"You can always get a good deal on a shipment of gadolinium in Ymizgafpabfilfaxtegwefekjwrrovkad."
This is another all-text post, so uhh... here's what the galaxy looks like now:
So, when I planned this all out, I had six things to do, and six days to do them (plus 1 day dedicated to testing & debugging.) So now, uh... step 1 is done. Mostly.
I was going to say I should have realized that generating element quantities and simulating things being made out of elements wasn't going to add enough depth to the gameplay to be worth the effort, but I'm not so sure after thinking about it... I think it just came out to bad luck, I made a lot of hard-to-debug mistakes that sucked up all my time fixing them, that I don't see any way I could have avoided. The biggest thing is that I should have wrapped the periodictable.Element instead of trying to make everything work with both IndustrialProductType and Element. That, and astropy's units handling; while it caught a couple bugs that would have been hard to find otherwise, I think the time I saved was cancelled out by the time I had to spend wrestling with it.
I think the minimum I can reduce the game to is the trading, space combat, and character interaction (the last being absolutely necessary to be considered on theme...) The trading is... done-ish, it should be a simple change to simulate metallicity gradients (elements heavier than iron are only created in supernovae, so planets closer to the core or in clusters around the galaxy, where there are more stars end up with more gold, platinum, etc.) which will hopefully add some level of strategy to it above "fly around till you find cheap stuff, buy it, fly around till you find someone who wants to pay a lot for it, sell it."
The characters are far from done but I think the hard part is complete, it's just straightforward implementation of the character creation menu, adding more text for them to say, that sort of stuff. Characters are hooked in to what I called the "interjection" system; characters can say lines in response to things that happen. So, for example, when you enter a system, a character who is an experienced trader will say "I've been here before, this system usually has a surplus of carbon, we should buy some plastic."
I don't think the trading game can be satisfying gameplay on its own, so... hopefully I can get the ship-to-ship combat minigame in before the deadline. In order for the ship-to-ship combat to work I need to implement ship systems, which is probably gonna take more time than I have. Certainly can't get it done and have a day to test. AND, hopefully, I can get a graphical view/controller working, so I don't have to submit the text-based prototype I have now. I guess we'll see.
Alright, last galaxy pic: this one took several hours to render, with 200 million stars; it's pretty, but it also really emphasizes the imperfections in the star placement code. It's concentrating a ton of stars at the beginning of the arms, making them brighter than the bar. Ah well.