What's new in Edition 2020 of Movie Business 2
This year's edition of the Movie Business had some delay. Instead of appearing just before the Oscar gala, as usual, it had to be rescheduled because of my health problems. According to the always look on the bright side of life principle, you can sometimes see positives even in such a period. And in this case it is about more time that I have recently available. Thanks to this, in addition to returning to work on the Movie Business, I could, for example, catch up on games and get acquainted with one of the most iconic games of recent years, which is ... The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
It became an inspiration for several new ideas and a mechanic. If you were intrigued by what the Movie Business can take from The Witcher and how you can use artificial intelligence not necessarily for the algorithms associated with the game, I invite you to the rest of the entry.
As usual, in addition to the description of the introduced functions, this text contains the motivations behind them, the way they are implemented, and additional author's comments and comments.
Even if you haven't heard about the game or you are not a fan of it, and you have a free evening, I invite you to read, because it is an interesting insight into how a real indie game from the kitchen is created...
Photos of young creators
Young creators or fictional creators, generated during the game until lsat release did not have their own photos. They received generic avatars by which it was easy to distinguish their gender. In the previous edition, the situation changed slightly because they received avatars in cartoon format. In the latest version, young talents will receive more realistic photos. And all this will be possible thanks to ... artificial intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has recently been a very fashionable topic that boldly goes into other areas of our lives. One of these areas is computer graphics. The last few companies have decided to use the techniques used by AI to create photos of non-existent people. One such project is e.g. This Person Does Not Exist the second generated.photos
And it is the faces generated by the latter of the projects that I will use in the game. Well, the creators of generated.photos shared 100,000 photos of non-existent people for any use. When I started browsing this database, it turned out that not all of these photos are usable. Algorithms, although impressive, still generate a lot of artifacts. After all, we managed to select about 5000 photos that should work in the game.
Notes and comments
Note: images generated by AI will only be used for actors (and professions that can be used as actors). Hence, such generated characters as directors, operators and composers will still use symbolic pictures (specifying gender). In the case of animki they will receive photos in the form of cartoon avatars (currently used by young creators).
Film premieres are often associated with various events. Often, the official premiere is followed by the less official part. The event will not only thank the entire crew for their work on the set, but also is a chance to strengthen the relationship between the creators ... as well as for social media, which will feed the tabloids ... which is a form of advertising and can contribute to increased interest in production.
After the premiere of the film, the player will have the opportunity to organize a banquet. There will be several types of banquets from a modest dinner to a sumptuous gala. Of course, the larger the event, the greater will be the cost of its implementation. A bigger party, however, is more publicity, which can contribute to additional advertising of the film.
Of course, during such parties, various events may occur that can affect the relationships between creators and have other not always positive consequences on the game world.
Press conferences and interviews
Some players have pointed out that the media aspect of Movie Business is not used in the game. Specifically, it was about contact with the press. In the new version I will try to address this problem in the form of the possibility of organizing a press conference and interviews.
These events can occur in two moments. The first is the premiere of the film, where the player will be able to organize a press conference (assuming that he allocated the appropriate amount for marketing). The second is festivals during which the player may be asked to give an interview.
The interview and press conference will be based on answering several questions. The questions will be on various topics from the most obvious about the current film, cast, decisions that were made during the production, to more general about preferences and views on various aspects of the film world ... but not only.
Notes and comments
The answers you give during such events can have consequences. I can influence relationships with creators, increase or decrease of interest in film or other aspects of the game world. Answers can also be a premise for forming opinions about the player ... which may also have their consequences later in the game.
Cult scripts on the free market
Cult scripts are scenarios in the Movie Business based on real movies and data about them from the IMDB website. They were introduced to add immersion to the game. It was not intended to be available for purchase by players. However, one of the players came up with the idea that you could buy the cult script. Although I'm not sure if this is a good idea, such a possibility will appear in the next version of the game.
