Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.67

Goooood morning Dealers!
Today we come out with the great new 0.67 version of Dealer’s Life! We took some time since in the background we’re working hard on recurring characters and on our steps into localization, but some great new content and features are here!

Let’s begin with the nicest: new items!! That’s right, we introduced a bunch of new shiny pieces for you to discover and to play with! The list includes cowboy hats, vinyl records, videogames and glasses. Keep an eye on them and watch for other news, we’re already preparing new ones!

 

That’s sure not all for what concerns this update: we also introduced a new feature in the inventory, giving you the ability to lock items you own during each morning. Locked items will not be on your shop’s shelves when you open the shop, in this way customers won’t ask to buy them. That’s quite useful when you want to perform tasks on items before selling them but your employee is already working on another item. No more customers uselessly coming just to be sent away!

We could have made a queue system to manage multiple tasks at a time (as some of you Dealers suggested in these last days) but we think this lock mode could be a good solution as it leaves the freedom to decide each time what item to work on next: some tasks could take long and during that time things could change, a queue you planned days before could not be the optimal choice anymore. Plus, this mechanic will become even more useful in the near future, when there could be more than one reason to hold a specific item in your shop, even without performing tasks on it… but that’s another story and I won’t tell you more about it, for now. ;D

Another big improvement we made is putting more articles on the Daily Journal. What for, you say? Well, more articles means more job offers! Since we introduced some more employee types in the game we think you should have more alternatives in choosing your favourite ones! And do not forget even more employees are coming, we will need more space for them!

Speaking about balance, we listened to your feedback and made a little change on random events that could occur during the game: you will now have no more permanent events! They all have been changed to long lasting events since it could be quite bad, while playing infinite mode, to have more and more permanent events that accumulate without the possibility to make them go away. Also, we limited the number of events you can have at the same time, now they can be 3 at most.
Of course both changes are not retroactive so if in your current game you already experienced some (or more than three) permanent events… well, we can’t change that but you won’t receive any more of them!

Can you believe? I nearly forgot to tell you about the biggest (at least in terms of development) improvement of this release: number formatting! All numbers in the game are now formatted and that’s quite pretty since they’re a lot more readable than before! Yay!

Right now numbers are formatted according to American standards but we already linked them to localization, so you will see proper formatting for your language when we release it.

And with this we’ve reached the end of version 0.67 update, I hope you’ll enjoy all these great improvements!

Stay tuned for more and keep up the good deals!

The way of success in Dealer’s Life

Hi to all Dealers!

Today I will talk about strategy. That’s it: you need strategy to win this game.
Dealer’s Life may seem a straight simple game at first but I can tell you it’s not. You can’t just buy and sell stuff hoping to make money from it, you have to fight for every cent you make and be wise enough to not waste money by taking bad decisions about new shops, tasks or employees.
The talk could be quite huge here, so let’s go fast and begin!

Golden Rule #1 – Haggling is not an option

First things first: haggling. Since the beginning of time, humankind has based it own prosperity on exchanging goods between each other… Ok maybe I’ve started from too far, let’s cut some boring introduction and say this: if you want to be a real Hardcore Dealer you will never let your customer go away without having spilled every single blood drop you can from him: if he wants to sell you something you estimate, say, $150 and he asks you $100, you will still offer him less. No fair business? Who cares, but you want to get rich, right?
If he accepts your offer it means you got what you wanted at a good price, and that’s good, but you know what? You still failed to make a really good haggle, sir. If a customer accepts your first counteroffer it means you could have been gone lower and probably he would have followed you. With a few more relaunches you could have reached an even better price.
On the other hand if you go too low with the counter offer your customer won’t follow you: he will get angry and stick to his offer, obliging you to come closer to him and making you lose a chance to lower the price.

Awww, c’mon!

