Recent posts by player_03 on Kongregate

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

Vertigo Junk by skullhead51
My rating: 2/5

There’s approximately zero benefit to the first part, where you can’t fall off no matter what. It isn’t fun to play, and all it does is delay you from retrying the harder areas. This is actually true – to a lesser extent – of any level with varying difficulty. By the time you’re good enough to beat the hard portions of the level, the easy portions can start to feel like a waste of time. (Though this should not be taken as a strict rule. It depends on both the player and the details of the level in question.)

The bigger problem here is the angled boxes. With the boxes packed like that, it’s hard to jump without immediately crashing into a different box. So instead of jumping normally, you have to be prepared to jump multiple times in a row, or you’ll just fall off the second box. (Or the third…) It’s easier to aim for the corner of the box, but if you miss, you’ll just get caught between boxes again.

In short, this level is hard for the wrong reasons.

For your next level, instead of “messing around” and placing tiles at random, try arranging your platforms deliberately. (You can still “mess around,” if you’d like; just do so carefully.)

A large part of my level design strategy is this: After placing one group of tiles, I scroll forward a little and place the next group(s) just within jumping range. Keep in mind that “jumping range” varies per character, so vary the distance between platforms. Also, be sure to include alternate routes for short-range jumpers.

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

Spellbound by WilliamPorygon
My rating: 3/5 (almost 5/5)

I don’t enjoy levels with text in them. I just don’t think the letters look good. Sorry. :/

On the plus side, that’s my only serious complaint about this level; you clearly playtested well. There are a couple minor dead ends at the end, because there’s only the one Z. Other than that, there’s always something to jump to (or even multiple options). The levels only rarely require landing on lone tiles, but they’re still reasonably difficult. Good call splitting it into two levels, as the end is indeed noticeably harder.

Finally, the levels seemed about the same difficulty regardless of character, including the skater. Good job on the gameplay!

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Topic: Game Programming / [AS3] API and static functions

What sort of errors do you get when you make it static? Because that strikes me as the easiest solution.

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Topic: Kongregate / Nintendo allows "non-commercial" use of characters - How does this affect us?

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that displaying the game alongside advertisements counts as “commercial use.”

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

Note: Feel free to post your own feedback. Or even give feedback on my feedback. If you disagree with my ratings, say so! I’m far from the only one judging this contest.

7 – Inside the dragon by Farkss
My rating: 3/5

This level doesn’t have enough holes. There are some at the start, but they’re small and have ramps leading up to them, so they don’t provide a challenge.

The rib cage has large empty spaces, but that doesn’t count because there’s no danger of falling off the backbones (also, why are there two?). It wouldn’t be too hard to make this section more dangerous – just split the backbone into distinct pieces (vertebrae), forcing the player to jump no matter which path they take.
You could even get away with making the backbone zig-zag a little, seeing as Eastern dragons are serpentine.

8 – The light path by Farkss
My rating: 4/5

The crumbling tiles at the start break my “no dead ends” rule. However, seeing as they’re at the start, and it takes very little time to retry, and it’s obvious from the arrangement of regular tiles that you’re supposed to stay off the crumbling ones, I’ll accept it.

Other than that, nothing about the level stood out. It wasn’t eye-catching, but there weren’t eyesores either. Everything was medium difficulty. It was longer than the other levels, but not too long. None of the characters had an especially easy or hard time, except obviously the child.

Regarding the level set as a whole, I was hoping for a proper difficulty curve. That is, I wanted each level to be a little harder than the one before it. But in this set, the hardest levels were the first two and the last. Everything in between was really easy.

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

2 – Accross the river by Farkss
My rating: 5/5

Looks good, plays well, works with all characters. And I can even kind of see the “river” mentioned in the title. Yet another excellent level!

Maybe I’m just a sucker for my definition of “pattern,” but I really do think a consistent-but-not-repetitive appearance makes the level a lot more enjoyable.

The level isn’t flawless, but I don’t feel the flaws are worth subtracting a point over.
• The duplicator has trouble crossing, but at least in this case it’s possible to find an easier route, unlike the last level, where the hard jumps were mandatory.
• The start and end are too easy, but I’ll let that slide for the sake of aesthetics.

