Hey Reddit

I am James Vaughan, Founder of Ndemic Creations, and creator of hit mobile game Plague Inc. and Plague Inc: Evolved, recently released on Steam Early Access. More than 25 million players have been infected so far.

I started making Plague Inc. as a hobby in 2011. Since its launch in May 2012, I quit my job and now spend all my time making games.

Ask Me Anything!

Proof: in game news item - http://imgur.com/4k8URyD

EDIT - Right - I've gota get back to work otherwise there won't be an update this week :P Great talking everyone - hope people found it interesting

Comments: 440 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

mphelp11154 karma

One question: What the hell, Greenland?

NdemicCreations73 karma

You need to talk to these guys http://naalakkersuisut.gl/en/

ka_ka99 karma

The game "news" are hilarious. Who writes them?

NdemicCreations111 karma

I write most of them myself but a few have been done by friends / players. Have a lot of fun doing them and it is great to see other people finding them funny online

cjb95625 karma

If players were to have interesting submissions for news. Where might we submit them?

NdemicCreations42 karma

Drop me a note through twitter / email. At some point - I want to have a proper process for this

karmanaut84 karma

What is your relationship or affilitation to the flash game Pandemic/Pandemic II?

NdemicCreations72 karma


WakizashiNomad81 karma

Did you intend Greenland to be the game's "final boss" of sorts, or did it just turn out that way based on your simulation?

NdemicCreations68 karma

That is the way the simulation worked and I decided I liked it that way so didn't change anything

danrennt9855 karma

What's your best strategy to get Iceland and Madagascar infected?

NdemicCreations145 karma

Water transmission

TheWrakkar54 karma

Just running by, wanted to say that you made a great game - thank you :)

NdemicCreations38 karma

Thanks :)

HockeyCannon50 karma

Did you ever think your game would be, > a non-traditional route to raise public awareness on epidemiology, disease transmission, and diseases/pandemic information.?

Edit: it won't format correctly

NdemicCreations49 karma

Nope - never - that was just a very cool bonus!

WooerOfTheGlen48 karma

First of all, thanks for the AMA! I love the game, which I'm told makes me sick.. Have you considered adding additional graphics to the map aside from the planes, ships, and coloration of countries? And will future scenarios be automatically unlocked if I've purchased all of the current ones?

NdemicCreations38 karma

Yes - all future scenarios will be unlocked.

Re graphics - depends. What you thinking of?

cichy1240 karma

Do you earn enough money to live from Plague Inc. games?

NdemicCreations74 karma

yes - I quit my job and now work on it full time

MillenialJudas35 karma

Thank you for keeping me distracted in calculus and physics!

NdemicCreations37 karma

heh, np

elcubismo30 karma

how did you and your app get involved with the Center for Disease Control?

NdemicCreations52 karma

They got in touch with me - seriously cool!

Artvandelay129 karma

What is the best name you've ever heard someone use for their plague?

NdemicCreations49 karma

I've read far too many disease names to be able to pick a single one. I always quite enjoy the 'witty social commentary' ones

MurrayPhilbman23 karma

Do you consider a hamburger to be at type of sandwich, or an entity of its own?

NdemicCreations42 karma

I think Americans tend to be more liberal with use of the word sandwich :P

rsmash23 karma

My question is about the music. I love the soundtrack (especially the Neurax Worm song... it's AMAZING!). I looked for it on iTunes but nothing comes up under Plague Inc. or Ndemic, so can you tell me who wrote the music so I can search for their name and buy it? I want to support. (Or just post a link here to the soundtrack?)

I love Plague Inc! Haven't gotten Evolved yet, but I still play the mobile version almost every day - and I've had it for over a year. Only game I can say that about. Thanks James for the epic game!

NdemicCreations28 karma

Yep - me too - i tend to listen to the music on loop when coding new diseases to get me in the mood.

All the music will be available for sale soon - its been on my to do list for ages.

http://openheartsound.com/ did the original mobile music and neurax (and his daughter sang the Ring a Rosie piece) and all SFX

http://mathazzar.com/ did the Necroa music and the Evolved music

kasie_22 karma

are you afraid that all the people playing this horribly violent game will use it as a platform to progress in to real life biological warfare?!

but for real, your game is awesome. and why is it so difficult to infect greenland?! they're my hold out almost every time..

edit: just.. want to make sure the sarcasm doesn't come off as genuine. just a jab at people saying video games make people violent killers.

