Hey Reddit

Been a few years since I last did one of these!

I'm the creator of Plague Inc. - one of the most popular paid mobile games ever as well as Plague Inc: Evolved - a best-selling enhanced version of the game on Steam, XB1 and PS4 (soon). Most recently, I have been working on Plague Inc: The Board Game which is currently on Kickstarter (over 480% funded).

I started making Plague Inc. as a hobby in 2011. Since its launch in May 2012, I quit my old job and now spend all my time making games with my company Ndemic Creations. We now have 7 people working at our office in London and also work with a few third party companies. To date, Plague Inc. has infected over 70 million players all over the world and is still going strong.

I can talk about Plague Inc., running a small company, designing mobile games, designing PC games, getting games onto console, designing/manufacturing board games, kickstarter questions, visiting the CDC, the dangers of antibiotic resistance - or anything else!

Some more general questions about Plague Inc: The Board Game are already answered in the FAQs here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/932314378/plague-inc-the-board-game

Proof: https://twitter.com/NdemicCreations/status/733306128063434756

More Proof: http://www.ndemiccreations.com/en/18-about-us

EDIT Great talking with everyone - I'm popping out to get some food but will continue answering when I'm back!

EDIT Back again!

EDIT I'm off to bed now! Thanks for taking part everyone. I'll check back tomorrow in case anything comes up which I haven't already answered

Comments: 219 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

failed_novelty25 karma

My biggest question is what's up with Greenland? Do they just constantly wash their hands and always wear biohazard suits?

Additionally, what has been the hardest part of development of the board game, in your opinion?

NdemicCreations20 karma

Heh, Greenland being that hard was actually unintentional - it just happened that way due to the combination of low temperature, low population density, reasonably good healthcare and limited connectivity with other countries!

Re hardest part of development for boardgame - l think the most challenging thing was finding ways to simulate the spread of disease - without players needing to do all sorts of complex calculations in their heads. Luckily, I found a way :)

kgmoome15 karma

Do you have a background in biology?

NdemicCreations16 karma

Nope - I studied Economics at university. I find biology very interesting though and like to read about it a lot.

SgtJamie14 karma

Did you have to deal with any Licencing/Ip issues when creating Plague Inc in regards to the Pandemic Flash game?

NdemicCreations11 karma

No - although Plague Inc. was inspired by the flash game - it is a very different game which fundamentally changes the way the game works, adds loads of new stuff etc. I was a bit concerned how some people might react to the similarities - but luckily once people played Plague Inc. - they realised that Plague Inc. was significantly different in a whole load of ways (e.g. much deeper simulation, narrative, variety of game mechanics)

ShadowRyou9 karma

James, love Plague Inc. hours and hours of fun thanks a lot.

Do you have any estimate of when the vampire disease type might be released? I am so itching to try a new disease type!

NdemicCreations6 karma

I can't give a time estimate currently I'm afraid. Have quite a few things on my plate and I don't want to rush things. Currently, I have a playable build - but I still need to do a lot of tweaking and polishing

Check out the custom scenarios that have been made by the community in the mean time - there are some great ones ;)

BarlesChronson6 karma

Is co-op implemented yet? How will it work?

Edit: pc question

NdemicCreations4 karma

Yes - co-op has been implemented and is live on Steam. It works really well actually - is a lot more popular than I thought it would be!

electriccars3 karma

Does co-op require two copies of the game?

NdemicCreations3 karma

You and a friend both need to have it (or you can play online)

electriccars2 karma

Okay, thanks! And is co-op cooperative or competitive? Or both?

NdemicCreations2 karma


PrivateCreeper6 karma

How do you come up with the ideas for pathogens in the game? Will we see any more anytime soon?

NdemicCreations6 karma

I get ideas from a number of places: I often look at things in the news / stuff I read about . e.g. the mind controlling Neurax Worm was based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasma_gondii

Other times, I just think about what would be cool - e.g. working with the film Planet of the Apes to put in the Simian Flu - or adding Zombies into the game with the Necroa Virus

Also - I need consider what would make interesting game mechanics - e.g. the moving of zombie hordes around the world adds a cool new feature to gameplay which makes players think about things a bit differently.

I am currently working on a vampire disease type!

PrivateCreeper2 karma

Hey that's actually pretty cool!

I have another question if you don't mind, will we ever have a chance to see ourselves play against the zombies in the necora virus?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Probably not in Plague Inc. as that would be a whole other game!