3 – Go to the moutain by Farkss
My rating: 4/5

I didn’t “get” the visuals in this one. I mean, I sort of get that the ramps onto blocks at the start are a metaphor for climbing (because that’s as much as you can climb in this game). I could probably come up with more if I tried, but I’ll leave that to the art critics.

My first impression certainly wasn’t some elaborate metaphor. My first impression was, “this is inconsistent.”

Fortunately, the gameplay was still good, if a little easy. I won’t complain too much about the lack of difficulty; it’s easy for all the characters, not just a few.

4 – Don't run – Choose by Farkss
My rating: 3/5

This would feel like a much more meaningful choice if the level wasn’t so short and easy.

6 – Dragon by Farkss
My rating: 3/5 (almost 4/5)

I really don’t understand the point of the crumbling tiles if there’s no way to avoid dislodging them. I assume it’s another metaphor, but I have no idea for what. You don’t get credit for “art” if your audience can’t appreciate it…

I was able to appreciate the Chinese (or Japanese?)-style dragon at the end (and continuing through the next level). But to be honest, I would probably have rated the level higher if it wasn’t trying to depict anything at all. It’s the feeling of not getting the reference that I don’t like.

Gameplay was fine, except for the child, who can’t fall off in the starting section.

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

Farkss didn’t actually request feedback on these levels, but I want to use them as examples anyway.

1 – Which way by Farkss
My rating: 4/5 (almost 5/5)

When I say I want patterns in levels, this is what I’m looking for. It’s not the same thing copy-pasted a bunch; in fact, no two of the platforms have the same shape.

The important thing is, it’s based on a consistent rule. Crumbling tiles on the inside, surrounded by a single layer of regular tiles. The crumbling tiles can form any shape you like, and it’s still not breaking the pattern as long as the regular tiles are there too.

The color choice is good too; it’s an all-around good-looking level. The thumbnail is slightly less interesting-looking than the level, but it’s still better than many thumbnails.

Not only is it good for aesthetics, it’s good for gameplay. The crumbling tiles make your life easier, but only once per platform. Once you use them up you have to be a little more careful about your footing.

Life lesson: Constraints are good for creativity.

The only reason this level isn’t 5/5 is that the student and gentleman have trouble on the longer jumps.

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

The second spiral by jooe15
My rating: 2/5

Ok, the ramps at the start look kind of neat. Certainly a lot better than regular tiles in that pattern. But I really wish there was something more to do in that section than “hold left and wait.”

As for all these lone tiles you’re placing… You do realize that isn’t the only to make a tough level, right? In fact, this level demonstrates some of the other ways. If you just made the ground more solid, with smaller groups of crumbling tiles, you’d have a much more well-balanced level.

There are also some dead ends to deal with; for those I’d accept some scattered lone tiles. (Or ideally groups of 2-3 tiles.) Lone tiles aren’t so bad as long as they aren’t on the main path.

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

The awesome auger 5.1.4 by jooe15
My rating: 2/5

You can make really hard levels if you like, but don’t expect other people to enjoy them. (Look up Pseudolonewolf’s “Raider” series.)

The thing is, your levels always seem easier to you than they do to other players. You made the level; it stands to reason that you know how to play it. For someone new, they have to figure out each successive part of the level through trial and error, and each time they fail, they have to do all the earlier things again just to get another shot. It could take 3-5 tries on some sections to figure out what to do, plus 3-5 tries on all sections to actually do it… The time required really adds up.

And that’s not counting the time it takes them to realize the level is impossible with the skater. (And the gentleman. And the child. And probably the duplicator and runner.) Players should be free to choose their own favorite characters; this is why I make such a big deal about “similar difficulty with all characters.”

I see from your video that you playtested with the runner, and found the part that’s (practically) impossible. So… why not make it easier? That’s what playtesting is supposed to be about, after all. Playtesting lets you identify parts of the level that are too easy, too hard, or not enough fun, so that you can fix it. It isn’t enough to recognize this one part as “impossible with most characters;” you have to fix it.

I’d like to quote one of Greg’s old blog posts here:

Originally posted by Greg:

Achievements that require completing a game in less than 8 hours are unlikely to pass this test, as it would be unbelievably frustrating to get a permanent game over screen halfway through a game after playing it for 8 hours. Instead, break it up into chunks, and require that individual levels be completed under a set time, then award an achievement at the end for doing this with each level. Same display of skill, far less frustration.

