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A business sim about conquering the entertainment industry using any means necessary
A business sim about conquering the entertainment industry using any means necessary
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1,767 backers pledged $55,332 to help bring this project to life.

The future of Idol Manager (previews for upcoming updates)

Posted by Kuiper (Creator)
18 likes

Where we are now

It's been five months since we first launched our alpha for Kickstarter backers, and last month we entered beta, opening the gates to the many of you who backed the game after our Kickstarter completed. The response we've gotten from our community during that time has been tremendously encouraging: we're glad to know that people are already enjoying the game, and your feedback and suggestions have already played an important role in helping us add many improvements to the game.

During the Kickstarter campaign, we listed "December 2018" as our expected ship date. While we're pleased with the pace we've been making progress on the game, we don't feel that the game is in a finished state yet -- there's lots more that we're planning to add in terms of new features and content. One of the huge benefits of your Kickstarter support has been the fact that we're now able to include more content than originally planned -- in addition to the stretch goals we met during the campaign to add new features to the game, there's also the simple fact that having a larger budget allows us to create more events and scenarios, add more music tracks, and have more graphics and illustrations to accompany random events in the game. The volume of feedback we're getting from testers is also allowing us to fine-tune the gameplay systems to make the game a smoother and more well-balanced experienced. We're obviously thrilled about having the time and budget to create a better and more polished game, but creating more content also takes more time, and it's just not possible for us to make the game bigger and better while also meeting our original release date.

We want to take the extra time and effort to make the game as good as it can be, rather than rushing it out to make a 2018 release date. The feedback from we've gotten from backers so far tells us that you feel the same way. While we're a bit disappointed we won't be releasing the full game this year, we believe that the improvements and additions we're making to the game will be worth the wait, and we're excited to share some of the features that we have planned coming up.

What's next

We've been updating the game every month since the original release of the alpha back in July, and we plan to continue a monthly update schedule until the game is complete. Here's what we have planned for the coming months:

December:

  • Dating scandals: The December adds countless new ways for your idols to get into trouble with dating scandals. The methods you have for dealing with these scandals -- apology, denial, paying hush money, or finding some other way to cover up the incident -- will depend on the circumstances of the scandal.
  • A new special event type: elections

January:

  • New systems: injuries, depression, and hiatuses. All of these systems are related to stamina: physical injuries can result from low physical stamina, depression can result from low mental stamina, and putting an idol on hiatus gives her a chance to recuperate and recover stamina
  • New staffers: doctor and stylist (and new rooms to accompany them)
  • Various improvements for pixel art assets, e.g. all sprites will have faces now. For examples of some of the updated visuals, see the header on the itch.io page here
  • Playable female manager

February:

New rooms: cafe and theater.  The cafe can be used as a passive income source, and idols can work there (at the cost of stamina) to earn more money.

Additionally, we're currently working on the following features, which will come some time during the coming months (shipping with one of the updates for December, January, or February):

  • Updated save system, including new options for manual saves
  • Sales charts, showing where your singles rank
  • Award ceremonies
  • Graduations: a way to fire idols with a forced early graduation, or a way for idols who have aged out of the program to leave on their own. Depending on her relationship with the organization (and the player), graduating idols may be able to recruit successors with similar stats.

Further on the horizon

In addition to the major features for each of these updates, we'll also be continually adding new content to the game with more substories, more random events, and more custom illustrations and graphics.

For the longer term, we're continuing to work on the relationships system, as well as balancing the gameplay for the late-game and finding effective ways to bridge the gap between the early game and late game.

We'll also begin adding events and substories designed in partnership with our Producer and CEO tier backers.  If you fall into one of these groups, you should have already received an email about this.  (If you didn't receive this email, be sure to check your spam filter, or message us directly.)

We'll have more details to share in the coming months as we continue to work on the game. Thank you for supporting Idol Manager!

Beatriz Melo, Victor Brunet, and 16 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      DerekL on

      Thank you for clarifying the situation.

    2. cabfe on

      As a game developer myself, I understand and approve your post.
      Thank you for your continued hard work, we're rooting for you!

    3. Kuiper Creator on

      Thanks to those who have shared feedback! We're encouraged by those of you who are pleased with how things have been going so far. Some of you have also brought up some concerns, which we'd like to take time to address.

      To share a little bit more about where we are in the development post, right now there are several issues in development that we consider to be absolutely essential to address before we transition to a full release.

      One of the things alluded to in the post is an updated save system. To elaborate a bit more, some beta testers encountered an issue with the way that the game handles auto-saves, which would sometimes cause people's progress to be erased or overwritten. We rolled out a hotfix to address one of the main causes of this which seems to have fixed it, but game saves being erased/overwritten is such an important issue that we're planning to redo the way the game's save system works to prevent similar bugs from coming up, and changing this isn't exactly a simple process. There's also the possibility that any changes we make to the way game saves are handled could result in people's game saves being incompatible with future updates; we're trying to avoid this outcome, but our priority is making sure the save system ultimately ends up in a more reliable and robust state than it is right now, and we might have to break compatibility with old save files in order to achieve that. These are the kinds of things that beta testing is intended to discover and address (and it's something we warn people about in bold font on the store page for the beta). While we do intend to keep patching Idol Manager post-release, critical things like fixing issues that might erase people's saves are the kind of thing that we think are critical to address before we launch, rather than releasing now and adding them later in a post-release patch. The save issue in particular is a top-level priority for us, and one of the reasons we haven't announced an exact time for when this new system will be implemented is that it's something that will be patched into the game as soon as we have a good fix for it.

