Donut Tycoon

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Post: #1
Do you go to bed at night secretly dreaming of being the next emperor of the early morning treat? The duke of the donut world? The next incarnation of his hole-i-ness himself? Welcome to the simulation game where those sugar-coated fantasies can come alive.

Wake up each morning at 12:30 AM (Yes, that's right, "Time to make the donuts") and set about creating the day's batches. Will you elect to stick with the tried and true plain glazed donut? Or go all out and hope for a hit with those new plaid-sprinkled donuts you've been wanting to try on the market? And don't forget those dozen maple bars for your most loyal customer. Set your prices, pull those batches out of the ovens, unlock the doors and see how well you can compete in the highly competitive donut store industry. With enough success, you might even begin franchising and compete with those mighty chains: Dippin' Donuts, Winch's Donuts, and the omnipresent Cream and Crisp Donut Shoppe. Welcome to Donut Tycoon!

Note: This is applekid's idea as revealed in the favorite SPRINKLE color thread. Though he has given up on the idea, I think it would be neat to flesh it out and maybe, as Fenris suggests, give him enough inspiration to pick it back up again. I remember playing a simple lemonade stand game as a kid where you had to set prices and choose how much lemonade to make, and things like weather and reputation and available funds all influenced your choices. It was a good, though simple, simulation and it would be very neat to see something similar done with donuts. So, applekid, do not despair! And if anyone has ideas, why not post them here? It is always good to get the creative juices flowing, isn't it?

Quote:I've decided not design the game any further because I do not think I can keep it fun. The plan was to make a "donut tycoon" game, but the game wouldn't have much depth and get too repetitive. The data from the poll would've been used in a small, subtle way for affecting what kind of sprinkles gives a donut a better rating. So, the production ends here.

That is all.
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Post: #2
Hmmm, let's see how this thought process goes... I did plan on making a post about the whole idea sometime, so I guess I might as well talk about it.

Let me give you the ideas I came up with, so far.

The game begins with you getting a sum of cash from the bank on loan for a moderate interest rate. You then go and design/build your store. This building system would be similar to how you built and designed your house in The Sims. You set up a section for customers to form a line, a donut making-machine, the donut display area behind the counter, and so on. You hire employees, set their wages and their hours for doing certain jobs (like taking care of the register, cooking, etc.). Your donuts would be designed through a system where you choose either a donut with a hole or not. You fill the donut without a hole with whatever you desire. Then you can glaze or put frosting if you also desire that. And throw on sprinkles if you really want to. The donut with a hole gets either glazed or get frosting. Then you have the option of throwing on sprinkles. You pay for the research through your profits and sell these donuts. Your first donut is a glazed donut with a hole by default (from a family recipe, passed down from generations ago). Make sure you order enough dough, frostings, sugar, and sprinkle if you want to satisfy the demand. People come and buy your donuts, you make the cash, pay off the bank, and you're happy. Of course the monthly food inspector will come by or a food critic. Your employees may go on strike. You can also choose to sell other food items in your donut shop like coffee or soda, anything that seems reasonable. Supplies of these would also get shipped to your store. People will rate your donuts and you can check their opinions on your donuts to price each one competitively. The sprinkle data I got from the poll would have an effect on how much people will like a donut. For example, if blue sprinkles were the highest in the polls, your blue sprinkled donuts would get a ton of attention and people would enjoy it more than say a donut that had pink sprinkles. I was also going to do polls on frosting and glazes, but I came to a block in my design:

Here's where I came to a halt for designing the game. You've got a donut business running, you set and build up the store, you design/make the donuts, and you make the big bucks. Now what? It's an endless, boring loop.

From a gamer's standpoint, how long will you actually be addicted to the game for a long time? I see about, at best, one month's play because the gamer will want to make every donut, have every buyable item available, and so on. It seems like nearly any sim game I've played (including the SimCity-series, The Sims, Dinosaur Tycoon), there's nearly no surprises left and you just get bored of it quickly. To me, surprises are key to making a game feel new every time the gamer plays it.

I also had another "candidate" where you are a "fast-food tycoon" instead of a "donut tycoon." I see a more enjoyable game and addicting game in a "fast-food tycoon" because there are more gameplay elements. The details on that are more vague at the moment since I haven't sat down and thought about it yet.

From a development stand point: Neither game would be programmed by me. I'm definitely not at that level of programming. But I can definitely do artwork, so I was looking at working with a partner on either game. But I also have two other projects to finish up, so I was looking at maybe turning either game into a future uDG entry. I'm also wondering if me not programming would hurt my chances of releasing this game at all.

