Rise of Industry, from developer Dapper Penguin Studios and publisher Kasedo Games, is a strategic tycoon game that had a strong E3 presentation. Players set up a business in a choice of towns and cities, providing them with the services they need to grow. There are two game modes: Career and Free. Career mode has tech trees and progression. Free mode removes progression and opens everything from the start.
Career mode allows players to change the difficulty level and experience. Players start in a procedurally generated map with towns and cities of different sizes and personalities. Rural, industrial and heavy industrial towns have different needs: rural towns want food; industrial towns want books, clothes, etc., heavy industrial towns want mechanical objects like car radiators. Each also plans to produce different things.
Players begin by deciding the business they are going to pursue, avoiding products that towns or cities are producing and focusing on requested goods instead. The first step is placing one's headquarters on the map. Building in any region requires a permit: A logistical permit is cheaper but only allows for infrastructure like roads and rail; a full build permit is more expensive but allows for constructing anything.
At HQ, players can choose loans to help finance their business, such as starter loans of $10 million. Once financed, players can choose requested goods to produce. Players first need to research products in order to know how to produce them. Every type of product in the game can be found in the tech tree. Players get three free unlocks at the start of every campaign to get their business up and running.
For instance, players can choose vegetables, wheat and livestock. Anything more will add costs and time for research. Players can invest in research and development to decrease the time it takes. The income and expenditure panel (dollar sign icon) helps review finances, showing how much was made in past/current months, loans, contracts and expenses. Once researched, a crop farm can be built and set to crop.
For vegetables, one needs a recipe book (there are hundreds in the game), a vegetable farm, water for the farm and a water siphon to gather water. To build a vegetable farm, go to Farms. Create a main hub and up to five smaller harvesters. Similarly, create a main hub for the water siphon, and also gatherers to go into the water and draw the water up. They'll need to be connected via roads.
Once the siphon is producing water, set up a production line. At the siphon, go to the Destinations panel and tell delivery trucks to go from the siphon to the crop farm. Trucks can then be seen coming out of the siphon and heading to the crop farm. Although the production line and destination are free, every time trucks set off there is upkeep and distance costs involved.
Vegetables can be seen growing. When grown, send vegetables to the town that requested it. Go to the Destinations panel and select farmer's market. If players don't want to micromanage, they can place a warehouse and set it to automatic, at which point it will note which buildings in the area need deliveries and will fulfill them. The warehouse is especially useful when operations become large.
This is the simplest of production lines. If players decide to produce something like hamburgers, the complexity increases. Beef, dough and vegetables are needed. It requires a livestock farm. Cows need wheat, and both need water. Dough needs flour and water, flour needs wheat, and wheat needs water. But the more complex the production line, the more the product is worth in the end.
It's worth noting that nothing will break down in the game so no repairs are necessary. The farm, for instance, will keep running as long as there is enough water for it. If that runs out, an alert will notify the player. There are other risks, however, that require monitoring. Some relate to supply and demand. If players deliver more vegetables than requested, the local price will drop.
If deliveries become an issue, players can slow distribution or stop it by using the respective building panel. The warehouse also can automatically adjust distribution. Both options also can address changes to the global market price, which is based on every town/city in the area. It can fall if everyone is producing the same thing, or if the player is producing the same thing all over the map.
Random events can have positive or negative consequences. Tax breaks can lower upkeep costs. New manufacturing processes can improve efficiency. Business strikes or tsunamis can slow production or cost money. All events are text based, not visual. Also, optional contracts can help, if managed properly. Town requests can boost money and influence, but failure can cost both.
Town influence is the relationship players have with local towns/cities all over the map. Better influence means better interest rates on loans and continued construction in the region. But influence can suffer if one fails to deliver on a contract or builds too close to a town. Every week a building sits too close, influence will decline. If it reaches zero, towns will still accept goods but construction will be prohibited.
If one's influence is less than zero, towns/cities might stop accepting goods, which means no more income though still paying for upkeep. These towns/cities also might warn others, which could affect one's influence with them. In the next couple of updates, PR and marketing will be implemented so players with negative influence can start campaigning to improve their image.
Pollution will be implemented before full release. With increasing factories, farming and population, pollution will increase. Factories have plumes of smoke; the darker the smoke, the more pollution. If polluting, influence and the environment can be affected. Fertile green land can turn to desert, eliminating farming and income. Pollution will have a big impact.
The next update also will add modding. Everything in the game has been developed with modding in mind. Code has been written to allow gamers to mod whatever they want -- colors, vehicles, recipes, etc. Multiplayer also will be introduced, allowing competitive or cooperative gameplay. The creators have been working closely with the community to make the game it wants.
The E3 demo is high quality, boasting an appealing design, detailed textures, fluid animations, and intuitive and responsive interface and controls. The game is described as offering both accessibility and complexity, and from what I'd seen it appears to accomplish both. Panels and menus offer easy to read and follow details and instructions, and there is plenty of content to explore and experiment with.
The game, on PC and Linux, is in early access and reportedly stable. Regular updates have been implemented and are planned, with a single-player full release in the works and multiplayer to follow. Rise of Industry already looks like a solid and entertaining title with much to offer newcomers and tycoon game veterans alike.
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