Game Dev Tycoon: The Game Thread

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If you want to talk about the virtues and vices of piracy and DRM you can go here.

If you want to talk about the actual Game Dev Tycoon game, you're in the right place!

I bought it last night and have put a few hours in it. It's way harder than Game Dev Story. I'm not entirely sure when I went bankrupt in my first game, but my second game felt longer and I lost everything in year ten.

Anyone else playing?

This game is really, really fun. It just ate four hours of my evening without my even noticing. BUY THIS! It's a freaking steal at $8.

The graphics are spare, but to me they put me in mind of the old Microsoft games, but obviously at a modern resolution. So a bit retro but clear for the most part. (It can be a bit hard in one screen to see whether you actually selected an option, but just click it again and go on.) Sound is useful and unobtrusive - a great combo, it supports the gameplay but does not extract. The interface is mostly fine; I wish it were harder to forget to select options during game development, though.

The gameplay is gripping, as you make your choices in game development and watch them play out. Games have several phases of development, and you have skills, and so you're trying to get the most out of your choices, within the genre and theme you've chosen, during each part of the dev cycle. The games then finish up, go through bug reduction and polishing, and then are released. After release, you get reviews, then sales.

You can then use points you gained through work (as well as money) to research new technologies, which you can build into your own game engines once you have one. You can also take on contract work and do other things. As the game progresses, these include trainining, hiring, firing, marketing and the like. And there are random events.

You also have to deal with platform choice, and watching the platforms duke it out, waxing and waning in popularity as you're locked into a dev cycle, can be quite exciting. Nothing like releasing your first Ninvento TES game a week after Vonny puts out it's PlaySystem and all the kids run to that... And there are trends in consumer tastes which change over time (maybe that risky Mature Sports game releases as the public decides it loves sports games), and also you acquire a reputation with different age fans which you can exploit.

This is the epitome of independent game development right now. It reminds me of the older Movie Studio simulator that was popular a decade or so ago, but it's both less complicated and more exciting. The excitement level, and "just another hour" feeling reminds me of Pirates!, honestly. It's a *game*, an actual, fun to play, edge of your seat strategy and financial game, with RPG elements and plenty of choices to make to keep each dev cycle fresh.

I just finished my first game. My studio had a number of so-so games, a few bad ones, and a few blockbusters which enabled me to rent an office and hire three employees (eventually). Over time, I worked very hard and mostly stayed safe. I had a financial crisis about five years in and had to borrow from a bank, but pulled it out and that game was my first blockbuster. A year later, I had nine times what I needed to repay the loan, even with interest.

But then, we hit a string of mediocre games and the cash slowly drained away. No more booths at G3, and just magazine interviews. Fans loved us, but the games didn't sell well. I finally rallied the team to do a sequel to our first blockbuster, and in final development it was showing better than any other game we'd done. And then... The money ran out. The game never released, and a big, soulless gaming company bought our IP, and that was it. My great comeback story was not to be.

What a fantastic game. These guys deserve to do well with this, because it's just a joy to play, almost a throwback to the gems of the early Tycoon games, rather than the crapton of generic Tycoons floating around the bargain bins. This is a no-brainer, buy it now, Greenlight it game, and I'm very, very glad I found it. I wish Greenheart Games the best of fortune, and eagerly look forward to their next game, whatever it is. They have made me very, very happy, and I've been playing computer games since 1980 or so. They nailed it.

I also picked this up, but without any experience of Gave Dev Story. It's quirky, and really fun so far, although I'm not sure for how long.

I did like the messages popping up thanking me for purchasing the game, though, nice touch.

I scraped around in the lower echelons of text based RPGs with mediocre sales. Then I suddenly had a master hit that raked in $3M in sales! I'm currently in Y5 and just moved to my own office with my big wad of cash. Now that I understand a bit better what I'm supposed to be doing, I'll probably start again at some point.

I do wish it was harder to forget to name something, however, as my first game-engine ended up being called "Game Engine #1", and my predecessor to the bank-filling masterpiece was somewhat annoyingly named 'Game #15' or something, with no way to change it, and at the time, not enough cash to throw it away...

Not sure how long it will keep my attention for in the long run, but it's certainly enjoyable, and absolutely no doubt worth the $8.

Man I cannot break through the midgame. I am pretty sure I have figured out what I'm doing wrong (unfortunately without a tremendous amount of assistance from the game), but it's still hard to correct.

As time goes on it's super important to keep your engine updated, if you keep making games on outdated architecture they will quickly fail to impress the reviewers and customers. I figured that out in the second run (too late to save the company, I had already been bailed out and the next good selling game wasn't quite enough to pull us out of whatever mob loan shark interest rates we had been given), and really planned on sidestepping the problem in the third game.

