P2 ~ Emotions and Personalities.
Welcome back! As you’ve noticed I’ve shortened the headers to “P2” and will be placing the logo to the game at the top of the posts to make them more obvious. My ideal logo will actually feature letters that look like cubicles with our little square avatars plodding away at work inside of them. For now I’ve decided to go with the “font” called cubicle and to highlight the rainbow of emotions that will be featured in the game. I don’t really know if you can consider this subtle but I’ve never been known for my subtlety. (Maybe because I’m so subtle nobody ever notices?)
As mentioned before we have primary and secondary traits. Along with these two facets are the emotions of the character.
Lets brainstorm today about how these traits would work out in the game? First we must ask ourselves what jobs are there in a publishing company?
CEO – This is your top dog. They are basically paid a lot of money because that’s what you are supposed to do. For many people it can be a mystery to their purpose and certainly in the publishing industry when you are watching companies close almost weekly (and large ones lose billions in value) it becomes difficult to really cheer them on. Needless to say your company must have one of these because them’s the rules.
CTO – Basically the CEO of the Web Team. Same note as above.
Web Team (Design / Development) – These are the folks working the face of your company visually and the skeleton of your company behind the scenes. They will be tasked with completing the web projects your new licensed titles need to flourish. Whenever the random bugs happen in game these will be the guys and gals that you poke to get it done. When they are not busy fixing problems you can set them to idle and basically maintain things and finish small projects.
Marketing – You give these folks money and they either convince people to play your game or at least inform people that your game exists. Marketing is magical because everybody hates it and yet its one of the most expensive parts of game publishing. I suspect most of the hate for advertising comes from policies being dictated by the highest echelons of business. Which is code for “people paid too much that know less than janitorial.”
Management – This all encompassing title will be given to the VP of your publishing team and the other random Producer roles that you may decide to upgrade people to. It is crucial to have as many tiers as possible in a real publishing company to obfuscate things and make progress complicated or effectively impossible.
Lower Management – This is the title given to Associate or Assistant Producer positions. These individuals are the ones training your Community Managers and are the backbone of the Publishing side. It is their judgment calls that will make or break your company because it will be their observation skills that dictate whether your Community Managers will be good or catastrophically terrible.
Community Managers – Your social face. These individuals are going to be the people who speak directly with the community and will be considered the official voice of the community. Mistakes made by them are felt across the entire company and it is crucial that they be taught well and managed well. They are not as dangerous as the CEO position but poor choices in this branch can bring a company to its knees.
So now we have seven jobs! Technically a business might have more or less than 7 but it really comes down to how cool a place wants to look. If everyone in your business is drinking Starbucks and wearing clothes ironically you are likely to have a ton of really obscure positions like “Rodeo Clown / Valet Parker / Associate Producer” or what have you.
Now lets examine just some random positions with random emotions and traits. I mean this literally I’m going to bring up random.org and get some numbers for each thing. Because I’m pretty sure that a fun story can be told with any combination and that’s what I want. I want genuine emergent gameplay. At least as best as I can manage given my limited coding knowledge.
For the roles we will be examining today I got 3, 5, and 7. This would be A Web Team member, a Management member, and a Community Manager. Lets look at their respective emotions. For emotions I’m going to pick a random digit between -100 and 100. –100 in something would mean they effectively have the opposite of that emotion and 100 would be the embodiment of it.
For their traits we will be also using the same scale.
Web Team Member
Emotional Stability: -50
Technical Skills: -15
Social Skills: 66
What should we expect from this character if they are hired as a Web Team Member? Well they walked into the door about 20% more angry than the average person and are apparently 50% more unstable emotionally than the average person. Their technical skills are limited and they have a huge ego. What you get then is a character that will probably have a breakdown anytime a project they are working on fails.
The high passion is effectively negated by the low enthusiasm. There is a saying that an unmotivated genius is effectively an idiot. They are also hopeless which means you aren’t likely to build up that enthusiasm without a lot of work. They envy what others have and are slightly more afraid than the average person.
