So how many people are aware that a major computer developer was based in Kent? Well it’s true, as Dovetail Games is based in Chatham. They were founded in 2008 by Tim Gatland and Charlie McMicking, with the original company called Rail Simulator Developments Ltd (RSDL).
They began work on the existing game Rail Simulator, seeing the potential of the core platform. In 2009 Tim Gatland and Charlie McMicking a new company was set up called Rail Simulator Developments Ltd (RSDL) and began working on the new game Railworks.
It is the Railworks (Train Simulator) franchise that has helped Dovetail grow to become a company employing over 120 people. For those that have not played the Railworks games, they allow you to drive a train over many different routes in a first perspon perspective.
The majority of their income comes from this game and the associated DLC. DLC is add-ons which players can purchase to enhance the base game. This can include new routes, scenarios and rolling stock and the current amount of DLC available is huge. To date, if you were to purchase all the DLC for Railworks, it would cost over £6,000. That would be quite an investment in a game.
With so much Railworks DLC available, you could bankrupt yourself in days
Dovetail were keep to grow their business and have since expanded into other games. For a while they supported the Flight Simulator X game via the ‘Steam’ platform. This game was originally developed by Microsoft until they disbanded the development team. Dovetail saw an opportunity to continue this game and expand the DLC. Recently Microsoft have begun development of a new Flight Simulator game and so have restricted Dovetails continued support of the older game.
Another area of gaming they have moved into is Fishing with the title ‘Euro Fishing’ and the more recent ‘Fishing Sim World:Pro Tour’. These games are described as the closest to fishing you can get from your own sofa. We would beg to argue here, as if you own a small fish tank with a long rod, you could fish your goldfish for real, but there you go!
Their newest game to date is Train Sim World. This is similar to the Railworks franchise but is a new, updated version. They have also expanded this onto consoles, with PS4 and Xbox versions available. There is not quite as much DLC for this game compared to Train Simulator, but it will catch up in time.
Dovetail Games seem to go about their business quietly, but have grown to become the biggest retailer of Railway based games. Their detractors would say that DLC is an easy way to get more money out of customers, but as with most simulation games, the world is too vast to squeeze into a single game in one go.
Whether you are a fan of rail, fishing or flight games or not, they are a popular genre and are here to stay. Dovetail Games have found a good niche and are still growing. They offer employment to a number of people in Kent, in what is a competitive market and we wish them the best for their ongoing developments.