At some point in our gaming lives we've came across the thought of developing our own games; our own unique look at a subject that would entertain millions. Unfortunately, for most this is a pipe dream. For some we lack the talent to code the game, others lack the talent to create the artwork. While for the majority we just simply suck at everything associated with game development and just sit on our asses and enjoy the part where we play them.
This is why I write words telling you about games. I suck at other aspects of game development so I just spout some English to help you gauge your judgement whether a game is good or bad.
With Game Dev Tycoon, you get the chance to virtually start your own game development empire. Starting out in the early days of home computing, all by yourself in your garage coding simple games for the PC or G64 (a spin on the Commodore 64). You only have a limited number of genres to choose from; Action, Adventure, RPG, Simulation and Strategy; You can unlock a Casual genre later on in the game but the majority of your developments will be in the five starting genres.
You also start out with a limited number of topics but once you build up your research points from developing your games, generating sales reports and taking on contract work, you can spend points into unlocking more topics to broaden your horizons in terms of making diverse games.
You may choose whatever you want to develop, just make sure you're confident that you will turn your development costs into profit at the end of the day otherwise your new startup will horribly crash and burn with too many failed games that do not generate profit. With a starting capital of 70,000 and an idea in your head, you have to manage what you feel is important to the game and not so important.
Do you want to dedicate time to the Engine or the Gameplay? Sound or Artificial Intelligence? Each decision you make will impact on how well received your game will be in addition to how long it will take to develop as you'll be burning money every month for your own costs. The game you create will also go through three different stages of development where you may adjust sliders in order to balance your time efficiently. Be cautious though, the more time and features you research and implement into your game, the overall cost of development increases.
Once your game is complete and bug free you can release it to the mercy of the reviewers. Here your game can be made or broken, get a good score and sit back while the money comes rolling in, or get a bad score and then scramble to make a new game while some cash trickles in, hoping to create something more successful to recoup lost profits from the previous title.
As time progresses you'll be informed of new developments in the industry, such as new consoles being announced from spin off companies of real world manufacturers; for instance you can purchase licenses to develop for the Ninvento TES or the Vonny Playsystem if you so desire. These industry developments is something to keep a close watch on as you'll be able to judge how these consoles will affect the overall market share in order to choose the right platform at the right time.
Now that you've got a few successful titles under your belt and accumulated a healthy bankroll you'll be offered the opportunity to leave your humble beginnings in order to buy an office and start hiring people. Alternatively you can stick in your garage as long as you wanted if you so desired and use the cash to develop your own game engines to attempt to create bigger and better games.
However, at some point you will need to expand your empire in order to create games more quickly with the staff you hire. If you train them up you'll eventually be at a position where you're able to create AAA titles, your own hardware and even your own digital distribution platform à la Steam to cement your company as the pinnacle of the gaming industry.
All of this will happen in a 35 year period, after which the game will end and your final score will be calculated, after this you're free to carry on playing with your studio but no more scripted events will occur. Alternatively you may start again to see if you can improve upon your last venture in the game world with your knowledge of what works and what does not.
Visually the game has a very clean presentation with pleasing graphics, but the majority of the time the screen is quite stale and static. The only real animations you see is the screen your little character is looking at while occasionally picking up a notepad to scribble down some thoughts. Then we have the bubbles flying up the screen which indicate what section is currently being filled to show the progress of the game.
There's not much to the audio apart from notification beeps, lots of bloops from the development bubbles and some laid back elevator style music to till the soundtrack, all of which get a tad grating after a couple of hours playtime.
Overall I've enjoyed my time with Game Dev Tycoon creating my own gaming empire, regurgitating 'Mortal Wombat' every other year while attempting to create my own MMORPG involving zombies. It has been quite the time sink as there is that draw of "one more game" to it, just in this case you're developing one more game in the hopes of a blockbuster hit. I just wish there was a little more action on screen, a bit more get up and go but in hindsight, what could you really do with a game that lets you develop games in an office?
- Quite an enjoyable look at game development
- An extremely good time sink
- Visuals quite static
- Sounds can become tiresome on long play sessions