This week I have been working on a mini game that I think gives Startup Freak something unique and hopefully breaks up the normal play nicely. It’s very much work in progress but the idea is coming together well. More on that below. But there is another thing that has been occupying my mind a lot lately….
I have been questioning whether or not I should be sharing as much as I am, so early in this process. The biggest problem is the clear lack of proper artwork in the game. There is only so much I can show without screenshots and still maintain interest, and every time I do show some programmer art I run the risk of alienating and turning off potential audience. At the same time my experiences from other projects tell me I that I have to build an audience very early. So I’m still quite torn on this. I want to have at least 30 minutes of gameplay before I start dishing out cash for art work.
I have also been thinking about putting together a Kickstarter campaign so that I can afford better art for the game. But that itself will need decent art…It’s a bit of chicken and egg.
Anyway enough whining. Let’s look at stuff.
Investment Mini Game
The usual disclaimer about the screenshots: these are all placeholder art/UI layout and will not appear in the final game. But you get the idea. The mini game goes something like this:
- Some event will trigger and investment round. I’m not 100% sure about what that will be yet. It might be that the player can trigger it at any point. Or perhaps they need level up some operation task that essentially gains them enough investors to start the process. The idea of an “investor radar” is something I’m looking at.
- The player is then presented with 3 investors. Each investor has a profile, and has certain affinities. For example some investors will be more interested in technology, while others are more interested in sales and marketing. At this point I’m not sure if it’s better to present these affinities as numeric stats, or make it more fuzzy by giving textual information (e.g. John Smith used to work as a CTO and enjoys buying gadgets).
- The player then designs a pitch deck by simply picking 10 slides. The slide types are the 4 areas which repeat everywhere in the game: Tech, Design, Sales/Marketing, and Operations. I might add in the concept of a “Fun/Funny” slide too.
- The pitch deck is then presented. As each slide is shown, the investors’ interest levels rise (or fall?) according to their affinities. Some of the fun I had with this bit was making the projector beam change color based on the current slide (I may use a more advanced shader in the future), as well as animating the investor interest graphs.
- Any investors that reaches some minimum interest level will put in an offer. Each will have their own valuation of the company, based on the company stats and his/her affinities.
- The player then gets a chance to put in a counteroffer. The risk here is that if the counteroffer is too aggressive, the investor may back out completely.
Coming Up Next
There is still a chunk of work left with the investment system: namely the actual valuation and offers. Once that’s completed, I believe there is only 1 other systems that I would need to build before I can put 15 minutes of gameplay together: Modeling of competition. I’ll try to keep this very simple to begin with, but without it right now the game feels very… one directional. You just gain more and more users/money over time. There is no back and forth.