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Discussion Anybody experienced in casual time-management-type games? I need your input.

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Janette5, Nov 24, 2023.

  1. Janette5

    Janette5

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Posts:
    22
    I’ve hit an obstacle on a game I've developing and would like some input.

    Every day consists of three games:

    Step 1: In the morning, you sell the goods you made the previous evening. (sales)

    Step 2: In the afternoon, you collect more resources. (hidden-object)

    Step 3: In the evening, you make goods to sell the next day (puzzles).

    As with other similar casual games, players earn gold, silver or a pass depending on how well they did. With this feature players will want to replay a level if they didn’t get gold. That’s where the problem comes in.

    There is a tycoon aspect to the game. Unlike other time-management games where you have unlimited goods to sell, you can only sell what you made and set your own prices. If the goods are sold out, the level ends. Whatever you don’t sell, carries forward to the next level. The game’s strategy is to choose the right goods to make and set the right prices. (If you make the wrong choices, you’ll struggle to sell your goods.)

    So, if you replay:
    • A sales level, you might have nothing to sell.
    • A puzzle, you’ll end up with too many goods and there will be no challenge to the game. There could also be a ripple effect - the game will penalise you for having too much of x goods on hand in later levels (it assumes you made the wrong goods).
    I could save all the game stats after each level, but it will be difficult to run it forward. I also foresee the obstacle where someone made and sold 6 red grape juices. Now they replay the level and decide to make 6 green grape juices instead and will be left with -6 red grape juices.

    Possible solutions:

    A. You can only replay a level right after you’ve played it – so when you finish the level you get an option to save or restart. This strategy will work for Steps 2 and 3 because you get gold by finding enough items or solving the puzzles without making mistakes. It might work for Step 1 because the random elements will work out differently and you can change the prices. But if you made the wrong goods in the preceding puzzle level, you might not be able to get gold in Step 1, no matter how many times you replay it.

    B. I don’t award gold or silver so there’s no reason for people to replay a level and I remove that feature. I can insert a high-score table at the end of the game for the in-game money you made. You can replay the entire game to try and make more money. Negative: the tycoon aspect is not the key feature of the game, it’s just a fun element I added to make the game unique. For example, you can accept the default prices if you want.

    C. A variation of Solution A. You can go back to the previous puzzle (make things) level after finishing the sales level, and the game progress resets to that state i.e. if you want to replay sales level 30, you can go back to the puzzle level where you make things at level 29 and first replay level 29, and then replay level 30 with the different goods you made. This solution is somewhat complicated, both to explain to casual players and programming wise because I'd always need to keep two game saves - one to revert to, and one current in case the player carries on. (As it is my game save has about 350 entries), I also foresee it becoming tedious, because the player may need to replay level 29 multiple times to get gold on level 30.

    Any ideas or advice?