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Open for Business T-Mail 2
One of the last, if not the last, T-Mails of the year has arrived. Tim LeTourneau, Senior Producer for the Sims 2 expansion packs, has given an update on the upcoming expansion pack Open for Business. He says that the team just hit a major milestone (he doesn't say which one exactly), and that there's now a lot of tuning, polishing and gameplaying going on. Included are two screenshots and a 37 second movie. Besides that Hunter Howe, designer on the team of the expansion pack, gives some insight in what goes on behind the scenes and how things work, using several constants. He also mentions business perks, which are rewards for the business owner when the place is running well. All those bits can be found in the Read More part of the newspost you're reading now. For the screenshots, click the thumbnails below, or follow the links to the movie if you wish to see that (QuickTime required).
The Sims 2 Open for Business The Sims 2 Open for Business

"Hello Future Entrepreneurs,

"Things are really crazy around here. We just hit a major milestone with The Sims 2: Open for Business. There is a tremendous amount of tuning, polishing, and most importantly gameplaying going on. Everyone is talking about how fun and different the gameplay is from anything we've done before. I honestly can't wait to see the kind of businesses you guys end up building. It's really incredible to see your Sims running a business, waiting on customers, and managing a staff of employees.

"Employees are really interesting. They add a whole new strategic element to the game. Of course we've had people you could hire and that could do things for you in the past - like the maids and the gardeners for example, but we've never had employees that you really had to manage. Let's face it, you don't tell the maid what to clean up next, though sometimes I think we wish we could. But for the most part, every other service NPC has done what you hired them to do and hasn't been distracted in their tasks, unless of course you decided they should be. Well, employees in Open for Business are a lot different - sure you hire them, but you also help keep them focused on their work, just like a regular manager. You train them and make them better at their tasks - the more time you invest in training, the more efficient and effective they become and the better your business will run. You can always go it alone, but you might enjoy the fun and reward of also managing a staff.

"I'm going to try something new this T-Mail. I'm asking MaxoidHunter (Hunter Howe) to give some insight into behind the scenes stuff from different areas of the game. For those that don't know, Hunter is not only one of the designers of The Sims 2 and the expansion packs, but he's also the guy that has led all of the game tuning for everything, so he knows how stuff works better than anyone."
"Behind the scenes? Hmm....like, maybe some kind of exciting constants table? Bam!

----------Base Motive Exit Levels----------
Base Hunger Exit-85
Base Comfort Exit-90
Base Bladder Exit-85
Base Energy Exit-85
Base Fun Exit-70
Base Social Exit-70
Base Hygiene Exit-90
Base Mood Exit-85
----------Wage and Badge Modifiers----------
Modifier - Terribly Underpaid Wage30
Modifier - Seriously Underpaid Wage20
Modifier - Slightly Underpaid Wage10
Modifier - Fairly Paid Wage0
Modifier - Well Paid Wage-10
Modifier - Very Well Paid Wage-30
Modifier - Ridiculously Well Paid Wage-50
Modifier - Bronze Badge-5
Modifier - Silver Badge-10
Modifier - Gold Badge-20
Modifier - Get Back To Work-10
GBTW Modifier - Max # of times to apply3
GBTW Modifier - Duration in game minutes180

"How's that? Not very exciting, I guess. Well, it's interesting to me...that's some of the fun tuning for employee behavior. More or less, this is some of the stuff that makes your employee slack off. Pay your employees well, and they'll stick to their tasks longer. Also, if they're well trained for the specific task, they'll work harder. That "GBTW" stuff is when you go up to your employees and yell at them for slacking. They get a little bit intimidated and will ignore their needs for a little while.

"My favorite experience so far has been making a Downtown Rib Joint type restaurant, staffed entirely by zombies! (I play with all the expansion packs installed, so I always enjoy combining features.) That slow zombie walk sure doesn't lend itself well to a Server in a restaurant. Customer loyalty was going down all over the place, and let me tell you: Customer Loyalty is important! It makes people more willing to buy, more willing to visit your store, and ranks up your business, giving you access to valuable Business Perks (essentially, they’re special powers for your business owner). Eventually, I just decided to whip out the "For Sale" tool and mark my tables and chairs for sale. I found the zombies ended up running a much better furniture store than a restaurant, though that zombie walk made for some slow restocking.

"I’ll be in touch again soon! -- Hunter"
"Well I don't have anything quite so behind the scenes, or as funny at the zombie rib joint, but I can at least give you some cool imagery. Here's a couple shots of successfully run businesses with employees (I'll let you figure out what kind), and a video of a low skill worker at the register (you get the idea of why you want to train them up).

"Talk to you soon,"

Written at 03:08 on Saturday, 17 December 2005 by ChEeTaH.

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