NdemicCreations31 karma

Lol - I always say that it is probably for the best if someone uses Plague Inc. to plan a terrorist attack (rather than going to the library etc) - as the 'gamified' elements will cause them to make a mistake in real life.

Greenland is v cold and has low population density which really slows things down

EmperorPoo18 karma

the in-game news update just brought me here, haven't played the game in months, what a coincidence.

When are we going to get some crazy alien pathogen? Like, X-Files type black sickness? Also, are you hiring people for great ideas?

NdemicCreations26 karma

Hah - I'm glad the news post worked!

An alien type pathogen is v high up my to do list.

Re hiring people for great ideas - no! Everyone has ideas - the trick is how to implement on them

Normanix16 karma

My favourite mode from the game is the Neurax Worm can we expect cool mutations like that in the future?

NdemicCreations28 karma

Yes - lots more - so much cool stuff that can be done. New plague types give me a great excuse to jump into the game algorithms and tweak them - its a nice change of pace

Acceptable6716 karma

Thanks for the game -- I've spent many hours having great fun playing it, and thanks for responding to our questions. I suppose my only question is what programming language did you do this in?

NdemicCreations25 karma


Edarion15 karma

What is your favourite game mode?

Mine is neurax worm or maybe virus.

NdemicCreations33 karma

I enjoy playing them all - my favourite tends to be the most recent one I made ( so currently Necroa) because I know it a lot more intimately and can appreciate the algorithmic subtleties

brucewaynewins15 karma

Have you considered or been approached to bring the game to any portable or home consoles?

NdemicCreations40 karma

Yes - something I hope to do in the future

KaliMaul13 karma

I just discovered Plague Inc on Android yesterday - today I paid to unlock the full version and played through the game on normal (the 5 or 6 basic plagues). So essentially I wasted a day. Thank you for that.

Also my internet connection went out in the afternoon and right now I'm on a 32kbps (that's kilobits) mobile connection, so I'm a bit pissed.

I'm an indie developer, about to finish and release my first mobile game. However the mobile market seems extremely difficult to break into. It's oversaturated with pure shit (and a really small number of actually good games), and honestly, when the two best-selling games in two weeks are Flappy Bird and Dungeon Keeper (mobile), the only thing someone with any artistic integrity should do is abandon this whole industry and go work somewhere where people appreciate hard work, dedication, talent and quality, like plumbing. But of course I've put too much work into the game and I'm not ready to just write that off.

Then there's Kickstarter and Steam Early Access, but those are increasingly getting populated with terrible projects as well. It really seems like marketing is the only thing that matters, and you could sell a bucket of shit on these services if you had the right connections or background, and get zero attention without those. Also, fucking "retro" shit-looking pixel art everywhere.

Anyway, my question is: how could I, as a Central / Eastern European indie developer with a mobile game that's starting to become pretty decent - but no connections, marketing skills or cash for investing - make any amount of money off of it? Most publishers won't even talk to me and those who do reply cannot really offer me anything other than putting the game out and hoping for the best, which is something I can do myself.

Ok, this was just me venting. I'm glad you could make your game successful and I really hope mine will do fine as well. But the uncerteainty is killing me.

NdemicCreations13 karma

Ye - the mobile market is brutally competitive. I think the best thing to do is make sure that you define success on your own terms. If you are able to build something and get it out there - that is a great achievement. Anything more than that is a bonus.

I can't offer any wonderful advice - I find that in the mobile industry - no one really knows anything - we are all learning together! If your game is pretty unique - that will help a lot as you can sell to a niche unchallenged. Engage with players, be open and make sure to update the game if it starts moving.

Good luck!

TheLuigiplayer13 karma

When do you think,are you going to release the next Update of "Plague Inc Evolved" and what features could we see in the future,expect those,you have allready announced?

NdemicCreations19 karma

Next update for Plague Inc: Evolved is coming tomorrow / friday and will add the Neurax Worm in as well as various smaller tweaks.

Re features - got a number of things I want to do which haven't been announced but will be influenced by the players and what they want

Spearka10 karma

Hello James, I have a few questions to ask as well as a small suggestion

First: What inspired you to create Evolved and why the overhaul?

