like most software of days past, Space Trader has been all but forgotten. Palm OS is history, so the original code can’t run on modern devices. Luckily, Pieter Spronck, the game’s creator, released it as open source software. There is hope for this game to return.

To some degree, it has returned. Space Trader has already been ported or remade for Windows, Android, and even iOS. Unfortunately, all of the iOS ports appear to have been removed from the US App Store, and that’s the platform on which I want to play Space Trader.

Plus, most of the ports I’ve seen are using the same UI and graphics as the original game. While I respect the desire for nostalgia, the great job Pieter Spronck did, and the simplicity of a direct port, I think we can do better. I think the UI can be improved.

My goals are straightforward:

Inspired by Brent Simmons, I’ll be writing about the process periodically. While the code is open source, I’m only looking for feedback right now—not pull requests.

I don’t even know if anyone wants to play Space Trader these days, but I know I want to remake it.

* It may sound crazy to make a game in UIKit, but Space Trader was a game of menus and dialogs, not scenes and controls.