Game Dev Tycoon - (Nate Crowley)

Sometimes, even when playing in the giddily accelerating wonderland of digital entertainment, the best fun is that which we make for ourselves. So it is in Game Dev Tycoon, a business simulation by Green Heart Games, dealing with the history of videogames from the early 1980s through to the mid-2010s. You see, while the game does a great job of presenting thirty years of technological and social change – during which your garage-based hobbyist will rise to leadership of a big name, quintuple-A powerhouse – the real joy comes from cludging together weird combinations of genre and theme for prospective releases, and then coming up with extremely silly names for them.


Game Dev Tycoon - Greenheart Games

The first total UI overhaul mod for Game Dev Tycoon called "TAG Mod" is now fully released.

All the way back in July 2014, a small group called Throw Away Games (short TAG, hence the mod name) teased the mod on our forums with some impressive mockups. Since then they have changed their name to Bellwood Studios but kept working on the mod year after year.

The result is nothing short of impressive.

TAG Mod not only gives Game Dev Tycoon a fresh look but also introduces some neat convenience features such as the ability to generate a game report from the sales UI, or the super-charged game history screen showing you how you set your sliders on your past games and which engines you used.

That's not all though, there's lots more to discover so head over to the mod page and try it out yourself:

The folks over at Bellwood Studios are also working on their own game, if you are curious what the talented team is up to, check out their discord link on the mod page.

Until next time.

Greenheart Games 💚
Game Dev Tycoon - Greenheart Games

It's been five whole years since Game Dev Tycoon released on Steam. Time for a brief illustrated trip through the game’s history.

Back in 2011, my brother Daniel and I (we are both software developers) decided that we wanted to try to make a game. After days of brainstorming and discussions, we settled on the idea of making a game dev simulator. We were inspired by Game Dev Story on the iPhone (made by Kairosoft) and wanted to make a game in that genre with our own spin on it. Our intention was to make a game dev simulator where the player would have finer control over the decisions of what to focus on during game development.

Game Dev Tycoon started, as many games do, on a single piece of paper.

Back then, we imagined the game as a turn-based game with almost no graphics for phones. Our plan was to create a small but fun game to gain experience and test the market.

This is what the game looked like as a prototype.

We spend a few months in this prototype developing the algorithms on how points are generated, what decisions players make, and how virtual games are reviewed and judged.

Next, we realized how difficult it would be to be successful on mobile without a big marketing partner so, when Windows 8 (remember Windows 8?) was announced, we pivoted hard towards Windows. Our plan was to make Game Dev Tycoon the first simulation game on the very first Windows Store which we thought was a decent marketing strategy.

Windows 8 was all about tablets and touch-screens so our designs - intended for phones - no longer cut it. We changed from a turn-based simulation game with almost no graphics to a real-time isometric simulation game where you see your office at all times.

Windows 8 only had two reasonable technology choices: C++ with Microsoft's Windows-specific XAML frontend or HTML5. We both had XAML experience and Daniel is a great C++ developer (me, less so :D) but we also both disliked XAML. More importantly, while we heavily bet the game on Windows 8, we had enough experience in the Microsoft ecosystem not to trust the hype blindly. If the Windows 8 Store would flop, what would we do? With that in mind we opted to go for a versatile cross-platform technology instead of what we knew and decided to write our game in HTML5. Neither Daniel nor I had ever written anything in HTML5 before.

We took our prototype and ported it from C# to JavaScript. We also changed our algorithms from turn-based to real-time.

In May 2012 the game looked like this:

What followed was months of intense work to make the Windows 8 launch deadline. Moving to HTML5 was mostly easier than I personally expected but it did take me a whole day to figure out how to stack buttons on top of each other in CSS, not to mention how to center things :D

Initially, both Daniel and I worked on the game as a side project to our full time jobs but we soon realized that we needed to give it much more attention. I transitioned out of my job and put my savings from 10+ years as a software engineer behind the project to hire artists and finish the game on time, while Daniel worked hard next to his job and on weekends. If my money would run out, he'd have to support us both.

