Recent posts by Aesica on Kongregate

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#53] Theme Selection

Originally posted by Halysia:

I don’t mind you personalizing the GiTD logo but that’s a complete change :p I think something like what google does with their logo could be cool, but could you not have kept the castle in some form, or the text? We’ve had that logo for years, seems a shame to suddenly change it with no discussion.

I really like this approach. Keeping some degree of familiarity is important so that it can still be recognized by anyone already acquainted with the gitd contests. I’m not a very change-resistant/nostalgia-driven individual, but this in particular is the kind of thing that you don’t want to just completely change, just for the sake of change.

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Topic: Game Programming / Ideas and best practices for advertising.

Originally posted by jarizappa:

An idea could be “game moderators” that vote on new games that they think deserve some attention. They already has that in the “hot new” section but those can be months old.

The moderators need to be secret to prevent cheating and more than one of them needs to vote on the same game.

This game for instance is brilliant and deserves a badge but nobody knows it exists:

This already kind of exists, except instead of all-powerful elite moderators, the community itself decides what gets frontpaged and what doesn’t by rating. For the most part, it seems to work just fine.

Edit: For the most part. Obviously the Kong Overlords get the final say, but the system is much healthier being primarily community-driven. When a handful of elite moderators get to decide the fate of everything, personal bias, bribery, favors for friends, etc all start becoming factors.

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Topic: Game Programming / Ideas and best practices for advertising.

Originally posted by jarizappa:

This is what kongregate could do for us:
It would be very helpful if the latest released games would be featured on the frontpage. They don’t have to be on the upper half. If they at least are there, then all the regulars who have played all the “hot new games” ages ago would find the new games easier.

Now you have to click “games”, and then sort by “newest”:

Those extra steps aren’t bad, really. They don’t (and shouldn’t) frontpage every new game released because that’s where first impressions are made to potential new users. They want to showcase games which have already passed the test with their regulars. I imagine new users are less likely to stick around if all they see are a bunch of low-quality, trollish, and/or and barely-working games.

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#53] Theme Selection

Aww, what happened to the old logo? :(

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Topic: Game Programming / A site called Y8 seems to have stolen my game

Originally posted by Draco18s:

Requires having an ad system that tracks based on an ID, which…are dwindling now that Mochi died.

I used CPMStar, and although I haven’t looked into it, there’s supposedly FGL ads as well. Another option would be to have your “play” button use a sitelock script for more than just stopping the game from running. If the game is being run from a site on your whitelist, launch it as normal. Otherwise, have the button link to your game on Kongregate, or wherever you may want.

Either way, I suppose my point is to be creative and find ways to make all those seedy mooch sites work for us.

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Topic: Game Programming / A site called Y8 seems to have stolen my game

Originally posted by Draco18s:

Kongregate gets scraped regularly by a huge number of sites. You’re hardly the first person to have stuff used without your permission.

The best defense is to write site-locking code so that the game only runs if it is being hosted by the sites you want it running on.

An alternative approach (assuming the game isn’t sponsored of course) is to embed ads in it, then sitelock the ads so they DO NOT show on Kong, but do if the game is hosted anywhere else. The game I made about 3 years ago generated something like $100-$150 in ad revenue partially because I did this. It makes the thieves work for you.

Edit: I still sometimes get like $1-$2 every couple months, too. :o

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#52] Voting

Don’t have a lot of time for fancy review stuff, so I’ll just leave my votes here with a quick comment or two for each:

1st: Invasion Evasion – It felt great to play a driving game where the object of the game is to mow over everything in sight. I reached the end (barely) but didn’t get to click the cookie because it jumped right back to the upgrade screen. Oh, and this game lags like a beast, but I still enjoyed it.

2nd: Skater Cop – A bit more control would’ve been nice, such as the ability to move forward or backward in addition to just crouch and jump. Also, the bullets move too quick and can be too hard to see against the background to react to before it’s too late. Finally, I’d recommend adding some sort of autofire mechanic (hold down key to shoot until released) so that skater cop doesn’t become carpal tunnel cop.

Honorable mention: These two games were almost my 2nd place pick:

1) Outbreak City: What kept this game from taking 2nd place was the fact that it isn’t really an action game. I realize that 10 days isn’t enough time for details, however I suggest adding a speed-up option (standard in TD games) as well as tuning the difficulty a bit. My survivors didn’t even break a sweat. Also, it would be nice if unit descriptions would remain even after the unit they belong to get killed.

