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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsThe Invisible Hand - A Game about Traders
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Babar
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« on: July 29, 2016, 04:48:57 pm »

THE INVISIBLE HAND




Me and my friend have been working on this project for now more than a year, as a hobby. I feel we have made enough progress to share our work so here it is.

What is the game about?

THE INVISIBLE HAND is a game about traders, and their world. At first glance, it is only about numbers, but in the end, it is about much more.
In a world where computers can do most of the analytic work, you will live the life of a trader, and try to profit off the numbers spewed by the machine to get the best of what the world has to offer.

Whether you just follow the missions given by your supervisor or go rogue and put people to their knees for your own profit, it is up to you to make money for the well being of the company, and your own.

But don't get too greedy, or people might strike back.







State of development

The game features dialogues and moral choices, all through buying stocks and influencing the market.
It is a lot inspired by Paper's Please, mainly because their is a system of days where you have limited time to do stuff, and because of the dystopian setting. I also want to try and get a feeling close to The Stanley Parable in the general atmosphere and the dialogues. But it is not that easy :p

It is definitely a political game, but we are trying our best to stay in a neutral ideological area.

We plan to release a demo in the next months, some gameplay features are still missing, as well as work on audio and rendering.
The two top screens will stay in Maintenance for the demo, but don't worry, you will already have a lot to do with the bottom screens.

We will soon set-up a web site and social media presence, in the meantime don't hesitate to give your opinion or ask questions about the concept or the looks !

Babar
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 05:23:23 am by Babar » Logged

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Babar
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2016, 08:22:30 pm »

So we got something started ! It's named Kolkhoze Games  Screamy
This is a collective effort at making video-games.
As we are just starting up, our identity is a development process on its own, so I'll share those steps with you. Here is our logo.


We started as 2 people making a video-game, but lately several wonderful people started gaining interest in the project and helped with lots of thing, on both the game itself and communication around it.

We have just set-up a Facebook page, if you want to follow us ! https://www.facebook.com/kolkhozegames/
We will keep this thread updated, discussing game design issues and posting updates on the game !

Here are some musics from the game, for a better atmosphere :

Suspense music
Rest music



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Kyrillion
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2016, 04:08:14 am »

Sounds nice  Wink
This plot reminds me of Oiligarchy (http://armorgames.com/play/2607/oiligarchy), do you relate ?
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Babar
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2016, 09:09:31 am »

Thanks for the support! I didn't play Oiligarchy, but it sure looks like a good inspiration for what we are trying to do.

Nevertheless it feels like the moral part in this game (crooked politics) is too obvious, we are trying make something more subtle, where the game makes you act wrong, without you realizing it. We hope to achieve this by not directly integrating politics as a part of gameplay, but more as a consequence of the player's doings.
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2016, 06:17:50 pm »

Will you be able to interact with the game world outside of the computer screen? Things like getting coffee, taking bathroom breaks, etc xD

I don't know how to make that fit with the current gameplay, but it could add a really cool layer.
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 12:57:31 pm »

You guessed right :p We are working on a coffe machine that will sit close to the player.
There should be some mini-games for coffee-making, and it will allow the player to get rid of hangovers if he goes out with colleagues during the night :D

We also want to introduce VR capability for the game, but we are not sure how to get it right and the coffe machine would be a good step. The game will stay playable without VR anyway.

In the long run, we want to introduce more features that involve moving around, but that will not be available for the demo. Bathroom breaks could be fun  Screamy

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Babar
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2016, 08:29:41 am »

So after the holiday break here is an update on what we are working on.

To avoid getting back to coding too fast, we worked on some background music for the game. To this occasion we created a Soundcloud to share our work on the soundtrack. Give it a try :p


Following Ohmnivore's input we also started working on post-process effect related to visual fatigue. Similar post-process will be implemented in the game base on the player's actions (and/or random events :D)

Here is what we made so far :


Where is that coffee machine again?



You can notice there have been some UI improvements, and it is not over yet.
We are currently working on finalizing gameplay/UI features for the demo, as well as implementing "world" features such as events happening in the office, and post-processes related to player's mental state.
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2016, 07:59:16 am »

Weekend mean free time. Free time means rendering time.

THE SUN

We spent some time on the sun, and it looks pretty good.



We made this using variations in the color and intensity of the Sun, as well as the color of the skybox.
The scene is lighted with emissive lamps in the ceiling, and the sun adds dynamic lighting to the scene. We are working on shaders for our characters and models, but it feels like work on rendering is very time consuming, development wise, for a 2 devs team.


TUTORIAL


We have been putting some thoughts in the tutorial for this game. The gameplay being quite complex, and an important vector of the story, we want to think through our tutorial so players have no trouble understanding the game, and get a glimpse of the story.

To sum it up, we want a tutorial experience that does not feel forced, that is a part of the narration, and that doesn't interrupt the player (too much).

One of our goals is for the surroundings of the player to give lots of informations through curves, text or buttons, as in a real-life trading office, while trying to stage the scene to give incentives to the player on which feaures he should use.
This would allow for a tutorial that doesn't babysit the player, and has a good flow without using blocking popups.

We will use different staging elements, such as the boss coming to your desk to welcome you in the company, phone calls at your desk, and customized events in the game's economy. Each element will learn one or two correlated mechanics to the player, and will dynamically respond to the player's action/absence of action.

As some player might just not read through dynamic events during the tutorial, we are including a Tips Panel in the in-game UI that will often show tips on how the virtual economy works.


