Thursday, December 26, 2013

Release Info


"Growsim" will be released as a full beta version very soon.  I've been thinking about how to go about it, and listening to some feedback from people checking it out and play-testing it, and decided to go with a different release format.

The full game will be available free of charge, no strings attached.  A few features will be disabled in this free version, such as importing and exporting clones, but all other functionality will work normally--saving games and unlock codes will be available in the free version.

If you decide to support the project and buy "Growsim", you'll receive an in-game sheet with all the available unlock codes (you won't have to wait to discover them in the game) and you'll be able to export plants (save them to your computer) and import saved plants into any game of "Growsim", or share the exported plants with anyone using a full version of "Growsim".  Future updates that include new codes or premium features will be available for users of the paid version, but all bug fixes and other updates will be free for any user of "Growsim".

Over the next two weeks, I'll be finishing some minor bug fixes and tweaks, getting feedback from play-testing, and the release version of "Growsim" should be available by mid-January.  All links to download the game will be available on this site with info where to find more info on the web.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Screens & Info


The Features page has been updated to include changes in the latest version.

Some new screenshots are available on the "Growsim Media" page.  After putting them up, I scrolled through the previous images and videos and there's sort of a film reel of the project's evolution on display.  It's probably only something the creator experiences, but it's cool seeing the progression.  If you ever worked on a creative project, or even a work project, and saw it grow from the beginning, then you know what I'm saying... ya feel me.

Now, about the Indiegogo campaign: it's a fundraiser to try and get "Growsim" on Steam Greenlight and other portals, and to do some marketing.  If you aren't familiar with Steam, then just know it's pretty much the biggest online game platform with something like 2+ million people connected at any given time.  There's a developer fee to join up--hence, a fundraiser.

There are some rewards that can't be had otherwise, though.  For $5 you can grab a copy of the game starting with the current beta version and all future versions; for $10, you get the game and the right to name a patient and clinic that can appear in-game; and for $20, you get the previous two perks and the right to create your own strain of marijuana!  You'll get a code to claim a free clone of your plant in the game, too.

If you haven't tried the demo, give it a spin and--at the very least--leave some feedback.  If you're willing to do a review and have some experience or exposure on a channel that does reviews, please let me know and I'll set you up with a copy of the full game.

You can try an online demo or download the demo for free by clicking on the links to the right.  There is a Chrome Webstore version available also.


Friday, December 13, 2013

"Growsim" on Indiegogo

Greetings!  As of today (12/13/13), "Growsim" is on Indiegogo in hopes of raising some funds to pay the Steam Greenlight fee and provide some marketing for the game.  There are some nice perks for contributing, as well.

Here's the link to "Growsim" on Indiegogo

If it's not something you're interested in--or don't have the cash--I'd still greatly appreciate any feedback on the game.  Try the demo and drop me a line with your thoughts.

Oh, and please spread the word if you find "Growsim" even a little interesting!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Steam Greenlight Concept

"Growsim" has been submitted to Steam Greenlight as a game concept to get feedback.  If you're on Steam and would like to check it out, I've added the link to the box at the right.

Greenlight is part of the plan, so stay tuned if use it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Demo on Chrome

Greetings.  The "Growsim" demo is now available from the Chrome web-store.  If you use the Chrome browser, head over to the "Growsim Free" page and get it!

The download links on the right have been updated to point to the IndieDB download page for the demo.  Suffice to say, it's easier and cheaper than trying to host the files myself--work smarter, not harder?

As always, any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Growsim" demo available for download & online play!


A late alpha version of "Growsim" is available for download or online play as of today.  The game is still being tested, balanced, and updated, so this is NOT a final version.  Also note this is a demo version and a few features are disabled.

Download Growsim - click the link to download the installer, run the downloaded file when complete

*** The installer does not add any 3rd-party software or collect any information about you or your computer ***

Play online now!  - click the link to open a new window / tab and start a game

*** Note that some browsers don't accept the 'Exit Game' button, so close the browser window/tab when you're done ***

Thanks for checking it out!  Any feedback is most welcome.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ideas behind "Growsim" - the big picture?

Greetings.  This post is more of a general discussion of ideas, concepts, and plans regarding the game.  I've had some feedback from videos, news, and play-testing that has been extremely helpful in solidifying what I expect and what I want with "Growsim".

