Category Archives: democracy3

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



If you aren’t already aware, I’m the guy who made the Democracy series of games. They are my top selling games so far. Because they have done well, my natural timid brutishness makes me think I’ve ‘maxxed out’ their sales, but the occasional binge reading of Peter Thiel books or articles on silicon valley websites makes me wonder just what percentage of the market I have reached with that game.

A quick look at steamspy will tell you that there are currently this many owners of Democracy 3: ( I make no official comment as to their accuracy :D).

So lets assume  assume its vaguely right and 370,000 people have bought it. Lets also assume that given the various discounts over the years, on average people have paid 50% of the face price of $24.95, so that gives a total income (gross) of $4.6 million. Sweet. Assume roughly 70% of that for the developer is $3.2 million before taxes. Thats a big hit in indie game terms, but exactly HOW big is it? Lets look at a few other stats, with the same data.
Space engineers has the same price, but 1.2 million owners, theoretically thats around $10.4 million for the devs. Jesus. Even more crazy but how high can we go? And are the games in any way comparable?

Space Engineers supports 15 different languages, Democracy 3 supports a lot less, and not too well either. Is this something I should improve perhaps? On the other hand, it has no DLC, whereas there are 3 expansions for D3, so I’m not comparing apples with apples here. Plus, is the market for a deep political game like D3 the same as space engineers?
Well lets look at other politics games on steamspy:

The Political Machine 2012: 87,000 * $3.99. $347k max 170k gross, 0.03 x Democracy 3.

Tropico 4: 1,200,000 * 19.95.  24 million max, 12 million gross, 3x Democracy 3.

Tropico 5: 383,000 * 39.99. Thats $15 million max, 7.5 million gross.  2x Democracy 3.

CIV V. 7,000,000 * $30. Thats $210 million max, $105 million gross,  22x Democracy 3.372

The production cost of Democracy 3 vs all of those games is obviously way lower, but lets assume, for arguments sake, that the total potential market for Democracy 3 is one tenth that of Civ V, given that we can reach EVERYONE who might buy it. Thats $10 mill gross, or in other words roughly $4.2 million of developer revenue sat out there waiting. Hmmm…

Its VERY easy to live in a developer bubble where you assume that because you’ve written 100 blog posts about your game and read 20 reviews, seen 100 lets plays, that EVERYONE knows about the game. Get this for context… I was chatting to one of my closest buddies recently. He is my age, he plays games, but isn’t much of a geek. He didn’t know what twitter was or how it worked.


God knows how many bazillion dollars of free PR, and this guy had never heard of one of the largest more pervasive companies on the planet. Such people exist. More than you think. When you have conversations like that, it makes you realize just how trivial the number of people playing your game is. Lets assume steamspy is spot on (and ignore everyone who bought it off other sites), and say that 372,000 people own Democracy 3. Lets show them on the map:


There you go. That’s the entire population of Belize. Wohoo. There are a lot more people to sell my game to.
Right now, my facebook ad campaign for Democracy 3 tells me my target group contains 8,600,000 people, based on the countries, demographics and specific interests that I selected. That’s people who use facebook, which isn’t everyone. Assuming one tenth of those people *will* actually buy the game if I can get them to take a look at it, then thats an extra 488,000 copies to sell. In other words, I’m half way through selling Democracy 3.

Nuts isn’t it.


  • Some of these people may already have pirated the game.
  • Some of these people may have tried a demo or seen a video and not like the game
  • Some of them may only be prepared to, or able to pay a price below which it make no sense for me to sell (due to alienating higher price customers). The $0.99 buyers.

I’ve already hopefully screened out everyone else. They are all pc-owning strategy game loving English speaking desktop pc users in targeted countries, of the target age. Lets say that even given all of that, that in fact 10% is wildly optimistic and say just ONE per cent are actually interested… thats another 48,000 copies at an average of $12 a copy. That’s a Tesla model S with all the optional extras :D.


Only if you are in the UK, otherwise you might be confused by this title, but hey, we are a UK indie game company. To celebrate this day, we have Democracy 3 at 75% off on steam for the next 48 hours…

d3Click here to go grab it.

If you are someone who missed out on the recent articles where people try to simulate the election outcome with the game, you might enjoy these…

Simulating the UKIP manifesto

Simulating the Labour Party Manifesto

Simulating the Conservative Manifesto

Simulating the LibDem Manifesto

Simulating the Green party Manifesto.

Hope you enjoy them :D

And if you buy the game and like it, as ever we really appreciate a positive steam review, or a tweet or whatever it is cool people do :D

Don’t forget to VOTE!