Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator

Started by bigosaur, April 19, 2022, 08:31:43 PM

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Back in March 2021, I decided it was time to start making a new game. I was looking at my strengths and weaknesses, and making good quality art is definitely the most time consuming. On the other side, programming is my strong side and it feels fun even when I have some hard problems to crack.

Because of this, I picked a project that's heavy on programming, optimizing code, etc. and doesn't require a lot of graphics. Still, there was a decent amount of pixel art to draw.

It's a management/tycoon type of game focusing on crypto currency mining business: building rigs, placing racks, managing cooling, dust, noise in your data centers, hiring people to help you, etc. The idea is to go back in history and start from year 2010. and see what it felt like to be mining back then.

The idea isn't new and there's a graveyard of failed projects on Steam. It turned out that making a complete game with this theme has many challenges. Still, there are new competing projects popping up every now and then and I had to double down on development, esp. in the past 4 months, not really allowing much time to communicate what I was doing to the outside.

In this series of posts, I will try to go back through the past year, and extract many milestones and interesting points. At the time I only had the energy to store the screenshots, but now that the first release version is ready, I can finally write something as well.


When the development started, I have decided to go with pixel art, as I can draw that much faster. I choose the isometric perspective, because it looks really good. There some games I love like Forager that have regular top-down graphics, but isometric seems to be more common for tycoon type of games as it gives a good sense of third dimension.

I had to add isometric support to my custom C++ game engine. It took a day to add it and a week to fix all the bugs ;) After a month, the game looked like this:

There were still some bugs to iron out, esp. with drawing order of stacked items:

In the initial versions I planned for PC building to be menu based, but then I contemplated that the game would be cool if you could actually build by moving components into their slots. It requires much more graphics, but I feel like it was worth it.

You can right-click to automatically slot items in appropriate slots. You can also click an empty slot to switch to the appropriate shop section. All the actions you can take are displayed at the bottom of the screen all the time:

Drawing pixel art for computer components is actually very interesting. I even made animation for the RGB fans using Aseprite.

For AI, I have designed a system where people would decide what to do based on priorities you set. For example, you might set someone to just install operating system, another person to do research and not care about anything else, etc.

And then I tested with dozens of them in the same room. It worked surprisingly well.

You might wonder, what would all those people do. Well, once they finish setting up the hardware, it's mostly a waiting game. So, I added research. People can perfect their skills, which broadens the types of tasks you can give them.

They can also research company technologies. These go into your company IP, and you can even have teams of multiple employees researching the same thing together to get it done faster. This way you can beat the market, for example by researching advanced mining hardware, or getting better solar panels before eveyone else.

Most game scenarios are tied to some type of research.

For rooms, there are 10 different floor tiles with different prices and dust factor. Dust plays a huge role in the game, as having high dust makes your equipment wear out faster, mostly due to fans breaking resulting in silicon overheating. Keeping dust low will be expensive. You will have to buy and install more expensive floors and/or use enclosed racks and PC cases with filters.

Each facility you rent or buy will have different starting floors which affect the price. So, you will be able to buy a room with concrete and replace all the tiles.


Phone will be used for various in game events. You will get messages from NPCs, pay monthly bills, read the news related to market and new hardware, get alerts from your employees, get a bank loan. The make it realistic, you can also play a game on your phone.

Each scenario will have a story that plays out as you interact with various NPC characters via phone messages. Their quests will include mining, trading, research and more.

And here's what the graphics for the shop looks like now:

Basically, phone is for everything not directly related to mining. To set up mining, you click the items directly in your facility. For example, you can set mining option for a whole rack if you right-click the rack itself inside the room:

The biggest challenge for me was making a good noise, dust, heat simulation. This is what all other crypto mining simulation games are lacking and probably the reason why there are so many similar unfinished projects on Steam. It's complicated to do it right. It's especially tricky if you want to simulate a lot of hardware units and still have good performance.

The noise is pretty much straightforward once you learn how decibels work. Heat is another issue. It starts with electricity use and natural dissipation and then you have to simulate spreading and respect the fan directions. Additionally, I'm taking outside temperature into account because you can play the game in different regions. For example, the base temperature is higher in Africa. In the end, you also have cooling with air conditioners to spice it up a notch.

My initial plan was to also simulate day and night cycle, but as I played the game I noticed that I run it a full speed a lot. That's one day of game time in 3 seconds of real time. It makes the lights flicker so bad that I have turned it off and scrapped the idea.


After all the base game mechanics were implemented, I started to add different stories for each scenario. In one of those, you need to research quantum computing and build a superior AI.

In another one, you have to build solar panels and become carbon neutral while also helping your local community.

You can also launch your own crypto currency.

Or run your own exchange market where you need web servers, database servers and customer support.

It took me about a year to get to this stage and the game is now feature complete.

In the following months, I plan to add new features on top of these, add more NPC side quests and add more types of hardware.

The game will release on Steam on April 21st, 2022.


Looks great! Nice job with the pixelart  :)

Nice to see the carbon neutral scenario as well, I wonder if it will help raise a bit of awareness!
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I don't play computer games very often these days, but I love the "Arcade Tycoon + Dunning-Kruggerands" concept!


Do you have a YT trailer for the game? I'm trying to collect ones from Exilian's game devs to have a playlist on one of our channels:
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...


Quote from: Jubal on April 24, 2022, 10:55:22 PM
Do you have a YT trailer for the game? I'm trying to collect ones from Exilian's game devs to have a playlist on one of our channels:

Yes, of course. Here it is:

Oh, I forgot Exilian allows posting YouTube videos...