Recent posts by Elyzius on Kongregate

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Topic: Game Design / Simplistic game too simplistic?

Here on Kongregate, you can actually get away with publishing a simplistic computer game interactive experience if it’s funny.

Caesar’s Day Off
Brawlin’ Sailor

Gotta love molkman for his games.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD #37 - Congrats moocowsgomoo!

Pressure Ships / Sub Destroyer by Halysia – Players have to maneuver a battleship in this game and destroy enemy submarines. The distance that their ammunition travels depends on how long they hold down the left mouse button (not the RMB as stated in the instructions). Points are scored for each sub that is destroyed. At the same time, players have to avoid the submarines’ cannon fire. (I don’t know why these submarines don’t use torpedoes instead, but I’m glad their cannon shots are easier to evade.) The game ends when the player’s battleship loses all health. The game does a decent job of giving the impression that holding down the mouse button increases the pressure with which cannons fire their shots. It’s difficult to gauge just how long to hold down the mouse button to hit submarines, although one could probably get a good idea after playing the game a number of times. The game isn’t exciting enough for me to play it for more than a few minutes, but this is still a decent entry nevertheless.

Don’t Explode! by moocowsgomoo – It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but once I did, I was better able to affect my outcomes. Players control a ball that shoots out in the direction of the mouse pointer. You build up force by holding down the space bar and release it by clicking the mouse button. Players must try to push enemies to the jagged edges of the screen to destroy them. At the same time, they must avoid those very edges to keep from getting destroyed. This entry implements the GitD theme very well and is enjoyable for a few minutes once you understand what you’re doing. It doesn’t sustain my interest for very long, but I did enjoy this entry the most.

Pressure Crunch by Shalmezad – In this game, players take on the roll of a spry sea slug that has to evade a massive school of hungry piranhas. While there is certainly a good deal of pressure to survive as long as possible, the game’s relation to the GitD theme is tenuous at best. With that interpretation, every pulse-pounding game can be viewed as following the theme. Anyhow, it seems to me that some of the hurdles in the game are impossible to clear given the surrounding tiles. Also, I feel it would be better if the game starts out easy and becomes more difficult as the game progresses. Currently, the difficulty seems to be constant throughout the game. That said, I feel that this is a fairly decent entry as long as one allows for a loose interpretation of the GitD theme.

Escape the Box Puzzle by wolfheat – This is an interesting take on the Towers of Hanoi that involves stepping on pressure plates to get the pieces needed to complete the tower. Regardless, I really can’t stand first-person games on web browsers. I find that they make me dizzy and nauseated fast. I would have preferred it if this game was implemented as a top-down 2D game instead. The concept was intriguing, but I couldn’t overcome my nausea long enough to finish the game.

Pressure by Zoib – While the introduction warns players that the ship they are in is rapidly losing pressure, the only threat in this game comes from fire. Ironically, there is no actual pressure to put out the fire immediately. Players can take as much time as they need to time their jumps precisely (or to try again if they miss their jump), which is fortunate because the controls don’t always read key presses properly. In addition, there seems to be a bug in the game that prevents the fire on the upper left corner of the starting room from being extinguished. When I realized that the fire couldn’t be put out, I lost interest in playing. I did enjoy the introduction, though. The premise of the game was interesting, but unfortunately, the actual gameplay does not implement the GitD theme at all.

My Votes
First Place: Don’t Explode! by moocowsgomoo
Second Place: Pressure Ships / Sub Destroyer by Halysia

 
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Topic: The Arts / Pete's art dump

Welcome back, Pete. It’s been a while since we’ve seen your artwork. For some reason, not all the pictures are loading, but what I can see is pretty good. That said, I personally prefer the style that you used in this post. The pictures look less busy than in your more recent works. That’s just my opinion of course. Others may not feel the same way I do.

 
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Topic: Collaborations / pixelated avatar

Before you give money to anyone, you can ask to see samples of the artist’s work as well as a list of games they have collaborated on, if any. If anything looks the least bit dodgy, you can always look for another artist. It’s better to have no deal than to be stuck with a bad one.

 
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Topic: Game Design / Why so many Numbers in Decriptions?

My guess is that having many options for customization and exploration may be a selling point. When told that a game has 22 character classes with 106 available weapons, 237 different spells, and 1,086 monsters to use them on, some gamers may drool over a chance to play it. That said, I don’t think that specific numbers are necessary to get players eager to play. A blurb that can promise an exciting experience may succeed just as well. Here’s a nice example from System Shock 2:

You awake from the cold chill of your cryo-tube to discover cybernetic implants grafted to your flesh and the crew of the starship Von Braun slaughtered. The infected roam the halls, their screams and moans beckoning you to join them as the rogue artificial intelligence known as SHODAN taunts and ridicules your feeble attempt to unravel the horrifying mystery of the derelict starship Von Braun.

