It's been some time since I last blogged here in the GameInformer User Blog section. Yeah, been a while indeed. I guess I don't do as much writing as I used to anymore. Lack of ideas is one of the reasons, second is that there really isn't much to talk about. No resources = no new hardware; no new hardware = no new games to play. I do check what's going on here from time to time and this day I have a topic to write about - Game Dev Tycoon.

It's been some time since I played something "new". And quite recently I discovered Game Dev Tycoon, a kind of simulation/strategy hybrid (more commonly known as "tycoon"), where you create your own video game company and then build it up by creating games, getting money, researching new technologies, growing into a big firm and getting super-famous... OR going into total bankruptcy and losing everything.

Game Dev Tycoon was created by Greenheart Games and released on December 10, 2012. A lot earlier than I first heard about it. Now before I jump into all the good stuff that this offers, I'd like to bring out a major negative factor about the game (which the developers might have implemented deliberately). The game has practically no manual and there is no way to find out what is the best way to combine game types, topics, game systems and priorities during development stages either than using the classic "trial-and-error" method. This method might have worked back in the days of NES, where you had to punch walls in Metal Gear to find a hidden exit out of a prison and to locate some random doctor (I can't remember his name, something of a Russian origin. The game was 95% Japanese for me). But nowadays, people are not used to reading long walkthroughs and guides to complete a game. All the help has to presented for them in-game... tooltips and so on.

I did try and play it for several hours without any external help, trying to use common sense of what combinations would work and what not, but all the companies I made ran into dead end before I could even start hiring employees. But then I turned on Game Dev Tycoon's Wikia page and all my questions were answered. Thanks to the information I found there (oh there's a ton of information there), I was able to create a company, finish the game and still continue playing it till I get a 100% completion (all researches done, custom console built and so on... basically the endgame). And so, Entity Entertainment was born.

Here's my first AAA title: "Ultimate Warfare", which is a sequel to Space Warfare, which was a sequel to Total Warfare 2, which was a sequel to Total Warfare, which was inspired by Total War.

I think it took me around 10 hours (real-time) to get to the point where I am now with this company. The main game was finished about 7 hours in (30 in-game years). But it allowed me to still continue playing, which is good. I like that. I was able to research a lot of new technologies, upgrade my custom game engine, develop my first self-published AAA title and even open up technology division and started developing my own console (you can see it on the top left corner, it's called "Entity System").

So what's good about Game Dev Tycoon apart the lack of in-game guides and tooltips? EVERYTHING! I like absolutely everything else about the game. I've played several tycoon games in the past and I've liked most of them, but the indie hit of Greenheart Games just tops it all. The Sims, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Zoo Tycoon - they are no match for this game. Even though I have both GDT and Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe installed, I like the first one a lot more.

So, what's the game all about then? I'll give you a quick look. Basically, you create your own company, make yourself a character and then start the game. At the first, you have nothing. You live in a garage, you have a basic computer and the year is somewhere in the 80s I think. Because the first two systems you can develop games on in the beginning of the game are PC and Game Dev Tycoon's version of Commodore 64 called "Govodore 64". Basically they've renamed every single console in the game and created a timeline that sort of matches the real world timeline - when the consoles were released and how popular they were and so on. Xbox is "mBox", Playstation is "Playsystem", GameBoy is "Gameling", Sony is "Vonny" and so on. It's quite funny actually. And by the way, you will see this "Informed Gamer" quite a lot in the game. You can only guess where it's taken from.

So basically you create your first game, get your first reviews, get your first fans and income and from there the game starts to slowly reveal itself to the player, step-by-step. With each game, you level up your company's skills and also your own and your employees skills. In brief, Greenheart Games have implemented a progression system in Game Dev Tycoon. You can improve the leveling up experience multiplier by using new topics for games, using great type combos (like Action and RPG) as well as great type-topic combos (City and Simulation for example), later on getting "Good Management" bonus by dividing the amount of work each employee has to do during the 3 development stages equally... and of course you get another bonus by matching the current trend (which is usually either "new topic", "some game type", "games for Young, Everyone or Mature").

And in the end, you can have up to 6 employees which you can train to become various specialists, a big office, a lot of developed games, fans, custom game engines and so on. Heh, you can even do some contract work and create technology for space shuttles or help in creating a detection system which detects alien activity around Earth (I was never able to complete that contract, it was way too hard). But since this is not a guide, I'm not gonna delve into details. That's for you to find out yourself.

In conclusion, I'd like to say that Game Dev Tycoon is definitely one of the best indie games I've seen this year (even though it was released in the end of 2012, it was introduced to me this year). I'd give this game a solid 9 out of 10. The game plays excellent, it's interesting and addictive and full of cool easter eggs here and there. The only things it lacks are in-game guides and tooltips, which you have to look for from the Internet.

With warm greetings from Estonia,
Drym Shyuan