Second: Was plague Inc. inspired by the Pandemic series of games or was the resemblance a big coinidence

Third: what are your plans to improve Evolved, doesn't need to be specific?

Lastly; how wide do you intend to create scenario creation? will it be able to support non-Earth maps?

to finish off I'd also like to suggest a special disease analogous to Necroa and the Neurax worm but instead deviates from the Nano-Virus, it replicates inside the body and can only spread through killing its victim (rather similar to the nanoswarm from "The Day the Earth Stood Still")

NdemicCreations14 karma

1 - I'm a PC gamer first and foremost - and Plague Inc: Evolved lets me scratch that itch whilst also adding in a lot of cool stuff that I couldn't do on mobile 2 - Yes - definitely inspired by Pandemic 2 3 - All the stuff on my website for starters and then we will see how things go 4 - TBD on non earth maps - will see how many people are using it 5 - yes - something similar already on ideas list

megaozojoe10 karma

Just want to say I love plague inc still keeps me entertained. What other game have you made that you wish got more recognition?

Edit: Makes sense now

NdemicCreations23 karma

Plague Inc. is my first and only game (so far :P)

JSX1310 karma

Hey man! Really great game, had it since release and still playing most commutes. Any idea of future updates/new game types?

Also, what are your best disease names? "My Dick" is getting tired.

NdemicCreations16 karma

Will be announcing next mobile update this week or early next. Re best disease names - already answered above

Worzol8 karma

I like the cheat plagues, because I'm lazy and prefer to just mindlessly kill, rather than work for it. Don't get me wrong, I work for it as well, but I prefer the cheats.

My question is: Is there any chance of getting cheat plagues for the Necroa/ Neurax Worm?

I love your work, please continue it for as long as you can.

NdemicCreations11 karma

Yes - this is currently in active development

uberlad8 karma


NdemicCreations16 karma

Challenge yourself to do things you wouldn't normally do - I did with making Plague Inc. and I'm fucking glad I did

UESPA_Sputnik13 karma

Don't get infected with a plague.

NdemicCreations18 karma

this also

Betaguy7 karma

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

Just kidding, on a serious note how can I become a beta tester?

NdemicCreations11 karma

Report and help us ID a bug

TheSilentEskimo26 karma

Hey James! This is a Dynastinae! Commonly referred to as a rhino beetle!

NdemicCreations6 karma


Steven_Stache7 karma

Just want to say thank you for the game :) Had a blast doing all diseases on brutal when I was home because of my surgeries. Thanks :p. Btw, what can you share with us on Plague Inc Evolved?

NdemicCreations5 karma

Thanks - glad it was able to help keep you from boredom! Lots more exciting Plague Inc: Evolved stuff coming - what do you want to know :P

Steven_Stache5 karma

How is the multiplayer going to work? Are there going to be different gamemodes?

NdemicCreations12 karma

Co-op and competitive. Whose disease can kill the world first - you will try to mess up your opponent etc

Keeper_of_Fenrir7 karma

Lets be honest here. If everyone in the world died except for Greenland, humanity is doomed anyways.

NdemicCreations5 karma

heh - hopefully we never have to find out

capri17226 karma

I have the mobile version of Plague, Inc. (also this is the first time I've heard of a Steam version and now I want it) and I'm just wondering two things...

  1. Which disease type do you think is the hardest?

  2. Somewhat related to that, do you have any tips for beating the bio-weapon disease type? I can't even beat it on casual. ;-;

NdemicCreations11 karma

1 - I find Nano Virus quite hard - especially on mega brutal difficulty 2 - No - you can do it on your own :P

oxymoron696 karma

Hey, i just wanted to say I bought your game yesterday (on android) and fucking love it. Have you ever thought of generating some graphics to go with the news items?

I'd quite enjoy seeing an artists interpretation of what insanity + diarrhoea looks like.

NdemicCreations5 karma

Lol - I think I would pay not to see that. Re more graphics yes but it impacts the file size and I would rather use the space for graphics which will have more impact

I_Need_To_Go_To_Bed6 karma

As a game designer, what kind of effects do critic reviews have on you?

