Movie Tycoon 7
Movie Tycoon is back! Come up with the best movie idea, get the appropriate cast and write the biggest blockbuster ever to hit Hollywood! The only thing you need to do to enter the movie business is to name your brand new Startup studio.
This time around MT's somewhat revamped, but with very much the same basic bones to it. I've written quite an extensive help file for this, I'm hoping everyone would read it over. There's really a ton of info there that'll help you along. I know it's long and that's why I recommend you download this as a text file instead, it has beautiful formatting
It just looks ugly without it as I wrote this on Wordpad. Anyway..
MT7 Help file as a text file (.rtf)
MOVIE TYCOON 7
INTRODUCING MOVIE TYCOON
If you're not familiar with the concept of Movie Tycoon, let me explain. It's a forum game that was brought to GreyDogSoftware forums by an user named mad5526, who apparently saw it in another forum. While initially a very simple game, over the years with many incarnations the game gotten to a point where it's very complex and much more like an actual 'board' or 'video' game than a forum game really. One thing that has always been missing is a comprehensive help file, as much of the info is scattered here and there and sometimes revealed as the game progresses (especially when it comes to new features). To help shred some of the mystery off, I've decided to write this help file, to not only better explain all the beautiful mechanics built, but to hopefully give any newcomer a better chance of grasping the game instead of going out there failing with trial and error like many of the veteran players of Movie Tycoon have initially had to do.
The bread and butter of the game is going out finding all the right on-screen talent and director for the movie you're planning to release. Once you've hired the cast you would like to hire (and more importantly, can afford), you allocate money towards production and marketing and write out the story of the movie to the best of your ability. Some people like to go all out with more of a novel-type of story. Some prefer more of a short story, others more of an overview of the overall storylines. It's all up to you, but each step of the game is important, to neglect the actual 'building' of the movie or the write up would be silly.
Once your cast is set, the money's been allocated and the story done, it's time for you to release your movie! You will then get a report of how the talent performed, what the critical reception was and most importantly, if you made any money or not! If you did, you probably did something right! If not, you might have had bad luck or the build of your movie wasn't optimized well enough. Either way, you can then recharge and rebuild for your next movie, which with your newfound experience can now be even more succesful!
Spending a reasonable amount of money on Marketing is necessary so that people will come to see the movie in the box office and will buy the physical copies. Please note that with the additional Distribution mechanic (more about it under the 'Movie Distribution' section) added in MT7, Marketing is no longer the be all and end all of getting your movie out there, but it's still necessary! DO NOT UNDERWEIGH THE NEED FOR MARKETING! You should also use a marketing budget that is relevant to the amount of distribution you're about to receive. There is no 'right' value since the financials of every movie are different, but here are guideline values you can use, with the lower number being the absolute minimum advised and the upper number being the maximum advised. The bigger the distributor, the less money you have to spend percentage wise of your budget on Marketing, since they do parts of the work.
Local distribution (level 0) = $0.5M - 4M
Regional distribution (level 1) = $2 - 6M
National distribution (level 2) = $6 - 12M
International distribution (level 3) = $8 - 16M
Global distribution (level 4) = $10 - 25M
This is everything from how well the lighting, camera work, editing, on-set producing, location spotting etc etc. is done. This affects everything that is presented in the movie. Some genres allow for less to be spent on Production than others, but like with Marketing, you shouldn't underweigh the need for a good Production budget. If you can afford it, there's no reason not to invest heavily into Production, though at some point it will start to give diminished returns.
Local distribution (level 0) = no less than $0.5M
Regional distribution (level 1) = no less than $2M
National distribution (level 2) = no less than $5M
International distribution (level 3) = no less than $10M
Global distribution (level 4) = no less than $20M
Every film is rated on a film's suitability for certain audiences based on its content and assigned either a G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17 rating. NC-17 movies (adults only, no one 17 and under admitted) are notorious for bombing in the box office, mostly due to those films not being allowed wide advertisement and because major cinema chains will outright refuse to show such movies.
G = General Audiences (All ages admitted). Only snippets of language that 'go beyond polite conversation' are allowed.
