I have been working on a project for 4 months, putting a lot of hours into it everyday. I have no education concerning game making or anything in that area, but everything i have learned over the past 3 years is purely from online tutorials. However i have done 1½ year of physics at university level, where the maths have been really helpful to know here.
So to get it out there, and to maybe inspire others who started out from the scratchiest of scratches, to show that with lots of effort, it can be done without inventing tonnes of dollars while doing it. Everything in the game is made by myself (Except for some of the useful starter content materials from UE4).
I have been a Store Manager at a retail store beforehand, and my interest in maths, made me wonder what decisions people made when shopping, and if it could be explained in maths, and along the road the project grew bigger and bigger.
The game is (at the moment) going to be called King of Retail)
It’s set in 3rd person perspective, where you take on the role as a Store Manager in a town. Currently i have implemented following:
City Standards. The cities vary in size, overall wealth, fashion sense, desire for luxury items, varoius article needs, and different patterns for when the shoppers are busy and not which is stationary throughout a store session.
Then there are brands and colours that are in or out of fashion, which can be manipulated to some extent by the manager, and also evolve based on events in the city.
Store brand and reputation… The customers decide if they want to enter your store, based upon your reputation in the categories they need, and on how much you have done to make your store look good, with different store fronts and the looks on your interior.
And of course the basic things as choosing name, logo brand colours.
Inventory and article setup. You design and buy the article displays, place them in the store. You select which article goes on what arm of which display, so you have article micromanagement down to the individual article placing. Articles come in a few different meshes pr. category (eg. shoes comes in Soccer Boot, classic shoe, modern shoe, and shoebox variant) but different texture patterns, different materials, and different colors pr. article serves to have many different articles in one category.
You can also expand your store and decide where to allocate areas for offices and storaging.
Flow of the day. Your decisions doesn’t take effect instantly. So when you order articles in the afternoon, they arrive mid day the following day, providing you have a place to handle it, and storage room enough to keep it, or it will be returned again. You also decide your opening hours, such that you have to watch the customer fow, and decide when it’s not profitable to keep the store open.
Staff management. Every day, you receive a number of job applications, and based on the text you have to evaluate if that person might be one you can use. You then have the possibility to conduct a few job interviews a day, where you based on your skills negotiate the wage, and further assess the skills of the employee. And then you can hire the person if you want. When hired you can assign the staff job at the register, refilling, unpacking articles, marketing or helping customers. Their effectiveness of their current task is based on their energy level, happiness and skill for the task. You can also plan when each worker meets and leaves each day, and send them on training courses.
Marketing. You can select if you want to advertise a brand or a category of articles in different medias, to improve your reputation, and thus a higher possibility of a customer entering your shop. However if you don’t have enough articles to meet the customers demand, or in another way give them a bad experience, they will damage your reputation. A good sale will on the other hand improve it. The better your reputation is, the harder it is to keep it up there.
Statistics. Evaluate the days, view articles sold, several key performance indicators and daily income/expenditure budgets.
The ones above are, or are close to working like i intend it to.
And this is what i need to have done in the future.
- Career mode. Be assigned different taks, and open up for the categories gradually.
- City mode. Have the possibilty to manage several shops at once.
- In depth Man Management. A system that increase, decrease staff happiness, energy and the likes, which require you to handle your staff in different ways.
- Save / Load game / Sytem options, and the likes. Will probably be the last thing i begin workng on, so i dont have to alter it again and again.
- Character editor. An editor, so the applications, staff and customers are the persons you know.
- Personal items. What is it worth receiving a wage if you have nothing to use it on.
- Floors and walls and display materials. Have a few now, some created fast just for testing the game, but need to improve and add more.
- Meshes and textures. have only actually created some of the categories, where a lot are ready to be implemented, but need the acutal meshes made.
- Characters and animations. Have made a basic character, and a few simple animations, to meake the game “feel” right when play testing it. So need more, both male and female, and lots more of animations.
- Area surroundings. So the outdoors, reflect the size of the city you are in.
- Weather and night and day cycle.
- Music and sounds.
- Customer behavior improvement.
- And lots and lots of bug fixes.
So at the moment it’s playable (I managed to play one game 6 hours in a row), with days flowing as they should. And a lot have been added since then.
I should be able to record some film soon, which i will put up as soon as i can, and also throw up some screen shots.
I will happily listen to any critiques or good ideas there might be