So this is the difficult part: every customer has his own “window of acceptance”. If you go below that window you won’t get anything useful, if you go too high in that window you won’t get the best price possible. How to know the boundaries of this window, then? This brings us to the next golden rule…

Golden Rule #2 – Know your customers

Every customer is different and there is no fixed path of actions that makes you always get the best deal from every customer. You have to adapt the bargaining process to your customer. A good way to do this is stare at him and get some clues about his personality. Your Insight skill does help in this but keep in mind that your customer’s appearance isn’t just there so you can look at it for pleasure. If you’re smart enough you could eventually understand that certain details in appearance reflect in specific psychological traits, so one day you could end up recognizing them by merely looking at your customer! That will be a pleasure!

Ok, now you know your customer’s personality… but what for? How can it help you in haggling with him? Well, this is also a tricky part as you’ll have to figure it out. You will never get told that your customer’s lowest limit of acceptance for your offers is a certain amount, but you can get an average idea by knowing that:

  • greedy customers won’t move too far from their starting offer, and usually tend to be… well, greedier than other customers.
  • competent customers will look for the real price of the item they came to buy or sell, while not competent customers will easily shot a random price. This second case could lead to impossible haggling fights as well as epic deals. If you encounter a really not competent customer that is also not greedy at all, you could probably make one of the best deals you ever made if you push it well!
  • impatient customers have no time to waste and should you start from a too low offer they will easily quit the haggle and go away. You should be quite careful with them and do not exaggerate.
  • collectors are what you dream to have as buyers and what you’d happily avoid as sellers. They do not seem to have a sober idea of value for the items they own or desire, as they always overestimate every single thing.
You don’t look competent…

This four points lead us to some clear conclusions: if you encounter a really greedy seller which is not competent at all and also an impatient collector you should check your real life luck, man, because you got the worst case ever. On the other hand, if you get a buyer which is a calm, not greedy and not competent collector you can prepare to shot ridiculous offers!

Golden Rule #3 – Employees are not shoes…

… That means you should not keep changing them all the time. There are tons of useful employees out there that could really help you out getting the most from your deals, but every one of them has a price that you pay every week and every time you hire a new one. That could lead to some serious problems especially in early game, when you don’t have much money to trash in bad decisions and second thoughts. Good experienced employees are expensive and not always available though, so it’s up to you to decide if and when to hire someone. Do not haste the decision, take your time to think about two or three employees that could help you most and look for them in the Daily Journal.

Here are a couple of tips you could find useful:

  • employees that passively provide some kind of bonuses may not seem as attractive as other employees like the restorer or the expert but the true thing is that, no matter what, they’ll always be “on duty” and provide their bonuses. The restorer could become idle if he doesn’t have items to repair, and the expert… well, the expert is actually useful even if he’s idle, so go for experts! 😄
  • if you’re in early game think about hiring employees with a few experience: they may not excel in their job but hey, they’re damn cheap and are better than nothing, right?

Golden Rule #4 – The right shop at the right time

Shops are great: they provide you a big inventory, a bunch of working locations, they can even influence the amount of customers you can receive every day! The problem is their cost. They’re really expensive. If you move to a new shop too early you will sure have a new shiny look for your interiors and some more space to fill, but you could end up with no more money to invest in new items. Without them and without a good amount of items to sell in your inventory… let’s be honest: you’re ready to bankrupt.

Golden Rule #5 – Go with the flow

Last but not least, my favourite rule! 😄
In Dealer’s Life you often cannot have what you want when you want it. To tell the truth, you more often get what you do not want right in the most irritating time. The Daily Journal is a damn paper thing that pops out mostly useless to bad news (this is a simulation game, we couldn’t make it any different, sorry for that…) and a far lot of sellers out there are eager to bring you their embarrassingly ugly and crappy trash with no value at all, just to make you waste your time. And what about those hatred accidents that happen too often and make you lose your only and most valuable item you just repaired in a week of hard work? That’s really bad… but that’s how life could be and how Dealer’s Life is: though! If you dream of your best game ever with that great shop and those fantastic, top experienced employees and all those legendary items to repair for ridiculous deals… well, you’ll probably be disappointed. My suggestion here, as many good dudes before me already said in far and near pasts, is to abide. Accept what comes and adapt. Take every little chance you get and try to make the best gain possible from it. If you look only for the best item you could ever encounter and ignore the “trash tide” of less valuable items you are actually losing money, because even from the littlest item could come a gain, if you perform well. That could sound like a lesson of life… and maybe it is, my friends, maybe it is…

