General gameplay information, hints and tips. No spoilers.
Useful Tips and Hints for Gameplay
I wrote this guide to give new players an idea of what to do and when as the mechanics and gameplay can be somewhat confusing or frustrating early on. This guide is contains an overview of gameplay and mechanics as well as some hints and tips to get you going.
I've tried to keep spoilers to an absolute minimum.
Idol Empire is a great game and an awesome way to get more of the Starnova girls, as well as some new faces! And without further ado, onto the guide.
There are three main mechanics to the gameplay of Idol Empire as well as several related sub-mechanics. The main ones are Training, Jobs and Songs/Lives.
Idol Empire has two main difficulty levels, for both the simulation itself and the Lives. These can be adjusted in the Options screen. Regardless of difficulty certain things (stats, song quality, etc.) will still determine success or failure. You can still fail Jobs on any difficulty, still perform badly at Lives, etc. Adjust the difficulty to suit your tastes. You want the game to be fun, not frustrating. There's no shame in lowering the difficulty, or jacking it up.
Cash is the probably one of the most important factors in entertainment. In Idol Empire, cash is your main resource. With it you build facilities (rooms), buy decorations, hire and pay your Idols and more. You gain money from Jobs, Songs, Lives, merchandise sales, events and even some furniture. You need a steady source of income to prevent going bankrupt. No money means game over.
Decorations are furniture and wall/floor styles. Your DEC level determines the types of Jobs you are offered. Almost all decorations increase this level, beyond the very basic of basics. DEC has no other effects beyond Jobs.
Free time, which is time not spent on Jobs or Lives should be devoted to training. Make use of your training facilities to improve your Idols stats as that will help with both Jobs and Lives. You can train stats as much as you want without penalty (except for Looks). Just keep an eye on your Idols HP so they don't become overworked. See the Stats section for more information on the stats of your Idols.
Jobs are a good way to make money. You don't have to do any Jobs as they are all optional (some stages may require you to complete jobs). Completing Jobs will give you Fame, Infamy, Pure and/or KN. There are three main categories for Jobs. Sleazy (pervy or questionable), Normal and Executive. The type of Jobs you get offered directly relates to your DEC (decoration) level. Buy more furniture to increase DEC.
Job success/failure is usually based directly off your Idols Persona and Look stat. Not all jobs require both stats and, in fact, some jobs just take your time and don't require Personal, Looks or both.
Rewards and Penalties are given for successful and/or failed jobs. Success is determined by the Idol you send on the Job meeting the requirements for it. Some jobs require Persona, Looks or both. Some just require your time or HP. If your Idol doesn't meet the requirements, she will fail the job and incur Penalties. Usually this is Pure, Infamy or HP Loss.
Certain things will also affect the rewards/penalties. Usually that will be listed in the description of the job. For example, an Idol with high Pure might incur extra penalties if she fails the job.
Early on, Jobs can be a much needed source of income, however, your Idols are more likely to fail jobs early on as their stats are low. Be careful with failures and Infamy. A better way to make cash early on is with Songs and Lives.
Songs are a good source of income and are required for Lives. You make songs with a Recording Room and an Audio Engineering Room. The quality of the song is based off of the Song Maker, the performing Idols Sing stat and, if you choose to record a PV (promotional video) for the song, the Idols Dance stat will be used. The location of the PV also provides various benefits.
The Song Quality determines the amount of cash generated, the Hype generated at Lives as well as the difficulty in performing the song at a Live.
Your Idols are all really about perfomances and entertainment. Lives are a great way to boost everyone's Popularity as well as make some really good cash. You need to have recorded at least. Three (3) Songs to perform a Live and you can perform as many as twelve (12) during a Live.
The Songs you perform determine the Hype during a Live and Hype determines the amount of cash you get as well as Popularity. Song Quality is important here. Low quality songs won't generate much Hype, but are easier to perform. Higher quality songs will increase Hype more quickly but can be considerably harder to perform. The song quality also affects how quickly your Idols HP drains during a Live.
Doing well in a Live will increase Popularity and the money you get, as well as generate renewed interest in your Songs. Your Hype level will also make the fans buy single-use glowsticks if it's high enough and you get cash for each one they buy. The size of the venue determines how much cash you get for each glowstick (UO).
Your Idols stats (Sing/Dance/Persona/Looks) directly affect their performance at Lives, so if your Idols aren't performing well (run out of HP, or trip/fall) then you need to train them more. Also, remember Song Quality is a factor as well. Lower quality songs are easier to perform.
