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Okay yall gave a lot of good suggestions and criticism, so it may take me a little bit to think through all the possibilities and see what would be best to do.
Something I could do would maybe be to create some enemies, see how they look against the background and see what the best course of action would be to make the characters pop out more against the background and to see how to make the background better from there.
For now I had made an improved mockup with a dashboard (colors and design aren’t finished). I am still planning on making other designs and see which look best.
@pete Regarding your edit what would you say I’m doing right or doing wrong with making the rock differ from the other background details, the rock being a solid obstacle that neither enemy nor player can move through.
I think it could be really cool having a top-down shooter in the style of something like Little Wheel or Limbo. Though I will have to wait until I get my laptop because it would be much easier trying to do that style using GIMP rather than MSPaint, since I can’t download GIMP or anything on the laptop I’ve been using all summer.
I will probably just make another game after I’m done with this one, using that style, probably using the same engine as this game. The reason I would want to use that style in a different game rather than in this game, is because I could think of some gameplay changes that would go well with that art style and rather than changing this game’s gameplay I might as well go ahead and make a separate game like that.
The rock has a drop shadow, so that’s good and can be its “designator” for collision. I’m not sure what the pentagonal objects are but they look significant… so that should be resolved as well.
The grass pattern isn’t working very hard. Backdrop patterns can help provide a sense of place and scale, and draw the player into the environment. When a player moves across the “grass” it should feel like it changes… just like a real yard changes depending on where you are. (Grass along the side yard doesn’t get as much sun and gets all bare, while the front yard gets lots of water and light, and is lush.) So, creating undulations and larger patterns that don’t completely fit on the stage can help build flavor and provide important navigational cues.
The curved corners of the menu area send the wrong message, I think. By curving them upward, you “hint” that there’s terrain up here that is covered by the dashboard. That’s subconsciously irritating. I think it would be better to cut it flat across.
Your purchasable buttons can be treated just like your HP and SP except in reverse. By keying the different purchasable items along the meter, they can “come on” as the accumulated cash passes their point.
Finally, a vignette overlay can help create a sense of intimacy and build suspense or tension.
I’ve sketched these up using a Kuler palette at random. A picture is easier to convey than words, sometimes.
That mockup looks really good, however after playing various flash games over the past few days to see which kind of style appealed to me best, I think that I would like it more cartoon-ish and with less details. So I made a new mockup of what an average scene would look like.
I think the backstory and theme of the game will be something like “Those pesky Gummies have done nothing but give us cavities for years, it’s time for you to take them out”
I wanted the enemies to be “Gummies” because it was simplistic, cartoon-ish, and slightly nonsensical. I am going to make a new character, like a special agent or bounty hunter, using a bit darker and duller colors to contrast with the bright colors of everything else. He will be dressed in a brown trench coat and hat.
The scene was too big to fit on this page so I put it [here.](http://i.imgur.com/JKDx3.png) You should also click the zoom in button on the page to see it full scale.
The boundaries are marked by trees around the edge of the map, they will be a layer above the enemies and character so that the enemies will pass under when coming through the trees from off screen, which I think will create more of a sense of depth.
It has two sample enemies on it, a “Gummie Mouse” and “Gummie Snake”. I really want to have lots of interact-able terrain to make the game more exciting, such as a special, brightly-colored yellow tree that sends out a gummie bee to attack you whenever you get to close or shoot it accidentally.
I tried to subtly achieve what you said about the grass changing around the yard by mainly putting the lighter patterns and grasses near the trees as if they were getting less light from the sun and having the darker patterns and grasses more toward the middle where they would get more sun.
Also I made an updated dashboard. Your idea about the purchasable items was pretty cool although it would need to be modified, since as-is it doesn’t really show your total money so you if it the bar was filled you would know you can buy whatever but you don’t know if you have enough money to spare for purchasing an item. Of course that could be fixed but I think the little buttons may work better.
I’m pretty happy with what I have done so far.
Yeah, it’s looking way better.
The thing with the money is that it doesn’t really matter how much of it you have. It only matters that you have (or don’t have) enough for the thing that you want to buy.
Money is a bit strange to have as an in-game commodity. Most action games use things more fitting for the environment… rage, adrenalin, angst, fury, or whatever. This is the stuff of “instants.” Money seems more suitable for ‘tween-level actions… where you buy your extra lives, armor, ammo, and so on. The analogy would be weird; "I’m making a killing by killing! Oh, wait…I just got through. Yes, I’d like to place an order for some landmines? Yes, you can charge my account. Yes. Yes, same address. Yes. With an R, yes. Okay, thank you! Sorry about that. Oh yeah…. (BLAM BLAM BLAM!) As I was saying!"
It doesn’t strike me that the container around the HP/SP meters is necessary, unless it serves some specific purpose. Because the ornamental container is treated like the buttons below, it almost seems like a button itself, so that could be confusing.
Your “bank” total looks like a button. Does that open up the shop?
I understand now that I misread your instants. I thought the white numbers were hot-keys. Now I see that they’re quantities. That’s why, in my sketch, I used 1—4. So, what is the available/unavailable state signify? I think I may understand… the mines are purchasables and the “button” is used to set them. The reticle and other two dude spots are passive upgrade levels. If that’s the case, you don’t need to see that in-game UNLESS you can access the shop at any point.
On the stage there are a few small opportunities. I understand what you’re aiming for thematically. I’d mind the point of view on your terrain objects, (the ones that the player can collide with). Your blue rock is depicted from the side, yet the orange bush is from the top.
I’d consider outlining each creep with a darker stroke to help emphasize its contour. Its color and contour are its identifying characteristics, so you should really play those up. I probably wouldn’t use any gradients in the static stage textures. I think there’s one leaf pattern that uses some variation in its value while all the others don’t. So, I’d make that consistent.