2) City Invaders: This would’ve probably been my 2nd place pick had it not been for the fact that in Chrome (the only way I can get some unity games to run, unfortunately) the up and down arrow keys scroll the window no matter what. So each time I went to shoot down, the screen also scrolled down. IJKL didn’t work as alternatives. Overall, this was pretty gamebreaking. :(

Oh hell, let’s keep going!

Pixel Alien Hunter: There’s a sort of odd safe spot at the bottom of the screen. Also, the alien waves get out of control really quickly and don’t seem to have any end in sight. This game would also benefit from an autofire button rather than relying on keyboard mashing.

Untitled: Not much to say since this is far from complete. The bad guys don’t fight back, I always get the same clue, and even after beating all 3, there’s no progress forward.

City of Souls: Also not much to say since there doesn’t seem to be much I can do other than run around in a small area. The character animation looks really nice though, so there’s that.

Originally posted by weirdguy:

City Invaders is a straight up copy of “Journey of the Prairie King” from Stardew Valley, and I don’t know if that is grounds for disqualification or not.

And Journey of the Prairie King or whatever could be seen as a straight-up copy of Super Smash TV, an old SNES game which uses a similar control scheme: press a button to shoot in the corresponding direction. It’s perfectly fine if games use gameplay mechanics seen in other games. Otherwise, we’d have to ban 99% of the entries. The shooters, the tower defense games, pretty much everything.

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Topic: Game Programming / The good old days of this forum

Originally posted by saybox:

Not just you, but there was one big issue that held back many of the hopefuls here and that was the extreme, closed minded focus on programming over anything else. Writing your game in AS3 does not make it fun, just like writing the story on a typewriter doesn’t make it interesting.

And don’t get me wrong, almost everyone here is a far better programmer than me, you included. But what I always tried to get across was that programming isn’t what makes a game good.

You can skip the rest if you just wanted the tl;dr.

Yeah, back then I thought programming something efficiently was far more important than having top-notch, attractive graphics. In the end, I’m pretty sure that’s what tipped my game off into the “pile of buried and forgotten crap” vs “the games that get shown off, badged, and featured.” Graphics, storytelling (if your game tries to be story-driven), and overall design matter immensely and contribute a lot more to making a game good than just “i no how 2 progrum gud.” If I try again, those are all things I’ll need to pay more attention to. Especially the art, both in terms of keeping a consistent style and using better-quality assets overall.

However in fairness, back in the day I used AS2 and swore it was just fine. What pushed me up to AS3 was quite literally the fact that my game was doing too much for AS2 to handle, and it lagged like a beast when more than 200 or so things were active on the screen at a given time. For me, it was “go AS3 or create an unplayable game.”

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Topic: Game Programming / The good old days of this forum

Originally posted by Amibtious:

Was really planning to be a pro-dev by now :D

I remember being so proud of my first real game when I finished it. I thought “yeah, look out big names, I’m taking over! This is going to be amazing!” Yeah, not so much. I still kinda want to make games, but it seems a lot harder to succeed these days. I’d like to try again eventually, but like…I hate to make one, only for it to meet the same fate as the last one. bah. :D

Hell, I can’t even seem to get myself to enter gitds anymore.

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Topic: Game Programming / The good old days of this forum

No, but then again, I didn’t get here until maybe 4 years ago. Back then, I was an AS2 scrub. :3 (Instead of an AS3 scrub like today!)

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Topic: Game Programming / storing dialogue for NPC's

Regular expressions (RegExp class) is your friend here. That's what I use in my dialog engine, and it allows me to write dialog that looks like this:

		public static function Speak():void
			var sPlayerName:String = "Aesica";
			var sNPCName:String = "Kongbot"
			var rxPlayerName:RegExp = new RegExp("%playerName", "g");
			var rxNPCName:RegExp = new RegExp("%npcName", "g");
			var sDialog:String = "%playerName, my name is %npcName and I want to join your party!";
			trace(sDialog); // %playerName, my name is %npcName and I want to join your party!
			sDialog = sDialog.replace(rxPlayerName, sPlayerName);
			trace(sDialog); // Aesica, my name is %npcName and I want to join your party!
			sDialog = sDialog.replace(rxNPCName, sNPCName);
			trace(sDialog); // Aesica, my name is Kongbot and I want to join your party!
I don't do it exactly like that, as I store everything in an XML file and loop through a list of character/custom names rather than declaring variables specifically for the player, npc, etc. This is simpler though and should get you started in the right direction. Just be aware that regular expressions use a lot of special characters, so if you want to keep it simple, stick with syntax similar to %nameToReplace to prevent any "odd" behavior.
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Topic: Game Programming / [Solved] How do I compress this string?

