Category Archives: democracy3

A few random things went into the latest build of production line this week. I was working away on the GUI for the supply cache wossnames when I got the first sparks animations so I put a test one in (others coming soon), which swallowed up a lot of time. I also fixed some proper zoom-out colors, fixed a disappearing pallets bug, did a fair bit of optimising and also fixed the game so I can quit to the main menu and launch/load a new game without any crashes, which makes things feel slightly more usable. There is also a bunch of new visual assets in there, but I don’t show them off in this video, namely some new pieces of machinery for making stuff, a coffee machine & water cooler for the admin guys, a sofa for the marketing team, and so on.

I’ll be polishing, bug fixing and tweaking in the next week.

Oh BTW, Political Animals is in the Humble Store sale right now at 25% off, so worth picking up. Plus all the steam revenue from Democracy 3 is STILL going to War Child. Help us hit $10,000.

Watch this video:

Starting Today, and running for twelve days, Positech is donating all its steam revenue from the Democracy 3 franchise to a charity called war child. Thats the full price of each game, minus steams cut.  Hopefully we will raise about $20k. As gamers, we spend a lot of time (me included) shooting guns in virtual wars. Lets spare some time to consider the impact of real; life wars that are happening right now on children around the world.

Donating revenue to War Child

November 10, 2016 | Filed under: charity | democracy3

Yo.

So… I got introduced to a charity called War Child, at some speaking event on democracy I attended up London recently, and it seemed like a great thing. I won’t go into tedious detail, but I’ll quote from their website:

“We’re providing life-changing support to the most vulnerable children whose families, communities and schools have been torn apart by war.”

I’m lucky in that I live in the UK and have never been affected by war. Thats just temporal and geographic luck though. I grew up riding my bike around the rubble of a nearby munitions factory the Germans had bombed. My grandfather fought in WW2 in Burma and North Africa, I have a friend who remembers watching V2 ‘doodlebug’ bombs dropping from the sky. My Fathers family was divided when he was a child when London children were evacuated to the countryside. I live near an airfield that was used by spitfires during D-Day, and I hear British Artillery practice in a training ground near me from time to time. I’m surrounded by memories of something I so fortunately have avoided all my life, but obviously many people are not so lucky.

I cannot begin to imagine the traumatic effects of war on small children, especially those who lose their parents. It seems an admirable cause to help out people affected in this way, and I’m proud to say I’m doing a bit to help this month.

From the 21st November to 2nd December, all the revenue positech earns from Democracy 3 and its DLC on steam will be donated to War Child. We don’t have any noticeable ongoing expenses, so its revenue, not profit, as they are the same thing. I’m hoping to raise $15k doing this.

A bunch of other gamers are doing similar stuff, you can read more details here.

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I’m the guy who made Democracy 3, a political strategy game. Not surprisingly I’m a politics geek. Politically, I’m probably pretty centrist. More right wing economically, more left wing socially. very Green. Now I’ve got that out of the way, and the extremists have stopped reading…here we go.

I have never in my life watched a US presidential debate live. Last night, I stayed up till 4AM to watch Clinton vs Trump round two. I read a LOT about politics, including US politics. I understand the issues and the references. i know the history, I know the characters involved. I was NOT prepared.

I’m from the UK, a relatively small country. The US has a population of 324,000,000 people. Out of that staggering number, the only choices are a billionaire(he claims) reality TV show star and the wife of one of the previous presidents. How is this possible? how is the bar set so low, how bad is US politics that these are the choices?

The thing that really depressed me about the debate was actually not just the lies (there were lots) or the avoiding the question, or the accusations of rape (yes really) or the semi-fascist claims that if candidate A won they would imprison candidate B (not put them on trial, not let justice take its course, not allow a jury to decide…nope.. ‘they would be in jail’). The thing nobody seems to be talking about is policy. It was a policy free debate. Totally. it was like people campaigning to be the star of a TV show, all personality, all character, no damn clue how to run the country, or what should be done.

Describing a policy as ‘beautiful’ is a waste of words. Describing a tax plan as ‘amazing’ is a waste of words. Don’t panic…I have done the homework for you (very) briefly. Here are the noticeable 9to me) bits of the tax plans:

Clinton: (src: candidates website)

An extra 4% tax charged on people earning more than $5milllion per year.

Ensure that people earning over $1million a year pay at least 30% effective tax rate.

Trump: (src: candidates website)

People earning under $75k pay 12%.

$75k to $225 25%

225+ 33%.

Business tax cut from 35% to 15%.

Inheritance tax abolished.