He may have been talking about achievements, but the same thing applies here. This level would have worked much better with checkpoints (that is, it would have worked better as a level set).

Now, I admit that this quote contains a rare example of Greg being wrong. When you break a challenge into pieces, it’s absolutely not the “same display of skill.” The challenge gets a lot less challenging. But that’s ok, because it gets less frustrating too, by a far greater margin.

tl;dr: Break long levels into multiple short ones, and don’t submit it until you can beat it with all characters. (Or at the very least, all the ones you’ve unlocked.)

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Topic: Game Design / Run 3 Level Creation Contest!

The Wizard of Run by demigod163
My rating: 3/5

Points for the theme, but I’m really not a fan of all the checkerboards.

Level 1:
The start isn’t interesting, but I’d be willing to accept it as “establishing a pattern so that the pattern can fall apart later.” Even then, I’d still like to see a tile or two missing from the first few platforms.
Unfortunately, the pattern doesn’t fall apart later; it turns into a checkerboard. That’s not the same thing, because a checkerboard looks nothing like how things fall apart in the real world*. In the real world, the corners would get chipped, or the back half of the platform would break off, or something. It would not be a perfectly regular pattern like a checkerboard, and it certainly wouldn’t be the same pattern on each platform.

*I know, I know, it’s not like the game has much in the way of realism anyway. But still, if you want to give the impression of broken things in-game, look at the broken things we see in everyday life.

Level 2:
Please, don’t use black tiles like this. Either use bright tiles to provide hints, or clump the black tiles in large enough groups that I can see them against the stars. (I used both strategies in a number of different ways throughout the low-power area. See part 2 for an example of the former, and part 9 for the latter.)

What you shouldn’t do is force me to land on lone black tiles. If I’m going to land on a lone tile, I need to be able to see where it is before starting my jump.

Yes, the crumbling tiles help. Yes, I know I can land on them and use them to locate black tiles. But they don’t help enough; this is still the hardest level of the set, and it’s not hard for the right reasons.

Level 3:
The start is impossible to lose with the child, and it looks more twister-like than the intended twister level.

Then you’ve got a bunch of ramps in a straight line. Why do people do this so much? Especially without providing a place to land? With ramps in a line like this, you may end up launched into the air at an unexpected time. And that means there needs to be a large area for you to land. Preferably on a wall so that you have more control over when you touch down. Sure I did the “lots of ramps” thing myself (in the winter games), but I always left you somewhere to land.

And as for the crumbling tiles at the end, low jumpers like the duplicator and gentleman have difficulty making those sideways jumps. It’s not enough to test with the runner; she has a noticeably better jump than the others. (Well, it’s noticeable if you’re looking for it.)

Level 4:
• Too many tile types.
• More checkerboards.
• On the easy side.

…But somehow it’s still the most interesting and entertaining level of the bunch. The ramps certainly worked better this time round.

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Topic: Kongregate / Idle game badges

Originally posted by Kyle Orland @ Ars Technica:

Players should want to play your game because the gameplay or the story is inherently fun or interesting, not because they’ll earn some random virtual trinket or watch a completion counter tick up toward 100 percent.

But what if having locked content makes the gameplay fun/interesting?

Originally posted by bobby71983:
Originally posted by Necero:

Seeing as how you pretty much need all upgrades to complete the game, what are their purposes in the first place? 99% of the time spent is basically doing the same thing over and over so you can play and finish a boss fight. When you’re finished you realize that you just spent one hour on two minutes of game-play.

People like the feeling of progression. It’s the main reason idle games are so popular right now. You are always progressing. You could, in theory, just set your values to infinity and you effectively “beat” the game, but where is the fun of that?

Similarly, you could start a launcher with max upgrades, but the game is then significantly shorter, and you dont get the feeling of progression. Finishing the game would be a lot less satisfying.

My enjoyment of a game is greatly enhanced if upgrades are available. I need constant change in order to not get bored.

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Topic: Kongregate / Idle game badges

Originally posted by LouWeed:

Burrito Bison for example, is basically an idle game with badges.

"Burrito Bison’s #1 fan" disapproves of this comparison. For the protection of the involved parties, I will refrain from quoting the coarse language used.

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Topic: Kongregate / Idle game badges

Originally posted by LouWeed:

Idle games and MMOs have no end. Badges are about completing something, or reaching a high point in a game. If you can’t see the conflict here then I can’t help you.

