Recent posts by saybox on Kongregate

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

WIthout wanting to keep dragging the thread off topic I think there are a few issues here that need consideration here or elsewhere.

1. Getting a rating is meaningless unless it’s 3.5+. Anything below that simply isn’t shown to people anymore. I totally get why Kong does this, but for many of the devs here it’s no use. 2.5 and 3.49 are the same except that you get a few more Kong points for one.

2. The cause of most of the problems was when Kong removed the links to the new games queue. I understand why; most new games are reskinned junk, tutorial games, or low effort. But nobody sees new uploads anymore. Yes, it’s possible to find them – but it was one click from every page on the site in the past. This made them visible to people outside of friends and other devs. Ratings were easier to reach and a game with a 3.4 rating would get more plays than one with a 2.5 under this system… not necessarily a huge amount more but it was better than right now. And most games would get some comments and some feedback from random people. Newgrounds is better in this regard, but of course NG is struggling for money so we can’t assume they’re getting things right either.

3. A thread for promotion in this forum will turn into a thread to trade 5/5 rates. I don’t care about people getting the “wrong” rating for their game, I rate almost every game I play 5/5. But over time anyone trying to give valid feedback and ratings will find their own game, and their popularity, suffers for it as people will remember who voted them low, and repay the favor. Plus, every game will zoom into Hot New Games, where most will then drop out of it again. If that’s how we want the system to work Kong may as well start every game there and drop them out of it, or not, as ratings come in.

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

I suggested this a while ago, maybe JohannasGarden will see it if I repost here.

Kong could have a frontpage spotlight ad (replacing the ad on the right for example), reserved for new games. To get their game there, a dev would pay a nominal fee, perhaps $5. This would keep their game there until it reached either 2000 views or 100 ratings, whichever was sooner.

This allows serious devs with unknown games, or games that wouldn’t usually stand out, to get some feedback on their game. The fee is high enough that you wouldn’t profit from the ad revenue, and big devs wouldn’t get much use from it – it would appeal to serious developers who aren’t making blockbuster games in popular genres.

Most new games suck but I’ve seen many getting overlooked and I definitely think there needs to be more attention given to them.

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

Originally posted by Aesica:
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.

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.

I know there’s a lot of people who’ll say “If you write, you’re a writer, end of story” but that’s motivational, follow your dreams stuff to inspire people. If nobody has ever paid you to write, you’re not a writer. Get someone who has been paid to write to tell you how to improve your writing, or buy a book about writing and study it til you understand.

And the UI, wow, so many people use awful generic buttons for the UI. Unity games are the worst, if you use the default buttons in Unity you may as well not bother. UI needs to be clean, bright, and work well….. don’t make me click three buttons to get to the game itself, don’t move the buttons around on different screens, don’t require the mouse for a keyboard only game, etc. Also, put drop shadow on any light color text.

For an example of (intentionally) awful UI, check this game out. Note that the play button isn’t placed well, and the menu button is in a different place when you die. So whne you die, you have to grab the mouse, click menu, then move the mouse and click play again. It’s frustrating and the correct thing to do would be allow a keyboard button for restart (either R or Space), put the menu button in the same place as the play button, and make it a restart button rather than a menu option.

When I make it as obvious as the game above, it’s clear where the mistakes are, but so many people don’t look at stuff like this in their own games. Before anything else, make it easy to play your game!!!

And the idea that programmer art is okay is something only programmers say to each other. Muddy textures as backgrounds, low quality sprites in the game, a lack of contrast between player elements and the background – this is not good. Players hate it. If you have jpg artifacts on an image, or pixelly gifs or whatever, don’t use them. It makes your game look tired and drab. Do not release something with compression artifacts. Ever. End of story.

Not only do you need to be able to accept criticism, you need to actively seek it out before the game is out. You cannot use players as beta testers if you want the game to do well. Find people to test privately. Watch them play. Grill them on what they didn’t like, when they got bored, etc. Never, ever argue with you players over whether an aspect of the game is good. If they didn’t like it, you can’t persuade them otherwise. That doesn’t mean it sucks, but it might do, and you should be willing to look at this stuff with an open mind. There is ALWAYS merit to the criticism a player offers you, even if it’s not immediately obvious when they say “stupid 1/5”.

The last big game I was able to release (health issues have made it harder and harder for me to just sit down and make stuff) went semi-viral. It was featured on Kotaku, amongst others, and I’ve always seen it as a badge of honor to have them write about something I made. Here is a writeup I did about some of the design choices that went into it. Check out the screenshots of the iterations of the question selector, and the title screen. You have to be willing to test and retest and iterate on stuff over and over until you get to a point where the game looks and feels fantastic. I spent HOURS on these buttons, HOURS on the title screen, just testing and changing stuff and testing again, until it felt like it worked. It isn’t enough just to make something function, or to write code that runs efficiently (in fact, check out my code screenshot in the same article!). That doesn’t make it GOOD.