Unfortunately I made the mistake of trying to make Engines with all the bells and whistles I could. If there were unresearched Engine elements I would make more games to earn the research points to unlock them, but then before I made the Engine new elements were available to research... All along my games are steadily reviewing and selling more poorly. By the time I hit year 7 and new that I really, really had to get that third Engine out I couldn't afford to :(.

My plan for game 4 is to steadily research new features, and on a relatively strict schedule of every 2-2.5 years making a new engine with whatever I have unlocked at that point.

Another pitfall that threw me because it's so unintuitive is that your employees don't seem to gain any attributes when they level up, only salary. I don't know if higher level employees are easier to train or anything like that, but their level has no (apparent) direct benefit on their ability to make games. If you aren't steadily training your employees they'll rapidly start pulling down more cash than they're worth, and should be replaced. (Of course replacing them is pretty expensive too, so my second priority in game 4 is to continuously train my employees.

Yeah, I made too many engines. Towards the end I started to customize them for particular types of games. That seemed to help.

What I think is that the higher the employees level up, the more dots they contribute to the game's development and bug-fixing. Is that not right?

Robear wrote:
Yeah, I made too many engines. Towards the end I started to customize them for particular types of games. That seemed to help.

What I think is that the higher the employees level up, the more dots they contribute to the game's development and bug-fixing. Is that not right?

I thought that was governed by their speed trait.

I picked this up last night due to the other thread, and because I was addicted to Game Dev Story, but hated the random power failure crap in that game. Bigger screen for my tired old eyes? Better Graphics? No random power loss? Woohoo!

I played it for about 2 hours last night and had a blast. I went bankrupt a few times, but on my last start made it to the next office setting before I had to force myself to go to bed. Eight bucks for digital crack I can play on all three of my laptops, no matter what work I'm doing? Awesome.

Figuring out the slider system (who needs dialogue for an action game?) and how to train up employes is next.

I read something about this before I even heard of the game or this thread.

Game Dev Tycoon anti-piracy measure

So, it seems that the developer itself released a cracked version that they uploaded to illegal download sites. People who pirated this version of the game come across pirates within their own game, continuously decreasing profits until the studio goes bankrupt.

In delicious irony, posts are popping up all over the place by these guys, wondering how to deal with these pirates and the eventual bankruptcy of their company, whether increased DRM will work, etc.

Edit: Seems I didn't see this thread OR the thread devoted to the topic I mentioned.

I picked this up right after reading about their anti-piracy stunt, and I agree that it's a blast. I went out of business a couple times before completing the 30 year run. By the end of that game, I had enough people with the boost power to keep the buff up throughout the development of my game, and enough money to develop a new engine between boost availability. I was about to unlock AAA games at the end of the run. I was happy to see the constant evolution of gameplay as my company grew. Every step along the way you discover some new thing you have to take into consideration. When you unlock medium games, you have to start assigning appropriately skilled people to game dev tasks. When you get someone leveled up enough to unlock the boost feature, you realize how terrible life is without it. When your wonderful uber engine can't be fully utilized for a game because of the lack of time/people/whatever, you realize that you need to move to the next level. Marketing is its own minigame, and you'll want to schedule your game development/release schedule to try and coincide with G3. Eventually, you'll unlock a research lab that will let you make MMOs, AAA games, and pour money into a hole just to generate research points.

There are so many moving parts to explore that it really can get overwhelming, but I have to say that developing a sequel to my very first Military Strategy game, 30 years later to a perfect 10 score was awesome. For $8, this is a really great game.

Could anyone recommend this if they played that original mobile title Game Dev Story? I played that quite a bit and I wanna know if there is enough added into this to make it fun?

Sdnick wrote:
Could anyone recommend this if they played that original mobile title Game Dev Story? I played that quite a bit and I wanna know if there is enough added into this to make it fun?

I played GDS to death on my iPad, then my phone, then my new phone when I switched to Android. This game is very similar (obviously), but deeper. I'd say that if you like Game Dev Story but got burned by some of the random 'disaster' stuff or felt the game got too easy, then I'd definitely pick this up. Actually, forget that. If you enjoyed Game Dev Story at all, pick this up.

I just played the demo, and just before reaching the 5 year cut-off (when the demo ends), I released a smash hit!

IMAGE(http://s3.postimg.org/8wwijn5v7/image.jpg)

IMAGE(http://s24.postimg.org/7cyw9ewhx/image.jpg)

So is this available on steam, or likely to be available on steam any time soon?

Nevermind, found the steam greenlight. If it gets through I may grab it.

