Posts Tagged simulator
Ever wanted to start up a tech firm? Got an idea that seems stupidly awesome and original? Or just fancy running a business, warts and all? There’s a fairly safe and inexpensive way of experiencing that life coming to iOS later this year. That title is Hipster CEO, a game which challenges players to “take an idea from their dorm room to Wall Street, Zuckerberg-style”. We had a word with Dublin-based developer, Ger Kelly, on his vision for the game and just how it came to be.
148apps: Where did the idea for Hipster CEO come from?
Ger Kelly (GK): Well firstly I have a huge passion for tech startups – I love reading about the causes behind startups’ success and failure, exciting new technologies, marketing techniques, stuff like that. Whenever I tell someone I work in a startup they always say that they’d love the opportunity to do just that. I wanted to give people a taste of what running a startup company is like – fun but difficult. It isn’t all air hockey tables and free beer but when it works, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Secondly, I was a video game addict as a kid – particularly sports/business simulations like Championship Manager and Theme Park. I always felt games like that were different in the sense that you were especially proud of what you did – like bringing some low-tier football team all the way to the Cup Final – you always wanted to tell your friends. Even now one of my fondest teenage memories is winning a league title with my favorite football team – which probably says a lot about my adolescence! I felt that there was room for a tech startup simulator in the same vein.
The name came about when a friend called me a total hipster because I guess I can be a little snobby about my musical taste at times. I had a few other ideas for a title but people really reacted really well to Hipster CEO so I went with it.
148apps: The idea of the game seems pretty lighthearted, will that continue throughout the game?
GK: The Hipster element of the game is simply a veneer, the game will create the experience of building a tech startup as closely as possible. I think the Hipster shtick appeals to a lot of people in a fun way and I want people to have fun playing this game. However, the gameplay will be firmly rooted in reality so there won’t be any “wacky” investment offers tabled or disgruntled developers setting fire to their desks. On second thoughts I might include that last one!
Stuff like the Social Network movie and TV shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank makes every man and his dog feel like they could grow a startup company into a huge success but, as anyone who has ever built a startup will know, it’s a lot of hard work. There are so many things you need to get right to build a winning product: quality development, creative marketing, and of course sales. It might sound crazy but so many tech startups out there have no sales strategy starting off – Hipster CEO will encourage players to start making revenue from day one.
Players will need to get the right balance of these three in order to succeed, all the while keeping their staff happy, handling investors, and dealing with the media. That sure seems like a lot but trust me that’s what a startup CEO has to deal with on a day-to-day basis!
I hope my app puts a smile of the face of those who play it because they feel rewarded not just because of some jibe at hipsters.
148apps: Will the game solely be quite text focused, or will there be more game-style graphics too?
GK: I really wanted to have a basic graphics pane which displayed your character, your employees, your office and stuff like that but it’s just not feasible for the first version. Like being able to see your little team graduate from your parent’s basement to some swanky, playground-esque office would be awesome. I have some design skills but nothing on the level that would be required for proper animation so I’ve had to shelve that idea for now. It will probably be one of the first things addressed if the game takes off.
I think Championship Manager showed that you can just have words and numbers on the screen and still create a totally immersive experience.
148apps: Will it be a one-off payment game, or will there be in-app purchases involved?
There will be a one-off payment and the option to get additional investment via in-app purchases. I want to stress, however, that you don’t need to make any in-app purchases after getting the app in order to build a great startup – it’s merely there as an option. I’d actually prefer if players declined the option to take investment completely and slowly but surely built a solid company but I know there’s people out there who will just want to get to a certain level as fast as possible.
148apps: Is there a way of completing Hipster CEO? Or is it more open ended than that?
GK: It’s open ended. Each character in the game (including you as CEO) has certain stats that will grow and shrink based on their performance. If your company goes broke you’ll have the option to build another startup with the skill set you’ve developed. Most entrepreneurs fail with their first few startups so it may take players a few different cracks of the whip before they really hit the big time. It’s totally possible of course that they have a huge success of things and start getting acquisition offers to decide upon.
There will be an online leaderboard of all the players worldwide so you can see how you measure up as a CEO in the game. I’ve a lot of long term ideas for the game too – like inviting the top players around the world to become virtual venture capitalists in later versions of the game which other people can pitch to.
Sounding a pretty intriguing idea, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Hipster CEO‘s progress. Further information is also available at the game’s site. It’s hopefully set for release in October. Thanks to Ger for taking the time to answer our questions!
Sometimes it seems like the majority of free-to-play games focus more on arbitrary time limits and less on actually making a compelling experience. Dave Calabrese, President and CEO of Cerulean Games, feels pretty much the same way. Not content with many of the current freemium sim-style games out there, he and his team set out to create something more akin to one of those meticulous “tycoon” style games that were all the rage back in the 90s. It’s a tall order, but it looks like Vineyard Valley is coming along quite nicely.
