Name: Game Dev Tycoon
Released: December 10th, 2012
Developer: Greenheart Games
Publisher: Greenheart Games; Valve Corporation
Game Developers: Patrick Klug, Daniel Klug, Chad Keating
Genre: Business Simulation; Video Game Developer Simulation
Game Dev Tycoon is the first release of Greenheart Games. Their goal is straightforward: to make a game that is intelligent and fun to play rather than what they call “money grabbers.” Did they hit their goal? Hell yes. They hit their goal and then some. This game is not only incredibly fun, intelligent, and addictive, it is educational. The gamer gets an opportunity to look behind the curtain to see how games are made and learn why decisions are made they way they are. It really is a look behind the curtain.
Since this game has been out for more than a year, there is no point in a traditional review. This review is being written with the assumption that you have already played the game or at least are familiar with it. In case you aren’t, click here. This shows the bare basics of what goes into playing the game. Or you could download a demo of the game right here. It’s fun.
Without further adieu….
I never learned so much about how to make a video game than I did when I played Game Dev Tycoon. There are so many aspects to making video games, and so many difficulties inherent to process, which are difficult for an outsider to understand. For example, video games live an die based on two things: reviews and a large fan base.
I’m not kidding on that. If the game you make doesn’t review well, even if you truly believe you divided your time up the best you could between the many aspects of game development, then that game is going to crash and burn. If you’re unlucky, then that’ll lead to your business folding. I cannot emphasize how important those reviews are. Getting a perfect review is very, very difficult. But when that happens, oh boy! That game is like a licence to print money. I could start to see why video game companies want great reviews. It’s not that they aren’t trying to make great games. Making great games just isn’t a guarantee that it’ll get a good review.
I could also see the difficulties involved with making patches for video games. Let me explain. After I release a video game, I begin trying to develop my next one in order to continue making money. So I begin developing the next game while the previous game is selling. But then, a problem arises where I have a choice. I could pull someone off of developing the next game in order to patch the previous game. That’ll take time and money, as well as hurt the development of the next game. Or I could say screw it and not patch the previous game, which will lose fans for the company any hurt overall sales of the previous game, but will allow for the development of the next game to go on fairly well. Honestly, it’s a no-win situation.
I’ve always developed a patch for the game. And while that won some fans, the game that I was developing always got a terrible review and sold horribly. One time, I went bankrupt because of it and lost the game. I’m sure you might say something like, “why did you start developing your next game so quickly?” Well, that’s simple. I wanted to make money in order to expand the company and make better games. The only way to do that is to constantly produce games and be active. If you sit around and wait, you ultimately will lose money. And that won’t do anyone any good.
So wow. This game gives the gamer a chance to see behind the curtain and understand the basics of the video game design world. It’s a pretty cool look.
Greenheart Games is an awesome company. They actually released a cracked copy of their own game onto a torrent site to see what would happen. You can read about it on their blog site right here. Hell, it’s a funny read. The reactions people had to it is priceless. It’s like they couldn’t see the irony of the situation.
The game plays slightly differently in the cracked edition. You see, after awhile, the games that you create on Game Dev Tycoon will start being pirated and the developer will lose a lot of money, eventually going bankrupt. The people who pirated the game tended to complain about this, wanting DRM protection. Yeah, they didn’t see the irony in that.
It takes a lot of guts for a company to go after the people who illegally download games in such a creative way. They weren’t condemning them exactly. Instead, Greenheart Games showed them exactly what happens to companies when their games are pirated.
Great Replay Value
There’s a feature in Game Dev Tycoon where the player can generate a game report after a game is released. This will tell the gamer what was good and bad about the game, finding out what works and what does not work.
The player uses this information in order to make better and better games! The great part about this, this information carries over from replay to replay. It rewards good gameplay and encourages the player to learn what it takes in order to design a good game. It makes replaying the game so much fun, as it becomes easier to play and win!
Plus, it makes sense for this feature to carry over from replay to replay. It’s not like the money or stats earned should carry. But the knowledge of how to make a game? That is something that the player learns simply by playing the game. So Game Dev Tycoon makes sure the things the player should be learning is easy to reference so that it can be applied.
Rewarding learning! Such a great way to make a game fun to play.
The Graphics and Sound
I hate games that are pointlessly overly flashy with their graphics and sound/music. This one isn’t. There’s the right amount of graphics in place to convey what is gong on. It’s a step above 16-bit.. and it helps the player envision what is happening while still allowing the imagination to fly. It works fairly well! It’s not great, but it is perfectly functional and appropriate for the game.
There’s not much sound in place. But the sound that’s there works! There’s this small bubble sound when a game is being made. These colored bubbles fly up from the character
Hearing those bubbles go feels so satisfying, like popping bubble-wrap! And when you and your team are really experienced, there are hundreds of those bubbles making that awesome sound.
There are so many other options that I didn’t touch on with this game. You can make your own conventions, develop your own console, create sequels, make a huge variety of games, expand the business, do contract work, and so much more! The game has an incredible amount of depth and options. And if you include all the mods that are out there, this game easily has hundreds of hours of replay value.
If you haven’t played this game for awhile, go back to it. Download one of the mods and enjoy. This is the type of game that demands to be played. And if you haven’t played it, go click on the links I provided up on top. Check out the demo. You’ll fall in love, guaranteed.
Go play it!