I'm a big simulation game fan.  If you've played and enjoyed Capitalism, SimCity, SimLife, Civilization, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, or FTL, then you know what I'm referring to!  Personally, I'm madly in love with games that  use a simple interface and minimal eye-candy to accomplish something special.  If the gameplay makes you come back for more time and again, then it's a win--regardless of what it looks or sounds like.  Presentation is all well and good, but gameplay is paramount.

Graphically, "Growsim" isn't pretty but it won't blind anyone with ugliness, either.  It's functional.  It's an interface intended to run a simulation with game mechanics sprinkled throughout.  Perhaps if I had the budget, I'd hire an artist to do some work, but I think that can wait--either until the lottery ticket pays off or "Growsim" earns enough profit to do a prettier sequel.  I'm sure there are gamers who rely on graphic and sound to judge a game, but I'm not too worried about it.

So why medical marijuana?  After all, simulations can be about anything imaginable--even fictional pursuits are viable.  First, it's a contemporary topic and one that is personally interesting to me.  I'm much more likely to try medicines and remedies considered to be "folk" medicine, or whatever it's called, before I'll experiment with synthetic pharmaceuticals.  Maybe I'm a hippy or something, but herbs and such found in nature that have healing properties makes more sense to me than drugs developed in laboratories.

Being a big fan of indie games in general, I have to make the project my own--give it a touch that marks it as an amateur attempt at something bigger.  With very, very few exceptions, some of my favorite games--and most addicting ones--were and are indie games.  Blockbusters often bore me and lack the originality and personality of smaller projects.  I also believe indie games should be inexpensive and less demanding, offering fun and depth at a fraction of the cost and frustration.  Smaller projects often mean less hardware required to run it on the user's end, allowing more people to enjoy the experience.

Over the last decade, I've worked on dozens of small games for my kids and friends, along with a few more practical ones like budgeting software, fantasy football trackers, role-playing tools, and so on.  "Growsim" represents my first attempt to publish a complete game and build upon it going forward.  One of the cornerstones of my projects is to have plenty of depth to encourage diversity and that "one more turn" addiction.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a chance to try "Growsim"!  A demo of the first beta release, along with a pre-release full version sale, will be available soon!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gameplay Video & New Features

Greetings!  A new video is available from the media page and is also up on my youtube page (links on the right).  In this latest video, I grow a strain from beginning to end, test it, harvest it, and sell it to patients.  The entire process is unedited and displays the configuration options available to players.

A bunch of hours went into play-testing the latest version, and my sincerest thanks to the handful of guys who volunteered their time to test it out.

The latest version includes the following updates:
- fixed a bunch of graphical and text errors
- fixed some bugs in selling to patients without sufficient money
- fixed some bugs regarding identified plant information
- optimized some code to reduce memory usage

Features implemented and tested:
- ability to dispose of unwanted clones to make room for others
- importing saved clones into new or existing games (cross-game sharing)
- added larger quantity buttons when selling products
- added option to give a gift to patients (free product)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Play-test Update & Beta Release

Completed a 6 hour playtest marathon with a couple of volunteers generous enough to waste a chunk of their holiday weekend.  The great news is that no serious bugs were discovered by any of the testers!  There are some minor things to fix, such as some visual / display errors, incorrect text, and some pricing issues when selling product.  No one experienced any freezing or game-ending problems.

I'll work through the fixes this week and the plan is to have the first beta version released by 11/7.  I'm not sure what platforms it will end up on, but the links will be available on this site when the the beta is ready.  "Growsim" will probably utilize a pre-release offer if anyone wants to buy the full game early and play the full version of the beta and all the updates.  A free demo will be available for the beta and the final game.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Plant sharing and new screenshots

"Growsim" is close to a beta release, I can feel it in my bones.

All of the features and game-play elements are in place, so it's up to play-testing and tweaking.  A few interesting ones made it into the latest version--a couple of which I didn't think would work!  

I've added a plant sharing system to the game, allowing players to pick any cloned plant in their inventory and generate a text code than can be shared with any other Growsim player.  It's a simple copy and paste of text code; if you receive one, the game will load the code and put a clone of that plant in your storage; if you want to share a plant, the game will generate a code.  

Of course, the curious will have a field day with that one, but that's okay by me.  Since it's just a text code, you can paste into notepad and make changes, if you so wish.  Another interesting idea is to generate codes for some of your favorite or best plants and paste them into a new game to start with something special.

Another feature is the use of 'Unlock Codes'.  Every year completed, the game will award you with a code than can be entered in the options menu to gain a special bonus.  There are 21 codes in the game and codes can be entered at any time, but each code works just once.  If you're dedicated enough to write them down, or find out if someone else did, these codes can be used in a new game to start with extra perks.

