Next patch – patents and custom games

Hey guys, I’m aiming to put out the next update on Wednesday 29th July.

Next patch - patents and custom games

Just two features this time, but they’re good ones:

  1. Patents
  2. Custom game mode


I’ve talked a bit about patents before but now I can reveal their exact implementation. Patents will be unlocked via a new research project attached the existing National Headquarters project.

Patent Research

Once unlocked, you’ll be able to apply for patents directly from the Company tab by clicking in the new ‘Patents’ column. This brings up a dialog which allows you to select what length of patent you want to go for.

Patent Dialog

Short duration patents are cheaper to apply for and don’t take as long to complete, however the downside is that they don’t last as long. One thing to keep in mind here is that a particular chemical formula can only be patented once. After this period, it goes ‘off-patent’ at which point anybody can produce it. Nobody can re-patent a formula once it goes off-patent.

I chose this particular design because I wanted there to be a bit of tension when applying for a patent. If you go for the big mammoth 6 year patent, there is a chance that an AI could swoop in and get a quick 1 year one in before you. After a little playtesting, I’m really happy with the feel of it so far, although I’m not sure yet if I’ve got all the numbers balanced right yet. In some circumstances patents can seem very expensive, at others very cheap, for the benefits they bestow. I will be all ears for your feedback once the patch goes live next week.

Another thing I want to confirm is the level of protection a patent gives you. A patent covers:

  • The active effects in a product, including side-effects.
  • Product type e.g. pill, cream etc.

Note that the concentration does not have a direct impact – it only matters if it activates/deactivates an effect.

Another way of looking at it is from the perspective of someone who is trying to get around a patent. You can circumnavigate one by changing either: the range of active effects or the product type. One of the scenarios I see coming up a lot is where you have to leave an additional side-effect in to get around a patent. This wouldn’t be the end of the world, but you’re forced to sell an inferior product for purely legal reasons. Kind of stupid, huh?

Custom games

The custom game mode is probably the most requested feature I’ve had. Different people want it for different reasons:

  • Some want it so they can play a more relaxed game without any win conditions
  • Others want a ‘map editor’ style functionality so they can add new levels to the game
  • And a few want to tweak the simulation settings so that they can create a brand new experience for themselves to enjoy

I’ve tried to roll all these feature requests into one, huge, flexible behemoth of a custom game system. Here’s a GIF which shows you what it’s all about much more efficiently than I can with words.

Big Pharma custom game dialog GIF

Yes, I’m aware disabling Ioniser and Agglomerator research could make for a rather stunted game, but it would be interesting to try it right?

There were essentially two options for this mode – one where I kept a tight leash on all the settings and made sure that the game would always be balanced. The other option is to allow the player greater flexibility but make no promises as to how balanced/fun the game is. I went for the second option.

This does mean that you, the player, have more responsibility in ensuring the game is a good level of difficulty, but helpfully, all of the settings start out on the default settings which give a balanced game. Therefore, as long as you don’t change too much at a time you should have a pretty decent difficulty level. Of course, the masochists among you might get a kick out of turning the difficulty up to max (very thin cure margins are a sure fire way to do this) or if you want a power trip, why not tune everything down a little and make it easier and less stressful. This mode is about allowing you to play the game your way, with almost unlimited replayability!

You may have noticed there are import/export buttons at the bottom. These will allow you to export your settings for another player to use. When this patch comes out I’ll add another board to the forum for people to share maps. That way good, fun, balanced maps can be shared for all to enjoy.

Speak to you next week!

9 Comments Added

Comments are now closed
  1. Jack 3 years ago |

    Excellent! I was hoping that patents would be like this!

    Keep up the great work and thank you very much for keeping us so informed. It means a lot.

  2. PTTG 3 years ago |

    Nice! Looking forward to this update!

    Will it fix the color changing glitch?

    • Tim 3 years ago |

      What’s that?

  3. cad 3 years ago |

    Just bought the game, it’s great! Is there any offical place to leave suggestions / wanted features?
    In the company-tab it would be cool to be able to order the products by drag&drop.

  4. PTTG 3 years ago |

    Oh, huh, well I guess I should put together a proper bug report… in short, after the first few processes, the visible, color-changing parts of the machines (such as the fluid pool inside the evaporator, or the bubbles in the dissolver) stop working normally and stay stuck in the final color. For instance, if a red crystal goes into the dissolver and comes out as a blue liquid, for the first and maybe second operation, the pool blorps from red to blue. After a few operations, the pool starts and ends blue.

    In parts like the multimixer, both visible input colors match the final output color.

    I’ll try to reproduce it in the new version and if so, I’ll put up a full bug report.

  5. Skrylar 3 years ago |

    Now we just need right-mouse-drag to pan the company and research screens, just like it does the main game screen :)

  6. cad 3 years ago |

    haha, yeah, just thought about that, because I try it every time and then notice that I have to use the scroll wheel. Would be cool thoug if it worked with the RM-button.