New demo and trailer available, Kickstarter date set!

I am happy to announce that the Kickstarter and Greenlight launch date for This Grand Life has been set for 9pm 28th March UTC / 2pm 28th March PDT (in only a few days!). For this occasion there is now a trailer and a new pre-alpha demo!

Try the demo which includes the current tutorial. Play as Max E. Mumm, a good for nothing son who needs to get a job and stop mooching off his poor mother. Help him learn how to live away from home and invest his money. Get it from one of the following:

Download from IndieDB

Download From Itch.io

Download from MediaFire

If you want to be notified when the Kickstarter launches, you can sign up to our mailing list

Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |March 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Creating a realistic job market for This Grand Life

In this article I will talk about the research that went into creating a realistic job market for This Grand Life.

Just as in real life, there are different careers and occupations you can pursue. Some are harder to enter than others. As an example, to become a University Professor you need a PHD and years of experience, while a Janitor requires no experience. Of course, this difference in requirements is reflected in their respective salaries.

The first step – work out the career path from the entry level position all the way to the highest and most presitigious occupations. This was pretty straight forward, just visit careers websites and read some of their advice. For example, the education career path in the game goes something like this: Tutor -> Lecturer -> Research Scholar -> Professor. The next step was looking for the relative real life salaries of each occupation. I used websites like SalaryExpert which provide a nice overview of salaries in the US.

Based on these salaries, I could tweak the requirements and opportunities of each job to balance gameplay. For example, did you know a Janitor gets paid slightly more than a Kitchen Hand? I could bump up the experience requirements for a Janitor slightly to reflect this, or make the Kitchen Hand -> Chef career path more rewarding. I came across some pretty obscure sounding occupations during my research, like the Digestor Operator:

Some jobs even have multiple career paths. In the banking career path you can get an entry level position as a Credit Analyst with a Finance Degree. Or you could start as a Loan Officer if you don’t have a degree yet, but have lots of sales experience. Eventually you will need to get that qualification to progress to higher tier occupations, but in the meantime you could start off earning a higher wage while studying at the same time.

To further make things more interesting, your Fun need decreases at a faster rate the more stressful and higher paying your position. So if you still have a crappy TV but work as an Investment Banker, expect to spend a lot of time each week satisfying the Fun need. Consider buying an expensive VR headset to satisfy that Fun need, or go watch Sports Games at the Stadium more often. It’s OK, you can afford it!

You can download the free prototype from Itch.io, IndieDB or MediaFire and give it a try.

Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |January 14th, 2017|GameDev|0 Comments

This Grand Life prototype now available!

You can now download the free prototype from Itch.io, IndieDB or MediaFire.

It includes three tutorials explaining the basic game mechanics, set in the town of Tutorialville, located in the great country of Tutorialstan! The prototype also includes a work-in-progress Custom Game mode. It currently has a limited number of locations and includes the Chef career path, as well as some more ordinary occupations like janitor and salesperson.

You can also select your avatar and select some traits. Your starting traits is one of the important themes I want to highlight in the game. I want your starting conditions to have an impact on how difficult life is for you as the player. So hopefully you find that it’s much harder to have spare time when you are an alcoholic and need to drink all the time. Or find it easier to pay the rent when your rich parents give you free money each month.

I’ve found it challenging coming up with a cover image that represents the game accurately. At first I thought using a real-life city as the game map was a really cool game feature, but no one seemed to care! I spent hours and hours getting it to work! So I decided to go with something cleaner. As part of the design process, I came up with four key words to describe the tone of the game – humourous, personal, financial, choice. Then I looked up other life simulation games to see how they designed their cover art. Eventually I settled on having three characters, each representing a different part of the game. I commissioned an artist to create it for me:

The woman with the shopping bags represents buying and owning possessions. The man with a bag of money represents accumulating wealth. The student with books represents gaining knowledge through learning. These are the three main objectives in the game, along with the fourth objective – lifetime happiness.

So remember to try the prototype, which should give you an idea of what this game is about. It’s still rough around the edges and there isn’t much content, but the core mechanics are there. If you find it interesting, you can join our mailing list to receive news.

Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |January 2nd, 2017|GameDev|0 Comments

This Grand Life – New game announcement

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update, I had to take a break from writing after the roller coaster of releasing my last game on Steam. I’ve been busy working on the prototype for my next game in the meantime. At first I experimented with making a business simulation game. In this game you were a corporation. You would build businesses, purchase goods and try to sell them for a profit. It would be backed by a deep supply/demand and economic simulation. It was an interesting concept, but not immediately and obviously fun. I also realised the scope was too big for a solo dev, so put that project to the side.

20161201-businessgamecancelled

I was still interested in making some sort of economic simulation game, and was inspired by a game from my childhood, Jones in the Fast Lane. So I ended up with another prototype, this time with the player represented by a single person instead of a corporation. The player travels around a map based on a real life city, trying to satisfy their needs (hunger, fun, health, etc). At the same time, they must work in order to afford shelter, pay their bills and achieve their Life Goals.

Now this was a prototype I found interesting to play, and so This Grand Life was born.

header480x270

20161204-mapicons

This Grand Life is a tactical life simulator with a focus on personal finances and time management. Cruise your way through life with a silver spoon, or struggle endlessly to find employment as a convicted felon. You cannot control your past, but you can change your future.

20161205-avatarselect

Your life is divided into weeks. You try to accomplish as much as you can each week while economic conditions and special events create interesting choices to think about. Do I go to work this week, or take part in the Hot Dog Eating competition at the park? Should I spend time looking for a better job, or stick with my current job until economic conditions improve? There are lots of choices you can make that will determine your path in This Grand Life.

20161205-windows

I will be releasing the free prototype some time in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can sign up for the mailing list to receive news!

