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The Business Challenge

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by ChocolatePinecone, May 9, 2016.

  1. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Posts:
    24
    EDIT:
    The original post here is quite long. If you don't want to read the whole thing, here a little summary:

    I'm making a game called: The Business Challenge.

    It's a game where you manage one or more businesses in a simulated city.
    However, the city is completely dynamic. The AI will negotiate agressively or friendly depending on your relationship.
    All businesses either sell or buy services/products from another which means the whole economy of the game is based on dynamically changing businesses within the city.
    The game features 38 different types of businesses (for now) which are all playable.
    The goal of the game is to own one or more certain types of businesses within a time limit.
    AI managed businesses will also develop during the game. They might become more succesful or go bankrupt.

    If you really want to read up on the whole idea, here's the original post.


    Original post:
    Hey everyone!

    I'm a hobbyist programmer and I wanted to get some feedback for a next project I'm considering.

    I've always liked business games where you need to anticipate or respond to certain developments, outside of your business. Business games where skill is a BIG issue and luck is practically non-existent.
    I've also thoroughly enjoyed simcity for it's conveyance of how a city can grow.
    The only problem I had with these games, is that once you've really reached the top, and money doesn't matter anymore, you lose interest and the game stops being fun.

    The thing is, it's always about money. And once you have enough, you buy your way out of every problem.

    Some city graphics I found a long time ago, inspired me to create a new type of business game. I've thought about it a lot, and I really want to create this, simply because I know I would play the hell out of this!

    New Game
    You see a randomly generated city in front of you. There are some empty lots for sale, a few empty buildings for sale, but also a lot of thriving businesses.
    Lots of these businesses have some sort of connection with eachother. The supermarket buys it's products from the local farm, and the local farm imports it's seeds via the local harbour for example.

    We've got a nice little budget. Let's see what the possibilities are.
    Now you are presented with a choice. You want to start a business, but which one? And where?
    There are a range of options: Restaurant, Bar, Hotel, Contractor, Airline, Cargo Transport, Technical School, etc.
    You could start a hotel, but then you would have to compete with the other 2 hotels already present in the city.
    No, let's look further.
    A technical school, perhaps! However, the technical companies aren't thriving that well, maybe students would be sparse.
    An Airline then! The airport can definitly use the customers! Maybe the airport will even increase my budget in exchange for an collaboration!

    OK, so we've chosen the business that we are starting, now we need to buy a lot for out headquarters.
    In case of an airline, near the airport is fine, location isn't a big deal. But in case of a restaurant the location would be essential for the future of the business. When starting a real estate agency, a location could be cheap, since the agency could reside in an office complex.

    The Challenge
    Now that we've chosen our business and location, the challenge begins.
    The game suddenly presents you with the following challenge:
    Own a Music Label company within 2 months.

    That's right! This game is about business hopping.
    Not only do you have to create and maintain your newly started airline, you have to find out how to start new businesses (or take over existing ones) to eventually get to the target business.

    However, you can only start a new business in a field that your current business is linked to.
    For example:
    Your airline could start a travel agency.
    Your travel agency could take over a hotel.
    Your hotel could start a restaurant.
    Your restaurant could start a farm for fresh ingedients.
    Your farm could start a distillery.
    Your distillery could start a bar.
    Your bar could start a nightclub.
    Your nightclub could start an artist booking company.
    And finally your artist booking company could start a Music Label.

    This is ofcourse an example of an extremely difficult challenge, but you get the point.

    In all of this business hopping, the player is rewarded with all kinds of tokens. At the beginning of new games, the player can activate up to 2 or 3 tokens which will add certain perks, like having a discount on any import products, or being able to transform up to 2 companies into a linked one, instead of having to start a new one.

    Computer controlled businesses
    I want this game to constantly put you to the test by having computer controlled businesses that also evolve while you play.
    This would result in constantly having to compete with same branch businesses, or losing collaborating businesses because they went bankrupt.

    Multiplayer

    I would also love to integrate a multiplayer option, in which players would face the same challenge in the same cities, competing to be the first winning the challenge.

    Platform
    Since I only have experience creating Android games, that will be my target platform. However, if this game becomes popular enough, I would definitly bring it over to other platforms as well, maybe even make this a steam game.

    I'm really passionate about this, and I know I can make this. I just want to check if this is something other people would like too.
    Suggestions are very welcome!