The format for Lives is simple. As your Idols are performing, bubbles will appear from the crowd and move toward the stage. Each bubble represents a stat (Dance/Sing/Persona/Look) and your Idols will try to pop those bubbles based off of their own stats. Higher stats means the bubbles get popped faster. The more you pop and the faster you do so increases your Hype. As your Idols pop these bubbles they will consume HP. You can mitigate this somewhat by having a Laboratory that has built some Heal Canisters. You can use a canister on an Idol during the Live at any time for a quick boost to her HP.
You can pop a bunch of bubbles yourself by clicking the mouse on them, however this will not generate any Hype. It's mostly useful for keeping the Idols from taking a fall when they get hit by a bubble. There is also a stage effect you can use to pop bubbles, but it is single-use. However, that stage effect will generate Hype.
Furthermore, if a bubble hits the stage one of the Idols will take a tumble and she will not pop any bubbles until she gets back up. Taking a fall will decrease Hype and HP and should be avoided. Finally, if your Idol runs out of HP she will no longer be able to pop any bubbles.
Lives generate mostly Fame, however they can generate some Infamy.
Scandals are based off of Pure and Popularity (Fame + Infamy). You will never be able to avoid Scandals as they are directly related to Popularity. You can reduce the frequency of Scandals by keeping Pure high and Infamy low. The Shredder can help, so place one in the Producer's Office. Also one of the Idols has abilities to minimize the effects of Scandals. You should use a Legal team as soon as you can because the hit to Fame, Infamy and Mood from a Scandal can be disastrous.
Stalkers come with Popularity (Fame + Infamy) and will occur more often the higher the Popularity. You will never be able to avoid Stalkers, in fact they will just become more common as you progress. The Security Office will handle Stalkers automatically, provided you have enough security guards. You do not want Stalkers to get your girls. The hit to their Popularity and Mood is very high and can quickly cause the Idol to develop Conditions.
Fanquakes are based off of Infamy. If an Idols Infamy is higher than her Fame your fans will riot and cause a Fanquake. This will stop all rooms from functioning, thus stopping the girls from using them. It will also destroy furniture in the office. Fanquakes can never be totally avoided but you can minimize them. Keep an eye on your Idols Infamy and deal with it. Sending them on a Vacation (Jobs) can drop Infamy, as well as the PR Department. If all else fails, try getting their Fame higher than Infamy. Finally, there is also some furniture (Unlockable) that can help deal with the Fanquakes.
There are several stats that affect many things. Jobs, Lives, Song Quality, etc. are all determined by stats. You can improve stats by having your Idols train in the related room. Your stats are very important in determining success or failure in most cases and will be a main focus during play.
Stamina. Nearly everything your Idols do uses HP. Jobs, training, Lives, etc. As your Idols go about their tasks, their HP will drop. If their HP drops too low they will be Overworked and slow down drastically. This can cause Conditions, injuries or trigger certain other conditions. HP can be recovered in the Break Room. Some Idols abilities will help with HP as well.
This stat reflects the Idols overall Purity. It reflects how "wholesome" an Idol is and has various effects that can be either good or bad. You want to keep Pure as high as possible, though. Low Pure leads to more Infamy and Scandals.
Your Idols Popularity is based off of their Fame and Infamy. As they say in the entertainment industry, there is no bad publicity. Popularity determines many things, including Song sales, Live Ticket sales, fans, etc. With higher Popularity also comes some negatives as the amount of Stalkers and Scandals increases with it. However we're striving to have the best Idol unit of all time, so we need to get this high!
This is the positive publicity you get. Fame increases from Jobs, Song sales, Live performances, the PR Department and some other events. Fame is fleeting and will decrease over time. Idols can generate some fame automatically if they are made the Center.
This is the negative publicity you get. It does directly relate to your Idols Popularity, though. Infamy comes from failing jobs, and you can get it from Lives as well as Scandals and certain other events. It's nearly impossible to avoid Infamy but you should do what you can to keep it low. Infamy will increase the rate of Scandals and too much Infamy will cause your fans to riot and cause a Fanquake, which will damage your office.
The Sing stat determines the quality of Songs and the Idols performances at Lives. This can be trained at the Vocal Studio. The Sing stat should be trained early on as Songs are a major source of income, especially early on.
Your Idols Dance stat can help determine the quality of a Song, if you record a PV (promotional video) with that song. Dance also affects their performance at Lives. You can train this stat at the Dance Studio.
Personality. This stat determines the success/failure of Jobs and the Idols performance at Lives. Persona is critical for most jobs and low Persona will cause the Job to fail. Train this at the Personal Coach.