The cult scripts in the 2020 edition will appear on the script market, where the player will be able to buy them (they will not be all scenarios only those that will not be implemented by computer players). These scenarios will be specially marked (highlighted) and their author will be IMDB. Of course, the price of such scenarios will be much higher than other (randomly generated) scenarios available in the game.
What's more, other players will most often be interested in such a scenario. When this happens then the auction will take place. The one who offers the largest amount will eventually become the owner of such a scenario.
Notes and comments
I admit that I am not convinced that this functionality is absolutely right, and for a simple reason. Instead of being creative about creating movies and producing them based on their own ideas, I'm afraid that players will focus on "hunting" for titles known to everyone. I remind you that the production of films based on cult scripts is expensive, and the effect does not always have to be in line with the player's expectations (i.e. such a movie can get much worse ratings than in reality or much weaker profits).
That is why I accept the possibility that this function will disappear from the game in the future but I will risk it and wait for the players' reactions.
Another of the ideas suggested by the players is the possibility of special rewarding for outstanding achievements in the game (such as winning all types of prizes at a given festival). I decided that the award would be iconic vehicles.
Currently, the player has the option of buying cars at auctions or receiving them in certain circumstances. The new version will also include cult vehicles (they will not always be cars) from well-known films that can not be bought, and can be obtained for special achievements during the game. Such achievements include, for example, winning awards in all categories at a given festival or receiving X times the prize for the best film at a particular festival.
Notes and comments
There are quite a few cult vehicles and you can't get them all in a single game ... but thanks to this the game can still surprise you with your next attempts.
Currently in the Movie Business there is an option for cult characters that allows you to change the photo of characters playing iconic roles in famous movies. In the new version, I will extend the possibility of modifying the displayed photos of creators a little bit ... with a monster!
Some characters have become iconic in the history of cinema. They are often different types of monsters. They can come from literary classics like Dracula or Frankenstein or be created by cinema like King Kong or Alien. Often, such a hero is not associated with a specific actor but is a character in himself played by different artists at different times. In the game you will be able to use the image of such a monster regardless of who will play him in our film.
How is this supposed to work? Again, the script's character name will be used for this purpose. If this name is recognized by the game as "Monster" then the actor's photo will be replaced with the photo of the given monster. So giving our hero the name Dracula will cause that his photo will be replaced by a generic photo of Dracula.
Cult characters and Monsters
In the case when the actor played the character of such a monster in his career and he will have an iconic photo associated with this role, it will have priority over the "generic" monster.
Notes and comments
When creating a script and naming a specific hero, if you enter the name identified as a monster, the background of the control with the character's name will be highlighted in green.
To check the list of available monsters in the search engine game, enter the special showAllMonsters code
Since I am next to the names of the heroes, there is a new opportunity to give them the name of the creator who will play the character. The game will interpret this as a cameo performance, i.e. a short participation of a well-known personality (for example, an actor, music or politician) in a movie, series or computer game.
This is not very important for the game but can be appreciated by the audience.
Notes and comments
When creating a script, we often don't know who will ultimately play the character. Therefore, in this case, changing the name of the hero is best done during the start of production.
During the game you probably happened to encounter various random events. Among them were, for example, those related to drugs. Until now, these were only mentions that resulted, at most, in the extension of production time or the need to pay a deposit. As stimulants are quite an important topic of the world of celebrities, I decided to slightly expand this aspect in the game ... and so in the next edition of the game addictions will appear.
Each of the creators will have dedicated statistics on this topic. And so, when the creator encounters an event, e.g. drug possession, then his drug addiction will increase.
Of course, addiction will not be limited to "drugs." You will also find other types there, the most obvious of which is gambling or alcohol. The higher the addiction value, the more problems a given artist or our film set may encounter.
Note, extreme addiction will even lead to the death of such a person. Of course, there will be some measures to prevent this, namely the ability to send such a delinquent to rehab. Not at all times, however, we will have such an opportunity, and on the other hand our hero does not have to agree to such treatment.