Final tip: don’t be the hipster that’s like “mainstream can die, I’m making this for myself”. I mean, if you don’t care if your game does well, sure, do that. But if you want a popular game, freaking accept that some conventions in games make them popular, and make use of them.

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Topic: Game Programming / Game In Ten Days -- Rules on Use of Assets from personal and public libraries

Originally posted by Halysia:

If it’s just about making the best game possible with total disregard for the process or journey, why have there been so few entrants previously making use of asset/mechanic heavy engines? RPG Maker has been around for years, as has many others, so why haven’t we seen them dominate GiTD if it’s just about making the best games possible?

Why has the comp always been in the programming forums if it’s more about design?

Why were there other programming comps running parallel to it? (Didn’t Seneksis host some?)

Why have the vast majority of games been created in languages or IDEs based around as2/3/html and others that kongregate traditionally supports and not exes etc?

I don’t believe ‘making the best game possible, regardless of how it’s done’, has been the spirit, or point of GiTD. If that’s the way GiTD is going though, I’ll accept that, I’ve just always viewed it more as a slightly more flexible (and longer) LD Comp than the Jam, especially when you look at the GiTD archives and the types of games we predominantly see and the assets predominantly used (made). Obviously we all want to make the best games possible, but it’s only really recently that there seems to be a push to make participants do that, it’s always been fine to enter with unfinished ‘programmer art’ games, in fact that’s the norm. A lot of the links are broken now, but I’ve personally never seen a game that obviously used a game engine, pre-packaged game mechanics as well as such heavy use of professional quality pre-packaged/open-source art/sound which is why #50 was confusing to me in regards to the ‘create majority of game’ rule as a long time participant.

I’ll answer these since nobody else did.

- Other than Stencyl, no engines of this sort used to exist. RPG Maker and Game Maker only added HTML5 export relatively recently, and the people who might want to use it are generally the people who can’t afford to buy that version of each software. Stencyl users got laughed out of the forum a long time ago and so they stopped bothering to enter. On the other hand, we’ve seen plenty of Flixel entries back when that was a thing, and provided you know how to set it up, that offers you immediate physics, particle effects, control schemes, etc.
- The Game Design forum didn’t exist when GiTD started, and we didn’t move simply because people wanted to keep the contest here, in a board people actually use.
- There were -other programming contests running in parallel because GiTD is not, and never has been, a programming contest.
- Because 1/ most people using this board program in AS or html5, and 2/ in the past when exes were submitted, people didn’t want to download them.
- GiTD has never, ever been about the programming. At no point in the contest is your code on display. None of the contest have ever involved making the exact same thing and competing for highest FPS or some other measure of coding skill.
- We rarely have prizes for GiTD. I have a feeling there was a point before it turned into the structured contest we have now, when we didn’t even have votes or a winner, but I might be imagining that. Once you have winners, there will always be some people questioning the rules. Right now you’re a lone voice arguing the point, with only one game as an example, and while you personally may feel this is about the rules going forward, it’s very noticeable that nobody else from the voting thread cares enough to voice their opinion in the discussion. That suggests that at least some people were just trying to knock out the stronger competition to get one of the unusually good prizes.
- My best (IMO) GiTD entry barely got any votes because people felt I wasn’t on the theme enough. If enough people feel the same about RPG Maker games, the same will
- Finally, it’s worth pointing out that part of the reason the rules on engines and artwork are so relaxed is because otherwise people working in teams have a huge advantage. If you find a great artist to work with, while someone else has to use programmer art because they don’t know any artists to work with, guess who’s game looks better?

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Topic: Game Programming / Game In Ten Days -- Rules on Use of Assets from personal and public libraries

Let’s keep this in perspective

This debate is focused on one game. ONE.

There are literally no other examples of games being given to back up the points being made. It’s not a discussion about the rules so much as “I don’t believe this game should have won a prize so I’m going to criticise everything that allowed it to do so”.

RPGMaker costs $80 + assets. That alone rules out the idea of a dev intentionally undermining the spirit of the contest, and suggests it was a legit, good faith entry. It’s very unfair, IMO, to be constantly calling it out in this thread. If there are no other examples, out of 51 GITDs, that suggests there isn’t a real problem at all.

But let’s assume that your scenario is taken to an extreme, and next GiTD everyone decides to buy RPGMaker and make their game with it. Does everyone win? No, of course not. There is some other, harder to define, element that makes for a winning game.

Half the reason the RPG Maker game was able to do so well was because the theme was so relaxed and basically “make what you like”. A “FPS only” theme would exclude RPG Maker completely and give Unity a huge advantage, for example.

This one tip will make you a better game designer (doctors hate it!)

Your programming ability will not win you this contest, nor does it mean you’re able to make a good game, nor will it get your game votes on Kong. This is not a programming contest and never has been.