So I have a ton of questions in my head:
-If I should carry on with a "donut tycoon" game, what other "surprises" could I create to keep it fun for a long while? This is pivotal for "donut tycoon" from dying or surviving.
-Or should I just ditch "donut tycoon" and concentrate on a "fast-food tycoon"?
-Perhaps I should use a "donut tycoon" for a uDG entry or freeware, and a "fast-food tycoon" for making some cash through shareware?
-Maybe someone should just take my "donut tycoon" idea and make it their own, while I keep my "fast-food tycoon"?
-Who the heck should I work with for any of these ideas?! This would be pivotal if I can even get any of these ideas off the ground!

Ack, my head's gonna explode. Wow Those questions are bugging me as much as the halt in design i have right now. Someone straighten me out!
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Post: #3
Ever play that one lemonade stand game? I think it was for Apple II or Commodore 64 or something... Anyways, really bad graphics but the gameplay rocked. You chose the price of your lemonade, how many cups, and lemons to buy, etc. And of course you had to factor in the temperature outside.

The point of that nostalgia-driven description was really just to say that it sounds like a cool idea. Business sims are a genre that are overlooked too much, IMHO.
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Post: #4
jabber Wrote:Ever play that one lemonade stand game? I think it was for Apple II ...

Why, yes, yes I did...

dafalcon Wrote:I remember playing a simple lemonade stand game as a kid where you had to set prices and choose how much lemonade to make, and things like weather and reputation and available funds all influenced your choices.

Smile Smile Smile

Now that I think more about it, I guess it probably didn't keep track of "reputation", did it?

Anyway, applekid, I would say stick with the donut sim. TRY to learn to program it yourself. Release it as shareware and be happy if people play it for a week and never touch it again in their lives. Then you will have had the experience of programming a complete game, and you will get feedback from people about it and people will remember it so that when you create Fast Food Tycoon it will be better on many levels and you can charge for it and you will make some money and be ready for Franchise Tycoon or whatever comes next.

Before you start work on it though, create your design document. Flesh out the ideas you already have and set down the details. Keep things simple. I agree that surprises would be good, so keep trying to think of some. I think you should post your design document here as you go, so that way you can get ideas and feedback as you go. We can help you keep the fun simple ideas and tell you what will be too hard to program or no fun to play. We will also be driving you crazy, but it will be good because we will give you the motivation to learn to program this thing. How far would David have gotten with Lugaru if he didn't have 80 pages of people giving him feedback throughout? Probably not quite as far, anyway. So keep us updated, and don't drop the idea.

And everyone else with ideas, don't be shy about posting them here. Have fun! Be creative!
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Post: #5
For added features.. make the start random.

Make a city.. with good places for a shop and bad. Make the start location random. Place other donut stores around in other places.

Make a few different start conditions. eg, Dad passed away so you take over the business, no loan but no capital. or You start a new business, lots of money to develope store but a big loan. or Dad passed away so you take over the business, with loan and no capital.

Track reputation so that a good shop in a poor area can pull in more clients.

Pack a good amount of random events. eg, A marathon goes past your shop for a turn, double the customers. Flour suppliers have a accident and blow up factory, import flour at double cost. I think a large mix of random events would be good.

Random starts and good AI for the other shops would be good. You could have some fun with something like this.

Justin "LordFire" Baldock
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Post: #6
Quote:Here's where I came to a halt for designing the game. You've got a donut business running, you set and build up the store, you design/make the donuts, and you make the big bucks. Now what? It's an endless, boring loop.

Well, yes, but Sim City, The Sims et al survive this, because they strike back. Your shop gets robbed, the research facility gets "removed" through a freak accident involving gasoline and manure, and someone else sets up shop across the street.

If you have some cash to throw around, get the book Chris Crawford on Game Design - it is jampacked with inspiration on this kind of game.
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Post: #7
DaFalcon Wrote:Why, yes, yes I do...



Smile Smile Smile
That's what I get for not reading all of your post Rasp
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Post: #8
jabber Wrote:That's what I get for not reading all of your post Rasp

And that's what I get for writing long, rambling posts Cool

Seriously though, it is cool that we both thought of the same game. And I really think that a donut shop sim could work if it captured the spirit of that obviously memorable game (but especially if it had decent graphics Smile )
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Max
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Post: #9
DaFalcon, there's a Lemonade Tycoon game for Windows, handhelds and mobile phones. Months ago, the developer announced a Mac OS version... not sure what happened. Check out its Web site: http://www.hexacto.com/

Freelance video game artist and video game compliance tester at Enzyme Testing Labs.
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Post: #10
That Lemonade Tycoon game looks pretty cool.

Another place you may look for inspiration is the games in the Harvest Moon series (especially the most recent ones).
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Post: #11
jabber Wrote:Another place you may look for inspiration is the games in the Harvest Moon series (especially the most recent ones).

