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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:50 am 
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Seeing Aindala's update to the service industry thread reminded me of something I'd been thinking about. There are industries that deserve their own functions, many of which were listed in that thread. But what about all the smaller ones that might round out an economy but aren't worth creating their own minigame?

What if there was a generic "service industry" model and you could pick from a long list of businesses that had different names and graphics but all followed the same rules? That would give your companies variety without overwhelming us on an inexhaustible list of projects.

So let's brainstorm what services have in common. For example, let's say a hairdresser, a tax accountant, a plumber, a copy shop, and a private school.

What management decisions are made when running it?
Would different strategies be possible?
What would be a bad decision vs a good one?
How would the system give feedback on the success of your decision?
How might your management decisions change from week to week?
e.g. R&D has the research mix. You could swing to the best position (possibly using upgrades) or stay in the middle, and you know if it's good when your qa profit exceeds expenses.

Would it tie into the economy as a whole?
It's easy to say any single business needs a product. (Plumber uses pipes, copy shop uses paper, etc.). But it would be a stretch to make them all use any one thing. And if they were all about using up products that really undermines the whole "service industry" concept anyway. So could we tie them (all) to the economy in some other way?
e.g. Stores not only use products, they satisfy demand which feeds back on profit, population, and the economy.

Does running these industries feel distinct from playing any other building?
For example if we said "a plumber earns money using up pipes" then it's effectively just a very narrow, boring retail store. There'd be no point to that.
e.g. Transport hubs let you manage schedules, completely unlike any other business.

Is there a unique type of upgrade they can get?
Adding another dimension, even a simple one, allows different combinations of decisions.
e.g. Although upgrades at factories and Raw sites offer the same effect, locking one in at build time and the other added post-construction helps them feel different.

How might their profits be limited?
If we want to allow a long list then we have to consider that only one person might have a hairdresser in a city, or 20 might. Some interaction is good but let's avoid monopoly profit situations.
e.g. Transports only make profits from other players, and must compete agains Esteem Trains as well as each other.

The more of these questions we can hit, the more this becomes a fun, playable premise instead of something at sounds promising but is ultimately boring or exploitative. So I'd love answers to these questions. It's a hard topic and I'm looking for some genius ideas. And we probably wouldn't start any actual work on it until 2013, but it's good to have ideas bouncing around. The most important thing is to avoid creating cash-machines where you just pay the expenses and get out cash + profit.

P.s. Aindala I'll make the thread link. :smile:


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:46 pm 
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:bump:

C'mon, you're all smart people!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:51 pm 

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Saga Industries
 
Are we supposed to post here or in another thread?

Recreation/Theme Park:
The recreation park is initially based on 3 land slots. The initial buildings will be the default Rollercoaster, a restaurant and a gift shop(accessory shop). If the account already has the shops, then they can be incorporated to the park (leased, grayed out, unexpandable, and do not gain a rep of their own .. but only after the park is already built. Current shops can be added only to upgrades, not to build the inital park). Is ok to have 2 parks.

If the park is ever to be closed (dismantled). then all stores would be returned as individual buildings Standard Lots and final size with probably zero reputation.)

Upgrade Features:
Can be upgraded taking up available land slots, each upgrade being a multiple of 2.

Example:
Default Size: 3 Slots (Rollercoaster, restaurant, and a gift shop) -- These slots have to be empty to build the park -- Default size per store = 100ft.
Upgrade 1: Occupy 1 Slots extra(Gift Shop) (+500 ft size to all buildings)
Upgrade 2: Occupy 2 Slots extra (Rollercoaster, Gift Shop) (+2,000 ft size to all buildings)
Upgrade 3: Occupy 4 Slots extra (Rollercoaster, Restaurant, Restaurant, Restaurant) (+6,000 size to all buildings)
Upgrade 4: Occupy 6 slots extra (Rollercoaster, Restaurant, Restaurant, Restaurant, Gift Shop, Gift Shop) (+12,000 size to all buildings)
Upgrade 5: Occupy 8 Slots extra (Rollercoaster, Restaurant, Restaurant, Restaurant, Gift Shop, Gift shop, Gift Shop, Gift Shop) (+36,000 size to all buildings)
--- If there are not enough empty spaces or stores that meet the upgrade criteria, then the upgrade will be prohibited ---

Expansion time is same as it would be for a store. Since all buildings are individual, and all expand at the same time.

