Category Archives: democracy2

So when I first released Democracy 2 on steam, I thought to myself ‘it might sell a few copies, would be good to prove to valve that i was right all along and it is a game that matches the steam audience’. And then it sold well, and then better, and better still, and right now it is my #1 top selling game on steam. It is not overall the biggest earner per week, that’s still GSB, because GSB is split amongst the base game and it’s various expansion packs, but even so, when you realize D2 is much *older* than GSB, it’s quite an achievement. A quick check shows Democracy 2 earned $1,900 in the last week. That’s pretty awesome.


And in a sense, it would make sense to  work on that game I keep putting off, or that other game I keep putting off, or the third one, and happily cash the royalty checks from valve for an old game like Democracy 2…

But goddamit I couldn’t do it could I? I just HAD to make a newer, better version. Why?

When I look at democracy 2, lots of things bug me about it. Stuff not done right, stuff not included, graphical roughness, simulation glitches, all kinds of stuff which screams out at the games creator but which most players don’t notice or forgive. I felt that there must be (surely!) lots of people out there who were playing Democracy 2 and thinking ‘he hasn’t really done the concept justice though has he?’.


So whether or not it was a sensible business decision or not, I took it upon myself to make the third version of Democracy. I’ve never done a ’3′ before. And as I prepare to launch it into pre-orders and beta (mere days away!), I find myself slightly niggled, in a ferengi sense, that I am about to effectively kill off Democracy 2 by releasing a bigger, bolder, brighter, better version. It may not be the smartest business decision ever. I should probably have made Gratuitous Space Battles 2 instead, or made another new game, and THEN come back to the democracy series.

Sometimes you just have to let the creative part of your brain beat up the business part though :D

TAX DAY SALE (Democracy 2)

April 15, 2013 | Filed under: democracy2

Do you know what day it is today? well if you are in the United States today is TAX DAY!!! (The day federal taxes need to be paid). You may be happy/sad about the taxes that you pay, and the activities that the government spends it on. Not sure how to feel? check out this handy chart to see where it comes from..


and where it goes is shown in explicit detail here…


Want to change some of those numbers? Then you are in luck! Because to commemorate this day, Democracy 2 is…




Go grab it, and if you aren’t sure you will like the game, check out the official website that explains it here.

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Democracy day!

November 06, 2012 | Filed under: democracy2

Have you voted yet? Do you even know what I’m on about? Obviously I’m talking about the most important event of today globally, which is that Democracy 2 is today’s daily deal on steam. Grab it while you can! while stocks last etc! And if it gives you a taste for politics, there is apparently an election taking place today in a country called The United States of America. Which one would you vote for? Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?

Apparently it’s ‘too close to call’, which i think is a cynical ploy to get us to buy more posters and buttons. Also, apparently this is the first time election spending has gone over a billion dollars. That’s more than the entire budget of my last game. Shocking.

Don’t forget to retweet, or tweet, or generally tell the world that Democracy 2 is the steam daily deal today.

Something very interesting is happening with Democracy 2. because the game is now on steam, for the first time ever I am getting accurate figures for how long people play the game for. Steam tracks that automatically and gives you nice charts and graphs for it, which is very handy.

The values for Democracy 2 are staggeringly high. They won;t seem high, when i tell you what they are in a minute, but from chatting to other devs, and looking at my other steam games, they are disproportionately high.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Democracy 2 is a pretty complex strategy game, that is based around running a fictional country. It has a fair bit of text to read, but nothing like the backstory in a game like dishonored. It’s a game of balancing competing needs (which is essentially what all strategy games are), and it has a lot of variables to tweak, just like all my games do.

The median time played right now is 2 hours and nine minutes. Does that seem short? Trust me, it’s pretty long, because the values are massively dragged down by people who buy games on impulse in a one-day sale, and only ever play them once. (Steam only counts games that have been actually played for a minute or more). For those who love comparing stats, the average time played is 3 hours 33 minutes. The game has been on steam less than a month, so you would expect that value to rise over time, as people revisit the game (although D2 has not been in a steam sale, which might explain some of this)

That compares extremely well with Gratuitous Tank and Space Battles. The average play time per session for both games is pretty much identical, but there is a massive difference in the distribution of time played. GTB basically hooks everyone for at least 20 minutes, then there is a falloff downwards until you reach this massive spike at 200minutes+

With Democracy 2, everyone is playing at least an hour, then there is a smooth drop off to the eight hour mark. D2 doesn’t have this weird U shaped distribution like GTB does.

Which would imply…errrr?  maybe that GTB does a bad job of helping people through the mid-game, but if they manage it, they are hooked and play forever. I wonder if people get stuck on a specific level, and then either make it through, and keep having fun, or they give up? some aspects of the game design are based entirely around avoiding that situation, but they may be failing.

two things I definitely conclude are that a) it’s good data to have and b)Democracy 2 does very well despite it’s age.

Some Democracy 2 hints and tips…

October 25, 2012 | Filed under: democracy2

Now that my politics sim Democracy 2 is on sale on steam and has a big chunk of new players, I thought it might be worth noting a few strategy tips for people who are finding the game hard to get their head around, so here are my top democracy 2 strategy tips.

1) Plan ahead and be patient.
Be aware that many of the effects of your actions in democracy 2 take time to filter through to actually changing the simulation. Boosting healthcare spending may deal with that contagious disease, but it won’t wipe it out tomorrow, and it might be a year or even more before you can truly see the effects of your policies. There is a tendency to ‘oversteer’ policy changes as a result. You can probably see policy changes taking effect on charts long before they impact situations.

2) It’s the economy stupid.
It really is. The best laid plans of Right and Left all fall apart when GDP in on the floor and everyone is unemployed. If GDP is low, that is your number one concern. It’s the problem that makes all the other problems worse.

3) Know Thine Enemy
Pick whom you choose to really upset. Upset commuters will not vote for you. Upset patriots may try and kill you. That’s a big difference.

4) Ministerial fun
The ministers aren’t just for decoration. Some are more competent at a specific job than others. Putting the right minister in the right job will keep government costs down and make policy implementation faster. Plus, minister are popular with different electoral groups, so it might be worth token appointments to minor departments to keep specific groups happy.

5) Rally the faithful.
You need a core of really supportive voters. people on the fence don’t join your party, and certainly don’t become activists. Activists are hidden from the player, but they help with turnout on election day. Party members ALWAYS vote. This can make all the difference in close elections.

6) Voters are complex.
No voter is just a farmer. They are probably 75% farmer, 44% socialist, 12% Elderly, 25% drinkers. (They don’t add up to 100%, they represent percentage loyalty to each group). You can see in more detail how the different influences affect random focus group voters on the voter details window. Keep this in mind when analyzing whats going wrong.

7) Voter group sizes change.
Boost business, and you will get more capitalists over time. Teach evolution and you will get less religious people. This takes ages, but you *can* almost eradicate groups you don’t like over the long run.

Any tips that people out there playing the game would like to add?