The final rounds!

Hi guys,

This period of my life is very exciting and tiring at the same time. Just check out this pie:
resquetime

This is my month until now. blue means programming and graphic works directly, grey is when I’m working on marketing and social media, emails. Red is when I play or watch an episode of the Simpsons Family with my beloved (during dinner). On an average, it means more than 12 hours of work on a daily basis including weekends and here you can’t see the time that I spend _thinking_ about the game.

I do this for months now… Sometimes I work 16 hours on a day. Why all of this? Well, I cannot deny that I love doing it. I couldn’t do this otherwise. But this is also just way too important to me to take it not seriously. I would deeply regret later if the project fails financially that I didn’t do everything that I could.

Making a game is an extreme luxury these days. The worth of the time plus money that I put into this would be enough for a half flat. As Cliffski wrote, “if you are an indie, your game will flop and you will lose money”. Unfortunately, this can happen very easily and the changing steam environment (worse year after year) doesn’t make it easier to get visibility and revenue.

This night I’ve sent Computer Tycoon the GDWC (the game development world championship). I think most of the games win because of their visual appeal, so I’m afraid I can’t win. But I used their event as a deadline. I deeply believe in deadlines, those turn projects reality. I see failing so many people just being lost in their work for eternity without results. Also, I hope that they will give some kind of positive feedback that I could maybe use in my upcoming trailer.

The trailer! I have a private version at this moment. I got some pieces of advice from friends, but basically, everybody thinks it is pretty cool. This makes me very happy because I’m new with trailers. I’m very excited sharing it with you on October 5th in memory of Steve Jobs.
Still, I’d love to get any recommendations on this topic. If I’m the father of Computer Tycoon, Steve is its grandpa. The game is basically a “Steve Jobs Simulator”, simply I cannot sell it like that because of legal reasons. He is my biggest inspiration in this work! So… Could you maybe recommend me any places where it would be beneficial to share the trailer on the anniversary mentioning this relation? You can send me links to any groups, forums, sites etc. I’d be very happy to get any!

Also, I’d like to talk about the game news as well. I wrote so long time ago sadly, that I really have material to share with you.First of all, I made big changes to the GUI. Secondly I had heavy fights with my engine in the last weeks, and lastly, the game’s steam page silently has been created. Why silently? Well, originally I planned to release the game on October 5th. Steam administration non-sense made it impossible, unfortunately, so I had to postpone it to 12th (And putting the trailer to 5th to keep the anniversary). The problem is that this means only 1 week between the trailer and the EA dates and because of Steam Direct nowadays every project must be in a state called “coming soon” on steam for at least two weeks before release time. So I had to upload the game site before two weeks of my desired release date. I could put it on October 19th. But… because of the coming Halloween sale, I’m afraid to release the game any later than 12th. This forced me to create the steam page without the trailer.

I know this is a bad move. Uploading the site without a trailer is a bad practice. The reason why I decided to do it this way anyways is still the anniversary and Steve that is so important to me. I beg you to support me on that specific day, without your help this sacrifice will make more harm than good.

In the last last 12 days still, I have plenty of work. I have a very long bug list, and also two non-implemented features, that I’d like to carry out. Stay tuned! Soon I will send out keys to my subscription list as I promised earlier. And please check out the new GUI of the game! 🙂 Cheers!

 

Computer Tycoon Dominance Map

Computer Tycoon Dominance Map

Computer Tycoon Ease-Of-Use Map

Computer Tycoon Ease-Of-Use Map

Computer Tycoon - Customer Statistics

Computer Tycoon – Customer Statistics

Computer Tycoon - Hardware List

Computer Tycoon – Hardware List

Computer Tycoon - Research Screen

Computer Tycoon – Research Screen

Computer Tycoon - Technological Singularity

Computer Tycoon – Technological Singularity

Computer Tycoon – Motherboard illustrations

Hi all,

It’s really time to keep a signal for you that I’m still here! Please don’t forget that the planned release EA time is Oct 5 in memory of Steve Jobs. I really hope that I will be able to create an acceptable level of playability until then – but I’m also sure that the earlier I start EA to more useful feedback I can get.

Please remember that I will run a free key giveaway of the game before release time, your only task is to subscribe to my mailing list and sharing the game somewhere:

IndieDB and Reddit are very useful in promoting the game, but unfortunately, I’m far away from the desired attention that I need. So please consider sharing the game anyway.

