Category Archives: democracy3

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

As you may know we recently updated Democracy 3 to include 12 new achievements. Here is some information on some of them, for people getting stuck…

ach_dividedsociety Divided Society.
0.2% of players have achieved this (so far). You need Equality to be below 10%, and keep it there for six turns
ach_educationalfailure Educational Failure.
0.1% of players have achieved this (so far). You need Education to drop 10% its initial level and stay that bad for 6 turns.
ach_narcoticeconomy Narcotic Economy.
0% of players have achieved this (so far). You need 10% or more of your state income to come from recreational drugs taxes…
ach_lonelyatthetop Lonely At The Top.
0.1% of players have achieved this (so far). You have to fire more than six ministers in a single term (not reshuffle).
ach_economicstability Economic Stability.
0.5% of players have achieved this (so far). You need GDP to vary by no more than 15% over the course of 16 turns (4 years)
ach_dividedsociety Apathetic Electorate.
0% of players have achieved this (so far). You need to win 2 or more elections with less than 50% overall voter turnout.
ach_bananarepublic Banana Republic.
0.2% of players have achieved this (so far). Maintain poverty above 45%,50% of people farmers and >50% trade for 4 turns.
ach_truepatriot True Patriot.
0.3% of players have achieved this (so far). You need 75% of people to be patriots, and them be 75% happy for 2 years.

So how are you getting on? finding the new achievements a bit tough? :D You can grab a copy of democracy 3 from the links below…

bmtmicro gog humblestore steam

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Democracy 3 Updated after over a year!

September 30, 2015 | Filed under: democracy3


So… As I’ve talked about in the past, I came to the conclusion that I should release a new patch to beef-up the quality of Democracy 3, fix some long standing issues, improve and re-balance some features, and so on. (Right now this is for Windows…other formats coming in a few days…). Here is a run-down of everything thats changed in video form:

And here it is in non-video form for people who prefer screenshots :D

First big change is new achievements. We added 12. We also put an achievements link button on the main menu for a change, so you can now get to it from there as well as the in-game button:


We then revamped that page that tells you about security threats to your government. Rather than leaving you to ‘guess’ about how that ‘security effectiveness:poor’ value is calculated, we now show icons that link to all the contributing policies, and show how strongly they are implemented:


The voter group screen got some reformatting, so it extends vertically if needed, plus it also now has an extra window, when needed showing which pressure groups and terrorist groups are being fed into by anger among the selected voter group. This should make the link between angry voters and security threats a lot more obvious and clear.


The finance screen now shows information at the bottom that illustrates how effectively your government money is being raised and spent, which is directly tied to the minister in charge of each department. This was always the case, but we make it clearer how much of an effect this has now…


…And we also have added a bunch of new events… not going to tell you what they are…but here are the images :D


The screen that shows the popularity of policies is now totally re-coded to the calculations make a ton more sense…


And we have also done a fair bit of tweaking the GUI here and there, and made a small number of minor balance changes. Hopefully this has made the game better in small but noticeable ways./ I hope you like the patch :D If for some CRAZY reason you don’t already own a copy of the game, you can grab it from BmtMicro, GoG, the humble store or steam:

bmtmicro gog humblestore steam

Democracy 3 new update coming

September 11, 2015 | Filed under: business | democracy3

Soo…remember back in the early days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I released a political strategy game called Democracy 3? I do. It was fab. And of course it still is. I’ve rel;eased 3 expansions for the game since its original release, and all have proved to be very popular. After that, I turned towards making Gratuitous Space Battles 2, which took FOREVER, and also worked with Tim from Twice Circled on shipping Big Pharma, a 3rd party title. What this means is that its been a long time since the core Democracy 3 game got any attention, despite being very popular.


I’m working on a patch for Democracy 3 (Plus other stuff…to be revealed in a few months), to fix some issues that have come up, but mostly because revisiting the game with fresh eyes makes me spot a bunch of stuff where my older, wiser self goes ‘why the hell is that dialog so small?’ and ‘why don’t we just show the policies that affect intelligence reports here…?’ and similar stuff. This is not going to be a new expansion, or a sequel, just a patch, that fixes some stuff. I’ll also possibly attempt a little bit of re balancing, and add and tweak a few relationships and effects which should be there but are not.

The biggest change will be new achievements. Personally I love achievements, and I’m adding 12 brand spanking new ones with the upcoming patch. They include some arguably negative achievements, like creating an apathetic electorate and huge inequality. They should be fun things to shoot for :D.


So why do this? I guess I have both business and personal reasons. Personally, I like my games to be as good as I can make them, and there were a few GUI things that bugged me about D3 on second look, so fixing it makes me ‘feel better’ about the game. I know some people enjoy the prototyping phase, but personally I love adding final polish to games, especially GUI-wise. I’ll feel prouder of the game when this patch ships in the next few weeks.

Secondly, as people start building ad-blocking into browsers (seriously…wtf?), and everyone starts happily using adblock, and as the whole system of being able to market games in 2015 collapses into a loud shouty smorgasbord of a million desperate game developers screaming to be heard at the same shows, desperate for coverage by the same youtubers, with price wars escalating to the extent that I’m amazed nobody is offering to pay me to own their games yet…Its pretty clear that one ‘marketing’ technique that still works, is just making a better game, a bigger game, a more feature-packed game, and one people market for you, because the word of mouth is so good.

In short, money (and time) spent on an update for Democracy 3, is kinda good PR. I’m still supporting it, its still getting better, surely thats a good thing. I guess we will find out soon :D

I have DATA to prove it! For people new to my blog, this is because I’m the developer of Democracy 3, a political strategy game where you play the role of president/prime minister and do what you can to change the country for the better and also stay in power. Its a deep complex strategy game, and also an interesting social experiment because it makes people question their own beliefs, make tough decisions, and often learn to compromise.

One of the interesting aspects of the game is that people almost always play with their own beliefs and morals and attitudes, and are determined to prove that they are ‘right’. The game can be ‘won’ (insomuch as another term in office is considered winning) with any strategy, you can get re-elected as a socialist, a capitalist, a conservative / liberal / religious extremist…it all depends how carefully you play. The game has a built-in ‘political compass’ that plots your election victories so you can see where you were on the capitalist/socialist spectrum and the liberal/conservative spectrum when you win an election. It also shows you the same position for your steam friends (if you opt in to that).

This means that there are two big global ‘leaderboards’ (in the loosest sense) showing every players average position on both those spectra. And harvesting that data and sticking it into a graph gives an interesting picture of how players of Democracy 3 fit into the political compass. First the raw data:


its probably not much of a surprise to see a concentration¬† in the bottom left. Game players are probably on average younger than the average voter, and younger people tend to be both more left wing, and more liberal. it is kind of amazing how many people have tested the limits and somehow burst out of the range entirely on the right and the conservative scale. I can’t imagine what their countries were like on election night :D.

Fading the data so we can see a bit more into the detail of that big blob gives us this next image. it looks like people are more rigidly liberal than they are socialist with plenty of people shifting towards the middle ground on the left/right spectrum.


Blurring yet again gives us this… funny to see a feint diagonal line emerging there. I honestly have no idea where that is coming from.


(Obviously disclaimers apply. Some people may claim its easier to ‘win’ in the game with certain policies, people playing the GoG version have the compass disabled, its only working for people with steam who have not disabled the compass, and only for people who play through to an election victory.) So there you have it, 2015 PC gamer politics in a nutshell :D