Physical attractiveness. This stat determines the success/failure of Jobs as well as the Idols performance at Lives. You can use the Makeup Room to give a temporary boost to Looks or you can train this stat at the Cafeteria for a permanent boost. Looks are critical for most jobs and low Look will cause the Job to fail.
Conditions are like status effects for Idols. They can be positive or negative and some Idols start with Conditions. Conditions are related to injuries and Mood. Low Mood (orange/red) will cause Conditions. Overworking your Idols will cause injuries and possibly trigger other Conditions. You generally want to avoid most Conditions, however some can be easily managed by keeping your Idols mood high and making sure you don't overwork them. Conditions can be cured in the Sickbay.
Your Idols happiness and overall well-being is important. Mood will affect your Idols in many ways and can cause negative conditions. You can tell your Idols Mood by looking at their portrait on the left side of the screen. There are several levels to mood indicated by the color of the ring around the portrait as well as the expression the Idol has on her face. The mood ranges from Angry (red), Unhappy (orange), Neutral (gray), Happy (Green) and Overjoyed (Blue). Conditions can start occurring while the mood is Unhappy or Angry.
You can improve mood by paying your Idols well, sending them on Jobs they like, keeping Stalkers away from them and handling Scandals when they occur. There are also some events that will affect mood. Stalkers and Scandals will negatively affect mood.
Finally, Mood will affect the use of NOVA's, your Idols special skills. You need to keep their Mood at Happy (green) or above to charge their NOVA.
Idol Abilities & NOVA
Your Idols have certain passive abilities they can use. These abilities will only apply if that Idol is set as the Center for the unit. To set an Idol as a Center, click Manage Idols and then the Set Center button next to the Idols information.
All Idols have passive abilities they will use while they are the Center of the unit. Anyone can be Center and you can change the Center at any time through the Manage Idols screen. These abilities are extremely helpful and you should always have an Idol set as center.
You can see what abilities the Idol has by hovering over the Set Center button on the Manage Idols screen as well as through the Hire Idols screen.
While an Idol is Center, she will automatically gain experience over time and level up her Center abilities. While she is learning the ability, it is not active. Once she's leveled up the ability becomes active automatically. For example, once the Idol reaches level 2, her level 1 skill becomes active and she starts learning the level 2 skill.
Finally, leveling up your Center or performing certain feats with them will unlock special furniture under the Unlockables section. These decorations give a good (sometimes great) boost to your DEC value as well as bestowing some very useful passive abilities.
All Idols have an Ultimate Technique, called a NOVA. While their mood is Happy (green) or above, the Idol will charge her NOVA. This is displayed as the blue bar beneath the Idols HP bar on the left side of the screen. Once it's charged, you can click the HP/NOVA bar to activate it. You can also press Space while the Idol is selected to activate.
NOVA's are powerful abilities that grant bonuses for a limited amount of time. Some abilities regenerate all Idols HP quickly, increase movement speed and much more. You can see what each Idols NOVA does in the Hire Idols screen.
Facilities / Rooms
Everything your Idols need to do will be in one of many facilities (rooms) throughout the office. These facilities are grouped into Tiers and beyond Tier 1, each tier costs KN to unlock. The following is a brief description of each room and its abilities.
Requires: Desk, chair and 2 sofas.
This is where the Jobs happen. You need a functioning Producer's Office to get Job offers.
Requires: At least one Makeup Table
Idols can apply makeup here to give a temporary boost to their Look stat. There are three different levels of makeup you can use which can be changed via the drop-down on the room's info box. The first two levels, Eternal and Goddess have no cost. The third and highest level, Antionette, has a cost of 600 KN per use. You should use makeup when you need to give an Idol a boost to their Look stat. For example, before a Job or a Live. There is an Idol that has abilities related to makeup if she is your center. This room has a daily upkeep cost.
Requires: At least one sofa
Your Idols can rest and relax here to recover their HP. You can add some optional furniture like vending machines which will give a slight increase to HP Regen inside the break room.
Requires: 2 chairs
Training Room. Idols will train their Persona stat here. This facility has an upkeep cost.
Requires: Attached Audio Engineering room and 1 Mic Stand
Your Idols will record Songs here. Songs are a good source of income, especially early on, and are required to hold Lives.
Requires: Attached Recording Room, sound board and 1 chair
This room is for your Song Makers. Here you select the Song you want to record, the Idols that will record/perform the song and the PV (promotional video), if any, you want to record. The Song Maker you choose, as well as all included Idols Sing stat determines the quality of the song. Furthermore, if you choose to record a PV, the Idols Dance stat will be used as well.
