Office Management 101 is an upcoming humorous isometric pixel-art style business sim/office building game from the tulevik.EU team. It will put you in the shoes of a regional branch manager of a consumer electronics company, making you responsible for designing and building the office, hiring staff and starting different projects that will undergo a cycle of research, development, design, testing and advertising before reaching the market.
Hiya, how was your week?
Continuing where I left off last week, this is the second part in the series describing the features of the upcoming business sim Office Management 101. In case you missed the last article, you can check it out here.
Just a quick update on my life situation first - I finally found an affordable yet comfy apartment and I'm hoping to sign the lease and move in at the end of the month. Really cutting it close, but looks like it's working out and since I'm no longer facing the risk of ending up homeless, I expect to pick up the pace on the game soon after moving. I've also agreed to work part time at my previous employer for a limited period. Probably getting all the details sorted out within the week as well, so things are finally looking positive. I'll reassess the development timeline once the dust settles, but Office Management 101 will unquestionably be my priority following that.
So last time I went through the time, employee and office building aspects of the game. While there's still many details in those that I failed to explain, I'll leave that to a future article. Today I'll give an overview how product creation and money works instead. I'll also briefly touch on the topic of the different platforms the game will be released on. As in the previous article, I'll note that the features described below are not set in stone and could change in some way, should that benefit the game somehow.
Being the central element of the game, money works pretty much the same way as in other games in the genre. Your company branch has a set starting sum, which can be used to pay for the weekly wages, building the office, purchasing furniture and various other things.
In addition to money there's another similar variable in the game, represented with a star shaped icon, that I'm currently calling "Production Points". This in itself is nothing new to fans of the genre either, but don't be alarmed! Even though some form of in app purchases will most likely be unavoidable on Android platform (I'll explain it below), there will NEVER be an option to exchange real money to Production Points. You'll gain Production Points randomly from different events, but sometimes even just from your employer work. Production Points can in turn be used to unlock certain features that money can't buy.
The menu that will eventually bring in the cash is Projects. You pick a project from a list of categories (more categories will be invented by your employees over time, you can also unlock a few using Production Points) and assign it to a researcher, who will work towards giving the project "Research Points", which acts as a cap for the sum of all other points related to the project. When the deadline passes, the project gets handed to an engineer who creates "Engineering Points", then to the designer, tester and finally to the marketer, creating "Design Points", "Quality Points" and "Marketing Points" accordingly.
Say you'll end up with 30 research points, which means you could for example get 10 Engineering Points, 7 Design Points, 5 Quality Points and 8 Marketing Points for the project (10 + 7 + 5 + 8 = 30). Those numbers will affect the demand, customer satisfaction and other variables that eventually translate into sales. Different product categories will need emphasis on different project points to be successful and a lot of it will depend on the competition too. No others products on the market in the category? Pump one out fast, market it well and hope customers want it just because it's something new and exciting. This is probably the part of the game that requires most testing at first, to make sure it's comprehensible enough and well balanced, so I'm already prepared that I'll have to make a lot of changes to this feature as I go.
If you've ever worked in an office, you'll know how hellish meetings can be. In Office Management 101 they'll be the necessary evil. The only way to change the project deadlines and assign more staff will be during meetings, but there's a cost. For example meetings drain the energy of anyone involved fast, especially when they're standing up, people may argue and end up hating each other and so on. But some positive things may come out of it too, like some project points here and there, some employees get additional motivation, etc. I hope to animate meetings to be entertaining to look at from the players perspective, let's see if I can pull that off. Meetings were one of the first core features that I envisioned, so I feel like it's essential for the game to get it right.
Changing the topic now to platforms. I have already announced that there will be PC, Linux and Android releases. I have designed the game with both mouse and touch screen controls in mind from the beginning and I feel like I've come up with a comfortable enough solution for both. So even though I'm targeting a PC release first, I also test every feature on my Android devices (a tablet and a smartphone), to make sure it's all portable. I'm not sure yet, if I'll release the alpha version for Android, unless there's a sizable demand for it.
I've also been asked about Mac and iOS releases. Truth is, those would be impossible for me at this point, unless I get my hands on a Mac and an iOS device, but I just don't have it in my budget to buy those at the moment. No doubt I'd like to include as many platforms as possible, but for now it seems that those will depend on the success of game.
I mentioned in app purchases on Android above. The reason for this is that Google Play doesn't support transferring money to an account in the country I live in, which leaves me two options - either find a trustworthy enough of a partner in some country that Google accepts or put the game in the store for free and finance it with ads with the option to remove them with an in app donation. Neither of those options is ideal, but unless Google changes their policy in the near future, I don't really see any better options for now.
Okay, that's it for this one. Thanks for your time! Not sure if I'll manage to write an article next weekend, since I'll be busy with the moving, but I'll try to get back to business as soon as possible. Meanwhile you can check for quick updates on our twitter account @tulevikEU. Office Management 101 also has a little web page you can check out: Officemanagement101.com. Any comments, suggestions, questions or criticism is highly welcome, so you can either contact me here, on twitter or even send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
one half of tulevik.EU
Latest tweets from @tulevikeu
Mar 8 2014, 5:45pm
Mar 5 2014, 3:37am
Mar 4 2014, 3:02pm
@alexpoysky I'm glad that there will always be exceptions to the rule :) Good luck!
Mar 4 2014, 10:53am
@alexpoysky That's one of the reason I've decided against using early access model from the start. Why should anyone trust me to deliver?
Mar 4 2014, 10:41am
First order of business in the new apartment, even before unpacking, was to go to the ISP office and get an internet connection set up.
Feb 28 2014, 4:07pm
Leased a new apartment yesterday. Moving everything is serious business, but it's gonna be cozy. The new apartment even has a fireplace.
Feb 28 2014, 4:01pm
Feb 27 2014, 4:09am