=======

You probably have more sympathy with one of those than the other. Thats fine. Thats how it is supposed to work. And issues like that (I just picked tax as an example) is how elections should be decided. Issues, Policies, these are what matter. Nobody is voting for their best friend. You aren’t going to hang out in a bar with the president, they get to make policy decisions. Given a choice, I’d rather hang out in a bar with GW Bush than Al Gore, Bush would be hilarious. Given a choice between which of the two picked environmental policies… then its a different matter.

As someone who literally makes a living from designing a complex simulation of how politics and economics work, I KNOW that its not a simple matter of tax plans. Tax plans affect government income which affects education, healthcare provision, defense and so on and so on. The trouble is…this NEVER comes up.

I would love to see a big spreadsheet or pie chart showing how Donald Trump thinks taxes should be raised and revenue spent. I would love to see the same for Clinton. This is not technically hard. You present both candidates with a simplified breakdown of the current US income and expenditure and ask them to list the top 50 changes they would make. Then those are presented (after being fact checked by economists) to people for them to make a dispassionate choice on. I want to see the TV debate version of this amazing chart:

dtfeatured

No tax plan/policy is ‘beautiful’ or ‘amazing’. One persons ‘fair share’ is another persons company-wrecking punitive tax. One persons bloated government waste is another persons vital lifeline. The issues cannot be boiled down to petty mud slinging and TV charisma. The candidates have disagreements over what POLICY decisions should be taken. Forget the personal bullshit, lets have a 90 minute prime time TV program where the only thing that gets discussed is (fact-checked) firm policy proposals.

In my dreams.

Good luck America. You need it.

The last few months have been pretty tough for me. I basically did too much at once, and missed a few things, and made some mistakes and I am not the sort of person who shrugs things off and goes ‘well shit happens’. I get angry with myself for screwing up, and I don’t forget it, which means I get more stressed and argghh… I end up a bit like this:

stressed

which is obviously *not good*.

Recently we found a bunch of bugs in the implementation of getting Democracy 3:Electioneering (DLC for democracy 3) to work seamlessly with Democracy 3 Africa (A different game) without people having to re-buy it, or move any files. This sounded like a good idea at the time, as a programmer, but when running a business you have to realize that OH MY GOD it is not that simple.

The problem is that D3 is not just ‘a game’. That would be simple. It’s Democracy 3 on steam, on GoG, on the humble store, the mac game store, direct from us and also on ipad (which does not support the new DLC). Plus…its in OSX and Linux. Oh and also the builds for the French, German and Polish language are ENTIRELY separate (and the DLC is not translated). This means we have D3(direct)D3 German(direct) D3 French(direct) D3 osx(direct) D3 linux (direct), D3 Gog, D3 Gog osx, D3 steam osx, D3 steam Linux, D3 steam. D3 steam French, D3 steam German, D3 steam polish. Humble osx, Humble win, Humble Linux. Oh and there is a browser version on humble (but nowhere else, and only in English).

Holy fucking shit.

Then we added Democracy 3 Africa, which is multiple languages but ALL IN ONE BUILD, and thats on humble, GoG and Steam. Its in Windows and OSX, but not linux. BTW Africa doesn’t have polish, but D3 does, but only on steam, and in retail, because yes…D3 is in retail, but only in Poland.

Again…

stressed

So holy fuck. And I have fucked up a few technical things which I THINK are all now sorted, despite giving cause to angry emails and twitter outbursts and general stress., Plus today is the HOTTEST day of the year in England. (don’t laugh, we have heat some days). Oh and I nearly cut my arm off in a gardening injury (yeah funny huh?) and damaged my neck doing sit ups (you can laugh here), and had to miss DEVELOP which was the first time I’d bought a full conference pass and booked a hotel . FUCK.

So ideally I’d have all this behind me now and be heading back to my favourite relaxing place (st lucia…)

not_stressed

Which I haven’t been to for three years because…being a treehugger, I rarely fly, and games conferences have kinda used up my personal angst budget for long distance trips for a while. But wait! there is good news ahead…

Firstly, barring tech support, Democracy 3:Africa is DONE and shipped, Big Pharma Marketing & Malpractice is DONE and shipped, Electioneering is DONE and shipped. The only planned releases by positech games in the next six months are two third party games, Shadowhand and Political Animals. Both are looking in really good shape, and I am not writing a single line of code for either of them. YAY.

Plus its very sunny out there, the garden looks AMAZING, and today I am going to visit friends for a day and wont do much work. YAY. Plus I *have* actually learned a lot of lessons from all this stress. The most obvious one being that the less builds you have of your game the better. To that end… A lot of this mess is being cleared up by the super-talented Jeff from stargazy (he coded Democracy 3 africa). Soon(ish) we will have a Democracy 3 build for all languages (in unicode no less), and that will kill off a chunk of these useless bastard builds that cause me so much admin hell.

DOUBLE YAY.