Your Idols can train their Dance stat here. You can add some optional furniture to give the room a boost. Speakers, Yoga Mats/Balls, etc. The size of the room determines how many Idols can train at once.
Your Idols train their Sing stat here. The size of the room determines how many Idols can train at once.
Tier 2 rooms cost 7,000 KN to unlock and you should unlock them once Popularity gets above 200 per Idol (generally).
Requires: At least one hospital bed
This is a medical facility to treat any injuries and/or conditions your Idols may have. There's an upfront cost (KN) for treatment.
Requires: Buffet table, cafeteria table and at least 1 chair
Your Idols can train their HP or Look stat here. You can choose what the room does by using the drop-down in the room's Info box. Idols can develop Eating Disorders if you make them eat too often. Once or twice a week is generally fine. You can have them eat up to three times a week if you alternate what they eat (Protein/Greens). This room has a daily upkeep cost.
Requires: At least 1 desk and 1 chair
This is where your security team hangs out. Security deals with Stalkers. Once your Idols become popular they will start getting stalked. You cannot avoid stalkers, they come with the territory for popular Idols. You can have as many security guards as you can afford. Each requires a desk and chair.
Requires: 1 lab station and 1 chair
This room is for Stage Effects which are directly related to Lives. You have to build the stage effects manually and they have an individual KN cost. You only need one of these rooms as multiple labs add no benefits. These stage effects are very handy to have during difficult or lengthy Lives.
Requires: At least 1 desk and 1 chair
This room houses your sales team. The will sell Starnova-related merchandise to your fans. Items have a manufacturing cost. Your merchandise sales are directly related to your Idols overall Popularity. With that in mind, you should generally start small and increase what you manufacture as your Idols become more popular.
The Tier 3 facilities are advanced and require 10,000 KN to unlock. These facilities are invaluable in the mid to late game, especially the Legal Department.
Upgrade Training Room
Requires: A valid training room
This isn't a room, but an upgrade. You can use it to upgrade any training room for 15,000 KN. You can upgrade the Vocal Studio, Dance Studio, Personal Coach and Cafeteria. This upgrade gives you two levels instead of one when the Idol levels up the related stat. This upgrade takes time and will display a + after the name of the room when complete.
Requires: 1 desk and 1 chair
Your Lawyer resides here. You can use your lawyer to sue the paparazzi that harass your Idols with Scandals. There's a KN cost to sue, but it's much better than the penalties from Scandals.
Requires: At least 1 desk and 1 chair
This is where your PR team does it's magic. You can either have them Hype up your Idols, which will increase Fame. Or they can be set to Damage Control, which will decrease Infamy. You can have as many on the team as you can afford.The PR team performs their job as needed and focuses on the Idol that needs the most attention in a given situation. They will automatically cycle through who they focus on as needed. Please note that Damage Control is expensive and will incur a high KN cost.
Requires: 1 stairwell, at least 1 event table and 1 chair
You can hold events here to generate money (KN). Assigning an Idol to this room has her meet and greet fans that pay for the chance to meet their favorite Idol. The amount of fans you get is based off of all your Idols Popularity. This room is a great income generator in the mid to late game.
Hints & Tips
In this section I'll give some hints and tips that I've discovered. Please be aware that these are just my observations and suggestions. You may find a better way to do things and that's great.
- Don't waste money on large rooms when you usually don't need it. Stagger out your scheduling so your Idols aren't all doing the same thing at once. Some stages are very restrictive on space so building smaller rooms is usually a plus either way.
- Always have your Idols apply makeup before a Live. This helps with them popping the Look bubbles at the Live and can be extremely helpful.
- Save before you schedule a Live. If you're not selling enough tickets to sell out, reload and try a smaller venue. Also works if you sell out too fast, you can reload and select a larger venue.
- You can use the Cafeteria up to 3 times per week if you schedule it right. You should space out the days your Idols eat and alternate what they eat. They shouldn't get any Eating Disorders by doing in this way (sometimes you might pop one, just cure it and it shouldn't reappear). A good schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Have Looks (diet greens) on Monday and Friday with HP (protein) on Wednesday (or vice-versa).
- Avoid Scandals by keeping your Pure up and your Infamy low. Once you start getting hit with Scandals, make sure to hire a Lawyer. The KN cost is better than dealing with the fallout from penalties related to Scandals.
- Avoid Fanquakes by keeping your Fame higher than Infamy. If your Infamy goes higher than Fame (on any one idol, or combined) you will trigger Fanquakes.