148Apps: What inspired you all to create a virtual free-to-play rendition of that “build a vineyard” dream most world-travelers seem to develop?
Dave Calabrese (DC): This entire venture actually started because a friend of mine from school contacted me one evening. She informed me about a large community who used to play a game called My Vineyard. That game went offline over a year ago, however the community has been dying for something new, and nobody would listen. So I did the research, and felt it was a viable business direction! We spent 3 months just having fun and planning out something awesome. So we took all our notes – everything from the community, all of our own ideas, and ideas of what the general public wants and nobody is giving them – and assembled it into the Vineyard Valley that you see planned today!
148Apps: I see in your Kickstarter description that Vineyard Valley won’t be using typical free-to-play “pay to win” models or rely on energy. So how *are* you making use of the freemium model? Is it primarily through Vinos? And what exactly are Vinos, anyway?
DC: We have a pretty cool system that we are using to monetize the game. We call it the Five Point monetization system. The concept is – as you may have guessed – something where we monetize on 5 separate levels. Only one of those actually has the players spending real money – and that is where Vinos come into play. You earn them by running your business properly, and you can purchase them using real money. Aside from that one and only currency exchange, the player won’t have to spend physical money – which allows us to keep it freemium. The other four methods incorporate partners, advertising and more.
148Apps: I’m intrigued by the more classic approach to a business sim you’re using for Vineyard Valley, especially the idea of trading wine between players. But why exactly would players want to buy and sell wine from each other? Is there some sort of added incentive to exchanging with someone else aside from simply seeing what other players have created?
DC: Good question – and I think you are going to really dig the reason. Part of your vineyard is you have a shopping village. This shopping village is something you design and build just like anything else in the game. You start from essentially a wooden stand on the side of the road, and build it into a full blown village with shops, cafes and more. This is where some of that classic business sim comes into play. Your vineyard in the game – just like when you go to a real life vineyard – sells bottles of wine. This wine shop is located in your shopping village. You choose what is sold there. Now, each wine will have a type of rating which denotes its quality, uniqueness and more. Say you create a wine that has a very high rating. You can choose to put a bunch of its bottles in your shopping village, however you could also sell a bunch of bottles to your friends. Just like in classic business sims such as Theme Park, NPC visitors come and tour your vineyard, and shop in the shopping village. The higher rated wine you have, the more it will attract more visitors. Not just rating, but also the proper time for the right wine – a pumpkin wine might attract more visitors around Halloween, while a refreshing Ice Wine might attract more visitors in the middle of summer.
148Apps: Since you’re obviously trying to avoid making Vineyard Valley too much like the majority of other freemium sims, what other games might you be using for inspiration? My guess is older PC business/tycoon titles, which I’m all kinds of okay with.
DC: Exactly, older business sims. Specifically, the original Theme Park from the mid-90s. Today’s business sims are nothing more than seeing how well you can follow the leader while mindless clicking things. See, that’s also what made My Vineyard different – there was a lot more you could do than just mindlessly click and follow the leader. We’re of course staying as far away from cloning My Vineyard as possible, however the base inspiration is still there – design and build in a sandbox environment, and have fun with your friends.
148Apps: Are there any pointers you’d like to share with prospective winery managers eager to jump in to Vineyard Valley once it’s released?
DC: Once you finish watching the game introduction (yes, the game has an ongoing story), think through the base options and decide on the initial kinds of fruit crops and wines you want to develop. Just like the wine, you can also sell and trade the raw ingredients with your friends. Maybe your vineyard will specialize in grapes along with citrus fruits, while your friend’s vineyard specializes in grapes and stone fruits. That’s a great opportunity to trade with each other. Maybe you will also become an expert in citrus fruits and have very special fruit types available that others won’t so easily get…
Thanks to Dave for setting aside a few minutes to discuss digital wine with us. Anyone interested in backing Vineyard Valley’s multiplatform development can do so on its Kickstarter page, and the sooner it gets funded the sooner we can all presumably start with the fruit fermentation.
The End of Days draws nearer. But rather than dwell on the inevitable destruction of the world, the Pygmies have been given a bit of a reprieve. Bolt Creative’s newest update to their sandbox of death involves a Pygmies-only dance club. Being Pocket God it should come as no surprise that the club comes with its own set of unique perils. It’s not called Dance Dance Execution for nothing.
Players can pull a balloon down from the ceiling and give it to a pygmy who will promptly suck out the helium and start to ramble a-la David After Dentist. Silly as that might be, the real fun can be found on the dance floor. Dragging a pygmy onto it will begin a Dance Dance Revolution-style mini-game in which the proper arrows must be matched or a massive disco ball will drop down and crush the little semi-naked rug cutter.
An all-new Dance Pack (available for $0.99) rounds out the new stuff, and includes more dance moves for the pygmies. Dropping one of them into the hanging go-go cage will get them boogying to a number of tunes, including the Pocket God theme. Pocket God Episode 45: Dance Dance Execution is live and available to download right now. So Macarena on over to the App Store and get to it.
