I am working on a "life simulator" resource-management game where the player has to go to work, go studying, pay rent,... and basically increase his resources and use them to unlock perks, that help him even further.

The game is all about trading resources and making profit.

3 of the most common resources are: "Time", "Energy" and "Money".

And then there are others like... "Food, Drink, Reputation, Confidence,..." etc.

But I feel like something is "missing". Like... It's simply not "fun".

You can not play in a "smart way","creative" or "take risks". All you do is trading resources randomly.

One solution I had was: Making random things happen every day (your money gets stolen, you get blackmailed, or you find some random items...)

But I feel like.... I am missing "something".

Do you have a suggestion to make a resource-management fun?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Compare it to other resource management games and figure out what makes you enjoy them. Fun is subjective to each player, some people like grinding, others like numbers going up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibelas
    Mar 11, 2022 at 13:00

3 Answers 3


Resource management games are all about making difficult decisions involving tradeoffs.

  • Should I solve this problem spending resource A or resource B?
  • Should I take a reward in form of resource A or resource B?
  • Is trading some resource A for some resource B a good deal right now?

Random events (or events which appear random but are actually chosen by a director system) are a good way to present choices to the player. But remember: Management means making choices. Do not just give or take the players resources. Present them with difficult choices.

In order to make those choices non-obvious, the resources need some different characteristics:

  • How bad is it for the player to run out of a resource? Some resources might be minor inconveniences, others might cause serious harm, others might even be an instant game-over. This might change depending on the situation of the game.
  • How useful is it to have a lot of a specific resource? For example, the player might know that one specific resource helps them to unlock some very desirable piece of content, so they should think twice before spending it on something else.
  • How easy are resources to acquire? Some might be trivial to acquire or even regenerate automatically. Others might only offer circumstantial opportunities to acquire them.

What should be the root cause of fun?

  • Living your life in amusing train-wreck mode? Are there 100 humorous ways to day with achievements? Did you "Freeze solid from being naked on the way to work"?

  • Learning new tricks as you go? Did you "Learn to wash dishes as soon as you use them! Gain 10 minutes every day!" or "Buy bus pass instead of paying daily, gain $30 every month!"

You may want to look at "Jones in the Fast Lane" as a computer example of this type of game. Another example is the Poverty Simulation, which is usually a live-action version of this meant to teach about poverty.


Satisfyingly tools to automate and a selection of different views like cost heatmaps like in the new sims city


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