Dovetail Games CEO Paul Jackson is the developer of a series of train and fishing simulators that previously targeted a seemingly niche audience.
As early as 2000, video games were primarily regarded as a male pastime. All magazines are for men, all articles about games are for men, and all games are for the same population.
At the time, The Sims was an outlier-a game conceptualized by women with women as their main target audience. While working at EA, Jackson helped launch the series in the UK.
"Interestingly, we were able to see young women playing video games, but they didn't buy them," Jackson told me as we sat in the meeting room in the dovetail room. "They bought for them, so we have a complete plan to attract young women through magazines like Sugar and Bliss.
"I remember being told that it was crazy for me to advertise in those magazines because I had never done it before. But we reached out to that audience and it really worked. In the UK, people in percentages are better than anyone else in the world There are more countries. "
"The Sims" was initially promoted as a virtual doll house. Although it may be a bit slack as a "simulation" game, it has many pedigrees with traditional simulation games, and I hope you will micro-manage all aspects of simulation life. When running Dovetail, the goal was to target another niche market among train fans, and the original goal was: "What does a virtual train look like?"
Jackson explained, "They ended up being radically different from the original concept." "Of course, The Sims has moved in the right direction, and the Train Simulator has become so important that it involves a very difficult world. The simulation is carried out in China, but it is essentially a "doll house, train".
Many people want to be the CEO of a successful company, but game development is not a career choice for Jackson. In fact, his dream job is to be a real, honest train driver. The only reason that prevented him from moving forward was that he, like me, was blind in 80% of the world's male population. Still, even if Jackson's dreams come true, it won't be as wide-eyed as a child eager to open his eyes towards the railroad tracks, as he imagined.
He said, "My dream has only two big problems, and it is still my dream now." "When I was fifteen or sixteen, the train I wanted to drive away. They didn't go long. You know, I The steam train I want to drive has only disappeared for about twenty years, but they have disappeared. I want to get up at six in the morning and drive to Manchester at seven. That is the life I want. It has disappeared, so it is impossible do."
But with technology, nothing is impossible.
Jackson is very keen on trains. He looked at those who drove them reverently, pointing out how they took thousands of lives a day, and from passenger to passenger, the process from A to B seemed to be automated, even if it wasn't very automated. It is this precision that creates this illusion-hitting every turn at the right speed and pulling into the station so that all doors are also aligned with the platform.
"When they are with them, their work is very important, and they are almost the same, train drivers," Jackson said. "It is difficult to express their level of concern for safety, their level of professionalism, and their customers, The responsibility of passengers and passengers to keep them home safely. It is achieved in a way you did not expect.
"I remember chatting with Virgin West Coast Chief, Locomotive. We were drinking coffee while standing in their crew training area, and he noticed a pool of water about the size of an iPhone on the floor. Basically just saying," Everyone They all stopped and stood up. "He took the towel himself and asked no one. He took a towel and wiped it. Once the floor was safe, he said:" Okay, okay, let's go. Let's say it again. " "
"The driver is sitting there, driving the train at 140 miles per hour, and he has sounded the alarm, he must respond, he has signaled. He is more like an airline pilot than an airline pilot. I sit in an airplane In the cabin of the aircraft, the aircraft are now fabulous creatures, and they are responsible for most of the flight themselves. "
Dovetail estimates that, like him, there are about 100 million train fans around the world, and developers want to realize the childhood dreams that Jackson was forced to give up. He also hopes that the game will go beyond the target audience and infect more people with the enthusiasm of trains and railways.
He told me: "I really hope this helps expand train fans." "In essence, train fans are a good thing. There is no violence. There is no addiction. There are many bad things in the world, and they will definitely cultivate fans, Reading books and becoming a football fan are good things that should be celebrated and promoted to interested people. "
Non-violence is part of Dovetail's core values-creating experiences that bring pure joy to the world without falling into the dark theme of many blockbuster tendencies.
Jackson explained, "No one else and what they do is criticized, but what we have to do is we want to improve people's lives." "And I don't believe guns can help people find for example. That's not what I want I want to live there. I ’ve been there, you know. I used to work for a company and sell games with guns. I ’m not sorry for that. I just said that now that I am in my company, that ’s not what I want of."
