What do you liked most in the game?
What would you change?
The challenge is interesting!
I played the level 1 and liked that each power source has its own mechanics, but in my opinion the 2d and 3rd appeared too early, we need more time to familiarise with the 1st source and understand how it works.
And this kind of tutorial is boring. It's too much informations at the same time! I don't want to read that much.
This game is promising, I've already discussed an issue with Mac OS X but otherwise I liked the gameplay. Since the goal of this game is to help others understand how the power grid works I have a couple of suggestions that I think would make gameplay more interesting and realistic.
In an actual power grid the power company monitors the system frequency. The system frequency will be the same at every node in the grid, and it will decrease when new loads are introduced to the grid and it will increase as power generation increases and loads are removed. Ideally it's kept as close to 60 HZ (in the US) as possible, but the grid has to be protected against situations when the frequency is higher or lower than expected.
In an industrial setting a factory may have polyphase motors they use for manufacturing or some other process. The rotational speed of these motors will be determined by the frequency of the grid, which means they could be damaged if the grid frequency is too low or high. Thus a factory may opt to drop out of the grid if the grid frequency is too low or high. This will cause a blackout in the factory, keeping their equipment safe but causing expensive downtime. It could also a rolling blackout if other factories have similar protections because the grid frequency will increase in response to the missing load. Transformers for substations also have frequency protections.
Currently the goal of your game is to produce more power than is demanded, but I think this is a bit misleading because electrical power is conserved; the amount of power generated is exactly the same as the amount consumed! Of course you will have transmission losses but if you add the amount of power lost during transmission with the amount of power your customers consume you'll find that it's equal to the amount of power your power plants produced. (Describing how this is possible is difficult without understanding the differences between reactive and resistive power, unless you have a background in electrical engineering as I do)
My proposal is replacing the "energy consumed" meter with a frequency dial and making the goal of the game to keep the dial as close to 60 Hz as possible. (50 Hz if you live outside the Americas or southern Japan) The player will still need to produce enough power to meet demand, keeping the frequency above a cutoff, but the dial will also discourage the player from producing too much power as this will raise the frequency above the desired 60 Hz and also cause blackouts. This will supplement the player's priority on using fewer resources and cheaply generating electricity with keeping the lights on.
My second suggestion was replacing the graph of power demand with a forecast of power consumption 24 hours in advance. Later in the game you could supplement this with a forecast for wind and solar energy production. This will help the player decide when they need to fire up their coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants.
I love this game so far and it has huge potential. I have a few suggestions to add.
-Pay money for energy efficient campaigns. I.e. pay some amount of money to reduce total power demand by customers.
-Tidal power, have a beach near by and the ability to buy tidal power plants.
-Upgradeable power plants of all types; pay money for more output.
- Track the total energy input and use so at the end of the game you can see the data, win or lose.
-Keep adding more levels and different scenarios!
I have an idea for reworking hydroelectric power. It seems kind of silly to me that the total amount of hydroelectric power you can generate is capped. I guess the idea is that it's meant as an easy tutorial resource, and the player is supposed to run out in later levels and will have to rely on more complex resources. However, I think hydroelectric can be more complex long-term, while still being easy to get started with, like this:
The blue meter on the hydroelectric plant presumably represents the water level in the reservoir. It should fill up at a fixed rate, representing the flow of water into the reservoir. A rate of 4 or 5 units would be perfect. This means that if the turbines are off completely, the level will rise slowly - and if only one of the 3-power turbines is on, then the level will still rise very slowly. However, if the player is generating 6 or more units of hydro power, they'll be using the water faster than it's increasing.
In the first few levels of the game (i.e. the part of the game that's already complete), the player needs to generate a lot of hydro power to meet demand, and nothing about that would change. After the first few days, the player is likely to be running low on water. In the long run, the player can never average more than 4 units of hydro power, which will make this resource less relevant as the game progresses, especially as the city grows larger. A smart player will try to avoid using hydro power as much as possible, to let the reservoir fill up, in case they need an extra boost later on.
Some upgrades later in the game that could interact with this system:
- There might be later upgrades to increase hydro turbine power, but since these would drain the reservoir even faster, they would only be practical for short-term emergency power.
- There can be upgrades later on that reroute rivers to increase the reservoir fill rate, so that hydro power doesn't become totally useless in later levels.
- Later levels might have drought conditions (fill rate drops to 0) or flood conditions (fill rate increases significantly, but train tracks intermittently flood, blocking coal refills). The player might get 2-3 days warning about these conditions in daily "news briefings" that take place each game night. These briefings could also indicate other events, such as a mine accident increasing the cost of coal for a day, and might also indicate how much sun the player can expect that day for their solar power generation.
Oh heck, that new update was bomb! A million fold improvement over the last level!!! I enjoy how much longer it is and how the graphs show the potential for wind and solar power.
A few suggested updates that I am sure you may have considered.
-- Make the replay button actually work (windows)
-- Different difficulty levels
-- Offer "rebates" for energy efficient lights/appliances so the max total power load can go down a bit.
--Population growth that may make the power load increase
--At the end of the game show stats for energy production vs consumption and from what sources.
Thanks! Keep up the great work
I really love the game, good work! Played level 2 twice last night. I have two suggestions though: It would be nice to know how long it takes until the temperature is high enough to produce power. But maybe that was intentional, so it is more dynamic. Also times on the wind and solar energy diagram would be nice for better planning. Also it would be great to have the option to keep playing after progress is full. I was eager to see the whole thing working without coal.