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The Five Main Systems and Strategy For The Early Access Launch!

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At this point the game development has been focused on the 5 major systems of the game. Those 5 systems are, for the most part, completely coded out and fully functional within this initial early access release. From this point forward, the plan is to make them more and more useful with every early access update. All of them are quite intricate and you can see them all working in real time right now with the current build. I thought explaining them might be very helpful for new players to have a little strategy and also make the user appreciate what is going on under the hood, given their uses may not be too apparent while we are in the game’s infant stages.

 

  1. The Ability System

This system may right now come across as just a percentage you see when you hire someone, but there is so much going on with it (even in this early stage!). I guess there are two main points here: “What it is” and “What it does”.

I will tackle “what it is” first. The ability score is a very in-depth percentage on what that employee is able to achieve. It takes quite a lot into account! When you hire employees, you see their resumes. First is education. This starts with high school graduate as the base (and the majority of people you will find going for non-corporate cellular retail jobs are in this category). After that, there are 51 colleges currently in the game. Each one of them have their own separate ranking. That ranking is the first part of the Ability Score equation.

Next you will see experience. Each candidate lists 4 previous jobs they have had in their life. Each job is split up into four different parts, all of which are extremely important. The first stat to look at is the Industry. This can be either Food, Service, or Retail. Each one of those categories have 20 different places of employment and 30 different job titles for each place! After this you will see their length of employment for each job. Every Industry, Job Title, Place of Employment and Length of Employment are all individually ranked.

Now the game throws the Education, Job Industry, Job Title, Place and Length of Employment rankings into the equation and spits out an Ability Score. So when you see the score sitting there on the resume, it is in a range of what it possibly could be. You can call references if you want to see what the actual ability score is.  You know what? Scratch that. Talk about an on the fly change. Just typing that out, it kind of seemed stupid to know without doing anything what the ability score is. I literally just stopped writing this, opened that script and changed the whole way that works! Now, you can’t see what the ability score is at all, you have to actually read the resume and if you want to get a range of what it could be, you can pay to call the references, and that range may or may not be helpful. Much better!

So let’s move on to the “What it does”. The Ability Score actually handles a lot right now in early access. The employees deal with the customers all completely different. Sometimes they will spend 5 seconds with a customer, other times they could spend an hour! The Ability Score dictates this. It also dictates whether or not said employee will be able to switch a customer from their first choice phone, into their second choice phone if you don’t have the first in stock. This is major, especially if you have inventory shortages. The higher ability scored employees can also manage stress better. The Ability Score will, in the future, increase with the length of employment (maybe) or he might just stay the same depending on how you are managing them.

 

  1. Store Rating

So obviously the customers are going to play a very large role in a retail simulator. The system in play here that controls how often and when customers come in is the Store Rating. Each day there are random peak hours that will drive in customers. Though you may not get too many if your rating is low. The three biggest underlying variables of the rating are:

The employee Ability Score of those that are working that day. Customers will be much happier if there are competent employees working, getting them in and out of the store as quickly as possible and putting the correct device in their hands.

Next is the marketing. Everyday you have 6 choices of how to market your store. This isn’t as straight forward as it sounds. Sure you can bring in a ton of customers by spending the most amount of money on marketing, but what is the point if you have crap employees? They key is to balance the marketing to your employee’s strengths. If you have average employees, you need to spend a mediocre amount on advertising so they can keep up with the flow of traffic. When you have excellent employees, you again need to evaluate the situation. Sure they can keep up with heavy flows of traffic, but what is the point if you are lacking in the inventory department? You need to be diligent in keeping up with all these aspects if you want to make money.

The third is all about the store. Upgrades. Yeah, the bulk of them aren’t going to be in the first early access release but there are a few. You can upgrade your tables to have either dummy or live devices and you can upgrade the wall displays with proper advertisements geared towards particular manufacturers. Having all of these upgraded to the fullest will ensure a good customer rating.

There are more items in play here, they just don’t merit that much explanation, such as customer satisfaction. That is just a percentage of your customers who leave with the device they want in a timely fashion.

 

  1. Inventory

Inventory is very important when running a retail store. Right now in the initial release you are only managing the phones. In future releases it is going to cover accessories as well. How inventory works in this game is based on a delivery system. When you order phones they do not come until the next day. We don’t have our Amazon Drones delivering our items in 30 minutes just yet! You must, must, must, must pay attention to this or you will be doomed.

People also don’t realize just how expensive phones are, even to the store. They don’t make much money on just the phone alone. The mark up on an outright phone is generally around the $50 mark in real life. The bulk of your profit is from the plan and accessories. Given accessories aren’t in this build just yet here is how it works: It is all based off of your employee’s ability (again, see how important that score is?!). The higher the ability, the more profit you can bring into the store. You will as well be able to control the price of the phone if you want a bigger markup for more profit. Though that has its downfalls, more on that in the next section.