Some people think video games exist to evade reality, others think they are fantasy of power, and others think they are art. But in addition to exerting physical dominance on another person, there are other fantasies, such as getting up at 6 in the morning to drive a train to Manchester, or putting down a big carp without buying expensive equipment.
The purpose of the swallowtail is to serve those who fantasize about bouncing on the tracks. Part of the hope comes from Jackson's dream of becoming a train driver, and part of his experience helped set up the PEGI scoring system.
He recalled: "Establishing the PEGI system was really eye-opening for me because it allowed me to focus on powerful video games as a medium." "They are a powerful art form and how art forms really affect people. We Can't hide, "We're just games. "At that time, some people in the country still thought that games were just games and therefore nothing to do with games. All of us were used by comics and the tarmac of the 1950s and 1960s. This forced me to work full time on the positive and negative aspects of video games. No one is thinking. "
Even by 2020, the gaming industry still tends to raise positive game paradigms-gaming experiences help someone cope with some tragedies, or stories give someone a new way of thinking. However, if this is correct for achieving positive effects, then we must be open to the fact that games can also have a negative impact on us, and whenever someone opposes them, we should not justify introspection.
I think part of the reason for the defensiveness is because of how the game is handled on the day, but there are also reasons for studios like Dovetail and independent games like Stardew Valley-there is a pure experience, in addition to showing the world a positive atmosphere . Do these prove that the game must be a good force? But you have to look at both sides at the same time.
Video games are about emotions-whether it's excitement, fear, awe, or relaxation, we most remember that feeling. In this sense, Sims are unique because Sims usually do trivial tasks or master specific things that many people do as real work in the real world. So what kind of emotion does Dovetail hope to elicit through its peaceful train simulation?
"We don't try to force our customers to have any emotions," Jackson explained. "We let their emotions surface. I can tell you how I feel, and the day before, when I was driving through Pennnines in Train Sim World, it all happened. For me it's all.
"So I walked over the top of Pennines and I came down from the other side when I was driving a heavy train. It was a locomotive built in 1950, so its suspension performance was not as good as a modern train suspension. Then I turned off the power, I just fell down at the green light, and when we got to the curve, the locomotive started to bend, and when we went downhill, it started to really shake and roll. It just felt like, 'Oh my god, I'm really there .'It's really exciting. I was so excited at that place. I didn't know what time I was, where it was. I was doing that there, it was an incredible excitement. … I thought, 'Oh yes. That's it. That's it, we've cracked it, actually we've cracked it.' "
Although Train Sim World does not simulate collisions or train derailments, you may deviate from the track, which will cause the simulation to end, thus ending the fun. Therefore, it is not so much a fear of failure as a traditional excitement, but an all-encompassing feeling that exists in that place. I've always found it fascinating, just like in Assassin's Creed 2 Venice or GTA 5 Los Angeles, how the virtual space you've seen in the real world makes you truly enjoy it. Even virtual clouds are more tempting than looking out of the window.
"I can't do anything, I'm not that guy. I'm not a technical expert." Jackson explained his role in rebuilding these virtual railways. "I have a vision, and then I hire someone much smarter than me to try to make it a reality. I will be someone who says" we are doing ". I mean, I turn around and look Seeing all these great things, sometimes it makes me very excited. So we just launched the East Coast. In my opinion, this is the most authentic photo expression of the line train under the South Coast of England. I looked at it and Think, "How did we do that? ? How did we do it? How do we put it in the console? ’"
So, what is the future of the various simulations launched by Dovetail? Traditional games are competing for higher fidelity graphics, but in the end we will achieve fidelity and no other choice. How has this genre evolved in this case?
"At the moment, Train Sim is really very focused on the driving experience," Jackson explained. "But what is it to be a real driver and go through a whole career? You know, we haven't explored this in depth. What about being a train fan who is still at school and experiencing train fans by standing on the platform or traveling We did not try our best to explore this.
"Then we have the entire world of model railways, and this is another experience for train fans, we can explore over time and use our first train simulator to explore it well. We will get there on the second Train Simulator, where you can create your own environment and also influence your environment. All these are huge areas of interest for trains and we will explore for our customers in the coming decades train."
Maybe one day we will achieve a goal to let you take a coffee break and remove harmful spills, which really makes the train driver fall into fantasy.
Swallowtail's latest British Rail Journey is now available on Steam.