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Game Dev Story (iPhone) Tips and Tricks Guide

gamedevstory2Game Dev Story is one of the most addictive iPhone games available at the moment – just check out our review to understand why. There’s so much depth to the game that sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to do next.

Hence, we’ve put together this handy guide, answering all the most important questions and proving hints and a good walkthrough for how to get the most out of the game.

Looking for an answer that isn’t provided here? Simply leave your question in the comment section below, and we’ll be happy to help you out!

Which game genres and types work well together?

When it comes to creating your game, combining genres and types is usually a case of using your common sense. Initially, it’s best to use combinations that are obvious choices – for example, any type of RPG will always work well with the Fantasy type, while the Card Game genre works beautifully with the Dungeon type.

Once you’ve got a bit of money under your belt, you can then begin to experiment with more ‘out there’ combinations. Even if the combinations you pick don’t work so well, it’s still worth trying, as every time a genre or type hits level 2, you’ll receive 2 extra points to increase the stats of future games. Hence, leveling up as many different genres and types as possible is a great idea.

How often should contract work be chosen?

Contract work is useful in that it gives you development points, which can be used to level up your employees and boost the stats of your current game. When you first start the game, it’s a good idea to do one bit of contract work between each game project. Make sure to always choose work that is definitely going to be possible – anything with a time limit of less than 10 weeks, and you probably won’t get it done.

Once you get fully rolling, you may never need to do contract work, as your devs may well earn enough development points through build the games. At this point, it’s up to you if you want to do contract work or not – it does a good job of breaking up the main flow of the game, and keeping the addiction a little fresher.

However, there is one tactical aspect to taking on contract work. The best time to release a game is just before Christmas (around month 11/12), and games usually take around four months to develop – although this changes depending on how good your team is. Hence if it’s May, you may well want to take on a few contract jobs to let time pass a little, then start development in August so that your game will be ready at the peak of Christmas shopping.

When should I hire more/new staff?

When you first begin, it’s best to choose whichever are the best staff available to you. Make sure you fill every seat in your offices, as the more staff you have, the better your games will be.

Once you have the option of looking in more classy places for staff, do so immediately – well, as long as you have the cash. Getting rid of staff with poor stats feels harsh, but you’ll be able to find candidates with stats that are 5 or 6 times higher than your current lot, so it’s really not worth keeping them on – leveling them up that high will cost far more than it’s worth.

Check for new staff in between every game project, and by the tenth year, you should have a full team of workers with triple-figure stats. Make sure you take on a good range of skills – at the very least, have one sound engineer, one designer, one writer and two coders. Remember, however, that the better the staff, the higher their salaries will be, and wages disappear at the end of March, so making sure you have enough money to pay them all at that point is essential!

What’s the deal with hackers?

When searching for workers, you may come across hackers. These guys have ridiculously good stats, yet when you take them on, they turn out to be not so great. Basically, they’re massively talented, but don’t have any direction or focus. Take on every hacker you find, then use the Career Change Manual (bought from the salesman) to give them a proper job. Their stats will drop slightly at the point, but it’s still very much worth it.

What should I buy from the salesman?

Every year, a salesman will come to visit, bearing rather expensive wares. Initially you most likely won’t be able to afford the stuff he has to offer, but when you’ve got enough cash together, make sure you start to grab his boosts. You’ll want to buy the Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound Boosts, as these allow you to add extra points to your current game.

Once you’ve bought these four, do not bother with anything else other than the Career Change Manual. Buy three of these every time the salesman comes calling, as they are incredibly useful – especially if you want a hardware engineer (see later in the guide).

What console should I choose for my latest game?

This is where a decent knowledge of real-life gaming platforms from the last 20 years comes into play. Every console available in Game Dev Story is based on a real console, albeit with a slightly different name and design. Not only that, but the success or failure of each console is based loosely around how well its real-life counterpart did too.

With this in mind, it’s relatively simple to work out which platforms to develop for and which to stay well away from. Early in the game, developing for the Intendro consoles – such as the Game Kid and the Super IES – is definitely a good idea. Watch the Share percentages, and keep developing for a console until its share has fallen considerably lower than the rest, as purchasing licenses for the later consoles can cost a fair amount.

When Sonny enters the market, it’s a good idea to jump on the PlayStatus, as that keeps going for a good several years. By the time it has run its course, you’ll most likely have collected together the funds and the tools to create your own console. Make sure you put the maximum amount of money and effort into creating your own hardware, but also make sure you have a substantial amount of cash spare too, as console development takes a very long time.