GENERAL UPDATE


I joined a flourishing game devs community ! It's called Tigris, and you can join us on Discord or Skype !
https://discord.gg/eK9Fa

We can show a pre-alpha WebGL build of the game (playable in browser) if someone shows interest, send a PM !
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Babar
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2016, 11:45:08 am »

Hey everyone ! Long time no see.

We have been working a lot on our scene, so I thought I'd drop some screenshots around here.

Most of the stuff you see on the screen is actually live data of the in-game economy ! We still have some work to do optimization-wise, because it is very costly to draw that amount of curves, but it is worth it, it gives the scene that nice trader's office atmosphere :p




We've been having some fun with traders moving around in the scene too. Here is what happens when they get crazy :D


For the next few weeks we will be focusing on core gameplay. We got feedback from some people on what worked well and what didn't, so we are currently making changes to the virtual economy and the actual gameplay through the in-game UI.

Feel free to give your thoughts and feedback ! We need those !
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2016, 12:32:14 pm »

How deep are you gonna go on the implications of your actions? And will there be the opportunity to be 'good' rather than just not evil, like can you sabotage your company or take steps to cause economic power shifts?
 
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2016, 03:36:06 am »

Hey sheep herd !

Quote
How deep are you gonna go on the implications of your actions?

Pretty deep actually :D

The player will experience implications of his actions through our social troubles system.
You can see the summary of the day's social troubles during the daily evaluation :
 

Here we see that there has been Inflation and Shortages during the day.
Inflation for Houses means that Materials to make a house got so expensive that houses are now more expensive for the consumer.
Shortage for Wood means that wood was over-exploited and got so cheap that it caused environmental troubles

We are working on other systems that will go along the social troubles system : the Police (that you can see on the gif above) will repress social troubles, and their effectiveness depends on the value of what they need : Vehicles, Manpower and Weapons.
We also will introduce Unions, that will provoke strikes in companies if there are too many social troubles and if police is a little too... effective.

The player will be able to directly influence the raw Materials' prices, through a lobby system we will soon implement on the main UI. This will allow him to have a direct and subtle approach to dealing with those social systems.

In the meantime, while making sure that people are happy (or creating a revolution on purpose as he will be able to :p), the player will also have to fill financial objectives given by the boss. So maybe if he wants to fill those objectives fast, he will create some social troubles in the process. Or maybe he will go with a more balanced approach to make sure people do not get too angry. Or maybe he will just ignore those objectives because of his ethics and see what happens.

We do not want social troubles to appear as the lose-state of the game, they are just a system to play with and that the player can master to fit his play-style.
They will also create environmental changes in the office. TV Screens will display riots news, you will be able to hear protests in the street...

Quote
And will there be the opportunity to be 'good' rather than just not evil, like can you sabotage your company or take steps to cause economic power shifts?

That question is really interesting ! We are definitely lacking "good" choices (as opposed to "not evil" ones). Right now, most of the things that can happen in the social system are definitely bad, and buffing up the police is the only way to fight off those bad consequences :p

We could argue that causing a revolution in the game is a "good" choice, but I'm not sure that's what you meant :p

We have some other ideas, including letting the player spend some of his salary money on charitable organizations to improve social conditions, or making the boss give social objectives rather than financial ones, but this is not implemented yet, and we have some more thinking to do about this, see what works and what feels forced.

Thanks for your interest !
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2016, 08:13:08 am »

Quote
We could argue that causing a revolution in the game is a "good" choice, but I'm not sure that's what you meant :p

That is more or less exactly what I meant  Cheesy

Quote
TV Screens will display riots news, you will be able to hear protests in the street...

It might be interesting to show what happens before the riots; extreme poverty, police brutality etc.
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Babar
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2016, 07:51:41 am »

It might be interesting to show what happens before the riots; extreme poverty, police brutality etc.

Yes definitely ! We still have so much work to do, but scenario and atmosphere will be a priority once core gameplay is ready.

You all can read our interview on ReviewFix.com if you want some more details on the game and our team !

Kolkhoze Games Interview
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2016, 06:01:17 am »

Welcome back everyone for the highly anticipated :
CORE GAMEPLAY UPDATE

We've been working a lot recently on the core gameplay features. This includes
- Setting up limits to what the player can do. Including maximum debts, maximum market exposition...

- Balancing the economy according to the the pace of the game. This involved a lot of playtesting, seeing how players discover the game and how they take advantage of what they learn to understand about the virtual economy.

- Making a new UI for buying and selling stocks, which gives more information and easier control.

   




DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

The focus will now be on more UI feedback, through sound and animations. We are working on recording the sound of coins falling in a plate for a "gaining money" noise :D
We will also soon release a pre-alpha build showcasing the core gameplay and some scenario elements.

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Babar
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2016, 07:02:43 am »

Hey, long time no see !

We've been working on some animations and core gameplay features.

We made animations for the portfolio, when spending or gaining money. It's made with Unity particle systems and created banknotes particle depending on how your account balance evolves. There is also more informations about the player's Portoflio, such as the value of all his assets, and his short debt (money he owes from borrowed shares)


LOBBYING

We also started working on the Lobbying system. It allows the player to have a strong influence on the virtual economy. It has to be used wisely, because being too greedy can trigger social troubles. Too bad you can't be too hard on food pricing :p


Lobby balancing is still at an experimental stage, shoot me a PM if you want to experiment  My Word!

With this addition, the trading gameplay is at its beta stage for the demo, and we will soon start to work on the tutorial sequence.
Work left on gameplay will be to add rewards and things to do with your money between the trading hours.
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2017, 07:47:20 am »

Hey !
Once again, it's been a while, but this time we've got something big to announce. Here is a little riddle about it.





Follow us on our new twitter account @KolkhozeGames for the details.
See you soon for the complete story  My Word!
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