In this update, I will share with you the motherboard illustrations of the game. Usually, I write a lot about the game, this time I think I will just leave you with the pictures. 🙂 Letting them speak for themselves. I hope you will get some nice memories viewing them!

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

Computer Tycoon MOBO

 

Computer Tycoon – Company Building Sites and Graphics Optimization

Hi all,

In the last 2-3 weeks, I was working on the building sites of the game. This was a hard period honestly, and this is the first time that I had some real trouble around the game.

Please don’t forget that still, you can register to my newsletter, so you can win a free copy of the game before release on steam. Also, I will look for testers using this email list. http://eepurl.com/cG63JD

Also, I’ve just created a subreddit for my game, where I will constantly look for the feedback! https://www.reddit.com/r/ComputerTycoon/

IndieDB

So, getting back to the topic, haha! It was a long time ago when I last created 3D games. The tools and the surrounded problems evolved a lot, and well, my knowledge faded away. I needed some time to get back!
For some time I really wasn’t sure if I want 3D parts into Computer Tycoon or not. But I ended up to include it. Simply, I felt that people will like it. I think it’s always rewarding to actually “see your empire” in the grand strategy aspect, so I implemented it in Computer Tycoon as well. I talked about this in earlier posts where I showed the country map of the game. I love strategy games where you can see your territory growing. But how about your company?
When people think about companies, even more corporates, they think about offices, factories. Yeah, kinda “workplaces”, right? So the best way to make your company be a living thing is to show those buildings, I guess. The problem is that this makes the game even bigger, and also I’m a bit afraid that thinking about other tycoon games, people will assume that you can freely build stuff on a map just as you do it in transport tycoon or rollercoaster tycoon.
But here, you won’t. This game isn’t about that kind of creativity. There is another line of tycoon games, where building/road/anystuff construction isn’t the main thing. Just remember to Game Dev Tycoon, where you create games, not roller coasters.
In Computer Tycoon the “building site” is where you see the infrastructure of your company. You can upgrade specific parts to get more productivity or research/marketing capability, new marketing methods and so on. And I decided to give you a living 3D animation representation of it. Simply, you just can’t put the buildings where you would like to because they have predefined positions. Maybe in the sequel! 🙂

But what was the problem? Well, I made you a so big and so detailed representation, with so many models, that the engine had some trouble. Of course, on my strong dev PC that was totally okay, but what about older computers? Tycoon games tend to have a small system requirement because they don’t have usually an impressive graphics quality. These games aren’t really about graphics.
So this was the dilemma… Should I keep this or not? Well, at this moment, I’m on the track to keep it. I made everything to optimize the graphics.

Using a Radeon HD 6850 card, you can get 58-60 fps on Full-HD (watching the biggest, most crowded scene). And using a Geforce 920M you can also get 30 fps on 1388×768 resolution.
The Radeon HD 6850 is a 5 years old video card, with a 2262 benchmark. The Geforce 920M is a relatively new video card for laptops with a 711 benchmark. I hope that it’s enough. This is something that I will need to test out on more systems. Yes, I really count on you in that! 🙂 Getting to this point was hard, pretty hard with very long nights. I just really hope that this level of system requirement is still acceptable. Feel free to check your own hardware on the benchmark list and put it in the comments to me.

Check out these screenshots of the building site. I guess that’s what is the most interesting for you out there. On the pictures, ambient occlusion is turned off. I’m still thinking if I want it or not.

Please stay tuned, and recommend the game to your friends who like retro computers and tycoon/strategy games. I really need your help. Multiple friends of mine have flopped games recently, and telling the truth, I’m a bit afraid at this moment that I will end up the same way. I work _literally_ all day and night to make this happen. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Computer Tycoon Building SiteComputer Tycoon Building SiteComputer Tycoon Building SiteComputer Tycoon Building Site   Computer Tycoon Building SiteComputer Tycoon Building SiteComputer Tycoon Building Site

Is Computer Tycoon a Business Simulation Or a Grand Strategy Game?

Computer Tycoon Group Banner

Computer Tycoon – A Computer Business Simulator on a Grand Strategy Level

So in descriptions usually I mention that it’s a business strategy game on a grand strategy level. But what does it mean exactly? To answer this question, I think I should first focus on telling that what is a grand strategy game at all (or what it is in my understanding).

