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 Post subject: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi everyone! I am glad to find this forum! I am a 36 yr old guy, waiting to be a father soon.

The reason why I am on this forum is because I am attempting to write a game on personal finance management. If going ahead as planned, the game will be available as web-based, free of charge for gamer. But game development is costly, hence I will want be be sure I am heading in the right direction.

I would like to solicit some comments on what you think about it, and what you think should be improved upon to make it more appealing.

Below is a brief write up on the game:

The game plays a young adult who has recently joined the working world. The objective of the game is to get the highest Total Score by the retirement age of 65 years. The Total Score is the product of 2 separate score; the 'Feel Good Score' (FGS) and the net asset (in dollars, inflation adjusted).
In order to earn FGS, the player will have to spend his monthly income on ‘stuff’ such as cars, houses, etc. He will probably also get married, whom his wife and his children will have the multiplying effect on his FGS. He can also choose to save and invest his income to increase his net asset.
This is a turn based game, where each turn is equivalent to 1 months’ time. The game will start when the protagonist is aged 21 to 25, depending on what scenario is chosen.

I do have a more detailed write up, but it seems the forum does not allow attachment for .pdf files. Please PM me and I will email the detailed writeup to you.

Please be honest and frank with your comments, there is no need to suger-coat any nasty opinion. Be it praises or criticisms, they are all valuable to me.

Thank you all!


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:45 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi guys, I hope you can download the detailed writeup from the link as below:

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1263885828/a878e07cd1fca686fb61a1eba800965a?cid=tx-02002207350200000000&s=19104

The link will expire by 30th Oct.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:59 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi all,

I am still on the task of developing the game. The game is currently written in excel with macros. Eventually when the game becomes playable, I will make available a pre-released version for download for all to play. Certain features will not be available in the pre-released version simply because I have yet to completely written them.

The features as mentioned below should be available in the pre-released version:

-getting a girlfriend and get married.
-have up to 4 children, and educate them
-buy up to 5 houses, stay in and/or rent them out
-buy up to 2 cars
-take loans on these purchases
-varying interest rate
-varying house prices
-inflation
-gradual but unpredictable career promotion
- and many more

features not available in pre-released version:
-insurance
-investment options such as equities and bonds
- full tax features (although tax withholding will be available)
-credit rating

the links below are the screenshots of a portion of the game. I will post again when more is developed.

The feature is a little primitive now, without much pictures and animations. These will require funding, which is why I would like very much to see some responses before I stick my neck into developing this into a full featured game. I would like very much to see some comments, responses and discussions when the pre-released version is made available.

Thank you folks!

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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:41 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi,

This is my latest update with some screenshots of my latest development.

1. I have got picture of every character in the game. The pictures will update as the character ages.

2. The user interface has also been changed so that player is not overwhelm with information. General information of each character is made via conversational style, and detailed information is available on demand.

3. interactive message boxes (such as wedding, kid going to new school, etc) are made to inform player of significant events happening to each of the character.


I have more or less completed the character development of this game for now. In the weeks ahead I will be working on the financial aspect, such as developing the interface control for bank accounts, income and expenses. Further down the road I will work on the interface for renting/buying houses, cars and taking relevant loans.

I hope to cover as much as possible before my own baby girl is born next month, for otherwise I will have much less spare time to continue on with the game development. Hope that the fire in me will not fizzle out.



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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:14 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi Everyone,

This is my latest update on the game. I have more or less completed the part involving the most significant investment on a person's life: the house.

The financial aspect of a house that has been covered in the game is as follow:
loan
refinance
sale
rent
property tax
repairs
foreclosure

All these are addressed in the game. Player may select different loan packages and compare before committing. He may refinance his existing loans. He can sell the house, or rent the house out for rental income. He will also have to pay property tax. The house may require repairs occasionally. The house may be foreclosed if player fail to pay his due.

Other than the house related part of the game, I have also mostly completed the part where family members can randomly make demands.

Below are some screenshots of my recent updates.