NdemicCreations7 karma

Its nice from an ego point of view and I read every review - but in the mobile space at least - I find it interesting how little a critic review can impact things. If you can engage with the players well - that is all that matters. PC may be different - ask me again in the future :P

Grillburg6 karma

Hello! When you say that you started working on Plague Inc. as a hobby, did you have any programming experience before that? If not, how did you learn the programming necessary to develop your own game?


NdemicCreations14 karma

No programming experience but I was quite good at using formula in excel and bastardising excel macros (if someone else wrote me the initial macro)

I found a programmer (Mario) who is a tech genius and was able to do all the hard core tech stuff for me - leaving me to code the actual gameplay in the engine he built

FancyPants476 karma

Hi, Plague Inc. is a fantastic game. Admittedly, I have wasted unhealthy amounts of time playing. I'm impressed by the realism. How did you gather enough data for a model, like the infection rate when you wash your hands three times a day?

I noticed that when the world finds a cure for my disease, people instantly stop dying and infected population decreases by about 400 million a day. Why does that happen? Doesn't that seem a little unrealistic?

Nevertheless, I love the game. Thank you for all the great work!

edit: clarity, formatting

NdemicCreations23 karma

I did a lot of internet research to understand the broad scientific concepts - then it was a huge amount of play testing - "does this feel right" "would it feel better if it was like this" "what happens if I change this"

Re disease being rapidly cured - yes very unrealistic but no one wants to hang around for ages and wait to lose the game - constantly being reminded of their failure!

potterhead425 karma

What gave you the idea of creating a game where the objective is to wipe out humanity and destroy the world, contrary to pretty much every other game?

NdemicCreations17 karma

Key inspiration was a flash game from 2008 called Pandemic 2. I played it and thought 'thats a cool game - but it could be so much better' - so I decided to make the game I wanted to play

billabong26305 karma

What'd you do before you went full-time with game developing? Was game developing always a hobby for you or did you just really start getting into a year or two prior to the release of the original Plague?

NdemicCreations12 karma

I was a strategy consultant at Accenture - I had never done any game development before Plague Inc. but I always enjoyed playing (PC) games

DiegoJP05 karma

Why did you chose to port it into a PC game? I think the game for mobiles is awesome and i have spent many hours playing it, What are the things you plan to do with a more powerful system like a pc?

NdemicCreations10 karma

Its on the website :P Multiplayer is the big thing - as well as scenario creator etc

geralddarden4 karma

Just wanted to say thank you for making Plague Inc. It is a great game and I play it daily.

Question 1: What other plague types will there be in the future?

Question 2: Can we expect more cheat types and achievements? (i.e. Chinese Nuclear Retaliation, etc...)

Question 3: What is the timeline of the Mac version of Plague Inc. Evolved?

Keep up the great work.

NdemicCreations8 karma

1 - Lots more. Aliens, robots, demons, realistic ones - there is so much potential here! 2 - yes and yes 3 - Soon as we can but probably after multiplayer etc is implemented - otherwise there is twice as much stuff to test and fix in one go

geralddarden7 karma

Sorry, one more question, have you ever considered adding STDs or sexual contact as a transmission vector?

NdemicCreations16 karma


kabex4 karma

I mostly have questions about Evolved:

  1. I assume the plague 3D-models will evolve like they do in the mobile version, longer things sprouting out etc.?

  2. When will AA work for said 3D-models? They're soooo jagged in the edges.

  3. Will we have 3D zombie hordes walking around the map with the Necroa virus' ability?

  4. Aprox. on multiplayer?

  5. What kind of other games are you currently working on, planning to do or would like to do in the future?

NdemicCreations6 karma

1 . Yep 2. Agree - it pains me. Hopefully soon 3. No - will be icon 4. Not yet 5. Loads of stuff but I don't let myself think about it as don't want to be distracted

TacticalAlpaca4 karma

I have a few: What are you planning next for your studio? What inspired Plague Inc? Will you tell me I'm sexy?

NdemicCreations4 karma

Currently focused on more stuff for Plague Inc and Plague Inc: Evolved. Lots of things inspired Plague Inc - a key thing was 2008 flash game Pandemic 2

WoVSeaBound3 karma

Are you planning any other plagues, except for the Necroa Virus and the Neurax Worm (They are both awesome, but I'd really love to see some more of those kind of plagues)?