Once your console is complete, make sure from that point on that you only develop for your own console – this way, the share will stay high and you’ll make the maximum amount of cash.

How do I get a hardware engineer for making my own consoles?

Perhaps the biggest secret in Game Dev Story, bagging a hardware engineer is simple – if expensive – stuff. The idea is to level up one of your staff to the max in every type of role. This can be done with a combination of development points and Career Change Manuals (from the salesman). Level your chosen character up to level 5 in whatever role they’re in, then use the Career Change Manual to swap their job to something they aren’t already level 5 in.

Level them up to level 5 in this role, then repeat until they are level 5 in every available role. Now use the Career Change Manual on them once more, and the Hardware Engineer role will now be available for selection. Choose this, and you’ll then be able to develop your own console.

How do I make sequels, and how often should I do so?

Sequels can only be developed if the original game made it into the Hall of Fame. Any game that manages to get a cumulative review score of 35 or over enters into the Hall of Fame, and you’ll then be able to make a sequel to it.

Sequels are very useful in that they start with plenty of points available straight away, meaning that the finished product will most likely be very highly rated and make you lots of money. There are two issues with sequels – firstly, if you make too make sequels to a row, your fans will grow tired of your antics and start to diminish. The way to combat this is to wedge a brand new game in between each sequel, to keep your games fresh.

The other issue with sequels is that you’re forced to use the genre and type of the original game, hence you won’t be able to try out new genres and earn yourself extra points for bumping future games up. It’s best to develop a sequel as every third game you make when you’re doing OK for cash, and when you’re absolutely rolling in it and there’s no money problems whatsoever, you may not even want to make sequels at all.

Who should I choose to write/design/create sound effects for my current game?

This is where having a good range of workers on your team pays off. Writers are always the best people to have script your game for you, while designers are best at graphics and sound engineers are best at sound and music. However, you should never use the same person twice in a row for two games – if you used a person in the last project, it will say ‘Prev’ just next to their name.

Having two of each type of worker, then, is a very good idea – although the likes of Producers and Directors will usually do a pretty decent job too. There’s always the temptation to use an outside source and pay a ridiculous amount for someone with very high stats, but most of the time it’s not worth it at all – choosing these guys can be very risky, as sometimes they’ll do a terrible job, then charge a ridiculous amount.

Just keep your workforce varied, and you should never need to outsource your projects.

Which advertising should I use, and how often should I use it?

Advertising affects both your company, and your current game. Using advertising during development is the best time to implement it, as it adds to both the hype of your game, and the fame of your company.

It’s only ever useful to choose the most expensive advertising going, as the less expensive options won’t add much to your fan count. However, when you first begin, it’s best to use whichever is ideal to your current budget – just make sure you use advertising at least one during each game’s development.

Once you’ve got plenty of money, use advertising lots of times during development, until the Hype rating for the game is close to 100. It can be expensive, but it’s definitely worth it, as your games will sell incredibly well.

When my staff ask to help, should I say yes?

During contract work, alway say no – the whole point of contract work is to earn development points, so using development points to speed up the process is pointless!

For game development, however, it all depends, as failure can result in lots of bugs to tidy up. Early on in the game, your devs will most likely not be skilled enough to pull this off with a success, so it’s best to say no to them. However, later on they’ll be able to do it with 80% success rate pretty much every time – at this point, you should always say yes, as these boosts can be extremely useful.

Hilariously, once you have the boosts from the salesman, you might as well say yes to your workers anyway, as the extra bugs can actually be useful! Each bug cleaned up will earn you one development point, hence if you have lots of bugs to clean up, this may give you the opportunity to use the various boosts you have bought and make the game ever better.

How do I get the Game of the Year award?

Achieving the Game of the Year award can be tricky, but if you focus on one project in particular – usually a sequel – it’s definitely doable. To be in with the chance your game needs to get at least 37/40 points in reviews – i.e. one 10, and the rest 9s.

Make sure all your staff are fully prepared and are not tired, then make a sequel to a very popular game. Give each job to the staff with the highest stats, then use each of the boosts you’ve bought from the salesman to send the stats through the roof. You should gather at least 300 points for Fun, then at least 100 for each of the others – possibly even 150 if you can manage it. Make sure to Hype up your game with advertising too