Yesterday, I encountered a web game named Cookie Clicker, developed by Orteil and hosted by Dashnet. The game features a giant cookie, which you can click to earn currency (cookies). You can spend your cookies on items which produce more cookies. After several hours of purchasing random items and watching my cookies per second (cps) increase, I decided it was time I calculated the most efficient item purchasing order, or build order.
Note that Cookie Clicker updates frequently, and this build is designed for v.0.125. I’ll try to publish new builds when the new versions of Cookie Clicker are released. However, I’m doing this with an Excel spreadsheet, which is rather time-consuming. If anybody would be willing to help me code an application to automate this process, let me know in the comments, or contact me here.
Below is my explanation of my process. If you’re uninterested in this and just want to see my build, scroll to the end of this post and you should find a link to the build. I do recommend you read the section on the Elder Pledge before you skip to the build.
Cookie Clicker boasts 9 unique items, and before I could start making my optimal build, I needed to understand exactly what each item does.
- Cursor: Each Cursor automatically clicks the cookie every 5 seconds.
- Grandma: Each Grandma gives you 5 cookies every 5 seconds. This number can be increased by buying one of any of the below items. This bonus is not stackable, i.e. buying two factories will not buff your Grandmas twice.
- Factory: Each Factory gives you 20 cookies every 5 seconds, and gives each Grandma a +1 bonus.
- Mine: 50 cookies per 5 seconds, +2 Grandma buff.
- Shipment: 100 cookies per 5 seconds, +3 Grandma buff.
- Alchemy Lab: 500 cookies per 5 seconds, +4 Grandma buff.
- Portal: 6,666 cookies per 5 seconds, +5 Grandma buff.
- Time Machine: 123,456 cookies per 5 seconds, +6 Grandma buff.
- Elder Pledge: This item gives several temporary effects. The duration is unknown, but seems to be around 13 minutes and 30 seconds. The cost seems to only increase sometimes: when this occurs is unknown. Each click becomes worth the number of Cursors you possess times 1.5, rounded up. Grandmas’ cookie production increases by +0.5 cookies per 5 seconds for each Portal you possess, rounded up. The Elder Pledge is not always available for purchase, therefore it is excluded from the build. Since its starting cost is 666,666 cookies, it can only be purchased in the late game. Because it dramatically increases the efficiency of your Cursors and Grandmas, it will almost always have a higher ICR than other items, and should be purchased whenever possible.
Each item has a starting cost, e.g. the first Cursor costs 15 cookies. The cost of each subsequent item increases by 10%, rounded up, so the second Cursor costs 17 cookies. The exception is the Elder Pledge, which seems to only increase in cost sometimes.
Factories, Mines, Shipments, Alchemy Labs, Portals, and Time Machines may alter the appearance of your Grandmas. This does not seem to have any effect on cps.
In order to create the most efficient build possible, I calculated the income:cost ratio (ICR) for each purchase. This means I calculated the increase in income (cps) and divided it by the cost of the item. The higher the ICR is, the more efficient the purchase is.
Since the income increases linearly, while the cost increases exponentially, the ICRs will generally decrease as the game progresses. The exception is the purchase of an item which increases Grandma productivity.
If the ICR of two items is the same (or close enough that the difference is negligible), the item with the lower cost is purchased. The exception is when the purchase of a Grandma increases the ICR of another item, such that it becomes the next most efficient purchase.
This build focuses on the efficiency of each item purchase, and therefore may not necessarily be the fastest build. Finding the fastest build would require more math than I’m prepared to do right now, and would also depend on the goal, i.e. is the winner determined by who buys the first Time machine or who is the first to possess 50 portals? If you’re shooting for speed, I think my build is a good place to start, but you will most likely need to make some modifications depending on your goal.
Edit: I made some miscalculations regarding Grandma ICRs. I’m working to correct this now.
Edit: I’ve fixed the error I made with the Grandmas. The new build order is ready.
Cookie Clicker is an extremely fun and addictive game, despite its simplicity. I hope you enjoy playing it, and I hope you find my build order useful. If you’ve found any errors, or have any advice or questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments, Facebook, Twitter, or email or text message.
Copyright 2013 Reverend Clifford R. Anello Jr.