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 Entrepreneuer

 
   
 
 
Entrepreneuer

                 Unofficial Entrepreneur Strategy FAQ
                             Version 1.0
                            April 21, 1998
                         Compiled by Jim Cox
                 Send suggestions to: cox@wnt.sas.com


Sections:

I.  General Questions:
II. General Strategy:
III.  Functions (internals) in the game.
IV. Tables


===================================================================
I.  General Questions:
===================================================================
1. What is Entrepreneuer?

[From http:www.stardock.com/products/ent/ent.html]

Entrepreneur is a real time multiplayer or single player strategy game
in which you must build a global corporate empire while competing
against ruthless opponents.  Create new technologies, manufacture them
faster than your oppponents, and try to make sure your marketing can
fend off the nasty rumors your competitors may spread.


2. Where can I find information on the game?

The following web sites have info:

www.stardock.com/products/ent/ent.html: The official home page at
Stardock. It includes links to the other sites listed here, as well as
general info, screen shots, technical support, and an updated on-line
manual, including a couple of pages from Brad Wardell on strategy.

It also includes downloads of several maps, a map making kit, a
stardock.net GUI client, and coming soon, other markets (or DIMS).

www2.andrews.edu/~boyko/ent.ent.html:
Greg Boyko' home page.  It includes a walkthrough of the product
(better, in my opinion, than the official one), and a page containing
each of the building upgrades available for a site.


The newsgroup comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic also has quite a bit of
activity on it for Entrepreneur, with the added benefit that a
frequent poster is Brad Wardell, one of the designers of the game.


3. What cheat codes are available?

None that I know of.


4. Which stores carry it?

Brad Wardell  writes

>Here's a brief list:
>CompUSA
>Micro Center
>Future Shop
>Babbages
>Electronics Boutique (in about a week - they've ordered it)
>
>Stores that want it but won't pick it up because we're not in a big enough
>distributor yet
>Best Buy
>Media Play 


5. What is the current patch, and what does it fix?

The current patch for Win95 and NT users is 1.1a, and for OS/2 is
1.1b.  The readme lists the fixes:

Some History------------Fixed in 1.1b over 1.1a (all these are OS/2
only issues)
> Floating point problem on some machines, notably non-Intel machines 
> Game tended to hang on exiting on some machines on OS/2

Fixed in 1.1A over 1.1
+ On some systems, loading a saved game or continuing your last
  game could result in Entrepreneur closing if you had not already
  played a game that session.

Changed in 1.1 over 1.0
+ Completely new set of graphics (this is a major set of
enhancements)
+ F3 key will bring up yearly stats
+ Will let you know if a new sales executive came
+ After 70 or so years, regions will begin standardizing on the
  the leader's products.
+ Fixed a bug where the game could crash the longer you play.
+ Made it easy for people to create their own markets
+ Fixed the AI but where the AI got a ton of money starting out.
  We weren't initializing a variable.
+ SDS/AI enhanced so that each computer player has markedly
  different strategies.  AI much smarter.
+ Fixed bug where second level marketing campaigns were
  no more effective than first level.
+ Tweaked some of the cost values to make the game pace a little
faster.
+ Enhanced the networking to be yet more effective on high latency
  systems. Now can handle lag times of over 10 seconds!

The version that is currently sold in stores is 1.1.


6. What known bugs are there?

Several of the known bugs are listed in the technical support guide at
www.stardock.com/techsupp/tech_ent.html.  Following are some that
aren't listed there:

   a. The icons for the resources do not match up with the names.

John M. Clancy  writes:

I think however that the manual is incorrect on page 9 when describing
the special resource icons.

The manual says:

Hammer = Labor (correct)
Satellite Dish = Marketing/media (seems to be Economy in game)
Light Bulb = Research (correct)
$ = Lawless/Economy (seems to be Political in game)
Buildings = Political (seems to be Media in game)

I deduced this from the listing in the Status Report(F3) and the
resources I had control of on the map.

It seems that the manual descriptions make more sense i.e. (Sattelite
Dish for the media rather than the Building icon) Very confusing.

later, he updates:

O.k.I just got the scoop from Brad @ Stardock The manual is correct,
The  Status or Year endscreen is incorrect.  The status screen is
labeled like this

Labor:        Political:
Media:        Research:
Economy:

It should be like this:

Labor:        Economy:
Political:    Research:
Media:

Then the resource indicators at the bottom of the Main screen are
(from left to right):

Labor   Economy   Political   Research   Media

Note this is for the Win95 version.


