Feedback after first week

Since I’ve been able to play BP for a week now and spent about 20 hours with it here is a bit of feedback. Of course this is only my opinion so feel free to discuss the points. Also I divided this in a “must have” and “nice to have” section.

Must Have

1. Master / Expert / Beginner System

This system is a nice addition but it’s not well thought out. At the moment it works the wrong way.

A “Master” should be able to use his abilities and knowlege of the game to build complex and large production lines. The current system prevents him in doing so because he doesn’t have the time to even research the “good” machines. Last night I completet a master rank game and didn’t even get to the point where I was able to make syringes. Not even to think about a hadron collider or something like that. The given time was simply to short. Instead I flooded the market witch level 2 cures even if they only made 20 bucks only to reach the money goal.

Don’t give a “medal” for how quick someone can achive a goal, give it for what they accomplished in a fixed time.
Example: You have 10 years. Beginner - Earn 5 Million, Expert - Earn 8 Million, Master - Earn 12 Million
or 10 Years supply 2/4/6 diffrent drugs with a combined value of $800

2. Overwiev of Reasearch / Exploerer Points and progress

We need some symbols in the production window of how many unused research/explorer points we have.
Same goes for research and explorer progress.

I simply find myself clicking to many times on the research tab only to look for my research progress or if I finally have the 8 / 16 points for my machine upgrade.

3. Market Saturation

The current system is, simply said, bad. But this won’t help much so let’s take a deep look whats happening. Also this will be the most complex chage to implement in the game but I think it would be worth it. It would add even more depth and playercontroll.

There are 2 way in which the market becomes saturatet. 1. to many players produce the same drug 2. one player produces to much of one drug.
Both result in dropping prices and nothing the player can do about it. but this is not how economics work and should not work in the game.

Why? because we as players feel a bit helpless or stripped out of power if one of our “wonder drugs” (no sideffects, perfect concentration) in which we spent maybe 30 minutes building a production line for suddenly makes no more money simply because two other ais decided to flood the market with the same or even worse drug which has sideeffects / not the perfect concentration. This is just a frustrating “fuck it” moment. but back to the 2 situations mentioned before.

In the first case (which is what we have most of the time in the real world) we only have the prices go down because the companies decide to lower them because they are competing and customers then decide which product to buy on a quality/price analsys.
In the second case the price goes down because the one company needs to get rid of the warehouses full of something so they lower the prices that more people like to buy something. But ultimatly there is a limit because you can’t sell a cancer treatment to someone without cancer.
In both cases however the companies decide the price. They have the power. Not so much in the game right now.

So how could you bring this in the game? As I said this will be complex but follow me please for a moment.
First get rid of the price bonus through the drug rating (+25% for A ect.). Just give the rating and then give us the option to adjust the price between -25% to + 25% which itself would effect the now “new” drug rating.
For example: A drug with max strengh and no sideeffects becomes A. Then I could go and say ok +25% price which would then lower the rating of A back to C.

If the market then becomes saturated cusomers should then buy more drugs of good ratet drugs (because the value/price is better). This way you could realy compete with the ais and maybe even force them out of the market.

And if you saturate the market on your own your outputs should only generate money every second round or something (depending on the saturation of course).

All in all, this would add even more depth to the game, get rid of these “helpless” situations and add some interaction between you and the competitors.

Nice To Have

4. Strange combination of cures and sideeffects

You should implement a system which prevents some strange sideffect/cures combinations on ingredients. For example I have seen a ingredient which had “eases migrane” and “causes headaches” both active at the same concentration. Seems a bit strange to me :wink:

5. Late Game Money

Money becomes a non issue in the late game. I don’t really know what to do about it but it’s only a lesser point for me.
Maybe you could add rising salarys for researchers if you have more than 5/10/15 or something.

6. More Interaction With Competitors

Competitors are atm only faces which take up space in my company overview. There is no interaction, nothing you can do about them. currently they serve no real reason to be there in the first place other than market saturation, which again the player can do nothing about it.
How to change it? Point 3 would be one way.

