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

Redshirt alpha screenshots

Ok…so today marks the day when we send out press releases to a bunch of journalists about Redshirt. (If you have somehow been missed email me). For those who haven’t been following progress on the game, Redshirt is a sci-fi social-networking life-sim comedy game by The Tiniest Shark, which is being published by me. It’s the first time I’ve published another developer’s game. yes I have become THE MAN.


As well as sending out press builds, we have a bunch of shiny new screenshots to share with the world, and obviously news on the game will speed up now we are in alpha, heading towards beta and pre-orders. Without further ado…click to enlarge…

Don’t forget to check out (and please LIKE!) the game’s facebook page at

Staggered Game Release failure

One of my plans with the game I’m publishing ‘Redshirt‘ was to have it all set up nicely so that it launches in-between my own game releases. I’d therefore keep the positech games name and website alive in every-bodies minds while I huddled in a corner typing away on my next masterpiece. The thing is, no plan survives contact with the real world, and with some stuff going faster than expected, and other stuff going slower, and ‘events dear boy,events’, it turns out that Democracy 3 and Redshirt are going to be close to shipping at almost exactly the same time.

It’s so close that I actually got voiceover for both games on the exact same day. I’m interleaving emails to the press about one game, with emails about the other. It’s CHAOS I tell you. CHAOS!

Obviously I’m sure it will all be ok in the end. Redshirt is looking really cool, and it is crazily crazily addictive already. It requires balancing, as do all games towards the end, and there is the inevitable ‘things act differently on this PC’ nonsense that us PC developers absolutely LOVE.


We will be showing off redshirt to the wider galaxy very shortly, so expect screenshots and more info on the game very soon. Also expect lots of puns about tentacles. I’ve already added a link (for widescreen layouts) to the redshirt site from I only do this at the last minute, because I tend to prefer to funnel eyeballs towards opportunities to give me money NOW :D

Urbanization & farmers

Since the ‘farmers’ group in democracy 3 is also meant to represent the entire rural community, I’m taking 2015 estimated urbanization stats from here:

  • USA 81.% urban so 19% ‘farmers’
  •  UK 90.8 so 9.2% farmers
  •  France 78.4% urban so 21.6% farmers
  •  Germany 89.9% so 10.1% farmers
  • Canada 81.9% so 18.1% farmers

To try and balance the various countries so they have a very roughly accurate percentage of farmers. That’s the first thing on today’s todo list of making countries vaguely accurately match their real world data :D

I went to the develop conference in Brighton, by the south coast of the UK yesterday. Bumped into all kinds of cool people. Gave a talk about long term survival as an indie game dev. I hate public speaking, but people generally said it went ok, which is nice. I’ve also been working on adding the Democracy 3 achievements into steam ready for it’s eventual steam release. Oh yeah :D


So today I have been in Canada fact finding mode. Would you like to know the average Canadians maple syrup consumption? or the latest estimates for moose population? Forget all that…lets get down to the nitty gritty. A lot of statistical browsing has led me to the rather worrying conclusion that getting the Democracy 3 economic model to make sense over different countries is all but impossible. I am giving it my best shot, but don’t play the game thinking ‘this is Canada’. Play the game thinking ‘this country could vaguely be something like Canada’ and you will be fine!

Right now I am torn between polishing and balancing and adding content that works in the model as a whole (I added some new policies such as flat tax), and making the different countries ‘feel’ more different. I cannot decide which is more important.

For example, Canada is big on mining. Should there be a ‘mining law’ policy to decide how lax environmental controls are? or is that already covered under pollution controls? Are there other issues or events or policies I should add that are Canada specific? or should I worry more about the core simulation and balancing the central game?

Something that is easy to do is to ‘nudge’ the countries attributes more in the direction of the real world, by adding scripts and overrides. I can make Canadians less violent and more law abiding (or vice versa), less (or more) prone to obesity, entrepreneurship or patriotism. I’m open to any commentary from Canadian readers.

BTW I am giving a talk at develop tomorrow. Do come along and say hi if you are at the show.