“Survive as long as you can” games get badges all the time.

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Topic: Kongregate / signing into your old account problem

Delete a saved password in Chrome

Delete a saved password in Firefox

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Topic: Kongregate / Idle game badges

Originally posted by Blackdrazon:
Originally posted by player_03:

If this was true, MMOs wouldn’t get badges either.

It’s important to keep in mind that Greg, the admin who makes the badges, doesn’t control which MMO games get badges. I believe he decides what badges they get once he gets his orders, so he can try to avoid this sort of thing, but the call on whether or not an MMO gets a badge in the first place is not his.

That doesn’t conflict with my point.

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Topic: Kongregate / If the kongregate super heros were to fight from the games who would win?

It’s hard to make fair comparisons, because games aren’t even consistent within themselves.

For instance, consider the EBF team. In EBF 4, you start out weak enough that killing a bird takes more than one hit. By the end, you’re dealing ten thousand times as much damage… and there are still birds that you can’t kill in one hit.

And speaking of unfair comparisons, what about idle games? The whole premise is that your stats increase exponentially. Should I declare these guys the best just because they have the most zeroes on the end of their numbers?

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Topic: Kongregate / Idle game badges

I don’t really know. It’s not like the staff dislikes idle games; otherwise they wouldn’t be promoting Adventure Capitalist and Clicker Heroes. Obviously idle games wouldn’t be appropriate for a badge of the day, but then, neither are MMOs. It might be that a number of players hate them, but that’s also no different from MMOs.

Could they take Greg too much time to test? Maybe if he had to play them all the way through, but he doesn’t need to play MMOs all the way through before giving them badges.

I’m guessing they discussed it at some point and decided never to give badges to idle games, but I don’t know why they might have decided that. Every objection I can think of can be countered by pointing to MMOs.

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Topic: Kongregate / Idle game badges

Originally posted by adv0catus:

The reason idle games don’t get badged is because they’re (generally) constantly in development.

If this was true, MMOs wouldn’t get badges either.

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Topic: Game Programming / Best Way to format numbers? (show in thousands, millions, etc.)

Originally posted by Aesica:

Edit: Isn’t it considered bad practice to have multiple return statements in the same function?

Depends who you ask. In my opinion, no.

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Topic: Game Programming / [FD][AS3] Substitute for fl.controls.List [Solved] (Scroll down to “list.”)

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Topic: Game Programming / Will it be possible to export AS3 to HMTL5?

Fixed your link.

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Topic: Kongregate / Kreds

I’m fuzzy on the details, but I believe this idea won’t work due to legal restrictions.

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Topic: Game Programming / What's with all the hate on Unity?

Originally posted by LordBucket:

It’s totally a scam.

The Free Dictionary defines “scam” as “A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.” It defines “fraud” as “A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.”

Unity Technologies is providing a product in exchange for money. When a user pays the correct amount of money, they get a product that does what Unity Technologies advertises. Unity Technologies is not deceiving its customers, and its revenue is fairly gained.

Originally posted by LordBucket:

Why in the world would you choose to pay more for a development environment that is slow, laggy, buggy, crashes a lot, requires a third party plugin to use, solely for the sake of reaching a smaller, frustrated market of users who don’t want to deal with all these problems?

It’s worth noting that Unity advertises the ability to compile your project for multiple platforms. And, as one might reasonably expect, it makes good on this promise.

The target market is not merely “people who have installed the Unity Web Player.” Rather, it’s “the majority of smartphone users, plus a few people online.” Does that help you understand why Unity is so appealing to some developers?

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Topic: Game Programming / array and random

Remember when I said this?

Originally posted by player_03:

Use this instead of the old dealWithGroup() function, and you’ll see what’s wrong.

That’s what I was talking about.

Let’s examine randomizeGroup().

myArray is [a, b].
group is empty.

Step 1: Shuffle myArray.
myArray is now [b, a].
group is still empty.

Step 2: Copy myArray into group.
myArray is still [b, a].
group is now [b, a].

Why doesn’t group have three elements?

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Topic: Kongregate / Does Kongregate regret the idea of Kongpanions?

Originally posted by Pulsaris:

The name of the Kongpanion this week has the word DERISION written all over it.

You do realize that jmtb02 is the one writing the names and descriptions, right? This is business as usual for him.