7. Late Game Performance

Nothing to say about this. It’s probably on your list anyway but I know optimisation is usualy one of the last things in the developement process.

So thats it for now. There was something else I would like to mention but I can’t remember right now.
Let me know what you think and feel free to discuss.

I agree with all your points except I want to talk a little about point 3 - the market saturation one.

I actually gave this one so much thought and design time during development and I’ve had multiple conversations with various people about it.

The problem is this, as soon as you have some kind of mechanic which determines if a drug sells or not at a certain price, you are essentially adding in the idea of ‘stock’. IE Goods which are ready for sale but won’t because the price is too high.

I think this is an unnecessary mechanic for Big Pharma and I don’t see how it adds anything. All it adds, in my humble opinion, is a tedious activity. I can’t think of a scenario where any player would have anything but a price which allows them to sell all their goods each turn. Why would you want unsold stock (apart from for seasonal reasons which are an edge case)?

Example assuming players control their own prices:

  1. You’re producing super awesome Schizophrenia syringes selling for $1200, let’s assume that’s the number that allows you to sell all your production each turn, say 50 syringes per month.
  2. Competitor comes along and produces a Schizophrenia pill which is less effective. They also want to sell 50 per month.
  3. Market saturation limit is 80 so saturation is 125%.
  4. AI lowers their price until the consumer decides their drug offers sufficient price/quality to sell all their product. Let’s assume this is $900.
  5. They sell 50 per month, you are only selling 30.
  6. What do you do? Keep your high price or lower yours until you can start selling all your stock again? You’ll lower it every time and end in the same result as in the current game where everyone’s prices are lowered by some amount proportional to the market saturation.

Simply put: I don’t think manual pricing/stock mechanic solves the issue.

Now even if it did, I always use Capitalism II as an example in these discussions. It’s a great game but I find the manual price adjustment really tedious and it puts me off playing regularly.

Why not make a system which assumes every player is adjusting their price to whatever price they need to ensure their entire export production is sold each turn. That is what I’m trying to achieve.

Now, that doesn’t mean the system is perfect. There might be solutions to your feeling of helplessness which don’t involve adding a stock mechanic. I just wanted to make it very clear why I won’t be considering adding a stock/manual pricing mechanic.

If anyone has any bright ideas I will certainly listen. Tim.

And exactly that is my point. On paper the result looks the same but the “feeling” for the player would be different because he decided to lower the price. It was his choice and would no longer feel forced by a game system he had no influence over. And excatly this makes a huge difference.

And you have to think about the “stakes”. There is not one building on the line you simply put down which took you 2 seconds. There is this whole production line where the player spend 10-30 minutes building, planing, testing. And now all this time is worthless because of some stupid AI and a market system the player has no influence over.

This is, like i said, a huge frustrating “fuck it” moment.

I get your point. You want to keep it nice clean and simple. And I can even see why my solution seems to complex / complicatet. But you can’t keep it this way.

p.s. I love Capitalism 2 :smiley:

Ok so I gave myself a little thought about the point three and I think actually the point here is not about the saturation but actually about the effectivness of making a very good drug. What this point is actually I think is a little bit about the incentive for making our “wonder drugs” it might be just that we feel kind of robbed by the fact that the opponents are making those super cheap drugs which flood the market and through this our best ingame drug gets a big hit on itself.

Ofcourse currently we have the drug quality system which gives us a bonus on the demeand of the drug but this just doesn’t feel good that we’re still getting hit by the saturation effect. What I think could be the possible solution here is actually making the best drug in market some form of an immunity or serious lowering of the influence of the saturation effect on it. I think this is a vaiable solution because this is actually how it kinda works in the pharmaceutical market (take as an example the vaccines -> even though the market is kinda saturated ppl are still going more likly for the better working vaccines)

And another idea would be to split up actually the saturation into smaller portions so that drugs with different effectiveness fight each other and not the drugs with lower rating

Stumbled upon this myself, had a ingredient that could both increase and lower blood pressure. But this is not unusual at all in real life medicines actually, using certain painkillers too much can be a cause of headache itself for example, so I don’t think it’s too off with it being in the game ;).

