Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Gratuitous Geeky Game next?

A few days ago I started work on what i thought would be the basics of my next game. I had a basic design document, and had thought about the game a lot. But the moment I started coding it, I started getting flashbacks to an older game idea I had tried ages ago and stopped work on. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be cool to do a game like that again.

I started coding it, and within a few hours had something on screen that made me smile. I’ve been working on it ever since, and I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming along. I almost can’t work on it without smiling.

it makes NO commercial sense for me to make it. I have 3 game ideas prepared which build on my current ‘reputation’ for doing complex simulation / management / strategy games with a real-world setting. They are all good ideas and I think they would all sell. One of them would be great for the ‘casual’ crowd. One is a potentially hugely popular and funny game. Another is more serious, maybe even political.

But this one just triggers my inner geek endorphin levels too much. People who think of me as ‘the Kudos’ guy, will wonder if the game is made by the same person. It’s very geeky, very old-school in some ways. It’s still 2D and it’s still strategic (in a way). It makes me feel 7 years old again.

I almost feel duty bound to make it, because I wish there was a game like this. For once, it’s a positech game that will look much better in video than in screenshots.  If in a few weeks time I’m still working on it (and thus am more sure I’ll stick with it), I’ll drop some hints about it.

It’s not Democracy 3 or Kudos 3.

Kudos 2 In PC Gamer UK

I got my subscriber copy of PC Gamer UK today. There is a copy of Kudos on the coverdisk and also a review of the game, where it scored 72%. It DOES bug me that they give half a page to K2 with 72%, and then spend 2 whole pages giving a lower score to Quantum of Solace. I mean… who the fuck was looking forward to the new bond movie tie-in game so much that they need a whole 2 pages to tell them it’s not as good as a hip cool new Indie game? Bah!

You can read the review online here:
Also… I added an RSS thingy to the left of the blog for subscribing. If anyone understands that stuff well and notices it doesn’t work, let me know! I don’t personally use an RSS reader, I never got around to finding and installing one.

Promoting a genre-less game

There’s a big problem in doing PR and marketing for Kudos 2. It has no genre. The nearest it gets to a genre is ‘like the sims’. But even then, the Sims has no genre. Most hardcore gaming sites have genres such as Strategy,Arcade, RTS, FPS, Adventure. Kudos is none of these. Some might consider it a strategy game, but many sites assume a strategy game is an RTS, or at least some sort of combat or war game. Most strategy sites are bulging with screenshots of Elves and Tanks, hardly the same genre as Kudos 2.

Then there are the casual sites, where the taregt market for Kudos 2 also overlaps. The people who play games like ‘Diner Dash’ often quite like Kudos 2, IF they get to try it. The thing is, these sites also pigeonhole their games into ‘Time management’ ‘Puzzle’ and ‘Arcade’.

That makes me laugh, because what they really mean is ‘Diner Dash clone’ ‘bejewlled Clone’ and ‘Zuma Clone’. There is sod-all innovation in most of these games. But anyway, despite that rant, you will see again that Kudos 2 does not fit nicely anywhere. Sometimes it’s puzzle, sometimes arcade, sometimes its RPG or Adventure or strategy.

Nobody actually looks for Kudos 2, because they don’t know what sort of game it is. The best I can hope for is people expect it to be like an existing gewnre, but give it a go anyway. When people try it, they tend to like it.

Maybe next time I should make a game that more clearly fits in an existing genre. Right now I’m doing the very first bits of work on the next game, and it’s another strategy game. I have a nice idea for the game, and can imagine it being really cool. I just need to get the visual side of things arranged nicely…

Your Sales Guesses and a nice chart


You guys seem to have some pretty widely varying guesses as to how many games I sell. Be aware that i am only talking about DIRECT sales. By that I mean someone who comes to the positech site and buys the game direct through BMT Micro (my payment provider). That excludes all the casual portal sales through sites like arcadetown, bigfishgames and so on, plus the other portals such as GamersGate and Stardock’s Impulse. It also excludes retail deals, and it excludes stuff such as sales of the Apple Mac ports as well.

Some of you guessed around 25,000. I would be very happy with that :D. if I disregard my advertising costs (which are BIG in my terms), then I’m earning around $20 for Democracy 2 and $18 for Kudos 2. That means that 25,000 copies of D2 would have earned me half a million dollars (almost £18*)


I wish. I REALLY do. I’d be working on Democracy 3 right now if I had earned that amount from just the direct sales. The real number is a lot lower than that. There HAS been a bit of a sales spike recently for D2 thanks to the US elections though.

Unfortunately I can’t really tell you the figures for Kudos 2, or the exact Democracy 2 figures, because that information is what they call ‘commercially sensitive’. In practice that means that while I’m negotiating with several companies (many of whom may have people who read this) it’s not in my interest to ‘reveal my hand’ as to how much money I make from my games. However, suffice it to say that i don’t *need* any of the portals, publishers or people I do business with. I can pay the rent and food bill with my direct sales. This is l33t because it means I don’t have to answer to anyone and can make the games I love to make.

Because I predict lots of cross blog readers wanting some juicy stats, here is a chart instead…

One day when I’m feeling less stressed about sales and have some decent figures behind me, I might publish some more sales figures.