Notes and comments
Of course, along with addictions, there will also be new events during production regarding this aspect of the game or existing ones will be modified. For example, the sum of all addictions of a given artist will affect his sanity during interviews ... which may result in non-political statements of a given author, which may lead to a boycott of our film by specific social groups who have been offended by such a delinquent.
Improved player profile creation
Player profiles are one of the important elements of the game that allows not only to store player's progress, trophies or his statistics, but also allows the use of the MovieStats website, where, among other things, you can add your own suggestions of creators who would like to be in the game.
Due to the development and expansion of the game's functionality, it is necessary to re-establish the profile from time to time. Until now it was a bit embarrassing if we already had our data in MovieStats. Now the process will be a little easier, thanks to the possibility of creating a new profile in the game, based on the existing profile in MovieStats.
In the 2020 edition, when creating a new profile, we will receive two options. We'll be able to create it from scratch or import it from MovieStats by providing the email we used to register in the game. The condition is that your profile must have been activated (player status in MovieStats is active).
Note, however, you will still need to enter your password. The game cannot import passwords (they are not stored in the MovieStats database). Therefore, if you do not remember your MovieStats password, you will have to enter a new one and then use the Reset password option so that you can synchronize your passwords between local in-game and remote profiles stored on the MovieStats server.
Notes and comments
You can read more about player profiles and their synchronization in the new help chapter entitled Player profiles and passwords
When starting the game, the player does not have enough cash to be able to afford all the creators. Therefore, he often has to rely on young creators or fictional characters generated by the game. Some players have reported to me that sometimes such characters are too few (probably the game started before 1980). So I decided to introduce an additional option of employing scouts looking for new talents.
How will this work? Well, having an assistant you can hire a scout. His task will be to find a creator with a given profile. When employing a scout, we'll have to give him some information about who to look for.
- basic information about the sought artist: gender, occupation and the parameter we are interested in (sex, action, humor, drama)
- search time in months (maximum 12)
- scout level
The scout level is responsible for its effectiveness and skills. A scout at a higher level can search for creators with better parameters. Additionally, it has the ability to search for creators beforehand.
The creators found by the scout are creators who haven't started their career yet. By default, this is a year from the date the artist started his career, but the highest level of the boy scout is able to find a person even 3 years before his official start of career. Talents found include both fictional (young artists) and real characters.
The creators found in this way will go to our talent base. We will be able to use them during the production of our film. We can see them performing Casting for a given role (such creators will be added to the results of the casting). Of course, we will still have to pay the artist a fee. However, it will be much smaller, and this is due to the fact that the popularity of such an artist and talent are limited (popularity much and talent partly).
Talents, of course, become professional over time. This means that they appear in the standard list of creators and their parameters are restored to normal values. They disappear from the player's talent list.
Notes and comments
Additional remarks. The more specific the parameters (specific sex and occupation) we define, the greater the chance for scouts to find talent. It is also worth using scouts for ad hoc projects. It should be remembered that the talent found will be at our disposal only for a short period, they will soon become professional.
An additional feature of talents is the fact that they can be used as alternates when replacing cast in events during production. By default, this exchange can be made on creators with whom you have a contract. From now on, this list will be expanded to include our talents.
Scouting is not very extensive, but I hope that in this form it will solve problems for some players finding the right cast for their movie.
Witcher inspirations or stuff
What does the Witcher have to do with the Movie Business? Well, the gameplay, in this undoubtedly fantastic production, inspired me to a few ideas that I would like to implement in my game. However, this is not about total rip-off but about some, slightly more abstract concepts regarding the creation of games.
The third part of The Witcher is an amazing achievement when it comes to game design. It is especially about how the world is created, which lives its own life and the consequences of the players' choices are often visible in a very distant perspective and it is not only about these key decisions affecting the plot of the game but also small flavors that strongly build immersion.