Overall I think it’s looking a LOT closer.
I have made the first version of the new character.
Also the whole deal about gummies is still kind of iffy but I’m not exactly sure what else I should do but I will try to think of other options. Although I do think the gummies look kind of nice so I may keep them.
I probably should have explained some of the things from the start it would made less confusion.
1. You were right at first, the white numbers on the buttons are hotkeys. I will explain that in-game. Also the last button in the row with the second dude on it is just a placeholder for when I think of another purchase-able item.
2. About why I had it so that you purchased those things using money. My thinking was that I always hated it in games when you completely upgraded your person and there was nothing left to buy, so you just started piling up lots of money but you had nothing to spend it on. So I added in these special purchase-able equipment that could be placed mid-game, that way you always had a purpose for your money.
I see what you mean about the container around the hp and sp making it look like a button. I was just trying to add details to make it look better and I didn’t think of that. The same goes for the money. Although the reason I think I didn’t notice that was because I didn’t plan on anything up there being click-able (Since you use hotkeys for the items, I was thinking of the “buttons” being more of indicators of whether you can buy them, rather than actual buttons).
Well you have shown me that my dashboard still needs work to make it more “user-friendly”, I’ll see what I can come up with to fix some of the problems you highlighted.
I will also add a darker stroke to the enemies as you said. I also need to fix the rocks perspective, I’m not exactly sure why I made it that way. The lighter leaf pattern did have a gradient but I guess it doesn’t show up very good, I will probably take away the gradients on the leaf/grass things and see how they look like that.
Also some things I’m thinking of about the backstory that would explain and give purpose to the game might be something like:
1. You have found a way to turn sugar into gold, so you are taking out the gummies because they do nothing good for society anyways, and you are turning them into gold. Which would explain why you get money for each kill. Your main goal is to get to the last level and take out the king gummie, (because he is really big, therefore he would yield a lot of gold).
2. You are a bounty hunter who has been hired to take out king gummie because he and his gummie minions are wreaking havoc across the land. You get paid per kill by the government, explaining why you get money for killing them.
I might as well say some other things about the game.
1. There are 3 mini games that u can play which you can earn money from, though they need to be redone after this change of theme.
2. There is a neverending mode which you try to last as long as you can and you also earn money in it like in a normal level.
3.There are achievements to earn in this game which grant bonuses.
4. You start out with three weapon customization points and get another one everytime you complete a new level.
I will work on it more and post more later.
Well I got my computer back the other day and was able to test out some of the graphics in-game, however they didn’t fit all that well together primarily because of color choice.
Among the changes to the graphics are:
1.Using brighter colors for the trees along with pinks, yellows and blues, rather than autumn colors.
3. I also made an alternate dashboard with a round indicator and buttons/indicators for music, sound and pausing.
I’m not sure if the grass is better more yellow or blue so I made both. Also I would like to know which style of tree you like better the left or right one.
Personally I prefer, the second grass color, though I need to fix some of the colors of the patterns that go with it. I also prefer the right tree’s style and the new dashboard although I want to adjust the design a bit. What do yall think?
I also made a small animation for the gummie snake wip’s new look though it needs to be worked on, I thought I might as well post it.
I also prefer the less saturated version. However, I think that in BOTH versions, the issue is not the brightness of the stage but rather the contrast between the elements.
The avatar is very dark compared to the other elements, and I still feel that the pattern in the grass contains elements that are too large and compete, scale-wise, with the game elements. I think maybe bright game elements on a darker grass would be better. With color balance, there’s saturation and lightness… it looks like what you’ve done is desaturated and darkened a bit. Maybe try just darkening without the desaturation.
(Also, not sure if you intend to use this scale for the live game, but I would recommend a larger viewable area. It’s very tight for a top-down reflex game.)
Okay I really tried to take your feedback to heart this time, because I have been less than diligent in implementing much of the feedback you have previously given me.
Here is a revised scene with some attempted color-balancing and a few other changes as well.
I am seeing about adding a path such as a dirt path or brick road and see how that looks.
I had been going off of someone else’s tip that I should use a 500×500 screen to lessen lag a bit, but I had been thinking that it should be bigger and since you agree with that too, I will find a good size to increase it to.
EDIT: I decided I’m about to do a complete overhaul with the graphics and see what I can do, because I’m just not doing as good as I could.
Well I didn’t really do an “overhaul” of the graphics but I did get some things done.
Aside from the new art I did, I got a lot done with the coding of the game, including:
1. Scripted rounds rather than random.
2. The new dashboard has been integrated into the game, for the most part.
3. Improved performance along with more efficient enemy AI, I can usually keep around 40-60 fps.
I still can’t get pausing to work but I’ll get it eventually.
But anyways, here is the new dash. This is the first version for a path I have come up with, I don’t know how I feel about it right now, I kind of think it looks good but I’m not really sure.
I think I may finally be getting on the right track here with what I want, so I’ll really be looking forward to some feedback on what yall think of this so far.
Thanks, I wasn’t too sure about the colors on the pathway.
I haven’t really worked on the art for a while now, instead spending more time on the coding and trying to think of things I should do to make the game good, so far its not going to good, I think the game is okay as of now but I definitely need to change some things if I want the game to be worthwhile.
However, I wanted to start working on the art again, so I made a few different versions of the trees, each tree has a bit of a different style, I would love to know if any of them are better, or if I need to try again.
(Note: Don’t worry about how the tree fits in with the rest of the art for now, because I will change the other graphics to match the style of the tree.)
I don’t have anything else to share right now, but I would appreciate any feedback that may be offered.
(Also I haven’t forgotten about some of the other feedback mentioned, such as adding drop-shadows to enemies also, I just haven’t implemented some of the feedback yet, but I still have it in mind.)