*seems like some new rule for the forum is limiting me to post only 1 URL among all the screenshots I wanted to show. For those who are interested, please just copy and paste the URL on your browser and change the last number from 1 to 6.

http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd460/escaper_sg/Untitleda3.jpg
"/Untitleda4.jpg
"/Untitleda5.jpg
"/Untitleda6.jpg
"/Untitleda2.jpg
"/Untitleda1.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:56 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
Hi, I like the idea of a game to teach people financial management. But the one thing I miss in here are the small bad choices. How easy it is to make a decision that makes you happy on the short term, but not on the long term. And i wonder if you can actually give people the feeling of wanting that lattee every day, just by clicking that box.

And another one. Looking at it from a personal perspective. I'm a women, I don't actually want a girlfriend. How about giving the option to switch between genders? Since you're playing out your life, this seems important.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:45 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi,

I guess you are right on the bad choices. That is where the FGS, or feel good score comes in. FGS is awarded whenever the player spend on 'himself'. His FGS will increase whenever he increases his discretionary expenses, which is a lump sum without distinguishing among things he spends on. He can spend it on the latte as you mentioned, the beer he indulges in or the latest whatever i*gadgets.

His FGS will also increase with his quality of life, which is affected by the car he drives and the house he choose to stay in.

Finally, his family members' material well being will increase the FGSM, or the 'feel good score multiplier'. Meaning the happier they are materially, the more they will multiply the player's FGS.

A final score will be tabulated at the end of the game, which ends at retirement age of 65 years old. The final score = average FGS * final asset value, inflation adjusted.

This way, the player must balance between his current quality of life against savings & investments in order to maximize the score. Too much indulgence (high FGS, low asset) or too stingy lifestyle(high asset, low FGS) will generate low score.

Of course, the key point to your question is the 'short term happiness'. That is where the 'average FGS' used become a key in computing the final score. the 'average FGS' will capture all 'short term' spending happiness across the lifetime of the player. Making multiple high spending will have significant effect on the average FGS, whereas a few single high spending is much less significant.

In all, the scoring system is made such that the player is always torn between the decision to spend or to save. Hopefully that do in the end train a player how to make wise financial decision.




As for the 2nd part of your question, I understand where you are coming from. It did cross my mind, but it was not easy for me to resolve. Please let me explain.

In the case of this game, it is actually easier to stereotype a man, from a bachelor to becoming the head of family till retirement. Hence the game structure is much easier to make. I excluded possibilities of gays, divorce, dual income and other out of our 'standard stereotypical family' type situations.

However for female, I believe most 'stereotypical family' is likely dual income if she is working. Under such situation the line that draws out the actual family finance decision maker may be a little blur. Unless I attribute financial decision making as a joint responsibility in a family, it is difficult to attribute the game to a single individual.

For example,
In the game, I can assume the decision to buy a house to be the responsibility of the family sole bread winner. But when both in the family contributes to family income (assuming playing as female), do I assume the husband will commit as per the wife's wish? Going down this road, I will eventually be faced with difficulties in designing a fair game that mimic real life financial situations. (Of course if your definition of fair is that the wife is by default the family CFO, the game for female version will be much easier to design.)

Your point is clear and important. I do wish someone can give me suggestions on how to navigate around the problem as highlighted, and hopefully I can build a female version of this game too.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
Hi Escaper, for me I'd be happy enough to just be able to play a female character rather than a mail even if it doesn't change the rest of the game.

With respect to the FGS I understand what you're trying to do, but Im wondering if it'll work in a game sense. Since you're very clearly working on two goals, 1 your FGS and 2 you're overall finances at the end of the game it seems very easy to just go for a FGS of a 7,5 out of 10 for most of the time. Depending on game mechanics slightly more or less.

But for me as a player I don't actually care too much whether his feel good score is 7.5 or 10 or 5. I care equally about money as the FGS. While in real life you care about money more on the long run and about feeling good in the short term. Which is what makes it hard to make the right choices.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi Sonja,

Thanks for your suggestion. My only fear was a family where the wife is the sole bread winner does not seem typical. Otherwise I am absolutely fine as long as it doesn't draw massive criticism. I will look into making the change in the next revision to cater to our female population as well.