Work to your strengths, not others’ weaknesses

If you choose to limit yourself with arbitrary restrictions on what you make or reuse, fine – but don’t expect points for it. What’s the point in writing a new battle system if you have one that works fine already? Use it and make the game better.

Personally I think if you only take part to try to win, you’re not really understanding the spirit of the contest. But if winning is important to you, work to win. Don’t try to exclude other people to bump yourself up in the ranking one place.

Game dev on Kong is dead

Most GiTDs get like 2-3 entries. Some get just one.

GiTD 50 was a chance to start restoring the forum. And what people saw when they came to take part or vote in the thread was a group of people constantly – and STILL – complaining about one of the entries, and making the atmosphere incredibly unpleasant for the dev of that game. Why does it matter to you so much?

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#51] Voting

Originally posted by JohannasGarden:

The mood of this really impressed me. The piano music works well with the rain sound and visuals as well as the implied story. Although it obviously hints at a very sad story, there is something relaxing about playing too. While playing, I really enjoyed playing it. If you expand it, which I recommend, it’s a rather compelling opening. You have probably thought of the same ideas I would suggest, but having the “backpack” do more, actually being able to read and reread the fragments of notes that you get, each revealing more of her story, perhaps? Maybe they could be pages of a journal/diary that she tore up before this scene. The end could have a bit of surprise/sense of discovery. I don’t think you need to do a tremendous amount more with this to make a good game, actually (though there is a bit more programming in what I suggest, of course), and you obviously need preloader, credits, etc. Really nice work.

So originally I was going to have a longer note, possibly in the way you suggested. But it doesn’t work well. For most people depression is so personal that any attempt to journal it or write a long form note just sounds like a oldschool Myspace post. This is also why depression is so misunderstood on the internet. You can never show people the intensity of the pain that drives a person to want to hurt themself. You can talk about the stunned, kicked-in-the-gut feeling that never goes away, or the overwhelming blanket of darkness that takes the color out of the world. And you can talk about how devastating a breakup can be, or the long, empty void that is true loneliness or how crushed someone was when something they valued so much was taken away from them suddenly. But look – it just looks cliched; people have read this stuff a million times before. One more or less emo kid on the internet is nothing special. People go through this shit all the time. Some people deal with it, some people are completely destroyed by how much it hurts.

Additionally, you (the player) don’t care about the character. If you get the story immediately, there’s nothing interesting about them. You don’t know them, nor are you attached.

In comparison, imagine the ending of Final Fantasy 7 if the crew were all celebrating on the Highwind, and then Barrett goes into the cabin looking for Cloud, there’s a slow zoom on his horrified expression, and then a jump cut to Cloud hanging from a noose. You, the player, would immediately understand…. this dude goes through so much shit through the game, and is responsible for a significant amount of it.

My character, who is hanging from the tree as the first thing you see, doesn’t have that same sort of attachment, and once you know the story, it closes the narrative arc in your mind. They were alive, then this happened, now they’re dead. Why would you care? Even assuming complete suspension of disbelief (ie “Could anything have been done to help?”) you aren’t ever in a place where you just feel like the whole world has gone to shit but didn’t have to be, such as in Life is Strange. Even if I’d made the game longer, I don’t think that would have been any different.

I settled on making the note random each time you play – so that everyone who played probably all got a little piece of the story, and could, in theory, piece together a general idea of things (although most of the notes are clear enough, really). If, again theoretically, the game was interesting enough for people to want to play more than once, I think this would make the narrative more interesting and I probably could have done more with it. While I didn’t put in any hints as to who the player is, for example, one of the notes could suggest who might come looking for them, and then suddenly you understand a little bit more about things. But that doesn’t work if you put it all in one long rambley note.

Finally, considering how short the game is, I think a narrative that doesn’t feel closed was important to make it remain in peoples’ minds after they played. I mean, I don’t really think anyone closed the game and sat there pondering the meaning of life and whether anything could have been done to save the character, but there is a theme of “I want to know more about this” in some of the comments in this thread. That, if anything, would have kept people playing if the game was longer.

I realise I wrote a lot here considering the game is ten seconds long and the narrative is minimal, but this stuff doesn’t get discussed in the game design board, or anywhere really. This is in no way intended to sway anyone’s votes. It’s just a topic I find interesting.

@Aesica your questions are all answered in my post in the entry thread.

@everyone who said the puzzles were uninteresting or a pixel hunt, I agree, I had no graphics or time to make them more interesting than that but needed something to stop the game being over before the piano even started playing. My own fault for not starting work earlier.

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#51] Voting

Mr Bob: I really liked this, it was cheerful and fun.