20161205-bank

Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |December 5th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Release 1.10

An update has been released with a new Soil Mound building and various other improvements. Here is an example of a way you can use the new Soil Mound to dam a river:

20160915-dam

Release 1.10:

  • Added checks against possible cause of idling Pokians stepping on fires
  • Added a Soil Mound building to raise height level of ground using Soil Chunks
  • Greatly reduced bacterial decay rate of Soil Chunk
  • Replaced “Grass” and “Dirt” groundtype with “Soil”
  • Changed carnivores from finding nearest carcass to finding quickest pathable carcass to eat
  • Changed Pokians from finding nearest fire to finding quickest pathable fire to boil water
  • Fixed animal kills statistic displaying wrong filtered value after 9 days
  • Removed animal preference to sleep under a tree instead of a bush
  • Fixed Pokian drinking water from waterskin not showing progress bar
  • Moved all hard-coded object names into data files
  • Moved some hard-coded tool-tips and titles into data files
  • Task material lines now refresh dynamically while task query panel is open
  • Fixed stoke fire task not removed properly when fire is extinguished
  • Make ability only display in query panel if greater than 0
  • Added note to Extract tutorial that it can also be used for obtaining non-plant based food

20160914-dynamictaskupdate

By |September 14th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Release 1.09

A patch has been released to allow stockpile templates:

20160906 StockpileTemplates

Release 1.09

  • Implemented player-created stockpile templates
  • Implemented right-click to delete existing stockpile on Stockpile Panel
  • Added info to abilities query to indicate which tool provides ability
  • Removed bogus “100% chance” from crafting/construction tool-tip
  • Cleared query panel if still open when object being queried dies
  • For tundra biome, reduce respawn rate/coverage of edible lichen and increase yield per extract
  • Reduced attack cooldown and slightly increased melee damage of some predators to make them more dangerous

20160906 QueryAbilities

By |September 6th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Release 1.080

An update has been released with an overhauled tutorial and other improvements:

20160831 NewDeathNote

Release 1.080

  • Overhauled tutorial:
    • Added Work Area tutorial
    • Split construction/building tutorial into two parts
    • Rewrote various parts of tutorial
    • Spawn a herd during Combat Mode tutorial in case there are no animals on the map
  • When assigning building for construction, create query panel immediately
  • Change amount displayed when designating water supply to amount of water in hex
  • If stockpiles full, Pokians cancel store task job instead of walking over to material anyway
  • Finished colour-coding query panels
  • Added bruises and cuts to Pokian Death notification
  • Added sleeping noises
  • Increased relative volume of eating/drinking/sleeping noises

20160831 NewQuery

By |August 31st, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok has just released on Steam!

SteamHeader

Tribe Of Pok Release version 1.00 is out on Steam (and itch.io)!

What a journey to get to this point! When I started working on Tribe Of Pok in 2012, I never anticipated the game would evolve into what it is today.

ScreenshotFinal

I will probably put out a few more updates to the game as I see how players interact with it. Almost certainly I will see things I never expected. The great thing about having all the different systems interacting like evaporation, fertility, temperature and humidity, day/night and seasonal cycles, food decay and diseases is the emergent gameplay that appears!

20160604 CampFire

Remember, we have our Wiki hosted by Gamepedia which has some interesting details on the game mechanics.

If you have any questions, we also have our forums.

And once again here are our launch trailers:

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 23rd, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Beta 22 and Launch Trailer!

SteamHeader

The game is releasing on Steam on the 23rd August, here’s the launch trailer!

It’s only 3 days away, so this will probably be the final Beta and pretty much what the Release version will look like. There’s actually quite a significant change to the endgame in this version.

20160820 Decay

Raw materials all have bacterial decay now. The decay is slow and varies depending on the environmental conditions and material type. This encourages the player to craft and build higher tier objects which don’t suffer from the same level of decay.

20160820 Deathmod

I’ve also added a pregnancy/nomad modifier to avoid the cases where lots of Pokians die but you get new ones almost immediately because of a high prosperity. Now if you get a death, there is a reduction in the probability of pregnancy/nomads appearing. This reduction disappears over time. I was actually surprised by how often people died in player’s games. I guess testing the game for hundreds of hours means I know it too well!

Lastly, the steam trading cards are done and the theme is animals! Here’s a look at the bear trading card:

bear

And here’s the full list of changes for Beta 22:

Features

  • New version releases will no longer overwrite user config changes on Steam

20151024Monuments

Gameplay

  • Slightly increased chance of water evaporation
  • Reimplemented puddles on game start so there is water present
  • Added bacterial decay for many raw materials
  • Added large water decay for dyes
  • Changed decay effect to show up based on how fast object is decaying
  • Increased default average foreign tribe starting prosperity
  • Added modifier for pregnancy and nomads chance based on recent deaths

20160609 Dyes

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed priority task extract not listing whether ground or object
  • Made destroying building from query panel and extract button do the same thing
  • Fixed oversized buildings not disappearing completely when destroyed
  • Removed redundant destroy building task
  • Fixed Pokian trying to enter a building that has been destroyed getting stuck
  • Added check for geovapour being too large and causing endless rain

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 20th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Beta 21.02

Another quick patch for some minor issues!

Features

  • Removed annoying shaman rain notification

Gameplay

  • Made stone knife and waterskin bag as default desired for new Pokians
  • Changed walls from being impassable to very difficult to cross over

Bug fixes

  • Removed automatic start fire when stoke fire fails in case Pokian doesn’t have Spark ability
  • Fixed priority zero tasks disappearing from existence and leaving ghost icon
  • Fixed notifications not being blurred out properly
  • Fixed unable to extract walls
  • Fixed priority list not listing whole word for extracts

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 12th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments