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Thursday, July 7, 2011

AAQR: Game Dev Story (free, $2.85)

Game Dev Story is a charming little Japanese "business sim" from Kairosoft, where you run a game development company from the ground up! The result is a sim that is both a bit whimsical, has RPG elements, AND represents the seriousness of game development quite well.

The game basically runs similar to a "Tycoon" game. You start with just yourself and a secretary, and a budget. You need to hire employees in four areas: creativity, programming, sound, and graphics. Each employee have one "profession", and gains skills in each of these four areas. Clearly, you can't have the graphics guy do programming, or the creative girl do sound. Once you hired the staff, start an assignment, either develop your own game, or do contracting work. Initially, the types of game are limited, and the subject matter are also limited. Later, the choices open up with popular genres like shooters, and more subject matters becomes available. Choose to make a puzzle game on soccer is a possibility... but will it sell? You also pick the overall approach to the game: take a bit longer, rush, try new ideas are all possibilities. Then you pick how you want to allocate the resources: more on user-friendliness? Or more on authenticity?

Once the game development cycle starts, the employee in the "profession" will have to perform (generate points in the respective area(s). You can also choose to pay a lot of money and get an outside contractor to do it. Do all four areas: back story, engine, graphics, and sound, and your game can enter beta. At each phase, more points are generated for the game in the four areas. The game's "rating" depends on these points generated. During the development you also get bugs, and time must be spent to crush bugs (though it is possible to ship games still with some bugs). You can also choose to advertise (spend $$$) to build up buzz, and gain audience.

Once the game has been released, it's time to take the profits and start on another game! As time passes, you can decide whether you want to pay the huge licensing fees to develop games for a console (which has much bigger audience than PC). You can also "level up" the employees when you accumulate enough corporate action points. Your game will get ratings and fans, and your company will gain reputation.

My main complaint is the game doesn't use the entire screen, so the characters are a wee bit small, but you don't really need to touch the characters any way. All interactions are through the menus.

The lite version below only runs to 3rd year, but it will give you a taste of the game. As the full game is only $2.85, and you can replay this over and over, this game is a great investment. BUY IT!

Game Dev Story Lite (free)

Game Dev Story ($2.85)
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1 comment:

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