    Thanks for your time!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
    RavenOfCode and GarBenjamin like this.
  2. Ethaninja

    Ethaninja

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    Wow that's a very ambitious and complex but very interesting game. I love the idea of micro-management within a larger umbrella structure management system. Being able to take matters into your own hands. Keep up the good work mate, looking forward to seeing more. I would love to see this project on the PC platform mainly, as I find the Android market is constantly flooded with games and not enough quality games are released on steam (I know that is backwards logic on my behalf), but I'm sure it wouldn't be too much of a task for you to port it over ;)

    As for the Multiplayer functionality, I love the idea of being able to build a neighboring city next door to a mate, so I hope that does get implemented in the end.
     
  3. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Thanks! It's definitly a challenge. But what's life without challenges :p.

    I've never looked into steam program-wise. I will definitly look into it as soon as this project takes off, probably end of June.
     
  4. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Echoing @Ethaninja 's comment. This really sounds ambitious and challenging, but a really cool idea imo.
    Personally I would not play this - not my type of game, it sounds too much like work - and real life, however the design of the product is what is most interesting.

    Your description of the game sounds like something that could be designed entirely on paper. This could be a real time saver, if this pre-design phase was given enough attention and detail.
    Also at minimal product I could see this created as a no graphic (minimal graphic) design. With menus and UI for the entire game. Something similar to a sports management game that only uses supporting images to reflect the state of the game but the game is played completely in UI.
    Not saying this should be the ultimate final product goal of this game idea, just pointing out it could be created without a heavy graphic development load.
     
  5. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    That's one of the reasons I really like this concept. I'm not good at drawing, so this way I can still create a complex game without too much graphical content.

    I've already started making a diagram of businesses and their links a few weeks ago.
    I've got about 35 with which each business can eventually reach every other one.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  6. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Ok, so this is what I've thought of till now.
    The arrows indicate the next step you can take after owning the company.
    Green boxes indicate I have a graphic for the company.

    upload_2016-5-11_11-49-21.png
     

    Attached Files:

  7. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    All the graphics I have available until now:

    upload_2016-5-17_17-4-25.png

    Most of these also have different versions. Some begin smaller and have to be built up. And other just indicate some movement, like a car workshop working on different cars or a farm where the crops have grown more.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  8. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    I've started to write a document describing all the companies one by one. Even though I've only written out 3 of them, I can already see every company having a different playstyle, which exites me!
    An Airline would be focussed on filling its planes with passengers or cargo as efficiently as possible, since flight costs are the same no matter the occupation of the plane.
    An Airport would be focussed on having as much flights as possible and filling its room with restaurants and such. It has to rely on many small sums of money from flights, restaurants and contracts with taxi companies, to counter the costs of air traffic control, plane fuel and plane maintenance.

    The general idea would be that each company has a certain playstyle which is easy or difficult depending on the surrounding city circumstances. An airport could have trouble keeping afloat if there are very few airlines in the city, or an airline could have trouble keeping afloat if it owns multiple cargo planes, and the cargo transport clients went bankrupt.

    The challenge in developing this game is probably making sure some companies don't become cluttered with options and information. Each company should be easy to oversee and have a simple, clear overview.
    Something like a small summary of costs and income.

    I want the player to be able to delve deep into the control of a company, focussing on many angles of income, being able to change prices, promote its services, make or sign contracts, etc.
    As soon as the company is on its feet, the player should be able to leave it alone, and it would continue making profit, unless something big changes (like losing a lot of clients or contracts ending).
    In case of something big changing, the player would get a certain notification.

    I'm thinking of making this game turn based, where you change settings each "round" and see how your decisions affect the companies in a week. The game skips over a week and presents you with the results of your decisions.
    The player should be able to backtrace every result, and see why it backfired or succeeded.

    I can't wait to start programming this!

    I'm still rounding my current app up though, so patience! Patience.
     
  9. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    An update:

    upload_2016-5-26_12-44-54.png

    These are the last buildings I needed for the initial version of the game.
    Now all the base graphics are done and I can fully focus on fleshing out the gameplay of each business. I don't want to rush this, considering that that might not do some of them justice.

    Once my current project is completed (Mid to End of June) I will upgrade Unity to version 5 and start programming for the random generation of cities of this game.

    While designing the gameplay per company on paper, I find it's pretty difficult making some companies interesting to play. I'm confident it's possible, but it needs a lot of research and imagining.
    For example, I can easily think of an Automobile factory buying raw materials and building all kinds of vehicles, selling them to Delivery Services, Contractors or Cargo Transport companies. Car parts can be sold to Car Workshops.