Saving and loading games seems to work fine so far.  There is a quick-save button in the game (a one-click save option), auto-save setting, and five custom save games.  Games can be saved and loaded on the fly, making the above-mentioned features useful for trading clones or codes between your own games.  I'm sure the system will need some tweaking to make sure it runs without any serious hiccups.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"GROWsim" features: Starting a New Plant

Greetings.  "GROWsim" has a lot going on under the hood.  I'll try and lay out how one of these systems works and some of the reasoning behind the game-play.

When you start a new plant, the first choice is what type of seed to use.  There are 3 tiers of random seeds to choose from, each tier will have a higher maximum potency than the previous.  New plants are randomly generated based on the seed choice, with varying preferences and attributes pertaining to how the plant grows and what type of environment it prefers.  Matching plant preferences with the growing environment will maximize plant growth.

There is also a seed designer, allowing you to name a strain and select options such as potency, size, preferred climate, and life-cycle.  Each choice comes with a price, and designing the ultimate strain will cost quite a bit--but it's not all about the cost.  Larger plants will generally consume more nutrients and water, and require more light, to reach full potential.  This means more costs for you.

The other option is to use a clone.  When a plant is in Sapling stage, you can clip off healthy limbs to grow clones that will have the same attributes as the parent plant.

Selecting a seed type is followed by choosing a bucket size.  Larger plants will have a hard time reaching their potential in small buckets, and large buckets with small plants can result in too much water and food for the plant to use and the possibility of over-feeding.

The final step is to choose a rooting medium.  Each medium has its perks and flaws, so it comes down to a matter of experimentation and preference.  Do you try rooting a plant in soil to give it a sturdy base or in root moss to maximize feeding?

Until a plant is tested and its genetic attributes revealed, there is no sure way to know plant size, life-cycle, or environmental needs.  Once this information is known, you can customize the grow room to suit that plant.  With so many potential combinations, there should plenty of variety to keep you interested!

The goal is to avoid the unrealistic notion that a huge plant is best.  It's just as possible to have a crop of smaller, fast-growing plants and the turn-over will compensate for the difference in yields.  In testing, it seemed that the variety opened a lot of different strategies.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any specific questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New screens, big changes

Greetings.  A lot of work was done the last week or two on 'Growsim' and it's looking a ton better and the engine seems to be functioning as expected--barring tweaks for balancing.  I'm hoping to get a couple play-testers to give it a spin this week, so revisions will be forthcoming.

So what works?  You can choose different types of plants, each with randomly-generated statistics and preferences.  More expensive seeds have a higher THC level, but may have varying stats such as preferred climate, humidity, average size, and life-cycle.  There are literally thousands of possibilities when all the factors are considered.  Also, you can clone any plant that is growing into a sapling, so those interesting strains--or the ones you haven't been able to maximize--can continue on.

That's the biggest concept so far: figuring out how each plant grows, what it needs, and then working to setup the best environment possible for it.  Plants grow and flower; when you're ready, you can harvest the plant and let it dry.  Once dry, plants can be sold to patients or care centers to help pay the bills--or buy that next tier of seed.  Oh, and lest I forget, the custom seed designer works!  You can create your own strain of marijuana by selecting several options with varying price tags.

Here are some screens from the latest version:

The new grow room showing empty plants...

When you start a new plant, there are many options...

Each plant can be configured independently...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Planned Features and support

Greetings!  First, I need to get it out of the way: if this game looks interesting to you, or if you like simulations, I'd appreciate any support (not cash, per se) in the form of comments, promotion, or just visiting the site, watching videos, or checking the IndieDB site (image below).  I'm planning on putting up the game on Steam Greenlight, Desura, and other download sites so having interested parties always helps.  I'm not begging, just saying: go check it out sometime!

Also, feel free to offer ideas, suggestions, and other feedback as I find it important to listen to what people think about something they'll be playing.

There are a few features I have planned that could be intriguing.  I'm not planning any type of social or multi-player networked stuff--not easy to do with programming and a whole 'nother set of headaches.  In lieu of that, I'm hoping to include some things for sharing.

One idea is to have an export button on any plant that the player has tested and knows the details (THC levels, climate, etc).  The export would generate a file that any other user of 'Growsim' could load into their game as a cloned plant.  I'd probably need some sort of hub to allow people to upload files, but I'm not too worried about that as a simple public dropbox link would suffice.