Your Training Has Prepared You For This.

Not bad for a game that has only three classes.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD #36 Concluded, congratulations Moocowsgomoo!

GitD # 36 by Sumgato: I’m finding it difficult to understand how this game fits the contest theme. I also don’t know why there is a wall that is moving inexorably toward the Score Boost and Exp Boost shops. There is an arena in the game where the only interaction is to press a button to make the avatar retreat before its health runs out. There is also a slots game whose outcomes are random, just like a slot machine, and there is a button game where the objective is to press a moving button as many times as possible before time runs out. None of these mini games fit together cohesively, and the gameplay isn’t particularly engaging. On a positive note, there does seem to be more content here than in the rest of the entries.

BackwardsDefense by Moocowsgomoo: I needed a second playthrough to understand how this game was supposed to be played, but once I understood that, it was fairly easy to win. The concept is unique, but the game requires that the human player take on unexciting watchman duty while the AI player has all the fun. The human player can hold and shake enemies to do some damage, but the damage done is so small that this feature may as well not be present. That said, I did enjoy the gameplay of this entry the most.

Backwards Memory Bash by Halysia: It’s a simple memory game, one with the added challenge of having to type key sequences backwards. Halysia’s graphics are always a joy to see, but while this game is certainly challenging, it doesn’t hold my interest for long.

Backwards by I_love_you_lots: Unless I’m missing something, there doesn’t seem to be any challenge in this contest entry. You get to move a rectangle around the screen, but all the keys are actually backwards. Up is down, left is right, that sort of thing. There are no enemies to fight or avoid, no hurdles to jump, nothing. It must have been difficult finding inspiration for the current GitD’s theme.

Here are my votes:

1. BackwardsDefense by Moocowsgomoo. 2 points
2. Backwards Memory Bash by Halysia. 1 point

There have been as many votes as days of voting thus far. What’s happening with the GitD?

 
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Topic: The Arts / Seeking feedback for interactive fiction

I confess that I haven’t attempted to play Greg’s interactive fiction. I dove straight into his autobiography. Reading it, I could see some uncanny parallels between his life and mine. At the same time, I could see how we are polar opposites in some ways. I found it interesting that he experienced his visions by using psychedelics. I, on the other hand, experienced my visions through meditation. I understand what it’s like to see huge tapestries whose figures have the glow of stained glass, the softness of watercolor, hues of an intensity that I’ve never seen in the “real” world, and animated life within the tapestries themselves. I have a diary from many years back that describes my experiences in altered states of consciousness and my attempt to understand them. For the most part, I’ve kept these experiences to myself, but I’m hinting at them now to say that I understand some of what Greg went through. Ultimately, those experiences aren’t as important as the message that we are one, that we are here to experience life in all its terrible beauty and to express unconditional love to others as well as to ourselves.

Greg, we’ve traveled different paths, but we’ve arrived at the same conclusion.

I’ve never heard of The Law of One until now, though. Thanks for letting us know about these books.

 
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Topic: Collaborations / testers needed

Bugs

  1. Clicking the Options button effectively freezes the game.
  2. When the player is told to go to the healing crate, the player may set up barricades or loot from crates first. If the player does this, however, the player will immediately be brought to the Shop screen when the first zombie appears.
  3. Not enough time is given to repair the barricades before the first zombie appears.
  4. At the Shop screen, clicking the Exit button does not work.

Typos and Grammatical Errors

  1. “New Gam” should be “New Game.”
  2. “To shoot zombies click on them” should be “To shoot zombies, click on them.” (Note the comma.) Alternatively, “Click on zombies to shoot them.”
  3. “We have a time to search for looting” should be “We have time to search for loot.”
  4. “To heal soldier. Aim your soldier to healing crate and hold E” should probably be worded as “To heal soldier, face him toward the healing crate and hold [E].”

I couldn’t go further with the game because of the bug in the Shop screen.

 
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Topic: Collaborations / testers needed

I have an FGL account. It’s the same name as I have here. You can PM me the details of your game here or on FGL.

 
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Topic: Game Design / Indie dev blogs about first Ludum Dare

It’s the sprite of Tesla that kind of resembles Poe. The face doesn’t look angular enough.

Compare the above picture with the photo below.

