Interview: Greenheart Games About Their Upcoming Sim “Game Dev Tycoon”
I’ve mentioned Game Dev Tycoon before. If you read my list of must have Microsoft Surface games then the name will ring a bell. I also talked about how the game is just a trial version right now. Luckily, that will be changing soon.
Patrick Klug of Greenheart Games talked with us to let us know that the full version of Game Dev Tycoon is coming soon with more details on the way. We had a chance to ask a few questions about Greenheart Games and how Game Dev Tycoon came to be.
Needless to say, if you’re a fan of Kairosoft’s mobile games such as Game Dev Story, you’re going to want to read this.
How did the idea for Game Dev Tycoon come to exist? Are you a fan of Kairosoft and their Game Dev Story game or was it a separate inspiration?
Game Dev Story was probably the first game I truly enjoyed playing on my iPhone but from the start I wished GDS would work and look differently. I wanted it to be less random, more about your choices and more realistic. Daniel and I wanted to create a game and test the waters with a small project where we could do most of the work ourselves. After brainstorming a bunch of ideas we settled on the idea of a round-based, more realistic game developer tycoon game for the iPhone with minimal graphics. Back then, in mid 2011, iOS seemed like the only market for small games so that’s what we targeted. We spent half a year of our spare time working on the game concept. Once Windows 8 was announced we knew that this was a great opportunity for us and we completely reworked the concept to be a real-time simulation game instead. This was a big step. Now Game Dev Tycoon was no longer a small project and we had to invest into great artwork and animations to make it look good on all different Windows 8 devices and the gameplay became much more complex as well. We spent a lot of time and money this year on the game and in July we officially started our company.
Will the x86/x64 version update to include ARM support or will it be a separate purchase?
We will do all that we can to offer one single product that runs on x86/x64 and ARM. We really like that you can purchase an app once and then install it on your PC and tablets. Game Dev Tycoon is designed so that save-games automatically synchronize between your devices and in our tests this works very well.
From the trial version, it seems that Game Dev Tycoon relies more upon the technology being used and upgrading to incorporate new breakthroughs. Was this something you wanted to focus on as a hook for progression?
Good question. Our first goal was to make the game development itself less random and more realistic. When creating an app you usually try to solve a problem for your users but when creating a game you basically invent a challenge for your players to solve. This is a striking change of perspective for a developer. The core idea in Game Dev Tycoon is that different games require you to focus on different things. A Fantasy/RPG for example will likely need more focus on Story/Quests than a racing simulation would need. The initial challenge for the player is to find out what works best so, in a sense, technology is secondary. Even if you use the best technology you will still not get the best results if you set your focus all wrong. Having said that, once you have a good feel how to set your priorities the game is mostly about technology, managing staff and decisions of what game you create on what platform.
How do you feel your game improves on the game developer simulation genre?
I think Game Dev Tycoon has a good balance between believable mechanics and accessibility which for me is the ultimate challenge for a tycoon game. Most players don’t want to feel like they are playing a spreadsheet and a lot of players (myself included) don’t like the mind-numbing gameplay of some modern ‘social’ or ‘ville’-type games. Game Dev Tycoon is a casual game that you can play for half an hour then put down and easily come back to later. There isn’t a lot of micro management and, even though there are many options in the game, it is fairly easy to learn. Even the gameplay is fairly simple, the game still gives you control of big decisions and these decisions really matter.
How was your experience creating the game for Microsoft’s new Metro-style and Windows 8? ? Is there a technical reason why the ARM version isn’t ready yet?
The experience has been very positive. Given that this is our first game, our first Windows 8 app and the first application we have written using this technology (HTML/JS) I am surprised how well it all went. It certainly was a lot more work and effort than expected but we rarely had to fight with the platform.
Yes, there is a technical reason for the lack of ARM support in our first release. We have some performance issues with the full game on ARM and it will take a bit to sort it out. The Lite version is already available and, after some tweaks, runs okay. The speed of the device itself should be enough to run our game and at this stage it is too early to say what the real cause of these issues are. We will investigate further and Microsoft has been very helpful as well so I’m optimistic.
If you had to describe Game Dev Tycoon in one sentence to a potential buyer, what would you say?
Start your own game development company at the beginning of the PC revolution and replay gaming history.
I would then add a few more sentences and if they are interested tell them that there is a free trial
Are there any updates or DLC planned for Game Dev Tycoon? What do fans/buyers have to look forward to?
Getting the ARM version ready is our next goal. After that we will prepare the game for translations and start localizing it into a few languages. We will likely start with German. The game has an unusual amount of text in it so this will be quite a lot of work.
There is no DLC planned for Game Dev Tycoon. We consider the game to be completed but we are definitely eager to hear feedback about the game and will gather ideas and wishes for a possible future return to the game dev simulation genre.
What’s next for Greenheart Games?
We have a couple of ideas for new games. There are a few smaller experimental things we would like to try and then we have a few ideas for larger projects. What ideas we pursue will largely depend on the success of Game Dev Tycoon but if Game Dev Tycoon does well you can definitely expect to hear from us again
You can check out the free trial version of Game Dev Tycoon if you follow this link. Stay tuned for more details about when this game will be released in the Windows Store.