Just picked this up myself. I'd heard all the hullabaloo surrounding their little stunt with the pirated version, and that put it on my radar. Was on the fence, so came here, lurked a bit, Robear's first post pushed me over the edge. 6€49 really isn't that much anyhow, and I've had a hankering for tycoon type of a game. Definitely looking forward to playing it tonight and discussing it with you guys! (sorry, I skimmed a bit to try and go in fresh)

I have been itching for a game like this and it really hits the spot. I agree with what Robear says about the gripping gameplay. I have only had one playthough, but I had a smash hit, moved into a new office, researched bells and whistles and hired two new folks to the point where I thought life was good. Then I sunk a lot of marketing money into a complete flop and my money kept draining and draining to the point where I was one week away from bankruptcy when I had a moderately successful game that kept me afloat. You know how it gives the option to release a game even when it still has bugs? Yeah, I pushed that button. I was still desperate though, so I started doing anything I could to make money, from publisher deals to sequels after sequels... Every time reviews came in with a 5 or a 4 I was just crushed. Then finally my bailouts ran out and I went bankrupt.

I get it now! EA, I know why you push your games out the door as fast as you do! Square-Enix, I see why you think 3 Mil in sales is a weak performer!

Game Dev Tycoon takes everything I liked about Game Dev Story and adds a layer of depth, interaction, and risk to it. I really like that this game lets you fail too, I am sick of tycoon/business games that work in a profit only environment.

BlackSabre wrote:
So is this available on steam, or likely to be available on steam any time soon?

Nevermind, found the steam greenlight. If it gets through I may grab it.

When you're purchasing the game on their website, it also states that if/when they get greenlit and appear on steam, previous buyers will receive a steam key.

I've enjoyed my time with it so far. Worth $8 easy

I'm dragged into opening this thread because I'm a sucker for the word "Tycoon" because of the original Railroad, even after all the dreck that's come since. Lo and behold, I find it's actually about a better version of GDS? Now searching it out on Steam....and going to their site to actually buy.

Hang on now! Windows 8 required? Really? I might upgrade to that in about 2016 or so, but MS should be happy that I just ditched XP for 7 last year.

oh Looks like that's only if you want to use the "Windows Store". There's a standard version in their own "Store" page. Whew....a retro game...that would have been quite absurd.

Okay, so I caved and played during my lunch break, and it's pretty good! Thirty minutes is not enough to tell, but all I can say so far is that I'd still be playing if I didn't have to work.
Also, the game mercilessly teased me for naming my first game "Game #1." The devs also planted a thank you message ingame and I felt that was really thoughtful of them, an appreciated gesture.

Mateo, can you give some tips on getting passed the mid-game? I am still having a really hard time with that. My review scores suffer and I am having a hard time determining why.

I was feeling my way through my one successful run, but I'll share what I think I figured out. I'm not sure if any of this is actually how the game works yet, but when I started using them as guidelines, things improved.

Small games can be successful with lower values and little hype, but once you've had a breakout hit, expectations rise and a game with the same score won't be received well. To combat this, you need to add some bells and whistles via custom engines. Build a good engine and stick with it for many years, but don't pack in all of the features into every game. The game score seems to take a dip when you include Mouse support on a handheld game. Investing in a higher level 2D engine over a low level 3D engine for that same system will give you good results. Not including mouse support on a PC game is risky, etc. Once you've made some dough and move into a new office, your focus should turn toward Medium games.

Don't try to make your own medium game until you've got 100K fans or so. The bigger the game, the more hype it seems to need, and that's driven by how many fans you have. Also related to hype, try to match your game release with G3, if possible. At the very least, make sure you're working on a game when G3 hits. That's the single largest hype generator in the game. Marketing is the other option, and you've got to pick your moment carefully. Campaigns that start too early in the development cycle are wasteful, as hype will start to drop before the game is released. Magazines seem to be useful no matter how big the game is, as it stabilizes the hype trend in the short term. I'm not sure, but I think that if you release while your hype is trending upward, you'll get better reviews and sales than if it's the same score but trending downward.

Training people is hugely important, as the demands of larger games require expertise and skill levels to match the game scale. At 500 design or 500 tech, you can unlock the boost power for that person. This is the single most important thing to shoot for in the mid game, as it greatly improves the quality of games. If you can get 3 people with a boost, you can ride a boost throughout the development of a game. Once I was able to do that, my review scores jumped from ~6 to 9+ immediately. Once you're in the 9+ range, especially if you're self publishing, and have a good marketing/release cycle, you'll be swimming in cash. At that point, you move onto large games.

Large games are hard to pull off without being in a large office. You won't have the talent required to assign an appropriate lead to every aspect of the game, and assigning someone with a low score to a feature will affect your reviews. The alternative is to overload someone, putting them at >100%, but that will also hurt your scores. With a larger office/team, you'll have the people to make the right assignments. Training continues to remain very important throughout the game. When you have 4+ people with boosts (especially upgraded boosts), you'll be able to crank out some great scores.

