Been playing the game again after years of absence. It's great fun, but there definitely should be a version 2.
Here is what I would like to see.
CHARACTERS and BANDS
- More complex. Addictions and friendships. Diseases and death. They should remain in the game after departing the band. They could become computer controlled (they already are) artists in their own right with hopes and dreams. The guitarist, if he's really good and has contributed to the songwriting, could decide to go solo. Maybe he'll become bigger than the band, but chances are that he won't and one day he'll come back, hoping to rejoin the band.
- Which brings me to the bands. If a certain lineup is particularly successful (like Deep Purple's Mark II (or was it IV?), the fans will crave for a reunion. The'll want that new drummer gone because the other guy was so much better.
- Our character should be able to go solo. If a band becomes unbearable, the best option might be to break up. If this happens, you'll probably suffer an initial popularity hit, but you won't be punished every time you change band members, as the peeps are coming for you, not the band. If The Beatles had replaced Ringo with someone, it would have been a disaster. If Paul McCartney replaces his drummer, nobody cares.
- Later on in the game, when our character is famous, we should be able to work with famous virtual people. They would already be good musicians, so no reason to learn instruments, although rehearsals would be required.
SONGS and ALBUMS
- Albums should sell whether the artist tours or not. Kate Bush and latter day Bowie have shown that you can be perfectly successful without touring.
- For this to work, the album making process would have to become more complex. Some algorithm that calculates the quality of the song, studio, the chemistry of the band and the creative atmosphere at the time. It should be a process, where you start with a simple demo-like sound and progress from there. It could be as simple as a few buttons. "Add guitars", "add keyboards", "add effects" and "done". Each button affects the sound of the album. The trick is to continue until the perfect sound is reached. Take it too far and you have an reverby mess. Many albums have had that problem, being over-produced. Once you get there, you can't really go back.
- There should be a possibility to release a single or be asked to write a soundtrack for a film.
- Hits and popularity of albums and singles should only become known after release. You can release a perfect album, but if the punters ain't interested, it'll bomb. You can release shite at the right time and hit the gold.
ERAS and FASHIONS
- Rock has been around since the 1950s. The player should be able to pick a start date between 1955 and 2015 (or 2005 or something).
- The game should have an idea of what was cool at any given time. Trends would work like the economy in Democracy 3. In waves.
- Let's take punk as an example to show how it works. The game would allow the style if the player has the right skills (anarchist leanings, limited technique, etc) as early as 1975. If you release a punk album in May 1975, you'll be considered mad and nobody cares. If the album comes out in mid-1976, you'll be seen as a pioneer, selling less than the Sex Pistols, but you'll be the man! Release it in mid-1977 and you'll be all over the place, selling albums by the truckload and selling out big venues. The trends would follow history, but vary slightly between games to make gameplay a bit more challenging.
- If you get stuck in your style, you'll sell more for a while, but then fade into obscurity. If you follow all the trends, you'll look stupid. The player would have to balance their choice of styles in the quest to stay relevant.
- There should be one-off shows, festivals and tours.
- One-off shows would work like in the original game.
- Festivals would be like the one-off shows, with the following exceptions. Financial risk would be with the festival, not the band. The audience would be less fanatic, making a bad gig a huge failure, while a good gig would generate new fans.
- Tours would be a series of shows. A tour could be planned in one day (old game terms) and would be plotted out on a world map. The map would show where potential concert goers live, making it easy to see where planning a gig makes sense. If you have a million fans in Germany but France doesn't care, you'll want to tour Germany extensively, while focusing on TV appearances and smaller venues in France.
- You would be able to zoom in on areas of the world. Convenient in the beginning when your fan base is local and most of the world is unaware of you.
- I personally hate the practise mini-game. I don't see the point in memorising notes. So, practise would be similar to rehearsals. Plan the time, but let your virtual musicians do the work.
- Time off in the original game is more exhausting than work. A band should be able to take a few weeks, even months, off. This would allow the band members to cool off, pursue solo projects and come back fresh for a new album.
Something like that. I'm probably forgetting a bunch, but this is a start. Anything you can work with, Cliffski?