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Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostSun Jun 14, 2009 10:10 pm
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Played Entrepreneur: The Beginning and still don't know what to do? Ask here. Discovered an irritating bug that needs to be squashed? Say so here. Have an idea to make the game better. Mention it here.

As of today, June 14, 2009, there is a new version posted. This version provides bugfixes to quite a few problems with object repairs, customer service, and missing plot points.

It also comes with the full list of instructions and a new document playing out the introduction in screenplay form. Both can be downloaded as attachments if you don't want to wait for the game download to read them (though, they're both also included in the zip file, so it's your call).

The Bugfixes:

Fixed the menu reversal between broken and fixed equipment. Selling items at the pawn shop should now have a sense of order.

Eliminated an extraneous script that caused an "interpreter overload" with the toolbox. Also cleaned up the repair item presentation.

Also addressed a missing menu highlight whenever the player acquires the toolbox legitimately.

Fixed a huge problem with customers not showing up after the third or fourth day. I had spent a good chunk of the month-long design time trying to hunt this thing down and I finally found what was causing it. So now they should show up every day and in droves according to popularity levels.

Fixed all the problems with the coffee critic that I could find, including misreading the cup quality with the brew quality, and not leaving the park with the others at the end of the day.

Fixed all the "Division by Zero" errors I could find.

New Implementations:

Addressing complaints about a lack of direction, I implemented some navigation into the story. While previous players should know how to play by now, new players will have an easier time getting into it.

Added a "Dash Key" to speed up travel time. Press and hold "Left Shift" to use.

Note: This has to be manually activated from the main menu under the new bitset "Advanced Features." I had problems with performance whenever it was enabled, so I eliminated it as a built-in feature.

Ceramic cups should now be fully functional, though there are still issues with customers leaving the park at the end of the day with them still in hand. Use at own risk.

Mailbox now delivers the full 60-day cycle. As an added bonus, some pieces of mail change depending on how you play the game.

Extended the "End of Day Report" to show customer satisfaction levels.

And that's all that comes to mind at the moment.

Again, please list any additional bugs you may find or any suggestions you might have to make the game more enjoyable.

Thanks.
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 PostMon Jun 15, 2009 4:27 pm
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Haven't had much play time lately, so I haven't finished yet (although I am glad to be able to do so now on the updated version)

I did just read "Corporate Irony". Ouch. Poor guy. You think Corporate would have upped the insurance on the building after all that, but nooo :(
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 PostTue Jun 16, 2009 2:10 am
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Quote:
I did just read "Corporate Irony". Ouch. Poor guy. You think Corporate would have upped the insurance on the building after all that, but nooo Sad


But that would require some level of sensibility / intelligence on Corporate's part, and we all know that doesn't exist.
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 PostMon Jun 22, 2009 3:11 pm
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Stealing is so easy. I was carefully watching my persuasion skill, and stealing as much as I could from each store each morning. The life of crime was a good one. I was making more and more money with my better ingredients, and I wasn't having to pay for anything!

Then, suddenly, BAM! I was caught! I spent the day in jay, payed a giant fine that wiped out my bank account and put my deep into the red, and then BAM! Autosave! Too late to go back!

It was cruel, but I think it was a lesson I needed to learn.

Crime doesn't pay.
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 PostMon Jun 22, 2009 6:29 pm
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Quote:
It was cruel, but I think it was a lesson I needed to learn.

Crime doesn't pay.


And neither does selling coffee Grin

The funny thing is that the consequences get much worse if you keep the lifestyle going.
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 PostMon Jun 22, 2009 9:13 pm
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Pepsi Ranger wrote:
And neither does selling coffee :D

The funny thing is that the consequences get much worse if you keep the lifestyle going.


Suddenly I feel motivated to turn back to my life of crime >:)
If only to see how much worse it can get.
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 PostThu Jul 15, 2010 7:58 pm
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I've spent parts of the summer updating this game, and within the next week I'll have another major gameplay element installed. I'm gonna want one or two more playtesters to give the new feature a try once it's ready. Any takers?

Note: Taking the position means I'm gonna ask you to do another playtest when the next major feature is implemented (probably in August). So be aware of that.

The game will be rereleased when it's actually completed. This could happen as early as October. But it probably won't happen until script multitasking is ready.

