Computer Tycoon – Kit Computers, Home Computers, Personal Computers, Portable Computers and Tablets?

Computer Architectures in Computer Tycoon

Computers are evolving since the 70s. In one of my previous writing, I’ve explained what’s the main difference between Personal Computers and Home computers in the game, and what is the story behind these names.

In a nutshell, the expression “home computer” became unused because of marketing reasons. Companies thought that this name will indicate that their computers are only for games, and this will demotivate the business sector in buying their products. Also, the personal computer concept of IBM became really popular and the only alternative that was financially successful is the “MAC”, so we now have PCs and MACs.

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But these are only 2 categories. Still, we have very different architectures, such as “Portable Computers”. Well, again, a not really popular expression. Laptops, notepads, tablets could be called like that. This is again, somehow the result of marketing strategies. Basically, when you have a product, you try to sell it as something “new”. Also, these new names or categories sometimes are really logical as well. So today we have laptops, notebooks, tablets and so on. (some time ago we also had PDAs, and in fact we have today smartphones as well, and during that time we had kinda hybrid devices too).

In Computer Tycoon you will have Kit Computers, Home Computers, Personal Computers, Portable Computers, and Tablets.

Oh, what a nice list, isn’t it? 🙂

Kit Computers

This is something interesting for youngsters. A long time ago computers were very expensive devices. Also, they very huge physically as well. First, they were bigger than rooms, after that they were as big as a furniture, a cabinet. They used huge magnetic tapes or punch cards. Early developers made such cards as their “programs”. Wow! Just imagine me giving you Computer Tycoon on a 100-meter long card!
Then some nerds created the first computer for a “consumer friendly” price. Is it something like computers today? Well, not really. It didn’t have a screen, neither a keyboard (not a mouse of course). It was able to communicate with you by LEDs on its front panel. You were able to give numerical commands to the computer using toggle switches. And also… these were so called “kit computers” because they were constructed by YOU from a so called (not so user-friendly haha) kits.
They were awesome if you ask me. Here is the kit computer from Computer Tycoon:

Lovely, right? Well, you can’t play GTA V or LOL on it. Not even Tetris or Pong. Still, it was awesome. Before that computer people could only see computers in labors or some universities. Now you could have one at home.

What is really interesting to me, that the next models were not really so far from this actually. They used not much better CPUs, but they got a keyboard and a screen. This is what I call a small step in technological advancement but a huge jump in features. From the user experience perspective, it’s undeniably something very important.

In Computer Tycoon Kit Computers are represented only as introductory and tutorial purposes. In fact, you will start with a Kit Computer and your first task is to get all of the needed technology to build your first Home Computer!

Look at this picture, please:

Computer Tycoon architecture

Here you can see the main parts of this system. Red parts are mandatory at the moment (this is something that can change by time in the game). Your kit computer will have some memory, a CPU, power supply, the main circuit (let’s call it a motherboard, although it’s not the same as today, but generally this was the base) and some kind of “operating system” (a program that can handle all of these parts)

Home Computers

When you get keyboard and monitor to the accessories and other important technology you can move to the “home computer” era:

Computer Tycoon HC Architecture

Here you go. As you can see the system has expanded. Did you notice that displays aren’t mandatory? Well, there were Home Computers connected to the television. A well-known model was the Commodore 64 for example. Don’t worry about the empty parts by the way. You will fill those with hardware elements. In Computer Tycoon you have to develop the hardware elements first. Building your own system is only the second step.

As you should have noticed. There are different indicators on the screens, such as “performance”, “prestige”, “quality, “features”, and “ease-of-use”. Different elements give different values to these, and different architectures have different possibilities as well. (Oh just noticed the typo in “prestige :)) on the screenshot). These indicators will be very important to you because the market will receive your product depending on these values AND on your price of the product… and on the offer of your opponents.

Personal Computers

After a while, you will get Personal Computers and Portable Computers as well…

Computer Tycoon architecture

Do you notice the difference? But why aren’t storage or power supply mandatory? Well, I already mentioned that different architectures mean different possibilities. As I told you in the beginning in real life the difference between PCs and HCs is mainly from marketing aspects AND the modular build of PCs. Although back in the early times it was still more of a marketing tool as well (Because they promised that you can easily change the CPU in your computer, but in reality, it was hard and rare), today it’s kinda true. The PC compatible computers can contain devices from a lot of manufacturers together, and also you can greatly improve and customize your system.

If your customer can gather hardware for a PC from different sources.Why couldn’t you avoid some kind of hardware elements? Although you have to offer the main parts of the system, so still you must create computers here, without input devices, storages, displays or a power supply… AND of course, you don’t have to create an operating system either. Is it beneficial to you? Well, we will see! 🙂 (Oh my gosh, “operation system” on the screenshot! Well, I will have to operate out these labels soon 🙂 )

Portable Computers

Portable Computers come only one step later. Although they won’t be a hit fast:

Computer Tycoon Portable Computer Architecture

The first portable computers were not like our laptops today. Some of them were as big as a traveling suitcase with a screen on it as small as your palm.

And again. The mandatory parts are changing. Also, I should notice that the viewable architectural differences are only one thing. With different devices, your customers will have different desires and you will have to solve this. There will be some additional design concerns connected to the different architectures. You don’t have to create the fastest Portable Computers out there for the same price as their Personal Computer rivals. Also, Home Computers will tend to be more of a prestige symbol after a while. Oh, MACs are very nice. But will a hardcore gamer buy a MAC for gaming purposes? Of course not. Or will a hardcore player buy a tablet maybe, for gaming purposes? But at the same time, a businessman, will buy a Nuclear Reactor Madaf***er PC to show documents to his customers?


And eventually, we will have the tablets:

Computer Tycoon architecture

Although Tablets are portable, they function today as a really different thing compared to laptops – for a reason. These are much more like a gadget than a computer. It’s unlikely that you will use a tablet for computing astronomical data, right? And although laptops are portable, having them in your bed isn’t recommended. Laptops are portable in the first case to move them between your homes, rents or workplaces and use them on a desk. (Oh I know that how much of you don’t see this like that 🙂 ) But a tablet is really something that you can grab and bring with yourself to anywhere. Even to the toilet haha! Also, a tablet is even more of a luxury product if you ask me, something that is for your comfort and pleasure, not for work. A laptop will last much longer than a tablet. (this is a concern even to banks today where they would like to use them to enrich the customer experience. What they don’t really consider enough that these are not durable enough to serve too long under a massive user load).

Tablets won’t last for too long, because in my opinion after a while their design will be obsolete. In the future, I’m sure that we will use some kind of light-based devices, and holographic GUI. Also, I do believe that our “desktop” computers will be all portable after a while. Well, maybe I’m wrong in that. We will see! 🙂

Originally I planned to include PDAs and ROBOTS into the game, but I decided to cut them out because of financial and design concerns. But if the game will sell well, I will include them in DLCs.

I hope that you enjoyed my article. Please share it if you like what you read. I’m a solo-dev fighting with time, I need your support out there. Also please remember that I’d like to release the game in early access, or at least create a demo for you to October 5. in memory of Steve Jobs.

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Cheers! 🙂

Computer Tycoon Group Picture

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:

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

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:

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.