Please remember to subscribe to my mailing list if you are interested in alpha testing or winning a free copy on my release giveaway. http://eepurl.com/cG63JD

Grand Strategy Games

On Wikipedia you could find something that a grand strategy game is a wargame, a strategy game where you command a bigger entity such as a country, an empire, a planet, a nation or something like that, meanwhile, your focus is on your resources and usually you watch a map to control the whole thing. Another aspect that usually this entity is followed during a longer period of time. (for example the devastating world wars)

To me, Grand Strategy games are all about maps. I’m a big fan of the genre including games like the Civilization series or paradox games. One of my biggest favorites is Romance Of The Three Kingdom III. It’s about the dynastic wars in China, and I can tell you that this game is very very old. In fact usually, I play it on a Dos Box emulator. It has many sequels, but somehow my fav is the third one and this is mainly because it has all of the major features that it should have added with some unique twists AND because it has such a lovely map. I can see everything on a simple map that is not way too chilly to me, nothing distracts me from my aim: getting every possible territory. Seeing your empire growing on a map is one of the most rewarding things in games.

And here comes my core thought:

Well, what if a company is that entity that you should control in a grand strategy? Such an entity has its resources, right? The computer industry does exist for a longer time of period, right? And what if you could control your computer empire on a map? Well this is something that isn’t so far from business simulation games, right?

The only missing component is that it’s still a business simulator and not a wargame. But business is a war from my own experience: you have opponents (enemies and allies), you have marketing (weapons), you have employees (army), you must research for better tools… for the aim to reach something: DOMINANCE (Victory). Commercial dominance or military dominance, I think you got my point.

So here we are. Still, I’m not sure if I should market the game as a business simulator or a grand strategy game, but I guess it’s a perfect hybrid… and as far as I know, there are no other precedents to such a fusion like that. Computer Tycoon is going to be the first game about the computer manufacturing industry and as well the first business oriented grand strategy game. What an excitement, I’d love to play this game already, haha!

I have so many ideas, and unfortunately a strict scope. I’d love to create the sequel already!

Check out, how big is the world! (Oh you can rotate the whole globe in the game)

As it should be, you can expand from country to country for “logistic points” and money of course. I was thinking about building into the game the Soviet (the Iron Curtain) era and country border changes as well, but unfortunately, that will wait for a sequel as well, so in the game, you won’t have Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia for example. Still, it’s awesome to see how your Computer Empire grows.

Also, I know how important for you to play with a character that you can relate to, especially when you can start from your own country to rule the market… so I tried to get some diversity in that question. I wish I could implement even more characters. Let me show you some optional computer Emperors for you!

Computer Tycoon Characters

And for being politically correct, and thinking about women players I have a wonderful Empress as well (do you see her nice clothes from the era? 🙂 ):

Computer Tycoon on IndieDB

Computer Tycoon

I posted this article on reddit, but I feel like I should have made it here. Anyways… That’s a story about me (András Illés) and my next game Computer Tycoon.BannerVersionFinal_center_1500_500

Business simulators are awesome, right? In those games, we can show to the world how good we are, how far could we go if we had the chance and the budget, right? Also, for some Computers are like our friends in our life, don’t you agree? Maybe I’m way too sentimental?

My name is András Illés and a year ago I started my indie game studio, we are working on an indie business simulator game called Computer Tycoon:

http://www.indiedb.com/games/computer-tycoon

BUT what’s the story in that?

Those good old games

My first business simulator game was SimCity. Do you remember to it?

The first SimCity running on DOS. My PC that time was a 286DX with a 20Mb hard disk drive. Of course, SimCity was a city building game (obvious haha), but from a game design/financial point of view, it’s still a business simulator. You must build, invest and expand. Your service is the city itself!

After that, I remember playing Transport Tycoon when I was around 10-11 years old. I was playing it on a 486DX computer. I was so impressed and so eager to get that money in the game and build bigger and bigger trains. Oh and the 2.5D! Isometric graphics, oh my god! I truly loved it.

Rollercoaster Tycoon? Does it mean something for you? In fact, my 486DX wasn’t fast enough to handle the graphics anymore. My solution was to watch the trees in the corner while I was doing nothing, but waiting for some cash. That was a lot of time (especially on a slow machine)… Still, I loved the game, especially the building part. What a creative and fun game! And yes, here we are again: I loved to make money.

Sometimes the sequels were awesome, sometimes I was disappointed. For example, SimCity 2000 and 3000 were awesome, but after that, the franchise is not so fun to me anymore. Or we got openttd that is just awesome!