Ghosts’n’gems: This is let down by several things. The mouse movement feels floaty and was too slow for me. The flying skull things look too programmed….. they turn on an axis and you can almost see the movement path they’re on. The screen size on Kong is pretty small, and in general there wasn’t enough sense of urgency. I sprinted around a bunch and not enough happened. Finally, starting next to one of the statues might have helped since I sprinted over to one at the start, with a very non-immersive message on the screen telling me not to sprint. I liked the game idea and I’ve been a bit harsh on it in my review – please don’t think I’m just being a dick about it. I think there was potential for this to be better, and I’ve tried to point out the main areas that held it back IMO.

Weather Wizard – desperately needed some small, easy, starting levels for an easier intro to how the game works. i’ll probably play this again after voting and I can see myself enjoying it, but the mechanics aren’t immediately intuitive.

Relic – I didn’t find this very compelling as is, but with more time spent on level design and polish I think it would be much better.

They’ll Find Us – Dragon summed up my thoughts about this. Too easy for a hidden object game but too frustrating in that I didn’t realise I was looking for one specific shape amongst them.


  1. Bob’s Wellingtons
  2. Weather Wizard
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#51] Entries and Discussion

Here is my entry. It’s super short because I only started it properly like two hours ago and rushed it – you’ll be done in ten seconds or so but I wanted to actually enter something for once. Play it slowly or something and please have the music on. There is nothing else to do after you cut the rope.

The art is all premade. It was for a game a long time ago that was never finished because the artist didn’t finish everything.

There is no preloader.

It might be laggy because of the rain effect I didn’t test it on anything slow.

On a Mac or an older monitor the background contrast may make it basically just black.

Yeah this isn’t really much of an entry I’m sorry. I tried :P

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD [#50] Hype and Discussion

Originally posted by McCoyEVP:
learning that game engines are allowed seems like a cheat, unless I am misreading the rules for this event.

Something that’s not always clear: this is a game design contest rather than a programming contest.

Originally posted by McCoyEVP:
am I allowed to use assets such as art and sound that are available under certain licenses for the game I submit?

Use whatever you can find. Opensource is fine. Code libraries are fine. Bits of old code are fine. You should probably note in your entry if you’ve reused a lot of assets but in general – based on past contests – the only things you can’t do are a/ reuse an entire, complete, game engine, and b/ finish a game you were working on before the contest and reskin it to match the theme. Obviously DRK posted before me and he gets the final say on this sort of thing, but it’s never mattered in the past, and honestly, you could simply open source your art and then reuse it anyway. If I enter, I’ll be likely reusing art from past projects, finished or not, and I’ll note it in my comments, and if I don’t qualify for voting, not a big deal for me.

Originally posted by McCoyEVP:
What are these games being rated on?

Users (mostly contest entrants) vote on the best game. How “best game” is defined is very subjective, although in the spirit of the contest the idea is generally to pick the game that you most enjoyed playing as a whole.

Originally posted by McCoyEVP:Also, in accordance with the rules (which don’t technically exist anywhere which I could find), you don’t have to create any of the artwork; any of the music or sound effects; none of the code in the engine you may use to power the game, but rather must create everything else; which, if you have been paying attention, is just about nothing.

The most important piece of the puzzle is the bit that you can’t reuse – the bit where you actually make a good game.

Originally posted by McCoyEVP:
Please believe me, when I first heard about this contest I was all in. I wanted the time constraint. The theme constraint. I thought it would even the playing field of professional developers and me; someone about to create their first game. But sadly, now I am very lost. I do not know what to do. Or what I can do for that matter. It seems that I can just download an open source game engine, some graphics and sound from under a number of licenses for free use, and with little effort, have my game in 10days (which for a seasoned coder is fairly simple). But I thought this was to be a competition that inspired up and coming programmers, developers and the like to create something from nothing to showcase their skills and originality, but, unless I am missing something, the current constraints do no such thing.

Your point about the theme I won’t argue with – it suits some people and doesn’t suit others. There were 49 other GiTDs so far with only one theme so you may just have picked the wrong one to join. Some of the recent ones were too restrictive with the theme, and this might be too relaxed, but there’s never going to be a theme that suits everyone. In the past we had people demand a particular theme they specialized in and refuse to enter when it wasn’t picked, for example, and for GiTD I think the idea was to be as inclusive as possible.

However I would suggest that if you believe putting something together with “little effort” is enough to make a genuinely good, contest quality game, you’re mistaken. There are plenty of fantastic programmers here who code all day for work or college and do great work – but they’ve never made a game that was a big hit. A good game isn’t just programming and art, and if it is then you can enjoy what should be an easy victory.

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Topic: Game Programming / Is there a way I can not get payed for my game?

If you don’t fill in payment info you won’t get paid. You can still upload the game and it will just sit there collecting money unless or until you decide you’d like to be paid.

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Topic: Kongregate APIs / To live as a game developer

Will I make enough to put food on the table?

Depends: are you willing to “sell out”?