^ Thanks, that set me on exactly the right track. Here's what I ended up doing, in case anyone else finds themselves needing something similar:

1) Read the string into a ByteArray.

2) Compress the ByteArray.

3) Use a base64 encoder (supposedly flash has one built in, but it seems to be missing from mine so I had to find an external library for this) to convert the compressed ByteArray into base64.

4) Use regular expressions to convert any "unsafe" + / = characters into safe characters. I used ( ) $ as replacements.

5) String is now compressed. Hurray!

And of course, to convert it back, just go in reverse order. Fun stuff!

Edit: The compressed string size, for comparison:

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Topic: Game Programming / [Solved] How do I compress this string?

The only reason it’s a string at all is because I need to pass it through a url query string somehow: someapp.swf?a=12345

It doesn’t really need to be readable by a human being, just sharable via links somehow. I suppose alphanumeric [0-9A-Za-z] might be the way to. Or I might say screw it, and just tell people to deal with the massive urls.

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Topic: Game Programming / [Solved] How do I compress this string?

So I've been working on a project that involves passing data into the swf via a query string. Easy stuff for the most part, however I've run into one problem: The data looks something like this:


...which is, to me, unacceptably monstrous. I know there's ways to shorten this kind of crap, but I'm not entirely sure how.

A bit about the data in question: Each "digit" represents a user selection (yes, there are a lot of them) and each selection can be between 0 and 9 (only 0-2 is shown in this example, but each one can go to 9). The - and | are delimiters.

So, anyone know how I can shrink this abomination down somewhat? :D
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#52] Theme Selection

Originally posted by HeynongMan:

Noun: Religion
Mechanic: RPG

I’ll probably change this… Just the first thing that popped into my head.

Aww don’t change it, as that could potentially make for a pretty decent theme. Just be aware that people like me will probably add a very dark spin on the “religion” aspect.

Anyway mine:

Noun: Prophecy
Mechanic: Story-driven

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Topic: Game Programming / as3 movieclips and bitmaps

Pretty much something like this:


Whenever you rotate your dude (the movieclip) his dress (the bitmap) will rotate with him. This seems awfully simple though. Is this what you're asking?
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Topic: Game Programming / WTF is wrong with the Kongregate Community?

I didn't play your game for very long either. I hate to say this, and I totally get it because something similar happened to me when I published a game that I also put a lot of effort into several years ago. But...

Graphics matter.

No seriously, they really do. Part of the gameplay experience is the graphics and animations, but your game doesn't really have any of that. I clicked on a thing and I guess sent a soldier into battle, but there was nothing that let me at least watch my little guy saunter off into the fray. Just some gunfire sounds and...well I'm not sure what, because I closed it after the first wave either finished or failed.

No offense, but what you have right now just isn't really very engaging. The good news is that you could still change all that, add some graphics, and probably list it as a completely different game. I wouldn't bother updating the one you linked to though, because once a game has been published and been rated as low as this one has, it's pretty much done for. Just take it as a lesson to be learned.
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Topic: Game Programming / Player question,Y u no make games like these?

I don’t even know anything about this game, other than the fact that I see “mobile” in the title. Sorry, but games where the only real source of user input involves tapping on a screen don’t appeal to me.

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Topic: Game Programming / How are most games made right now?

Originally posted by EndlessSporadic:

Flash is forcefully being put to sleep by most major browser distributors due to its inherent security flaws, and most (note not all) of the benefits Flash had are now absent with the introduction of HTML5 and WebGL.

Which browser distributors are dropping Flash support? I though this was only relevant for mobile devices due to flash being such a battery hog. And for the most part, mobile games are pretty cancerous.

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#51] Voting

The turnout was pretty impressive, considering how yucky the theme was. Nice job to everyone who managed to get something together, and to top things off, things were pretty close this time around, making it hard to pick a first and second. In the end, this is what I came up with:

Untitled (Saybox) - I've seen this background somewhere before, but that's fine. The atmosphere you created was pretty dark, both in terms of lighting and content. 1) The dark background and minimal contrast between it and most of the note pieces turned this into a spam-click pixel hunt. However, this leads me to... 2) In your container class, you really should add tabEnabled = tabChildren = false; to outright block the use of tab to locate elements. 3) It's kind of hard to figure out what to do once you cut down the body. Is there more? Overall though, nice job.