    Challenges with running a Automobile Factory would be increasing your sales by expanding your customer base for example. Starting to produce trucks or construction vehicles to attract new company types to buy from you, or opening a car dealership extension, selling cars to cityfolk.

    I find this easy to imagine with an Automobile Factory, but it's somehow harder with companies like Auction Houses, Art Dealers or Fashion Lines. I'm guessing they just need more background research for me to get a grasp of how running these should feel.

    Until now I've already designed the gameplay on paper for the businesses: Airline, Airport, Apartment Complex, Automobile Factory, Bar, Car Workshop and Cargo Transport.

    I'm open to advice of course!
     
  10. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    I've been working slowly on describing each business on paper. I've got 24 of the 38 businesses described (roughly).

    I've also been talking to an old friend about the concept. Interestingly enough he told me I've been talking about this concept long before I thought I was.
    He reminded me of my ideas back then and that inspired me to rethink about the AI a bit.

    I want the AI to be very present to the player. Not just as businesses working on their own, but as persons. Business tycoons with faces and goals. Maybe they would be mad at you because you bought a lot that they had their eyes on, or maybe they would offer you a good price for a few of your companies.

    I already have graphics available for generating these persons.

    This whole game idea in its complexity is very challenging, i know.

    I think the best thing to do is to focus on the essential gameplay mechanics first, which are:
    - Managing businesses
    - Balancing the interaction of businesses with eachother (AI)
    - Generation of cities and challenges
    - Player progression to the set challenge

    Everything else is less important and will come after.

    I have a small vacation planned (until June 21st), whereafter I will release my current project on Google Play.
    Shortly after that I will seriously start programming this project.

    Some of the possible AI faces:

    upload_2016-6-9_12-36-20.png
     
    GarBenjamin likes this.
  11. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    This is ambitious but interesting none the less.
    After all the important stuff is done - consider designing the AI faces to have a little more detail so there can deliver more emotional connection/reaction from/to the player.
    If the AI faces have more detail with hyper stereotype looks - and each one is different/unique to one another I believe you can deliver more personable and competitive feeling to the player - giving the player more desire to take over one part of a business over the other.
    Am I making sense here? o_O The player can gain feeling (good or bad) by seeing the differences of characters represented by the art, by more than just changing skin color, hair color clothing design. The images above - though nice and simple deliver very little for the player to react to.
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.
  12. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    You are absolutely right! I will definitely keep this in the back of my head for when I'm further down the road.

    Yes, yes. You definitely are ;). Thanks for your feedback!
     
  13. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Feb 19, 2014
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    Release... THE KRAKEN!

    I've started programming! :D

    I'm really exited!
    Creating the city generation algorithm is quite challenging to program as I expected, but I'm getting through slow and steady.

    For now, I only have a working generator for an empty city with grass above it, water beneath it and roads. The size of the generated city is fully scalable.

    I tested with different kind of roads a little (roads that don't go all the way though the city), but this is too messy right now. It leaves far too big gaps that would be filled with businesses, as you can see:

    upload_2016-6-23_16-29-53.png

    This is one of the huge amount of possible generations with roads all the way through:

    upload_2016-6-23_16-27-55.png
     

    Attached Files:

  14. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    A small update.:D

    Still working on the city generator. In this stage it's generating houses or businesses in every free spot in the city. Apart from some bugs it's working pretty well.
    Ofcourse it will need some finetuning and maybe some sort of chance manipulation, where the chances of already generated businesses will lessen, to lessen the possibility of too many same businesses spawning.

    I'm trying all I can in the time that I have, having a full time job next to this all.o_O

    The player experience I'm aiming for is:
    1. Feeling intelectually challenged
    2. Feeling freedom in choice

    Everything in the game should support this.

    Intellectual challenge should mainly be initiated by the game setting a goal, and competitors trying to steal your customers.

    Simply having alot of choice in every part of the game should greatly contribute to the feeling of freedom as business owner.

    These are the main mechanics I had in mind.
    Since this project is in a very early state however, I'm really curious what you guys think of the concept.

    Is this something you would play? Do you like the concept? Or would you add or change something? And why?

    I'm very curious about your opinions.
     
    GarBenjamin likes this.
  15. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Still so much to do!

    I've come to the point that alot of the base components of the game are generated and can be saved and loaded as a whole.

    I can save and load complete cities with all generated businesses and their owners.

    Finally having all these components, I can finally start programming gameplay!

    For now it's pretty cool seeing what the game generates. Some business names are actually very well put together, and I'm proud of how everything looks.

    Because pictures speak a thousand words, I'll spare you the long story of what has all been programmed since the last update, and just show it.