Simple features include screenshots, so players can share a unique strain or interesting plant they've cultivated, and hotkey saving/loading to not interrupt play time.

A new feature added recently is the Seed Designer.  By choosing this option with a new plant, you can pay to have a seed tailored to your desires--for a steep price.  You can choose THC level, plant size, life-cycle, climate, and humidity.  This goes with the standard seed choices and clones, offering even more flexibility and customization.

Also added recently is the ability to customize the environment for each individual plant.  I initially setup the game in 'rooms' which had their own environment, but allowing an unlimited number of rooms became very unwieldy at later stages.  Each room can have 8 plants, so 5 rooms means managing 40 plants!  During testing, even managing 3 or 4 rooms was burdensome.  I decided to go with 3 rooms, 8 plants per room, and the player can pay to expand into each room, starting with just 1.

More features are coming, along with screens and videos--stay tuned.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Overhaul Week

Just a quick update for now.  The last week has seen some heavier play-testing and a huge list of tweaks and changes from those tests.  Rather than try to band-aid and patch everything, I elected to overhaul the entire engine, incorporating the feedback along with some new ideas--particularly in streamlining some tasks.  Presentation got a huge upgrade, along with the interface and game menu systems.  Overall, I think the project is looking vastly improved and the overhaul still has some work to do.

Here's a teaser of the new groom room and interface

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Growsim" new features, screens, and information

Greetings.  This week, I added a bunch of new features to the engine and, so far, everything looks pretty good!  There's a lot of balancing to do, as play-testing (beyond myself) has been limited.  I'm sure when more eyes take a look at the alpha version, there'll be plenty of updating to do.

In the first screen below, the cloning system is displayed.  Each plant will produce a number of clones distinct to their particular strain, size, and growth rate.  These clones can be harvested for re-planting, as shown below.  Clones are, of course, a replica of the plant from which they are harvested.

In this second shot, the clones taken from the original plant appear in the seed list.  They do not cost money to plant (aside from bucket and medium) and they don't "veg" (waiting for seed to sprout).  When selected for planting, the clone starts as a sapling.

Another new feature implemented this week is displayed below: pruning.  Plants in juvenile or adult stage can be pruned (leaves trimmed) to encourage larger overall growth and yield.  Pruning does reduce the current size of the plant, so caution is recommended, but the long-term benefit can be great.  Also, the clippings from plants can be saved and sold to wholesale medical centers.  A feature planned is to allow players to use the clippings to make hash and baked goods.

The last new screen below shows the flowering picture of the plant with a prompt to click the image to test the strain.  Clicking on the colored flower will reveal test results including current THC levels (not potential of the plant but what the player has achieved), potential size and growth, and preferred climate.

As of right now, barring any setbacks, the first playable beta will be available by the end of October with a full release planned for December.  There will be a demo version that allows all the features to be used but will have some limitation in terms of length of play or something similar.  The full version is planned as a Windows program with ports available for Mac and Linux.  Channels should include standard download, Chrome version, Steam, and wherever else accepts indie games.  As said previously, the full version will not cost more than $10--I'm planning on $5 but some channels may have pricing restrictions.  Updates, add-ons, and so on will be free for anyone who buys the full version.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New screens and features

This week, "Growsim" saw the implementation of key grow room features.  There's a lot of balancing and tweaking to do, but the system enabling plants to respond to the environment, grow, and flower is now working.

Every single element of the environment is calculated to determine a plant's overall health.  As it grows the plant track changes and respond accordingly--everything is calculated in real-time as the game runs.  A new feature added this week is the feeding system.  You can set the type of nutrients used and whether or not you want to set an "auto" feeding cycle, allowing the simulation to feed plant without manual input on a set schedule of days.

The strain system now works, too.  When plants reach the 'flowering' stage, you can elect to pay for a test to know what strain of plant it is, how much THC is in the plant, and information regarding it's average size, growth rate, and preferred temperature and humidity.  The strain images appear in flowering stage, showing players a colorful image of what the budding flowers look like.

The goal is to have a working, playable alpha version by the end of October.  At which point, the game will need play-testers.  If that's something of interest to you, drop me a line and I'll pick a few people to test the game (and get free demo versions).

Here are some new screen shots (also added to the 'Media' page).

The first image shows the new grow room along with a couple of plants growing and the information available during growth.  The second image shows a strain that has been tested and identified.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Under the Hood with "Growsim"

Greetings.  This week has seen a decent amount of updates to the game, with a lot going into the engine itself--how the game works under the hood.  More screenshots and video will be forthcoming.  The game is still on track for a December 1st full release.

