Game Dev Tycoon

14 01 2015

Game Dev Tycoon Logo

Several years ago I dreamed and tried to get into the Video Games Industry, unfortunately I was unsuccessful in achieving this due to me being terrible at programming (C++ in particular). While originally down hearted I moved on and decided to pursue a different career altogether. This past week however I stepped into the video games industry, by playing Game Dev Tycoon on Steam.

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

Game Dev Tycoon (produced by Greenheart Games) allows the player the opportunity to start their own video game company and rise through the ranks in a 35 year period creating video games for a variety of consoles and research new techniques and topics in the hope of becoming the biggest video game company in the world. You start in your garage on a simple PC but as your company gets bigger and better, you obtain new premises. From your work space you can create your own video games. This involves choosing a topic, genre and platform. As you research new topics you can research new things to choose from including making your own custom game engine, target audiences and multiple platforms and genres. As the game progresses further you can unlock more options as to what kind of work you go into including work contracts and publishing deals and as your operation gets larger and larger you will need to hire more people.

GDT1

You don’t need to worry too much about detail though when it comes to making a game as this involves a little mini game where you chooses what you want it to be, give it a name and designation and then move little sliders up and down in certain topics and then attaching certain members of your team to work on certain elements when making a much bigger game. Then when it is complete you need to air out the bugs in the programme, then release it and wait for the reviews of it and see how it sells. Juggling all of these elements is hard work but if you’re capable of it and succeed you can make a lot of cash. But even then that is not an easy thing.

GDT2

Like other Tycoon games, Game Dev Tycoon isn’t exactly easy. The biggest problem is making enough money to stay afloat. The first few games you produce it is sort of easy, but you lose £8,000 (money denominations don’t really exist in the game and instead money is represented as standard figures with K representing thousand and M million) each week in operation. This increases the bigger your company gets and soon a few thousand won’t cut it. It is easy enough though to make a few hundred thousand but you will need to start making more. Bigger games offer this opportunity, but are expensive to produce, and while you could get a publishing deal (which helps garner more fans to your company and bigger titles less risky), the only problem is, is that if you don’t meet a certain level of requirements in the reviews stage they will fine you and you only get so much money in royalties from the publisher. Then next to that there is the money you may or not spend on marketing and then the cubicle at G3. Money is required to do everything and it is not easy to come by it, particularly if you are behind the competition.

GDT4

Research is very important in this game and research is harder to come by than money, but it needs to be done. In the early stages of your company you will use it to get basic things, like a custom game engine and other topics, but as you get bigger and bigger, it’s important to study more techniques and improve your games in the long haul as 2D and text-based games are not going to cut it on a PlaySystem 2. Oh yeah, that’s another thing, Game Dev Tycoon adds a little humour to the game industry, taking things that exist and then spinning on them. E3 becomes G3, Companies like Sega and Sony become Vega and Vonny and game consoles look like their real version but with a spin on design, colour and name, like Game Sphere (GameCube).

GDT6

Game Dev Tycoon is a lot of fun to play and relatively addictive as it is quite simple. There are several short comings to it though. In the early parts of the game, the only way to know what works in a game is to make it, wait for the reviews then write a game report. In those early stages it is easy to make a rubbish game and easily fluke a good one. Good reviews help with money, but if your game is rubbish, you have little chance of making profit. It was not until my third attempt (first to companies went bankrupt, third was the only time so far that I was able to get to the end of the 35 years and still not be in debt; the company name was Mighty Pigeon) that the research and studies into certain points helped that I got a knack in what I was doing and made good games continuously. But the reviews can still be pretty random and it is hard to get it exactly right. Game Reports do help with this though. The game also throws huge numbers of advice screens at you saying it would be easier to do publishing deals and get fan numbers before working on your own games; however the money isn’t really worth it. Other times the game does this is when it asks if you want to move to another studio and bigger operation. If you decide to wait some time, instead of giving you the option of a button to press when ready, you need to wait until the box comes up again, and if still not ready, it’s back to waiting (and some times the game buttons can stick when you click them).

GDT5

Making games can also get pretty tiresome and samey after a while and it’s only when you research new options that things get a little more interesting. However; in order to make these games with new options and possibilities, you need to put them into a new game engine and only then can they be used. So, you end up spending most of your research points you acquire on new things to make bigger and better game engines. And this can get really annoying, particularly as research is scarcer than money and you need it to train your staff as well. Hiring more people helps with this issue, but hiring is expensive and operating cash gets drier the more people you hire. In the end, you need to make compromises and try to figure out what is more important, and for me and the company it was the engine. Hiring staff though does mean you can put certain people on certain tasks that they are better at than others, but you will need to send them on vacation at some point.

