Tinydark's mission is to produce fun and memorable games that put the player's positive experience at the forefront. We believe the core of the relationship between designer and player should be built on trust and respect. We adhere to a Code of Ethics in the design of our games, the management of our community, and the monetization of our players.
Code of Ethics
We follow a few rules when designing games. No game of ours is allowed to break them.
Respect the player's time. We never want the player to feel like they're being coerced or manipulated into returning to the game. The player should play when they want to, and not for fear of reverting progress or missing out on daily rewards.
In singleplayer: Our launch title Bean Grower is a good example. When your beans are ready, they sit in the plot until you return to harvest them. They don't rot or lose value.
In multiplayer: The nature of persistent multiplayer can mean that you need to stay active in order to keep up with the world or your character. We expect a player to log in once every 24 hours per-character. For example, Free Time in URPG will reach its cap after 30 hours of being away from the game. We also offer a vacation mode to allow yourself time away from the game in persistent environments.
Avoid mechanical frustration. When a player feels like the result of a game mechanic was unfair, it can lead to bitterness and resignation.
Luck-based challenges will never be required to continue a storyline at the cost of resources. Top-tier items, if luck can provide them, should also be earnable through dedicated play. We'll never introduce any challenge that is circumventable by paying real money.
Positive social mechanic design. Joining friends in-game is beneficial to both player and designer, but sometimes bad social design can be used to exploit these connections.
As a general rule, playing with another human should enhance your experience. In the case of Player vs. Player, such as with combat, sometimes a negative result can upset the defeated party. We do our best to ensure that PvP is engaging, fair, and time-considerate.
We want to encourage but never require that you invite your friends to play. An example of this would be a mechanic which requires having two or more friends to access. If such a mechanic exists, it will be only through implicit social collaboration such as a co-op game.
We encourage you to check out Dark Pattern Games for a list of additional design patterns we're aware of and try to avoid!
We champion community and positive player-to-player interaction. Developers regularly interact with players via our Discord, and can be reached privately if needed. We take an empathetic approach to moderation both in-game and in the community: we have strict anti-ban policies and prefer temporary sanctions if the issue cannot be resolved otherwise.
Tinydark is an American company and we uphold American values of free speech. We are neither a safe nor dangerous space for any political ideology, sexual orientation, or marginalized group. While we're primarily a gaming community, sometimes discussion can trend toward contentious topics. It is important that people are able to speak their mind without fear of moderation, but it is expected that people do so respectfully.
Our models are one-time purchases for singleplayer games and affordable ($3-$5) monthly Supporter status for multiplayer games. Singleplayer games may have additional purchaseable content, such as storylines or new playable characters. Supporter time is bought outright and re-upped at your discretion: there is no auto-renewal or subscription process. For this reason, there are also no refunds except in the case that you didn't understand what you were buying.
We have no desire to design pay2win models and eschew them entirely. We will never litter our games with ads nor enforce interstitial advertisements after completion of a game loop. You should never have to stop playing so that you can be sold something!
We've created a universal currency which can be used across all games. Here's what buying premium currency looks like in The Orbium: we let the player choose how much they need, and make the cost clear to them in popular currencies with day-of conversion rates.
- Ethical Games
- Ethics in the Videogame Industry: A Mythbusting and Scientific Approach - Celia Hodent
- Dark Patterns (listing)