PG = Parental Guidance Suggested (Some material may not be suitable for children). Slight profanity allowed, depending on context. Brief nudity allowed that is non-sexual in nature. No intense violence.
PG-13 = Parents Strongly Cautioned (Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13). Profanity allowed, but not excessively. Drug references and substance abuse allowed. Nudity that isn't 'sexually orientated' allowed. Brief intense violence allowed.
R = Restricted (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Persistent intense violence allowed. Profanity allowed. Nudity allowed.
NC-17 = Adults Only (No One 17 and Under Admitted). Perverse or prolonged graphic nudity.
THE LEAD ROLE
The leads of your movie should be picked out carefully as they have a big impact to how well your movie does critically and commercially. You should pick a lead that is appropriate for the size of production you're doing, as well as the genre. Of course being a good lead is not all about putting butts into seats, but sometimes it's worth casting a star as a lead just to bring in the necessary revenue to make your film a box office success.
BUILDING UP STARS
The benefits to building up stars have only increased in MT7, as now you can improve your lesser known talent in supporting roles while making them more known in the process. With exclusive deals and bidding wars returning, hopefully it'll make building up stars even more common and more enjoyable. Young talent improve faster, while some veterans might not improve at all. There's a good chance of developing a positive relationship with a talent if you invest time and energy into them and make them a success.
The movie studios are all player controlled. Every studio starts off with $10M and can't go over budget! Loans between studios are accepted as long as a fixed interest rate is agreed upon. New to MT7 is studio sizes, which control the level of distribution you can reach with your studio. So now you actually literally have to build the studio from ground up to a global phenom! All studios start as the size Startup, and can rise in size by releasing succesful movies, which increases studio Hype. The more money the movie makes and the better it is received by the public, the more Hype you gain from your movie, and of course vice versa if your movie turns sideways!
SIZE 0 = Startup [less than 15% hype]
SIZE 1 = Small [less than 30% hype]
SIZE 2 = Cult [less than 50% hype]
SIZE 3 = Huge [less than 75% hype]
SIZE 4 = Massive
Also added is studio Prestige, which is just an overall value of how well the studio has been critically received. Every studio starts with 0% and can try to reach that magical 100% over the course of the game. Prestige has no other use really but to give the player something they can achieve if they want and aren't cash strapped.
In previous Movie Tycoons' the distribution was not tied down to any other mechanic than Marketing, which made it one-dimensional and uninteresting in general. In MT7 the distribution is broken down to a couple of different sizes, so that a studio just starting off can't make a huge $200M+ blockbuster right out of the gate anymore (which, though very unlikely in previous versions, actually happened when HRTVAndrew had quite a blockbuster). A larger studio could decide to do a smaller distributed movie as well, there's no expectation to go only for global mega hits, it's all up to the player. But a Startup studio can't go out and get Global distribution. That doesn't stop a Startup from spending a lot on Marketing though. The number in front of the distribution level tells you what size your studio has to be to achieve that number. So for example, if you're just starting off as a Startup studio, you can only get Local distribution.
LEVELS OF DISTRIBUTION
0: Local (cost: 10% of box office)
The smallest possible level, the distribution is merely on a local level in select movie theaters. Movies are given short runs strictly in the box office. (No required draws.)
1: Regional (cost: 20% of box office)
Distribution on a regional level in most available movie theaters. Movies are given runs in the box office based on ticket performance. Some DVD distribution is included. (need at least a +20% draw or two +15% draws)
2: National (cost: 25% of box office, 10% other)
Distribution on a national level almost guarantees a base number of viewership as the movie is available in most big movie theaters nationwide. Movies are well advertised. DVD distribution is included. (need at least a +40% draw or two +35% draws)
3: International (cost: 30% of box office, 25% other)
Distribution on an international scale is highly unusual, reserved for movies with big budgets behind them and big stars in front of them. Large scale DVD distribution is included, sometimes even a soundtrack. Movies are heavily advertised in multiple mediums.
(need at least a +60% draw or two +55% draws)
4: Global (cost: 35% of box office, 50% other)
Only the biggest movie studios in the world with the most popular stars should worry about global distribution, it is such a big deal. DVD, soundtrack, additional merch, you name it.