On the other hand, your picture of Lovecraft and Tesla together captures their likenesses pretty well.

It doesn’t look as if the person who made the sprite is the same artist who did the above picture. You should probably get the latter artist to do your sprites. Judging from that one picture, I’d say that he or she does topnotch work.

 
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Topic: Game Design / Indie dev blogs about first Ludum Dare

Why does Nikola Tesla look like Edgar Allan Poe? Anyhow, I think you have a cool concept for a game. Best of luck to you.

 
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Topic: The Arts / The Many Faces of Kongregate: Gallery and Requests

I didn’t even realize that LiraelI had posted a new portrait in the OP until DemonOfMist posted his question. I suggest that LiraelI bump this thread so we’ll know when she adds a new portrait.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / How to Give Yourself a Heart Attack

Damn, that’s a Luther burger from Crave. It can probably send you straight to cardiac hell just by looking at it. I want one.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Is my game hacked on Kong?

But wouldn’t it be better to have ads in place and allow your game to go viral to earn as much ad revenue as you can from different gaming portals?

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Game editor for enthuziasts

Actually, I think a non-programming game editor would be great for prototyping as long as the editor is much, much easier to use for an expert coder than just programming straightaway. When I accessed your editor and saw that I needed to enter my email to register, I got scared off. I then went to your main website to look for information on legal ownership of games that are created with your editor, including all assets used, but I couldn’t find any sort of information on that. The fact that nothing is stored locally, as stated in your website, worries me all the more. I’d really love to try it out, but me so scared. *cry*

 
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Topic: The Arts / Sketching advice?

My guess is there are two basic ways to go about it: shading and stippling. Shading is easier, but the result may not look particularly convincing. Stippling is more accurate but more difficult to execute properly.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD #35 Congratulations Reaper_Guy!

Frictionless Fury by elementz123: Interesting game. It reminds me of those games where you try to move a loop along a wire without touching any part of the wire. The game is fun at first, but it doesn’t sustain my interest for long.

Ultimate Survival Lab by Reaper_guy: This game seriously needs a preloader. Those who are patient and trust that the game is actually loading will eventually be able to play. You only get to play one level until your avatar dies, at which point you may try the level again or return to the main menu. It looks like several scenarios were planned for this game, but it seems that only one scenario is actually available to play. Initially, your challenge is to dodge rockets, spiked balls, and lasers. Later, the laws of gravity change disconcertingly, subjecting you to a major case of disorientation, which I don’t particularly like. The challenge is to survive as long as you can, which isn’t particularly engaging without a goal to strive for. I suggest having two separate modes of play: a survival mode, which is basically the current game as it stands, and a timed mode, where the objective is to survive for a set number of minutes, after which the player moves on to the next level. I also suggest adding an option to choose between WASD movement and arrow keys for movement or to allow both movement schemes.

Bullet Time by Moocowsgomoo: The game’s instructions forget to mention that you can use your mouse to move your avatar, an oversight that caused me some initial confusion. The way time control works in this game is also confusing at first, but I soon got the hang of it. I couldn’t get past the sheer number of bullets in this game though. There seem to be far more of them than what I’m used to in the bullet hell games I’ve played, and the bullets are big as hell. (That’s not why they call it bullet hell, is it?) They also move faster, which is understandable, given that this game is about time control. I’m not really much of a player of bullet hell games, so I feel that the sheer number of bullets in this game was just overwhelming.

In ten seconds can you…? by Sumgato: This is a nice casual game that can probably be turned into a mobile app with the help of a good artist and some catchy music. I like it. It reminds me of the iDevice game Dumb Ways to Die.

Hungry Dream by Darkscanner & DannyDaNinja: There are no instructions for this game, although one can figure out that the WASD and arrow keys work. This game is a platformer where you can’t see the next platform to jump onto. Not a good design, in my opinion. I hate having to take a “leap of faith” in platformers because I’m likely to jump into trouble. I eventually found my avatar falling endlessly with no way to advance the game beyond this state. I’m not even sure what the objective of the game is supposed to be or how the game is related to the GitD theme. On a positive note, the handstand is cute.

No name by BadEgg: This is another game that needs a preloader and explicit instructions. Like the other GitD entries that lack instructions, WASD and/or arrow keys work in this game. Unfortunately, the player’s patience is rewarded with a game that requires wrestling with the interface. The controls are not only slippery but sticky as well. It seems that if you don’t navigate the maze in ten seconds, you have to start over from the entry point. It didn’t take me long to give up entirely.