Just on point 3.

There should be a limit, in that profit should not be ground to the floor.

By using Saturation to reflect all elements of the price, you are putting in an abstract supply vs demand etc. mechanic in…

Supply vs Demand will balance out, and if a new competitor jumps in, then supply will increase, and so demand will move to match,therefore the price will fall to balance everything out again.

Whether a competitor comes in or not will depend on if they will have an economic profit (not accounting)… if someone makes a wonder drug, and is making a HUGE profit (accounting and therefore economic), then of COURSE the competition will enter the market, as if you feel very good about your drug, and enjoy making it and the associated profit, then others will also want to feel good :stuck_out_tongue:

This process will continue until economic profit is 0, and then no competition is likely to move in. If economic profit drops below 0, then competitors will move out of the scene to go for better markets.

I don’t think the value of the drug in itself is enough to reflect the amount of profit you make… as you have generic brands that people will choose because they are cheaper… and there are more of those people that can’t afford to pay a large amount for the drug so different qualities(prices) of drugs will have differing amounts of supply saturation points!!

To abstractly reflect all of this, I think there needs to be a minimum amount of accounting profit, since you cannot change the amount of stock you are selling (in that warehousing kinda way), so it makes very little business sense from a free market liberal thinking that competition will drive the stock price to the floor - and your producers then feel cheated.

The value of the drug (how effective it is) I think works well in being a buffer to the saturation, and i feel rewarded as a player… until the saturation puts my drug (in early game vs competition) from $60 profit, to $20 profit to $3 profit…

I totally agree it is very frustrating to put in a-lot of time and money making a highly superior product then to have the price crash because some bozo is flooding the market with an inferior product. For example I may go out to the shops and buy my usual painkiller. If I saw that the pharmacy had got in loads and loads of a new painkiller that was not as effective and had loads of nasty side effects I would not buy it. I also would not expect my usual painkiller to panic lower their prices simply because this new inferior product was available.

I have some ideas on how to combat this issue:

[size=125]1. Add some kind of immunity from market saturation for superior products.[/size]

This could simply be the game ignoring a percentage of the price reduction due to saturation. E.g. Competitors product is selling at 110% saturation price. My superior product ignores 25% market saturation and sells at a more reasonable 85%.

[size=125]2. Only compare similar products to each other for market saturation.[/size]

So my painkiller with no side effects and 100% effectiveness is not compared to a painkiller with 50% effectiveness and two side effects. This would mean similar products could compete with each other without interfering with others. If the idea of completely separate markets is too much, maybe reduce the effect on market saturation for dissimilar products. E.g. painkiller A and painkiller B are high quality, painkiller C is low quality. Painkiller A and B affect their market saturation as normal. Painkiller C only adds a small amount to A and B’s market saturation (and vice versa)

[size=125]3. Reduce the overall effectiveness of saturation on price.[/size]

This may effectively reduce player frustration at nosediving prices but may turn the market saturation mechanic it into a bit of a non feature.

I think any of these ideas could work. My personal choice would be 2 because it means that the player has a choice whether to do a cash grab or refine a superior product without the fear of investment coming to nothing.

IRL you also have drugs with funny side effects. My grandmother used to take sleeping pills, which may (in 1 over 10 000 cases) induce insomnia.

Tim has a point.

I don’t want to manage stock, I want to play the game. And its great :slight_smile:
We could also ask Tim to make a minigame for those stock market managers with fluctuating market values and sudden super big risk events (did anyone say sudden company market death?) :smiley:
Or the possibility to make a friendly takeover of the AI’s company.

Just keep the automated value management, it keeps things simple.

On points 3 and 6 I have to say… I really don’t see a point in it in general… unless a drug goes into the reds… And i think that’s a really rare thing to happen…
But I haven’t really played it being poor and all… my experience comes from youtube ^^