NdemicCreations7 karma

Yes - more special plague types planned

throwaway927153 karma

Have you ever had the thought of a cyber version of your game - as in, computer viruses? Maybe integrating the two in a futuristic setting? Like The Matrix? Pretty please? :D

NdemicCreations5 karma

yes - but hard to find the time!

WoVSeaBound3 karma

First of all, thank you for creating this game and then "evlolving" it to computers (I actually had to play it on an Android Emulator, because my mobile phone was not good enough to donwload the game)! Now my question: Are you gonna do something like a plague that infects Animals and every Human killed by one of the infected animals counts as a kill from your plague (I thought that would be like a nice plague)?

NdemicCreations4 karma

Its on the ideas list but there are complexities to showing this well - so tbd

jcm2themax3 karma

I love your game and have wasted countless hours killing/infecting the world. My questions for you are:

  1. What inspired you in the creation of Plague, Inc.?

  2. Have you played Pandemic (board game)? If you have, what is your favorite profession to play as?

NdemicCreations5 karma

  1. Flash game - Pandemic 2, Book - Death of Grass Game - Age of Wonders Shadow Magic. Lots of films and lots of other games, books, etc

NdemicCreations5 karma

Ah and missed question 2 - yes I have but not much - I'm not that good at team board games!

WoVSeaBound3 karma

Will there be a gamemode where you will have to infect another planet with one of the plagues?

NdemicCreations2 karma

On the ideas list but no specific plans

lifehole93 karma

Will there be microtransactions in the 15$ PC version? Because right now it's basically plague inc with fancier graphics, and more expensive.

NdemicCreations13 karma

No microtransactions

kbuzz12183 karma

What advice would you give to indie game developers who are making original games on a budget?

NdemicCreations3 karma

Make a game you feel really passionate about - and try and make a game that doesn't exist. Plague Inc. was in an almost empty niche so I could just focus on making a great game - not on competing with other great games

StRefuge3 karma

Your game is wonderful, I'm very bad at it, can't beat virus on normal :(

Just wondering what other games you play? (mobile, PC, console, board, etc.).

NdemicCreations6 karma

I really like strategy games - xcom, civ, supreme commander, age of wonders

Thorgusta3 karma

Me and my wife love your game! Especially all the little mini events they bring a certain humor to the game. IS there any chance you've considered a demonic possession plague? I think it would be kind of cool any way thank you for the awesome game!

NdemicCreations7 karma

Yep - it is on the ideas list

clarkey_20002 karma

I heard there could be Multiplayer- is this true? If so how would it work?

NdemicCreations3 karma

Yes - co-op and competitive. More info www.plagueincevolved.com

GammaGames2 karma

I love your game! I bought it on iOS and played it for far too long. I got it on Steam when I first saw it, the day it was released, and have unlocked all the plague types.
Anyway, my question is:

What made you decide to pick iOS first? It plays very well on iOS, and it also is very good on PC (I especially like the shortcuts on keyboard), and what do you think got it to be so popular so quickly? And what was the C
Also any ETA on Necroa for PC?

p.s. Weather would be a cool addition, parts of the world get snowy and you need the cold environment to keep infecting for winter, the opposite for summer, and actual hurricanes spin around the map and stuff.

NdemicCreations3 karma

iOS was more of an empty frontier - there are lots of great games for PC already. It got popular imo because there were not many games like it available. No ETA yet - working on getting Necroa in

Re weather - it sounds cool but it can quite heavily negatively impact player experience so no plans currently

DoctorShades242 karma

If I buy Plague Evolved on Steam for PC, will I get the Mac version for free?

I really hope you answer this one, I've been sending emails to you guys on this almost daily, because I really want to buy Evolved, but don't want to spend double the cost to get a PC and a Mac version.

NdemicCreations3 karma

Yes - on Steam. Also - your emails should have been answered - aim to reply to everything. Please PM me your email address so I can investigate

magicmalek2 karma


no questions, just thanking you for stealing countless days out of my life with this awesome game!

actually, any new mutation previews?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Will be an announcement in the next week

tj0hnson2 karma

Are you considering making any more addictive games that will get me put on the no-fly list in the near future?

Are the games recorded somewhere so that the events and actions can be reviewed?

