Give Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story a whirl. Currently, the game is 40% off to celebrate the release of their newest game, Hot Springs Story.
Game Dev Story is just what it sounds like. A game about developing games.
In Game Dev Story, you start with yourself (the boss), a secretary, two staff and a small office seats for two more employees. With careful choices and incisive management you can become a huge game-developer, winning awards and making millions in the industry.
The sound effects are simple and effective, though if you’re playing for a while or in a noisier environment you might want to turn the music volume down separately. It’s cute and jaunty chip-music, but you’ll likely tune it out or tire of it after a while. Mostly I forgot it was there.
Each game is made for a specific platform, the PC being the cheapest to develop for. Consoles launch and fade away, attracting vast numbers of gamers, and are very profitable, but you need to establish a reputation and pay some hefty licensing fees before you can start developing for the highly-profitable console market.
The fortunes of game-consoles will also rise and fall, and it may not do to put all of your eggs into one basket.
Each game development cycle takes place in a number of phases. After selecting the type of game, the platform and direction, you’ll first need to get a writer to provide the overall game design. You can use an in-house employee with appropriate skills, or outsource to one of a selection of increasingly expensive writers.
Then the coding phase takes place, building on the design until you get to the alpha-stage. Graphical design comes next, and likewise can be handled in-house or outsourced. Once you get to beta, it’s time to work on sound, music and sound-effects (in-house or outsourced), and at the end of that phase you’ll go through the process of knocking the bugs out of it.
When you fix bugs (or complete contracts, see below) you’ll earn research data points. These points can be used to level up your employees, pay for the usage of power-ups, or boost chances of success when employees make ambitious (and expensive!) attempts to boost the quality of the game.
In between making games, you can score some quick cash and research data points doing contracts for other firms, such as making ring-tones, musical scores for anime series, cartoon sound-effects, character designs, and game designs.
Advertise for staff, market your company, don’t overspend, don’t ship games too early (unless you’re desperate for cash), build your fan-base, try different genres and game-styles (or focus on just a couple), promote and train staff, use power-ups to get more out of your games and your employees, suffer the scorn of games-reviewers, and try to make it big, bigger, biggest.
You might even develop your own games console platform, if you’re good enough.
You can try the demo for free, it’s called Game Dev Story Lite. It’ll let you play for a couple of game years. Enough to get two or perhaps three games out of the door.
I played on a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, and a solid couple of hours of gameplay hit the battery pretty hard, but it wasn’t all that freshly charged to begin with, and I was having too much fun to care.
Highly recommended. Cheap, fun, cute, and interesting – and for less than most of you would pay for a cup of coffee. Play it now!