Economy class

Slamball is a management game, inspired by my exposure to the seminal Football Manager and various other more involved but less fun games over the years. A big part of these games is the management of your team’s finances, and that’s why Slamball needs an economy.

My game won’t be particularly complicated with the financials, but there will need to be enough aspects to it that it adds to the challenge. The player will have to manage a squad that collectively can only be paid a certain amount of weekly wages. Then there will be the buying and selling of players, and finally the training of players. I’m still toying with some other aspects, such as being able to upgrade a team’s stadium, but pretty much that’s the extent of the finance possible in the game.

So what makes it difficult? Balancing, that’s what.

If the economy isn’t handled correctly then the game could quickly lose its challenge as the player becomes super-rich, buying all the best players and training them all to within an inch of their potential. The other way is that the player can never generate enough income to progress in the game. So, the economy has to be balanced such that it’s always a challenge to play the game, but that the player has a chance to win.

In order to get this balance I started by looking at how I would calculate a player’s wages based on their statistics. From that I could work out how much an “average” team would cost to run, and therefore I’d be able to calculate the income required.

This wasn’t the best way to do it.

I then scrapped that approach – but kept the formula for calculating wages – and instead looked at income, i.e. the areas that the player would receive money from within the game.

There aren’t many areas, basically gate receipts, selling players, and prize money. But once I’d worked out these things I was able to more accurately set the “cost” of other things to try to keep a balance.

Right now I’m happy enough with how it will all work. But the real test will be when the game has been coded and I’m able to actually test the economy. In fact, the more testers the better, so if you’re reading this and have an iPhone running iOS4, then you may get a chance to help.

Aside from the economy I’ve been busy (re)learning iPhone development. I’ll have more to talk about on that score next time, as I start to build the user interface and integrate the SQL data access bits.

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