Updates

Free update now live: “Automation”

The free Automation update is now live! What fun improvements does that entail?

  • New mechanics for workers! They’ll demand higher pay, especially if you’re raking in the cash. Don’t give them what they want and they’ll strike! Of course, you could weaken their union with your class contacts… or just intimidate them with threats of violence.
  • No more mid-game tedium: assign Automation teams to each nation to launch products, push media and weaken laws automatically! Research “AI consultant” to unlock this feature.
  • Victory goals: achieve general goals to unlock more authority.
  • Once you’ve finished the research tree, use the “Corporate Dominion” project to dominate your company and gain endless authority.
  • Custom icon support. Wanted to roleplay as a real-life company? I can’t put that icon in the game, but now you can! Or you could design your own if you’re, like, an artist or whatever.

And, of course, there are general fixes and tweaks. Patch notes for those are below.

How do I get this update? If you’ve got the game on Steam, you’ve already got it! Your game has been automatically updated. If you got it on itch.io, you’ll need to download the latest version manually (31.07.2019).

If you don’t have a copy yet, grab one from Steam or itch.io!

If you love this game, you can sign up for updates on this very site.

Thanks to all the fans and friends who tested this update before it went live: without your help, this wouldn’t be the same release. 🙂

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Patch notes:

  • Added automation system: assign workers to nation teams to automatically launch products with best available slogans. Also pushes culture if media push is available, and weakens law if political influence available.
  • Rebalanced some events.
  • Corporate Dominion project: research to gain authority. Workers now have a purpose once the research tree is exhausted.
  • Players can now import their own custom corporate icon.
  • Added worker unrest, strikes and pay rises. You can avoid these problems by weakening union with class connections, or intimidating your workers if you’ve got the Armed taskforce agenda.
  • Tweaked balance of climate crisis.
  • Added victory goals: achieve them for an authority reward.
  • The game checks if a board member will die before you end the turn.
  • Tweaked board member ages so you need to research immortality sooner.
  • The game should play a bit nicer on 3:2 resolutions (ie. the nation list in the top-right won’t interfere with the hovering nation boxes)
  • Cancelling nation actions now really cancels them. @_@
  • Fixed the Ayisha event chain to it can properly conclude (sorry, that achievement is now definitely possible!)
  • Corpornation shares are now more expensive, but also more lucrative.
  • All story events more likely to occur now, especially Ayisha’s.
  • Once a crisis triggers, you’re more likely to get more crisis events instead of random, irrelevant ones.
  • Players should all experience a crisis before victory.
  • Crises have been balanced slightly.
  • Various bug fixes.

Automation Update: I Wasn’t Kidding About The Name

Spinnortality’s free update is drawing closer than a corrupt CEO to a poorly secured pension fund. So what else can you expect?

The base game had a fairly compelling gameplay loop: research product, research slogans, click around trying to use those slogans to market in different nations. That’s fine for the first hour or two.

 

This is fine!

 

By the mid-game, though, things have changed. You’re manipulating media: that involves checking which nations are media-ly manipulable, choosing a culture to target, and clicking to commit to that culture. You’re manipulating laws, which involves checking any nations where you aren’t already manipulating laws, donating money to parties, then choosing a law to deregulate. And on top of that, you’re still doing that original gameplay loop: checking each⁠— you know what, this is getting tedious to explain, let alone do every turn.

It got a bit much.

 

This is… less fine? It’s not bad, it’s just a lot more to handle.

 

And the biggest problem was that, by this point, you were usually not interested in launching products any more! By the mid-game you’re not that bothered by the financial side of things, and more interested in the politics of the world (and how to manipulate them, of course). I was holding the mid-game mechanics hostage behind early-game tedium.

Is there a place for this sort of design? Absolutely. If a game’s trying to convey the tedium of repetitive work – maybe it’s a game about working a dead-end job, or balancing a day-job with your weird passion – this would be fine. But Spinnortality is about the fantasy of becoming one of the most powerful people on the planet.

 

 

This dovetailed with another design problem: once the player has researched everything on the tech tree, there’s no reason to keep their workers around. Why not design a solution which solved both problems?

So I decided that each nation would have an “Automation team”, a group of workers who try to take care of any busywork in that nation. That means launching products, deregulating laws and manipulating culture with media.

Workers already have a “research” score and a “creativity” score, so I figured the more research a team had the faster it would run, and the more creativity it had the better it would do its job. (This was originally really complicated, before I realised that “your team needs creativity to launch products well” was perfectly adequate.)

 

 

But what I found most interesting was how this improved the game in unexpected ways:

  • This system values creativity. If you just assign loads of normal workers to each team, you’ll get good research but poor creativity. This means you have a reason to hire creative (mutant) workers. This was in contrast to the base game, where creative workers were a little sidelined.
  • Numerically speaking, a level 5 worker is more efficient than a level 2 worker in terms of “how much labour you get for the money they cost”. But Automation teams need about 1.5 top-level workers to operate at full capacity. In the past, you were incentivised to hire more top-tier workers and fire the old, obsolete ones. Now it’s more efficient to keep a mix of low- and top-tiers to staff those teams.
  • Since worker unrest only applies to organic workers (see last week’s post), it’s possible for a player to fire all their organic employees and only use AIs, and not have to deal with worker strikes. Or it would be… but that won’t work if you want to use Automation teams, because AIs suck at creativity. Now players have another reason to pay attention to the new mechanics.