The successful indie devs, and also the career game devs, all have one thing in common. They are willing to do what’s needed to make money. Same goes for musicians, artists, etc. If you want to earn decent money from something, you must be iwlling to a/ make what’s popular, and b/ monetise it.

For example, Justin Bieber was a fantastic musician long before his first album. I mean, he still is, but nobody knows him for that. His money came whne he sold out and started doing mainstream music.

If you want to make money as an indie, you need to be making something ultra casual with tons of in app purchases. At least right now. A few years ago, to be successful you had to be selling your Flash game to a major portal, but then the money ran out there.

If you want to work in a larger company – EA, Bioware, etc – then you don’t get to pick what you do. You go to work and your boss says “hey, we’re doing 5 Spongebob games on iOS and Android and we need to ship one per month, no matter what. Here’s the GDD for the first one, get it feature complete in a week, work as many hours as it takes.”

Don’t be fooled by the occasional game that does well despite not “selling out”. Unless a developer has a track record of superb, high revenue games, a lone release that does well must be considered an exception to the rule.

How and where do I start

Apply to intern somewhere. Make something. Make lots of things. Apply to more places. Make more things. See whether you prefer working in a company, or by yourself. Release the things you’ve made. Do they make you any money? If not, rule out being a fulltime indie. If they do, learn how to make even more money out of them.

Also, talk to as many devs as you can. Contacts will help you a LOT.

what tips do you have for me

Don’t live in New York.
Don’t ever assume a game will be successful – have a backup plan in case it doesn’t make you any money.
Release some small projects asap, both to prove to yourself you can finish stuff, and to understand what people like and don’t like about your games.
Spend a day reading through negative comments from people on various games, and look at how the developer responds. You’ll get comments like these; plan how you’ll respond in advance rather than screaming obscenities at people who criticize your games.
If you’re a (stereo)typical programmer, don’t do the art or the game design yourself, because you’ll be bad at it. Find art from somewhere, and find someone with some game design experience to help you out on those aspects of the game.
Any programmer who tells you game designers are worthless doesn’t know what they’re talking about. But don’t confuse genuine game design with the “I’m an idea guy” posts you may see around.
Ask better / more specific questions cuz “any tips?” is really unhelpful.

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Topic: Game Programming / What is a better design choice?

Originally posted by Draco18s:
Originally posted by saybox:

Like everyone else said, clicking to instantly show all the text is preferable.

ON the same note, if your typing effect is moving so slow that people want to click to speed it up – it’s too slow.

There are other reasons to skip, e.g. a second playthrough.

Clicking to speed up the text (not skip it) means that your player either wants to skip, or wants to read it but you’re displaying it too slowly. If its the former, click to show all makes the most sense; if it’s the latter, your text should display faster by default. There should never be a situation where you need click to speed up

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Topic: Game Programming / Secure swf or not

Not worth it.

  • It won’t block Cheat Engine, it’s intended to stop people stealing your source code.
  • Your source code is useless without the serverside code, if you’re using something with serverside components.
  • Any team who has the ability to read your code, understsnd it, and then rebuild the serverside code themselves is unlikely to waste their time stealing your game, they could make their own instead.
  • Similarly, there isn’t much theft of Flash game source code. Much easier to make a tiny edit to remove sitelocking code, and then just rehost a copy of the game. If you block this, hotlinking the game will still work. If the game is hosted on your own server, this is worse – one Chinese site used 110gb of my bandwidth in this way.
  • Have you made $400 from all your previous games? If you make tens of thosuands of dollars from game design, then sure, spend $400 to make it a little harder to steal the game. Otherwise, forget it, the money you potentially wouldn’t get if the game is stolen, isn’t enough to outweigh the $400 upfront price.
  • In terms of hackers, breaking into the server / database is far FAR more interesting to them. Focus on that for security, not the clientside stuff.
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Topic: Game Programming / What is a better design choice?

Like everyone else said, clicking to instantly show all the text is preferable.

ON the same note, if your typing effect is moving so slow that people want to click to speed it up – it’s too slow.

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Topic: Game Programming / I want to play your game!!

Originally posted by badfitz100:

Does no one read the instructions for the game? It says press Space to go to the next part/continue. It really isn’t that hard to understand.

No, nobody reads instructions. If you need the player to read them, your game is designed badly.

I played it briefly (after reading the instructions) just to make sure – and it’s not intuitive all at to press space. Clicking would be intuitive, but you still can’t expect players to know to do that without some sort of prompt.

You could display “press Space to continue” on the screen, or the same for click to continue, and you could make the text itself clickable too). You have a gigantic “MUTE MUSIC” button to click, so expecting people to think of pressing space rather than clicking is kind of hopeful.

