Michael R.
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Resyc Inc. - Development Thread

I have a new idea for a game that interests me so I thought I'd start a development thread to talk about it and get some feedback. I haven't posted here for around 18+ months and all my previous designs that I had WIP threads for appear to have various fundamental flaws, so I haven't completed them yet whistle Hmmm. I may get back to them one day. I guess that's how design goes - many promising ideas eventually fall by the wayside.

So what's the game about?

Resyc Inc. is a solitaire game where you develop a town's recycling, energy and industrial/civic infrastructure whilst competing against your local rival Smogsville, who like nothing more than pumping pollution into the atmosphere.

You need to balance your energy, resource, financial and production input and output in an attempt to shift from a 'dirty' to 'green' economy. If you don't control the pollution level then it's game over. On the other hand, transitioning from a dirty economy to a green economy is expensive so you might have to pollute a bit at first to get your economic engine up and running. Just don't let it get out of hand.

The Resource Market

There's a resource market where you bid for bundles of basic resources: newspapers, bottles, trash, consumer waste, industrial waste, and generic trash. These resources are input into the game every turn (for free) and randomly drawn from a bag, the contents of which you can control to a certain extent. The AI can add bad tiles and remove tiles good from the bag.

You can also add or remove certain tiles to control the luck of the draw - perhaps by using a building's power. The AI will bid against your for these resources. You'll need to judge the value of each available lot of resources and see how you might convert them through your infrastructure to make a profit.

You can import green and dirty energy from the resource market, should your power infrastructure not be able to meet your needs. However, green energy is expensive and dirty energy is cheap but polluting. You can also export some of the bad things that the AI throws at you to other countries - but it'll cost you money, workers, or reputation.

Converting basic resources into more valuable resources

You'll convert basic resources into more valuable glass, paper, metal, and plastic by using a building or buying a variety of recycling and processing facilities. Each of these resources has a different cash value. And in turn you can use these resources to build new buildings and further convert resources into even more valuable ones.

You'll be able to do all sorts of things with new buildings: you might build a green power plant which outputs green energy instead of the default 'dirty' energy of standard power plants, and use this green energy to power an eco-friendly factory. Each building has its own construction requirements e.g. a Toy Factory needs 1 metal, 1 plastic and £5 to build. Once you staff the building it'll produce toys if you satisfy its input requirements (e.g input 1 energy and 1 plastic to produce 1 unit of toys worth £15).

The worker placement mechanic

You need a bunch of workers to operate your buildings. There are blue collar, white collar and specialist workers. Every building has its own worker requirements (e.g a Hospital, which treats sick workers, needs a specialist).

You can buy workers from the market or train your own if you have have access to a training centre. The AI will try to steal, sicken, and increase your wage costs of your workers. And if you decide to shut a building down (e.g. shutting down a 'dirty' power plant to stop it polluting the atmosphere) you'll need to pay your workers a redundancy payment - the level of which can be affected by the government that is currently in power or other ongoing policies. Oh, and workers also need to be paid wages. So you can't just keep spamming workers into all your buildings.

So there's a lot of economic stuff going on? Have you balanced it?

No, not by a long shot. I'm currently plugging in values and experimenting with what works and what doesn't (at all). I really don't know what the value curve should be. This will be the most challenging part of the design.

What will the AI do?

I have always had problems designing decent, or even moderately acceptable, AI for my solitaire games. They either seem to be too random or too powerful or not powerful enough, or even just boring and/or stupid. Anyway, here's how I see the AI working against you.

The AI wants to beat you by raising the pollution level. It will build polluting buildings which add pollution, sludge and sickness to the environment. These buildings will keep pumping out pollution every turn until you do something about it.

You might buy the polluting buildings and use them for yourself or you can supply resources to upgrade them to be eco-friendly, or get rid of them in some other way. Basically you'll try to remove and manage these negative effects to stop the pollution level spiralling out of control. It will also introduce negative events via a card draw. Some events are one time and some will endure for a number of turns. You have ways to look at and control the cards (e.g. use the Court building to peek at a card and buy it before it activates).

How does the game flow?

Right now the phases look like this:

- AI Event (add polluters, activate event cards etc.)

- Resource Market (player bids for resources against the AI. Resolve any sickness, sludge or other tiles that appear in the market lots)

- Workforce (hire/fire/remove workers back to employment pool/buy and build buildings)

- Energy Production (produce energy in your dirty and green power plants)

- Production (deploy workers and use buildings, convert/sell resources etc.)

- Wages (pay your workers)

So that's a fairly high level overview of the game. Naturally, some of these ideas will be terrible and some will be worth developing further. I'll hopefully post some basic components and graphic mock ups in the next couple of weeks. Ideas and feedback etc. are welcome.
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Michael R.
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Here's a mock up of a Glass Recyling building. The main thing I'm hoping for is to make the input, outputs and function of the building clear.



And a Power Plant. It produces dirty energy.



Finally, a mock up of a Smogville building that adds pollution or sludge. It only produces the 3 dirty energy once the player buys it and places it in their own city. Two workers are needed to staff it.



Just a little visual prototyping from the 20 odd pages of game design notes that I've taken thus far.
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Brendan Riley
United States
La Grange
Illinois
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"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
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Fun! keep up your development. Here's hoping you don't find that fatal flaw you're worried about.

One comment from my admittedly quick read of what you posted -- What are some of the ways you'd say this differs from Power Grid?
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Michael R.
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Thanks, Brendan. I haven't played Power Grid before so can't really comment beyond saying that the focus just isn't on energy production - a big part of the game is about building and developing your own town and resource conversion. Possibly a cross between Le Havre, Power Grid and a 'bag building' game with a solitaire focus.
 
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