7. How do I chat when playing Entrepreneur over the internet?

Brad Barclay  writes:

   Just press TAB.  A chat line will appear at the bottom of the
screen.  To the right you'll notice different coloured check marks.
Click on these to change them to crosses (if you so desire).  The
check marks state that the message you send will be sent to the player
of the checked colours.  An X means that the message you're sending
will NOT be displayed on that players display.


===================================================================
II. General Strategy:
===================================================================

1. What price should I set my product at?

The selling price you adopt should be based on 3 things:

   i)  Your production cost.

   ii) What is happening vis a vis regions you have and regions you
want.

   iii). What price people are willing to pay (this has to do both
with competitor's prices and with the "wealth" characteristic ---
those that are wealthy are less price-sensitive).

   iv). What you are able to produce.  You cannot sell more than you
can supply. 


I try to adopt a price that is about twice my production cost ---
early on when there is no competition in my regions, I'll price it
more than twice production cost, late in the game when I am trying to
grab market share I might go a little less than twice.

As you drop the price, you sell more units but your profit per unit is
greater.  Remember that as a business your gross profit has to cover
your fixed costs and then what's left over is yours to use for
expansion --- building more buildings, expanding into new markets,
doing more research, etc.  What you want to do is maximize the Net
Profit figure.

So,

Net Profit = markup * number sold  - fixed costs.

where markup = Selling Price - Cost of Goods - Salaries of Factory
Workers.

Say you have a product that costs $2000 to make, and suppose that your
fixed costs per week are $1000000.  In order to break even, you would
have to sell 500 units if you price it at $4000 to break even, but you
would have to sell 1000 units to break even if you price it at $3000,
and 2000 units to break even if you price it at $2500.  Note that the
figures escalate rapidly as you approach the low figure.  Sometimes it
is better to make a healthy profit and be third or fourth in market
share rather than to be first, and just scraping by.

Another advantage of not being first --- a number of cards hurt the
first place company --- if you're not first, you won't be affected.


2. When and where should I research regions?

TBD

3. How many sites should you have? Where should they be located?

Entrepreneur makes it advantageous to have as many sites as possible.
Following are advantages of sites:

   o They cost no maintenance until buildings go up.
   o They are built very quickly.
   o They automatically distribute product to the region they are in
--- and they can free up sales reps by building sales offices that can
distribute to nearby regions.
   o They make it cheaper and faster to research regions --- Adjacent
regions in 3 weeks and $100k, for two regions out its 5 weeks at
$250k, for 3 regions out its 9 weeks at $400k, and for 4 regions out
its 10 weeks at $650k.  This compares to all other regions being 10
weeks at $750k.
   o Since lower-level buildings are cheaper and faster to build, you
can increase pt allocation faster.

The only downside to sites is that each additional one costs more to
build.  Your second site costs $5M, the third costs $25M, the fourth
costs $70M, and the fifth costs $100M.  That said, I would recommend
getting your second site as soon as you research a good site region
--- and ultimately, 4-5 sites in the game.


4. What are desirable units (DUs)?

TBD

5. Morality issues: Should I use toxic waste and child labor cards?

TBD

6. What should I research first?

I would recommend as the first research project to bring down the cost
of the hard drive, second to improve the area desired by your region
(or performance if it is Prestige, since your performance is already
pretty high and it can be improved cheaply on the hard disk), and
thirdly to reduce the cost of the hard drive again or the RAM, and
fourthly, to go ahead and drop space on your Video Card from 170 to
145.  At that point, you can reduce the size of your computer to fit
inside a minitower case, which will improve your aesthetics
significantly. 

As the doc suggests, alternating between dropping cost to produce and
quality of product is wise --- at first I concentrate more on dropping
the Cost directly, I wait until later to drop down time to produce.

7.  How does marketing work, and how should I do marketing efforts?

TBD


8. What effect does your specialty (that you choose at the beginning
of the game) have?  Which one should you choose?

It doubles all production pts that that class of workers produce.
Note that it does not "improve" the quality of your efforts --- so
specializing in marketing will not make your TV campaigns more
effective or cheaper to produce --- you will just be able to produce
twice as many.

I always choose Engineering as the specialty.  I would consider
Marketing a second choice.  I would recommend against Production ---
I rarely have problems building enough units anyway --- and the
salaries of the workers to build the computers is generally much
smaller than the cost of the parts for the computer itself.