GDT3

Game Dev Tycoon isn’t exactly what you would call easy, it’s easier than some Tycoon games but it is relatively a hard game. But in many a way it’s more a puzzle based game similar to some flash titles online than a tycoon based game. But altogether Game Dev Tycoon is rather fun to play and also can be quite addictive. Even if the game gets samey in spots, you still care about trying to get money (or like I did in my fourth game, tried to make rubbish games to go bankrupt). It can be interesting in places when you produce a game that the reviews say is mediocre but then goes on to become something of a hit, but most of these instances involve a publishing deal. While the game can also be horrible to you as well, sometimes it can give you surprises. While the game does have shortcomings including fewer options when it comes to research and the constant advice boxes and it’s reply value is rather small and only for the pursuit of doing better, and the story of the game is the same every time, I do rather like this game. It may not be to every body’s tastes or as big as games like Borderlands or Call of Duty; Game Dev Tycoon is a nice small game to play when you have some time to play something short, and also gives an insight into the world of Video Games Development also.

GENEPOOL





I Have Finally Bought Crysis

7 01 2015

Crysis (Crytek - 2007)

Back in 2007, I was watching Gamer.TV and for several episodes over the span of the year, they mentioned an upcoming game called Crysis. I was very much interested in the game. I liked the look of it, the graphic power on display, pretty much; every time they mentioned it on the show I had my eyes glued to the set. I very much wanted to play this game, a lot; but there was a problem. Due to what looked like extremely high-powered graphics, I was very unsure if my PC would play it. Due to this issue, I held off buying it. As the years ticked by, the game had an expansion and 2 sequels released, and so far I had yet to play it. I still wanted to, but was still unsure if my PC would play it, and while the sequels were released on consoles, I still wanted to play the first game first.

Crysis 2 (Crytek - 2011)

Then, I discovered that Crysis 1 had been released on the PS3; and as I looked through PlayStation Store, I found it and wanted to get it and play it. That was about 2 years ago. The thing is I needed to remember it and have enough money for it. I usually have my purchases all lined up ahead. I pretty much have it down as projects, what am I going to get next. So this held me back some more from finally playing Crysis. This past December though, I finally decided to get it in January. Well seeing as it was Christmas I needed to concentrate on gift buying for people, but I pushed myself to get it in January. I also had some luck as the price of the game was reduced from £15 (give or take) to £5 (give or take). I waited until a bit after New Year to see if the recent outage would sort itself out, I then went online, went through the minefield of needing to figure out how to change my billing details and then finally bought Crysis, seven or so years since it was originally released. So far, I have yet to play it.

PS3 Logo

When I bought it I thought instead of downloading it there and then I thought I would wait till a day this week, to put the PS3 in the dining room where the Wi-Fi box is located and get a stronger sequel. I have had many issues in the past with downloading things onto my PS3. When I see a sign saying the game or machine or program requires an update I usually get a bit depressed. More recent updates have been relatively quick and easy and done within 5 or 10 minutes; however over the years since buying the console I have had to download updates so big that in some cases they took many hours until they were completed. What annoyed me more than that though was when games were first released and on day one required an update. These were pretty rare and the only two I can remember were MAG and Far Cry 3.

MAG Title

More than likely, I will get round to downloading Crysis within the next few weeks, but probably only really when I can actively leave the console for a few hours to do so, like a whole afternoon. Once I do that I can finally get round to playing it, which given by past experience should be sometime around 2017.

GENEPOOL

 






Uncivil War: “Get Ready For War!”

12 11 2014

Uncivil War

Back in July/August when I was on work experience in Manchester, I was looking through twitter and discovered that The Escapist had a new show on their website. The show is hosted by the combined efforts of Jim Sterling who presents the Jimquisition, and Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw who presents the internet phenomenon; Zero Punctuation, to which both shows are shown on The Escapist. Jim and Yahtzee, both being originally from Great Britain previously co-hosted a show on the Escapist called Jim & Yahtzee’s Rhymedown Spectacular where they would each present a poem on a similar theme each week. The show went on for about a year, and was quite entertaining in the process; both showing their talent for poetry as well as write and perform poems about Video Game subjects.

Since the poetry however, Jim and Yahtzee have now changed direction and have started, once again co-hosting a new series on Video Games; Uncivil War. Basically each week, the two presenters play the same game, and make up a challenge which does not really exist in the game whilst also providing an awesome sounding name for the challenge and see who is better at it. For instance, in one show they played the new Watch Dogs game where the challenge was to run over as many in game characters who wearing the same colour clothing as the car that the co-host was driving and so therefore named “The Car-Clothing Colour Co-Ordinated Carnage Contest“. On a later episode, the challenge was a lot simpler as they played Left 4 Dead and challenged themselves in trying to be the first person to board the helicopter at the end of the ‘No Mercy’ campaign, suitably named the “Get To Da Choppa” challenge.

Uncivil War Title Card

The show is very well produced as the title card and intro for the show publicize itself as being like an old-fashioned boxing match with even a pumped up introduction in the opening sequence while simultaneously assigning a blue and red corner to each participant. The title card at the beginning of the show as well as on the video view slide also gives the impression of a fly poster on a brick wall somewhere promoting the fight. The show also has a brilliant opening theme produced by another Escapist; Gavin Dunne who creates the Miracle of Sound songs and videos (including the brilliant song; Gordon Freeman Saved My Life). The theme tune is actually really catchy and while short can be expanded for little points in the show’s soundtrack. The opening theme though begins on a strong point with the lyric “Get Ready For War” before continuing with the rest of the sequence and keeping the song going.