Finally, let me give you a last tip: infinite mode is fun, but if you ask me, making a new game from scratch is surely better. Procedural generation is a wild thing: sometimes the game is way too easy and forgiving, some other times it brings you more than a trouble. If you found your game quite easy and fast to win (or too difficult and apparently impossible to win) I encourage you to give another try. I cannot assure you it will be that easy (or that hard) next time but surely it will be different! ;D

Thank you for reading all this, I hope you found some useful hints to better enjoy Dealer’s Life! And don’t forget to comment with your favourite strategy and your tips!

See you on our next update for the upcoming release and keep up the good deals!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.63

Hello Dealers!

We were eager to release a new version since we found out that some bugs on the game flow still persisted, so here we are! Version B:0.63 right on the way for all players!

We worked really hard on this: we tried to iron out the game as much as possible in order to make it stable and flawless. First we worked on code disabling multitouch capability during gameplay and making a better management system for customers queue dynamics, then we changed the animation of buttons that appear behind the customer’s balloon making it quicker and more polished. We are confident that these changes will increase game stability a lot and will avoid a good quantity of problems related to customers stuck at the shop’s table or “later” / ”not interested” buttons not working. This means there will be no more awkward situations with your customers, where you try to dismiss them but they want to stay in your pawn shop. This sounds familiar, isn’t it? 😀

Speaking about graphics, due to new devices with wider resolutions coming on mobile market we made some changes on resolution management allowing an optimal visualization of the game also for them! In addition, we added a nice pop-up animation for all windows in the game, we hope you’ll like it!

Finally we added one more tutorial tip to better explain the “selling a fake” case dynamic, because if you know how it works… you know how to exploit it! ;D
In addition, we changed the way tutorial tips are managed to have better visibility in case we add some more in the future. With this version you’ll see again all tutorial tips and you’ll be able to disable individually each one from the pop-up itself or just shut them up with a single tap in the options menu.

That’s all for today’s update but be sure something bigger is coming: we are already working on the new release, which will soon be available to our Beta testers, with new employees and better performances to allow a good playing experience also on devices with low resources.
But most of all… do you see that bad guy that peers from the bottom of the “In Progress” list in our Roadmap? We finally embraced the mission and started working on it… Recurrent characters, plots and quests are coming!

Stay tuned and keep up the good deals!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.60

Hi Dealers!

We’ve finally come out with a shiny new version of Dealer’s Life!
It took us two weeks of hard work but I assure you it’s worth the wait! We’re talking about many improvements in many aspects of the game, so take a seat and enjoy the reading of what’s coming with version B:0.60 !

Let’s start from the biggest news: an Expert revamp!
Many players reported the small use of the Expert compared with other employees with more useful abilities so we took some time and thought about new ways to use him.
We added the ability to ask the Expert a quick estimate of an item you are going to buy: a very useful feature as it helps prevent the cases in which you couldn’t estimate an item by yourself. And if the Expert has good experience it’s also a way to get better estimates than yours. But beware that this ability comes with a cost: you can use this ability a limited number of times per day and only if your Expert is not on duty with some item you already own, so you have to keep him available in order to have him around and ask him an opinion.

Yes, he’s right!

So, if you choose to assign him an item of yours to analyze, you won’t be able to ask for quick estimates but on the other hand you still get a new ability from him besides the usual precise estimate and identification of fake items: if the item the Expert is analyzing is a fake he will now give you a smart hint to help sell it without being noticed! I mean, you’ll still be noticed if you insist too much during the haggle but overall it will be more easy to sell a fake item without the customer having it recognized.

What’s that new calendar over there??

Plus, if you assign a task to the Expert he will now take less time to perform it!
Great improvements, huh? That’s why the Expert now costs as much as the Restorer…

We’ve just been talking about time, and here is a real “time improvement”: we changed the way the in-game date is displayed, so now you can know the week number and the day number within that week, meaning that you immediately know when you’ll have to pay weekly expenses.