Guild of Brothers by kantieno: This is an interesting action platformer where the avatar changes every ten seconds. I don’t know why the game does that other than to fulfill the theme of LD/GitD. I would have preferred it if the player could choose which avatar to control like in Trine. It probably would have made for a better game that way, although the connection to the theme would have been lost.

Ten Second Dash by Shalmezad: In this platformer, the player has to dash to the exit across each level in ten seconds or less. The game ends when you fail to reach an exit within ten seconds. The concept is similar to BadEgg’s entry, but the controls in this game are mostly a joy to use, although I find the jumps too slow for my taste.

Jetpack Nemesis by Aaants: This is an endless runner game with the addition of a jetpack. Again, there are no instructions on how to play the game. I’m beginning to think that a sub-theme of this contest is No Instructions. WASD and arrow keys work, but it takes some experimenting to find out that the space bar activates the jet pack. Not a bad game, although the way it stands now, it can’t sustain my interest for very long. The addition of a shop to buy upgrades may enhance replayability.

Just Another Game with a Ten Second Mechanical by Jugglerrob: I was initially confused with this platformer, but I did manage to figure it out with a bit of patience. The concept is actually very interesting, but I feel that the execution needs some work. I’m not keen on all the changing psychedelic colors as I found them very distracting. Even more distracting was the fact that the area around my avatar made the second world visible, not the default first world. You only have a total of ten cumulative seconds to stay in the second world. Coupled with level designs that require split second timing and an awful choice of jump key, I found myself giving up on this game pretty fast.

We have a very fine set of entries this time around, and it’s difficult for me to choose among them, but choose, I must. I vote for:

First Place: In ten seconds can you…? by Sumgato
Second Place: Ten Second Dash by Shalmezad

Honorable Mention (in order of MossyStump’s listing):

  • Ultimate Survival Lab by Reaper_guy
  • Guild of Brothers by kantieno
  • Jetpack Nemesis by Aaants
  • Just Another Game with a Ten Second Mechanical by Jugglerrob
 
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Topic: The Arts / The Many Faces of Kongregate: Gallery and Requests

I really like the portraits you’ve posted so far, LiraelI. My guess is that the second portrait is of MmeBunneh, and the third, Johanna_T. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

 
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Topic: Game Design / Whatever you do, don't make THIS kind of game

Originally posted by Draco18s:
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:

Games that put you in the shoes of a guy who kills innocent people aren’t uncommon.

And normal people would classify this kind of person, in the real world, as a terrorist, no?

It’s generally not considered terrorism unless it is committed by non-governmental individuals or groups for political reasons, although it can also be argued that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Anyhow, that’s beside the point I’m trying to make, which is to veer away from making games that are in very bad taste.

When I drafted my post, which mentioned a possible FBI investigation over a game about terrorists, I initially qualified the specific kind of terrorist that I had in mind. When I looked over what I had written before clicking the “Submit Reply” button, I decided to delete the word that qualified what terrorists I was referring to because that word represents a very large segment of the world population, most of whom want nothing to do with terrorism. Unfortunately, fear and ignorance have caused many people to assume that most if not all the members of this large segment are terrorists or have the seeds of terrorism inculcated in them. The truth is that most of these people are as peace-loving as you or I. I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire by associating them with terrorists somehow, which is why I deleted that qualifying word.

I had hoped that mentioning terrorists and a possible FBI investigation would be enough for Kong members to figure out what sort of terrorists I was referring to and why I was hinting at them. It seems, however, that even after I mentioned 9-11 and the Boston bombing, my intended meaning remains elusive. Let me try to make it clear: Many people lost friends and family to certain kinds of terrorists, so to make a game where players play these terrorists may cause grief and outrage among many people. What happened was real, and it hurt.

Ultimately, the message I’m trying to convey is my belief that game designers should stay clear of topics that are in very bad taste and may cause outrage among large groups of people. There is enough pain and divisiveness in the world without our adding to it. Notice that in Skyrim, players can kill most innocent civilians, but they cannot kill any of the children without modding the game. If you have children of your own, you may understand just how precious they are and just how appalling it is that anyone would want to kill them. Even in a game.

Of course, that is just my opinion. I understand that others may not feel the same way I do. I think it would be great if everything we do, we do out of love, but hey, I’m funny that way.

 
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Topic: Game Design / New Game design By My Best Friend

Originally posted by truefire:

Why the avatar has to go through so much hardship and pain to kill himself is beyond me. I hear that slitting your wrists while in a tub of warm water is easier and much more pleasant.