There are two big problems with the writing itself. First is the fact that you can’t go back and read the story so far, so if you click past a scene without paying attention, you don’t know what’s happened. Second is that the writing itself is clumsy and needed more editing and care. But this sort of thing takes practice to do well, so don’t take that as harsh criticism. Here is a quick example from one of the early scenes:

You grab a shopping bag and fill it with tins of beans and soup. You put it inside your rucksack. As you walk outside, the bell on the door rings, and all the mutants now notice you. You run outside quickly.

Here’s a list of what’s wrong with this paragraph. Again, please take this as constructive criticism to help you improve, rather than me just ripping your game apart.

  • That’s a full scene, but out of context it doesn’t mean much. Like, if you showed it to someone who hadn’t played the rest of the game, would they care? would they want to know what happened?
  • It’s very short, which is okay if it has a point, but not okay whne the point isn’t made well.
  • The writing is clunky (“all the mutants now notice you”). Unless you can write like Tolkien, always aim to be concise. Note that concise doesn’t mean short.
  • There’s no real description of anything, which means there’s no atmosphere.
  • The text covers quite a lot of things and even at that length, should be more than one paragraph.
  • Why would you get a shopping bag to put the cans in if you have a rucksack put them in anyway?
  • Why does the door bell only ring as you leave?
  • You walk outside and then after getting outside you run outside.
  • You force the player into one particular set of actions when it logically feels like this part could be split up. Not necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps the player wanted to fight the zombies, hide in the shop, etc.

Here is a very quick rewrite of that same scene.

The floor is littered with debris. Fresh blood is splattered against the back wall – a worrying sign of a very recent struggle. The power is still on, and neon lighting flickers around you, illuminating empty aisles that just yesterday held produce, deals, special offers. Shoes on discount, today only. Buy one get one free on tomatoes. Special offer on Justin Bieber’s latest CD.

Against all odds, one shelf of tinned food is intact. There are a few days worth of supplies here, but the weight of the cans limits what you can carry. You take a few cans of beans and some soup and stuff your haul into your rucksack – that will have to do for now.

Turns out this shop had a burglary problem in the past. One of the tins had a security tag, and the shriek of an alarm pierces your ears as you head back outside. Almost in slow motion, you look around and see far too many red, angry eyes staring back at you.

It’s time to get out of here. Or you could try to hold your ground. What’s it going to be?

This could still be improved – it was a very quick rewrite as I said. But if you compare with your original version you can probably see the difference.

Also, from your game news:

apparently you idiots can’t read the instructions on the game page.

IMO this isn’t how you should present yourself or your game.

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Topic: Kongregate / Petition: Stop giving user requested permanent bans.

No, for four reasons:

1. The post says Kong “can’t guarantee” to get back an account, not that they refuse to help or that they’re stretched to thin to do so. If your forgot the password to your level 2 alt and have to valid email on it, forget it. Bought Kreds and can prove it with your payment info? You’re probably gonna find they’re able to help you out. How would you verify ownership of a free account with no payment info and no valid email address? Every other possible verification method takes far more time.

2. It takes the same amount of time to reject or accept a request, in terms of replying to the person who sent it. Bans likely take three clicks (load profile, click ban, verify ban). This time spent on this is minimal once someone has sent their request.

3. In most part of the world you have the right to request a site removes your account in some way or other, much the same as they have to ask you before they sell your email address to someone.

4. The idea that community staff are stretched too thin just because they don’t post much on forums much doesn’t make much sense. Here’s a secret: community admin is just a friendlier way to say CS rep. 90% of their work is likely spent in Zendesk, whether they reply to emails directly or oversee people who do. Forums are awful for tech support, because you constantly have people jumping in with extra “help”, you can’t verify any account info in public, and people forget they posted in the first place. As far as simply chatting to the community goes…. this is just a strange obsession. Do you guys not understand Kong pays them to work, not to sit around and chat about whatever with people?

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Topic: Kongregate / Test my old-school arcade game and help game research!

I’m not sure what the research topic is – the survey just seemed to be “variations of is this game fun?” – but I felt the game suffered from a few major flaws.

First, it doesn’t feel like you win through skill. I mean, there’s some strategy to it, but mostly you’re gonna win if you just flail around in a circle randomly. I feel like you could probably get a similar win rate by pressing keys with your eyes shut, although I didn’t try. I’d also think it’s entirely possible to win without pressing any keys at all, although I didn’t quite manage it (I got pretty close). There’s a big problem with a supposedly skill based game if you can do equally well by leaving it running on its own, to actually trying to play well. Try leaving Space Invaders running by itself – you won’t win.

The way to win by “skill” is simply to do loops in the centre of the board – whoever is in the middle can’t be beaten unless everyone else works together to surround them, which the bots will never do. On the other hand, you’ll get beaten pretty quickly if you sit at the side of the board, because you’ll get squashed against the walls. Looping the walls back around would mitigate this but at the cost of accessibility.