Next big thing of this new version of DL is about UI graphics: we are working hard on performance optimization but we also want to make the game look as good as possible, so we used a new approach to UI graphics handling and reached a new level of polish, image definition and quality! This improvement also affects the quality of items appearance, we really hope you’ll like it!
And speaking about items, we improved more than 40 items to make them better and nicer!

Just to continue talking about graphics we added new graphics for employees!
As you know we already put some great graphics for employees with the last patch, but this time we added a new appearance for every level of experience of employees! Nice!

A level 1 Restorer… pretty sad, uh?
A level 2 Restorer.
A level 3 MacGyv… ehm Restorer!

Finally we took some time to make a small balance of Luck (the in-game skill, not your luck 😉 ) weight during early game, just to make the game less unforgiving at the beginning if you have low Luck. No more deadly chains of events!

Oh, and of course we fixed a lot of bug with this version!

That’s all for now! Prepare for new great announcements in the near future!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.53

Hi everybody!

Here we are with a great new update for Dealer’s Life! This time we gave some more love to graphics and made some great steps forward in the direction of how we really want DL to look like.

Let’s begin with the tiniest of today’s improvements: a little change on UI. We listened to some of our most passionate players which were complaining that while fast-playing (which is the way they like to play: frantically tapping everywhere to get to the next deal ASAP 😄 ) they sometimes lost some important information that came out on popups. Since for many popups you could just tap everywhere to close it, we decided to go for a different solution about it. First we tried with a small X in the upper right corner of every popup window, but that wasn’t the right solution for a mobile game that you can play mostly with thumbs: the X was too high in the screen, difficult to reach with the thumb. So now we’re proposing a different solution: a “Close” button right inside every popup, in the lower right corner (or in the center if there are no other buttons). We are confident that this compromise will please everyone!

hirepopup

Enough for UI, let’s now talk about new graphics for employees.

newexpert

Every employee has now his own graphics that appears in the dedicated section on the notebook. We already planned to improve this visualization, adding specific graphics according to the level of experience of the employee but hey, this is already a good change, isn’t it?

Then we decided to enhance the visual difference between buyer and seller, since some of our players got sometimes confused between buy and sell and made the wrong offer. Now sellers will put on the table the item they want to sell (like before) while buyers will put just their money. So if you see money on your table, that’s what you’re going to get from your actual customer 😀

maingame_money

The nice thing is: the amount of money you see on the table will change in accordance to how much your customer would like to spend, and that will somehow help you understand from the beginning if you’re going to make a huge deal or just get some small cash. Plus, we assure it’s quite a good sensation to have a customer putting a HUGE amount of money on your table, you should check it 😀

But now let’s talk about the improvement I like the most: visual quality of items! I finally managed to find a way to visually reproduce quality of items in their images. Which is not making a dedicated sprite for every quality level of every item (it would have been just CRAZY), but instead integrating the quality rendering in the procedural generation process! Here is an example of the results I got from this:

itemconditionlayer

See? Same item sprite, 4 different versions based on quality: from the top we have very good conditions, then good, bad, and finally terrible conditions, really ugly! This automatically applies to ALL items, you’ll see while playing the nice effect it makes! 😀

That’s it about graphics but still it’s not all about this patch’s improvements (yep, we worked quite hard…). We also made some changes on late game balance, improving the impact of your Charisma and Luck skills on customers behaviours. Some of our players were telling us the late game is quite easy… well now it will be different! 😄

We hope you’ll like all these changes, that’s it for now!
Stay tuned for the next update and have fun!

Dealer’s Life reaches Beta version!

Almost a month has passed and we barely noticed it!
We’re still here, we’re absolutely not dead! We’ve passed the last weeks working like crazy on DL and we’re finally here to confirm our official
Beta release! We’ve finally done it and since last Friday our testers are able to try this new version (B:0.38)!

titlescreen

Changes at the game are huge, guys, you better sit down.

