The Serious Games of Making Business.

Any further impressions on Good Company? It’s on sale at the moment and I’ve been intrigued by it for a while, but I already have LBW.

I don’t really have any more substantive impressions, but I can contrast them a little bit, if that helps.

Good Company is more story-driven. The campaign consists of a lot of scenarios that you can score bronze, silver, or gold on based on how well you complete the objectives. The worker management part is more directive, where you need to assign people to specific stations and set specific flows of materials - your workers won’t do that themselves.

The research/product component is more fleshed out. Instead of picking from a market of blueprints like in LBW, you spend time and money on R&D to develop your own blueprints. Like, one of the products you can make is a calculator. You start out with basic components - a plastic case, a basic LCD screen, and so on. But you can research better ones, like a polished wood case or a bigger battery. The better components cost you more to make, but they result in a calculator that sells for more.

I found it to be more fiddly than LBW, but that might be a good thing!

I picked up another business game last week Computer Tycoon, on sale for $8, still in early access…
Still in early access. It has promise you do R&D on various components, processor, OS etc, assemble the computer (typically offshore) and then sell it.

Sadly it is another, 1 man team with an overly complex game that just isn’t fun, right now and likely will never be.

On the positive news department. Arms Trade Tycoon Tanks continues to make progress.

It is a rather interesting development process. They continue to improve their demo, I guess because they’ve launched a Patron site after their Kickstarter. For most companies the demo was one and done thing right before launch, so it is interesting to do it this way.

The demo continues to improve and is worth checking out.

I believe the crunchiest business sim out there is Wall Street Raider. Mike Jenkins has been making it for something like 29 years and has just released what he says is likely the last update (which I have not purchased because I don’t care too much for the headliner changes). I have been toying with the idea of doing a Let’s Play (in the old sense) with the forum here acting as something of a Board of Directors for the purposes of making biz decisions in the game. It’s a pretty high-level game; you’re not making product decisions or anything but changing management, deciding how much to put in R&D, investing in other companies, etc. Jenkins is a former tax attorney and accountant, and he also wrote a bunch of small biz books, so he knows his stuff professionally.

A-Train All Aboard Tourism despite its cartoony exterior contains a pretty hardcore simulation of running a Japanese train company and associated subsidiaries.

Oh my god. Look at this interface.


Yes, I meant to write, but forgot in my haste, “Mike Jenkins has been making it for something like 29 years, and boy does it look like it”.

But it actually works quite smoothly, even though it looks like dog ass.

With a GUI that looks like that, you know it has to be a serious business simulation game. Move over Capitalism, we have a new champion in town apparently.

If you want to get a small taste of the level of detail in the simulation, consider this excerpt from the latest patch notes:

In previous versions, when you wished to do an interest rate swap (if a counterparty could be found), the sim searched only for companies with a solid credit rating and no existing swap agreements. In this version, the search for a counterparty will include companies that have only one interest rate swap in effect, if the second one will be an opposite position. For example, if Company XYZ already has a short position in an interest rate swap, it could become a counterparty in a swap where it becomes the long party; and vice versa.

Damn I need to play this game. Though knowledge of counterparties’ other derivative positions sounds like easy mode.

I did download it and fire it up. It looks like a very detailed stock market simulation. (Actually, it looks like crap). But, I was looking for business sim, not a stock market sim. I play the stock market game in real life. But maybe I’m missing something?

It’s not really buying and selling stock, although you can of course sell your percentages on the open market, it’s getting control of companies and setting their agendas.

Honestly as much as I love tycoon style games (which is a fair bit), a pure stock market game? No effing way.

Good Company is out of early access and there’s a demo on Steam.

That looks neat.

I tried the demo, and was pretty underwhelmed. It’s a lot like capitalism lab, but instead of factories and stories you have tinkering benches, assembly benches etc.

In another 6 months, if it goes on sale I may give it another shot.

Word is spreading through different channels about ongoing layoffs at Unity that are impacting hundreds of employees about the globe. In the last 24 hours, Unity employees have apparently confirmed word of layoffs on anonymous tech discussion platform Blind, and also in anonymous accounts shared with Kotaku.

The layoffs are reportedly focused in the AI and Engineering divisions, and are apparently still ongoing. Workers have described being pulled into 1-on-1 Zoom meetings with managers or human resources employees, who then shared the bad news.

Unity is apparently promising to pay workers for a month after their layoff, and will offer a further month of severance pay and COBA health coverage beyond that.

Workers posting on Blind and speaking to Kotaku expressed frustration at recent comments from CEO John Riccitiello, who allegedly asserted that the company was not in any financial trouble and would not be laying off anyone any time soon.

I think you want the serious business of making games, unless you want to talk about John Riccitiello Simulator, the game where you buy studios with your private equity firm and sell them to your other company at a 300% markup.

Seeesh, my thread search game is off today.

The thread titles are designed to confuse, and honestly I like that about them.

As someone who has worked under John Riccitiello in the distant past, I’d say this is par for the course. How a dude who ran Sara Lee’s baked goods business ended up running EA is still a wonder.