(need at least a +80% draw or two +75% draws)
All talent have a base wage that is displayed in the database [LEAD$, SUPP$, MINOR$, DIR$]. THEY WILL NOT GO LOWER THAN THIS! That is unless you offer a future movie deal or a percentage of the movie's box office revenue, for example. Negotiations have always been big in Movie Tycoon, but this time around to make it faster and easier to mod, the base wages have been introduced. Also, MAX 12 people per movie + HRTVAndrew Extra Rule. The bidding wars from the past of Movie Tycoon has been brought back, mostly to encourage activity between studios, but also to encourage longer deals and locking down valuable talent in the later stages of the game.
HRTVANDREW EXTRA RULE: (copy pasted from him, so all credit there for this part!)
Every studio has the option of filling one (AND ONLY ONE) minor role per film with an extra, at the cost of $100k. Said extra will not have a name and will not be added to the database. They will be complete unknowns, with star power of 0.0 [EDITOR'S NOTE: Every other new MT7 stat 0]. What this means is that they will not contribute anything positive to the movie with their acting performances, and could, in fact, contribute negatively towards the film's final rating depending on the dice roll/Lady Luck factor. Having said that, this is an option in play for studios on smaller budgets, or those who don't have an idea on an actor to play a certain small part in a film.
To clarify once again, here are the limitations of the Extra Rule: Extras cannot fill lead or major roles, and you may only use one per film. Do not expect a cheap extra to come out of nowhere and become a star, as this rule is my version of the old axiom, "you get what you pay for." At best, the acting quality will be 25. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Irrelevant to MT7] With that in mind, it is still preferable to search the database and find actors that are more well-known. However, there are certain instances (especially early in the game) where using the Extra Rule could be a good idea."
If you want to use a book, comic, or something else considered copyrighted material, you need to negotiate with the copyright holder's demands. They might outright refuse or might have unusually high demands, but Adaptations can be a good money maker if done properly with care.
Of course Genres are back once more, though they're now divided into four separate categories, while still retaining all their individual qualities they've had. The four main categories are: Comedy, Drama, Voiceover/Animation/Musical and Other/Unique. In case you didn't already figure out, these are now tied to the skills of actors and actresses, which means that you have to be more careful who you pick to star in what style of movie or role. Inside the main categories are subcategories that have the genre based positives / negatives you've used to from many of the previous Movie Tycoons'.
MAIN CATEGORY: COMEDIC FILMS
Your standard comedy, designed to make people laugh. Doesn't fit in any of the other Comedic sub-categories.
+ Doesn't need a big budget
+ Usually makes steady box office revenue (compared to budget), if the star power is there.
- Without any good comedy talent/performances it'll flop critically.
- Without star power the revenue potential is a hit and a miss.
Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Sure there have been other plot lines, but that's pretty much it for the most of them.
+ Doesn't need a big budget
+ Hard to do bad revenue wise, as most people enjoy a good ol' heart warming love story.
- Bad chemistry will make it unbearable to watch.
- Gringe worthy and corny, if not written and built properly.
- Doesn't do well without a male lead and a female lead.
A comedy where two (or technically, more) people of the same gender are put together as the leads and their friendship is an integral part to not only the story, but the very atmosphere of the movie. Buddy comedies often neglect the romance storylines, or they've given very little scene time.
+ Can do with a minimalistic budget.
+ Good chemistry between the leads will make it a delight to watch.
- Decent comedic chops are to be expected from the leads.
- Relies very much on an interesting plot.
MAIN CATEGORY: DRAMATIC FILMS
Your standard drama, designed to make people feel empathy with the characters of the movie and to generate emotion. Doesn't fit in any of the other Dramatic sub-categories.
+ A potential money-maker when well executed.
+ Much more an open canvas that is open to be tweaked into many directions.
- Relies on the cast to pull out dramatic performances.
- Needs to be tastefully done.
Romance that usually doesn't end well for one reason or another, but more versatile than it's comedic counterpart.
+ Relies on big performances from the leading talent.
+ Usually brings in solid revenue
- Bad chemistry will make it unbearable to watch.
- Gringe worthy and corny, if not written and built properly.
- Doesn't do well without a male lead and a female lead.
