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

Coding for fun (but not profit)

I’ve had problems for at least a few years when it comes to coding purely for fun. Thats not to say I do not enjoy coding, I LOVE coding, its my passion, but I made the mistake (in some ways) of turning my passion into my job, and then my career and my whole livelihood & retirement plan, and when you do that, suddenly when you are writing code you have a little voice at the back of your head saying “who is going to buy this”. And thats not a problem, in fact its a GOOD thing because it means you release commercial games and not arty self-indulgent bullshit about crying and existential angst among cartoon Bolivian hamster-weaving. Thats how I’ve stayed in business.

But the problem with working for yourself, at home, when you are the boss, is that you can work WHENEVER you like, and this means the line between working and having fun gets not some much blurred but obliterated.


If I decide to take a day off work (madness!), I really can’t go near a PC, because the PC is where I work, and my office is for work, not for fun. Its hard enough to sit here at this desk and play games instead of work, but if visual studio is open then I am IN WORK MODE. My Brain goers all serious and strategic and long term.

So I’m trying to shake myself out of that and re-discover the joy of pure creation as a hobby, as fun, as something experimental and silly, and not something that I expect to ever charge money for. I will probably never get around to achieving anything, and certainly not making anything public (unless miraculously I make something I’m not ashamed of). The main goal is going to be to learn how to code some stuff without getting all world-domination and work-ethic about it.

I know a lot of people do one-game-a-month stuff and game-jams, but thats just not my scene. I prefer to code for fun, than design for fun. Design is too intense for me. I can practically code while I’m asleep. Ask anyone whose tried to use my code :D.

Requirements for Democracy 3 Achievements (And how many have done so)

I get asked about how to beat all of the Democracy 3 achievements quite a lot, so where better to give the definitive answer, along with a breakdown of just what percentage of Democracy 3 players have managed to get them done! Some of these achievements are pretty easy, some of them are extremely hard, even for veteran Democracy 3 players. How many have you managed?

Name Requirements % of Users
Agrarian Society Farmers membership > 65% for 6 turns. 4%
Apathetic Electorate Win more than 1 election with a voter turnout below 50%. 0.1%
Banana Republic Poverty > 45% Farmers Membership > 50% and International Trade > 50% all for 4 turns. 1.9%
Budget Balancer Have income higher than expenditure for 20 consecutive turns. 39.6%
Cabinet Government Last 24 turns or more without a single minister sacking or resignation. 31.9%
Crime Free Utopia Crime rate < 25% and Violent Crime < 25% both for 4 turns. 57%
Darwin’s Legacy Religious membership < 5% for 4 turns. 34.1%
Divided Society Equality < 10% for 6 turns. 2.2%
Divisive Ruler Win an election with a margin of 5% or less. 11.8%
Economic Miracle GDP > 80%. Unemployment < 25% both for 4 turns. 20.9%
Economic Stability Over the last 16 turns, GDP has not varied by more than 15% either way. 5.6%
Educational Failure Have Education drop 10% or more below the starting value for 6 turns. 1.1%
Egalitarian Miracle Equality > 75% for 4 turns 61.3%
Elder Statesman Win 4 or more elections 29.8%
Electoral Success Win an election. 55.1%
Fillibustering Play for more than 2 hours in one session. 32.8%
Flip Flops Changed your opinion on a policy within 24 turns 12 or more times. 19.9%
Freemarket Paradise Private Schools, Pensions and Housing all >75%. No Import tariffs. Private prisons > 0% No Agriculture or clean energy subsidies, all for 4 turns. 1.2%
Full Employment Unemployment < 12.5% for 8 turns. 25%
Gods Kingdom Religious membership > 75%, Ban Sunday Shopping implemented, Creationism < 25% and Abortion law < 25% all for 4 turns. 4.1%
Green Utopia Environment > 80%, CO2 < 25% and Energy Efficiency > 75% all for 4 turns. 39.2%
Inebriated Society Alcohol Consumption > 95% for 6 turns. 1.2%
Intelligentsia Education > 96% for 8 turns. 40%
Kyoto Award CO2 less than 020% for 8 turns. 37.1%
Landslide Win 90% or more of the vote in an election. 42.2%
Legitimate Ruler Win more than 50% of the total potential votes in an election. 50.4%
Lonely At The Top Fire 6 or more ministers in a single term. 1.6%
Military State Have 8 turns of Armed Police > 80% and Military spending is > 25% of your budget. 0.1%
Narcotic Economy More than 10% of government income is from a recreational drugs tax. 0.2%
Oil Dependency Oil Demand > 75% for 4 turns. 2.4%
One Party State Your party membership > four times the size of the opposition, and >= 50% of the population. 44.3%
Police State CCTV Cameras > 50% Armed Police > 50%, Curfews > 25% all for 4 turns. Detention without trial > 75% for 8 turns. 4.9%
Popular Leader Have a popularity of 70% or more over 80% of the voter groups. 1.1%
Poverty Eradicated Poverty < 20% for 8 turns. 39.1%
Socialist Paradise Equality > 80%, Working week < 40%, Poverty < 25% all for 4 turns. 9.3%
Sovereign Wealth Have government reserves higher than GDP. 42.9%
Surveillance CCTV Cameras, Intelligence Services, Internet Censorship, Phone Tapping, Prisoner Tagging, Speed Cameras & Police Drones all > 50% for 4 turns. 4.4%
Survivor  Survive 4 or more assassination attempts. 26.7%
Technological Superiority Education > 80%, Technology > 95%, Space program > 50% and Robotics Research > 50%, all for 4 turns. 18.8%
True Patriot Patriot membership > 75% for 8 turns. 2.8%
World Health Health > 80% for 4 turns. 41.9%
World Stage Beat every country. 1.3%

