Game Dev Tycoon

gdt

I picked this up on sale as a preorder and just noticed it was ready to play yesterday. I then spent nine of the last 24 hours playing it when I should have been reading Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.

Developer: Greenheart Games
Publisher: Greenheart Games, Valve (Steam)
Platforms: PC (reviewed), WinRT, OSX, Linux
Genre: business sim/tycoon
Mode: single player

It’s a simple game with simple choices to make, but it is engrossing all the same. I find myself unwilling to close it to continue reading. You start as a one-person company in your garage (seen above) where you can make a game, a game engine, then continue researching and making games to stay at the top of the charts. As you make better games and make more money, you continue moving into better offices, employing more people, and eventually opening your own R&D department so you can research MMOs and your own hardware.

You choose the name of your game (definitely choose Pong while in the garage, Wing Commander, Doom, Theme Hospital, Half-Life, Star Citizen, Halo, and Okami for easter egg achievements- and name your company after a real developer for another achievement), the topic, the genre, platform, and engine. Eventually, you can have others publish your game by creating what they want, or once you are large enough, self-publish.

My advice? Get your avatar up to at least 700 in design or tech, and have your first hire get to 700 in the other. Once you get to the largest office, you’ll need both to be specialists to open R&D. Each time I finished a game, I’d first use the points to train my two top guys once, then on upgrades. I have not finished the game, but I have researched MMOs and my own console. I’m just stockpiling money for it. It looks to be a very expensive pursuit.

There are a lot of nods toward the history of the industry, such as Sony and Nintendo’s first attempt at the Play Station. I only wish it wasn’t so obvious which would succeed and which would fail, and that time didn’t go so fast. It almost seems pointless to cater to consoles when you have to buy a license (expensive at first) to publish to a system that will be gone after only a couple games.

It could also be more intuitive as to whether to put a techie or designer on each category when designing the games. You can look at the wiki, or for your sake:

Round 1 (left to right): Tech, Design, Design

Round 2: Design, Tech-generalist, Tech

Round 3: Design-generalist, generalist, Design-generalist

$10 on Steam, and I’d say it’s well spent. (Also, don’t forget to make a Game Dev/Simulation and call it “Game Dev Tycoon”!)

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