DinerTown Tycoon is the first Tycoon game for PlayFirst and is set in DinerTown bringing a fresh new twist to the genre. The game was a first in many ways for the development team as it offers a new way for players to interact with the people of DinerTown.
Instead of serving customers in a diner, you are now managing a restaurant from a more entrepreneurial viewpoint and you see the Dinertoons on a more macro level. Players also get a broader overview of the residents’ eating habits, learn which restaurants they frequent and can purchase market research to make better informed business decisions.
A lot of DinerTown games have aspirational stories about the little guy or the underdog triumphing over the "big shots." This was the dev team’s thinking behind Grub Burger, the large fast food chain featured in the game that brainwashes innocent residents into buying their food with its cheap additives and artificial flavoring. At its heart, the game is about giving the player the power to save DinerTown from evil conglomerates like Grub Burger.
The development of the game was a lot of fun for everyone on the team, but it also came with some design challenges. Our foremost challenge was to make a fun and interesting Tycoon game that would also appeal to Diner Dash fans. Tycoon games typically involve more strategic and mathematical decision-making, and we were not exactly sure how that kind of gameplay would be received by time management fans. At the same time, we wanted the gameplay to be deep enough to appeal to hardcore Tycoon fans.
One of the things we did was to do the math for the player, so that they could simply and easily see at a glance how they were doing without worrying too much about a lot of numbers. So for example, we used a lot of visual bars, graphs, and visual effects instead of numerical data.
Another concern for us was the user interface (UI). We wanted to make sure that our user interface was as simple, clean, and intuitive as possible. We probably went through 20 different iterations of the UI, including redesigns of the artwork to fit with the DinerTown universe, but in the end we came up with a really smart and simple flow.
Another huge challenge was knowing when and where to stop! We had so many interesting ideas and features, but we just didn’t have enough time to implement them all. So a lot of neat ideas had to hit the cutting room floor. Next week we’ll reveal some of the exciting new features that made it to the final stage!