For anyone who's curious, I'll share some of what's going on under the hood.  We'll focus on the plants in this article.

Each plant tracks many attributes.  The two primary ones are size and growth.  A plant's growth determines how fast it reaches potential size.  Every plant, when the seed is started, has randomly generated attributes that determine its maximum size, growth rate, and THC potency.  How the plant is cultivated determines the actual growth rate and size.

The first choices that affect this outcome are the seed type, bucket size, and rooting medium.  All choices are worth exploring--there is no perfect option that works for every plant.  A plant with low potential size rating is finely suited for a small bucket, as it won't need to extra space (and cost) with a large bucket.  Plants that grow slowly won't benefit as much from using a rooting medium that encourages faster growth.

Each plant can be tested when it's in the flowering stage.  Testing reveals the name of the strain, the current THC potency (not maximum potential but current potency), and the plant's natural climate (temperature and humidity).  By testing one particular strain, cloning it, and keeping it going, players can watch the THC rating and determine if they want to keep the strain and try to maximize it or try a different seed.  There will be a lot of experimentation with configurations to find the ideal for a particular plant.  The most difficult challenge will be trying to customize an environment (grow room) to suit a particular strain while keeping down costs for having different rooms operational.

Every action has an affect on a plant's potential size and growth rate.  Pruning leaves can help encourage the plant to stretch out and increase potential size; feeding high-quality nutrients and water can bump up growth rates; every action and decision regarding plant care and environment control has an affect on how a plant develops.

The game will remember every plant strain you discover and any new ones you cultivate.  As of right now, every new game will reset the database and allow you to discover all new strains and re-discover ones you already found (with different attributes).

If there are any specific questions, please ask.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Media and updates

Greetings.  I uploaded a preview video to youtube and some new screenshots are available below.  The name is officially going to "Growsim" to avoid potential title conflicts with another game.  Not a big deal, so moving on...

The grow room has been re-designed with more plants per room and new stream-lined interfaces for the different actions and systems.  There's a lot going on under the hood--more than I anticipated, anyways.  I'm pleased at the number of possible combinations and variety possible with plants and environments.

As always, if there are any comments or suggestions, feel free to pass them along!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Grow" update: plant strains, materials, actions, and timing

Greetings!  Since the last post, a lot of work has been done on the simgame.  I'll try to summarize some things and give out some information about where the project is going.

- Strains: there are 3 categories of seeds available for purchase, and each seed can sprout into any one of six strains of marijuana.  All the strains are fictional, albeit loosely based on real ones.  Each strain has its own variances in maximum size, growth rate, THC potency, and preferences for temperature and humidity.  Figuring these values out is part of the game.  Plants can be tested as they mature to learn the current THC potency and trying different configurations of buckets, growing medium, and environment can lead to different growth rates and yields.  Of course, once cloning is in the game, you'll never have to lose that special strain you discovered.

- Materials: new plants are rooted in 1 of 3 mediums, each with different properties pertaining to maximum size and growth rate.  Some strains of marijuana just don't get huge, so using a big bucket is a waste of money--but you'll have to discover what works and what doesn't, just like a first-time grower trying to figure it out for themselves.

- Actions: as the plants grow, different contextual actions become available.  Icons appear near the plant with a descriptive text appearing on mouse-over.  For example, a seed that has sprouted can be planted in the grow room, or a flowering plant can be tested or harvested.  I thought of leaving all the actions on screen from the beginning, but screen real estate and the specter of a player harvesting a juvenile plant seemed to just invite problems.

- Timing: days tick by at a measured pace, which can be adjusted by the player; likewise, each individual plant has its own timer to note how many days it's been growing.  Colorful bars track the relative size of a plant in relation to its maximum (unknown until you discover it by filling up the size bar) and growth rate (% of size increase per week, also unknown at first).  The game can be paused, slowed down, and sped up to manipulate time.  It's possible I may add in aging factors so plants left sitting too long when they reach maturity, drying, or other stages could start to degrade.

There's a lot more to do, but I'm liking how it's coming together so far.  Keep in mind this is a sim-game--part simulation and part game.  It's not intended to be a perfect replica of the real art of growing marijuana, nor does enter the realm of casual gaming.  There are a lot of interactive systems, but not so many as to bog the player down in details and min-max micro-management.  Hopefully, I'll find the sweet spot of depth and playability.

