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The core gameplay mechanic of Game Dev Tycoon appears to be centered around determining how your choices in development effect the sales and rating of your games. While it is possible to gather information about Genres, Themes, Platforms, etc by making notes of various messages like "this genre works well with this console" or "this genre works well with this theme", or "focus on this serves the game well". There appears to be no obvious feedback for features like 'joysticks', 'gamepads', 'open world', 'branching story', 'level editor', etc?

How do I judge whether a listed feature had any effect, positive or negative, on sales or rating?

Does including a useless feature make the game worse?

What is the difference between making a Text-based or a 2d game? Is there any point to including joystick support or a level editor? Etc.

I don't want a list of features and there effects, I'd like to know how I can determine them for myself.

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Never have I been so confused reading a question, only to experience such a revelation of clarity upon noting the Tag. –  Ian Apr 30 '13 at 8:05
    
Some of the more obvious ones (like Racing/Simulation + Steering Wheel) are pretty straight forward, especially when dealing with consoles. Gamepad support is quite important for consoles as well from what I've found while joystick support on computers when dealing with simulations seems to improve the overall score of your game –  kalina Apr 30 '13 at 10:05
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Well yea, but not everything is as simple. This game unforunately doesn't really reward creativity and non-typical thinking (can't say their fault, it's hard to do it really). You just sorta have to figure out what devs put into the formulas - not think yourself. Example is I made a Hospital/Adventure Mature game, thinking "hey lots of hentai stuff is nurse-themed and people never stop being addicted to that" but it was a failure - because devs only thought about "Hospital Tycoon" when putting this theme there. And so on... –  Istrebitel Apr 30 '13 at 10:43
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@Istrebitel: how dare you mention 'Hospital Tycoon' rather than the iconic 'Theme Hospital' ! I am slightly offended :D –  BlueTrin Apr 30 '13 at 11:05
    
@Ian that seems to happen with a lot of questions with this particular tag. :) –  Shadur Aug 27 '13 at 8:19

2 Answers 2

Kalec's answer has some good general points but misses the actual question a bit, so here goes:

First, all features improve the game if they're included. Some are mutually exclusive, though - you can't have stereo and surround sound, for example. Obviously in a case like that surround sound would be a better boost to game quality than stereo.

BUT: Each feature costs development time to implement, and you only have a limited amount of it. If the amount of features you're pushing into a given field requires more dev time than you've allocated, the overall quality of that field decreases -- you'll see a percentile value behind the field name. When that happens, you'll have to pick and choose which features are really important, or allocate more time to that field.

Bigger games have more dev time, so can fit more features simultaneously.

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Here is everything you need to know.

Just in case that is way too long for you, here are the cliff notes:

  • In the garage you compete against a predefined "game that does not exist" so once you have a good game engine you'll get more money.

  • About when the Gameling comes out, that is around the time your "smash hit game" will happen, it is not that random though, you need a good game. A sci-fy / fantasy on the Gameling usually gives you A LOT of money.

  • After that you always compete with yourself, your older games. Joystic and everything else (to my knowledge) is just extra stuff that helps your game be better than either your last game or the game you are making a sequel to.

  • Never release similar genre / topic game after the last one.

Other important stuff

Genre and Topic have to work well together, on the console you are working on, and for the age demographic you are marketing towards.

Each console has certain genre that work well on them and certain age demographics that posses these consoles / platforms.

All of this determines your review score, NOT YOUR ACTUAL SALES.

Sales are modified by sliders, each Genra wants somethings and not others, in more detail on the page I mentioned.

Small example:

Let's say you want an RPG, now you have to look what consoles work well with RPGs. Everything is good on PC, but the Gameling is VERY good for RPGs.

Now the gameling is strictly for young audience. The PC is very good for mature audience so you could have gone with that, but this example goes with Gmaeling.

Now you need a topic, that works well with RPG, AND is good for a young audience, for example fantasy is all ages.

This will produce a game with good review scores as long as you don't mess anything else up (like your last game being an RPG, or not focusing on the right sliders).

Now sliders (directly impacts sales): RPGs don't want any work on the engine (max 20%), but a lot of focus on gameplay and story (over 40%), a lot on dialog and level (40%) but don't care at all about AI (so any value, but since two need 40% each, max 20%). A lot on world design and graphics (40% each) and anything for sound (20%).

OBSERVATION: you have to fidle a lot with the sliders later on, since medium and up games depend a lot on the distribution of tech and design skills of the people building your game, while in the garage your character is perfectly balanced and small games don't care.

Hope it helps.

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The only relevant part of the answer: "Joystic and everything else (to my knowledge) is just extra stuff that helps your game be better than either your last game or the game you are making a sequel to." –  kotekzot May 12 '13 at 12:22

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