Isn’t this just a rip-off of Game Dev Tycoon?
When it comes to development-style tycoons, the most immediate one most people know is Game Dev Tycoon. Think of Software Inc as its more customizable, broader-ranged, dollar-sign-loving cousin. While they share many, many common features (customizing employees, having a bar to fill to get dev points, having marketing options, etc.), there are some definite differences that give Software Inc its own edge in the Tycoon market.
- Design and build your own building from the ground up.
- Manage the needs of your employees such as temperature, light, food, washroom, social interaction, and stress.
- Create a wide variety of products including 2D and 3D editors, CMS systems, Operating Systems, Game Engines, Audio Tools, and not to mention Games themselves.
- Operate side income options like hosting websites, printing, marketing, and development contracts.
- Gain a technology advantage by researching patented tech before your opponents.
- Dominate your opponents by buying their stocks and forcing them to become your subsidiary
What I love about this game:
Every playthrough is different. Yes, some people might say that only a few starting products can be easily produced (2D Editor I’m looking at you), but the way the market is randomized makes each experience a new one. Figuring out the different styles of teams that can produce different products better provides hundreds of hours of satisfying min-maxing.
Yeah, this game is very receptive to sharing mods with each other. My absolute favourite is the Hardware Mod that lets you produce and sell computer hardware. This adds an entire hundred hours worth of customization of your company as well as providing entirely new dimensions of imagining your dream Tycoon.
One aspect of Tycoon gaming that other games have not yet managed to capture is the idea of providing additional services as side income for a budding business. Software Inc does that pretty well however, with their contract based system as well as their deal based system. This provides both early game opportunities for more funding as well as late game income for members who are sitting idly while the rest of their team works.
Having the option to construct your own building is what really allows you to truly customize this business building venture. You get to decide how many people get an individual office, or if everyone is just tossed into a pit of cubicles. Managing parking spots, seating priorities, lounge access, and even meeting room access gives you full control over what your employees are allowed to do with your building.
Do you like micromanaging? Do you sitting back and just watching money roll into your account? Software Inc gives you the option of both. This one feature is what makes this one of my favourite Tycoon games of all time. Project development. This option in the game allows you to essentially form a project that can utilize multiple teams to produce a certain type of product.
Let me give you an example:
In the late game, I like to set up a team that continuously creates an easy-to-make product that my company was built upon. I usually hire a team of designers, programmers, artist(s), and a lead who all specialize in 2D and organize them all into one project that makes 2D Editors. There are options such as delegating marketing to your specific Marketing team, or giving support responsibilities to the dedicated Support team. It is up to you on how to customize this, but I recommend that you at least delegate these two functions to your focused teams. Next, I select the “Create Software” button and press the “Project Management” button after choosing all the features for this product. There you go! Your 2D Editor Project Team is now printing money for you automatically.
If micromanagement is more your thing, there are also dozens of employee settings for you to play with all the way from benefits, wages, hours, vacations, to more specialized options like training and whether or not this person gets their own parking spot.
Steeeep learning curve. For those who may be new to the whole tycoon genre, this game is going to take a bit of time before it gets enjoyable. Right off the bat, if you try to produce an Operating System (sounds like fun right?), you WILL go broke. There are subtle nuances to the game that become clear after one or two playthroughs, but the initial difficulty can be fairly high even on the easy setting. Read guides on how to get started. I plan to post on in the near future, but until then, Reddit has been a great resource for getting your feet wet in this game and many users offer tips and tricks that can at least get your started.
There really is no true end game in this since after you become dominant for a little while, the rest of the game is just a cake walk of watching your bank grow fatter and fatter. The trick to this is start over on a harder setting, set limitations on your gameplay, and USE MODS. The devs are great at updating this game with new content, balance updates, and fixing bugs that plague certain users. One way I had far more fun with this game is to restrict myself to a certain product and limit my total employee number. In a short while, I discovered that it was entirely possible to sustain your entire operation on side income alone. There are fun niches to explore with this, and it is up to you to explore them all despite such a ridiculously easy end game.
Employee complaints aren’t entirely well-founded and it can sometimes be frustrating to figure out how to best optimize their efficiency and stress levels. There really is no easy way around this than to constantly monitor employee surroundings and ensuring that you do not build rooms that are unsuitable for your certain type of employee.
Finally, the user interface. My eyes are watering and my hands are tensed up just thinking about trying to figure out where all these small buttons are and how to navigate screens without having to click that tiny little X in the top right corner. I really hope the devs add more and more keyboard controls for opening and closing various screens, because I really do not enjoy navigating through these screens. I guess this is actually a good thing, because this UI physically limits my play time on this game since my body literally cannot continue to function if I play for longer than 4-5 hours at a time.
Build a unique software company. Research patents and get paid big time. Manage a team of specialized programmers, developers, artists, and marketers. Construct your own building. Set up automatic development. The list goes on and on for why this game is the perfect embodiment of what it means to create your own software empire.
I would heavily recommend buying this game for yourself and for any of your friends who like the idea of going from a lone developer to owning the largest software based company in the world. There is a sense of satisfaction after successfully beating out your opponents that just cannot be matched by other games on the market right now.
However, there is still much room for improvement (even if they are only in Early Access as of August 2018) in the UI and learning curve department. If Coredumping can continue to improve these weaknesses, they have a shot at being the best Tycoon game of all time.
Top 10 Tips for Software Inc
If you are struggling to get your business off the ground, check out the Top 10 Tips to Get Started. These will make the initial learning curve much easier to manage and help you enjoy the game more!