Not quite making it…Democracy 3 Africa take 2.

So you may remember me trying to play an early build of Democracy 3:Africa and coming hugely unstuck? Well, we have been balancing the game since then, and the impossible has now become merely the extremely hard, so sit back and enjoy my attempts to keep the assassins at bay as I do what I feel is best for the citizens of my country…

Don’t forget Democracy 3:Africa will be playable ahead of release at the upcoming PC Gamer Weekender in London. If you are thinking of coming along, you can book your tickets here:

and use the discount code: SHADOW20 to get 20% off the price.

See you there!

Big Pharma en Español!

Can it be true? sí se puede! (blame google for this). We have a new update for Big Pharma and it now has Spanish Language support (Translated properly, not by google :D). Woohoo!


In addition to supporting a language now spoken by approximately 400 million people, Big Pharma build 1.04 also has this bunch of cool updates… (Thanks to tim for the list).


  • Cyrillic/pan-European character support making Russian and other unofficial translations possible
  • Added an extra speed button. 5x speed used to be hidden behind 2x. Now it has its own button.
  • You can see scenario title in objective title bar now.
  • Lowered process time of UV Curer, Sequencer, Sachet Maker and Centrifuge to 2 to make them more usable in long production lines. The change to the centrifuge should be especially interesting.
  • Analyzer now has a zero process cost and upgrading it increases the speed of analysis. This should make an analyzer-driven strategy more effective.
  • Daily profit calculation is now more even and less prone to fluctuation.
  • If you put two of the same cure in a drug it doubles the strength. It used to bug out before this change.
  • Fixed a few display issues in German language version
  • Fixed a few animation glitches

So lots for budding Martin Shkreli wannabes to get their teeth into! Hurrah! (Or you know…you can be ‘the good guy’ and concentrating on curing disease, its up to you :D. If you are enjoying Big Pharma and you bought it on steam, please leave us a positive steam review. Most people forget to do this, and it doesn’t have to be something Tolstoy would be proud of, a simple ‘yup its fun’ and a thumbs up makes me and Tim smile.

And if for some weird reason you don’t already have Big Pharma you can grab a copy from us with the button below, which gets you a DRM-free installer AND a lovely steam key (all 3 platforms):