Grim_Vibes5 karma

What marketplace was the most difficult to release on?

NdemicCreations8 karma

They all have their own unique aspects (and also are constantly changing over time). Console submissions are quite intimidating due to the amount of preparation work that has to be done (e.g. to pass certification). Releasing on iOS can be quite nerve wracking due to the time it takes for the app to be reviewed Submitting to Steam and releasing it is probably the easiest - however, it can be hard to get onto Steam in the first place!

RA2lover2 karma

How hard of a wall is Steam Greenlight for game developers anyway? I've seen tons of low-quality games get through it eventually, somehow.

NdemicCreations2 karma

We didn't actually go through Greenlight so I don't know really. I think if you have a reasonable game - you should be fine

braveshaolin4 karma

Hey! How did you manage to work with the planet of the apes IP? Did you go to the holder or did they come and say "hey, how about making a scenario about our movie?"

The game is great and seems to appeal to everyone I know, including girls who never played anything and became gamers thanks to your game. Ehat do you think makes Plague Inc so accessible and even more, managing to "infect" (lol) people who weren't even into videogames in the first place?

NdemicCreations5 karma

Fox reached out to me quite a long time ago about a different movie - and then we started talking about other movies as well. As soon as we thought of Planet of the Apes - we knew we had to do it - the game and movie fit together so well!

You are right - the game does seem to infect non gamers quite a lot. I think it happens primarily because the game is based on a realistic issue that can impact everyone - regardless of if they play games or not

Mistermatt0073 karma

How came the idea to create a game where you can control a disease ?

NdemicCreations13 karma

I was inspired by a flash game called Pandemic 2 from 2008. I played it and liked it but realised that I wanted to make a game that had a similar concept but then developed things a lot further (e.g. the complexity of simulation, the narrative elements). So I decided to make the game I wanted to play!

RadicalDog6 karma

Have you been in touch with the creator at all? I've always felt they were similar enough that I would find it a little too close, if I were the original creator. But then that's a part of forming any genre, so this isn't necessarily a criticism.

NdemicCreations3 karma

Yes - we have spoken a few times.

Zdoherty7113 karma

I am a huge fan of Plague Inc., and I am very excited for the new board game! A few questions that I have had over the past years: What is your favorite plague to play? What is your favorite custom plague? ETA for Vampire Plague? (We know you guys are busy with the Board Gme ;) ). What kind of stores are you looking to get into? (if that is even a future goal for the Board Game). What are some future Stretch Goals that backers (like myself) can look forward to? (Maybe a custom die?). And last but not least, any chance to receive a signed game card as a Stretch Goal? :)

Thank you so much for everything you and Ndemic Creations has done! I am looking forward to future infections!

NdemicCreations5 karma

1) My favourite plague = the latest Plague that I have made. So, out of the released ones, I really like Simian Flu or Santa's Little Helper. But my new favourite once I've finished it will be vampire :). 2) Can't give an ETA for vampire yet I'm afraid - soon as it is good and ready 3) I'm currently focused on getting the game to players directly - will think about stores in the future maybe 4) I would really like to do a custom die - and also maybe a solo play mode. However, these are quite expensive / time consuming so need to make sure we have enough backing for the game 5) I'm afraid this isn't possible as the games are made in China and then shipped to backers directly!

_TwistedNerve3 karma

Hey James, thanks for the countless hours I've spent playing your game! My question is, are you planning to realease new diseases/scenarios for the mobile?

And how did you get the idea to create the game?

NdemicCreations6 karma

Yes - planning on releasing lots more diseases and scenarios. I am currently working on a vampire disease type.

Re idea for the game - I just answered this in more depth for another question - but basically - was inspired by flash game Pandemic 2

Gromdhur2 karma

Hi! Big fan of your game here! But i'm always struggling to infect Groenland... I can kill everybody on the planet, there is always some survivor in Groenland. So if there is a pandemic on earth, this is my first destination!

So my question is simple: In case of a global pandemic, what will be your first move? and where will you go? (sorry, groenland is already taken!)

NdemicCreations3 karma

Hah - I hope you remember to pack your warm clothes :P I actually find the concepts of pandemics very scary - especially as I have done so much research about diseases. I think I would go find an isolated place in the middle of the countryside and hope that things would eventually sort themselves out.

justeducation2 karma

You made a great game. I enjoyed playing it in my iPad.