Ahhhhh... Good ol' Harvest Moon... Grin I used to have the SNES version, I have the second and third GBC versions, and just bought the GBA version. I won't be able to check out Lemonade Tycoon since I don't have a mobile phone or a PDA. I could perhaps try to play Lemonade Tycoon in Virtual PC, but everything I've done in Virtual PC is really slow and choppy.

One of my alternate designs included a manager character that you would control in the store's environment. It'd give the player a more hands on approach on the micromanagement. Things like setting the hours for workers, helping with the work load, and calling the suppliers could be done through a manager "character." Other things would be taken care of by going to your "desk" where all of the sales figures and such could be found (similar to Dinosaur Tycoon). At the moment I'm thinking about keeping a "desk" screen and having the jobs that can be done through a manager character be located at the "desk."

Oh, and for the record, "Donut Tycoon" is a temporary name. I don't want to get in trouble with the companies that already use the "Tycoon" name, despite there not being a "Donut Tycoon" from what I've seen.
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Post: #12
I'm really loving the ideas you're coming up with Grin Ever play Dino Park Tycoon? I would say more personal, HM than that, but it was a good game.

As a side note, I just started a job at a drugstore and getting a chance to try my hand at being the top guy sounds pretty cool Wink
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spacey-lacey
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hello peoples.........
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Post: #14
I think there's some definite potential in having competing donut shops; it would give the game more strategic depth without needlessly complicating it. For instance, a player might choose between cutting profit margins to maintain competitive prices and raising them to spend more on advertising, or he might try to succeed by having superior quality (but more expensive) donuts, or perhaps by setting the store up as a cheap donut shop, or by having good atmosphere, or by having a friendly staff, or by selling products in addition to donuts (coffee, for instance)... There's also the possibility of having less-than-savory strategies for success, such as paying off the donut reviewer for the local paper or sabotaging another shop's deep fat fryer. Allowing the player to manage an entire chain of stores could add some more depth; the player might choose to position a store away from other shops, or might intentionally try to steal business from a nearby store by setting prices low and making up for the lost profits with other stores in the chain.

Much of the replay value for a game (particularly a simulation/strategy game) comes from having multiple strategies for success and placing limitations on the player which force him to decide between strategies (for example, money that the player spends on researching the Perfect Donut can't be spent on advertising). It's also important to have a broad range of possible interactions for the player as well as a broad range of factors that determine success, so that the player needs to balance different areas of gameplay in order to succeed. Having a good AI with which the player can interact also helps greatly; it forces the player to formulate his own strategy in response to what the computer players are doing.

This is really a cool concept for a game, and I really like the ideas you've come up with for it so far; even though it seems like a simple idea, there are so many areas on which you can focus that you shouldn't have a hard time making a fun game out of it.
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Post: #15
Some of the ideas here remind me of the Japanese sim "Konbini". Konbini is short for Convenience store. The Americans may have created the business model (ala 7-11) but the Japanese have perfected it to an art form. If you ever come to Japan, you will be highly impressed.

Anyhow, the game part...

When running a konbini, you have limited floor space. You must carry the right balance of items. This is REALLY key. You also need to have an edge over other konbini, like soft ice cream for sale, or hot sandwhiches, etc.

Next part of the game comes for logistics. We often think of this in a war campaign, but it is great to adopt for a game. You need to consider where your suppliers are, and where to locate your next franchise -- vital for konbini. Also, the routes your trucks take, times of delivery. (ie too much stock, and food goes bad, not enough BENTOs at lunch time, and you lose out $$.

You also need staff, so there is a game element there as well. Things as deciding which type of person to hire. The game can create many traits of people. You also need to consider the payroll, and the schedule of the workers.

More game elements in moving items to different aisles, and to different levels, like right at the top, or near the floor.

Balance the above with the accounting aspects and we have a fun game. Would be really cool to be able to zoom in the store and watch what the sims are doing.

Like the OLD SCHOOL games, it would be fun to through some arcade sequences to break up the mental work. I think that applies a bit better to your donut store idea. Like donuts on a conveyor belt. You hear tones, and you have to plop the right topping.. like Beatmania or Pappa Rappa style. Too slow, and the donuts pile up, wrong plops, and you get no $$ because people don't want to eat 'em.

The above reminds me of that old game where the customers move and you have to throw them beer.

Anyhow,here are links to the game The konbini
http://ampersand.biglobe.ne.jp/p/cvnb/index-02.html
http://www.4gamer.net/news/image/2002.06...00big.html
http://www.hamster.co.jp/conveni3/
http://hd.st90.arena.ne.jp/mp/

Even if you don't read Japanese, you can look at the screen shots.

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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