One thing I chose to not automate, though, was donating money to political parties. The player might not always want to spend that money: if you need to buy a new clone for $200m, and you would have had $210m this turn but that nonessential law change just cost you $16m… It could have been frustrating and caused people to lose for no reason. I also didn’t want to automate away the entire game.

So I’ve got my Automation teams. How does the player access them? Should they be available from the start of the game?

 

 

I eventually decided against that: the game’s complex enough for new players, and it isn’t necessary. So now, once you’ve researched the product “AI consultants”, you get an event where your new AI consultant has created these teams for you. Since AI consultants gets researched at roughly the point where you start to really want these mechanics, that should work fine.

(It’s possible some players won’t research AI consultants, which is a concern, but I really like how this weaves the narrative into the tech tree mechanics, so I’m keeping it.)

The Automation Update is coming on August 2nd; hope you’re looking forward to it!

Automation Update: designing around mountains of money

The Automation Update is right around the corner. In fact, it’s coming on August 2nd! (Woo, it’s exciting and stressful to set release dates. )

I thought you might like to hear how I designed a key new feature: worker unrest.

 

 

So at launch, Spinnortality had a problem. Players would make waaaay too much money. This is a screenshot from one player in the late-game.

 

 

That’s, like, over 10 times the maximum amount you’d ever ever need. This might be considered the definition of “too much”.

So I figured “Ok, that’s an issue, can I do anything about it?” I’d already written some random events to punish you with a Public Opinion hit if you got too much money, but obviously those hadn’t tackled the real issue.

There was one area, though, that I hadn’t developed much, and was already integrated into the finances system: workers and worker happiness. Some facts about workers:

  • You pay them
  • They are sometimes unhappy
  • They provide labour, unless they are unhappy.

 

They’re loyal but somewhat drained, a little like these poor people manacled to a giant corporate icon.

 

Fine. But in the real world, workers don’t like it too much when their bosses make the kind of money we’re seeing here, and they sometimes go on strike to demand higher pay. I decided to introduce some new rules:

  • Let’s create a new stat called “Worker unrest”. Unrest rises over time, and it rises faster the more money you’re making.
  • If unrest gets too high, workers will start striking.
  • You can reset unrest to zero by giving workers a pay rise. This means the amount you pay them will be permanently increased.

Oh hey look, a feedback loop! If you’re making loads of money, your workers will complain; you need your workers to not complain; the only way to appease them is to give them a raise, ensuring you’ll make less money in future, hopefully bringing the system back into balance.

Once I’d got that system in, I decided to flesh it out a bit, and tie it into the existing “worker happiness” mechanics:

  • If your workers go on strike but worker happiness is more than 100%, the strike will fail (nobody wants to strike because they’re happy), but you will lose 10% worker happiness. This means high worker happiness – something that I achieved easily in every playthrough – could be “spent” as a sort of emergency strike buffer.
  • Giving workers a pay rise raises worker happiness a bit, because why not.

 

The system so far.

 

At this point I realised it was a bit inflexible to only give the player one way to solve the “unrest is too high” problem, though. I didn’t want to make it easy for players to reduce unrest – that would defeat the purpose of the system. But what if a player needed a quick fix for just a turn or two, to buy them some time? What if a player made loads of money in the past, raising unrest, but was now broke?

  • Players can weaken the workers’ union. This costs class connections, and lowers unrest a liiiiiiittle bit. (10%)
  • Players with an Armed Taskforce (ie. they can already blackmail people, rig elections etc) now have an “Intimidate union” option, costing them a fair few military connections. This reduces unrest a lot, but takes several turns, can fail, and while you’re doing this you can’t do any other espionage projects.

This gives players an opportunity to juggle military and class connections to lower worker unrest. I’m happy with those trade-offs: those connections are scarce, but most of the time money isn’t. If the problem I set out to fix – too much money – were happening, players would have zero reason to use these options. But if players run into money trouble (which is very possible, your money-train can stall if you’re not careful) they now have an out that doesn’t focus on penalising them for having too much of a resource they no longer have.

 

 

Playthroughs with testers seem to have had less of a “piles of money” problem, and my income in test runs has remained consistently low, so I think this was a success. Even if it hasn’t perfectly balanced the game, I think it’s an improvement and adds a little extra depth to the game’s systems.

Remember, the Automation Update will drop on August 2nd but you can also help me test it before it launches!

You can test upcoming “Automation” update on itch.io, if Steam isn’t your thing

Hi again everyone,

Just a quick one: Spinnortality‘s getting a free update soonish, and I’m looking for testers. If you’ve already got the game on Steam you can opt in to the testing beta; instructions are here.