[...] Missing Wellingtons (AwesometacularVG) - Not a lot I can really say since this did the hidden object thingy rather well. However: 1) Did I have to go outside to get the umbrella in level 2? 2) The click meter mechanic, where you have to land it in the green, uses multiple colors which implies that there isn't a flat "success" vs "fail" but rather, varying degrees of success as you'd find in a launcher game. Since anything outside green seems to be "fail" you might want to make everything else red.

Ghosts'n gems (AMD_Paulius_J) - Spooky terrain and it looks nice overall. 1) How do I "shake" ghosts? It's not really very apparent. 2) 3 playthroughs and I never found a single gem. :/ Both of these things will frustrate the average player and drive them away rather quickly.

Weather Wizard (DAve_McDave) - Took me a bit to figure out what exactly to do with this one, but it seems pretty well thought-out. 1) I realize this was a 10-day contest and thus, graphics can be difficult to cobble together, but you might want to add a bit to make it look more like I'm digging in a world and less like I'm flipping number tiles. World immersion and all. 2) Fog is really, really annoying. Is it supposed to persist across levels?

Relics of the Ancient Flame (ploo98) - This one felt the most like a fully-featured game and had me playing for quite some time without me even realizing it. My main criticisms are that 1) the difficulties are poorly represented. I found some of the "easy" levels harder than the "medium" ones. 2) The "randomness" can sometimes cheapen the intended difficulty, or even cause problems. I failed the first level the first time because no relic spawned after burning everything. In another level, one of the first things I burned spawned a relic. 3) Darkness in particular is really hard to someone who doesn't know the level layout. 4) Rain can be really hard to dodge, given how well it blends in with the background and player light source.

They'll Find Us (Shay9999) - The brightness increase/decrease was a nice little addition. 1) It wasn't immediately clear that I had to match shapes. 2) As someone else pointed out, sundrops were never hard to find since they were so bright. 3) Is there a difference between the brother or sister options? 3) Sometimes, the things you need to click can be used twice, possibly even 3 times.

Anyway, my votes are for...

1st - Relics of the Ancient Flame (ploo98)
2nd - Weather Wizard (Dave_McDave)

All of these were really, really close. Picking only 2 to vote for was hard. :x Nice job everyone!
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#51] Theme Selection

Noun: Robots
Mechanic: Side-scrolling

Edit: Fine, Halysia. :( I guess I’m just unimaginative. Or I like cats a lot. Changed!

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#50] Voting

Holy crap!

Hey cheng3939, congrats on Aisleen making it to the front page!

Edit: ! Game in Ten Seconds and Carpe Diem made it, too! Bravo, guys/gals/etc! :D

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Topic: Game Programming / Need a Balancing Mechanic

Originally posted by BrainpanSonata:

Maybe tie the currency system into a separate set of checkpoints that award you currency based on how much HP you have at the time?

Kinda my thoughts on this. It seems to me like having money == life is setting yourself up for a trainwreck. As the difficulty goes up, it’ll get harder and harder for the player to afford anything and thus, make it harder and harder to progress. Just my thoughts, though.

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#50] Voting

Originally posted by JohannasGarden:

And keep coming back, please~having this kind of energy in GiTDs was really wonderful! :)

Yeah, I seriously hope the future GitD contests can have this level of of participation. I may have missed getting an entry together this time around, but it’d be nice to have a decent amount of competition like this for a future contest down the road.

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#50] Voting

I meant to enter this, but yeah, I suck. So instead, all I can really do is vote:

1st: Aisleen - This was pretty much a no-contest decision for me, as this particular game was not only extremely well-done for a 10-day competition, but also, the subject matter really resonates with me. One thing worth noting is that, if you're lucky enough and you pick the right cards via quick sketching, etc (you want Wanderers, Inspirations, etc) you can set yourself up for an endless turn. This game rocks, please expand on it even more. :)

2nd: Extreme Electronic Invasion - I'm a sucker for bullet hell games, and that's pretty much what this reminded me of, except for the fact that you're not shooting back, but rather, just trying to not get hit. Decently polished too.

Honorable Mention: Carpe Diem - I almost voted this as 2nd, as it looks to have a ton of content that I can't realistically look at before the contest ends.

Well done, everyone. :)