NdemicCreations4 karma

I've got lots more games I want to make but I can't let myself focus on them yet - too much to do with Plague Inc. and Plague Inc: Evolved.

Plague Inc: Evolved has a replay function which is quite cool

zlipnit2 karma

Why is greenland so fucking hard to get to without spending alot of points in cold resistance?

NdemicCreations6 karma

Low population density

TydeQuake2 karma

What do you think is the best country to start your disease in? Especially nano-virus. I usually do UK or Egypt.

NdemicCreations2 karma

For me - normally China

moistbeanbag2 karma

What are your thoughts on the mobile game Infection Bio War?

NdemicCreations8 karma

Crappy rip off but not worth getting upset about it :P The company who make it do rip off a lot of games like that (e.g. have done it to subway surfers as well)

Henryradio982 karma

Are any of the features from plague inc evolved going to be on plague inc on mobile? cough cough street view? I love your game and it's the only game on my phone! Btw can you give a tiny hint for the next update?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Some things in Plague Inc: Evolved will be in mobile (e.g. mega brutal difficulty) but I have no plans to bring the key Plague Inc: Evolved features over because of technical limitations / screen size limitations

satoru11112 karma

How do you feel about handing all the 'criticisms' concerning your pricing choices, and the 'omg this is a rip off of pandemic 2' stuff?

Has your faith in humanity collapsed yet? :P

NdemicCreations6 karma

Nah - its the internet - just gota accept it. Most people are perfectly nice and reasonable if you engage with them properly - people are used to being ignored by big companies and are often pleasantly surprised to find out that I'm actually human! Its always nice when other players help direct people to places where I have already written answers

KaiTheDead2 karma

What, in your opinion, is the best virus type to play as?

BTW, I'd just like to say thanks for this game. It's amazing.

NdemicCreations3 karma

I really enjoy the Necroa (zombie) virus at the moment

Unfeared2 karma

Hey, been playing this game alot past week. As someone interested in speedrunning the game, what is the ETA on the speedrunning mode?

NdemicCreations3 karma

Its pretty much ready - will be 'soon' but don't want to commit to specific date

starmage2 karma

Can you share your list of future possible virus you want to make or planing to add?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Not one master list - dotted all over the place. Aliens is high up there though

Contrafox971 karma

Would you ever consider doing an alien parasite add-on? Or a new planet?

Anyways, great game! I love playing it- although it makes me question my mental health.

NdemicCreations2 karma

yes - on my to do list

Clovis691 karma

Now I'm starting a new game in Plague Inc. Good bye productivity today.

NdemicCreations2 karma

Good luck :P

Minifig811 karma

Hiya James, are there any discounts planned for people who own the iOS or Android version already? :)

NdemicCreations1 karma

No - would be extremely complicated from logistics point of view and would not result in much saving per person

sparticus4541 karma

Do you also like drinking the blood of the innocent in your off time?

NdemicCreations3 karma

Only in a beef steak

MitoG1 karma

Was there ever a time where your brain just said "no" and you could code anything ?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Lots of times - that is when it is important to really enjoy what you are doing so you can keep going

WoVSeaBound1 karma

When the Necroa Virus and the Neurax Worm are released for Plague Inc: Evolved, will we have to unlock it by beating the game with all other plagues or will it be unlocked immediately?

NdemicCreations1 karma

You will need to beat other diseases first. However, the Neurax worm will be in a different order to mobile so you can play it sooner

TheLuigiplayer1 karma

How will the Multiplayer Mode in Plague Inc:Evolved looks like?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Still tbd ;)

TheLuigiplayer1 karma

Are you going to implement the Steam Workshop feature to Plague Inc Evolved?

NdemicCreations1 karma


Luigilink321 karma

Do you think the neurax worm is overpowered? I've only played it a few times, mostly on brutal, and it just feels like it's way too easy as soon as you infect everyone. Also, are there any apocalyptic natural disasters implemented? If they aren't, something very rare and devastating to the human population would be very game changing and interesting; either destroying nearly all the infected or taking out some of the well defended countries (I'm looking at you, Canada and Greenland.)

NdemicCreations2 karma

Neurax Worm can be quite easy - with mega brutal - it will be harder. There are some minor natural disasters but no plans to implement major ones as will remove impact of player