What’s more, Lionhead’s interfaces seem to get better with every game. The Movies gives you a wonderful example of how a little thought and some clever use of context-sensitive control can break down the barriers between the player and the game world. Want to make a star? Drag a waiting wannabe into the stage school and drop her in the relevant room. Want to write a script? Pick up a writer and put them in the room captioned with your genre of choice. And to turn that script into a movie? Pick it up, put it in the casting office, drag your stars in from their icons on the left side of the screen, and preproduction should begin. When rehearsals finish, drag the movie’s icon into the Start Shooting room. It’s that easy.
Plus, most of the information you need can be found without having to open a single clumsy status screen or menu. Hover the pointer over a star, and you get info on their current work, their mood and stress levels, any addictions to food and drink, and how they get on with the other characters in your stable. It’s wonderful stuff.
And that’s lucky, because there really is an awful lot to do. Pushing movies through production only takes up roughly 60 per cent of your time. The rest, you’re kept busy building new sets, researching genres, effects and techniques, managing the talent and ensuring they’re in a fit state to give their best performances, hiring maintenance staff, film-crew and assistants, and just making sure your studio lot reflects the developing grandeur of your studio. This last factor is more important than you might think, as the more luxurious your studio, the more likely you are to attract new talent to work in it.