What is needed to run the park:
Electricity: Can't have a park full of lights without electricity
Vehicles: They usually have trucks and golf carts for staff in the park, also shuttle buses.
Accessory Shops: Main income comes from these.
Restaurants: No park is complete without food or beverages.
Tires: Needed to keep vehicles running
Oil: Needed to keep vehicles running
Wood: Routine Maintenance and replacement of older rotten wood on buildings and attractions
Steel: Routine Maintenance and replacement of older rusted steel bars on rides and attractions.
Synthetics: Banners, Advertisements, Decorations, etc.
Water: For lawn maintenance, rides, and decorations such as fountains.
Food, Beverages and Basically all that is sold at accessory shops, and restaurants: For consumer satisfaction.

Separate Park Reputation:
Based on diversity of products sold at the restaurants and accessory shops. The average reputation from all the stores combined + 15% will be the park reputation. All products sold at the park stores are automatically branded: "Park's name" so the park does not boost the player's products rep.

Income:
Pros:
The income will be proportional to stores' size and popularity. The park's brand will attract 15% more customers and markup is also 15% higher than normal stores. Profits will be roughly 30%-40% higher than a regular store.
Cons:
Parks are limited to stores 56,600 in size, unless devs see it fit to add upgrades beyond this point.

Bottom Line. A park takes up 24 spaces total. Park Stores Yield at least 30% more than a regular stores once the park popularity has reached its maximum, but it starts with a 10% advantage over regular stores. However, the expenses and the fact that park popularity is linked to product diversity makes it hard to manage. Several products are needed to keep the park in shape, and unless maintained, the park loses effectiveness just like a store ... deeming it less profitable. No customers like a run down park. Also keep in mind that all in all, the park only has 19 stores, and 5 spaces occupied by attractions (rollercoasters). This means that 5 spaces are not selling, just complementing the other 19 spaces. The markup in profits make up for these dead spaces, but not by much to be considered a golden ticket.

Out of the total 24 slots occupied by the park after upgrade # 5. There will be 5 slots occupied by Rollercoasters. These buildings should be managed like a transport Hub. In the management screen of these buildings, there should be an option to submit maintenance products such as Electricity, Oil, Water, Steel, Tires, Wood, Glass, etc. The amounts don't have to be big, say 3 Glass, 4 Wood, 10 Oil, 1 Steel, etc. Just enough to fix up stuff, and of course, these amounts increase based on park size. (based on upgrades).

Any comments? The reason behind expansion taking up slots is that parks are not skyscrapers. Parks expand sideways, not upwards. This also limits the amount of parks owned by any one player. I wish we had choices like this to make this game a little more diversified. AS it is now, everyone is running megastores and a few specialized stores. Also, recreational parks have a positive impact on the economy if they are popular.

This kind of enterprise would be appealing for new players or small companies. Once a company hits the upgrade #5 there wouldn't be more room for growth, so they would close the park and move to independent stores that can be further expanded and thus more profitable.
Quote:
What management decisions are made when running it? Advertisement, Store Prices for each product or % mark up over current product average price. QA being factored.
Would different strategies be possible? Don't know how to asnwer this one.
What would be a bad decision vs a good one? Don't know how to asnwer this one.
How would the system give feedback on the success of your decision? Profits vs Expenses
How might your management decisions change from week to week? Based on profits

Would it tie into the economy as a whole? Entertainment industry

Does running these industries feel distinct from playing any other building? SURE!, looks and feels different, even if it is still punching numbers and looking at resulting numbers in a screen

Is there a unique type of upgrade they can get? Already explained above.

