Back in July 2008, I started work on what I then called the Puzzle Pirates Commodity Trader – pathetic name, I know, but it was generic enough to suit my project needs at the time. Late August 2008 is when the name would change to Puzzle Pirates Trade Profiteer, the current name of the project.

The project started as another application I was developing while unemployed to keep my programming skills going while searching for a job. It combined two things I enjoyed: writing software and playing the online game Puzzle Pirates. I do still play that game, otherwise this project would’ve died months ago.

In a post to the Puzzle Pirates forum, I announced the project and it garnered interest right away. It also spawned a huge debate over the pros and cons of desktop and web-based applications, including the definition of collaboration.

Just a side note, I will say that collaboration is about a symbiotic relationship between two or more beings with everyone involved benefiting from the collaboration. Parasitism, which is what can happen with the Bleach application, is completely different, as others can benefit from your gathering of commodity information and steal your ability to profit.

So what is the Trade Profiteer? Well, the web page for the project pretty much says it all and describes what it’s about: it’s an application to aid in commodity trading within Puzzle Pirates. It’s also intended to directly compete with, and hopefully eventually replace, the Puzzle Pirates Commodity Trader with Bleach!, an application which I actually helped beta test. I’m thanked in the credits for this as I provided a lot of bug slips for the developers to work on.

So why the announcement regarding the Trade Profiteer? Well, beta testing approaches, and it will likely be an open beta testing as well – as in I put out the application for anyone to download and you report back any bugs you find. I do have a Bugzilla installation on my web site, though it’s not public, and I am considering switching out for something a little less intimidating – I’m open to suggestions.

After a time in beta testing, hopefully things will proceed forward to release in a short time. At that time, I’ll provide an announcement of what I have planned for future releases of the Trade Profiteer. One thing I will say, though, is that I do intend to attempt a cross-platform adaptation of the program, including its OCR code – something that will be one hell of a challenge. One of the first things on the list, though, is determining a way to support Java 6 since Puzzle Pirates likely won’t support Java 5 for too much longer.

Well that’s all for now. I’ll be using this blog to post updates regarding this application. If you’re interested in beta testing, please comment to this post or use my web site’s contact form to drop me a line.