I'm also reopening requests/suggestions if anyone has any.
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 PostSat Jul 31, 2010 11:49 pm
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I'm still adding to and refining the latest major feature to Entrepreneur: The Beginning, but I thought I'd share some progress pictures for those who are interested.

Since the ability to make coffee has always been limited, I decided to add a tips system that rewards the player for making consistent cups of excellent coffee. Blow the customers' minds enough times and you could earn a $10, $12, or $15 bonus per cup! On one playthrough, I finished a day having made $63. So it is possible to make money now.

However, constantly doling out coffee could get old and expensive after awhile, so now Buck has a fallback business for those dry periods: Neighborhood Chores for Profit.

In the new Pine Alley Drive development, Buck can go from door to door looking for side jobs to make up for slow coffee business times. Not everyone will be home all the time, though, and not everyone who is home will need something done on that day specifically, but for those who are home and need some work done, Buck can help them out...for cash.

To help him prepare for business, he'll first need to visit the outdoor tools shop in a new section of town called Hybrid City West.



At the Outdoor Chores & Crap, Buck can purchase a variety of yard tools and use them to help out his neighbors with their chores.

Any tool he buys will show up on or around his new dedicated tool bay in the eastern section of his front yard. Later on, he'll be able to use his regular tools to modify certain pieces of equipment to extend or improve their functionality.



Once he selects the tools he wants to take with him (up to three at a time), he can visit the Pine Alley Drive neighborhood and start knocking on people's doors. He'll know whether people are home by seeing if their cars are in the driveway. If someone's home, he can beg them for a job, but only if they need the work done.





In all, Buck will have as many as five possible chores to perform. For those with multiple chores available, Buck can select the option to do everything there is to do on the lot. But he must be careful because the homeowner will expect him to do everything if he picks everything. If his yard skill is low, he might not have enough time in the day to do it all. It's best for him to take one job at a time in the early days.

Some of his options include:

Mowing the grass.



Cleaning pools.



Painting houses.



And more.

Once he completes a job (or does all that he's gonna do for the day), he can return to the homeowner to collect his money. The homeowner, in turn, will pay him for however much of the job he finished.



The better Buck gets, the faster he'll get. And modified tools will eventually cover more ground. But it's important that Buck finishes as much of the work as he can because a lousy job will earn Buck a lousy reputation, and a bad reputation spreads through word-of-mouth like wildfire. If his reputation drops low enough, none of the neighbors will want to hire him, and that's bad for business.



On a related note, a good job will improve Buck's reputation, and more neighbors will want to hire him in the future.

So, that's a sample of the coming additions and improvements to Entrepreneur: The Beginning.

I'll post more information as it becomes relevant.
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 PostThu Nov 15, 2012 6:36 am
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It's been about three years since I've started holding this game hostage, and finally, after much negotiation, Buck Star and I have come to an agreement. I will be rereleasing Entrepreneur: The Beginning as its newest version, 1.2, soon, and it will leap far beyond the game you once remember playing. It has been a psychological battle over substance and quantity with me, but in the end I figured an alpha release is an alpha release for the very reason that more can always be added in later. So, I've decided that many of the features that I had wanted to implement for the next release can wait for the v1.3 edition.

So, what does that mean for v1.2? Well, here are some screenshots to give you a sample:

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New shoppers window. Don't want to guess what's in your wallet? Now you don't have to. Compare your running cost with your available funds and purchase if everything lines up. Grocery list can support up to six items at a time. (Can be turned off via the "Advanced Features" window if you don't like how much screen it eats up.)

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Consignment Shop. Tired of buying stuff that you can no longer afford to keep? Found some garbage in the trash that might be worth some salvage? Take it to the consignment shop for evaluation and reward.

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Flavor Matching. Do you want to gain some extra popularity with your guests? Put their favorite ingredient in their coffee. Do you really want to piss someone off, even at the expense of your good name? Give them that most hated ingredients. Discover who loves and hates what as you go. The customer list will record your discoveries once you've unlocked them.

Note: Allergic reactions to specific ingredients coming soon, but not for v1.2.

Making coffee that comes close to matching a customer's specific value needs (quality, comfort, and flavor) will also benefit your business through word-of-mouth praise and a popularity increase.

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It's best not to feed your customers the things they hate if you want your popularity to survive. No ingredient is off limits. Even the basics can get under the skins of some.