Will you be developing any kind of socio-political simulator next?

Sent from my Note 4.

NdemicCreations2 karma

It is certainly something I would like to do - but I have a big book of ideas so I don't know what I will choose

Chengweiyingji2 karma

What names do you use for your diseases? Do you name them after real ones or do you just go a ____ Oak route and call it something ridiculous (ex. Ravioli)?

NdemicCreations2 karma

It depends a lot - I'm really enjoying using the Random Name Generator that we added into the game recently - some of them are really quite funny!

iHipster2 karma

Are you worried about running out of stretch goals?

Did you think that the campaign would be as successful as it is?

NdemicCreations3 karma

I'm not 'worried' about running out of stretch goals - because if I do that - it will be a problem of success. However, it is something I think about quite a bit. The danger is that it is very easy to get carried away and add extra stretch goals which could actually harm the project - so once I have done all the stretch goals I feel comfortable doing - I will tell people that and hopefully they will understand. I do have lots of ideas for expansion packs so can hopefully do that in the future as well

MDeprince2 karma

"The DLC for boardGame" : How will it work?

NdemicCreations2 karma

The board game doesn't have DLC? :P

ThePaxCanadiana2 karma

Have to ask how much you've netted from your games?

What kind of staff have you hired and what are the most valuable skills that you've brought into building an enterprise like this?

NdemicCreations4 karma

Heh, I'm afraid I can't share specific numbers - however, we been lucky to made enough that I could quit my old job and work full time on Plague Inc. as well as sustain a small company Re staff - programming, graphics/art, production, creative/design skills and business skills are all things that we have had to hire for. I think one of the most important things has been to work really fucking hard at making the company into something that can make great stuff. It also helps a lot that I enjoy doing business stuff as well as the creative stuff. One thing I struggle with though a bit is delegation!

koolkatmat2 karma

Do you plan on releasing any other games?

NdemicCreations3 karma

Yes definitely - but I still have a lot I want to do with Plague Inc. first

jaime_lex2 karma

I congratulate them because they have achieved the goal ( and much more ) Plague Inc. The boardgame sponsorship . In this respect , what results have been obtained so far with the survey translation of the game?

NdemicCreations2 karma

German and French are the two most requested languages - will share more about this in a few days though!

MALA_mala2 karma

I'm totally in love with Plague Inc., so thank you a lot. Do you have anyone to advise you about medical/microbiological things (traits for pathogens etc.) or it's just what you learn on your own?

NdemicCreations3 karma

It is what I learnt / read about on my own. I am lucky enough now to know people who work at the CDC and other scientists around the world so it could help a lot with future projects though :)

ifross2 karma

Hey! Love the game, just wondering how much input you still have now the franchise is so big?

NdemicCreations3 karma

I'm fully hands on and normally, I do most of the gameplay design and iteration stuff myself - so you could say I have 100% input. I guess I need to get better at delegation :P

SpiderPres2 karma

Do you play your own game?

How often?

NdemicCreations2 karma

I play my own games all the time when I'm making them and then occasionally after that. Currently, I play Plague Inc: The Board Game loads and get all my friends to play it. I also really enjoy playing multiplayer on Steam with Plague Inc: Evolved

SpiderPres2 karma

Do you play any other games on steam?

NdemicCreations3 karma

Yes - playing Stellaris currently

Lectitio_Divinitatus2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. I haven't played in a while, so I'm not sure what the updates have been, but I love the game.

Any chance of making a political pandemic where supporters just get so hyped they spread into other countries and eventually eradicate the world?

NdemicCreations3 karma

You should check them out - a few good ones ;)

Yes, I do want to make that but got quite a few things I need to do before that. I think a few players have made custom scenarios which spread various political ideologies

newcantonrunner52 karma

Thank you for the wonderful game. It is perfect for commutes!

Question on becoming a full time game developer - at what point in the process in 2012 did you decide, "I'm going to quit the day job and develop the game full-time"? What prompted that decision?

Thank you!

NdemicCreations3 karma

Within a day of the game launching - it was on the top of the charts and I remember thinking "wow, this is crazy". I went to work as normal for the first few weeks but soon I had so much work to do on Plague Inc (updates, customer support etc) that I asked my company if I could go on a leave of absence for a few months. Happily they said yes. I didn't want to quit my job at that point because the mobile market is very volatile and I didn't know what could happen with the game. However, after a few months when it was still doing well - I decided that it was secure enough for me to go full time and that there was enough work for me to be doing - so I did it and haven't looked back since

EddieTimeTraveler2 karma

I loved the app, but only until I got comfortable with it on the higher difficulties. Then the challenge faded and with it my interest in the app.

