To everyone following this game, I want to first say thank you very much for your support! I am very grateful and excited to be delivering this game to you later this year. The work that has gone into this at this stage of development has been huge. The plan has been mapped out, the framework is in place and the full development cycle has since begun. We are working very tirelessly to reach the vision we set out to meet. Everything is going very well and on schedule.
This week, I want to discuss humble beginnings. A poster on our Greenlight page shared with me that the game wouldn’t be fun if you started out at the top. I totally agree, which is why we planned the game to start you off humbly. You will begin the game as a passionate tech industry buff. From there you will have to select which sub-sector you want to start out in (e.g. Televisions, personal computers, tablets, cell phones, or game consoles). You start out with a grant to design your first product and pay your employees for the first year, after which you’re on your own. From there, you will have to make some very key decisions regarding everything from the components the product will have to the features it will boast and etc. Another important factor is “who” will manufacture your product. Manufacturing is huge as it will weigh heavy into how “well” your product will be put together, how durable it is, how easy (costly) it is to fix when problems arise after it has been sold. You also have to set up customer support. Customer support will handle returns, and customer complaints, and you will need to be mindful how you treat disgruntled customers. These are just a few of the decisions you will have to make.
Sidebar***: Now before you get scared away because you think things will be too micromanaged, fear not, because there is an option in most departments like customer service where the management of the department can be automated. This will not break the game either, but instead leave you to make the more “sensitive decisions”. The outcome will still matter, because some of the decision you make will always be better than the AI, but the AI won’t make “terrible” decisions.
The beginning of the game will start you off in a small office with two friends who want to help you get started. Their salaries are very small compared to hiring perfect strangers. One of these friends of yours happens to be an engineer who wants to help you build your first TV. So the cost for engineering your new TV is quite small and this helps you get started. The beginning of the game will clearly ease you into the role of a budding Tech Tycoon. Now the manufacturing of your TV will take time, and the game is played in real time, so you will have to choose a given number of TVs to manufacture and depending on the skill level of your friend and yourself, you will see a estimated complete date. In the late game you will need to make this decision based on factors such as competing products and their release dates alongside your own deadlines that you will need to meet including the ever-present requirement to be profitable, especially if you incorporated (more on this in the upcoming months). Later in the game you will also have a choice between outsourcing manufacturing or keeping it in-house. Either way you choose, you’re employees or the outsource company’s employees skills and attributes will determine how quickly they can manufacture your products. On top of this, the demands you can place on them will also affect their speed and efficiency. So in the case of the outsource company that you choose, the contract that you set with them can include certain demands from both you and the company which will directly affect how effective they are in manufacturing your products. There will be so much more on this to come, please stay tuned!
So at this point you need to market the TVs and get the word out that they exist and are the best TVs the world has ever seen. We turn to our marketing department. Back to those two friends of ours, the one who helped us in engineering the TV probably doesn’t have much skill in marketing, but our other friend indeed does. She has a particularly good skill in building a functional website for our company and she also has a few connections in the newspaper and a close friend who owns the local favorite tech magazine. We put her right to work on our marketing plan to get the word out. It is quite successful as we start to get orders pouring in.
In the early stages of the game you have these two friends working with you for small pay, but as you grow you will find their help is simply not enough. Later in the game, you will NOT be able to effectively operate your company with these two friends alone and will need to hire multiple staff for each department or choose to outsource, but for now its time to ship those TVs to their new owners.
So, we’ve designed our TV; engineered a healthy number of them with our engineer friend; had our other friend market them through the local newspaper, local tech magazine and the internet; and now we must prepare to ship it. Shipping at this stage of the game is pretty direct. We have a choice between the local shipping offices. Later in the game once we have reached a certain level of success, we will have the option to ship our own products around the world… but that requires a lot of success! How good these shipping companies are will be something you need to pay attention to. Damaged product is lost profits…
So we choose a company and ship our products to their destination. We immediately turn our attention to building local business relationships so that we can start selling in the local stores. Once we gain enough traction in the local area, we can begin pitching our TVs to international locations, electronics stores, main store chains and more, expanding our operation. More on this to come soon!
Now, you may think this sounds great, but you might ask how will this be comprised into a fun and entertaining game? Well the idea is to give you full control over your journey to becoming a Tech Tycoon. Although you are left with many decisions to make, the game user interface (GUI) will be key and quite important for conveying information to you. We understand this, and that is why we are focusing extra attention on the user interface to make sure you always have the information in front of you that you need to make good decisions and keep the game easy to navigate and fun. What makes a challenging game boring and stale is when doing what should be easy becomes difficult and cumbersome. Most of the time this involves getting feedback and finding information that you need to stay “in control”. So we want you to be challenged, but in the right areas, navigation should come naturally if designed correctly, and that is exactly what we’re aiming for. Stay tuned for more info on this!
Please let us hear from you below. We are in the pre-alpha stage of development and open to ideas. We love to hear from you because your ideas are valuable and we welcome them! Thanks in advance!