App Store Classics: Game Dev Story, a game about making games.
Ever wondered what it’d be like to run your own game development house? Me neither, but don’t let that stop you getting involved with Game Dev Story (iTunes link), a little gem of a game from Japanese developers Kairosoft, currently on sale in the app store for $0.99.
The concept is straightforward – grow your development house from a tiny team of four staff churning out cheap and cheerful PC games to a revered coding powerhouse in swanky offices crafting masterpieces for the latest consoles.
At first you’ll probably be going over budget left right and centre, trying to figure out which game types work best and therefore shift more units, but once you get into the swing of it you can concentrate on hiring and training the best staff and purchasing licences to develop console games, resulting in better made and better selling games with higher profit margins.
It’s not just a question of hiring and firing, coming up with game ideas and watching your staff working their buns off though. Through the use of ‘boosts’ which are periodically made available to purchase as the game progresses (not in-app purchases I hasten to add), you can choose one of your coders to work on enhancing one specific aspect of the game. This pushes up the overall quality of the game you’re making and results in better reviews and sales, adding a further strategic element as you choose the right moment and category in which to use your boosts. At certain points within the development cycle you also get the chance to work on the graphics and sound specifically, either using one of your own staff or hiring in a freelancer, and this too gives you the opportunity to increase the overall quality of your virtual product.
When you make your first million seller it’s a satisfying moment but there’s no time to rest on your laurels. There are always new consoles appearing on the market, contract jobs to take on, new staff to hire and new game types to discover. If you leave too much of a gap between development cycles you start losing fans and therefore a few sales, but think carefully about what kind of games you make – my pirate simulation was a right turkey.
It’s all great fun, but it’s fair to say there are a few things here which need to be addressed by the time Game Dev Story 2 arrives in the app store. I know it’s a tall order on a phone but I couldn’t help thinking how nice it would be if I could play the games my team had made. Even a comedy cut sequence showing some aspects of the latest game would have been good. There are also some hugely expensive advertising options within this game that offer no feedback other than some numbers increasing on a stat page. If I’m sponsoring a racing team I’d like to see my company logo on the side of a formula one car at least!
Finally, the game is perhaps a bit on the easy side. I’m sure if developing a multi million selling game was this straightforward we’d all be at it. Well, maybe not, but it’s easy to make enough money that you don’t have to worry too much about how you spend it, and this negatively impacts the strategy element.
All things considered however, Game Dev Story is great fun. It’s a good natured game and from the cute graphics and retro sound to the amusing titles you can give your creations, it’s a rewarding experience which works perfectly whether in short bursts or longer play sessions. Did I mention that it’s currently only $0.99 on the app store?
Photo: Tim GilliamPresident Obama doesn't seem
like he's going to let this high-speed rail thing go, making it a centerpiece
of the infrastructure section of his State of the Union Address last night:
Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans
access to high-speed rail. This could allow you to go places in half the time
it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying --
without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are
Sounds great, if you're a
high-speed rail fan. But last fall's midterm elections exposed GOP opposition
to Obama's plan to bring fast train service to all regions of the country. As a
gubernatorial candidate, Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin made opposition
to a Milwaukee-Madison high-speed route a centerpiece of his campaign. After he
was elected, he
handed the feds back $810 million that would have funded the line, on the
grounds that it would be too expensive for the state to run. It was a move
echoed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's rejection of funds for a regular-speed
rail tunnel under the Hudson River (Christie is fighting hard not to repay money the feds already spent on that project).
And in California, which
ended up getting some of that Wisconsin money, there's been controversy over the first phase of the state's own HSR project, with detractors calling it "a train to
nowhere" and farm communities worried about the impact on available land.
So it's notable that Obama
doesn't seem to be backing down from his push to make HSR part of his legacy.
That 80 percent figure is pretty aggressive.
The president also hammered
away at the need for the need to continue upgrading and repairing the
transportation infrastructure we already have:
over the last two years, we've begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project
that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry.
And tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble those efforts.
put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We'll make
sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects
based [on] what's best for the economy, not politicians.
stance was cheered by Transportation for
America (T4A) a coalition group calling for a reform of the nation's
transportation system. At the same time, the group's statement also acknowledges the difficulty of
getting projects funded. From the statement released by T4A's executive director, James Corless, today:
We were thrilled to hear the President come right
out and say that investment in transportation and other infrastructure is
central to rebuilding and growing our economy. An upfront investment in the
most-needed, clean transportation projects is a great opportunity to create
near-term jobs and lay the groundwork for the future economy.
He acknowledged that money will be tight and we
have to make the best of use it. That requires fixing the 20th century
infrastructure -- our crumbling roads and bridges -- as we build out the
infrastructure for the 21st. That certainly includes
high-speed rail, but it also means helping communities get moving on
long-planned networks of light rail, street cars, rapid buses, and making
progress on road reconstruction to make our streets safer people walking,
biking and driving.
The President's vision for infrastructure is not just about
near-term construction jobs. It is, as he said, about growing new businesses,
livable neighborhoods and dynamic regions that can attract a young and mobile
workforce and compete with our international competitors. It's about the jobs
associated with new transportation technologies
and manufacturing modern transit vehicles, everything from real time
information systems to make our highways and transit corridors smarter, to the
new rail cars being built today by United Streetcar in Oregon that can breathe
new life into our cities and suburbs.
T4A's Equity Caucus, which focuses on
the needs of poor, working-class, and minority Americans, had this to say:
[O]ur inadequate, outdated,
and underfunded transportation systems are keeping too many struggling
Americans -- young and old, rural and urban -- from fully connecting and
contributing to the national economy.
Millions of Americans
rely exclusively on public transit, walking, or biking to get to work, to the
doctor's office, to school, and to the grocery store. Nearly 20 percent of
African American households, 14 percent of Latino households, and 13 percent of
Asian households live without a car. Fifteen percent of Native Americans must
travel more than 100 miles to access basic services.
investments can unleash the under-realized economic power of communities across
All this comes in the context
of a transportation reauthorization bill that has been stalled for the past year and a
half in Congress -- and that was when the Democrats controlled both the House and the
Senate. With Republicans now in control of the House, things are bound to get more complicated. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the new Republican chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House, had this to say about the president's call for more infrastructure spending (via Transportation Nation):
After the Administration derailed a major six-year transportation
bill in 2009, it is encouraging that they are now on board with getting
infrastructure projects and jobs moving again. However, just another
proposal to spend more of the taxpayers’ money, when we have billions of
dollars sitting idle tied up in government red tape, will never get our
economic car out of the ditch.
We’ve got to do more with less to improve our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner.
Central to all future
discussion about infrastructure enhancement and repair will be the question of
money. With lawmakers avowedly against raising the gas tax, finding the cash to
build new systems -- or to stop the proverbial crumbling of the old ones -- is
going to be the biggest problem.
Home / News / Article. Some genes like it hot. Regional DNA differences may be due to climate. By Laura Sanders. Web edition : Saturday, February 19th, 2011. font_down � font_up Text Size. WASHINGTON — You are where you live, ...
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