The game dev tycoon is really a newcomer, but I really enjoyed it. Or we have now the TV Empire Tycoon (ok it’s a remake, but a very nice one), or Prison Tycoon, Blueprint Tycoon, Plant Tycoon and so on!

Somehow I feel like the games I like today are very similar somehow to the old ones. What do you think? Don’t you think that games tend to be more stupid year after year?

Those lovely computers
HC_02_CommodorePet_Version2

As years passed by I got better and better PCs, and I played more and more games. In fact, my first computer was Commodore 64, not the IBM 286DX. I changed the parts years after years, I had a 386DX, and a 486, several Intel Pentium 1 compatible PCs and so on, and so on.

With the Commodore64 I used a small TV from the soviet block called “Junost”:

But my actual first monitor was a CGA compatible monster! Oh wow in graphic mode it was able to use 4 colors, but in text mode, it was able to produce 16 colors! (I think my eyes got a strong damage from this monster haha!)

The other parameters of my systems were going up as well. Fun-fact that all of my computers were totally outdated all of the time. Partially because I live in Hungary and basically we didn’t have the stuff that people had years before us in the states or in west Europe (oh commercial was totally different those times), and the second reason that we were poor, so I had to “work” with those things that I was able to get. Poor here means likely even poorer than you think. Don’t assume that “hey this guy had computers what is he complaining about?” When I got the 286DX my classmates already had Pentium 1 computers at home. Still, I remember how excited I was before buying it. I had been reading books about DOS for weeks before that! It’s ok by the way, I learned this way a lot.

Just imagine my face when I connected the power supply cables to the motherboard inversely! The motherboard and the CPU died. Jep, today I know that blacks should have gotten to the middle. Well, that was a lesson to learn, that made me just more eager to study. Don’t be strict I was around 8-9 years old that time and nobody helped me to do these things.

Eventually, I ended being an IT guy. What a surprise, right? Today I have a kickass PC sitting next to me. 

After this journey here is the deal:

There are three things in my life that I always had a passion for: Computers, simulator/strategy games, and music.

Well, the third is slightly less important in my story now, but the first two had a huge impact on my life. That’s why I joined the IT industry: I always wanted to be a game developer.

Unfortunately, my financial background didn’t give me the chance to be a game developer in Hungary, so I went into the business sector and games and game development stayed to be a hobby. I reached over 10 years of experience a “solution architect” position so far, but something happened a year ago,- I decided to change my life and to share my life. To give something to the people around me, especially for youngsters. They will never have the chance to do what I did. The IT sector develops just way too fast for that since the 70s.

I’d like to push everything into a game. About games, about computers, about the poor kid’s dream of making money haha) Computer Tycoon is going to be my first real child. (oh yes, I’d love to have real ones in the future, but I’m just burning my career right now haha! ) Being a bit more serious, this is my BIG business game now, but it’s not a simulation anymore, and the difficulty is _hard_.

The indie scene is just perfect now for creating such a game with old qualities. But **I really need your support!** With opinions, with sharing my stuff and even testing my game. Please join to my newsletter so you can be informed about the game, or later even win a free copy:

http://progorion.us14.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=71ce8f5703d536ba25d34f07e&id=ed1846b02a

But first of all, tell me about YOUR computers, and YOUR favorite simulator games. What did you like in them? What are your memories? In Computer Tycoon you will be able to replay these memories again, so I’d like to get as many impressions from you as I can.

 

Building my Brand and Homepage

Hello everybody,

That’s my first post… on my own blog! Wow! One small step for a man… Well, eventually i was able to build the very first version of my homepage, blog and forum. I used bootstrap and some usual css/html stuffs to my homepage, and wordpress to create my blog and forum.

WordPress offers a free plugin to establish your forum faster which is called “bb Press“. It’s pretty fine until you would like to unable users to post new topics. For that scenario I found a small plugin (used by only 7 people including myself) to restrict them. It’s called “bbP Toolkit” and I strongly recommend it because it has many other features and it’s free.

Templates for WordPress are kinda messy. There are just way too much for given purposes, but I wanted a simple but still deeply customizable one. After I failed to find any on the wordpress themes finder page, I tried to find old free to download premium templates. These old ones (actually mine is from 2009) are pretty simple and give the desired customization options. The only thing that I had to do for them to opt in to a newsletter.

I know that my sites are still just “OK”, but I think they are totally acceptable. Later on when I will have some income from my strategy games, I will hire some freelancers to make better sites.

I hope you read here some useful stuffs. Cheers!