Inspired by the mobile game Game Dev Story, Greenheart Games created Game Dev Tycoon and elaborated on the idea of becoming a game developing giant through hard and repetitive work. Starting out in the 1980s, you are your company's first employee while working out of your garage, right next to your DeLorean. The available gaming consoles mirror what was available in that era but with slightly altered names. This theme continues on throughout your career as a games developer until you reach the end of the game. You're allowed to continue on, but the console releases will not not continue. The next-gen consoles coming out soon, so I hope there will be an "expansion pack" for possible future releases.
When you start your company, you slowly build your reputation with your first released titles. I found that sticking true to the PC helped out with the reception of my games at the beginning, even though my average score was closer to a 5 or 6. There are a few achievements that I'm currently working on that seem impossible, where one of the reviewers must give one of my games an eleven out of ten. I've made great games so far that received very well, but apparently not well enough. I usually get an average total of 9.75. One day, Game Dev Tycoon, one day. I was able to get the Inception achievement when I created my version of the game within the game. So that would make it a Gameception, right?
As in Game Dev Story, there is a point system where you can use earned points different projects you sign onto. During production, Technology, Design, Research and Bug points are generated as you create new games and complete contacted works. These points are depicted as color coded bubbles that leave your work area and migrate to the top menu where they're separated and counted. Research points can be used to research topics, game engine elements, provide employee training and even generate game reports on what worked or what didn't.
While owning a company that has turned a profit, you can expand and hire reliable, skillful people. Through the hiring process, you are able to set a budget and sort through applicants. You provide your new hires with introductory training and continue building their skills with courses, challenges and specialized training throughout the game. Your employees can eventually be assigned as a general Technical Specialist or an Engine Specialist through specialized training. As you develop your game, you can assign different elements of the game to each employee. I thought this brought out more of the employee side of the game where you have to know what each employee is able to do and is skillful at. You use slider bars to make adjustments as to what should be the main concentration of your employees and your time. Certain technologies within the game engine are available for you to incorporate in your game, such as Soundtrack or 2D Graphics. These choices can make that particular part of development expensive, if many are available with the engine you're working with. The cheaper your first games are, the longer you can keep going so you can create better ones.
I found that collecting money from sales was easy, but keeping the flow going was tedious. I kept an eye on my Research and Development budget at first then ended up cutting that department completely. Expenses and incomes have to remain visible so that you don't bleed money and end up bankrupt when you attempt to build a new console, game engine or even an MMO. I tried three times to see what my options are and I failed each time. Luckily, I had saved right before I started each venture. It may seem that you are stable enough to proceed with a huge step forward, but it will end up throwing you head first into the red. In the event of a potential bankruptcy issue, the bank can step in and temporarily bail you out or grant you credit, where you usually have to pay back with interest. If you can't pay them back, you end up bankrupt and the game is over. Your company is then sold to a bigger company along with all of your hard work.
I thoroughly enjoy playing sim games normally, and had fun losing many hours to this game alone. I ended up with a top company in the end and I'm continuing on with my venture to see if I can complete all of the achievements. I'm sure one day that I'll be able to charm a reviewer into giving one of my games an 11. I suggest that you take a few breaks in between game releases, so the repetitive nature of the work doesn't make this boring for you. Overall, Game Dev Tycoon has taken over my weeknights and weekends with no hesitation on my part. If you liked Game Dev Story, The Sims or any others in the sim genre, this will keep your addiction going on for a while.