Today I’ll expand upon the basic system driving the golfer’s state in Boss Golf!
It is very common for tycoon type games to have a sort of happiness/needs meter for the guests to your park/hospital/zoo/dinosaurland. This is one of the main aspects of gameplay in those games, and you as the tycoon have the sole objective to fulfill their needs while extracting the money out of them.
But in most of the games, guests are reactive actors. They go on rides, get their share of adrenaline, eat some food, drink some drink, spend some money, and go home. Most of their actions are reacting to their needs at any given point.
With Boss Golf, that wouldn’t work as well: we also have to factor in the activity of playing golf, the main driver of the AI’s state in the game.
Therefore, for Boss Golf, I’m implementing a system based on 3 “meters” of sorts: Confidence, Mood, Need.
The confidence meter affects and is affected by the golf gameplay of the AI. However, instead of being a universal boon/curse, it is a double edged sword. Being too confident can lead to complacency; lacking confidence may lead to lucky breaks if your confident opponents get complacent.
In terms of affecting the gameplay, it works basically like this:
- Higher confidence means attempting more difficult/risky shots if the AI thinks the payout is worth it
- Higher confidence can also mean going on autopilot since the adversaries aren’t playing as great as the AI, so they think they can relax
- Lower confidence means playing more safe/easy shots
- Lower confidence can also lead to more consistency over the holes, as safe shots tend to land better than risky shots
In terms of being affected by gameplay, it works roughly like this:
- Landing a good stroke, with little deviation, will increase your confidence
- Landing in a lucky position will increase your confidence
- Slicing/Hooking your shot will decrease your confidence
- Landing in the wrong place will decrease your confidence
Other “passive” factors can also affect confidence, such as rivals playing badly/godly, external life events, divine inspiration…
And the increase/reduction isn’t on a simple scale. There are diminishing returns for increasing confidence depending on your current confidence level; there are also increasing returns for decreasing confidence depending on your current confidence level. Overconfidence and hit the bunker on an easy shot? Your confidence will shoot down. Unsure and hit a successful shot? Your confidence will increase well, as you played exactly the way you wanted. If it was a lucky shot, your confidence could remain the same or even diminish, as you wouldn’t believe it would happen again.
Mood is the overall happiness of the golfer as he’s visiting your course and playing the golf.
It can be affected by quality of play, by the environment, by special events, and mainly by the fulfillment of the golfer’s needs.
In Boss Golf, however, each golfer’s mood over the day is like a tiny “Hero’s Journey“. It isn’t important just to have a “good” experience on the course: golfers want a meaningful experience. And they each have their own idea of what their meaningful experience is, affected by their own personality traits and whatnot.
Basically, over the course of the day, each golfer has their mood map built. This is done by taking snapshots of the golfer’s mood every ingame half hour or so, and whenever a special event happens. This little mood map is available for the player to look at on the character’s panel in the form of a nifty graph. This graph will also show the “ideal” values that this golfer has for his meaningful experience.
So at the end of the day, the golfer mood map is compared to his threshold for a meaningful experience, and a rating is assigned to it, ranging from F to S. (S being Super Meaningful) (This is a good thing). Good ratings means satisfied golfers; satisfied golfers mean $$$!
This microgameloop will revolve around hitting as many of those beats as possible for the highest number of golfers. The more meaningful experiences your golfers have, the more likely they are to become members, make donations, spread the popularity of your course. Of course, you can’t please them all, so you’ll have to be careful when you build your golf course experience.
Needs are the most basic and simplest feature to explain. These are the basic requirements that the golfer has to be an actual functioning boss person walking around your golf course. It is divided into 5 categories:
- Social: contact with other golfers, with your character, with staff.
- Food: golf is a sport, and practicing sports requires energy, and food gives you that. Can also poison you, though!
- Drink: keeping hydrated is important, and the proper drink can give you an edge. Or take the edge off.
- Energy: golfers are people too! And energy is required for performing actions. If your golf course is large, you’ll want to have carts available to help save some energy. If your golf course is small, you may want other activities so that the golfers can expend their energy.
- Environment: no golfer likes a dirty, ugly, unsightly golf course. They want beautiful vistas, peaceful views, and consistency. You’ll need to wear your boss landscaper hat to fulfill their dreams.
Satisfied needs will increase the golfer’s mood. Unsatisfied needs will decrease your golfer’s mood. Other events can also happen depending on the level of each need’s fulfillment. You may end up with drunk golfers falling all over the course, passed out golfers, golfers who are depressed because they feel alone in your course…
And that’s about it for now. I’ve begun implementing this system this week, so this will be featured in 0.5, and your boss golfers will become more human. Or simmish. Each mood, need, confidence, will have an impact on the golfer’s thoughts, and you’ll have a direct window to each golfer’s mind. Kind of like Being John Malkovich.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even implement a feature that puts you inside the golfer’s mind, seeing things from their point of view!
Hope you enjoyed this writeup!