I'm a backer, but I gotta admit I'm worried about replayability with the board game.

So my question, what mechanisms are in place to maintain interest longevity? What will keep my group wanting more after a handful of playthroughs?

Also, what are the dangers of antibiotic resistance?

NdemicCreations4 karma

Make sure you try the Necroa Virus or Simian Flu - these are hard and require very different tactics - especially on mega brutal

Re replayability with the board game - this was also a key objective for me when designing it! The biggest thing here is that you will never use all of the country cards in your game - so each time you play you will have a different combination of available countries. Combine this with the fact that players can choose to discard certain countries and you will never know what the world will look like - or what you will need to adapt your disease to. Other things that help: Variety of trait cards - the trait cards you have will impact the strategies you need to follow, variety of event cards - you don't know what you / other players will be able to use and finally - variety of starting countries - there are more potential start points than players - so again - this prevents things getting predictable

Re anti-biotic resistance - this is a major major issue that will shape our world - see article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36321394

DroidPC2 karma

Have you thought of improving the graphics or at the very least the resolution of the game in iPads? On retina displays like the iPad Air 2 it does not look too great.

NdemicCreations3 karma

We actually did update the graphics in the 2nd to last update - we added in particle effects for when you pop bubbles etc. We would like to add higher res assets in at some point - but we need to consider the impact it has on the file size of the game so will do it slowly

Droviin2 karma

What was your source of inspiration for the game?

NdemicCreations5 karma

Answered above: I was inspired by a flash game called Pandemic 2 from 2008. I played it and liked it but realised that I wanted to make a game that had a similar concept but then developed things a lot further (e.g. the complexity of simulation, the narrative elements). So I decided to make the game I wanted to play!

wundrwweapon2 karma

Hey James, I'll take the time to ask these questions: 1) how much time does it take to remake a game for PC? 2) knowing that Evolved was made in Unity, how did you do what you did to make the typical controlls screen disappear and just pull off the game in general? 3) how hard was it to make the scenario creator? 4) what programming language is the game written in?

And finally, a question about a future update plausibility: Would it be possible to make an IDE-compatible API for the game for scenario creation? Essentially I want to do the advanced event programming myself to dance around some small issues I've had with it?

How you reply!~

NdemicCreations3 karma

1) The amount of time depends on how much you are changing. It took us around 3 years because we rebuilt the game from scratch and added things like multiplayer VS / co-op as well as the custom scenario creator 2) I don't really understand the question I'm afraid. I worked with some very smart people at Auroch Digital who did most of the Unity technical work 3) Much harder than I thought it would be! When I make scenarios - I do it all in code - so we had to make something that was friendly to use - and wouldn't randomly break for players 4) The core simulation code is written in c++

Re the API for scenario creation - I'm not sure as it sounds like it could be a lot of work for something that not many people would use. One thing to note is that you can manually edit the game event .txt files that the scenario creator spits out which will let you do more stuff (but it might also break things - so back it up before you explore)

Eggy2161 karma

How difficult was it to make the transition from video to board game?

Which version of the game was the toughest to get published? Was it the original just because of the lack of experience, or did one of the others cause you more trouble?

Did you ever get so difficult that you contemplated giving up on the project?

How was the process of publishing a video game different than the process of publishing a board game?

When making the board game did you find that at this point the name alone was enough for you to get it published, or were there still hurdles in the way?

What did you have to do to prepare for the Kickstarter campaign for the board game? I've always wondered about the "before" process when seeing these Kickstarter games.

Sorry for all the questions (although I guess an AMA is better the more questions you get), I'm just really interested in everything!

NdemicCreations1 karma

1) Very difficult - instead of a computer crunching loads of numbers - need to make it fun for humans to process directly

2)Releasing a game is always really hard - and all the versions had their own unique issues that had to be addressed. It certainly was scary releasing it for the very first time on iOS - I didn't even know when it would go live (I was actually on holiday when it did release!)