- The unlockable decorations are all very useful. You should unlock them and use them as soon as possible. Once they're unlocked you can use them in any stage.
There's several ways to make money, but the order to do things or the best times to do them might not be obvious. There's no "best" or "easiest" way to make money, really, it's just whatever method you prefer.
Songs and Lives are probably your best bet in the early game. Your Idols (generally) have low stats to start with and they'll often fail jobs because of that. There's too much risk involved in that because of high Infamy and the resulting backlash due to that (Scandals, etc.). So Songs are a safer bet by far. Plus this method doesn't really lose its usefulness and if you do it right, Songs and Lives can carry you through the entire game without touching Jobs.
- To start, record your first three songs so you can begin performing Lives. The Song Quality in the beginning isn't really a big deal, we just need to get some cash flowing in quickly.
- While recording these three songs, start training your Sing/Dance stats. You can train Sing more often because without PVs (which you should avoid to start because of their cost), Sing is the more important stat. Once you start using PVs, Dance will also play a roll.
- Once you've got your first 3 songs recorded, hold a Live. After the Live, train a bit and record another song aiming for the next level of quality. Don't force the quality too high to start, or you'll have difficulty performing those songs in the Lives.
- So your loop after your first three songs will be: Hold a Live > Train > Record Song > Repeat.
- You should pay attention to your timing of recording and scheduling Lives. For the Live House and the Outdoor Stage you can do a Guerilla Live which only gives you 20 hours to prepare instead of the normal 50. Doing that will severely limit your time to train. I'd avoid Guerilla Lives unless you need a quick influx of Popularity or KN.
- You should aim for between 4-6 songs recorded at this point and you should have held about 3 Lives. The Live House and Outdoor Stage are fine to reuse. At this point, though, we should be getting enough popularity to head for the park.
- As your Popularity increases and your cash allows, you should unlock the Tier 2 facilities and set up a Sales Department for more income.
- Start with a simple Sales Department with just one salesman. After a couple lives you should easily be able to sell Pins on auto.
- After a few Lives you can start selling T-Shirts and then finally Happi's.
- Take steps, don't try selling everything at once. As your Pins consistently sellout, add T-Shirts. Wait a while then add Happi's.
- When your Popularity is high enough you can add even more salesmen to increase profit.
And with all that rolling, you've moved into the mid game...
The mid game, in my opinion, starts once you've got a Sales Department set up and you're making decent KN from it. This is where Jobs can really shine as you should have trained your Idols a decent amount and thus they won't fail Jobs as often, or at all.
- You can keep the Song/Live loop going while you do this and just send out random Idols as you get jobs they like or that give high fame/money. Really whatever you prefer. I usually always keep the Songs/Live loop going because of the constant influx of cash and Popularity.
- At this point you should hopefully be getting good job offers. Your Pure is going to matter more at this stage because of Scandals, so you should decline all jobs that have a Pure cost. As well as anything that has LOW rewards.
- Cruise Entertainer, TV Drama, Movie Role are all great money makers. Spam them as much as possible. Obviously, make sure you're sending girls that meet the stats requirement and don't forget to use makeup for a Looks boost.
- The better jobs also offer better rewards to Fame so this is also a great and extremely fast way to boost an Idols Popularity.
- Note that at this point you can skip Jobs altogether and just keep spamming Lives, provided you've got a solid Sales Department and aren't wasting money.
- Once your Idols are averaging around 1,000 Popularity you can set up an Event Room and start making some extra cash there. This step is the milestone for progression into the late game and depending on your setup it may be essential.
- Don't schedule the Event Room too often or with too many Idols to start, you won't have enough fans to keep them busy. This will just end up wasting training time.
- Keep spamming Jobs and Lives to get that Popularity up and increased cashflow.
And with that, we're moving into the late game...
The late game, for me, is once I can continuously make money off the Event Room. Obviously that's in addition to the Live/Job loop.
- For the late game to work well and in your favor, your Popularity is a huge factor. We need to keep the merchandise sales rolling and the Event Room packed.
- Pure and Infamy are also a big deal here as Scandals can seriously sap your income if they happen too frequently. You make need to take a cash hit and have your PR Department do some Damage Control, or lose an Idol on vacation.
- If you haven't already, upgrade your training rooms so training happens quicker. This makes your Song Quality go up, Jobs more successful and Lives easier to perform. All of which are going to improve your income.
At this point in the game you should be easily rolling in the KN. This is also when you'll be able to sell out the Stadium, provided your Popularity is high enough.