But what if you don’t like Steam, or if you just bought the itch.io version? Fear not: the beta builds are uploading to itch.io as we speak! If you’d like to test the game just get in touch using this form (put “Spinnortality Automation beta” in the subject line) and I’ll get you a free key. This goes for anyone, regardless of whether you’ve bought the game or not, so if you’d like to play the game for free now’s your chance! I can’t promise the betas will be up forever though, so you’d best be quick. 🙂

Beta testers, please leave feedback/bug reports either with that same form or via the Spinnortality beta discord.

Happy testing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Automation” update is coming, but needs testers

Hi all,

First off, thanks for sticking with the game. Since launch in February I’ve been fixing bugs and fiddling with other projects (I needed a break from this 3-year-long marathon), and some of you have been asking about updates and DLC. Thanks for your patience while I focused on other stuff until I was ready to come back to this.

I’ve also been working on a free update for Spinnortality: Automation. My goal is to fix some balancing issues in the mid-game, and in the process add another layer of mechanical richness.

What can you expect in this update?

  • Launch products, push media and change laws automatically with Automation teams!
  • Watch in mild discomfort as your workers demand higher pay, slowly undermining your profitable foundation.
  • Custom icon support.
  • You can now commit workers to directly influencing the company, allowing you to “research” Authority.

There are other features and smaller fixes too. All told, this should be a serious improvement on the original game!

However, I don’t have any beta testers for the update so I’m not sure how balanced it is. That’s where you come in: I’ve set up a beta on Steam that you can opt into if you’ve already got the base game and you’d like to get this a little early, albeit in a rickety state. You can access it like so:

  1. Open your Steam library.
  2. Right click on Spinnortality; click “Properties”.
  3. Click the “betas” tab at the top of the window.
  4. There’s a text box that says “Enter beta access code to unlock private betas:” Write “letmeintothebeta” in there, and press “Check code”.
  5. You’re now opted into beta builds of the game. To go back to regular builds later, use the drop down menu where it says “select the beta you would like to opt into”.

UPDATE: If you’d rather use itch.io to get beta access, go here.

I’d love to hear your feedback: once you’ve played the update for a bit, head to our discord and post any suggestions or bug reports there. Please let me know if you think there’s something I should change or something isn’t properly balanced: I’ve tested this on my own but there’s only so much one person can do. 🙂

Ooh! Custom icons!

Expect the full update to drop around the end of July.

 

 

Soundtrack and Behind the Scenes Extras Now Available

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to tell you I’ve just released a “Soundtrack and behind the scenes” pack for Spinnortality! It has:

  • The Spinnortality soundtrack, remixed a little by the composer.
  • Scans of my handwritten notes while making the game, from its initial conception (and list of potential names) to marketing and final tweaks.
  • “But what does it mean?: inspirations and motivations behind Spinnortality”, a short document explaining the game’s inspirations, and its theoretical underpinnings.
Mmm, look at that dangerously spidery handwriting.

You can get it on Steam or itch.io.

Spinnortality is OUT NOW!

Hi newsletter followers!

Spinnortality, that cyberpunk management sim I’ve been bleating on about for ages, is out now!

You can buy it from Steam or from itch.io, for £9.99 / €9.99 / £9.99. You can also watch the new launch trailer or a 10 minute gameplay video.

What’s this about, again?

Found a company, spread fake news, start riots and become immortal. In this cyberpunk management sim, wealth is power and corporations are king. Can you monopolize the globe and build a corporate empire that will stand forever?

 

spinnortality-preview-gif_normal.gif
“I urge you to wishlist and buy it. One-person dev team, labour of love project, tiny budget, really compelling game.”
Alexis Kennedy, lead developer Cultist Simulator & Sunless Sea.
  .
I hope you enjoy it! Also, since I’m a tiny developer any help you can do getting the word out would be amazing: tweeting, posting on social media, that sort of thing. No pressure though, I know we all have busy lives and are all a little freaked out by social media. 😉

 

Spinnortality is launching February 1st

The title kind of gives it away, but it’s worth repeating:

After 3 years of development, my weird hobby project that turned into a Kickstarter is

launching on February 1st!

Look, I have a shiny new announcement trailer:

 

You can go here to learn more, or go to the Steam page to wishlist the game!

If you’re a streamer, journalist, podcaster or some other kind of influencer, feel free to get in touch!

 

So, what now?

Well, most of my time between now and release will be spent doing PR, final balancing/tweaks and finalising the German version. (Yes, it’ll be in German too!)

If you love the game and want to help out, tweeting or posting to social media about it is a really great way to help at this stage. 🙂 No pressure though!

See you on the other side! :O

New update: The Paths to Victory are Paved with Interns’ Skulls

Hi all!

I don’t want to spam you too much, but remember that cyberpunk management game, Spinnortality?

Well, it’s still in the works and you can read how it’s doing here! That link will take you to the latest dev blog post.

I will not, however, copy-paste the entire post into this update, because that would be mean, and many people will not want that.

But if you are still interested in this game, and want to know when it launches, it has a handy Steam page where you can wishlist it. It would be super helpful if people wishlisted, because the more people buy the game (and leave a positive review) on day one, the better a game will do on Steam over time. It’s the algorithm, see.

If you’re still on the fence, have a lovely gif: