Basic Game Loop, Tiled Maps, and More

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This week I focused on two goals: 1) Get a basic game loop going 2) Start narrowing down on the visual direction of the game so I can begin putting in placeholder art and also look into sourcing the artwork.

Game Loop

The core of this is now done and consists of the following:

  • Your potential market consists of a “customer acquisition funnel”, i.e. the total number of people in that market, those who have visited your product, those who have signed up for a trial, those who are paying customers (in the case of a paid product), and those who are leaving (churn).
  • At the end of each turn (sprint), a score is calculated for each of these segments. This is the complex part, and involves lots of factors. For example each market has a sensitivity factor towards the various tech, design and marketing efforts. Some markets respond better to social marketing while others put more emphasis on your features. Another important factor I will need to build later is the affect of competition.
  • Once the segment scores are calculated, it’s used to determine how many customers are moving from one segment to the next for that sprint.

I have also added a very basic finance structure with outgoing (salaries, rent, etc), and incoming (paying users) to determine the player’s net position.

As a side note, once I realized how much complexity is involved in some of the above and that doing it by trial and error isn’t going to cut it, I searched for an online graphics calculator and came across a really handy one called Desmos. It came in really handy to project some of my functions out to see where they would end up in late game. Definitely check it out if you are looking for a graphing tool.

Visual Direction

I have been trying hard to get away from the top-down or isometric view for this game for a couple of reasons: several other games I have seen in this space use that style which makes it harder for me to differentiate. But additionally the top-down view is more appropriate for a game where you can build your own offices (it almost creates the expectation). While I’ll definitely be adding elements of customization, and purchasing new items and goodies for your office, I don’t want to add a full blown office building feature as it would take away from the core of the game.

This week I experimented a little with rendering a tile-based side view of an office and some backgrounds. I have read advice here and there that I shouldn’t share very early screenshots with place-holder art because they can “stick”. But it’s too annoying not to share so here goes.

Please note: the following are only placeholder graphics and will not appear in the final game.

A side view of an office. I’m using the very awesome Tiled Editor to generate the tile layers, as well as object layers for “anchor points” where various items will be positioned like workstations.

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A loosely named “Product Backlog” which consists of high level tasks. The player will focus on these during the course of the game.

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Beginnings of an email client that will be a primary source of information for the user in the game. It’ll hopefully also be a good source of humor.

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Some sort of Profile view for hiring candidates. If I have time I really want to build a mini interview game where you can ask the candidates questions. They may even decide not to take the job based on your terms.

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The side view also lends itself well to fun and interesting backgrounds and weather effects. I’m thinking of having seasonal effects like rain and snow, color changes, and so on. Here is a simple haze/fog using the Unity particle system:

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