Some tips for players who struggle in level 2

I see that a lot of players have trouble getting started in level2. Here are some tips (if you like a challenge then maybe don’t read them):

  • Medium games work best if you have a team of 3, so your aim should be to get to 2 additional workers. any more is overkill for medium games. Staff members are expensive in GDT.
  • When you hire someone the effectiveness of your entire team drops for a while. Be aware of this effect!
  • Be very careful what publishing contracts you take. Publishers often suggest rubbish combinations or a platform/audience mix that isn’t too good.
  • If you have trouble thinking of what audience is better for what platforms just think of the best-selling games of the real-world equivalent console and what audience these games target.
  • Fans are important and to get more fans you should try to take publishing deals.
  • Don’t make engines all the time. We made them expensive on purpose.

Hope this helps some players.

(originally posted in Game Balance Mega-Thread)


Can I also add that publisher contracts are actually really important at this stage. Your self-published games won’t sell millions of copies when you only have 10,000 fans.

Yeah, they don’t make as much money as self-published games, but you need the fan-base first before trying to self publish!

It just seems a lot of what I read about ‘Stage 2’ is people complaining their games don’t sell much, I’ve no doubt building a fan-base first would help that immensely!

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Thanks for tips.
But there still one probleme for me : Even with good sliders for the genre, when I make game for publishers I have bad review and I don’t make any profits at least.

As Patrick said in his post:

You may have had good sliders for the genre, but what was the target audience? What console was it? There are many other factors in whether a game is rated and sells well.

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Bump! Tips and food for thought!

Some tips I found.

  • try to build your team to be specialize for some specific gene. If you want to make action/simulation/strategy games ,you need your team to focus on Tech, if you want to make rpg/adventure/casual games, you need to focus on Design,
  • for medium game, team of 4 is better than 3, why? because you won’t get work overload and will get exp bonus.
  • For example, I decide to focus on RPG/Adventure game only, my team of 4 will be 2 design, 1 tech and 1 balance(myself)
  • Use publisher until game tell you that you can publish your medium/large game. gain more fan is important on this state
  • Rule of Thumb for each field of works
  • Engine - Hight tech
  • Gameplay - High design
  • Story/Quest - High design
  • Dialogue - High design
  • Level Disign - Balance
  • A.I. - High tech
  • World Design/Graphic/Sound - Balance
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Tips I found.

  • Don’t move to level 2 until you have a decent amount of money saved up. (Usually 15-20M)
  • Try and create a game for every topic, this will give you bonus experience.
  • Before you make a medium game yourself, make sure you have at least 100K fans.
  • Once you make your first, decent reviewed medium game, (Without publisher) you will get a lot of money.
  • Try not to buy licenses for to many consoles, the price will catch up to you.

Those tips should help me alot. I’ve been having some trouble when I got my new office after the garage and I think I know where I did some mistakes.

I personally like 3 staff compared to 4 for starting with medium games because staff costs add up quick. I don’t always want an XP bonus for my game because then I get more month to month costs.

Eventually when you get enough capital you can add that fourth staff member, but until then try and keep your costs down as much as possible. If the game says you broke even on a game, you lost $ because it does not factor staff costs into that amount.

I try to use the “What RL games work the best” to determine topic/genre combos… but when I tried to make my version of "Chrono Trigger (Time Travel + RPG) I got a 4.5 with one of the comments being “Time Travel and RPG is a strange combination”

Are ‘strange combos’ always doomed to fail? They seem to be lousy even when the trend is currently “Odd combinations”?

I’ve bitten the dust a few times in level 2, but today I managed to get to level 3 and I think I’m healthy enough (10M) to eventually get to 4.

What I did:

  • Didn’t go for level 2 as soon as I got 1M in the bank. Instead I worked on a few more games (each with unique topics) and switched when I had 2M.
  • Only did action/strategy/simulation. These have the same ideal slider presets.
  • Only developed for PC and G64. They have large enough audiences and you don’t need to lose money on licenses.
  • Stayed independent, while slowly building better games and better engines. Consistent income with the occasional 2M title got me a long way.
  • Only hired one extra guy. After every game I trained both in research and in design/technology.

UPDATE from more playing:

After you get your first hit game that lets you leave the garage, hire two employees. Pay 80k to perform the search, as this will let you see 3 candidates. Don’t hire anyone who is level 1, their raw stats are way too low, even after they gain experiance.

Research medium games.

Your very first (at least) medium game should be done with a publisher. Look for publishing contracts that have a high required rating and a high royalty % (the two normally go hand in hand). Also make sure it is not forcing you to make a bad combo.

Once you get your first publisher deal, make the best game you can. If you can get a 9.0 + with your first medium game (Not hard if you have a good topic and set your sliders right) it will sell MILLIONS of copies thanks to the publisher’s help. Even if you are only getting 12% of that… you’ll find you make several million from that game; more than you would make self-publishing a medium game at that point (with very few fans).

You’ll also find yourself with a lot more fans… a LOT more, like 60k-70k. One or two more publisher games will push you past the 100k fan mark, at which point it becomes more profitable to self-publish medium games.

It may seem like a waste to make a 9.75 hit for a publisher when they keep most of the profits, but better to have the whole world see that 9.75 hit than to have the game remain a hidden gem; nearly flawless but still unheard of.

I disagree
I managed to get through stage two very quickly without doing a single publisher deal or piece of contract work
I think the most important thing to do is research target audience and use it to your advantage
for example if you are publishing a game for the younger audience, pick a console that younger audiences like e.g gameling and then focus on things like game play and level design, younger audiences don’t understand things like clever dialogue or good back stories, so you don’t need to bother with them

If you match your target audiences needs you will make a lot of fans and a lot of money the fans might come in a lot slower but I find that it isn’t all that necessary to have a large fanbase to self publish again I will say I managed to be successful without other publishers and I don’t see why anyone else can’t do it too

hi i have a problem in stage 2. there is no research button on stage 2

Click on your avatar or on any of your workers, there is another menu. Every worker can research simultaneously.

I generaly agree with you except 15-20 million is too much. I only have 3 million and i survive

Just want to add that casual games saved my business when I was on the edge of bankrupcy. They are cheap to make (I just invest in level design and game play, although I don’t know if this is the optimal strategy) and can generate a lot of money if well targeted and marketed.

I actually do nearly exactly the same as Patrick Clug says(he is probably better then me as he is the developer). This is what I do and I’m extremely succesful:

  • Don’t move until you have at least 5M
  • If there is rubbish Publishing deals, before 100k fans, publish medium games yourself
  • Hire 3 Staff, each of them and invest 1M searching each of them. Hire the best one, dont care about salary
  • Do engines as soon as new graphics are avalible and spend all your RP on researching before engine. (Choose 3D when it unlocks and contiunue with it)
  • When Sequels are avalible, use them everytime possible and do a sequel to a game that you developed with an older engine