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willza avatar 11:06 AM on 05.17.2013
From Rags to Riches – Game Dev Tycoon

When I was growing up, I remember playing alot of simulation games where you’d create either a hospital, a theme park, a zoo, you name it there was a `Tycoon` game for it. Now a new indie game has come out of the wood work and brought back such fun memories of said childhood. This is Game Dev Tycoon.
Game Dev Tycoon starts you out small, working from your garage with 70K, no fans and little knowledge of what is to come. You start somewhat 30 years back in time to when games were mostly texted based or simple 2d pixel graphics. So what is your first port of call? Well seeing as its in the title how about making a game. You have several choices at first which can be expanded upon later on, but for now you can choose from a couple of Topics, such as Military, a Genre say Action, and then a Platform so PC or the Gommadore (Yes, Gommadore, not Comm. This is one of the minor fun elements of humour spread through the game that you’ll see often e.g. Vonny and their DreamVast). So you have your basis for the game, now to go through the 3 stages of development.


In the 3 stages of development you’re going to have to decide what you should dedicate your time toward most on 3 occasions, is Gameplay the most important? What about the Engine or maybe Sound? Admittedly there is a huge layer of abstraction here as its never that simple in real life but still its fun. As you develop your game you’ll gain points for Design, Technology and Research which helps you to do more in the future e.g. new topics or even improved game engines. However its not so easy as you may get bugs in your code, but no worries they can be removed at the end of the process.


I’m not going to walk you through the whole process but from there your game goes on sale and you gain revenue maybe some fans and you get reviews (….how the tables have turned GreenHeart  ;). These reviews will provide a bench mark for how well you may do when the game goes on sale. Unfortunately it can be very hard and at times frustrating when you feel like the combination is perfect and still you’re getting values of 4-6. I would love to see how the game interprets what is a perfect mix given certain Topics and Genres as you do find yourself to be quite annoyed considering the `work` you put into your game.
Still though I feel its fair, not all games can be blockbusters and it does give you a sense of what it’s really like to be a developer (I may change my career path depending how bad i do next playthrough).

The first I actually heard about this game was due to the issue around Piracy an issue that you can actually face in the game and in the *ahem* `game`, If you do go for the 2nd option there, I’d advise you to please choose the 1st as it is a good game, anyway.
GreenHeart Games had a great idea as to how to tackle piracy on a certain level, along with the released correct game, they put out their own version with a couple of extra bits of code where by when you get towards completion on your game, it gets pirated and you lose your money and receive no fans. A brilliant concept and made all the more funny when `pirates` were coming for help saying that their game was pirated. A great move on GreenHeart’s part but I imagine a frustrating one as well.


Another funny moment in the game, and I’m not sure if I want this to be true always or just a coincidence is when I tried to get the achievement where you develop the game inside the game. I got 2 10s and 2 9s. Had myself a good chuckle at that, this is what I love about the game, it minorly teaches you about some of the stuff you face being a developer (and as someone looking to go toward it I’m using it like a crystal ball for what I’ll have to face), it has some nice artwork that reminds me of Theme Hospital when I was a child and it has some funny moments to it and nothing quite beats the feeling of getting a 10 on a review.


So as you progress in the game you get more options open to you and you have to deal with consoles and their licenses, hiring and training Staff, dealing with publishers etc.
So far on my 2 playthroughs I managed to get to my nice office (admittedly I wish I was able to design the place, but no matter) but unfortunately went bankrupt, and as annoying and upsetting as that is you do learn a little more each time e.g. What training schemes help certain attributes, what is important for certain game types, how to respond to Industry reports (e.g. RPG games are really big right now) and so on.


Ultimately this game allows you to create any game you want and let you put emphasis where you feel its needed. Unfortunately however that doesn’t mean it will be good, in the real world I believe any combination can work with the right amount of work, but it doesn’t always seem that way in this game.

However this is an indie game and you can only expect so much from it. My honest opinion is that you should try the demo (http://www.greenheartgames.com/game-dev-tycoon-downloads/) I did and after half an hour bought the game, my original plan was to wait for it to be on Steams Green Light but you should support developers and this is a game definitely worth playing. The devs themselves add in little messages when you buy the game to say thank you and it is a nice heart warming touch.

I can’t stress this enough but please buy this game, it is fun and it is worth every penny. Game Dev Tycoon 9/10, Thanks for Reading and as always please feel free to check out http://willza99.wordpress.com/ for more of my reviews, thank you :)

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