3) It got really hard several times but I'm too stubborn to give up on things. Sometimes had to take a few days out to refresh though

4) I haven't finished publishing the board game yet - ask me again in a few months ;) I'm expecting the physical nature of board game distribution to require a lot of learning though

5) Still lots of hurdles - I had to make a game good enough to be worthy of the name

6) It took a lot of effort - making the video, working out how the page would look, thinking about stretch goals, planning messaging etc etc

Undeadgamr191 karma

How have you taken the extreme success of your game?

NdemicCreations2 karma

I've tried to not really let it change me. I consider myself extremely lucky and have tried hard to build a sustainable studio which will be able to survive even if Plague Inc. stops being popular.

ByzantiumBall1 karma

What is your favorite disease type to play?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Simian - but I also really enjoy multiplayer on Steam

Rebelsuns1 karma

I'm a 35 year old with no game design experience but really want to create games. Any chance for people my age to make games?

What online lessons on game designs would you recommend?

NdemicCreations1 karma

There are two main challenges. a) Finding people to help you make the game - very hard - need money or good friends. b) Actually designing a fun game. For me - this required constant thinking about the game and rapid iteration. Try something, does it work? How could it be better? Try something else . Repeat, repeat, repeat

IllCaesar1 karma

Got a survival shelter in Madagascar?

NdemicCreations2 karma

I'm not sure that would be a good idea actually http://www.who.int/csr/don/06-september-2015-plague/en/

TheKingOfLobsters1 karma

Hi! I love your game and have played it way too much, and now my girl is addicted (or infected?) as well
I'm sorry if this is answered elsewhere, but I couldnt find it.
What is the planned timeline of the kickstarter? When do you expect the kickstarter to be shipping?

NdemicCreations1 karma

The timeline is at the bottom of the kickstarter. We will have everything shipped by November this year

colmreddy1 karma

Hey, when I load up Plague Inc Evolved on Win10, it just crashes before even displaying the splash screen. Could you patch this?

NdemicCreations1 karma

I haven't heard of any issues here. Please message support so we can investigate it for you :)

BigOlKirby1 karma

Are you developing the last special plague type along with the Neurax worm, Necroa Virus, and Simian Flu?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Yes - I am currently working on a vampire plague

niceguy441 karma

I have one question: Are you actually trying to take over the world using diseases?

In all seriousness though, when developing the game (board or app) did you ever get sick? If so, how bad was it?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Heh, no I've been lucky and not really got ill. If I did ever catch the plague or something - I'm sure that would make a good headline though :P

CreeperMan45771 karma

1) What factors determine how resistant a country is to a specific disease? Ex. Greenland has a low population with good health care, and a cold climate, while China has a high population with okay health care. Are there any other factors?

2) Where did you find information about countries?

3) Which version was harder to develop; IOS version or Android version?

NdemicCreations1 karma

1) It factors in population density, quality of health care, how much travel goes on there, their status in the world 2) The World Bank has all sorts of useful data 3) iOS version was when I actually made the game - Android is more of a technical porting challenge (which is handled by a third party). So personally, iOS was harder :)

sagiksp1 karma

Will you ever release the games source code for free, as a template for other disease simulations/games?

NdemicCreations1 karma

I don't have any plans to do this I'm afraid. Selling it means that I can keep making games and updating them!

MechanicalVirus1 karma

Will there be a sequel or a continuation to Plague Inc or will it remain with DLCs? :P

NdemicCreations1 karma

For now, I am planning to keep updating the original game with more content. If people stop wanting that - then will think about how to proceed

nightmarey512reborn1 karma

How much research did you do on the world's health care systems?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Quite a bit - primarily focused on how different countries have very different levels of care

Empigee1 karma

If global health officials trying to contain the Zika Virus asked you for advice on containing it based on your game, what is the most important tip you would offer them?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Take action quickly rather than wait for things to get bad. This is something that wasn't done during the Ebola outbreak but happily, they seem to be moving a lot faster with Zika

iam_willpower1 karma

You started this 'as a hobby' but how did you transition to full-time (promotion, legal, financiall, multiple developers, etc'?

Agile or not?

NdemicCreations1 karma

The transition was quite slow - a case of doing things as they were needed - whilst keeping the core game going. We still don't do any promotion for instance which makes our lives a lot simpler.

Re agile - some of our projects are more Agile than others :)

ijgm1 karma

Do you want the people playing the game to learn something from it aswell, or is the goal pure enjoyment?

