Category Archives: democracy3

Democracy 3: Clones & Drones

October 27, 2014 | Filed under: democracy3

So, with great pleasure…after an incredibly long wait…I’m happy to announce we have a new expansion pack for Democracy 3, called ‘Clones & drones’. First…. the trailer!

A little explanation: This is an expansion that adds in the challenges of the near future. I’m not talking space battles and attacks by aliens, but more the kind of thing we might expect in 2020, 2030 maybe 2040. So we have to start worrying about stuff like Food Prices rising, rare-earth metals running out, technology causing unemployment, climate change (of course!) and the impact of stuff like driver-less cars, maybe even flying cars (oh yes…), longer lifespans and human cloning. Plus more depressing things like the collapse of effectiveness of antibiotics (we use them too much, basically), the danger of another, much bigger, flash crash. There is also the eventual problem of population rise (would we ever condone a one-child policy I wonder?) and hopefully one day, a trip to mars.

For deep tedious psychological reasons, I tend to be a pessimist about the future. I worry about climate change, the ease with which weapons of mass destruction (not so much nuclear, but biological) can be delivered by future terrorists, the almost inevitable erosion of privacy by technology, the further concentration of wealth and rise of corporate superpowers. For the record, I think Climate change trumps all of them, for the potential to really fuck us all over. However… your mileage may vary. Maybe you see an Iain M Banks or Star Trek future of abundance,  shorter working weeks and eventual lives of recreation with a robot workforce, extended lifespan and nuclear fusion providing limitless energy!

Whether your future glass is half full or empty, you will probably have fun trying to navigate the world of Democracy 3 through those years. Keep an eye on Food Prices and global temperature, it can be a real pain. I hope I’m around in 50 years to look back and laugh at what I thought would be the political issues of the year 2064.

The expansion works just like the others, so you can grab it direct from the developer(me!) here, which gets you steam keys too, or you can obviously buy it from steam, or the humble store, and soon, on GoG. It comes in Windows Mac & Linux flavors. I hope you enjoy it. ONLY YOU CAN SAVE OUR FUTURE!!!111ONEONEONE

Obviously the best thing you can do to save the future now is buy the DLC and the second best is to tweet about it, share it on facebook, or up-vote it on whatever social sharing site you people can access from your hover cars in the year 2050.

I will leave you with this:

Can I quote you on that?

September 09, 2014 | Filed under: democracy3

“Cliff is awesome, but a bit arrogant, Would talk to again 4.5/5″

I’m shamelessly fishing for reviews. Not actually for ME, as I already have enough of an inflated ego to drown out any potential reviewed downsides. Nope, I’m after reviews for Democracy 3, from people who bought it. Just one-sentence reviews (or maybe 2) with peoples names and rough locations (Ohio! for example).

You know the kind of thing

I’m going to collect some and put them on the Democracy 3 page. They have to be genuine obviously, because I have ethics, like a vulcan. So if you bought the game direct from me, that would be awesome, because I can then look up your order and confirm it’s real. Maybe I’m being too paranoid there, I just don’t want people to think I’m being dishonest, which I’m not. Obviously there are tons of great steam reviews, but those are probably copyrighted or whatever.

Anyway, if you did like the game, pls email cliff AT positech dot co dot uk, with your review, and that would be fab :D

Can you, by sheer weight of tweeting, facebook-promotion and general marketing and ‘oomph’ force your ipad strategy game into the charts?

Maybe not.

I’m experimenting with marketing efforts on the ipad version of Democracy 3. The game is already profitable, so I don’t *need* to make money from it on the app store, but I’m interested to see, if used as an experiment, whether or not you can catapult such a game into the top ten and then generate it’s own self-fulfilling sales momentum. It seems this is harder than i thought, even if you spend 70%+ of your profits straight back on marketing. Here are the charts. (click to enlarge)


You can see that the game has a tough time clinging into any ‘top 10′ list, whereas I thought that it would pretty much stay there a while once it crossed that thresh-hold. It did that at the start of the chart, but getting it to bounce back in has been tricky, not to mention expensive. I’m currently trying to push it back in again, hence that climb (and my complaining wallet).

My guess is that it takes about $1,000 a day in marketing spend to get a game into the top 10 strategy or sim categories for the UK, presumably MUCH more for the US. I might concentrate entirely on the UK (as my ads are currently UK/US), so it might be possible to jump into the top 10 for less ads than that. The problem is, that seems to equate to only about 140 sales a day, so about $980 on a 70% cut of a $10 app. In other words, a net loss. Which of course makes sense in a completely perfect market, because if it was an easy win, those ad prices would just climb to eliminate the surplus. The people making money here are apple and advertising sellers, not the app developer.

Still, it’s all good fun :D

There are now quite a few cool-looking mods for Democracy 3 on the steam workshop page (and others for non-steam versions can be found at my site here). I’m so glad I introduced modding support. I haven’t tried very many of them, but just from the titles, I like the sound of the ‘State Pyschologists’ mod, the ‘Religious Prisons’ one, and a whole mod dedicated to dental health issues (oh yes).


I have a few ideas myself for mods, which I throw open to the modding masses. For example:

  • National lottery! (makes the poor happy, but also poorer at the same time!)
  • Help-to-buy scheme. Essentially the government backs mortgages for the middle classes. Popular with the middle classes, but expensive if GDP drops due to defaults.

You can pretty much look at the headlines on any particular day and find something that is very moddable for the game :D. In the meantime, i should point out that the retina-font update for the ipad version is OUT NOW! And already got a thumbs up here:

So if you were holding off because of that, please take another look, and as ever, please leave a review of the game in the store if you like it :D.

I’ll have other news soon, both Gratuitious Space Battles 2 related, and ‘other stuff’. Stay tuned and all that.

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Detached retina problem

June 11, 2014 | Filed under: democracy3

So it seems I am getting some negative reviews of Democracy 3 on the ipad because it doesn’t scale up the text for retina displays.

Firstly… hats off to apple for getting people to bandy about their ‘retina’ buzzword for high pixel density. Secondly… I always hated the idea of higher pixel density for the ipad. I have an ipad2, it looks VERY GOOD to me. I really can’t see how doubling the resolution would be worth doing, apart from the fact that it quadruples the amount of work the already fairly poor GPU has to do… but then what would I know?

So in an effort to improve feedback from app store review writing types, we are doing a patch for the game that effectively doubles the resolution of the text in the game.

Hopefully we might actually get some reviews then from people who like the game (over 1,000 copies sold in 72 hours so someone likes it), rather than the usual 1 star reviews, including one from someone who complains the game isn’t in Spanish? Well tough! it’s not in Farsi or Japanese either! do you review every non-Spanish game with 1 star FFS? If you bought the game and would rate it well, please take the trivial time to rate it on the app store, it takes less time than it diud to read this blog post and I do really appreciate it!

The only problem other than the complaints about retina are that the itunes sales figures update periodically, randomly, and I have no idea if sales today are good or bad, which makes planning marketing hard. BMT micro tell me INSTANTLY whenever I sell a copy. maybe if apple one day have BMTMicro’s money they will have as good a reporting system. We can only hope and pray!

I probably shouldn’t slag apple off, as I’d love them to feature the game, but fuck it, I’m indie, I can say what I like :D. I’ve been back in the UK too long, my old moaning and cynicism is returning. Must go back to the USA…