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!
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.
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.
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!
We just released a new update on Dealer’s Life, bringing our new version (B:0.65) to all our players!
The first addition is about a new job that some strange, dressed in black, guys have just brought in town… they call them “Brainwasher“!
They have this strange device that lets them reset your memory… and what better way to use it than dazing your soon to leave customers?
This renders the “brainwash” option a core mechanic of our game, linked to the employee and his level rather than a single extra possibility given to the player sometimes. And it’s for this reason that we made two big changes: the ad you will see can now be skipped and of course it has been removed from our Premium version!
Speaking about ads, we always listen to our players and, even if I’d like to remember that our Lite version is free thanks to those very ads, we decided to remove the ad shown when hiring a new employee!
That means that there are going to be a lot less ads in this version! But if you dislike ads and if you’d like to support us (and probably have some bonus and exclusive content in the near future, we are discussing about that right in these days!), consider buying our Premium version!
Regarding balance, in this update we also decided to increase the help you get when you run out of cash, so that it will be more difficult to lose a game, and to slightly increase the number of employee slots in higher level shops, given that there are more types of employee available.
Also, we had some reports of device heating, we investigated and linked them to some performance issues caused by our recent addition of in-game shadows and outlines to a lot of graphic elements. With this update we moved those graphical improvements to the sprites and the images included in the game, so your device will have a “lighter” effort running our game, improving performance and reducing heating. Please tell us if you notice any further issue on this topic.
And last, but not least, we have a wonderful new set of screenshots!
So, Dealers, what’s next now?
Well, as we said in our last post we are currently in the design phase of our next huge task which is bringing to (Dealer’s) life one of our core gameplay mechanic: quests and storylines. We have planned this since the beginning as Dealer’s Life was born with this great idea in mind of mixing stories and consequences into the everyday life of a pawn shop owner. Which is also a tribute to one of our biggest inspiration: “Papers, Please“, created by Lucas Pope. And if you are reading Lucas, those are all for you: 👍👍👍🤘🤘🤘 ! This is really huge and it will take us a lot of days before it will be completed (the design is huge, let alone the whole development process), in the meanwhile we are working on a lot of things (as usual), you can check them all on our roadmap, here is a summary: a gameplay video for YouTube (which is currently in its early development/editing phase), a new items pack (a sneak peek will be released on the roadmap very soon!), the design of the new “advertising agent” employee and the development of the “lock” button in inventory.
That’s all for now, don’t forget to comment and let us know what you think!
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!
Today we announce that Dealer’s Life Beta is now open to everyone, meaning that you can join and try our updates before everyone else!
On top of this, we just released a new Beta update (B:0.63) with our most recent changes that’s available right now to every Beta tester.
If you want to join, the process is very simple: head to Google Play Dealer’s Life Beta page and agree to become a tester! From that moment on you will be registered as a Beta tester and you will always receive our Beta releases!
We decided to change from closed Beta to open Beta because the number of players is growing fast and we would like to implement a more robust release flow, having as much feedback as possible. Furthermore, a lot of players have asked us to be able to try as soon as possible our new changes and the open Beta will be a very pleasant surprise for them. 🎁
The standard release flow will be on a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on complexity and volume of changes, and it will be:
A closed Alpha only for us developers where we test our changes thoroughly (same as always).
The new version is promoted to the open Beta channel and release notes are available:
In the “What’s new” section of Dealer’s Life Google Play Store page.
In the dedicated list on our Public Roadmap (where you can always check our progress, even before releases).
You, the Beta testers, can try every new change for a range of days that depends on the complexity and the urgency of the release (let’s say from one day to three or four days) and you will be able to write us your feedback and your advices.
You will be able to do that on three possible channels:
The “Beta Feedback” form (accessible in Dealer’s Life Google Play Store page only from your device) will be your quick and easy way to contact us with a feedback or a suggestion. Remember that this form replaces the “Review” form so you will be able to send a private message to us but you won’t be able to rate and review our game unless you leave the Beta program.
OurPublic Roadmap if you think that the issue should be publicly discussed or if the topic is too complex for a short message.
We just released an update for Dealer’s Life, bringing this new version (B:0.62) to all our players!
Now, let’s talk about the changes, shall we?
First of all, we introduced a graphical preview in some newspaper articles which shows you who you are going to hire and what you are going to rent. This now looks a lot more real and it’s also more pleasant to the eyes.
Here are two examples, directly from our public roadmap where we posted a preview some days ago:
We also fixed a rare bug which, in specific cases, froze the “Not interested” button, preventing the player to be able to dismiss that customer. 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. 😉
With this fix we also worked on avoiding double taps on a lot of buttons, in order to prevent double purchases or duplicate actions: we are still working on this but the most part of it is completed and included in this release.