      Another thing mentioned in the post is the fact that we're working on balancing the gameplay for the mid-game to late-game; there are certain ways in which the game doesn't feel balanced, and some of these will involve making tweaks to the game's economy and a few other things that we're experimenting with. We'll continue to work on the game after its released, but right now the issues with the late-game gameplay are fundamental enough that our solutions to those issues are things we want to be part of the game when it's launched, and not part of a post-release patch. We wouldn't want to release a game and say, "We think the early to mid game is fun, but if you play for too long it starts to become frustrating and unbalanced, but don't worry, we'll fix it several weeks after release." That, to us, would feel like releasing an incomplete game. These kinds of balance issues are things that we're ironing out in testing, which is one of the main reasons we wanted to have a pre-release beta to begin with: balancing a game can be a tricky process, and feedback from backers has been a big help in figuring out how to achieve this. Again, there's no set date for this, because it's something that we're constantly working on, and we don't know exactly sure when it will be "done."

      If it feels like we're holding back the game's release over purely cosmetic features (or as one of you put it, to add "More Shiny Bits"), we can assure you that's definitely not the case, and there are some features that will likely will be added in post-release patches. One of the things we decided from the start of the project is that we didn't want the addition of Kickstarter stretch goals to cause a delay in the release of the core of the base game we had promised to backers. This is one of the reasons that stretch goals like mod support and asynchronous multiplayer aren't part of our immediate development horizon: creating the core game that we promised to backers during the Kickstarter campaign takes priority, and some of these stretch goals will likely be added after the game's initial release.

      The way our development is structured makes it possible for certain parts of our development to continue while we continue to work on addressing core issues, like the save system, reworking the way relationships are handled, and balancing the late-game gameplay, as things like new illustrations and dialog for events and substories are things that are done by our writer and artists, who aren't responsible for programming the game. (As stated before, we're treating our Kickstarter stretch goals as lower priority than developing the base game, but the one stretch goal that we are implementing ahead of release is the playable female character, because getting this implemented mostly comes down to finishing the sprite work, and our sprite artist had time to work on this.) If the structure of this update post makes it seems like the content we're releasing in the monthly updates is our main priority while core features of the game are being treated as an afterthought, we can assure you that this is not the case: if things are included as "being worked on, but not scheduled for a particular update at this time," it's because they're a high priority that we want to address as soon as possible.

      Things that we have planned for the upcoming month-by-month updates, like the addition of new buildings/rooms and new staffer types, or new events, are easier for us to announce in advance, because the determining factor for when these features are released is when we're able to finish the visuals and writing, and it's easier to predict how long it's going to take to finish a certain number of illustrations or write a certain amount of dialog. Other things, like "make the late-game more balanced" and "have a more robust save system" are things that are much harder to put an exact date on. We hope the fact that these features aren't scheduled for a particular update doesn't make it seem like we're treating them as unimportant, because if anything the opposite is true.

      We want to keep all of our backers in the loop, which is why we're trying to share as much information as we can about the features that we're able to release on a more predictable schedule (since additions to the game's script or visuals are much easier to plan), but some of the essential parts of the game (things that we think are really important to address before we release) are harder to predict at this time. We understand that this might be unsatisfying to hear, but we feel that if we announced a specific release date at this time, we'd be making a promise we might not be able to keep. As we get closer to addressing these core issues, we'll have better idea of what a realistic release date for the game would be, and we'll be sure to share more information as soon as we can.

    4. cabfe on

      The alpha was already a nice game.
      The beta is a good game (once the bugs are fixed)
      The final game will be awesome!

    5. Missing avatar

      attiy on

      Idol Manager secured a budget more than her had expected.so it is natural to do big plans change.However, many backer want to play 1.0 game ealry.
      What to add now and what should be added after release.
      I would like you to thoroughly investigate them and continue development.
      Thanks for reading :D

    6. William VanZant on

      I also disagree with Derek. While I backed at the Intern tier, I've been waiting until the full release until I play the game. As long as you are managing the money well and you aren't going to end up overextending yourself (as has happened with a few Kickstarters I've backed), take as much time as you want, because I'm eager to see what your fully-realized vision looks like.

    7. Missing avatar

      Hellsadvocate on

      I disagree with DerekL, you guys ought to release the game when it's "finished" by your standards. So far it's been great. One of the least buggy games to come out of kickstarter. I'd love to see additional features added into the game before release.

    8. Missing avatar

      DerekL on

      While I agree that you wouldn't want to rush an release an unworkable, unplayable game... But it sounds like you have a working and playable game, you just don't want to release it without More Shiny Bits.

      It's pretty disappointing to see all the "cool and upcoming stuff planned" - but not an updated release date. (Especially with the last paragraph, which implies that it could be months away.)