Secondly, the difficulty is backwards. 1v1 is far easier than 1v1v1v1v1v1v1 or however many players start. 1v1 and 1v1v1 are the only points where you could argue skill matters, but a single player game should scale upwards in difficulty – clearly with the elimination condition that can’t happen. In multiplayer this would be more engaging.

And thirdly there’s no real gameplay loop. You play and then you stop and then the game is over. Done. Although it’s harder to understand now what made 80s classics like Pong, Missile Command, etc so engaging, it’s because (relative to their time) they had a solid loop that drove the player to keep playing. Missile Command sends more and more missiles at you as you play, you shoot them and get more points, then you get more missiles fired at your town as a result of doing better at the game. There’s no win condition, it’s guaranteed nuclear armegeddon which you have to hold off as long as you can. Space Invaders is similar – you shoot the aliens and they approach faster and faster, wave after wave. With the exception of Pong, every arcade classic from the 80s that I can think of has a neverending gameplay loop. You play, you get points for doing well, then the game is harder, and you continue until you die. I’m not saying this is essential for a game to be good, but a key theme of games from that era is that they keep getting more difficult until you eventually die, and the motivation to play again is to beat your previous best. In your game once you’ve won there’s no reason to ever play again, and you win pretty fast – the game has a fixed maximum length since it’s timer based.

If you tasked the player with defending their space on the board with more opponents being added gradually, that might be more engaging. For example, if every icon except your own had 3hp, and ‘eliminating’ them actually deducted 1 hp and shrunk their control area (the minimal area around their icon), you could start with 1v1 and the difficulty would scale up. Adding new opponents based on total points would mean the difficulty ramped up at a reasonable pace and would give the player the choice between eliminating opponents to keep the board clear as long as possible, or reducing opponents to low hp and therefore lower control areas, making them less dangerous in large numbers. The player could still win by doing spyderloops in the middle of the board, but in terms of making the game into an endless, repeatable challenge, this would be an improvement.

when your research is complete I do hope we get to see the results, though.

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Topic: Kongregate / Does Them/He/Those run Kongregate?

Originally posted by TheDestroyer1525:
Originally posted by saybox:

It’s Greg it’s all Greg it’s always been Greg everything is Greg.

What? We’re not talking of greg we’re talking of the runner of kong


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Topic: Kongregate / Does Them/He/Those run Kongregate?

It’s Greg it’s all Greg it’s always been Greg everything is Greg.

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Topic: Kongregate / Are you more likely to rate a game you love or hate?

Yes I am.

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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD ideas for future prizes & #50

The biggest problem GiTD has is that nobody enters it anymore. And there’s a few reasons behind that. Part of it is because the programming board is mostly dead – I said a few years ago that if the regulars (at the time) kept ridiculing Stencyl users, refusing to help AS2 programmers, and sending new devs to Google or other sites, that the board would gradually die. Nobody listened but hey, look, the forum died. It doesn’t get the activity it used to by a long shot and the guys who are still here aren’t usually making stuff for GiTD. So the first thing GiTD needs is nothing to do with GiTD itself, it’s a culture shift here. I realise the board is called the programming forum, but we should see that as a quirk of how Kong set the boards up and be more welcoming to people who just want to make a game, regardless of HOW they want to work.

Similarly, GiTD itself has gradually gone from “hey make something cool in three days, post your results” to this massive sprawling thing with tons of finicky rules and a kind of “this thing never ends” feeling to it. Every month we seem to have rule discussion, then theme selection ,then 10 days to work in, and then the voting phase. As with the above, we should focus back on “LETS MAKE SOMETHING COOL” and forget all the rules and clauses about this and that. It makes it so much easier to enter a game jam if the rules are “Here’s the theme, here’s how long you have, and you start now.” Everything else should be a “sure, you can do that.” Make it easy to take part.

The theme itself…. ehhh it’s getting better but this whole theme-by-committee thing has never clicked for me. We’ve seen people in the past demand their theme suggestion gets picked, and refuse to enter whne it didn’t. And even now, “Justin Bieber epic RPG” definitely narrows the possible participants more than “Justin Bieber” or “epic rpg” would.

We also need to see GiTD for what it is, not what people hope it will become. It’s a tiny contest that next to nobody enters, and the games that come out of it generally get no plays outside the contest, other than one or two like CuriousGaming’s entries. Many of the discussions about it read like people think it’s this huge popular contest where all the games are rockstar quality. They aren’t and we have to be realistic about that. Credit to everyone who takes part, but frontpaging is already a possible prize if your game is frontpage quality, simply because Kong frontpages any games that are that good.

I must note that the reason I stopped taking part so much is for health reasons, and all of what I put in this post is what would theoretically encourage me to enter if i was able to. I’d like to make a big push for GiTD 50 and see if I can take part, but no promises.