As for the game pricing and release style... I'll do a demo/free version (not sure what the limits will be just yet) and a full/paid version with all the bells and whistles (and some extra goodies).  I won't charge more than 5 bucks for it, despite the time and energy spent, because I know it's an indie game and simulations aren't necessarily blockbusters.  I like cheap, fun games, too!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

'Grow' screenshot breakdown

Still going strong... added some new stuff today but still have a long way to go.  Here's a screenshot from a current build showing the 'Grow Room', a central hub for cultivating and examining plants.

The top bar displays green arrows for navigating various plant configurations (multiple grow rooms) and different icons for the supplies and systems in any given grow room: lights, water, climate, and fans.  The plant icons in the middle display the stage of the plant and colored bars for growth/vitality (green) and size/yield (red).  The icons on the bottom are for starting a new plant: selecting seed quality, bucket size, and rooting medium.

Also the sim will track seasons, which affects the room's temperature and humidity.  All the systems affect the environment and the plants in different ways and different strains of marijuana have different environmental preferences.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Early Details on "Grow"

The UI has been re-worked to be friendlier and include as much information as possible in a concise format.  I want to avoid drilling down through menus or navigating spreadsheet-like data, so the use of visual indicators and related information on the same page is important.  

I'm working on the mechanics and presentation for starting a new plant.  There is a tough balance between getting too granular or keeping it too loose.  I'm aiming for something in the middle, which brings me to the next point--and a question I was asked the other day.

"Will this be a hardcore simulation or more of a game?"

Gameplay is incredibly important.  Hardcore simulations, in my opinion, aren't very fun or user-friendly, but I also don't want to fall into the trap of making something too friendly and not realistic at all.  I'm aiming for a balance of playability and realism.  A simgame in the truest sense.  The old sim games like SimTower, SimEarth, SimCity, and so on all had this balance.  It was fun to play but there was enough information to manage that it felt real, it had a weight to it.

The goal is to make "Grow" easy to use but deep enough to challenge.  

One example from the stuff I'm working on now is the process of starting a new plant.  Players pick from 3 seed types, 3 bucket sizes, and 3 different rooting mediums.  There are different costs, benefits, and caveats with each choice and combination.   There isn't really a right choice, as different strains of marijuana prefer different environments to reach their full potential.

There is a nice visual presentation in place for this process and it takes place all on one screen.  One element I'll need to fit in somehow is a tooltip or explanatory text when the player chooses an item.  If they click on "premium seeds", what does that mean?  

There should at least be some heads-up about what to expect.  Sounds easy, but space is a commodity on the screen.  There's already a visual representation of the plant in it's growth stage, stats about the plant, feeding times, and so on--adding another element runs the risk of crowding the screen.  My current idea is to change the displayed stats and information about the plant to a context-sensitive help text, using the same visual field but alternating the information.

If I can make some significant progress by the end of this week, I'll get a screenshot or quick video up.

Did I mention I'm running this operation solo?  Yeah, it takes a little while.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Announcing "Grow", a medical marijuana caretaker simulation

Greetings.  No sense in boring you with lengthy introductions, right?  Let's go to the point.

I'm working on a simulation game called "Grow".  In it, you assume the role of someone who has just received their license to legally grow marijuana and sell it to patients with a medical prescription.  Success in the game is measured by several factors and ultimately it is up to the player to determine what they want to do and how they want to do it.

The design will be a simple, clean interface with icons, lists, and information-related displays.  Plants are represented by staged pictures, depending on how big the plant is and how long it has been growing.  Players decide what type of buckets to use, what medium to grow in, which nutrients to feed the planet, how many lights to use, and many other features.

Simulated factors include monthly expenses like electric bills, plant food, and rent.  Players can buy and upgrade a number of different factors contributing to the success of growing marijuana.  There are many different strains of the plant to discover and each strain will have variances in levels of THC, maximum size, ideal temperature and humidity, and so on.  Players can clone plants to try and discover the ideal conditions to grow various strains.

I will add more details, screenshots, videos, etc as the project progresses.  As of this post, the game is in very early alpha with only a couple of playable elements.  When there is a stable version, I'll open it up for people to try and test.  The intent is to release a free version and a paid version.  The finished product will not have any DRM nor will there be any in-game purchase nonsense.  "Grow" will be released for the PC desktop and web browser with a port likely to Mac and Linux desktops.

If it sounds interesting or you just like simulations, feel free to drop me a line with any suggestions or interest in this project.