Drama that has a deliberate added suspense to keep the audience on their feet, whether in the form of a mystery or some kind of a threat that turns it into a thriller or a horror film.
+ The performance pressure is mostly on the lead.
+ Otherwise the story can pretty much lead the dance.
- Needs a good hook to keep people intrigued.
- Can be uncomfortable and disturbing, or outright comical to watch if done poorly.
MAIN CATEGORY: VOICEOVER FILMS
+ Very easy to market
+ Practically unlimited revenue potential, especially when it comes to the kiddie demographic.
- Needs a decent budget
- Bad voiceover jobs will ruin the whole immersion
- Very much tied to the performance the director gives
+ Once done well, a solid box office performer
+ The format gives some room to play with.
- Dependent on the performance of the cast all-around
- There's nothing cornier than a badly done musical
MAIN CATEGORY: OTHER / UNIQUE FILMS
Other films that don't fit under any other specific category or have no specific positives and negatives.
+ Doesn't rely much on the story.
+ With a good draw as a lead, it's easy to do well revenue wise.
- A bad director or a bad lead can break the movie.
- Needs good production and a decent budget.
Fantasy / Science Fiction
Set in an alternative setting usually with many unrealistic elements to it.
+ Not that reliant on the performances of the on-screen talent.
+ The rare case done well can be an incredible money maker.
+/- Director can make or break the movie.
- A great, creative story is essential.
- Excellent production and a big budget is a must.
Any other genre will be completely without positives or negatives, unless it is added to the above list of course.
STATS, ABILITIES & SETTINGS
A host of new stats and abilities have been introduced in Movie Tycoon 7, to completely revamp the way talent is rated, how they perform and how they improve. All previous MTs have used SP (StarPower or StarPoints), a popularity value without actually ever rating talent on anything more complex than that. This made the game world static and every talent same-y. Hopefully with these additions the movie business can be better simulated and the talent will be 'more unique', so to speak. Comedy, Drama, Voiceover and Direction are talent abilities that directly influences how well they do at that specific thing. So hiring someone who is a weak draw, but has good comedic ability to a supporting role in a comedy would likely see them perform well. The scale has been switched to 0% - 100% for stats and abilities.
= how much name value the talent carries and how much ticket revenue they'll generate. This is very much the basis of what used to be known as StarPower or StarPoints in previous incarnations of Movie Tycoon. Please note that this doesn't equal only to a rough gauge of popularity anymore, but how much ticket sales they can actually draw. So just because someone is known, doesn't mean they're a draw.
100% = generational icon
90% = superstar
80% = major star
70% = star
60% = minor star (national movie star)
50% = distinguished (hailed actor / movie draw)
40% = prominent (well regarded actor / minor movie draw)
30% = well known (huge TV star / notable actor / regional movie star)
20% = recognizable (TV star / supporting actor / minor movie lead)
10% = barely recognizable (minor TV star / minor celebrity / local movie star)
0% = virtually unknown
= how well regarded the talent is within the industry for their acting or directing prowess. This will fluctuate depending on their performance.
= how appealing the talent is aesthetically, with 50% being an average value and 100% being someone who is being extensively glamoured over simply due to their looks.
= how well the talent does in acting in comedic roles or movies. This will fluctuate depending on their performance.
= how well the talent does in acting in dramatic roles or movies. This will fluctuate depending on their performance.
= how well the talent performs in roles or movies requiring voiceover or musical work. This will fluctuate depending on their performance.
= how well the talent does behind the camera. This will fluctuate depending on their performance.
= how well the talent will perform to their usual standard. A talent with low morale will do a substandard job and vice versa. This should usually stay as Standard, but can change if the talent works a lot in movies with people they have relationships with, or sudden success can make them ecstatic (for a period of time at least). If talent feels they are underperforming, they can become discontent. Morale is very powerful and should be controlled with care, if at all possible.
= talent on- and off-screen can have chemistry that boosts or limits their performance. These are, from best to worst: Enchanting, Strong, Weak, Awful. With some genres chemistry is more of a deal breaker than others. Choosing cast with proven good chemistry is a very smart move in any production. Chemistry is completely randomly generated as always, though the rarity has been upped as it was perhaps too common to see chemistry pop up in earlier incarnations.