I think I see your point regarding the small bad choices. In the game I do make family members demand for little luxuries(eg. branded handbags) and indulgences ( eg.vacations) every now and then. These are typically one-off demands where FGSM are awarded for fulfilling the demands, and small amount of FGSM damage is inflicted if the demands are not met. Of course fulfilling these demands are going to cost money.

As per your suggestion, perhaps I can have similar 'demands' by the player himself? Perhaps random one-off urge for a luxury watch, or to see the Superbowl live in the stadium? Rejecting his own urge can cost damages to his own FGS. This seems like a good way to simulate the 'urge' to indulge.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi everyone,

The link below is the screenshot of my latest development.
I have created the pages for buying, using and selling cars.
The cost associated with cars are mostly addressed, including gas, repairs, insurances, etc.

There are many more features which I don't think I can describe them all here. I hope the game can be finished soon so that everyone can try out and discover it for yourselves.



http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd460/escaper_sg/car_page1.jpg

Please replace "car_page1.jpg" on the above link with the following to view the other screenshots.

car_loan1.jpg
car_ad1.jpg
car_purchase1.jpg
motor_insur1.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:53 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:50 pm
Posts: 752
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Wow, that sounds like an interesting idea! It would be fun to play, but I'd want the option to be male or female and have my own choice over the gender of my partner.

_________________
Andrea Coutu
Consultant Journal
www.consultantjournal.com


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:49 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi all,

I have more or less completed a preliminary version of the game. It will now be undergoing alpha testing.

I have also discussed with a friend who inspired this idea, that once the game is ready, I will put it up on his website for free download. Note that the game is written using MS excel. To play the game, player must enable macros for MS excel.

I will give a short background on the game here:

The main character has recently completed his education and moved on to a new city (not the place where he grow up, hence he has no family support at all). While new there, he has a stable job and is looking to settle down. His immediate task is to look for a place to stay. After that, he may want to plan on building a new family, and pursue his goal in life.

He will have a total of 4 life goals in which he can choose one to accomplish in his life, namely family, retirement, material wealth and vanity, in increasing difficulty. There is also a total of 3 career types to choose from, namely lawyer, accountant and auto mechanics, also in increasing difficulty (due to income differences). If you are game enough, try vanity goal as auto mechanics, which I think is practically impossible.

I do not yet have a comprehensive guide for the game, so I would encourage all players to explore the game first before seriously wanting to accomplish any goal.

I expect the game to be available for download somewhere in May, I guess. I will post on this forum again if there is any new update, or when the download link becomes available.

The name for the game: Life Goal


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:55 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi Andreas,

I hear that. I will take that into consideration when this game is ready to undergo any major revamp.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi Everyone,

The availability for this game may be slightly delayed. Feedback from my game tester said that it is a little too chaotic for beginners. As such, I have decided to develop an on-game tutorial to guide beginners on the various features of the game. I am also looking into the possibility of adding some sound effects (no promise on this yet) for the game. These development may add another 1 or 2 months of time.

I will post on this forum again if there is any new update.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing Financial Game Needs Opinions
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 12:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:03 am
Posts: 12
Hi Everyone,

I have more or less completed a playable game. Below is link to the file:


http://www.mediafire.com/?k29cwemjm21u228

It may seem a little unpolished, given that I am neither a professional programmer nor game designer. But I believe it is the concept that matters for now.

This game is written using MS excel 2010. It requires enabling macros to work. I would encourage new players to try the tutorial ("Guide me thru") before starting the game.

I do not yet have a forum for discussion on the game. I hope moderator will not mind if I use this platform to kick start any discussion?

Please try the game out. If you think that it is interesting, please forward the link to your friends/relatives/buddies. I need some sign of encouragement to move on, especially need sign of huge interest among players to attract pros in the industry to seriously consider commercial development. Please let me know any feedback you may have.


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