NdemicCreations2 karma

I made it just as a game but it is always really rewarding to hear about people who have used it in school / have learnt stuff from it. I get a few people who contact me letting me know they have decided to pursue careers in medicine / biological science in part because of the game which is very cool!

hermaphroditicspork1 karma


Thanks for the massive amount of entertainment that plague inc has brought. What Stretch Goals are you hoping to achieve if you cross say, the $300K mark?

NdemicCreations4 karma

Glad you are enjoying it:) I would be surprised if we got to $300k so I haven't thought about it too much :P I'm being very careful not to get too carried away with stretch goals - the game has been in development and testing for a long time and I don't want to do anything that would damage the way the game plays. I also need to make sure we don't do anything which would delay shipping.

Zero21761 karma

Are you considering coming up with any other new mobile, PC, console, or board games? EDIT: One more question are you going to come up with new diseases other than the vampire one?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Yes - I want to work on a new game soon - but have stuff I need to do for Plague Inc. first. Yes - I have ideas for other disease types as well

MDeprince1 karma

What is the matérial used for the board game ? (mainly for the world board and the cards)

NdemicCreations2 karma

The world board will be a 'normal' board (2mm high density mounted cardboard). The cards are 310gsm ivorycore

sparkierjones1 karma

what are your favrite boardgames?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Off the top of my head: Cosmic Encounter, Evolution, Carcassonne, Galaxy Trucker, Codenames, 7 Wonders, Sheriff of Nottingham For 2 player - I really like Jaipur. I tend to enjoy playing most stuff so really depends what I can get my friends to play! :)

a_guile1 karma

When are you going to team up with the folks who made Pandemic (The Board Game) to make a competitive crossover game?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Heh, I've had quite a lot of people say they would be interested in this. I think we will need to wait until Plague Inc: The Board Game comes out and then people can really start thinking about the possibilities!

100mik1 karma

Where did you get the idea for Plague Inc. from? Are you currently working on more projects?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Re where I got idea from: Answered above: I was inspired by a flash game called Pandemic 2 from 2008. I played it and liked it but realised that I wanted to make a game that had a similar concept but then developed things a lot further (e.g. the complexity of simulation, the narrative elements). So I decided to make the game I wanted to play!

Re working on more projects - all focused on Plague Inc. related stuff currently (new disease type and the board game project) but I would like to start work on a new game soon

ryanirishpi1 karma

What was your inspiration for making the game?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Answered above: I was inspired by a flash game called Pandemic 2 from 2008. I played it and liked it but realised that I wanted to make a game that had a similar concept but then developed things a lot further (e.g. the complexity of simulation, the narrative elements). So I decided to make the game I wanted to play!

Hermiesterberger1 karma

Aside from the default name, what is the most common name people give their plagues? Hoping you track this in the score data.

NdemicCreations1 karma

Yes we do. Trump is one of the most popular ones currently!

InfuseDJ1 karma

would you make a game where you are in charge of combating the random or player created illness?

NdemicCreations2 karma

This would be very cool and I would love to at some point. Got lots of other games I want to make as well though so will be hard to choose!

_joachim1 karma

Will there be group-pledges available? Shipping to some countries are really expensive (not really shipping "friendly") so some friends and me want to buy together (think we will buy 8 or so )

NdemicCreations2 karma

Working out how to navigate shipping and fulfilment of physical goods worldwide is really tough. I think we are close to being able to offer a box of 6 games which will make for more efficient shipping though - hope to share more here soon

OhHiGCHQ1 karma

What is the meaning of Basingstoke?

NdemicCreations1 karma

I have no idea what you mean :P

Zdoherty7111 karma

Tell us more about your "visit to the CDC". Have any of your family members/friends criticized you for creating a game focusing on killing the human population? The "news notifications" are always funny, such as the "dancing twig being the best Christmas gift". Do you update these notifications regularly? What is your reaction to the mixed opinions in regard to the "Ambience Generator"? How is it different than the "Plague Inc. Soundtrack" that top-tier pledgers are receiving? Thank you so much!

