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Economic Hitman – Postmortem

Posted by
Friday, April 24th, 2015 4:03 am

I want to talk freely for who wants to read some stuff about the last Ludum Dare jam (spoiler: it was amazing).

Who was our target audience?

The Ludum Dare Jam is based on a theme voted the days before by the people. After the submission of your game, you should vote for other games made from other devs around the globe to get more visibility for your entry. The target audience for the game are actually developers! There is no any restriction of age to participate, so we had to rely on personal estimations. The feeling we had lurking on past editions was about 20–30 years old people, mostly male and of course all devs. That means that, for example, if you make a clone of Candy Crush Saga they will simply eat you publicly and threaten to burn your house. Just joking, of course (I would do the same, anyway :P). The topic of the 32nd edition was “An Unconventional Weapon”. The first goal was, then, find some great message or some great mechanic for them. Regarding session times, you will not have too much time to review each game: as I said, for each game you review you will gain more visibility. With more “coolness” factor you will receive more precious feedback and more votes. The second goal was that the game should have been fast to play and to understand in a 2 minutes session.

Who are we?

In our case, in Sentendo (a new game development reality we are trying to build here in Barcelona) we are three professionals. Each one of us has many responsibilities at the time, anyway we use to define some role (and responsibility) for internal organization: me the producer, Kostas the programmer and Jordi the artist. We all are game designers, the role is shared between the whole team since we all are good in this field (that means that each one of us sincerely thinks that the other 2 are great game designers, and for us that’s enough). For the Ludum Dare, Jordi was not with us due to a job he has with a client, so we were in two without any artist. The third decision was the roles definition: me as asset finder and adapter and Kostas as programmer. He quickly discovered phaser.io to develop the game in HTML5. This technology is great for a challenges like that, to improve the session time in our game. You don’t have to install anything to play it, just click and play.

The game

Since there were no much time we opted to make something really neat and polished, something which people could enjoy easily and with a simple mechanic to implement. Again, you have only 72 hours to submit your game, and of course you cannot work straight all that time. We needed something with a simple and direct message, since we didn’t find a great mechanic to explore for the topic. The game was based on a book called “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. One of the arguments of this book is about the high level strategy of some corporate: they buy off their competitors just to close their companies assuring more market share for them. We decided to create a clicker game with a skill factor: click on your competitors to “fire” them with your cash bullets, and click on the coins they throw at you. The market share is represented from a Growth Factor that you and your competitors will have. The score will be the Budget you can amass during your play session. Players will see little people come out from the crushed companies, but they are small compared with the buildings. Another metaphor about the human role in the real context of inspiration.

What went bad

We wanted to make something simple, with a little deep on mechanics, but at the end we also made something difficult to balance on the fly. So the game is basically getting harder and harder and you will lose somehow. You can last more or less in the game, but you will lose. The competitors shot at you with their money to try and that will influence your growth factor. The attacks will be always more frequent and soon will become simply impossible to catch every coin coming at you. You will lose, you can try to achieve a better score, but you will lose sooner or later. That is a mistake for a skill-based game, in my opinion. The first change I would like to make to the game (and maybe I will do it) is to change the pacing to achieve the perfect balance between challenge and chance. You should last potentially forever if you are good.

What went good

First of all, that was tremendously funny. I worked with a real lightness in my head and spirit. The pressure is high and the time is few, but if you know what’s the real goal, the experience is only positive. And that is to have fun, simple as that. Prove that you can make a game, even with the few resources you have. You can make a game with pen and paper if you want. No matter that we didn’t have an artist, I opened my old graphic software on my old PC and start to search for a style to give to the game. That was awesome. Plus, I discovered great qualities in my colleague, Kostas. He has a great taste for animations, for example. Even if you design a game, if you paint some awesome sprite, there is some flavour that only a programmer can put. That is really an important spot for our future together.

Oh, I almost forgot, you can see the game we made here, if you want to give a peek.

Cheers! ☺

[Sentendo Team] Last balance tunings and feedback improvement

Posted by
Monday, April 20th, 2015 1:28 pm

We are on the last run, finally. Today Kostas worked, so he started now to put again his hands to the code. I (Paolo) had the time to make some adjustments and priority changes. Everything should be in its place.

Ah, I almost forgot, this will be our starting screen. Never made a logo, so I used a simple online tool. The important is the message we want to pass with this game.

economic hitman main screen

[Sentendo Team] Progression is important

Posted by
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 6:43 am

Economic Hitman

The player controls a company in its road to become a big corporate. To make this happen you have to buy your competitors to destroy their company after and gain more market share. This is an actual behavior of many corporates and it is represented in the game with cash-bullets you throw to your competitors: you will both damage their budget (energy) and their growth. A negative growth means they will “bleed” their budget with time. Also competitors will fire at you with their coins to damage your growth factor, but you can click on the coins and collect them adquiring more power.

Progression

We will not have XP or stuff like that, simply you will level up each X competitors you destroy. We will probably have 5 levels for you ready at the end of the ludum, on the last one you will get a really famous company, try to unlock it (without looking at art assets, cheater! :P).

buuilding progress

[Sentendo Team] Economic Hitman – 1st Update

Posted by
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 12:43 pm

The player controls a Company which can use its money to destroy their Competitors. The unconventional weapon is the cash you throw (maybe not that unconventional, according to the book :P).

Business world resumed in this GIF 😀

 business time

[Sentendo Team] Economic Hitman – Game Design Post

Posted by
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 5:29 am

Hi all,

this is Sentendo team from Barcelona, Spain.

Our game is inspired by a book called “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” (more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man):

“Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources.”

Players

The player controls a Company which can use its money to hit Competitors. The unconventional weapon is the cash you throw (maybe not that unconventional, according to the book :P).

The Goal

Destroy your competitors buying their companies (attacking them with cash bullets) to get more economic power for your company.

Gameplay

game screen

The player controls a company against a growing list of competitors to shoot at. Each company (both the player and the competitors) has 2 elements:

  1. Budget: is the company health and it is useful to attack others
  2. Growth factor: is a % which can be influenced with attacks and determine the increase/decrease of the Budget

The money will grow automatically with time if you have a good growth, otherwise you will start to lose it. Since Growth factor is a percentage, the more money you have the more you will earn with time.

You can attack the competitors clicking on them and fire them with cash bullets (not in the image) to damage their Growth factor. This will be your “unconventional weapon”, and it uses your Budget pool as ammunition. The more attacks the more damages you make to the competitor’s Growth factor, up to its destruction (their Budget reaches zero).

Also competitors attack you influencing your growth factor each X seconds.

  • lose condition: your budget reaches zero.
  • win condition: no one, there is no any Nirvana in the cruel capitalist world, so the game is potentially infinite.

The game will be in HTML5, we are 2 people working at this project right now:

Kostas Karachalios – game design and programming with Phaser framework: http://phaser.io/

Paolo Gambardella – game design and art (search on Internet for free resources and adapt them)

 

send us a “good luck” if you read this! 😀

 

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