 

  1. Employee Stress

Here is an interesting one. At this point in early access, this is a little easier to manage. There are really only three things you need to worry about here. They are:

Price of the phones. Employee’s do have morals, you know. Jacking up the prices are going to make employees uncomfortable. They know they are ripping off their customers for a quick buck when all the competition is selling the phones for way cheaper. Each transaction will raise the employee’s stress level (granted it’s a very tiny amount, so you can get away with it a bit). Its all based on just how much you raise those prices.

Next is the stress from working. Work your employees too many days in a row and they are going to get tired and very stressed out. Same goes the other way. Give your employee’s too many days off and they are going to get stressed because they aren’t getting paid.

The third biggest factor is going to be stressed from too many customers! Earlier we talked about how marketing a bunch with low level employees will cause an overflow. Those employees take too long with each customer and when this happens the store is going to get really full. When the store is full you are going to stop getting customers wanting to come in! When this happens the employees are going to get stressed just looking at the daunting number of customers getting impatient and wanting to be helped!

So at this point you might ask, well how do we relieve stress? The answer right now is quite simple. Give them a day off! And if they are stressed from not working enough? Schedule them! Giving them a day off will cut their current stress levels in half. Remember too, you can check their stress level by clicking on them and scheduling an employee meeting.

Keep an eye on this. I bet now you are probably wondering what happens when the stress level gets too high. Well, they quit obviously! Nobody wants that. It would stink if you found an awesome guy with the elusive 90% Ability Rating and then forget to give him days off so he quits on you!

 

  1. Store Upgrades

Store upgrades are the weird ones of this group. At this point in early access they are only partially implemented. Their functions are, for the most part, fully coded and in the game, I just am working on the actual models so the bulk of them aren’t there. First, I am going to talk about the ones that are in the game as it stands and then afterwards I will go into what is coming.

First we have the two major upgrades that are currently in the game. Table and Display Upgrades. Table upgrades refer to the 4 main tables that are in the middle of your store. When you start, these are completely empty! Well that’s not very aesthetically pleasing to your customers! Clicking on the table will give you a couple of upgrade options. You can either stock them with live or dummy devices. Dummy devices are a lot cheaper because they are just the plastic mock ups of the phone. It gives the customer the correct feel and looks of the phone but they can’t use it. Live devices are just as they sound. They are the actual devices on display. These are a lot more expensive but they make the customer a lot happier given they can actually get a feel for those devices. The downsides to live devices are not yet in the game, but in upcoming builds it is going to make you more prone to theft. There will also be certain upkeep you are going to have to pay attention to. The other available upgrade in the store are the wall displays. These are advertisements geared towards certain manufactures. They will always have live devices on them but it is up to you on what company you would like to sport. Currently in early access there are 4 different advertisements to choose from. All 8 will be available very soon.

Now on to the upgrades that are coming in the future. This section is purely for what is planned, so don’t expect these right away. You are going to be able to upgrade the individual tables, wall displays, and point of sale desks. These are all going to boost the customer rating all depending on how much you want to spend. There are also upgrades to benefit the employees. Currently their break room looks a little bland, and now that we are talking about it, so does the managers office. You will be able to upgrade all of these things and it will boost the employee ability score of the employees scheduled to work that day!

The biggest thing coming in the future are multiple stores. You are going to be able to manage 6 locations at a time, and that is quite the challenge, hence it not being in the game right now. What is being worked on is how exactly to manage all of these without making it too overbearing on you, the player. You are going to be able to hire individual managers for each store and they can take care of the micromanaging to your liking. Stay tuned for more information on this, like I said, this is going to be the meat of the game once it is implemented.

 

So there it is. Those are the 5 main systems currently in the game and I am really hoping that reading through this gives you the edge you need to succeed. Given these things are under the hood and not really in plain sight, it makes the game extremely difficult for new players. That is kind of why I wanted to write this up. Take it as half kind of explanation of what the game is, and half as a strategy guide for how to play. I am going to post this in the Steam Forums in a sticky post as well, so I can better discuss with you guys. Its hard to keep track and answer questions in a comment section.

I hope you guys enjoy the current state of the game, and what is to come in the future! As always you can post feedback and what you want to see in the Steam forums and on the main site storemanagerthegame.com!

 


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Store Page, Release Date, Price and Status on the Linux Build!

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So again, I just want to thank everybody for the support! The store page has been created and is up for everyone to see, you can do so by going here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/420910/ The release date that I am currently shooting for is December 3rd for PC and Mac. There will be a launch sale for the game running through the first week of release at $4.99. Afterwards it will be at its normal Early Access price of $6.99. As for the Linux build, I have to figure some things out. The game seems to work just fine except for keyboard controls. I have no idea what is causing this, but they just don’t work at all on Linux.