People love stuff like Google Maps. There’s just something about viewing satellite images of one’s neighborhood that’s kinda neat. Know what’s even neater? Tossing customizable zombie outbreaks into the mix.
Binary Space is set to release an iOS edition of their rather popular PC sandbox thingie. Zombie Outbreak Simulator utilizes Google Maps in order to allow users to unleash the Living Dead practically anywhere. Even right in their own backyard. A number of variables can be tweaked, such as zombie speed and number of law enforcement officials, giving users tons of possible scenarios to set up and watch unfold. New to the iOS release is the ability to zoom in and out to view the action from a detached aerial view to a far more intimate low-flying bird’s eye view, complete with animated characters.
Zombie Outbreak Simulator should be popping up in the App Store by the end of the month. Zombie nuts, crazy survivor types, and anyone simply looking for a fun and goofy map app will be able to get their hands on it for $1.99.
Create and customize a wildlife reserve. Manage various park minutiae. Upgrade facilities and inhabitants in order to bring in the big bucks. It sounds fairly typical of a good number of freemium park sims, but Fantasy Safari twists it up a bit. By adding fantasy creatures, naturally.
Dragons, frozen wolves, phoenixes and more. It’s a bit of a departure from the usual fare, to say the least. Now, thanks to EA Mobile, we can all try our hand at running our own zoo full of non-existent animals. 40 different non-existent animals, at that. 40 non-existent animals that can learn new abilities (i.e. fire breathing) as savvy players futz with their enclosures.
Anyone looking to try their hand at managing a theme park/zoo with a bit more… “flavor” can do so right now. Fantasy Safari is already on the App Store and, like most (read: all) free-to-play titles it doesn’t require any money to get started.
As with virtually every Kairosoft game on the App Store, Pocket Academy could use a bit more of a tutorial. Those who stick with it will find an experience just as rewarding, entertaining and addicting as any of their previous titles, however.
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Alpine Crawler World is a fun, remarkable, well-polished feat of gaming gold worthy of a place within your iPhone/iPod Touch’s game library. The real-time physics game play, sound and graphics provide an addictive, enjoyable game play experience you’ll find hard to put down.
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A while ago I gave you the heads up on WordCrasher. Developed by Kevin Ng who has consequentially worked with gaming outfits such as EA and RockStar Games, WordCrasher is Kevin’s first debut app for iPhone. Colorful and fast-paced WordCrasher is a letter match-up title which sees you matching letters in any way which suits you. With its various challenging game modes and graphically exciting UI, it’s not surprising that the game, having launched, is currently sitting at number 2 in the iTunes UK charts for the gaming category ‘Word Games’.
Yesterday though, to my surprise, Kevin dropped me a note that he actually had a full version of WordCrasher up and running on the iPad simulator. He was kind enough to give me some insight into the process of taking WordCrasher from the iPhone to the iPad. Talking to Kevin a little further, he was able to tell me that the physics simulation is up and running at a decent speed, and that the game is responding to the touch events. He has not tried hooking up the sound yet, however, but he explains that basically it is possible to play a game of WordCrasher natively on the iPad, (albeit through the simulator).
There were not too many changes necessary to make the game work on iPad due to similarities in the SDK (iPad runs iPhone OS 3.2), but the real work will be making iPad WordCrasher a stand-alone game which takes advantage of the format, rather than just a straight port. Using the iPad simulator, a lot of work can be started in creating high fidelity graphics for the big screen, but many of the UI and gameplay decisions will have to be held back until I can get my hands on the hardware itself. There are other issues to consider too though, such as whether OpenFeint will step forward and support the iPad, which is in my opinion likely, but I haven’t heard anything from them.
Continue reading Word Crasher for iPhone Could Be Headed to iPad! Kevin Ng Gives an Insight Into Developing for iPad. »
If you're a fan of the Sims or any of the other "Virtual" games that Last Day of Work has created then you will feel right at home with Virtual Families. You should still be leery of the fact that this game is in fact a port of a PC/Mac game and it shows in the difficulties I had with controlling the game.
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Ant Hill is an interesting, but limited, little simulation of an ant colony and the area around it. The ants swarm and meander about their environment fluidly while trying to deal with the sadistic actions of a, seemingly bored, observer.
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When someone new asks to see what an iPhone can do, all of us have a list of apps prepared to wow them. Some of these apps may be useful, some may be beautiful, and some may have changed our lives. Star Walk is a gorgeous, dynamic application that, while it may not be technically useful to some, will tease your eyes skyward on clear, starry nights.
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Riding the fall of the stock market? Eh? AirCoaster 3D is a roller coaster simulator with a built-in track editor and an online database for community uploads. Besides the thrill of riding a fake coaster, you can also get some bitter laughs out of riding a track based on the Dow Jones index.
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