How might their profits be limited?
Profit potential limited by size.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:04 am 

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User avatarVaculus
Fast Food Industry: Sandwich

You build a fast food store that sells sandwiches. It uses one land slot and it works just like the coffee event. You prepare as many sandwitches as you like for a cost, you set the price, preparation time is zero. Your sales depend on your price and random conditions just like in the coffee event. But there is something added here. You can't make sandwiches from thin air like you did with coffees. You need to use 4 ingredients (meat, poultry, vegetables and bread). The cost of the sandwich is the cost of the ingredients, plus the cost of the preparation. You don't have to use all 4 ingredients but you must choose at least 2 of them. You also decide how much to use from each one. The sandwich you make has a different tasting value for the customers, depending on how much of each ingredient your sandwich contains. The taste of customers changes quite often, it moves just like the reseach triangle of a product moves (but it would have be a square since there are 4 ingredients). This means that your sales also depend on how appealing is your sandwich to the customer's taste. The quality of the ingredients doesn't affect the tasting value of your sandwiches (for example using q50 bread would not be any different than using q0 bread).


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:38 am 
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Vaculus wrote:
Fast Food Industry: Sandwich

You build a fast food store that sells sandwiches. It uses one land slot and it works just like the coffee event. You prepare as many sandwitches as you like for a cost, you set the price, preparation time is zero. Your sales depend on your price and random conditions just like in the coffee event. But there is something added here. You can't make sandwiches from thin air like you did with coffees. You need to use 4 ingredients (meat, poultry, vegetables and bread). The cost of the sandwich is the cost of the ingredients, plus the cost of the preparation. You don't have to use all 4 ingredients but you must choose at least 2 of them. You also decide how much to use from each one. The sandwich you make has a different tasting value for the customers, depending on how much of each ingredient your sandwich contains. The taste of customers changes quite often, it moves just like the reseach triangle of a product moves (but it would have be a square since there are 4 ingredients). This means that your sales also depend on how appealing is your sandwich to the customer's taste. The quality of the ingredients doesn't affect the tasting value of your sandwiches (for example using q50 bread would not be any different than using q0 bread).


I really liked the idea of the coffee event. It was very different than normal retailing and producing, which have it an interesting feel. I think having a land operate like that event will be a good addition to the game, and it's also good because it operates differently from the rest of the other land types.

How about opening up the construction business to be privately operated like the transportation business? Right now your only option is to use the system construction. It might be a new and interesting aspect to the game. The system construction would still be an option, but maybe we could make construction like transportation in that different companies offer different rates and speeds to compete against each other and an SSC company.


Last edited by Alex Lorrine on Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:48 am 

Joined: Aug 6, 2011
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User avatarcontroling Inc.
 
Alex Lorrine wrote:
Vaculus wrote:
Fast Food Industry: Sandwich

You build a fast food store that sells sandwiches. It uses one land slot and it works just like the coffee event. You prepare as many sandwitches as you like for a cost, you set the price, preparation time is zero. Your sales depend on your price and random conditions just like in the coffee event. But there is something added here. You can't make sandwiches from thin air like you did with coffees. You need to use 4 ingredients (meat, poultry, vegetables and bread). The cost of the sandwich is the cost of the ingredients, plus the cost of the preparation. You don't have to use all 4 ingredients but you must choose at least 2 of them. You also decide how much to use from each one. The sandwich you make has a different tasting value for the customers, depending on how much of each ingredient your sandwich contains. The taste of customers changes quite often, it moves just like the reseach triangle of a product moves (but it would have be a square since there are 4 ingredients). This means that your sales also depend on how appealing is your sandwich to the customer's taste. The quality of the ingredients doesn't affect the tasting value of your sandwiches (for example using q50 bread would not be any different than using q0 bread).


I really liked the idea of the coffee event. It was very different than normal retailing and producing, which have it an interesting feel. I think having a land operate like that event will be a good addition to the game, and it's also good because it operates differently from the rest of the other land types.

How about opening up the construction business to be privately operated like the transportation business. Right now your only option is to use the system construction. It might be a new and interesting aspect to the game. The system construction would still be an option, but maybe we could make construction like transportation in that different companies offer different rates and speeds to compete against each other and an SSC company.


that is a very interesting idea, im not so sure how exactly that would work within the game but it sounds like it has potential of being a great addition.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:02 am 
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Another idea I'm unsure about with construction companies is how to give them land slot values and score. It could be that each land slot you are building takes up one of your slots. However, the slot still stays in the owner's account as well, so you are not selling or loaning the property to the construction company to be expanded.