= talent can develop relationships that can lead to a number of benefits or disadvantages. These can be between talent themselves or between a talent and a studio. Relationships affect Morale, so you should be careful playing with fire!
= talent have a preference to whether or not they're willing to go nude on camera. Full would be Full Frontal Nudity, while Partial would be anything but. None means the talent is unwilling to even negotiate, while Unknown means their view hasn't been made of public knowledge yet. Every time a talent does agree to Nudity, you will have to pay them a hefty bonus.
Lady Luck has always been a big part of Movie Tycoon (especially in the early versions), but this time around in MT7 the hope is to reduce it somewhat as several new better mechanics have been introduced that can accurately depict the performance of a talent better. There wasn't much reward in winning a dice roll, but of course it'll turn up it's ugly head every once in a while - Lady Luck will never die! This especially rings true with the financial portions.
BUILDING A MOVIE
One of the most important parts of Movie Tycoon is building a solid movie that covers all the necessary angles. Should you have a plot line for a new movie in your head, you can begin. First you want to be looking at your budget and roughly divide that up to how much you'd like to spend on talent, production and marketing. Now that you have some kind of rough values set, you should think what kind of movie you'd like to build. Is it a drama? A fantasy epic? A comedy? This'll heavily affect the type of focus you should give to building your movie. Different types of movies have different types of positives and negatives (Hint: Check the 'Genres' section of this help file).
Picking the right lead(s) and director should be the basis of your casting. Go to the talent database and pick someone you can afford and who would be good for the role you're going after. It will show a base wage value, so you can instantly see who you can and cannot afford. You should pick a lead that is appropriate for the amount of distribution and marketing your movie is getting. For a director, it's more important to pick someone who is solid, but affordable.
Write down the names of your leads and directors, you can now move onto finding the right supporting talent. Here you can pretty much go wild, whether it's hiring someone for the hell of it, giving an unknown a shot or just trying to find the best performer for the particular role. The supporting cast is not as important as the director and the leads, but consider a good supporting cast more of a good foundation to lay the rest of the bricks on.
If you've settled on a cast, you should then ask them to take part in to movie and enter negotations. DO NOT LOWBALL THEM BELOW THEIR BASE WAGE! Talent will pull out of negotations in anger should that happen. If you're strapped for cash, but still want to secure a particular talent, you can offer them future movie deals or a percentage of the revenue.
If you've now secured the cast, you can move on to the actual write up of your movie. How you want to write is entirely up to you, but it should at the very least extensively include the plot line and maybe a couple of important scenes. Some people like to write longer than others, that's fine. As long as we don't end up with a bunch of books that need to be crawled through! You should include the actor's or actress' name in the brackets for the earlier portions of the story, just to make it easier to follow and visualize for the reader. Once you're satisfied with the quality of your movie, you should post it up for review! It's now time to see how the movie has been received by the public and the critics, and especially, if you made any money!
THE RECEPTION OF YOUR MOVIE
After your movie has been released, you will get an assistant's report that lists all the stuff you need to know about, you know... everything! And of course I had to name the assistant Sophie as a homage to Adam Ryland.
PUBLIC RECEPTION: How well the public (not the critics) received the movie. This can differ a bit from the critical rating as the public isn't as harsh when it lays it judgement.
PRODUCTION SCORE: How well the production was handled, also, was the production budget enough to handle the caliber or genre of a movie?
STORY SCORE: How good the screenplay was.
ACTING SCORE: How well the cast performed on screen. Please note this is no longer a crap shoot like before, it's based on stats, abilities and a little luck of course.
CASTING SCORE: How well the casting was done. Did the talent fit their roles? Was someone simply too poor to be with the stars?
ENDING SCORE: This is separate from Story Score as the ending of a movie can be a significant part of the experience.
CRITICAL ACCLAIM: How well the critics received the movie. They have a bit of a different criteria than the public do.
BOX OFFICE REVENUE: How much money the movie made in total in movie theatres.
REVENUE FROM PHYSICAL COPIES: How much money the movie made in the sale of physical copies.
OTHER REVENUE: Any other revenue the movie might generate.
