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Amiga Future Forum Index -> Knowledge Base  »  English Articles  »  Eng_Reviews [Printable version]
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Type: Testbericht
Description: from GFX-BASE
Date: 10.11.2005 - 21:12 - Views 1242
Category: Eng_Reviews
Review Software Tycoon
 
Overview and requirements

Software Tycoon is shipped in a nice DVD-case. Inside you can find the CD-ROM and a rather simple instruction booklet, which at least was made especially for the Amiga version. For this economy-simulation you will need a quite powerful Amiga: A 68060 CPU and a gfxcard is the minimum requirement, a PPC is highly recommended. Both 68k and PPC versions are included and surprisingly you will also find a MorphOS version there aswell (funny detail: the backside of the package says: "System-requirement: Pegasos- or Amiga-Computer"). The game makes use of AHI for sound output and uses up to 8 channels of 22050hz sound. The readme on the CD-ROM says that you must have AHI Preferences setup with Unit 0 configured for at least 4 channels (8 channels recommended) and 22050 mixing as the quality of sound in the game is dependent on these settings.

On a 060 the game unfortunately doesn't feel fast enough and is not very responsive sometimes. As we lack a PPC-system, we then switched to UAE on a fast PC, which worked perfectly without any errors or crashes. So this might be how it runs on PPC, we guess.


Installation and first impression

You can either run the game directly from CD-ROM or install the whole game on your harddisk, which is done by the install-script by copying all files. Playing from CD-ROM isn't an option as it will not allow you to save a game - except if you are planning to play through the whole game in a single session, that is.

When starting the game you will have to choose the correct resolution, which is 800x600 in 8bit. We have heard that the MorphOS version supports 16bit, but we weren't able to test this though. After some credit-animations you will be taken to the main menu. Now start a game, pick a name and logo for your company, select skill-level (easy, medium or advanced) and you're in business! Next you can either choose "free game" and start developing right away or you can opt to follow the campaings, starting in the early 80ties, and work your way up to the more advanced game-technology of today.

The Game

You start out on a huge and busy street, which can be scrolled sideways to reveal all kind of locations such as the office-complex in which you and other rival companies reside, the bank (including ATM), cinema, gameshop, gameroom, production facilities, pizza shop, laboratory and advertising company. There are different kind of people roaming the streets like punks, musicians, tourists, kids or grannies. The developers of Software Tycoon have also included some nice details, like constantly changing weather conditions or a coke-machine and a memo-board, which always has some helpful tips for you. The controls are very simple: Just click and your character will move to the desired location. A doubleclick will immediately get you there.

If you look at the picture at the left you can see the interface at the bottom, which enables you to read your mail, save the game, check your company stats (this is done by clicking on the notebook) and speeding up time. Another important feature, that you can find here is a magnifying glass icon. Using this you can check out, which games are of interest to the masses by clicking on their heads. As you have loads of options in that game we decided to bring you a step-by-step tutorial on how to develop your first game. Here we go...

The Laboratory

Remember it's 1982 and game-technology isn't really advanced so all you can use to develop your game is text-graphics and PC-Speaker sound. Not impressive, right? If you think that you need better stuff than that to make a good start with our company you can choose to explore new game-technologies at the lab. Of course something futuristic like 4096 colors is impossible yet, but what about side-scrolling? Or maybe joystick-support? 4 color-graphics and speaker-music would be really cool! As you refine your technological skills, more and more new features will be available for you to invent later on.

The Concept

Before you get your concept ready you may want to pay a short visit to the cinema where you can try to obtain a (pretty costly) movie-license at the auction. Back at the office you start to create the concept by choosing a game-title and genre. If you already explored more than one (at the lab), you may combine them as you wish. Then you decide on which technologies to use for programming, graphics and sound. Finally you have to select the platform the game will support (PC, console, later handheld), the languages for translation and the quality of of your test-center. When your concept is finished, you still need to hire some employees. So you head for...

The Gameroom

This is *the* place to meet your future programmers, composing artists and graphicians. Of course they all vary in speed, experience, performance and stamina, the latter of which is very important for programmers, as they will have to do most of the work and get upset very easily when overworked. You can always give them more money or send them on holiday for some days - or just fire them.

Get Going!

Ok, you're ready to start at last. After you took your concept over to your development-department, you assign the different tasks to the respective members of your team. Then you have the choice of giving them a tight deadline for the game to finish or just let them work in peace and release the game "when it's done".

The Pizza-Shop

While they are working you can now speed up the time (everytime something important happens, time will automatically be restored to its normal speed and you will get informed via the comfortable mail system). But you can also visit the Pizza-Shop, where the mob is. There you can pay them for sabotaging your rival competitors (see picture on the right). Their services are quite expensive but you can always take a loan at the bank.

Your First Game

As soon as your team informed you that they finished the game you have to decide on the packaging-design at the factory. Do you want the manual to be full colored or just plain black'n'white? It's up to you, but it will incrase the costs for production later on. Another really nice thing is when you decide on what goodies to put in the box. Stickers, pens, posters - t-shirts anyone?
Good, you head over to production and start... producing! Here it is very important to match production-rate to your estimated sales later on. Too little and you'll run out of stock easily - too much and you may never manage to sell all those copies.

The Gamestore

Finally: With the license for the production you head off to the gamestore, where you put your final product in the shelves. Pick a decent price for it and they will start to sell it for you. Here you can check out the products of other companies and look at the charts. Now you can speed up the time again. Meanwhile you can promote your product at the local advertising-company. Also don't forget to regulary tune your production-rate. As time goes by you will hopefully make some profit. If you reach 500 000 $ you have completed the objective of this first level and will be taken to the next step of computer-gaming history.

The Review

No, not this one, we are talking abut a very funny and motivating feature in the game: A game-magazine will feature reviews of all games produced including yours. Have a look at the review of our fantastic, ground-breaking and revolutionary game, called "Blocky Pixels" (picture on the right)! Now try to beat this score!

Conclusion

We really liked that game even though we are generally not too enthusiastic about economy-sims. The gameplay is surprisingly addictive, especially due to the fun of inventing all those 'antique' game-principles and technology from way back, when you used to play those games yourself. Also there's a lot of nice detail like being enabled to have complete control of every aspect of the process of creating and selling a game yourself, choosing the packaging, combining genres and reading a review about it when it's done in your favourite mag. Most of the graphics in Software Tycoon are nicely rendered although we cannot believe that a 16bit version for a fast 68k-System like Amithlon/UAE and PPC would have been that much of a problem. Controls are simple and intuitive and overall the interface is pretty easy to handle once you got used to it. There's groovy music playing in the background, which tends to repeat itself as there is but one track, which may get annyoing if you don't like it. You can always turn it off, though. Sounds are unfortunately a rare thing in this game.

Score: 10/10

reviewer: Richard Kapp / Michael VanAllen
Amiga version: epic interactive entertainment
Original version: Blackstar / destrax
 
  
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