Recently I have been playing Startup Company and Startup Freak , both software development sims. One is real time as GDT and the other is sort of Turn Based. They are fine games, considering they are developed by a guy and both in early access.
Startup Company in my view is the much better version of the two, but they both lack something.
I love Business sims…like a lot. The first business sim I played was Capitalism Plus back in 95’. All tho it doesn’t look it, it was exiting to play at the time, even as a kid.
With the work on TAG MOD and replaing GDT again, I still find GDT funn, something I like fiering up time to time.
But these new games, which I choose to play, because they felt similar to GDT…well not so much. So what is missing?
I have been thinking of solid game loops a lot recently, as I want to develop my own games as well. The thing is that whilst GDT is a lot simpler on the surface than the two games I have mentioned, it has a more rewarding game loop, even tho what you do essentially is the same thing over and over.
The same “do and repeat” factor is present in the other two games, but they fail in one ting…that is rewarding your Brain. Every time you complete the game loop in GDT you are given the SCORES, which even after a thousand times is exiting…ish. That little dopamine rush during your playthrough, keeps you engaged and wanting more.
How is it different in the other new games? Startup Company and Startup Freak are incremental, as in you aren’t presented with a compartmentalized event, rather you incrementally modify your product and grind to increase its stats to see a gradual numbers increase. Which makes them feel more of a long chore than a “fun” sim of getting rich. I use fun in quotations as it is a relative feeling.
In Capitalism Plus it was exiting to set up production lines and end of sales to see how your product would fair against the competition and the system felt deep as you could buy out your enemies etc.
The problem with these 2 games is that after a playthrough there isn’t any compelling reason to play them again, as each playthrough feels exactly the same…there is very little randomness in those games which makes them even more homogeneous.
As an avid business sim player I feel that a lot of these new indie tycoons are missing the point, the gradual numbers increase isn’t what we paly the game for (save that for the mobile casual clickers), it’s having a rewarding meaning behind it. Whether it’s the production lines of Capitalism, the cool rail way systems in Transport Tycoon or to see how your imaginary game scored in GDT…seeing your actions bring some immediate/actionable results, even if it is a part of a longer increment, is IMO the hook that keeps players playing.
Just some thoughts. Tho, this is a simplification of a much more complex argument.
Whats your reasons?