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When I started working on the business sim Office Management 101, I had just quit my job as a software developer. I had some money saved up and felt no desire to get another job right away, deciding to give indie game developer life a chance instead. This is the story so far.

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Cheers everyone!

When I started working on the business sim Office Management 101, I had just quit my job as a software developer. I had some money saved up and felt no desire to get another job right away, deciding to give indie game developer life a chance instead, mostly inspired by my younger brother, who was already working on a game of his own. We sort of teamed up behind the tulevik.EU name and domain with the plan of eventually starting an indie game company.

I pretty much knew right away what I wanted to make. For a while I had felt that tycoon game genre is a bit underdeveloped, sprouting a few gems from time to time, but not nearly enough to keep a fan of the style such as myself occupied as often as I would have liked. The same sort of goes for pixel art isometric graphics, which has also been a love of mine since first playing the original X-Com games by Microprose.


It took me just a few days to flesh out most of the idea and put it in writing - a humorous business sim that portrays the every day life in an office. I wanted features like managing the staff, having them take different roles and jobs and make them work on projects that eventually bring in money, but I also wanted the player to be able to build his office the way he wants to, no doubt being inspired by classics such as Theme Hospital or Pizza Tycoon and more lately Kairosoft titles. Gameplay wise I wanted to convey the feeling of swimming upstream in an demotivating bureaucratic machinery that big companies often are, taking inspiration from Dilbert comics and one of my favorite movies - Office Space. In addition to the standard free-play mode I also wanted to have a story/campaign mode, which actually fueled a lot of still unannounced ideas. The setting itself wasn't even that important to me, but I decided to go with a consumer electronics company, since I hadn't heard of a game with that theme at that point. Eventually it was brought to my attention, that there is another game with a similar setting in works after all, but after a long debate with myself I decided that our games are different enough in other ways.

Right after having done the first draft of the design document, I got straight to work on the engine for the game. I figured it would be the most easiest part for me since I had years of software development behind me, but, as it has turned out, game development is quite different from what I've been doing so far. Especially the heavy mathematics part and I have to admit, maths never was my strongest subject in school. Luckily a stubborn attitude can get you through most of the complex problems eventually anyway.


I was a bit more worried about the graphics at first. I can't actually even draw a proper stick-figure on paper and I had no previous experience on drawing anything isometric, but I certainly didn't have in my budget to hire an artist either. In the end figured I'll just throw together some programmers art and worry about it down the line. To my surprise though I learned a lot throughout the process and redid the graphics almost every day, finally ending up with a style that looked a lot better than I had dared to hope for. Of course I still have a lot to learn, but as long as I keep learning from my mistakes and polishing things, I feel like I can manage the task now.

The most worrying part for me was (and still is) marketing though. I've read so many horror stories of awesome games that flop on getting the word out and end up selling 5 copies overall. I know for sure I'm no marketing genius. I read through tons of materials online, I watched hours of videos on the subject, but I still have no solid idea what does one need to get any attention to his indie game. I'm pretty sure I've even missed out on many of the basics. I can only hope I'll figure something out eventually, but until then I'm in the mercy of pure luck :)

When I started with the game, I was pretty optimistic about the timeline, because progress was fast and my motivation was the highest I ever remember having. Even though I didn't announce it publicly, I figured I'll have an alpha already out in February. Of course these things never go as planned. The progress was significantly slowed down because of health reasons and more recently having the problem of finding a new rental apartment and a new job to finance that change.

I'm still in the process of working out those problems and I'm not sure when I can resume development full time, but one thing's for sure - I have not buried the idea of making this game. I still plan to have constant updates, even if it's just a little bit every week, because once I had a taste of this indie game developer life, I know that this is what I want to do for a living. I was told it will require sacrifices and boy were they right, but I've got a feeling it's all gonna be worth it in the end.

Anyway, if you feel like this may be a game you'd enjoy playing one day, you can keep an eye on our twitter account @tulevikEU for most constant updates. There's also some additional information on the officemanagement101.com web page. In case you have some questions, words of encouragement, suggestions, criticism or just want to have a chat, you're welcome to email me, contact me on twitter or even leave a comment here.

Until next time,
Riho Peterson
one half of tulevik.EU

Comments
Guest
Guest - - 687,512 comments

This project looks interesting and I'm curious how it will all play out. When I play the game I want to be a cool boss. I'm gonna treat my employees so good.

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tulevik.EU Author
tulevik.EU - - 34 comments

Thanks, I hope that I can deliver and I won't disappoint when the game is done.

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rsdworker
rsdworker - - 205 comments

looks very good game for me cause i love building up offices and design them

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jjc_uk
jjc_uk - - 15 comments

Nice post Riho! Forthright, honest and very interesting. I wish you well with your project (and your health!)

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tulevik.EU Author
tulevik.EU - - 34 comments

Thanks for the kind words.

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Storminator16
Storminator16 - - 1 comments

Thanks for giving us your story today. I needed to read this. I don't have the funds to up and drop my current job but I'm still hopeful to get my game done some day. Your game sounds like it will be great, I'm looking forward to your success. :)

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Guest
Guest - - 687,512 comments

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