Uncivil War is a terrific Show. I like it for the part of the shows co-hosts as well as the theme and soundtrack; but what I like most about it is that it represents for me anyway of what multiplayer games should be. Not just a straight race, or death match, or anything along those lines. Games should have more daft, silly modes for the basis of multiplayer more often, and the show’s two brilliant presenters have shown that. These are the kind of little games I would like to play in multiplayer more often, a little challenge between players to spice up the multiplayer element that little bit more. I remember watching my brother and a friend play one of the original Need for Speed games and not race each other, instead they spent their time tipping over big trucks with their cars. It’s little games like that between players as to what multiplayer games should be about, having fun doing something a little bit silly every now and again as well.

GENEPOOL





Pokémon and Dire Straits: A Brilliant Combination

22 10 2014

Pokemon

For nearly two years now I have been playing Pokémon on Thursday nights at Juicafe in Lancaster. I used to collect and play Pokémon when it first came out in the UK in about 2000, but without much of somewhere to actually play it; I ended up just playing it mostly with family and some friends. Eventually, while I still wanted to continue it, my interest waned. Then in 2013, Juicafe started a Pokémon Trading Card Game League and so at long last I was able to play again, and this time with other enthusiasts.

Juicafe

Playing Pokémon again was brilliant, and I enjoy it so much more than when I first started and is a definite improvement and better option to playing Magic: The Gathering competitively, for which I have now retired from. In the past year though, I began to notice people naming their decks, something I didn’t quite understand. From what I was able to gather, It was more for the experimentation of deck building to see how a certain deck works out. Being somewhat of a standard player, I did not consider naming my decks at all (I still prefer to play the cards with no sleeves as it feels more authentic despite the card scuffing, as well as the fact that I do actually have sleeves for them).

Pangoro Boxes

Well eventually I did decide to name my deck, but me being me, I decided to name my deck which was made up of Grass and Psychic Pokémon as Strong Arm Of The Law. I chose that name for one very good reason, it’s a song by British Heavy Metal Legends; SAXON. Strong Arm Of The Law is a very good song with a cool intro and riff, and a pretty good chorus section that is also kind of catchy. So pretty much there and then I decided to name my decks after Saxon songs. I planned to call a possible Fairy/Steel deck Princess Of The Night, while if I was to make a mainly Grass deck, that would be called And The Bands Played On. A Flying deck would receive the name 747 (Strangers in the Night) and a Fire deck (with possibly some Grass) would be Unleash The Beast. So I had it all planned out really.

That was until very recently. I decided that come the new season in September/October time I would start the construction of a new deck. I had been using Strong Arm Of The Law since about March/April 2013 and so in order for me to try something new plus some possible variety, I decided it would be best to get a new deck going. Strong Arm Of The Law was originally built by a friend at Pokémon by combining two Intro/Theme Decks, so I bought two decks at a brilliant Board Game shop in Horsham (BattleQuest Games). While I did do my research into Intro Decks and there were some with more powerful Pokémon, I went for a Dark and Fighting intro pack with a Panda like Pokémon on the front card called Pangoro. While I still need to build the deck, (I have yet to open the boxes) I have already chosen a name for my new Deck, and being a fan of Saxon, and deciding to name my future decks after Saxon Songs, my new deck’s name is,The Sultans of Swing, which many people know is the name of a song by Dire Straits.

Mark Knopfler

So why did I choose that? Well, during the summer, mostly thanks to listening to Money for Nothing about this time of year last year, as well as constant exposure to Romeo and Juliet on my Writing Adaptations module at University, I became a fan of Dire Straits. So pretty much the only music I have really listened to for the last 2/3 months is music by Dire Straits. One song in particular; The Sultans of Swing, I have listened to more than others. When I first heard it I wasn’t too impressed, I thought the song was a bit plain, but then when you listen to a live recording version and give it some time, it becomes one of their best songs. The lyrics the tune, everything. I once listened to it about 20 times in one week, I like it that much. So why did I decide to choose Sultans of Swing as the name of my new deck? Well, because:

  • A) I think it works, and…..
  • B) because I couldn’t think of anything else.

But the name does work, because in essence, I am calling the Pokémon in the deck, The Sultans of Swing. It is more of a personal name for them and gives the Pokémon cards both Character and Personality, and on top of that it brings two awesome things together into one brilliant combination; an Awesome Card Game and an Awesome Rock Band. Pokémon and Dire Straits is quite literally a Brilliant Combination (unless the deck turns out to be rubbish, in which case it may be the last time I use a Dire Straits song as the name for a Pokémon deck).

GENEPOOL (I could call a future deck Telegraph Road, but the deck would need to be so evenly mixed enough for the full 14 minutes of the song to take effect).








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