NdemicCreations2 karma

It was awesome - one of those experiences that you never really think could happen. There is a blog about it here: http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2013/04/plague-inc/

Re family members - heh, my grandmother wasn't sure about the game at first. However, the important thing to remember is that it is quite an educational game - it doesn't glorify violence or anything - it is simply a sophisticated simulation tool which lets people think about diseases in a way they might not do otherwise Re news notifications - yes I try to update them every now and again when I think of a good one. Always good to get suggestions from other people as well. Re people's opinions on the Ambience Generator - it is fine :) Some people really like that kind of thing - others don't. Personally, I wouldn't use it but we had enough people request it that I thought it was worth doing it. It will have Plague Inc. sound effects which slowly increase in intensity over time - hopefully matching what is going on on the game board.

ampersandscene1 karma

Your game was a homework assignment for my microbiology class. Best homework ever.

Why did you create Plague?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Hah, that is cool - I wish I had been given homework like that. I made Plague Inc. because I wanted to give myself a creative challenge - I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually make something! It was brutally hard work - but also very worth it :)

Maddie_N1 karma

Thank you for making Plague Inc. It's my favorite mobile game. How did you pitch the idea for a game where you basically try to kill everyone on Earth to others? Did you have any challenges during development?

NdemicCreations1 karma

I didn't need to pitch the idea to anyone - I made it as a hobby in my spare time. I did get a few odd looks when I told my friends about it though. Yes - i had huge numbers of challenges during development - especially because I had never made a game before. One of the hardest ones was when the programmer working on the game had to take a break from working on the project for a bit. Luckily - we were able to get the team back together afterwards and finish it :)

Kulpas1 karma

How did the huge difference between the mobile and steam version come to be?

NdemicCreations2 karma

When I made the Steam version, I decided I wanted to do more than just port the game - I wanted to add a load of extra stuff to it that I couldn't do on mobile!

Mik0ri1 karma

Have you played the Matt Leacock board game Pandemic? And, more importantly, since it's a board game that already uses a "you are a disease" theme like yours does, have you played the spinoff board game Pandemic: Contagion?

Do you like them?

What sorts of mechanics did you first look into using when you started designing the board game?

Are there any you tried to use, but eventually scrapped because they wouldn't work with the rest of the game?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Yes - I have played Pandemic a few times - I think it is a great game but I'm not naturally a co-op game player. Matt also was kind enough to give me some tips for getting into the board game industry at GenCon last year.

Yes - I have indeed played Pandemic: Contagion - although I actually played it before it was a 'Pandemic' game! Carey - the designer of Contagion got in touch to see if I would like to license it as a Plague Inc. game but it didn't happen in the end. I wanted to make a game that had a lot more emphasis on evolving a unique disease and adapting it to a changing, unpredictable world. I still enjoyed playing Contagion though and think Carey did a great job.

I have tried hundreds and hundreds of different mechanics which have been tweaked and iterated during development and testing of the game. We used to have a rule where you have to place 1 token each turn on every country you infect. Even further back in time - we used to use Trait Cards as currency - so you would spend 2 trait cards to evolve another trait card which had a cost of 2!

Mik0ri1 karma

Interesting, especially the bit about Contagion. And I was surprised when your game turned out to not be a cooperative game against humanity - but I suppose you make the game you want to play, which makes sense with you not naturally gravitating toward co-ops.

Another question occurred to me after actually checking your kickstarter -

Would a solitaire variant for your board game be in any way feasible, in your own opinion? Even a homebrew one that wouldn't necessarily be worth advertising?

It just seems kind of unusual for the game to not be able to emulate the video game's approach of "you vs. the world", instead only focusing on "you vs. other diseases". It would be cool if you could play it that way. But I understand the mechanics may not be set up in a way that would allow that to work.

NdemicCreations2 karma

Yes - solo play version is something I have and am currently tweaking to see if I can get it good enough to share. It would be player vs AI disease though - not against the world

sully8891 karma

How do you think that Plague.inc has influenced the strategy genre of mobile games?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Well - the most obvious thing is that there are a lot of video games now that have "Inc." in the title which is always funny to see.

It also caused a load of clone / copy cat games to be made

More generally - I think it shows that paid mobile games can still be successful if they can find a niche - but this is getting harder and harder to do all the time

Teh_Crusader1 karma

How long did initial development take?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Of which game? The mobile game took around a year, the board game 2 years - but not working full time!

ExCal1231 karma

Hi James. I'm a big fan of Plague Inc, having played it on iOS. I was having a discussion about your game with friends and the topic of the Zika virus came up. How do you feel about the parallels between modern outbreaks and your game? Is there ever a possibility of starting the board game or mobile game with a real disease like Zika or H1N1?