This actually looks to be a very bad hire for the Web Team position. I haven’t designed the weights yet but it seems highly likely that a character in this position would be popular on a personal level but an utter failure on the professional level. Which actually brings up an interesting point. I suspect we should have a simple value that shows the popularity of an employee in the company. Firing employees with high popularity will result in far greater negative impact than firing those with neutral popularity. Firing someone with negative popularity may result in positive results!
Edit: Also note I forgot intelligence when I first did this example. Random rolls suggested this web designer is an idiot. This can be very bad for getting the kind of design you want. You’ll probably end up with whatever they want to make you which will result in that team having increasing anger levels.
Emotional Stability: -68
Technical Skills: 76
Social Skills: 85
Getting a lot of emotionally unstable people so far. This isn’t too far from the truth I suppose. This person is both emotionally unstable and hopeless which is not a good combination. Especially in the management position they are more likely to fire people or suggest firing people who are not performing well.
Oddly this character is both hopeless and lacks fear which suggests to me that I should just combine hope and fear. With negative hope being positive fear. I’ll mull it over when we get into an alpha build (something very basic with just four cubicles).
They are probably what I’d call respectively creative and friendly. Their technical skills, enthusiasm, and social skills are all top notch which means if you could modify the environment to raise their emotional stats (which would be difficult given their emotional stability) you’d be doing great. This would be an example of a gamble. You see this character with promise but they are a tough piece of work. Do you hire them or look for someone possibly more expensive but less dangerous?
A passionate person with that kind of drive and intelligence is pretty solid though. If I were playing for lulz and not trying to beat my previous performance I might hire this person to see how it goes.
You already know with that friendliness and social score that it might be hard to fire them without company wide repercussions.
Alright! Lets look at final example!
Community Management Member
Emotional Stability: 43
Technical Skills: 15
Social Skills: -33
This character looks more or less like business suicide. You can fix their emotions easily enough but you can’t fix stupid. They have a mild ego and are slightly more friendly than most but those social skills are very bad for a CM position. The thing that is nice about this character is that when you can convince them to do things (which will be extremely difficult) they will not be doing it for their own gain. A low greed score is basically a nice way of saying someone acts altruistically.
Something we will need with this game is a simple modifier script for pay scales. Characters with low hiring costs will have much wider ranging variables (-100 to 100). But if you are willing to hire someone with previous experience and spend a little more money you’ll get characters with smaller ranges. Lets say you were willing to pay twice as much for the above community manager? Noting that this only works because it is a video game and that you can’t make people smarter just by paying them more [no matter what overpaid managers might tell you].
Community Management Member [Experienced]
Emotional Stability: 75
Technical Skills: 26
Social Skills: -8
If that same character had been generated at the experienced level you’d have a character who is relatively hard to anger that acts completely in the interest of the business. They would be slightly less driven than most and a little less hopeful for the outcome. They would be a bit more envious of others and a little more fearful of their position. At least initially.
Rock hard emotional stability which is great and means you can level off those emotions if and when you need to. They are more creative and only slightly more stupid than the average hire. They have a tiny ego and are friendly enough.
Acceptable technical skills. Their enthusiasm and social skills are lacking but with if you improved those they could be a solid hire. As mentioned before as long as the secondary stats aren’t extremely out of whack you shouldn’t have a problem fixing those after a hire. It also means you might be able to get a hire in more cheaply. Naturally I’m all for paying people as much as they are worth but for those trying to maximize their staffing I can see this being an important note.
The hiring process will be simple. You have 3 buttons. You can offer to hire them for what they ask for (which is fairly likely to get them), you can offer them less than they ask for (which might not win them over), or offer them more to seal the deal. If the RNG gives you a rock solid person this could be important so that they aren’t sniped by another company.
So yeah I think this will be ok for an alpha. I’ll start the build after work tomorrow and might post up images of what I have in mind for the first stab. This will be more about nailing the behind the scenes work before we try to dive into a full fledged simulation/game.