Inspired by the design of this game, I decided to introduce some mechanics that will allow you to create more advanced gameplay elements in the future. And this is how the quite abstract concept of "Stuff" was created.
You will be able to find things in investments and they include the following elements.
Awards - a list of awards won by the producer
Calendar - where reminders and information about meetings with creators are stored
Notes - various notes, e.g. phone numbers to the creators
Publications - publications in the form of books, guides, letters, leaflets
Billing - phone call history
Search history - history of search engine searches
Journal - a log of the most important events and decisions made by the player
Other - items not matching other categories
A more detailed description of each type of stuff:
Here we can review the awards we have won. Note this applies to statuettes won at festivals by the producer (i.e. only awards for the best film).
The player will be able to arrange meetings with the creators. Such meetings will be saved on the calendar and a reminder will appear on the specified date.
Telephones / Billing
There are opportunities to call celebrities in the game. However, to be able to call them you must first get their number. It is known that most celebrities try to protect their privacy, so it is not easy. How can you get this number?
- First, building relationships with creators. Once you've reached the right level of relationship, you'll be able to ask the person to exchange numbers.
- Taking advantage of acquaintance. If we have a good relationship with a creator, we can ask him to recommend one of his friends to work with. Then the creator can give us his friend's number.
- Leaks on WikiLeaks. Well, it happens that celebrity numbers can leak ... such a number will appear on a special wikileaks page (you will need to use the search engine to display such numbers)
Note: just because we know the person's number and will try to call them does not mean that the person will always want to answer our phone ... Only numbers known to the person (i.e. those that have been intentionally exchanged with the player) will be received with priority (although not always ;).
Of course, if a celebrity has our number, he can also call us with something.
In addition to phones from celebrities, we can also receive a phone call from the NPC. They can result in various events / tasks. A specific example can be found later in the text.
The history of our conversations can be found in billing.
These are various notes and information that we will get during the game. For example, phone numbers will be saved in the form of notes.
Different types of longer or shorter texts that broaden knowledge of the game or add flavor. And so they can be books (based on iconic movie scenarios), information leaflets (e.g. about festivals), guides to various aspects of the game, letters, magazines (e.g. issues of magazines with Vanity Fair lists) etc.
As the name suggests, our search engine searches are saved in history.
The key decisions made by the player are sent to the log, which in the future can be used for various events and / or to draw consequences from these decisions.
Some of the items will be available for purchase in investments (this applies to publications), some of which we receive as part of various events / achievements during the game.
These rather abstract concepts do not look particularly revolutionary, but they are concepts that quite significantly affect the modeling and interaction capabilities in the game world.
This is best illustrated by an example of simple functionality. This will be the case of the young screenwriter.
Until now, a random event known as a young screenwriter could have happened to the player. Well, it appeared in the events with a brief information that the young scriptwriter with the script came to the player. As a consequence, the player received for free, a random script that he could use to produce the film, make minor modifications or simply sell it. Just such a small random event.
With the new engine capabilities, it will take on some blush and will look as follows.
Everything will start with a phone from an unknown number. The player can now reject such a call (in the end we do not know who and for what purpose he is calling) or risk and answer. When we receive, in this particular case, it turns out that a young screenwriter is calling us with a script they would like to give us. We are informed about the details of this scenario and now the player has several options.
The player can accept such a scenario without complaining, reject it stating that it is useless or ask for changes in them. The changes may concern specific parameters of the script, cast or ending.
If we decide on any changes then the scriptwriter promises to introduce them and report in a while. Information about our decision goes to our diary, and when the script is modified, the scriptwriter will contact us again. Again, we can reject, accept or ask for corrections. Such a process may take several iterations until the script receives a shape that satisfies us.
This is a very simple example but it illustrates well the use of several new mechanics that allow you to build slightly more complicated quests, where on the one hand the player can / must make choices on the other, the consequences of certain actions will be seen with some delay (the writer's return in some time).