Last, but not least, we improved the game flow after an ad has been shown, meaning that you now see the following windows and actions only after you have seen the ad and not partially before, when loading the ad.
And that’s all for now! But definitively that’s not all for these days because we are about to announce another big change… anyone said “Open Beta“?
We’ll talk about it in the following hours with a dedicated article and instruction on how to participate!
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.
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.
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!
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!
First of all we decided to address the issue with the connectivity to the ads server: we apologize for this issue, in these days we were constantly in touch with the ads provider and we found an issue on their side that was affecting the game flow. In this update we released a first fix that solves it and makes the game flow less dependent from the ad server. As a token of gratitude, Dealer’s Life premium version players will also be able to get some rewards even when there are no ads available.
Then, thanks to player feedback, we decided to do some balance changes on victory conditions, meaning that now some winning thresholds are higher and hence more difficult to reach. You’d like to know what and how much we changed, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately that’s up to you to discover! 🙂
We’ll surely make other rounds of balance changes in the following patches, so if you have anything to suggest us, head to our roadmap and make yourself heard!
And when you win a game? Well, now there is the brand new “infinite mode“!
I am sure that you will recognize it without any doubt because of the special “continue” button:
Which is of course a tribute to one of the pillars of my entire gaming life!
(Hi Sid! 😀 please be aware that I admire you with all my heart!)
We also fixed some bugs, first among all a bug regarding volume on some sound effects which was not affected by the level set in the option menu.
That’s all for this patch, we hope that you like these changes and we look forward to your comments and feedback on our roadmap !
This is the first article for the new “Indie Dev Insights” blog section we decided to start to give some insights to indie developers out there, to help you solve issues we already faced or to have a “in production” point of view on some topics.
In this first post we just want to give you some insights you might find useful if you decide to approach the mobile market, in particular we’ll talk about ASO (App Store Optimization, more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_store_optimization ).
Our thoughts could sound trivial to somebody with more marketing experience than us, but you surely know that for a developer this is quite a new territory and some knowledge in this field can really make the difference.
When we first released Dealer’s Life one month ago, we put a lot of effort to write an exhaustive description of the game that explained as clearly as possible all major features and mechanics, having in mind just the reader (which is of course a potential player) and focusing on concepts rather than on words.
That’s a big mistake.
We later found out that choosing the right words makes the real difference between being visible or not. You should not consider the description of your game just as an explanatory text (which is, of course, what “description” means, isn’t it?), but instead as a group of keywords that the Play Store utilizes to place you in the right spot, especially if we talk about textual researches made by users (the so called “organic searches“).
For your game to be discovered by people looking for that kind of content, you’ll have to use specific keywords in your description (and in your title, if you manage to do so).
Run a brainstorming session, try to imagine what words a potential player would use, find valid synonyms and separate them in terms of their difficulty score by answering simple questions like “How common is this word?” or “How many Apps is this search returning right now?”. Remember that synonyms are very important as it’s almost always better to be higher on an easier search (the so called “long tail“).
After you have your ideas then look at your competitors, analyze their game descriptions, find other inspirations and broaden your point of view.
Now that you have a list of keywords, look for the specific app store guidelines.
We currently are only on Google Play Store so we looked for every information about it; let’s recap what we found out:
The “short description” (which is less than 80 characters) is of course very important.
The first 160 characters from the description are the most important.
A specific keyword should not be repeated more than 5 times otherwise it is not taken into account.
With all this information you can now begin to rewrite your app description!
Of course be honest and don’t overuse keywords (remember that players, not just search engine algorithms, are reading this too) and you’ll see that every “search” you’ve refined this way will return an higher ranking.
There are also some tools out there that could help you decide which specific keyword fits best for your game and monitor your game’s ranking in keywords searches.
Most of those tools are quite expensive but there are some free alternatives that can help you out. We used the basic free tier of App Annie: we are not, in any way, affiliated with them, but it was very useful during this process and we’d like to suggest it.
And if you do this job right and if your game stands out from similar apps, you’ll surely see some results!
Here you can see a graph that displays daily downloads for Dealer’s Life Lite, with the blue arrow pointing to the day when we introduced some ASO concepts in the game’s description.
And that’s all for our first “Indie Dev Insights” article!
If you have any question or feedback, be sure to tell us in the comment section and if you like it, feel free to share it!
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!
Enough for UI, let’s now talk about new graphics for employees.
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 😀
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:
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!