I hear it makes a lousy game though.

No, it makes for no game at all. And that is why the game shouldn’t revolve around the premise of wanting to kill yourself for having inadvertently caused your girlfriend’s death. If you watched the intro of the game, then you know that the protagonist has a gun. If he really wanted to kill himself right there and then, shooting himself in the head would have been the quickest and most direct way to do it. Having him jump through hoops to end himself in gruesome ways just doesn’t make sense, but letting him take the direct route means that there is no game. If the developer wanted to retain the gameplay, he should have chosen a different premise.

Unless you’re making a purely abstract game such as checkers or go, you should try to come up with a premise that makes sense in the light of the physics of your game world. Players can accept that in a game world, characters have magic that is powerful enough to resurrect dead people, but they may lose their willing suspension of disbelief if an NPC dies in their presence during a cutscene and the PC is whisked away to another scene without giving them a chance to resurrect their dead friend. (This actually happened in Neverwinter Nights 2, by the way.) If a game has more than just a premise and has an entire story behind it, then the actions of all the characters must make sense, given what they can and cannot do in their world.

I’ll try to give an example of a story that may work for the game mentioned in the OP:

The protagonist is a down-and-out character with dreams of becoming a millionaire. The world he lives in is a Loony Tunes type of cartoon world, and all the characters in that world are cartoons. An insurance agent comes up to him and offers him life insurance to the tune of a million bucks. Ka-ching! The protagonist eagerly pays what little money he has for an insurance policy. Then comes the fine print — suicide is not an option. If he wants to be paid, the protagonist has to make his death look like an accident. So in each level, he comes up with increasingly more creative ways to kill himself, but each time he does, an investigator determines that a deliberate act of suicide had been committed. Drat! The protagonist tries again. Being a silly cartoon, he has the power to come back to life at the start of each level because cartoons can do anything as long as it’s funny. At the end of the last level, the investigator finally declares that the protagonist died in an accident, and he is awarded a million bucks. Unfortunately, he is dead and has left no living heirs, so the tax man steps in and claims the whole pile of money for the government. DRAT!

There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? The main character and entire story changes, but the gameplay can be left intact.

 
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Topic: Game Design / New Game design By My Best Friend

It isn’t a strategy game. It’s a puzzle platformer where the objective is to get the avatar to kill himself. To this end, you make your avatar step on buttons, jump on springs, pull levers, and teleport on portals to activate deadly devices that cause all manner of gruesome death. Why the avatar has to go through so much hardship and pain to kill himself is beyond me. I hear that slitting your wrists while in a tub of warm water is easier and much more pleasant.

 
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Topic: Game Design / Whatever you do, don't make THIS kind of game

Originally posted by Draco18s:
Originally posted by Elyzius:

That said, there are some topics that are probably best to avoid. Games where you play a terrorist who targets innocent civilians will probably draw a lot of criticism and make the developer the target of an FBI investigation.

Prototype.

I haven’t played Prototype, but having read the synopsis, I don’t see the protagonist as any kind of terrorist at all. Imagine a game that revolves around incidents similar to 9-11 and the Boston bombing but where players play the terrorists. That’s the kind of game I mean that might get the developers in trouble with the FBI. And I say it is in extremely poor taste for anyone to make that sort of game.

 
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Topic: The Arts / The Many Faces of Kongregate: Gallery and Requests

I don’t want my ugly mug painted, but may I request that LiraelI post her finished portraits here for the rest of us to enjoy?

 
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Topic: Game Design / Whatever you do, don't make THIS kind of game

For the most part, I don’t think it’s the subject of the game that will drive gamers away but the awfulness of the execution. One would think that a farming game that forces players to wait long periods of time before anything happens would be poorly received, but then you’d be surprised with how many players enjoy Farmville. On the other hand, you’d think that a first-person shooter developed by a “rock star” game designer would be a big hit for sure, but Daikatana just wasn’t.

That said, there are some topics that are probably best to avoid. Games where you play a terrorist who targets innocent civilians will probably draw a lot of criticism and make the developer the target of an FBI investigation. Also, having something like GTA’s hot coffee mod probably won’t be received well by everyone. Otherwise, as long as you don’t smash through the boundaries of good taste, it may be possible to make a good game out of any idea, even one that doesn’t sound brilliant at first.

 
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Topic: The Arts / The Many Faces of Kongregate: Gallery and Requests

Gorgeous artwork. I know it’s digital, but it looks like it was done in pencil and gouache. There’s a softness and sensitivity to the painting that flatters your subject. Me gusta mucho.