It was an intensely stressful and uncertain time full of the highs and lows of indie development.

Three months later, we published a free 'lite' version which just contained the first level of the game on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview store. The rest of the game wasn't even close to being finished yet.

This looks very familiar at a glance but in the final version we replaced the 3D modeled characters by more cartoony 2D ones and reworked the level art to be more crisp, stylized, and colorful. We also ditched the cut-off wall look.

Left: preview style. Right: release graphics.

We were quite nervous releasing just a preview game but within days we had nearly a thousand downloads and 4.5 star reviews. We were the very first simulation game on the Store.

Fueled by the positive response and early reviews, we put our heads down and developed the rest of the game. Here are a few images from the process.

This is the evolution of our second level. From basic sketch and a painted version in our old art-style to complete reboot and finally a vector draft which is quite close to what we ended up with.

By the time we designed the last level we had optimized our design process. Below you see a much more streamlined progression from sketch to layout concept to final piece.

On the UI front, we quickly decided against a more commonly seen fancy UI and instead focused on big readable text and minimalism. Here is a comparison between an early design versus what it ended up looking like.

After 8 intense months of work, Game Dev Tycoon launched on the Windows 8 Store on December 11th, 2012. With around 420 sales on day 1, we made it to spot 3!

Sadly, Windows 8 and particularly the Windows Store didn't quite reach the adoption we had hoped for and sales quickly dropped and leveled out. We knew that we had to port the game to a wider audience if we wanted to be able to work on another game full-time.

Our previous decision not to use Windows-Store-only technology for the game now proved crucial and within a few months we made the game run on desktops for Windows/Mac and Linux.

Late April 2013, we published the game on our own store via our website. At the same time we released a modified version on torrent site as a little piracy experiment. I still remember saying that after working non-stop on the game for over a year, I was planning to take a week off. I was just gonna publish the results of our piracy experiments first.

I published the story late at night, went to bed and when I woke up the next morning everything was on fire. Our piracy story went viral overnight. We had 500 emails in our inbox. Our website was down because it couldn’t handle the traffic and Game Dev Tycoon was suddenly discussed everywhere.

We were utterly unprepared for the sudden spotlight. Emails kept flooding in and because of the sudden influx of players so too did the bug reports. At the same time the discussion around our experiment exploded and the press wanted to talk to us.

We hired some help to handle emails but decided to listen to our players and retreated from the spotlight to focus on the game instead. With all the new players, lots of valuable feedback and critique was brought to our attention and after we were Greenlit for a Steam release we decided to address those concerns. Four months later, this resulted in the release of the improved Steam version on August 30th, 2013.

Steam in 2013.

Since the original Steam release a lot has happened.

- We have released 58 updates to the game.
- Most recently, a major content and quality-of-life update introducing new topics, everyone's favorite new console, a brand new game mode and several important UX improvements went live for free.
- The technology we developed (and open sourced) to enable Steam support for our game has now been used in 23 other Steam games.
- Game Dev Tycoon has been ported to iOS and Google Play.
- We have manually replied to nearly 40K emails in five years.
- Our modding community is still going strong with hundreds of mods and dozens which go far beyond simple content additions. From the ever-green most subscribed mods to more recent additions like the Compact Topic & Genres mod and the much anticipated upcoming TAG MOD.

Screenshot from the upcoming TAG MOD by Bellwood Studios.

We are incredibly honored and humbled by the success of Game Dev Tycoon and for the past five years we have turned this small two-brother team into a seven-people indie studio and poured our heart into developing our next game: Tavern Keeper. It's not ready yet but we plan to write an update in coming weeks and give you a better idea of what to expect.

Quite an old screenshot by now. We'll aim to share more soon.

Please consider following our developer page and sign up to our newsletter if you want to know more. We are also thinking of doing a special Game Dev Tycoon developer stream in a week or so. If you’d be interested in that, please let us know in the comments.