First of all, let us say there’s another incredible work on performance. You probably won’t even notice this but the game is light and fast as it never has been before. The game itself is considerably small in memory size and installs faster. We’ve optimized all graphics and made it better overall.

But let’s go ahead to more noticeable and cool changes: let’s talk about the negotiation controller. We completely redesigned it, after a remarkable night of inspiration. Remember how it was? Full of buttons with a slider?

negotiationcontroller_01

Ladies and gentlemen… We’re proud to show you our brand new controller!!!

negotiationcontroller_02

Ok, ok, it seems quite identical to the original, apart from the slider not showing up anymore. And you know what? You’re quite right, but do not be fooled by mere appearance: using this controller is much more comfortable and intuitive than the one before! You just push and keep pushing + or – buttons and the price of your counter offer price changes progressively faster. Then you press the top button to make your new offer. No more slider, no more limits!

Next, let’s talk about your skills. Things have changed a lot here, since we tuned all the skills in many ways in order to have them as balanced as possible. We also inserted an exhaustive help window that explains in details every skill and its effects in game.

charcust_03

Finally we made a big refining job to make all these effects more recognizable by the player.

We’ve done this for your character but also for your customers! All psychological traits have been defined better, tuning the AI in order to make all behaviors more remarked. Also, we’ve changed the way your character recognizes those traits, making your recognition much more variable and uncertain, but much more enjoyable in terms of gameplay.

psitraits_01

Talking about balance, we made some adjustments on employees hiring costs and skill increment costs in order to make the game more challenging and last longer.

Did I say “last”? Yes, because now we have different game endings!! We’ve introduced some win and lose conditions that will trigger if some conditions are verified! These conditions are, for example, if you… You know what? Find those out by yourself, I won’t spoil you anything!

And that’s quite all for now! We find the game much more enjoyable to play and we feel really good about this! We’re starting to see what we always wanted DL to become at the end… and we’re finally starting seeing the end of all this at the horizon!

I really would like to reveal you more on what’s coming as we already have new great changes that we have not released yet! A few things I think I can tell, if Tanek doesn’t censor my speech: you haven’t seen the final version of the trading controller, yet… and the first quest line is not too far away…. !!!

Stay tuned and don’t forget to follow us here, on Twitter and on Facebook!

Our testimonials!

In those days a lot of people are talking about Dealer’s Life and the new version with a LOT of graphical improvements and a new UI.

We are still busy preparing this new release and taking screenshots but here you will soon see these improvements for yourself. In the meanwhile you can see the following comments from some of our testimonials!

Stay tuned and remember to support us on our Kickstarter Campaign!

Animations!

Wow, another full time immersion in the magical world of shapes and colors has just passed like an hurricane! It’s been a day and a half, this time. I feel a little less tired than that “customers rendering” time but that’s just because now it was actually simpler… Anyway, what a change!! Now customers can MOVE! I mean, they really don’t move at all, but they use to… you know… jump around in the shop, if we want to say so. It’s not a real movement, they don’t, you know, WALK, but it’s something that reminds the South Park way to walk. And since I LOVE South Park, I think this is REALLY GREAT! ❤

entrance

Finally I’ve approached with seriousness the feared Unity Animator, a tool that can radically change the way of programming, creating much more confusion in your brain… but in a good way!! Is it possible? Well, I suppose so… O_o

After a couple of hours of brain bombardment with new concepts and revolutionary ideas, deleting all my previous work and remaking it from the beginning just to discard it again… I came up with THIS:

ss_npcq

This is ART, my friends. Can you see the balance, the symmetry of everything, the clear similarity with a space station…? This is real art… and it’s broken, of course. Obviously the final scheme is much uglier than this but at least is stable and perfectly efficient! Even Tanek, who tried to break it in every single way he could think of, had to admit it is UNBREAKABLE.

foto-animator

So after all this creativity we now have moving customers, new UI graphics, brand new shop with YOUR ITEMS shown on the shelves, and many other little & nice details I don’t remember having put in… but they’re there! I guess it was me, maybe during sleep.

Stay tuned for more updates and other details!

