- Title: Software Inc.
- Release Date:
This is going to be the first part in my new series of “Advanced Guides”. I’ve decided to do some “under the hood” explanations for things I learned over my “1000 hours” of gameplay. Also, these advanced guides are going to have fewer pictures, since I’m talking more in means of how the game works, rather than showing how to set up something in-game.
Consumer reach aka Potential buyers
Let’s go first over a number (that in my experience) that many players don’t know exists and what it’s even for.
Consumer reach can be seen in Software Details window, at the bottom of top window’s part:
What this number represents ?
When you are designing your new regular (non-OS) software, you must choose at least one OS that set you base Consumer reach number. Logically you want an OS (pc, console, phone) with the most amount of potential buyers -> so you choose the one with most active users. This number will be your base “Consumer reach” on release, representing maximum amount of sales that the software can achieve.
When porting you new release to other OS-es, you will directly increase Consumer reach by adding OS’s active number of users on completion.
Good to know: If you select several OS-es for your new porting task, they are going to be automatically added on completion during the task – they are not ported all at once in the end.
Computer OS have fixed starting pool of ~130 million Consumer reach (I observed it growing slightly during years). This means every new IP or sequel can be potentially sold in 130 millions copies. This is of course highly unlikely, since after 7 sequels my top notch OS had sold only 12 millions copies, but I put emphasis on potential.
Consoles have reach of 105 millions.
Phones 145 millions, which means in theory that phones are the highest selling type of product of all.
Regular (Non-OS) Software
Every game, antivirus and office software must be developed on at least one OS, and after that it can be ported to any (still) active OS.
If you want to sell as many copies as possible, you need to port new release to any good OS. By “good” I mean – more than 250k of active users (optionally – and not being older more than 7 years).
Why are the games the most profitable non-OS software ?
You can port them to computer, consoles and phone, giving them the biggest (and realistic) Consumer reach number. Also, with Expansion packs, you can get additional sales, active users and decent profit.
Office software exists only on PC OS, but it can be boosted with Add-ons same way as Games, and have higher base price than games and antivirus.
Antivirus can be ported on PC OS and on Phones, but have lowest base price.
Pro-tip: I’ve seen people falling into trap of making AV as a first release.
Always start with Games that can be done in 2D longest (RTS, Sim, Sport) since they also tend to have frameworks with ok level of technology right from the start. Competition for Games is low at start, and there is a good chance for your first game to sell over 10 mil $ in first two years.
Antivirus is cheaper, can’t have Expansion packs, and until Network in 85, we are unable to hit 100% market interest on Security (green). Stay clear as a first IP !
Pro-tip: Logically I wanted to implement Network to antivirus as soon as possible so it can reach 100% market interest with additional security, however by doing this you are effectively self-choking sales. Why ? AI will release Network OS after 1990s AND phones can implement it only after 2000, so now I keep my Antivirus Sys+2D until I see there are phones and OS-es with Network.
Office software again is bad for starting IP, since it is more complex than 2D Games, and there is always high competition with good Market Recognition. For Office to be able to out sell games, you must invest in Add-ons, but you are heavily dependent on PC OS-es on the market to have high number of active users.
I would recommend OS as starting IP only for players that know how to effectively develop it, since resources in the beginning of the game are scarce and you need good monthly income to sustain additional designers.
Setting price for software
I will start with “Recommended price” field in the Software Design Document. This value is capped in some situations, and I couldn’t understand why, even while I was designing software with latest tech, and 100% market interest covered.
Well, I learned from the Dev that: “The recommended price is affected by the market. The game takes a look at the average price of other products, taking into account outliers, recency and complexity.”
In simpler words – average game price for that genre, how recent has competition released their products, AND tech/market target/features I choose. This explains why sometimes I was getting 79.99$ recommended price for a game, and sometime for a sequel 74.59$
Let’s take a look at some parts separately:
– Average price of the software in that genre
This you can’t control. The best you can hope for is that competition is also releasing high price software, so you can stay at similar level, with much much better quality product
– Recent competition
I’m 99% sure I’ve read in tutorial, or in some tool-tip that release date is important for sales. The game suggested to carefully plan the release date by looking at the calendar, especially when are competition’s releases. It happened to me numerous times – The release had slow sales early, and then exploded a year later. I couldn’t find the clear reason since all of my releases are Outstanding/Visionary, with the latest technology and 100% market interest. The only thing I can think of was competition releasing inferior quality, or number one selling software was taken of the market/technology deprecated.