Thanks for all the 🎮

Patrick Klug
Greenheart Games 💚
Game Dev Tycoon - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on Game Dev Tycoon!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Saturday at 10AM Pacific Time
Game Dev Tycoon - Greenheart Games

Valve has just launched developer pages on Steam allowing you to follow your favorite creators and be notified of upcoming games. It's like they read our minds ːghsmileː

If you want to follow our journey and stay up to date with news on our next game, please consider following us here:

You can also sign up to our Tavern Keeper newsletter on the official website:

- Patrick
💚 Greenheart Games
Game Dev Tycoon

Video games development simulator Game Dev Tycoon now has an ultra difficult "Pirate Mode" where your software gets pirated.

Emulating the real world problem of piracy, this advanced option will see reduced sales on all of your games. "Bankruptcy is likely", you are told.

Game Dev Tycoon originally hit the headlines - and found success - when it forced those who had pirated the game itself to unwittingly fail from the effects of in-game piracy. Now you can opt in, instead.

Read more…

Game Dev Tycoon - Greenheart Games

We've been quietly working on our second game (Tavern Keeper) in the past years but to celebrate the mobile release of Game Dev Tycoon (it came out on iOS and Google Play), we've decided to take a break from designing taverns and worked to bring a FREE content update to our amazing Game Dev Tycoon community. Here are the goodies:

Pirate Mode

Try your luck surviving the harsh realities of piracy in this new ultra-hard game mode in which you have to invent DRM and sell company shares to survive.

You can find the pirate mode under the advanced options when starting a new game.

We've also added two new achievements:

New Review Screen

Inspired by the mobile UI, we've revamped the review screen with now 100% more star-power.

Disclaimer: Sudden rushes of anger from receiving a bad score from All Games is unchanged but the feeling of elation from receiving amazing scores is increased by several measurable units of excitement!

New side bar messages

Messages and events can now appear in a new sidebar instead of opening automatically and interrupting gameplay.

Messages can stack. You can click on them to read the message (or right-click to dismiss them). They will gently pulse and disappear if you ignore them too long.

We've tuned the default settings to be ideal for first-time players but experienced players can control which type of messages should auto-popup and which should appear in the sidebar in the new "Messages" settings tab:

New Topics, Icons & Drag to Scroll

We felt that the un-modded game lacked a few core topics that prevented players from re-making their favorite game in Game Dev Tycoon. This release adds 15 new topics to the game to enable more game combinations and, while we were at it, we completely redesigned the topic picker with shiny new icons.

Adding topic icons made the topic list a bit bigger, so we took this as an opportunity to add kinetic scrolling to lots of scrollable elements in the game. If you want to quickly browse the topic list now just click, drag, and flick it!

👩🏽‍💻 Women in Tech 🏆

We were made aware of a pretty sad bug where the 'women in tech' event in the game did not alter the gender balance of job applicants. We have now fixed this and also added a lot more famous women game developers to the game.

In related news, the default character when starting a new game is now randomized and there is a random character button for you to press too.

Swap and late-game PC

Turns out that Ninvento can't stop innovating! We have added the Ninvento Swap to the platform list, including a corresponding news story telling you all about bitter cartridges. We have also added a new late-game PC image to the game.

Modders 🛠

Existing mods should continue to function as they have before but we have added a few new features which modders can make use of:

  • Mods can now add an (optional) icon to their topics by specifying an iconUrl (documentation).
  • Mods can now add their own settings UI to the game's settings-panel via a call to `GDT.addSettingsTab(title, content);` (documentation).
  • Mods can spawn messages in the new sidebar. (documentation).
  • The game now ships the Greensock GSAP animation library which modders can use to its full potential (documentation).