Because… Graphics!

What a weird word for a programmer… but hey, this is going to be the facade of the game, right? First impressions come from there so let’s work hard on that!

CheldonSooper

I’ve always known I would put my hands on graphics again: I’ve got a very clear idea of how I want the game to look, and I know it wouldn’t come to it so easily. We’re two programmers and only one graphic here, it’s not easy to contain all work necessary to fit just one person. Luckily I’ve got some skills in making animations and playing with sprites in Unity, so I’m sure I’ll eventually come with exactly what I want, and it’s gonna be really good.

Graphics is a totally new field for a programmer like me, and I think that’s the reason of the quite huge performance problem that came out lately within our last internal test version… but after a couple of days of pure insanity in front of this monitor I can say I solved it! It was all a matter of sprite resolution and image compression… but I don’t want to bother you with boring technical details (Tanek already does that 😀 ). The one thing that’s really important is that I made the game 75% lighter!! Not 10% or 15%. SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT, and that’s a number given by Tanek so I’m sure it’s completely true! A few clicks here and there, a little hundreds lines of code rewritten, and yeah baby! Job’s done!

While I was doing that I was also thinking about actually putting some more details and improvements in the main scene of the game: I want the shop interior and UI elements to look quite different, so I talked about it with the team and we made a (long) list of changes we want to make to graphics. It’s all in a checklist that will become my Bible for the next days. I’m starting today with this task, so expect big changes in the game’s look in the real short future!

Animations… here I come!!!

Hello World

Now that our Kickstarter project has begun, it’s time to say a new and big HELLO to all new visitors coming here! Time to better introduce myself, I suppose…

Well well, where to begin?

Hi! I’m Federico Palombini, but people call me Fiz or Faso. I’m the lead designer/storyteller and programmer of Dealer’s Life! Together with Giulio and Valentina I’m working like crazy to create a REAL videogame! See? I said it! It’s real! Yeaahh!!

The A-Team
The A-Team

Ok, you have to forgive my enthusiasm: this is a dream coming true for me, I’ve been a gamer for such a long time, and for every game I play I’m always like: “Wow! Good game! But IMHO if they change this and that, this game would be absolutely GREAT!”. You know, that’s usual routine for a long time gamer: you’ve seen so many games out there, it comes natural linking game mechanics between games and dreaming about the result.

For almost everyone of us gamers, finally comes the day when you think: “Ok, it’s very easy to criticize other’s work from the couch, feeling you could make something better, but what if you actually MAKE something?”. Most of people would stop at this, wisely discarding the idea because of the amount of work needed, the almost unpredictable gain perspective, and many other absolutely good reasons I myself have thought about many and many times.

For only a few of us, though, something triggers in the brain when you realize that you actually have both knowledge and tools to make something by your own. That feeling goes stronger and stronger, till becomes an unbearable need when you start meeting friends as mad as you and decide to make something together with them.

That’s exactly what happened to us. During an evening passed drinking beer and watching Youtube videos between me and Giulio, the idea came out almost naturally. I mean… why not? It was a life changing idea but, you know… As for quite everything in life, you never know what does it really mean until you actually live it.

Four months ago I used to work in an office with my business laptop, my business cell phone, my business workstation, badge and company canteen. Now I’m here at home with my gaming pc, using my gaming mouse to browse the internet and C# compilers, sitting on a broken office chair that keeps lowering. I’ve got some biscuits, plum cakes, quite too ripe fruits and other snacks as usual daily meal. I’m losing weight, and I don’t sleep easily. My mind is chock-full of thoughts, fears, things to do, things to remember, new things I’ll have to learn…

imm_fiz_pc-01

But you know what? I like it. I mean, I really love it. It’s a damn hard and draining work, but I actually think it’s one of the best periods I’ve ever lived in my life.

Now things can go good or bad. Will this Kickstarter take us somewhere? Will the game be liked by people? Will I fix all bugs?? Who knows? But one thing is for sure: I’ll never forget all this, and I’ll do all in my power to make a GREAT game.

fiz_hero-01