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New Holdover Tray. Are you about to serve a customer who doesn't want what you're selling (and you know it)? Set that cup in your hand on the holdover tray and get your current customer something else that suits him better. Then, when the next guy comes, if you want him to have what you made earlier, just take it off the tray and serve. But be warned, coffee gets cold if it sits on the tray too long.

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Not sure what you put in that cup? Are you worried that it's already cooled too much and the customer will punish you for it? No problem. The new ingredient display window will tell you exactly what's in that cup and how hot, warm, cold, or dead it is.

And that's just a minor sample of the things that I've added since v1.1 back in June 2009. Older posts here and in the "Hype Your Own Game" thread will reveal other features that are coming with v1.2. Of course, many things, like the more advanced customer AI, will just have to be discovered once it's released. And you won't be disappointed. Making money in 60 days just got better and a lot more fun.

Just ask James and TMC, who have been playtesting this thing since 2009.

Want to see the improved gameplay in action? Here's an abbreviated look at Day 4, set to the music of Kinder Atom's "Chic" (chosen for its identical length to the video and its "chill" relevance to coffee culture). Enjoy.

Playtesters still welcome if you'd like an early trial.


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 PostThu Nov 15, 2012 3:24 pm
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I give this Coffee Game my thumbs up!

*pthew!* (spits store powder on the floor)

Terrible! (hands begin shaking from caffeine withdrawal)

I'll take two more cups, make it snappy!
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 PostSun Aug 04, 2013 6:44 am
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I've spent a good chunk of my development time since the last posting here working on background AI. What does that mean exactly? Well, three things:

1. Dynamic Shops

Yes, the time has finally come for Hybrid City to recognize that more people than Buck Star may need to shop for items, and Buck Star may not be the only person racing to grab that last necessary item from the store shelf.

Even though it's unlikely a shop will ever run out of items before Buck gets to it in a given day, the possibility does exist, so it's smart planning to buy the most important items first before wasting your time shopping at a store that you can wait a little longer to visit. The shops will restock their shelves for the following business day, but that failure to grab what you want when you need it may cost you a healthy income in a given day.

Small items = 100 available units daily.
Equipment = 10 available units daily.

Shops are also responsible for leasing and restocking costs, so if the shop makes less than its daily operational costs, it will lose money that day. If its coffers dip below zero, it will close briefly for restructuring. How long it stays closed will depend on how far below zero it drops. Shops can stay closed for as many as four days straight if the deficit is bad enough. Fortunately, the sign on the door, or the report from the lease agent can explain when the shop expects to reopen for business. Some (not all) will also close on the 4th of July, and some may close early or all day on Sundays.

Note: Even though a slew of shoppers will raid the stores for their wares now, they will remain in phantom mode for v1.2. I'll start populating the game with nonmerchant NPCs in v1.3.

2. Chet Armstrong, True Rival

The shops are not the only thing operating in dynamic mode now. I've spent the last few months building Chet as a true rival to Buck, moving in the background, but shopping (under the same limitations as Buck), buying equipment and ingredients, making drinks, juices, smoothies, teas, and selling bakery items to phantom shoppers all the same. He can even satisfy the needs of a juice critic, who operates in the same fashion as the coffee critic who visits Buck, and earn the same kind of awards. His money and popularity (and expenses) change with every transaction, which are conditional on his business level (determined by which equipment he buys and uses), and his ability to serve customers in a timely manner are also tracked through skill, preparedness, and shop inventory.

In a future version, you might even run into him out in the field. But not in v1.2.

Why does this matter? Read on to find out.

Coming Next: Mr. Miyagi, Paid Instructor

Even Miyagi is getting in on the dynamic business model. Depending on the day and time, he will teach karate classes for cash. Class attendance will depend on popularity. No more accruing $8 an hour for the sake of giving him money each day. He'll have to earn it like everyone else in Hybrid City.

Okay, so why does any of this matter when the game is about Buck Star, and everything I've described runs entirely in the background?

