Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Game Review - Game Dev Story

I first saw this game on our iPad - I downloaded the free version, but wasn't prepared to pay a few dollars for it - but when it came out for $0.10 on the Android Market, I couldn't resist!

The whole idea behind the game is that you are a game developing company. With that comes doing research, hiring staff, training and leveling up the staff, doing contracts, going to gaming conferences, and, most importantly, creating games :)

You start the game by starting your game development company, and a small office with only a few employees. Also, at first, you can only develop games for the PC.

Tapping anywhere on the screen opens up the menu, from where you can do all kinds of stuff, like start development for a new game, hire, fire, train and level up your staff, check out your statistics, etc.

When you develop a new game, you get to choose a few options for it, like which platform, the genre, type, and also the direction (for example, you can allocate extra money towards how quickly you develop the game, or even double the whole budget to increase all kinds of stats for the game)

As the game progresses, several companies release consoles, which you can then buy a license and develop for. The licenses get quite expensive, but can mean you make lots more money, since they hold a much bigger market share. I like how the consoles have names like "Play Status" and "Microx 480" :)

You start with only a few options for Genre, but as your staff gets more skilled, you unlock more Genres to choose from. Each Genre you also level on its own, by using it with a suitable Game Type. A few examples for Genres are "RPG", "Action", "Shooter", etc.

Then you have a few Game Types - these can include options like "War", "Robot" and even "Swimming".

Obviously not all Genres and Types go together, but that doesn't mean you can't give it a shot anyway!

Next you select the Direction for the game:

This can improve your game, but at greater cost. Usually I select the Budget+ option if I can afford it.

Lastly, you can allocated more points in certain aspects of the game, like Realism, Cuteness or Game World:

(Hint: From what I've seen, you get more points for the Direction of the game whenever you level one of the Genres or Types to Level 5...)

After you've selected the parameters for the game you're developing, your team will get to work. Now it's mainly a case of sitting back and watch what they do. Each staff member have 4 stats, namely Program, Scenario, Graphics and Sound. As they develop the game, they add points to each of the 4 areas of the game.

In the process, they inevitably add bugs as well, which needs to get sorted out before you ship the game (or, if you want, you can ship the game with bugs and all!)

At certain stages of the game, you can select specific employees to focus on a specific area of the game, for example Graphics or Sound.

Here you can see the team hard at work:

Every once in a while, one of your staff members will ask if he/she can attempt to boost one of the aspects of the game - this has a certain percentage to succeed - if they fail, you add a whole lot of bugs to the game, which means it takes a bit longer to get finished.

You can, however, use some research points to increase the percentage of success with a boost attempt. (Research points you get as your team figures stuff out, and so on - it happens pretty much automatically)

I usually just do it, because fixing bugs at the end of development, gives you more research points (which you use to level up your staff, among others...) - so in my opinion, it's a win-win.

That's basically it, you carry on until your game has been completed, give it a name, and hope it sells. 

There's a few things you can do to help make your game better - you can, for example, buy "items" from the traveling salesman who makes an appearance every now and again. Items cost 30 research points to use, and can boost one of the aspects of your game.

There's also bad stuff that can happen, like blackouts, which causes you lose some points in your current game:

It can also happen that a rival gaming company is developing a similar game to yours, which means fewer sales.

You can advertise as well, which costs money, but increases your fan base (your fan base even ages as time goes by, so you lose some, and get some new ones).

Then there's contracts you can do for a quick buck, and even the annual GameDex (gaming conference) and Gaming awards!

For a small game like this, there's definitely lots of aspects to keep you coming back for more!

This is probably the game I'm playing most at the moment - it's lots of fun, and well worth the money in my opinion! You can always try out the demo of course, but I'm sure you won't be sorry if you buy the full version - it's selling for $3.00 or so, I was very lucky to have paid only $0.10 - but knowing what I know now, I'd buy it for the full price as well!

Get it here

Till next time!