Construction companies would be able to buy certain tools to build cheaper or faster, but are more expensive. Upgrades could be different levels of tools. Qa would still not matter for building materials.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:13 am 

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User avatarReal Value
 
Service based industries generally rely on highly skilled employees. Some skills come to people naturally at birth, and some people have greater intelligence or social skills than others, but for many workers and employees, the skills needed to become more successful come via increased education and training. This training is not like training employees at a store, which is short term in nature and needs to be redone frequently, but it is more of the nature of professional skill development which creates lifetime improvements in capabilities or performance (e.g., engineering degree, accounting degree, training in cutting hair, plumbing certification and licensing, furniture craftsman skills, automobile mechanic skills). Many service industries higher graduates from trade schools or universities because the value of these trained employees is much higher in providing higher quality products than is the value of untrained hires, and training on the job is generally not as effective in providing high level of professional skills as is some formal institutional training program.

Therefore, I would recommend that service industries in general hire employees with skills that can be increased by sending those employees to a trade school or university to increase their skills. The training at the trade school or university would take time and would cost money. The business would effectively have to pay the employee's tuition while in school, but would have the employee as a guaranteed graduate when they finish the training. Companies do this sometimes in a variety of ways. Sometimes they use scholarships or internships at public colleges, but some set up their own corporate schools to train their employees (e.g., McDonald's university, where managers earn college credits in learning to more effectively manage fast food restaurants).

Companies could build new buildings that start out as trade schools, to provide basic skills for employees (like auto mechanic or hair dresser), and then could upgrade these buildings over time to become colleges and then eventually universities to train more advanced skills (like accountants and engineers). Businesses that use these employees would provide services to the public that could be priced much like the coffee event was done, with higher prices possible if there is not much competition for accounting or engineering services, but with prices lower if there is a lot of competition. General background competition could be provided by something like Allmart (but maybe ServiceMart instead), so there is some sense of dominance potential and total demand or even excess production of some services that is more than 100% of normal city or game-wide demand (too many accountants in Canjara and not enough auto mechanics).

Quality of services could be driven by quality of inputs, where the inputs are the people who are trained not in research centers, but who are trained at trade schools and universities. Thus, these professional institutions of learning fill the role that is filled similarly by research centers for products.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:12 pm 
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A lot of ideas in here are good - and will be revisited and considered - but are not particularly generic. Remember, the goal of the thread is generic ideas. Functions that work for accountants and gardeners. So roller coasters and private construction aren't what I'm looking for in this particular thread.

Alex Lorrine wrote:
I really liked the idea of the coffee event. It was very different than normal retailing and producing, which have it an interesting feel. I think having a land operate like that event will be a good addition to the game, and it's also good because it operates differently from the rest of the other land types.

Yes, the use of prediction & spoilage is a great mechanic, and one I'd be happy to use again in the right context. Let's call that a bottom-up mechanic, because we know how it works but not necessarily what it would be representing.

Professor wrote:
Service based industries generally rely on highly skilled employees.

You have me envisioning a labor roster now, comparable to how other buildings use the warehouse. There's a lot of promise there, but I still need a day-to-day mechanic. So let's talk labor in general, because that certainly is the most direct application to service industry.

One concept that can be interesting but perhaps not worth a design is scheduling. Assigning workers to shifts, picking days off, having coverage for call-outs - these are definite management skills we could build a function around. But is it fun? And I don't think it scales well. Creating a schedule for 10 people might be an interesting challenge. Doing it for 100 is a nightmare. And then at 1000 it's not worth attempting, you just spread them around and assume the randomness works out.

That said, there's a definite puzzle there if we simplify the question. Suppose you're open for 16 hours, with expected business like this:
Code:
HOUR    VISITORS
  1         10
  2         14
  3         32
  4         75
  5         46
  6         52
  7         97
  8         88
  9         34
  10        22
  11        35
  12        60
  13        76
  14        93
  15        51
  16        18

1 employee works 8 hours with a 30-minute break around halfway through, and each working employee handles 15 customers per hour. Who do you hire to what shift (and where do they take lunch break) to maximize profits and minimize turned-away customers?