Thanks for playing! 💚

Hope you all enjoy this free update. We will now head back into fantasy land and focus on our second game. We hope we can talk more about it soon. If you haven't done so yet, *please* sign up to our newsletter on

Full changelog

  • New: super-difficult 'pirate' game mode including new piracy, DRM and company ownership game mechanics.
  • New: Added Ninvento Swap console and 100% more mentioning of denatonium benzoate in the game.
  • New: Added new modern PC image.
  • New: UI panels have now a kinetic drag behaviour.
  • New: Updated review screen with new star animations.
  • New: Added 15 new topics.
  • New: Nicer topic and genre picker with all new topic and genre icons.
  • New: Added icons to context menu.
  • New: New message sidebar where messages can appear without interrupting gameplay.
  • New: New 'Messages' settings allow you to set which in-game messages should auto-popup and which should open in the new sidebar.
  • New: Character can now be randomized when starting a company.
  • New: Settings, achievements and highscore panels are now draggable.
  • New (modding): Mods can now add their own settings panel via GDT.addSettingsTab(title,jqueryContent);
  • New (modding): Custom topics can now specify a iconUrl to show a custom icon (otherwise generic fallback is used).
  • New: Modders can now make use of greensocks GSAP animation library:
  • Improved: Added more famous women to the game.
  • Added: Translations of new content.
  • Improved: Removed UI selection outline from slider handle.
  • Improved: Added visual clue when there are not enough research points to start a research project.
  • Improved: Small story window is now slightly wider.
  • Improved: Sponsoring the women in tech event now causes more women to apply for jobs.
  • Improved: Combobox in new game window is now larger.
  • Improved: The default character when starting a new company is now randomized.
  • Changed: Progression hint messages are now categorized as company milestones and will auto-open by default.
  • Fixed: Randomize character button in company creation screen has missing icon.
  • Fixed: Animation sounds would sometimes continue playing when starting a new game.
  • Fixed: Typewriting animation would sometimes speed up on the intro screen when starting a new game.
  • Fixed: Several buttons do not play a sound when clicked.
  • Fixed: It was possible to have a game that never went off the market if a company had lost all fans and then released another bad game.
  • Fixed: The splashscreen is no longer draggable.
  • Fixed: When stories picked team members, often the first staff got picked.
Game Dev Tycoon - Greenheart Games

Mobile Relase

We released Game Dev Tycoon on the App Store this week and it has been an interesting journey.
You can read our release announcement here.

Developer log
We are also blogging the results of this release by showing sales data, reactions, and talking about our overall thoughts and struggles in our release reports. If you are interested in a look behind-the-scenes check them out:

  1. Report 1: A rough start
  2. Report 2: Steady Improvements
  3. Report 3 is coming next week.
(if you want to be notified of future reports, consider signing up to our newsletter.

New Features Coming To Steam
I also wanted to give everyone here an update on when the new features will be available on Steam.

As mentioned in our previous announcement, we'll port new features such as new topics, the new 'pirate' game mode, the updated story and a few cosmetic improvements like new topic and genre icons to the PC version in a free update.

I really have to apologize for how we phrased the time plan on this though. When we said soon after the mobile release we really meant after both iOS and Android releases are out. The Android release is scheduled for some time in January and we expect the PC update to go live about two weeks after the Android launch.

However, as a way to apologize for our bad phrasing, and given the general interest in this, we are now planning to bring the PC update gradually to Steam and unlock a Beta version much sooner, hopefully in the next weeks.

Thanks for your patience!
Game Dev Tycoon - Greenheart Games

We are happy to announce that Game Dev Tycoon is finally coming to mobile and to celebrate the occasion a free content update for Steam will follow soon after the mobile release.

You can look forward to:
  • an updated story line (something about bitter tasting cartridges).
  • new topics to enable even more game types.
  • a new super-difficult game mode, inspired by true events ːantipiracyː.
  • all-new gorgeous icons for every topic in the game.

To learn more about the update and mobile release and to see a teaser trailer
(packed with game references), head over to our announcement.

Game Dev Tycoon - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 60% on Game Dev Tycoon!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Sunday at 10AM Pacific Time

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