It seems like it would be simple enough, but it isn’t, apparently. If enough people are fine without keyboard controls for Linux (mouse controls work fine and I’ve made it where you can play the entire game with just a mouse) then I might just release the Linux build too before finding the fix. If you feel this way, please message me or post your opinion on the forums. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing everybody Dec 3rd!


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We Have Been Greenlit!

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Woohoo! After 38 days on Steam Greenlight the community has decided to greenlight us! It is quite exciting and I have been hard at work integrating Steam into the build and getting everything set up on the Steam side for an early access release. I am going to be wasting zero time on this; as soon as a build is ready, the release is going to happen. No waiting months between greenlighting and release, a couple weeks and we will be there!

I want to build this game along side the community, getting input from the users on what they want to see and what they think will make the game a better playing experience. I will be updating everything with information as it happens, so be sure to keep an eye out on Twitter (@ChromeAndroid), the main website (storemanagerthegame.com), or the Greenlight page. Thank you to everyone for the continued support, I look forward to creating an excellent retail simulator for you guys!


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New Dev Vlog! Employee Stress! Store Rating! Soundtrack! (Nov 2nd)

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Today we have a new dev vlog for you! A bunch of new features have been put into the stable build. We finally have the title screen, saving/loading and a game soundtrack! Now on to the new mechanics that were added.

 

A new marketing menu which generates a store rating was added. You can find the rating by going to the marketing menu and paying $100 for a report. This rating directly impacts the amount of customers you have in your store. You can raise it by having higher ability employees as well as paying for better marketing. Its caveat is that if you have a higher rating with lower ability employees, they won’t be able to deal with customers very fast and always having the store full will stress them out! Stress them out too much and they will quit! More on that below.

 

Next up we have setting the sale prices. Yes, that is now fully implemented. This is not a once a day task, you can actually change the prices when ever you want, and as many times as you want throughout the day. Though this also can add stress to the employees. If you sell them at too high of prices, the employees will get stress because they will feel like they are taking advantage of the customers.

 

Now the stress factor itself. This has been fully implemented. You can stress out employees in the ways mentioned above as well as over working them too many days in a row. The easiest way to relieve stress is by giving them a day off. You can always check their stress levels by clicking on them and having a meeting. I made the choice to have the meeting cost a flat $500. The reason for this is because the original idea called for it to be free but the employee would be pulled off the floor and brought into the managers office. The reason I didn’t do this is since the time moves so fast, the employee would be missing out on a lot more sales than what’s really realistic. Obviously a quick midday manager meeting wouldn’t last longer than 5-20 minutes tops, but given the time moves so fast by the time he walks to the office, has the meeting and walks back, an hour passes. So I made the ultimate decision to just expense it. $500, its about equal to one sale. Seemed fair for now, it will probably be tweaked in the future.

 

Last we added a bank loan! Yay! Now in case you go broke you can dig yourself out a little! Once you go under $500 you can borrow $10,000 from the bank. You can pay this back a little at a time daily, or in one lump sum with less interest!

 

I hope you are enjoying things so far! I’ll be sure to keep posting these videos every once in a while to keep you updated on development!

 

And please don’t mind any grammar and spelling errors. It is like 2am and I have been up for 24 hours now! Maybe its time to get some sleep finally…


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Updated Trailer and Some News

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So I put together a new trailer for the game. Basically its the same as the old one but now it shows some of the aspects you manage in the store on a daily basis, including some new systems like Employee Stress, Store Rating, etc. I will be putting together a new dev blog most likely tomorrow showcasing everything that has changed with the game. And oh man, its a lot! The game is nearing Early Access status! Stay tuned for more info!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sj708axP20


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Dev Vlog! New UI Overview!

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So I got around to making a full video showcasing the new UI system I have been working on! A lot of work has gone into it and I hope you enjoy it!


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Prealpha Gameplay is here!

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Its finally here! This is the core elements of the game. The employee menu has been stripped out as well as advertising ect. This is a basic day in the game just to show the general world what the state of the game looks like! Though I accidentally call it Salesman Simulator at the end of the video… Oops! That was the old working title!


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Here is the Current State of the UI

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There have been some complaints on the Steam Greenlight comments about not showing enough of the game, no gameplay etc. Well, with simulation games what there is to see is in the UI. I am having a Kickstarter because I cannot draw a proper UI at all. My sole purpose there is to hire somebody to do it. Again, the game is roughly 75% coded. Once the UI is in place its all smooth sailings. Just to show some good faith I put a few of the UI pictures on the Greenlight page and here I am linking the full resolution versions so you can see them better. Again, I am terrible at it. This is what I am looking to replace. It is just hard to show a game where the majority of the progress is under the hood. If you want to see more of the old UI, just let me know and I will post them.

 

And again, this is just a sample of a few of the UI screens!

 

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