3. Hostile Takeovers

Yes, this feature is just about ready. What's it for? Extra money, of course. If Buck visits the lease agent, he'll be able to view reports on any shop in Hybrid City, including Chet's and Miyagi's, and get detailed accounts of how well they're doing (if they're not already bankrupt from consistently bad sales). Now that Chet and Miyagi (and everyone else) is scripted to run dynamically, rather than incrementally--Chet used to make $5 an hour and had a popularity score directly inverted to Buck's--Buck can affect how well his rivals do by buying up their stocks (a strategy for preventing Chet in buying his), or buying up their shops. Yes, once this feature is implemented, Buck will be able to invest in other businesses, make extra money if they do well (which he can affect by buying their stuff), and ultimately take over ownership if he can invest more than 50% of their shares. And if he can buy out Chet's Liquid Shack...

Well, you can see where this is going. ;)

Eventually I'll be putting in a newsstand where Buck can view the latest in business news and find out who's stalking who financially, and who's burying the weak. Oh yeah, part of making shops into dynamic characters means giving them the ability to invest (and ultimately buy out) each other. Buck is now just a small fish in a nasty little pond.

(But changing the game's difficulty may change how this feature works.)

So, that's the latest on Entrepreneur: The Beginning. Version 1.2 will be online soon. Stay tuned.
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 PostSun Aug 04, 2013 5:02 pm
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Wow, 1.2 is close to release you say?

Pepsi Ranger wrote:
Buck can affect how well his rivals do by buying up their stocks (a strategy for preventing Chet in buying his)


I think this is the most important part. Simulating all this stuff in the background isn't worth it if it doesn't affect the game, or at the very least has interesting non-gameplay gimmicky effects. I think that if you're going to go down the road of adding competition with other businesses then you should either make it a significant part of the game or else it won't be worth it. Sabotaging Chet by buying vital supplies could be neat, but only if it's a practical strategy, has real effect on your own situation, and can be discovered without reading a tutorial. And Chet's success should be bad for you directly, but I assume that's already planned or implemented.

But I suspect just sabotaging by buying stock isn't enough. What about other strategies? Dissuading customers by placing posters near the other business. Buying drinks from Chet and making difficult requests. Playing dirty.

Ten pieces of equipment per day sounds quite excessive. Under what conditions will that run out?
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 PostSun Aug 04, 2013 7:03 pm
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That fateful day, when Pepsi Ranger added one too many lines of plotscript... and Entrepreneur became self aware
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 PostSun Aug 04, 2013 11:10 pm
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TMC wrote:
But I suspect just sabotaging by buying stock isn't enough. What about other strategies? Dissuading customers by placing posters near the other business. Buying drinks from Chet and making difficult requests. Playing dirty.


You may be interested in the sidequest where you put sewage into Chet's water supply.
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 PostMon Aug 05, 2013 5:52 pm
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Well, I do have plans to send Chet's minions into the coffee pavilion to announce discounts on products that Buck may not actually be carrying, which amounts to lost orders and disappointed customers if those items haven't been stocked (and the whole point is that they probably haven't been stocked). Once I implement the sabotage system, I'll likely include similar reverse gimmicks: sending your minions to tell Chet's customers how awesome his coffee is, for example, and him losing sales because he doesn't sell coffee.

Mogri wrote:
You may be interested in the sidequest where you put sewage into Chet's water supply.


Who invited you into my head, Mogri???

But, joking aside, this is not far off from my actual plan. Later on I'll be adding a third block of time called "free time," and during free time, you'll be able to set traps at the Liquid Shack (and Chet can set traps at the Coffee Pavilion) that could cause problems for the shop owners the next day (up to and including tainting the water). Obvously, hiring security (or setting security traps) can deter sabotage from screwing your business over. I don't have plans for sabotaging other businesses, but it doesn't mean I won't think of something in the near future.

(Oh, and sabotage is not the main purpose of free time. It's actually meant to fuel the social element I plan to introduce into the game, but it is the most logical time of the day to commit sabotage.)

If you guys have ideas on what you'd like to be able to do to affect the town's overall economy (and help your business while harming your rivals' businesses), I'm open to suggestions. This is a good time to sound off on them.

EDIT: Oh, I missed this question:

TMC wrote:
Ten pieces of equipment per day sounds quite excessive. Under what conditions will that run out?


Most customers who enter a store won't have the funds needed to buy certain pieces of equipment. They're far more likely to buy small items, so ten is a reasonable number. But the system runs on a lottery, so the condition for running out is to simply have enough customers coming in for a particular item or object and them having the money to pay for it (all purchases and wallet values are based on a random value).
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