For 10 years I've been meaning to make this. (It was even mentioned on Hacker News back when I first wrote about it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=967641)
A week or two ago, prompted by an email from a friend, I made this version, very quickly. A few days ago I switched to using TypeScript (but still no frameworks) and found that TypeScript is amazing.
To play the game, you "find a new project" (for $100 of in-game currency), then assign it to your only employee ("the Founder"). Once you've worked on a few projects you can hire staff. A store becomes available where you can buy further skills and items.
It shows you some basic aspects of software development in a bespoke devshop. Interplay between different roles, how self-managing teams operate etc. I've had a blast writing it!
This is a great game, could eventually turn into an "idle clicker" if you so desire. Good job! I'm a fan of vanilla JS solutions.
Also: if you want to preserve some state: localStorage might be the api you want, cookies are a mess.
The original vision for this game was a fully animated iOS game. It only became worth doing when I suddenly had a way to make it ultra-lightweight, no graphics at all.
So my advice is to find the minimum. Less than an Mvp. Halve your idea. Then halve it again.
There was a list of serious/educational games that I once submitted to HN . Maybe you should contact the author to see if it can be added.
Edit: that was more fun than I expected. At later levels it feels a bit like a grind, but for just for a couple of days of work I find it a fantastic achievement. You kept me hooked for about 25 minutes ;-)
Do they self-start any time they could complete an open task? Do they self-start only when there is new work available as soon as they finish?
So that automates their work if you assign it to them manually.
The self-starter training seems to take effect when you've not manually assigned a task to them. They will search for a single task to complete X times in a row, with a slight delay between each task, where X is equal to their "Self-Starter Training" level.
When their tasks are started automatically via this skill, the "Observation training" seems to be ignored.
I had a story come back with bugs multiple times until I forced the Founder to triage, dev AND test themselves! :D
- It gets really confusing when I have 3 different specializations named Renee
- It makes sense that when you get more team members, you have to scroll to see them, parallels actual work where you can't really give full oversight to large teams
- Because there is an option to get a large team, you should add project managers that can take some team members and auto-perform their work
On iOS, btw, if you use “add to homepage” it will act like an app. (Full screen; high res icon)
But my kids want me to make it a proper iOS app with animation.
Though it's not yet implemented, it seems that feature is purchasable per person:
> ️Observation Training - When a person finishes a card, train them to look for another card. If trained multiple times, they will look for multiple cards.
Needs to use local storage to save and restore the game state.
A couple of thoughts/ideas:
1. It seems like there's not much of an incentive to have more than 3-4 employees. You can just keep stacking upgrades & self-starter or observation training on one of each, and it seems like it works just as well as spreading them out (hiring another employee gives you a small benefit without upgrades, but not much of one, and has a big downside in needing to click more).
2. The distinction between self-starting and observation is confusing (I know others have said it, but I want to repeat that).
3. Workers completing tasks overrides the description for items in the store, which makes it a pain to read.
4. You can't see how many items are in a given swim lane.
5. Not being able to apply upgrades to an employee while they're working on something is a little inconvenient, especially with the little gap that self-starter has.
6. The emoji for the workers made me think I had unhappy workers and I needed to fix them. That was a little frustrating.
Lastly, a big idea that might or might not be fun: there's no penalty for accumulating a big backlog of work (it's not perfectly optimal, because there's opportunity cost, but you still get the payoff). If projects got stale when they piled up in one column, that could be an interesting dynamic.
Even in its simplicity there are a few similarities (lessons?) with the real-world that I think are worth mentioning:
- Generalists (like the founder) are often useful because they're able to consume different types of work from the backlog as needed (when flow isn't perfect and work piles up in some areas)
- Ideally work doesn't pile up in any area, and it proceeds left to right without any waiting
- But if you don't want work to wait, you'll have people waiting (the aim should never be 100% utilisation)
- Work going backwards (bugs!) is more expensive (time consuming) than doing it right the first time
- Managing all this isn't easy: it's much better when the team can be proactive and do the right things at the right time without supervision/overhead (having everyone on the same page, shared vision, practice, etc)
Thanks for some good fun… and a reminder of all these things.
There’s no cross-skilling available at the moment (I want to add this to the store) but that would demonstrate the value of cross-disciplinary team members.
- It is not explicit at which level of each "skill" each character is. i.e. how many self start levels have i bought for founder?
- Item/skill price should only increase per level. i.e. Self starter level 1 should always be a fixed price, then level 2 higher etc...
- income progression is slow... you are stuck back at 1000$ for way too long after projects.
It’s here; https://github.com/jamescodesthings/devShop-cordova
If you do go commercial and want a hand modifying to get into app stores feel free to reach out and use whatever you see
You can give someone multiple self-starters. Say you give someone 3 of them. That means that after they’ve been assigned a task manually (once) they will then go back to their desk and after a little pause, spontaneously go back and look for work to do. They’ll do this 3 times (since they have a self start level of 3). Then they’ll rest until they’re manually assigned to a task again, at which point they’ll again do up to 3 extra tasks. And so on.
There’s no “infinite self starter” item you can buy for them.
With self starter there is a delay before they look for it (which can actually be good) and if they have multiple skills they’ll first look for cards to test, then for cards to dev, then for cards to “ba”.
A few comments/suggestions if I may (playing on iPad with latest iOS):
- include the same icons in the swimlane titles as the ones you have on each resource
- ability to rearrange resources
- make swimlanes scrollable so that we can see all tasks
- add a random timer of sick/vacation unavailability for each resource
- resources gain experience/competence with each task they finish
If you flesh this out with a bit more content, i think this is an easy $10-20 purchase on steam.
Please hire a dev (lol) to make this a mobile game. Hopefully before someone else steals your idea and releases a shitty clone. (sorry to be a Debbie Downer)
One thought I'll mention is that at the beginning the founder is of course used for everything and then as time goes on, they are used less. In the game, I wanted to keep the founder free anytime someone else could do the task. In the real world this can lead to a feeling of disconnectedness and atrophy of skills. I didn't play long enough to see if that is truly manifest in the game.
I did like this though:
//chance of adding a bug relates to effectiveness of ba, and size of story. (and whether or not they have... a cat)
I didn't realize there can be less frantic clicking by using the observer or self-starter skills.
I saved the screenshot before I was done clicking
I cannot press the help button. I can Tab my way to it and hit enter to get to the link, but mouse is not working. Chrome on OS X, no blockers, and no errors in console.
A more straight up click based one w/o much of a graphical component would probably be AdVenture Capitalist or the like.
After $4k in earnings, only Tester is happy..
I accidentally bought five cats and then had to take care of them all!
Amazing game! Thanks!