Monday Developer Journal #10 (With Q&A)

TechExecutiveTycoonLogo_01Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day! Last week was quite productive for the planning phase of the AI system. During every stage of development, I go through a planning refinement process so that I can make sure everything is as organized as possible before I start to implement code. This week I will actually start coding things into the game for the AI and AI company decision making processes. So today I want to talk a bit about this without giving away too much detail. I want to make sure you do not know the inner workings of the AI’s thought process, however the way I am creating this, it will be setup to be as unpredictable as possible. So let’s begin!

My plan for the AI is that each AI company is capable of independent thought regarding what it does and the decisions it makes. So in the game, I am approaching the AI in a way that allows it to evaluate the world conditions and its own current situation before making decisions.

Test_TET 2016-02-15 18-33-53-64AI CEO competition

Each company will have their own CEO AI. This AI will evaluate every month the current situation related to its company. It will take into account everything, from what kind of talent they have working at their company, to the condition of their finances. The AI will try to prioritize their actions against their available budget. If they have the budget to make certain decisions, they will. The design is also so that they evaluate the potential impact of their decisions going forward.

My goal is to have the AI essentially do the same thing a player would. So things like looking at the state of their entire company and prioritizing their decisions to reflect the most pressing needs and attempt to plan for the future at the same time. So each CEO has goals that govern their direction and focus. So each CEO will go through four primary phases during this process.

  1. Company Evaluation phase – The company evaluation phase is where the CEO grabs information about the budget of the company, the happiness of their employees, the performance of their products and if they are publicly traded, the performance of their stock among many other things.
  2. Goal evaluation phase – during this phase, the AI will evaluate the progress toward their set goals. So if the company wanted to increase their market share percentage by 5%, they will check how much closer or farther they have come to this goal. If they have closed the gap, it will be considered progress to the AI, if not, it will be considered regression and raise a red flag. Once this happens, the AI will look at every area of the company that has a direct effect on that goal and try to prioritize a fix or course correction in the next phase.
  3. Prioritization phase – In this phase the AI will rank the most important or pressing concerns within the company and then prepare to act on them. In this phase, the AI will also increase the importance of concerns they could not act on this turn, and this is to make sure that old problems that are less of a direct concern than other things will eventually get addressed.
  4. Action phase – take action based on the list compiled from the previous phase.

So as you can see, the plan is to create a dynamic AI system that keeps the pressure on the player to outperform the competition. This is great in theory and on paper, but implementing such a system is challenging and I will soon be testing to make sure it is every bit as efficient as originally planned. Either way, I am excited to showcase the results the moment it is ready for show time.  

TechExecutiveTycoon(Beta2 2016-03-29 18-43-36-21AI Customers

So that is the plan for the AI company’s in the game, however there is more to the AI than the competition. In the game, there will also be other entities that you will have the opportunity to interact with. The customers of your products for one is quite central to game and I want to speak a bit about them.

Customers in the game will be dynamic as they would be in real life. So as mentioned in the last video, customers will come in different types and have different taste. Each product type will have their customer subsets. CPU customers will have enthusiast, business and casual customers who all value different things in a Central Processing Unit. Personal Computer fans will also be similar having enthusiast customers who value high performance and cutting edge technology. Your business customer will want stability, cost efficiency and optimal designs. Casual customers will prioritize cost efficiency that bridges the gap between price and performance. Video game customers will be quite different however. You will have customers of different genre’s along with different levels of dedication to the medium. So you will have game enthusiast who can either be your most dedicated customer or your worst PR nightmare if they are mistreated by your company or hate your games. You will also have casual gamers who will tend to be gamers who want quick entertaining experiences. There are so many more things to dig into when it comes to how the Video games portion of this game will work, but I will save them for another update.

Thanks for reading this update everyone! I will have more for you next week, so please stay tuned!

Q&A

Tech_Executive_Tycoon_Build(2.0)_7Mohammed Hijazi: regarding costumers, the population in each city for each category will grow with time based on what you give the city or what your competitors give the city?or how will it work? and how long (in real life minutes) does each week take on high speed that is currently set!?

WEB: The population can grow or shrink, but not by too much. The plan is to have each city vary in the demographics for each type of product. So there will be different demographics for each city. For example, some cities are more wealthy than others, and those cities will have a higher concentration of business customers or wealthy customers. Each city has customers that fit within one of the wealth classes and as a result the more wealthy the city, the higher the concentration of type of customer, which slightly changes what matters to that type of customer. So where a low wealth casual customer who lives in a low wealth city really cares about cost of a product to a very high degree, the casual customer in a very wealthy city will care about that greatly but to a smaller degree than the previous customer. So in essence, just because your product performed well with the low wealth customers in city A, doesn’t mean you’ll experience the same success with that demographic in city B.

There will be another speed added to the game, however as it stands, one day takes a few seconds, a week takes around a couple minutes and so on. I will provide the exact numbers in the future.

Marius Alsén: Will there be a possibility to let staff handle the process of distribution and sales? If you set poorly skilled people to do it for you, then it will be highly sub-optimal, but even with the best skilled staff, the player might be able to tweak thing more effective themselves. This way some players can streamline this part of the game, while at a cost of poorer optimization.

Tech_Executive_Tycoon_Build(2.0)_4WEB: Yes, this is the plan. To what degree? I am still tweaking this. However the original idea of the game which is still very much intact is to allow you to delegate responsibility. I will provide more details soon. Either way, more direct interaction by you the player will always result in the best chance at success.

Adobi: I noticed as time goes by the employees don’t do anything but sit in their seats maybe they could go grab a coffee or snack sometime?

WEB: Yes, animations are still being added and quite a few are not yet in the game.

Azhrei: Hi there! Great update as usual. I have another awkward question for you 

I’ve noticed a few times now that the global map looks a little squashed from the perspective you have chosen. I understand you have done this so you can include detail on whatever below it, but it seems to me it’s still a little too squashed. Would a flat, 2D image work better? Or maybe have a list of areas, clicking an arrow on each will open another list of cities and so on. Such as Europe > Paris and so on, North America > San Francisco or something to that effect.

There are obviously more choices in the USA than the others, and that’s primarily why I’m a bit worried about how squashed the map is, where it might be frustrating trying to click on Monterrey and you actually click on Austin, or anything surrounding the New York area. The map as is just looks too front on rather than top-down for comfort.

Monday5_05WEB: Yes, the map will undergo a few more iterations and fixes to makes sure it is both easy to read and interact with. 

NietRobin: Hey Web, will you be able to update hardware-based products as well? Like, when the PS3 got followed up by the PS3 slim? And still have all the games you/other companies made for it run on the newer version?

WEB: Yes, you will be able to release updated versions of hardware as well as software. This will be represented as iterations of the same product. More details to come regarding this. 

 

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