This is a simple guide for Mad Games Tycoon 2 on building a company successfully with random settings.
I put more hours into Mad Games Tycoon than I’d like to admit, and likewise poured hours into Mad Games Tycoon 2. While several guides sort of helped, I still struggled around the late ’80s and early ’90s. There’s also the snowball effect, where I found it difficult to recover from a few bad games until I eventually declared bankruptcy. This guide is to help those who keep collapsing or trying to escape a collapsed company. I also prefer using random settings, so it adds difficulty.
I should say that everyone seems to have different recommendations for employee settings. I have zero crunch time, moderate stress, and some breaks. There’s really no wrong way to do this. If you want to have a crunch time and high stress then go for it, but you need to pay well.
Every guide has the same information here, but I’ll provide a high-level overview of it.
- Start with a development room – 4 or 5 developers should be enough (one game design, programmer, artist, and audio)
- Develop a few games with different genres and topics. Don’t worry about ratings or bug fixes
- At this early stage, I like to do one or two updates to remove bugs and increase features
- I also build a tiny staff room with a fridge, arcade, and whatever and a toilet room
- When it feels affordable enough, build a research room with 4-5 staff and start research one or two genres and several topics of interest
By this point, you should have more games coming out as soon as possible and use research for new features and engine features when they become available. Have some full-time researchers focused on this while your development team vomits new games. Then, create an engine as soon as possible to use it for future games.
If you’re struggling, you can always take advantage of contracts.
By now you should have five or more games. Research and build a Quality Insurance room with 4-5 members. You may have to perform Tetris arranging to get the rooms set up properly. Hire some game testers here and let them focus on building reports. Use those reports to build the next game that hopefully matches a popular genre.
Designing a Good Game
Now that you have some reports, you can start catering games towards certain genres. Before this, make sure you build an engine with all the features. I set the royalty percentage as high as I can.
- Look at the importance of game design (gameplay, graphics, audio, technical) – cater your next game towards those
- Read the letters. If you see something like “Some fans would like to see better level design” – add two more points dedicated to level design (why 2? If they want less the next game, then you know it’s 6, or if they want more make it 8)
- Keep rotating topics and genres
- With the Quality Assurance, improve the next game on all aspects and do bug fixing
At this early stage, having a good market presence is important. If you find three hearts, try to go with that even if the genre doesn’t match. Likewise, get four or five if possible.
For research, try to get a B+ game under Miscellaneous when you don’t have new features.
Do you like monies? I like monies too. Even though you should primarily make B games now, it’s worth looking at contract games with B+ and a low minimum rating (like 10). Why? You can build a B+ game on the super cheap without bug fixing or improvements and make a profit off of it.
Keep repeating in improving ratings for each game within the few genres you’ve researched. When you get enough money, research the following:
- Graphics Studio
- Audio Engineering
- New Facility ($6m)
Time to Grow
Now is the time you can start rolling in the money. Build a graphics studio and an audio engineering studio, again with 4-5 people. Also, build another small development studio with 3-4 people to handle free updates, engine upgrades, and commission work.
Once you have most of the ideal settings for each genre, it’s time to focus on your first hit. You should also have sequels by now, so start with a popular sequel (if you don’t have sequels enabled, don’t worry about it). Now, build a game with your full force:
- Development studio – should all be Game Designers and Programmers
- Graphics Studio – full quality improvements, and all staff should all be graphics artists
- Audio Studio – full quality improvements, and all staff should be audio engineers
- Quality Assurance – full quality improvements, and all staff as game testers
When the game is done, click on “Continue Development”. In the same room, select “Development Report” and at the bottom, it will give you a projected rating. If it’s between 50-70, then you should continue polishing it if you can afford it. Otherwise, wait until it’s at least 60-80 range and even better if 70-90. Release the game when it improves to these better ranges, including a range between 80-100 if you can afford it and it doesn’t take more than 3-4 months of polishing.
By now, you should start updating games with your smaller development team. Usually, 3-4 updates are good enough, but if a game isn’t selling well then don’t bother more than two. Continue doing these steps with other games and sequels if possible.
Marketing and Production
You may need to expand to another facility to make this plausible, but it is possible with only the first two. You will need to research Marketing ($200,000) and Production ($5,000,000) for this part. Then build a Marketing room, Production Room, and tiny Stock room.
With your next game, you can self-publish when development is complete. With the Marketing room, be sure you use Special Marketing to gain a boost with demos and press releases. This is a huge benefit to getting the game out there and you may not even have to use the more fancy stuff like Radio or Game Magazine marketing. Though, it doesn’t hurt. The higher the hype the better it is.
By this point, I price games at about $49 for standard and $10 more for the next edition. Look at previous sales and estimate how many standards you need to produce. For this example, we’ll say 100,000 copies. Roughly 15% of Deluxe Edition will get sold, so 15,000 would be for Deluxe. The special edition is even less around 5%, so you only need 5,000 copies. I never produce more Deluxe or Special Editions. Once they’re sold out, they’re out.
When games start to sell less than 5,000 per week I drop the price by $10 unless they already sold at around 5,000 then I use 3,000 as an indicator for price drops. When you’re noticing your units low on stock, look at the previous week’s sales. Multiply that by 5. So, if last week only 3,000 units sold then produce 15,000 Standard Edition games. Continue these steps until the units are selling less than 1,000 per week then just let them run out and take the game off-market.
You only need one engine, so continue using the same engine and utilize your secondary development office to improve it.
Keep growing your offices and the space, and your games too (B+, A, etc.). You generally need fewer developers/game designers over time compared to graphic artists and audio engineers. For example, a development team of 10 would need about 15-20 graphic artists and audio engineers. I generally have these teams constantly working on the next game and polishing as much as possible, releasing games with an 80+ rating (use the Development Report for this).
It’s also good to research build a Workshop and start porting your most popular game to an Arcade. These are expensive but sell over a long period of time. It isn’t abnormal to be negative for half a year before you start generating profit in the millions over the next year or two.
If you can afford to do so, start research consoles and start developing the high-end console.
Hope this guide helps, but if you face financial ruin it’s time to go back to the basics and focus on a small dev team, small graphics team, small audio engineering team, and small quality insurance team.
The worst thing you can do is panic when you feel like you’re losing a lot of money. It’s important to minimize the damage.
- Start by downsizing staff. Go down to a team under 20 if you have to with the best game designers in your development room (3-5), best graphic artists in the graphics studio, and best audio engineers in their studio, and best game testers in the QA room
- Take contracts to build an income. If there are not enough contracts, take a loan.
- Create a B (or B+) Sequel with your best selling game
- Have all rooms “Improve Quality” for all features. If you cannot afford this, then have them focus on polishing the game.
- You should have an engine, so use it. Also, if you kept it up-to-date some games may bring you a large income still
- Set ideal settings and enable the most important features for the genre
- Optimize the game as long as you can until you get a rating (Development Report) of at least 70%
- If you have a marketing department, use all the Special Marketing.
- Self-publish the game if you have enough money, or seek a publisher
Keep repeating this until you pay off your loans and afford to start making A, AA, and eventually AAA games again.