Notes and comments
The 2020 Edition is just introducing these new mechanics and is not using them too intensively yet. This can be considered as a demo version of the engine capabilities. However, it is a great base for further development of the game and for introducing more complex relationships between player's decisions and their consequences.
Sequels for the executive producer
Until now, other producers could offer the player to create a movie as an executive producer. Now, if such a movie is commercially successful, such a producer can come back to the player with a request to produce a sequel. Of course, the budget for this production will increase slightly and the player will receive a better pay (percentage of the film's profits).
Changes in economics
As usual, I also try to refine the economic elements of the game. This time there were several changes in this aspect of the game.
A tax on studies owned by the player has been introduced. It is not high but I decided that players have too much cash and have nothing to do with it. The amount of tax obviously depends on the level of study (the higher the higher) and the number of studies.
New types of expenses (taxes and dividends)
New types of expenses will appear in the information about finances. Taxes and dividends to better track where our money has gone.
Creditworthiness depends on the player's level and account balance
One player demanded the availability of a larger loan. Unless I consider it reasonable at the beginning of the game (after all, it is an economic game and the player is supposed to earn money and not take loans). In fact, at a later stage of the game, the current loans are very low and practically not useful. Hence, a slightly different concept of this element will appear.
The amount of credit you can take will change. However, this does not apply to the beginning of the game where it will still be at the current level but when the player starts to have financial security. Then his credit line will be extended. This will allow you to invest in slightly more expensive movies later in the game.
Of course, be careful because the interest rate on such loans is quite high. And overly wasteful approach to this issue can have deplorable results.
Bigger, better, more badness
Each edition of the game tries to expand existing elements as well this time.
several hundred new cult characters
new cult movies (from 2019)
several hundred new titles
300 new review texts (5700 total)
new passwords and cheta codes to use in the search engine
new events in production
The 2020 edition will debut with the version of the 59 set, which will contain almost 5,000 real creators in total! I don't know any game similar to the Movie Business with such a rich and diverse base of real creators. And it's largely created by the community.
This edition does not introduce any revolution regarding algorithms. Light tuning has gone through temporary costs (costs incurred by the player during the production of the film). They will now also depend on the cost of studying.
The selection of creators for movies made by computer players has also been slightly improved. In a nutshell, the computer should choose creators better for the role.
Bonuses for Donors
Although the game is free, if someone really liked it, they can donate to the project. Such a player will receive an additional bonus. In each edition I try to add some small thing for donors. And so in the 2020 edition it will be possible to use cheat codes in a party game (normally cheat codes are only available in quick game mode).
Of course, using cheat code will disable trophies, export movies to MovieStats, and will not save profile information.
The next change will concern the unlocking of all genres in the party game. Until now, donors had access to all genres from the beginning of the party game. Normally you need to unlock them to earn prestige points. The idea of unlocking seems to be a good idea even in a party game. Therefore, in the new edition you will need to enter the appropriate unlockAllGenres code to unlock all genres.
This code will be available only to donors and unlike other cheat codes, there are no negative consequences (it does not disable trophies or block the export of movies to MovieStats).
The game so far did not have a trailer that showed elements of gameplay, which were often pointed out by people who wanted to see what the whole Movie Business was all about. During the premiere of the new edition, I decided to change it and prepare such a trailer.
In addition to the new trailer for the game, a new tutorial has also appeared. It concerns how to add new creators to the game using the MovieStats website.
These are the most important changes introduced in the 2020 Edition, of course there are dozens of smaller improvements regarding the interface, algorithms and game balance. I hope that they will meet their assumptions and expectations of players without introducing too many new mistakes;).
As usual, after the premiere I am waiting for all comments, suggestions and comments.
More about game
- Official page - moviebusiness.tomiga.net
Other texts related to the game you will find in Director's cut section on official page.
Get Movie Business 2
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