No, this post isn't about Yugoslavia. It's about when to tell players, "welp, ya didn't make it - try again." Also how to tell it.
Originally, the game had no fail states. You can just power through to the end and get the ending you deserve (but not the one you need).
Eventually after some n a r r a t i v e d e s i g n, it was determined that, without spoiling too much, there needs to be a fail state roughly after midway of the game.
Now, as of this writing no playtester have gotten to this point yet and so the effectiveness of this fail state is not yet known.
Another possible fail state is more interesting: you have a job in the lab, but since you can pretty much do anything during the day, you can also not do your job. And there's no punishment yet for that.
So I decided heck, let's have the player restart the day if they didn't do their job at all (it's just weird from a narrative standpoint if you just slack around without consequences). It's not as harsh as a hard restart, I thought - so I implemented this for all the days, including day 1.
A bit of an aside: due to a scheduling oversight, before this update, if you don't do your job in day 1, the day just wouldn't end. Imagine being stuck at work, the clock at 4:59 PM forever. It's truly the definition of hell. It kinda worked, though, for most cases. It ensured that the player understands the loop at least once before progressing.
But after I put in the fail state, the player will get fired if the job is not done by the end of the day.
It's not really that much to look at rn
Turns out after a few playtests players found this to be discouraging.
It's probably because it's so obvious a fail state (nobody likes hearing that they're fired), and also because in the first day the player is still learning the ropes and want to chill and want to stroll around the lab, too.
So maybe I'll try to find a happy middle ground for the next iteration. Give a few warnings and reprimands from Arturo the Bossman for the first few days.