When you get to the large office, make sure you get a design specialist asap so you can unlock your research department. This is basically a research lab that can either research specific tech (e.g., MMOs, AAA games, etc) or generate research points. Getting people trained up remains important, so those points are valuable.

I hope some of that helps!

Sounds like the devs are quite knowledgable about design:

mateofalcone wrote:
The game score seems to take a dip when you include Mouse support on a handheld game...Not including mouse support on a PC game is risky, etc.

Great tips, btw, thanks.

iPad likes to clone

Findaer wrote:
I get it now! EA, I know why you push your games out the door as fast as you do! Square-Enix, I see why you think 3 Mil in sales is a weak performer!

I also get why they also get really uppity about Metacritic. No, that's fine, "game journos". 10 people just spent years working on this thing and their future employment and the company's existence is predicated on it's success, but go ahead with your snarky comment about how forgettable it is.

kuddles wrote:
Findaer wrote:
EA, I know why you push your games out the door as fast as you do! Square-Enix, I see why you think 3 Mil in sales is a weak performer!

10 people just spent years working on this thing and their future employment and the company's existence is predicated on it's success,

Given how insightful this game seems to be about its industry, it shouldn't be too hard to modify it to become an educational sim about other industries. And doing so would ratchet up the challenge considerably. Imagine playing Manufactured Good Tycoon starting in the U.S. in the 1960s. The first decade or two would be easy, but once Japan, China, etc. enter the market you'd have to specialize and become very technological--or make goods specifically for the government ("military")--to survive. Or American Clothing Factory Tycoon during the same period, which would be almost impossible to win (unless you can move the factory, of course).

Keithustus wrote:
Given how insightful this game seems to be about its industry, it shouldn't be too hard to modify it to become an educational sim about other industries. And doing so would ratchet up the challenge considerably. Imagine playing Manufactured Good Tycoon starting in the U.S. in the 1960s. The first decade or two would be easy, but once Japan, China, etc. enter the market you'd have to specialize and become very technological--or make goods specifically for the government ("military")--to survive. Or American Clothing Factory Tycoon during the same period, which would be almost impossible to win (unless you can move the factory, of course).

Considering all the empathy games right now like Papers, Please or Cart Life, it might also be interesting to have one following similar ethical quandries. For example, you can choose not to use tax loopholes, pollute the environment or use third world sweatshop labour, but that might effect whether you can find creditors or match your competitors in pricing.

kuddles wrote:
Papers, Please or Cart Life

Whoa, awesome, thank you. I had never heard of anything like that. Watching the trailer for Papers, Please....I give the creator some ballsy props for including a guy throwing a bomb at an embassy given world events and the fate of Super Columbine Massacre RPG.

And given how many hours I put into Euro Truck Simulator 2, a retailer sim like you describe would suck away my time, I'm sure.

omnipherous wrote:
BlackSabre wrote:
So is this available on steam, or likely to be available on steam any time soon?

Nevermind, found the steam greenlight. If it gets through I may grab it.

When you're purchasing the game on their website, it also states that if/when they get greenlit and appear on steam, previous buyers will receive a steam key.

And that may have just sold me on the game. Thanks for the info.

Good

I'm struggling after my first big hit, nothing else seems to get above 120k sales. Annoyingly my big hit was a casual game, in the music genre, and the gameboy (of all devices for a music game, really?) - kind of embarrassing for a company determined to produce a series of higly acclaimed RPGs!

Definitely worth the eight bucks!

I stuck with PC games early on and racked up $8 million in cash before I left my garage. I lucked out with a couple of sleeper hits.

I failed at the second stage after hiring too many people, straying to other platforms, and releasing bomb after bomb. I was doubly pissed because I had just finished developing a game that had been rated all 8s and 9s when I ran out of cash and had to declare bankruptcy. If I just had another week I would have been swimming in duckets!

I restarted that level and had much, much better results. I avoided my earlier mistakes and lucked out with a Superhero/RPG smash that I was able to follow up with a Fall Out knock off which took in $6 million and milked a sequel for another $12 million. After that I invested like crazy in my game engine, switched to the mBox, and alternated between established genres and experimenting.

My last game did pretty well and it wasn't even a AAA title:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/kwjA3au.png)

The only thing I wish the devs would do is add some sort of description to the game engine technologies so you know if a newer technology replaces or clashes with an older one. I'll have to experiment with specialized game engines next time.

OG_slinger wrote:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/kwjA3au.png)

I'm totally not jealous. I've totally had games that make more than $3M in profit... Yep...

I think I need to bite the bullet and look through the wiki a bit. It seems to have some really detailed information.

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