Planning out the UI
Right out of the gates we knew that the UI was going to be a vital piece to Tech Tycoon’s success. After all, Tech Tycoon, at its core, is a simulation. Because of that, all of the gameplay lies within the UI. But I had no idea where to begin. We started with just trying to get a basic text box. Riveting stuff, I know. After playing with color palettes, choosing between a dark theme versus a light theme, and drawing inspiration from other games, we finally came to an understanding of what the “final draft” of our UI might look like. While we are still trying to nail down the details of what that will look like, we decided that we are going for a clean aesthetic, nothing fancy. Which is good, considering I’ve never done UI design before. The idea is we want as few windows and as few interruptions as possible. One of the design decisions that we made was to make some of the UI only accessible via the game world. Meaning if you want to access the calendar for instance you have to actually move your character to the calendar on the wall. I like the idea of objects within the game having a practical use. Limiting the player in that regard actually brings them into the game more due to them relying on various assets to get what they want. We also want to add an element of time management to the game, and taking the time to move around the office should feel like a commitment, because your time is valuable. More on that further below.
Using UI to Convey Critical Information
There is a TON of information that we need to convey to the player. Statistics about the employees, customer traffic, how the business is operating over time, any upcoming events like holidays or birthdays, the list goes on. Data is your weapon as a business owner, and we want to make sure you are well-equipped.
The player will be able to review the vitals, attributes, and badges, of all his employees. Things like name, age, how good this employee is at customer service, etc. You will also be able to view how they are performing. How many customers this employee might have ticked off, how much money they earned for the company, how many computers that have been repaired by this employee, and so on.
The Time System
One of the first mechanics implemented was the concept of time. There are seasons, weeks, weekdays, weekends, and even phases of the day – Morning, After Noon, and Evening. This gives us a lot of room for creativity. We can make the world feel alive by having customer traffic be influenced by the season, time of day, and what day of the week it is. We will also be adding events. Things like holidays, birthdays, and other special events will spice the day-to-day up by introducing new and special challenges to the player.
While also making the macro decisions of the business owner, you must also make the micro decisions of the manager. The manager is a playable character of upmost importance to your business’s success. In terms of impact, the manager is basically a movable buff. If the manager goes near a employee, that employee will enjoy a buff to all attributes until you leave. Or, if you move the manager to his desk, he will earn some income overtime. However, like we mentioned above, the manager will also be needed around the office, making your time a valuable resource. You will also be able to level up the manager, earning him a badge of your choice so that you can optimize the manager to work with your play style. We are still adding to the manager, so expect some exciting updates in that regard. More buffs, decisions, objects in the office, etc.
I hope you found this post interesting, there is a lot more to come and I’m excited to share with you my progress every step of the way. To send you off, we hope you enjoy some screen shots from our brainstorming sessions. Have a good one!
-William Fewtrell and Turner Allen