DISTRIBUTOR CUT: How much money your partner that handled the distribution received off your movie.
TOTAL INCOME: Income after distributor gets his cut.
TOTAL BUDGET: Self-explanatory.
PROFIT / LOSS: Self-explanatory.
STUDIO FUNDS PREVIOUSLY: Self-explanatory.
STUDIO FUNDS NOW: Self-explanatory.
Sophie will additionally tell you how your talent did and what she thinks you did well or could do better with in the future.
NAVIGATING THE MT7 TALENT DATABASE
That is the official Talent Database for Movie Tycoon 7. This section is both to explain all the different stats, abilities and settings you see there, but also to introduce anyone who isn't familiar with Obvibase to it's features. The first thing you'll notice is there's a lot of information visible, which may be a little overwhelming, so let's take this step-by-step. I'm only excluding stuff that was explained in the Stats, Abilities & Settings section.
But before we delve into the this too much, a word about the scale used. It's been switched to 0%-100%. Please note that for everything else but Looks (where a 50% would be the average), a say, 20% in Comedy isn't terrible and nobody has 100%, very rarely even a 80%! This is important to remember when judging talent. The reason for the scale to be switched and modified is because in previous Movie Tycoons' the scale was 'too small'. What I mean by that is that it was very top heavy with every star being near the top level, simply because the starting values were then built to be terrible. The absolute lowest you will see in these stats is 5%, for any very young talent who has yet to prove diversity (or they've simply been type casted).
The database is by default sorted by name (A-Z), but you can sort it by any of the criteria used ('Age, Draw, Comedy' etc). This'll prove helpful once you're searching for that particular level of talent you need.
CTRL + F (or Main Menu > Find) brings up the MT7 Talent Database search function.
Age = Mostly for reference. It's only mechanical use is that young talent can improve their abilities faster if they perform well.
YoB = Year of birth. It's only used to calculate Age. (Year - [YOB] = Age)
Gender = For reference.
Act = This checkbox is just to see if they actively act or not.
Dir = This checkbox is just to see if they actively direct or not.
LEAD$ = This is their base wage should they be a lead in your movie. THEY WILL NOT GO UNDER THIS WITHOUT PERKS!
SUPP$ = This is their base wage should they be a supporting character in your movie. THEY WILL NOT GO UNDER THIS WITHOUT PERKS!
MINOR$ = This is their base wage if they have a mere minor role. THEY WILL NOT GO UNDER THIS WITHOUT PERKS!
DIR$ = This is their base wage if they're the director of your movie. THEY WILL NOT GO UNDER THIS WITHOUT PERKS!
Filmog = A log of every MT7 movie the talent has took part in.
Deal = A checkbox for whether or not they're under an exclusive deal with a studio or not. Please note that if they are, they will not risk breaching a contract just to work on another movie!
Left = How many movies they have left, should they have an exclusive deal
Notes = For any other stuff that may arise.
GENRE: [subcategory of the genre, not the overall main category]
PLOT SUMMARY: [A brief summary of the plot, please describe it to the best of your ability, this can affect how talent will take roles!]
LEAD(S): [please describe each individual character to the best of your ability, this can affect how talent will take roles!]
SUPPORTS: [please describe role]
MINOR/CAMEO: [please describe role]
You must then wait for talent to either agree or decline your offer.
Once you have your cast signed to deals, you can move on to the next phase.
GENRE: [subcategory of the genre, not the overall main category]
DURATION: [choose an appropriate length for the genre and plot of your movie]
STARRING:[list lead(s) here]
WITH A SUPPORTING CAST OF:[list supports here]
ALSO MAKING AN APPEARANCE:[list minor role and cameo actors here]
PLOT: [the actual write up of the movie]
SOPHIE'S REPORT TEMPLATE
BOX OFFICE REVENUE:
REVENUE FROM PHYSICAL COPIES:
PROFIT / LOSS:
STUDIO FUNDS PREVIOUSLY:
STUDIO FUNDS NOW:
The link for the Talent Database again:
Please bear with me as the talent database has to be built from scratch this time around! With that being said, if you REALLY read the help file all over, go ahead and use the pre-production template to get your movie going. Hopefully we can make a fun run at this once more