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

Democracy 3: Africa in development

Its announcement day! Yay. And what do we have for you today…


Yup its Democracy 3:Africa announcement day! So whats all this then?

Democracy 3: Africa is a sort of ‘re-imagining’ of the original game, and also an ‘expandalone’, meaning you don’t need to buy the original game. This is not DLC, but a stand-alone game with new graphics, new music, and of course a completely new setting. The countries in D3:A have a different set of problems, opportunities and characteristics to those in the original game. That has meant a lot of changes and a lot of tweaking and re-modeling. There is more information, including a list of the countries modeled at the placeholder website here.

So in more blog-like terms…whats going on here then?
Democracy 3 is a pretty popular game, and actually, while I’m mentioning it, you can get it at 66% off RIGHT NOW on steam. Anyway…over the years it’s had 3 expansions, (Social Engineering, Extremism and  clones & Drones), and recently we revisited the game to tweak it with some GUI improvements and new achievements.  Because of its popularity, I’m able to ‘take a risk’ and make a version of the game that at first glance might not make commercial sense. When I told some friends about it they said, ‘why Africa? who is interested in African politics?’

And thats kind of the point. In the west, we tend to think of Africa as either the target of charity fund-raising concerts, or somewhere to go on a safari. We never think about the African economies, or African industry or exports. Lets not forget Africa is home to a billion people…

The problems, opportunities and characteristics of many African countries make for a fascinating experiment in political strategy. It also makes for perhaps more of a challenge. Some people claim that the USA is ‘hard mode’ for Democracy 3, but even in the USA, you aren’t dealing with the levels of corruption found in *some* African states. Poor infrastructure and low levels of literacy are not much of a problem in the west, but they are definite factors in Africa. The problems are different, making for different strategy, and hopefully, a very different and interesting gaming experience.


Plus… When do you ever see Africa in a video game? I have no memories of it ever being anything but a destination where pirate bases or criminal gangs roam. Gaming seems to have a very distorted view of Africa, just like Hollywood does. I am under no illusions that this game will sell many copies in Africa, the gaming market is tiny, but I think it still makes sense because its such an interesting setting for a strategy game.

Also… I am not the designer this time. Modeling Africa was my idea, but in terms of all of the research, balancing, re-modeling, tweaking and any re-coding, this is all being done by Jeff Sheen from Stargazy Studios. Look at me! I’m expanding (a bit).

So there you go…Democracy 3:Africa. And yes…I am going to get even more white supremacist spam. (I got a bit after announcing the school we are building), and yes, we will probably get the tone of some of this wrong, and people will accuse us of misrepresenting African countries and people, and we expect to learn a lot, and to be in full-on listening mode. We are two white guys in the UK making a game about Africa. I’ve never even been there. I get that. I know we will make mistakes, but they won’t be intentional. If we have any ‘agenda’ here at all, its just to develop a game with an unusual and interesting setting, and to learn a little about Africa in the process.

Oh and shipping date? Errr. not sure. Q1 2016? We have been working on it secretly for a while…

So don’t forget…Democracy 3 is 66% off this week on steam :D

17 thoughts on Democracy 3: Africa in development

  1. Excellent. Africa is such an under-used setting, and there are just so many excellent games that it could be used for. Really looking forward to seeing this take on the continent.

    As for making mistakes, recognizing that they are likely is a first step to avoiding them.

  2. Yeah, OK, Cliffski, I get it, D3 is 66% off on Steam. OK, I bought it :P Now just need time to play it…

    Actually I think the Africa version is a super interesting and bold move. This has the potential to be very educational in addition to mere fun. I will definitely buy this when it comes out.

  3. Hi there,

    politics in Africa sound like a very diverse game. Looking forward to it! Will this game be cross plattform on Win, OS X and Linux? And will it share more similarities with D3 that just it’s name or will it be completly from scratch?

    Bernd from Holarse Linuxgaming

  4. Your first visual has only one woman and she’s wearing a burqa… What could possibly go wrong?

    (You’re in UK and there is a big community of african immigrants, please, go talk with them.)

  5. Interesting with an African setting for Democracy. Our Africa game, 3rd World Farmer, first developed some 10 years ago is still getting decent traffic, so it’s definitely a popular topic. Ours is a game from the farmer’s perspective, but it’ll be interesting to see one from the president’s perspective. With everything happening in African politics these years and a rising tech scene in Africa itself, I think we’re going to see many games about these topics in the years to come. Looking forward to this one.

  6. Yaaay! Excitement! It really sounds great. And as a born and bred South African, contact me if you need any info about this part of the continent. I’ll be interested to see how it all plays out…

  7. Really interesting idea, though to me sounds like a great idea for a major expansion pack/DLC.

    Interested to see how you pull this one off though :)

  8. You are a most amazing individual for making a game based on Africa. I think Democracy 3: Africa will be frackin’ fantastic!

  9. Hello Positech,
    I’m a huge fan of Democracy 3, one of the best simulation games I ever played, spent a large number of hours playing and enjoying it and I have a request that comes from the deepest veins of my heart :
    PLEASE make Morocco playable.
    please please please please please please !!!
    It is one of the greatest and most developped countries in Africa, it has great relationship with the majority of other african countries, and IT IS a democracy (we have a king but government and parliament is elected like in England)
    I will forever be grateful if you do this,

    One of your greatest fans !

  10. If you have any question about Tunisia, I am your man! =)
    Otherwise, I hope you will go into sufficient length of research so each country is unique without bias.

    For that If I have a recommendation: forget all stereotypes and look only for facts for each country separately.

  11. Uhh, seeing that niqab, i fear the worst for the pictures.
    Why using such a thing ? If you want to represent the conservative part of the population, a simple hijab is more than sufficent and the most actually accurate garnment, not that sectary cloth. The more liberal women have a very western look, in the Maghreb region keep that in mind also, women and mentality differs greatly from Tunisia to Egypt, I hope you won’t mess up everything.

    1. n enormous amount of discussion and thought have gone into this. Do not panic! The reason we went with the niqab, is that the hijab is (in general) too commonly worn by women to serve as an appropriate indication of conservatism. We aren’t showing all of the voters yet, but for example at least one of the other voter types is wearing a hijab (which we think is appropriate and necessary to show the popularity of the hijab), and if we define a conservative as being ‘hijab wearing’ then that muddies the water regarding the dress of other voters.

      Don’t forget that ALL of our voter types are extremes and stereotypes and always have been, in all 3 democracy games. The wealthy person in Democracy 3 is wearing a tiara! Also note that these only refer to ‘aspects’ of individual voters, and point to the extremes. We aren’t actually saying anyone who identifies as conservative wears the niqab any more than we are saying everyone in the top 5% of income regularly wears a tiara.

  12. Will populations be dynamic this time?

    I mean, what will be the point of playing South Africa without brain drain, real immigration* and race war?

    *not the one in vanilla democracy 3 where part of your population converts into immigrants

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