NdemicCreations1 karma

The game doesn't personalise the disease - instead it shows it at a macro level - but its really scary to see how horrifically disease can impact people in real life. you see how people are suffering from disease in real life. We have an event in the game about the London Olympics - and I had always planned to update it to Brazil. However, now with Zika - I am considering keeping it as London in the game. Re real diseases - we do have some official scenarios in the game based on Smallpox / Black Death - but we must be careful not to appear to be taking advantage of very serious disease outbreaks that are currently impacting people

xkcdFan10110111011111 karma

I love the (demo version) of the game but feel the PC asking price is far too high. How did the $15 price point get set?

NdemicCreations1 karma

It is $15 because it adds a lot more stuff to the game - e.g. multiplayer. More info here http://www.ndemiccreations.com/en/29-plague-inc-evolved-faq

rdselle1 karma

Hi James, thanks for doing an AMA! Plague Inc. is a great mobile game and one of the only ones I've ever spent significant time with. Great concept and great execution.

Is the game developed natively for each platform or do you guys do some degree of hybrid develoment or use Unity?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Thanks :)

It is c++ for iOS. Uses a wrapper for Android. For Plague Inc: Evolved - we use Unity on all platforms - but still with the core c++ code for simulation

zenophi1 karma

Do you know who Sodapoopin and Lirik are ? ( imo they really did a good job advertising the game for you)

NdemicCreations1 karma

No - I'm wasn't aware of them but just checked out one of their videos quickly - looks good :)

captainspartadog1 karma

How did you go from a student studying economics in university to creating one of the most best selling apps?

NdemicCreations1 karma

I wasn't a student when I made the game - I was working for a few years before I started making it as a strategy consultant in London.

One day, I decided I wanted to do something a bit more creative / entrepreneurial - so I decided to make a game! (Then I had to do all the hard work of actually assembling a team and making it!)

casualsax1 karma

Thanks for making such a cool game! The layering of mechanics that gave it a board game feel on a mobile device drew me in. I'm glad to see it make the leap to cardboard.

My strategy tends to consist of making a harmless, highly infectious disease and then mutating it into something apocalyptic. In the real world a strain might make that leap, but only in one location - at least to start. Have you considered making a more complex simulation, with multiple strains mutating off into their own family trees of contagions?

Also - what are you currently backing on Kickstarter?

NdemicCreations2 karma

Yes absolutely. I have a few test projects linked to multiple strains but not something I'm working on currently. Hopefully in the future :)

Not backing anything currently - been too focused on our kickstarter. The last project I backed was Evolution Climate which ended a few weeks ago

DarthPoptart1 karma

What is your favorite country to start in?

NdemicCreations1 karma

I normally start in China when testing - not sure why - maybe because it is easy to touch! For multiplayer on PC - that is top secret :P

innuendo241 karma

One of the best things about the app is balancing the value of lethality vs the risk of being detected. Is that dynamic reflected in the board game in anyway?

NdemicCreations1 karma

In the board game you have to balance infectivity vs lethality. Too lethal, you wipe yourself out, not lethal enough - and you run out of tokens so can't spread any more. Being detected is not in the board game although I do have a Cure expansion that I would love to do in the future :)

urowndumbfault1 karma

Big fan of Plague Inc. and let me just say I goddamn hate Greenland so much. :)

How often do you actually play your own game, and if so, what is the 1)fastest/easiest 2)hardest, and 3)most fun way to beat it in your opinion?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Re how often: (copied from other answer) I play my own games all the time when I'm making them and then occasionally after that. Currently, I play Plague Inc: The Board Game loads and get all my friends to play it. I also really enjoy playing multiplayer on Steam with Plague Inc: Evolved

I think the fastest and most fun way is to play an aggressive game with lots of symptoms - rather than the slow mass infection then total organ failure strategy!

melfice_mx1 karma

Do you like tacos? Why adobada?

NdemicCreations1 karma


Nydhogg1 karma

Hey James!

Loved Plague Inc and have played it a lot. It's such a great app because it is simple enough to play on a small phone, yet has so much depth and complexity compared to most apps these days. So my question (it might have already been asked before), do you have any more games in the works, or ideas? And also, what was your own favourite mechanic from the original game?

NdemicCreations1 karma

Thanks :) I'm currently still working on updating Plague Inc. with new content and game modes - but I do want to work on a new game soon. I really like the concept of exponential growth!