===================================================================
III.  Functions (internals) in the game.
===================================================================

1. What determines demand in a given region?

The demand in a given region is a function of your desirability and
sales presence in a region compared to the desirability ratings and
sales presence of all opponents in that region.  I haven't been able
to figure out the formula yet, but I have figured out that if your
relative desirability is low enough, you are shut out entirely in that
region, and if it is high enough, you can shut out all others in that
region, even if both of you have sufficient sales presence in that
region.


2. What determines sales presence in a region?

It is a function of the amount of and distance of salespeople and
sites (with appropriate sales buildings) plus the amount of time those
things have been in place.  There is a ceiling effect to this that
appears to be maintained even if you remove part of the sales effort
(as long as the region is still within your sales range).  If you move
sales people around, if a region they were serving is now
disconnected, if you reconnect them soon, you lose little sales
presence (even though you make no sales while they are disconnected)
so this level seems to drop off slowly as well.

Note that unlike marketing campaigns, when you move sales reps, they
do not appear to start having an effect on where they are moved until
they actually land there.  So it can be useful to pause the game while
they are moving.

I do not know what affects the speed at which presence is established
in a region once one or more sales rep or sales offices are in place
(except for having more of them), but the doc says that it can take up
to 3 years for it to be fully entrenched.


3. What determines your desirability rating in a region?

TBD


4. What determines your adjacency bonus in a region and how can I use
that to advantage?

Bonus = 1 + .1 * controlled "non-distribution center" adjacent regions
+
            .3 * controlled "distribution center" adjacent regions.


The current region is considered one of the adjacent regions in this
calculation.  By controlled, this means that you are the 12-month
Leader in sales in this region.  (you can use the Leader button at the
bottom to see what regions you are the leader in).  Note that regions
with sites in them give NO extra adjacency bonuses.  A distribution
center region is one with a square icon that looks like a building.

So, if a region is along an edge that touches only two other regions
(for example, central america in the Earth1 map) and none of them have
distribution centers, then the maximum adjacency bonus is 130%.  But
if the region where Central USA, which touches 5 other regions, it
would be 160% unless one of them has a distribution center, in which
case it would be 180%.

So if you are dominant in an area, DO NOT let an opponent gain a
foothold by becoming a leader in a region in that area.  Protect any
threatened regions with marketing efforts.  Similarly, try to gain
footholds
on opponents continents by taking a region on an edge, not near a
distribution center.  Once that is secure, then move inland from your
base.  Use marketing efforts to help you gain that foothold.


5. How is prestige determined?

Base Prestige is supposed to be your best product characteristic
divided by the best product characteristic of any of the companies.
However, it seems like about half the time, base prestige is just a
constant throughout the whole game ( I don't know why, maybe it's a
bug).  Various cards can have temporary effects on prestige.  Once
their effect is finished, prestige slowly returns to its old value,
similar to the way morale works (see 6. below).

Because of the way prestige is determined, it can be a good idea to
specialize in one area of research --- one that's in demand in your
regions of interest, of course!


6. How is morale at a site determined?

(This was determined empirically, so is subject to error)

Base Morale = 14 + 0.5 * Recreation level of the site,

where Recreation level is a real number ranging from -15 to 15.  You
can determine this value by using the Site button at the bottom and
counting the colored bars to the left or the right of the axis for
Recreation.  Base Morale is then modified as follows to generate
target morale:

If you are not the market leader in that region, subtract 5.
If you have a recreation center at the site, add 2.
If you have a Happy Land at the site, add an additional 2.5.
Morale will be modified negatively if you go into debt.

Actual morale for a given week is determined by looking at target
morale vs. actual morale for the previous week.  If target morale is
greater than the previous actual morale, then this week's actual
morale = last week's + 0.5.  If it is less than the target, actual
morale = last week's - 0.5.  In this way, morale effects take time to
be incorporated.  In no case can actual morale be < 0 or > 18.

By the way, you can see actual morale by looking at the bar at the
bottom of the screen.  If the color is green, then you can determine
your morale by counting the number of bars (for other colors, the bars
are smaller, so it doesn't work out the same).

There are cards that affect morale.  For example, the "strike" card
causes actual morale to drop to 0 for that site for the duration of
the card.  At its completion, actual morale will slowly climb back to
its target level.  Since morale has such a HUGE effect (see the next
item), this is a very powerful card.  If the sites' morale before the
card was maxxed out, then it will take another 36 weeks after the
strike ends to get morale back to that level!  If that card is played
on you, it is a good idea to fire all workers at that site until
morale has come back up to an acceptable level.


