125%, and The Economy
Good morning, Brokers! We hit a cool $20k this morning, only $5k away from the War Room! Once we hit our goal, I'll post an update with a more detailed description of the next stretch goals and a link to the poll, probably on our Facebook page. Also, given how likely it is we'll hit our goal, I'm writing this update with the relevant features of the War Room included!
Work It Harder, Make It Better
I took some time away from pushing the press to get back into the code for a bit, spending some more time building the new GUI for the prototype! It will still be awhile, but as soon as I finish it and hook back in the code, we can start to see more of the game in all it's awkward proto-prototype glory! I'd like to remind everyone to check out the stages of development, and keep in mind the features discussed in these updates are the goals for 1.0. The core elements of the game will be there, but the prototype will still be ugly and simpler when I put it out in June. But that's what this Kickstarter is for; It's constantly improving and you'll get to play and give feedback along the way!
As Brokers, your focus is on espionage. Feed the corporation, bring down the competition. Of course, the best way to do that is to know what the corporation needs, and who the competition is.
The Corporation is where it all starts. big or small, every corporation cuts its own path across the markets. The executives that run the corporation each carry a trait (much like operatives, though usually not as eccentric) that will impact how the corporation interacts with the world. The traits can determine preferred industries, aggression towards competition, how much it's willing to risk in the field, if it prefers to break into new markets or consolidate power... They are what make the corporation behave and react to the world in a unique way.
The executives reside at the Corporate HQ, a monolithic skyscraper fiercely marking their home city. While a corp's companies will be all over the world, the HQ marks the capital of corporate territory. As the corp grows in power, the city around our tower is acquired and built up, reflecting the prosperity of the business.
The corporation has a reputation with others in the world. Starting at 0, it can go up or down depending on what events happen between the two corps. Sometimes corps are actually friendly, with cooperation agreements to keep the peace or united against a common foe, but usually it's all hostility. It could be as simple as being in the same market and competing for customers, or they could have built up a vendetta with repeated raids and counter-raids against each other. The corp also has a public reputation to maintain, and while the bitizens are usually complacent, if you cause too much of a stir you'll start to get events with protests, boycotts, strikes, and all sorts of things that are no good for the bottom line. As a Broker, you'll run missions to repair your reputation while damaging others, and if things get too heated with a corp you'll be spending a lot of your resources fighting them off!
Power is the core of the corporation. Knowledge, money, influence, infrastructure, resources... whatever it is that makes them better than the competition is factored into this abstraction of the corporation's power. Every company a corporation controls develops and exploits assets, which feed into the corp's power. It's not a steady climb to the top, and there will be setbacks, but that's part of how the market works. It's your job as Brokers to make sure the corporation can adapt, or it will die.
The budget for the broker's department is directly determined by the power a corporation holds: The wealthier they are, the more they can spend. The department budget consists of a baseline amount that is mostly spent on operative salaries and resupplying operative and mission resources, but there's also a slush fund that the excess can pay into, which is used for certain plots or missions, or for expanding the War Room to meet new challenges faced in the field. As the corporation's power grows, so does the budget, meaning more operatives, better operatives, more supporting missions, and a larger slush fund.
The markets the corporation is competing in also factor into things. The more control a corp has over a market, the better those related assets will perform, which in turn means more power. Of course, the more control you have of a market, the more others will want to take it from you!
Companies are the machines that power the corporation. A company is an individual business that can be bought, sold, merged, or outright destroyed. Normally, the corporation takes care of its own business, but a Broker's work shapes what choices it makes. If a broker brings back cutting edge weaponry technology assets, the corporation is far more likely to expand into that market, acquiring companies to put those assets to use! As a Broker gains more influence within the corp, they can have an even more active role in deciding the corporation's decisions (all from "behind the throne", of course).
Companies can be built up, increasing both their operating costs and infrastructure. Each new tier of infrastructure means another asset the corporation can develop and exploit, and provides another rank of security to protect against intruders. The extra costs of infrastructure are usually offset by the value of the asset it can hold, though if a company falls onto hard times where their assets are being stolen/destroyed, or the assets they're producing simply aren't that good, those extra costs can begin to be a drain... The corp will either try to turn the company around or sell it off.
Every company belongs to a certain industry, which determines the kinds of assets it can develop and exploit, and what market they contribute to. Each industry tends to have its own feel and pace. Some take a long time to build up, but develop strong and consistent assets, like natural resource harvesting. Others like talent agencies rely on churning out assets as fast as possible, hoping to "hit it big" with the occasional high value celebrity.
Finally, the things that drive this whole economic structure, the assets. Assets are developed by companies and represent the elements that make that company stand out. They represent everything as diverse as the latest commlink, fashion trends, rare mineral deposit claims, environment mapping "slip" virtual reality, cunning lobbyists, platoons of private military contractors, clever ad campaigns, the hottest gadgets, popular celebrities, sophisticated androids... all of the amazing and novel things that are springing forth in the near future.
Most assets exist solely to be exploited for power. They feed power into the corporation every week and depending on the kind of asset, lose a different amount of value in the process. Eventually, any asset will be used up and useless, and the company will begin development on the next big thing! Sometimes, assets offer a particular advantage instead, giving you a perk to help boost security, increase research speeds, raise public reputation, or a wide range of options to give you a different sort of advantage. Some assets will even give you perks and power!
Two key elements of assets important to a broker's work are the type and development stages of an asset. These elements determine the sorts of mission objectives and interactions a Broker can plan missions for. People can be coerced, seduced, bribed, or killed. Products in a research stage can have scientists intimidated or have all their work stolen by a clever hacker, or if they're in production then the facilities can be sabotaged. A company acquiring rights to mine a territory could have local reputations sabotaged or legal obstructions thrown in the way, or once the mine is active a well-timed strike could stop exploitation dead in its tracks. As the broker it's your job to determine the best time to strike, which objectives your team is best suited for, and which targets will be the most valuable to whatever plans you have set in motion.
Our Work Is Never Over
With only $5k to go until the War Room stretch goal, we might even be able to reach our second goal and beyond! I'll keep pushing to get the word out there, as every new backer who joins our community means more game for everyone! I am so grateful to all of you for supporting this project, and I'm excited to see what the year will hold in store!