I have been working on two new (and final) systems of the game: Infrastructure and Pricing.
I decided to make this a little more elaborate than previously intended:
- There are 6 data centers, one for each continent
- You can add servers to each data center
- Initially you start off with a single server. You need to research load balancing to allow multiple centers and eventually multiple active data centers.
- Larger servers will have a higher monthly rental, but will provide better value. I also intend to add “auto-scaling” servers whose power/cost automatically adjust based on load, up to a certain point.
- Traffic/load is generated by both visitors and existing users.
- There is a penalty associated with traffic that gets routed to a different data-center than where the traffic originated.
- If your load goes over the capacity of a data center, visitors are not served (effectively your visitor count is capped). It also adversely affects churn.
I also added some logic in there for server lights to flash and change color based on the load. It looks kind of cool seeing lots of servers blinking like crazy. Place holder art warning:
Originally I wanted the game to allow various monetization types, such as one-off licensing, freemium with advertising, trials and subscriptions, etc. Given I’m now fully in scope cutting mode, I am only providing one type of pricing: monthly subscriptions (I explained in this post why I cut trials).
You can setup 1 to 3 monthly subscription plans. Each market has a purchasing power curve (a normal distribution). The number of signups for each pricing tier is calculated based on this curve. Like with a lot of other variables in the game I have opted for fixing this for each market, rather than randomizing for each play-through. This way I think there will be some continuity in replays of the same market, but you can also play a different market and get a “fresh experience”.
I have decided that at this point I really need to call the game “feature complete”. By that I mean there will be no new concepts, major screens, or systems added (barring a proper tutorial which was one of the takeaways from the alpha). There are still a few problematic areas I need to revisit such as the random events but I am basically going to switch gears to:
- Re-balance and tweak the game given all the new variables and systems added, making sure the late game scales properly.
- Add some sort of end-game condition.
- Start building out the content (different markets, items, offices).
- Art. This is the big one. I am looking to see if I can consult with an art director to help me with the look and feel of the game and the UI. I think that will make it much easier for outsourcing the work, if there is a clear vision and template.
- Music. The fun stuff 🙂
The work goes on. Let’s see if I can finish the game south side of one year…