Category Archives: democracy3

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…


Yay! At long last, you can now control an ENTIRE COUNTRY through your finger tips, whilst idly sitting on a sun lounger on the beach! (glare-permitting of course). That’s because the worlds favorite neural-network powered turn based strategy game about politics is now available on the ipad! Check out this incredibly exciting screenshot of the store:


Here is a list of the locations you can buy the ipad version of the game:

1) The apple app store:

That’s it.

I have to admit, I am rather pleased with the way the game translates to a small tablet, it works pretty well. It doesn’t have a sprawling GUI like the PC version does on bigger monitors, but I think that is made up for by the convenience of touch controls and the ‘take-it-anywhere’ nature of the ipad. I hope it will do well. Annoyingly apples sales reports seem to lag by two days so I have no idea if anyone bought it yet.

I’ve priced it at a BARGAIN price of $9.99. This is cheaper than on PC, but then its fixed resolution, no mod support etc, so I suspect it’s reasonable. I really don’t care about anyone on the app store complaining about the price. You can basically fuck off and die in a fire if you think the game is overpriced. That’s the official developer & publisher position BTW. People who think $10 is overpriced for a game should go play angry birds of flappy birds, or similar fare and stop whining :D.

I hope it does well, partly because I like money, but mostly because ever since I bought an ipad, it’s sat and gathered dust, with far too few decent involved strategy games for the platform. If D3 does well, I’ll tell everyone so they can see it as a viable platform for more ‘serious’ strategy gaming. That would be a *good thing*.

Please help me spread the word. I am totally new to iOS gaming, so if you run a HUGE website dedicated to iOS games and haven’t got a review copy, email me at cliff AT positech dot co dot uk.



Well you wouldn’t expect an event like the European elections to go buy without some big promotional democracy-related thing from me would you? Here in my local polling station the queues were…well… nonexistent. I think we were the second people to vote in the village. So I hereby predict low turnouts, and lots of election staff finishing their crosswords and Sudoku during the day. The election works on proportional representation, which we as a country recently voted against in a referendum (doh!) so I suspect lots of people are boycotting the election because they don’t like the fairness of the system. yes that must be it…

Anyway.. DEMOCRACY 3 is 50% off today. YES 50% off!. You can buy it from steam here:


Or from my wonderful personal website **here**, which also gets you a steam key (and I get more money! yay!). Please tell everyone, tweet about it, blog about it, express your happiness for this event in interpretive jazz dance on street corners. Perhaps this is a good topic for you to write a song about, or maybe a play or some poetry? Hasn’t the whole ‘democracy 3 at 50% off story got the makings of a decent TV miniseries?

In all seriousness, all retweets and pimpage is much appreciated. We poor struggling starving indies need your help. I’ll have to eat jacks cat biscuits if you don’t buy a copy, and that will make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he is angry…

Jack will starve unless you buy cliffs games...

Jack will starve unless you buy cliffs games…

For those not aware, Democracy 3 is a political strategy game where YOU yes YOU are the president or prime minister of a real country, and get to make decisions on tax rates, laws, government spending and so on. It’s got great reviews. There are also some let’s plays scattered over the interwebs. like this one:

I’ve sold over twenty licenses to schools who use it to indoctrinate and confuse small children. Not convinced? It uses a NEURAL NETWORK, which sounds really impressive and cool, and thus must make the game better. Plus it was made by a developer who actually PAYS TAX, unlike many other corporations. Support your honest developers! especially the carbon-neutral ones!. You know you want to! Why are you still reading this when you could be using Democracy 3 to fund a space program, pay for food stamps or give blatant tax cuts for foreign investors?

I *may* have had too much caffeine.