7. How do the various site indicators work (Labor, Research, Cost of
Living, Recreation, Marketing).

Each of these indicators have a random value from -15 to 15 (although
they range from -5 to +5 for initial sites).  You can calculate this
value by counting the colored boxes in the indicator.

The following table shows what they affect:

Indicator           Affect
--------            ------
Labor               Production Pt production per worker
Research            Research Pt production per worker
Marketing           Marketing Pt production per worker
Cost of Living      Salary of all workers at site.
Recreation          Morale --- direct multiplier to all pt production
                        at site.  (see 6.)


The formulas for production pt production, research pt production, and
marketing pt production are basically the same, and simple:

pt production = # workers * (100 + 3.333 * relevant indicator) *
                morale/18 * building productivity * expertise

where expertise is set to 2 for the area that you chose as your
specialty at the beginning of the game, and 1 for the others.

You can see from this that a site with a minimum indicator will
produce 1/3 as many points as one with a maximum indicator, if they
have the same morale and building level.

salary for laborers is computed as

laborer salary = 580 - 20 * Cost of Living,

while

researcher salary = marketer's salary = 1.166 * laborer salary.

Note that the maximum salary is a little more than 3 times the minimum
salary.


From this, it appears that the most important site indicator is
recreation, since it affects all production, followed by cost of
living, since it affects salaries for all workers.  If you have low
values on one of the other indicators, you can always not produce that
thing at that site.

It also seems that if your morale is not right up near the max, you
should do the recreation upgrades first if possible, they will net you
the most gain.


===================================================================
IV. Tables
===================================================================


1. Building Effectiveness Table:

Below, the salary range is assuming that the building is full.  The
range is due to different cost of living at sites.

The Pt. Range assumes that morale is maxxed out and this area is not
your specialty.  The range is due to differences in the relevant
indicator between sites.  Double this value if the area is your
specialty.

All maintenance costs have been converted to work on a weekly basis.

              Time to     Cost    Maint    Salary Rng   Pt. Range
               Build     (in $M)  (in $K)   (in $K)      (in K)
              -------    ------  --------  -----------  ---------
Marketing:
----------

Office          14         3        19       33 - 103     5 -  15
Res. Bldg.      20        25        29       57 - 179    10 -  30
Center          40        60        38       98 - 308    18 -  54
Complex         65       120        48      195 - 615    38 - 113


Factories:
----------

Garage          12         0.75      6       20 -  62     4 -  11
Factory         20         5        10       42 - 132     9 -  26
Fac. Complex    40        20        19       84 - 264    19 -  56
Manuf. Plant    80        50        38      140 - 440    33 -  98 
Manuf. Complex  90       120        38      280 - 880    75 - 225


Engineering:
---------

Lab             25         8         2       16 -  51     5 -  15
Complex         50        20        19       33 - 103    12 -  35
Center          80        65        38       66 - 106    36 - 108
Advanced Cntr   80       150        76       98 - 308    54 - 162



2. Research Effectiveness Table:

The following table shows a typical research situation for the
Computer market at the beginning of the game.  The Rows indicate the
component of the system to upgrade, and the columns indicate what
characteristic to upgrade.  Within each cell are two numbers separated
by a slash, the number on the left is how many units are improved, and
the number on the right is the number of weeks of research it takes to
improve them, given that 3367 research pts are available to allocate.

Note that this table shows the situation before ANY research has yet
been done.  Most things require more pts to improve after some
improvement has been done.

A * in a cell indicates that it is a prime area to consider for
reducing this characteristic, while a + indicates it is a good
secondary area:  After a prime area has been improved somewhat, it
will then be more cost effective to improve a secondary area.

! means that you get so little return from reearch, you may want to
avoid it the entire game.


             Space   Time    Cost    Reliab  EaseUse Aesthet Perform
RAM          3/72    1/23   +23/9   *3/7    
Hard Disk    3/30   *1/6    *57/9   *3/9                    *3/5
CPU         +3/8     1/28    11/9   !3/138                   3/51
Video Card  *3/6    *1/8      6/9                            3/58
Monitor              1/32    10/9    3/55           !3/180
OS                                          *4/10           +3/21
Keyboard             1/32   ! 2/11          +4/24   *3/10


3. Card table:

To show card rarity, resources to use, and use.

TBD
 

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