    A Business List of all businesses in the city

    [​IMG]


    Graphically overlapping businesses fade when selecting


    [​IMG]


    Owners are generated and can own multiple businesses

    [​IMG]


    Each house in house blocks has actual inhabitants

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Schneider21

    Schneider21

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    I love this. The visuals bring me back to Sim City 2000, but the gameplay concepts feel fresh and intriguing. Please strongly consider publishing to iOS as well! If you're looking for a partner to help make that happen, I'd be happy to help!

    Keep up the great work!
     
    GarBenjamin and theANMATOR2b like this.
  17. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Thank you!

    My only problem with IOS is that I have no experience with the platform and the submission costs are a bit steep.
    Maybe a kickstarter would solve that problem :p

    When the game is nearly finished, I'll look into it.
     
  18. Rauli222

    Rauli222

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    This has potential. I will be keeping an eye on this project.
     
  19. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Thanks!
    I hope you'll like the upcoming developments.
     
    Rauli222 likes this.
  20. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Very cool idea and actually should be a great way for players to gain a feel for real life business experience. I really like the idea a lot. Especially the bit about not just building a business up from scratch but acquiring already established businesses. I am sure you know that is often the strategy that makes the most sense in real life. Really great stuff here.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  21. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Thanks!
    I'm aiming to create a realistic feel to the game. Building some budget first, and then using the budget wisely.
    Making big wrong choices should have big negative effects.
     
  22. RavenOfCode

    RavenOfCode

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    This looks like a really interesting game, the idea looks very intriguing. The graphics also fit the game very well, I'm glad you didn't go with just a UI based game.

    Best of luck with this! :)
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  23. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Thank you!
    I'm very happy with how it turned out till now.
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.
  24. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Coding the first controllable business means making a lot of general choices for all the other businesses as well.

    I need to find a design that will work for controlling all types of businesses.

    Though I'm pretty pleased with the overall overview (easy on the eyes with all essential information right there), I still have doubts about the size of the Resources Managing screen.

    I'm trying to find a good midway between not overloading the player with information, but still hinting that there are much more advanced choices the player can make.

    This is a large part of the 'easy-to-play, hard-to-master' style I'm going for.

    The player should be able to make a small profit with only a few clicks, but be able to further expand this profit by configuring advanced options.



    For example:

    The player starts an airline. The airline will need resources (planes and pilots), booked services (planned flights), and customers.

    Planes can be bought with a simple click on the buy button, but can be attained through advanced ways as well. Like: Renting, Paying off monthly or buying second hand.

    Pilots can be hired with a simple click on the hire button, but can be attained through advanced ways as well. Like: Training one yourself or Putting up an ad for one.

    Booking flights can be done with a simple click on an airport you want to use (and pay contribution to), but can be booked in advanced ways as well. Like: Setting up a contract with an airport for multiple flights to reduce paid contribution.

    Attaining customers could be done with a simple click on the promote button, but can be done through advanced ways as well. Like: Hire billboards, distribute flyers or organize events.


    In the end, the player should be able to decently control each business easily, but also be able to completely indulge into controlling his favourite business.

    It might even be neccesary to control very profitable businesses in an advanced way, so huge profits are made, just to counter the losses of the business you desperately need to get closer to your goal.

    Feedback is very much appreciated! :)
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.
  25. Desert_Rat53

    Desert_Rat53

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    Too brilliant for words....
     
  26. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Hahahahaha:D:D

    I can't figure out whether you're joking or not:p

    Thanks, I guess:rolleyes:
     
  27. steelersfan252

    steelersfan252

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    Very interesting game, I read most of it but will come back to read the rest when I have more time. I have a very strong business background and could really be of help on the business and economic authenticity of the game. If you would like you can contact me via messages and I if I got a little more information I could write out a few plans that you could implement. But I do really enjoy the concept of it very well
     
  28. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    Thanks!
    I would love to hear some of your plans.

    I'll message you for further info.
     
  29. ChocolatePinecone

    ChocolatePinecone

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    So it's been a while!
    Unfortunately I haven't had very much time lately.
    I just finished a big part of the airline UI, where owners can plan flights with their bought planes.

    You can see how it looks here:


    Airlines can choose the airport they want to depart from, and the week they want the flight to take place.
    In the remaining weeks time until actual departure, the player can advertise the flight, to try and get it as fully booked as possible.

    If the player can't manage to fill the flight enough, he/she might lose money on the whole.

    I also changed the layout of the resource screen.

    Now it looks like this:
    [​IMG]
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.