There could be something to that. In a way it's very much the prediction-and-spoilage (coffee) mechanic again: preparing the right number of workers. There are a few problems though:
  1. Do you care if you miss customers? Coffee works because it's a competition. But if you merely wanted a riskless profit, you could just pick a safe number and let it go forever. That sort of boring cash-machine is exactly what I don't want.
  2. How often should the demand schedule vary? Not often enough and again it becomes non-interactive. Too often and it's a headache that again makes you not care about maximizing.
  3. Overly-detailed settings and updates can be bad for the server. This isn't something you necessarily need to worry about, but it's a very significant disincentive for us to add something. If every land has just 2 settings for every employee, consider how much storage that takes in the database for a large building? And then we need to show a prediction for each hour, update for the actual tally each hour, and store results for each hour so you can see how you did. It becomes impossible to do.

    By contrast, all a farm really needs to know is quantity, QA, and end time. And once started, the system doesn't need to update it at all until you collect products or the time ends.

So that's labor scheduling. There's also a lot we could breakout on labor skill (as Professor suggests). But I don't see how it would operate day-to-day, and managing per-employee statistics are likely to be a non-starter.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:22 am 

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Saga Industries
 
How about "Insurance".

I am a Licensed Insurance Agent and neglected the proposal at first. but it could actually be cool to have it on this game.

I can offer insights and help with tips if needed. I do Home, Auto, Life, Health and Commercial Insurance. IS this a good generic service industry that can be used on this thread?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:24 am 

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i believe Amarsir wants generic ideas on how the service industries could run so that there could be many "names" of industries but they all run the same.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:19 am 

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Saga Industries
 
Ok lets see if I got this right:

- minor adjustment requirements to avoid server overload
- generic enough to apply to different categories
- inability to run for ever without human interaction.

Generic Business Office
- Adjustment setting for Employee Training/efficiency (much like current factories and stores)
- Adjustment for "Risky" to "Quality" service

Explanation of Ratios:
Risky business = More business contracts, less profit per contract/work hour.
Quality Business = More profit per contract/work hour, less amount of business contracts.
Size/Employee ratio could be like R&D centers. The number of employees can be equivalent to the amount of service contracts earned daily or work hours accumulated.

Since this is the service industry each work hour would be equivalent to a service contract. Contracts can be like bonds. They pay out after a set amount of time, or in intervals during said set time.

There has to be an expense account funded for the business to work, much like R&D's. The ratio between Quality & Risky business service would work like Speed and Quality work on R&D.

This is as simple as I think it can be without having to tweak the system too much. Basically, same interface, just different graphics, names and meanings. Am I now contributing to this thread the way I am supposed to? :bounce:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:12 pm 
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GuinesEnterprise wrote:
Am I now contributing to this thread the way I am supposed to? :bounce:

Yes. :grin:

I love the idea of risk management. We actually had an event all about it a long time ago, but it taught me that people do not understand risk and so I forgot about it. If we could find a smart way to put it back in, that could be really interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:39 pm 

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Saga Industries
 
Amarsir wrote:
GuinesEnterprise wrote:
Am I now contributing to this thread the way I am supposed to? :bounce:

Yes. :grin:

I love the idea of risk management. We actually had an event all about it a long time ago, but it taught me that people do not understand risk and so I forgot about it. If we could find a smart way to put it back in, that could be really interesting.


My whole suggestion above was based on the R&D building UI. Just replaced settings and functions to fit the purpose of this thread.

The risk management would be as follows:
Image

QUALITY
Each service job contract pays gradually more up to 150% of the original payout amount when Quality is 100%

Quantity
Each service job contract pays gradually less up to 75% of the original payout amount when Quantity is 100%

Each service contract takes up a certain % of the work-hour produced by each employee. By adjusting the bar to either side, the work hours needed to complete a job increase or decrease. However, working less hours to finish jobs faster will cause your work quality to diminish, therefore the profits will suffer as well.

Like all things in this world. A balance between time spent per contract, and quality delivered will be needed to achieve maximum profit. Be aware, city economy, and employee efficiency play a major role on these equations.


or something along those lines. I think it is simple enough to be doable, yet different enough to break the monotony.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:05 am 

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User avatarHatuey Enterprise
 
bump. 2 years later! :help: :teach:

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