So my suggestion is to look into the calendar and try to find “dry periods” where your release will be the only and best option, reaping all the profits after (evil laugh)
To summarize, if you are looking for recommended price to be highest possible, when doing Design Document you need to be aware of:
– if you are designing sequel – how is you latest release doing ? If it sold high, and reached max consumers limit, you can go forward. If the game is still selling solid, and there is good amount of active users maybe wait for a few months, so you don’t end being your own’s competition.
– look at the current competition – how much is the price range for already released software and is any release peaking at the moment. If there are too many active releases, or one is taking huge part of market, again wait for a few months
– always try to release with latest technology, 100% market target, and enough features to cover it and give enough “complexity” for AAA release price
– and last, when picking release date, try to hit spot in between competition’s releases, so you are not directly competing with them on release
Sequels And Active Users
My recent discovery is tied to a question:
Why some of my sequels that had high amount of active users in previous installation, now how 1/2 or 1/3 of that number ?
Doom 2D tech, 3rd sequel – 4 mill of active users
Doom 3D tech, 4th sequel – 1.5 mill
Doom 5th sequel – 3 mill
Doom 6th sequel – 7 mill
Doom 7th sequel with Network added – 2 mil
Well it turns out, my fans of Doom 2d didn’t like Doom 3d.
What is the game mechanic behind it ? (I’ve checked it with Kenneth)
When you release your first IP, it has 0 fan base and 0 Market Recognition. During it’s lifespan of 3+ years, it will acquire certain number of loyal fans that will buy and use the sequel.
On releasing the sequel, fan base will grow again (presuming it is at least Great/Inspiring) after time.
Now we come to 5th sequel, and it has a new technology – 3D.
What happens ? Well the game will re-calculate the fan base, and you will take a nice slap to the face from your loyal fans- you gave them Doom 3D and they don’t like it ? Well fu…
Joke aside, the bottom line is this – when you introduce a new technology (technology, not feature) to your IP, the fan base will take a hit and it will take one more additional sequel for it to grow bigger than before.
So, when developing games, especially that require 3D to hit 100% market interest, keep in mind that sequel in which you first implement 3D tech is going to have less active users.
But, Software Inc. is played for long run, so implementing 3D at some point will hurt fan base, but if it gives you ability to cover 100% market interest and have an edge on your competition, it is a investment well made.
Caution: I explained only on 3D example, but keep in mind this will also happen when you implement Network, it will have same detrimental effect on number of active users, just like 3D had before.
Pro-Tip: If you are developing PC OS, try to research every tech in 1985 and create first with all of them implemented. I know that Network and 3D techs are used by competition much later and there is no sense in making a 3D RPG for a single OS, but you will have it before them and making sequels will be easier. This will also build your MR better for that new IP.
Optimal Printing for Helipad
This is a interesting info usually missing from other tutorials.
When printing software, since the production chain is easy to setup, I didn’t think on how many machines should be connected to Helipad pickup point, and not to be under/over utilized.
Let’s setup the basics:
The number of boxes picked up per month is not shown, only price per lift, so if you build a Helipad and see how many boxes can you deliver per month in Manufacturing window, the number is:
I didn’t go into detail how many boxes are per lift, but I trust 1440 is the total number of boxes that can be pick-ed up from 00:00 to 23:59h
Small printer can print 18000 copies per month, dividing by 1000 copies per box we get
1 Small printer prints 18 boxes
so dividing 1440 with that number we get
1 Helipad can serve 80 Small printers
Medium printer can print 24000 copies per month, dividing by 1000 copies per box we get
1 Medium printer prints 24 boxes
so dividing 1440 with that number we get
1 Helipad can serve 60 Medium printers
Large printer can print 48000 copies per month, dividing by 2000 copies per box we get
1 Large printer prints 24 boxes
so dividing 1440 with that number we get
1 Helipad can serve 60 Large printers
As you see, the number of Medium and Large printers is the same for one Helipad, however it doubles the output for even cheaper printing price.
That's everything we are sharing today for this Software Inc. guide. This guide was originally created and written by nosedigger. In case we fail to update this guide, you can find the latest update by following this link.