So some things I think would really push GiTD:

1. Profile bling just for entering. Honestly, a Panion would be ideal here. I know you said it can’t be done, but offering a GiTD panion for anyone who’s ever (past or future) participated would be such a nice thing to do. And make it shiny for winners (past or future). Kong does nothing with Panions right now, and badges, awards, tickets, etc aren’t pushed in the way they used to be, so this makes perfect sense to me. If this was one Panion for EVERY GitD ever, the extra work on Kong’s side makes more sense, rather than a special GiTD50 one But you could introduce it with 50.

2. For GiTD 50 in particular, how about an admin private message whne it starts, sent to any developer on the entire site who a/ has at least one game uploaded, and b/ never reached 3.8 on any of their games (ie they’ve never made a game that would be considered for badging)? Push the recognition for smaller / beginner devs. I bet we’d see interest from people who don’t even know the forum is here.

3. IMO this should be a Kong community thing. Don’t promote it to people outside Kong – they’ll just sweep the prizes and leave again./ That’s not fun for anyone here.

4. Scale the rewards with the number of entries. Two people take part? Forget about frontpage exposure. 20 people make something? Find some space to promote the voting. 50 entries? Very unlikely, but find a little block on the frontpage to promote the games themselves. Etc. Stuff like that. Current GiTD setup subtlely makes it more worthwhile for entrants to participate alone – you’re more likely to win if nobody else enters. Scaling the possible rewards means we all have reason to encourage other people to take part too.

5. Voting is a big problem for GiTD. We need a better solution if it’s ever going to be a bigger contest. While I don’t like adding more complexity to things, even at the size we currently have GiTD at, we’ve seen people voting on alts, getting friends to vote, miscounting votes, and so on. On a larger scale this will be embarrassing.

6. Admins playing the winning game isn’t a good prize IMO – for two reasons. Firstly, whoever wins doesn’t need their comments and feedback on the game, and secondly because admins aren’t celebrities in the way they used to be, nobody except unnamed admin fan is obsessed with then anymore. The days of “Greg Month”, “Greg Game Jam”, etc are long gone now.

7. BUT – if you could collect some major devs + admins and guarantee at least one of them cwould comment contructively on every game that entered, that would be neat. Like….. you didn’t end up with a polished game, here’s JMTBTMB and his elephant to tell you what could be better. Or here’s Mr Run to tell you what gameplay mechanci you could have done better.

8. I also think pries should be relevant to community members. Not stuff that outside devs would care about so much. Frontpage placement for a wining game would be nice, but let’s face it, very few GiTD winners have been that level of quality. I can only think of two offhand. So ruling that out, and personally I’d prefer to move away from Kred prizes, the options are profile bling, free K+, etc. Reward people who want to participate in the community, rather than throwing $15 at them and calling it a day. Cmon. Push for a Panion.

9. Kong livestream featuring all entries to the contest, whne voting starts?

10. Once upon a time there was a developer newsletter. Haven’t seen one in a long time. Bring it back?

11. And of course, the main newsletter, social media, etc are all options for promotion for the winner.

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Topic: Kongregate / so do we have rating botters?

Originally posted by Pulsaris:

1% may be for the typical, sucky MMO. Let’s compare with those welcomed MMOs.

Card Hunter: 32k rating, 1.4M plays
War of Omens: 29k ratings, 4.1M plays
BloodRealm: 22k rating, 3.2M plays
Rise of Champions: 31k rating, 1.2M plays

Card Hunter: 2% of gameplays generate a rating
War of Oms: 0.7%
BloodRealm: 0.6%
Rise of Champions: 2.5%
Transformice: 0.4%

  • 1% – 2% of ratings compare dt ogameplays is the normal range and anything falling inside this should be considered normal for an MMO (single player games vary a lot more).
  • Games with many links in outside of Kong, such as Transformice, have a lower ratings % because of the increased number of guest views. Note that you cannot play MMOs on Kong without an account, whereas you can play single player games and games like Transformice. Guests cannot rate games.
  • Similarly, games with extremely high replayability (transformice, good MMOs, etc) eventually stop bringing in new players. Their views are then from returning members, who can’t rate a second time, so the % should gradually drop.
  • A new MMO with promotion across Kong and lots of new players should be expected to get a higher % of ratings to gameplays early on, as most players are new and therefore haven’t rated it yet.
  • Based on the above, Legend Knight doesn’t have anything different about it to other MMOs. Does that rule out the idea of Kong boosting it? No. ArmorGames used to artificially rank the MMOs on their frontpage. It’s possible. However it does rule out the idea of bots being used to inflate the rating. The amount of promotion the game received guarantees that bots rating would noticeably affect the % of ratings to gameplays.

Considering the number of MMOs have ands the data Kong has about everyone playing them, I prefer the idea that Kong is able to selectively promote new MMOs to whoever it likes, knowing that the rating will be improved by showing people a game they want to play in the first place.

Could they find 5k players who like every MMO they play and tend to rate high? I’d bet that they could – and then they could send an email blast out to that group suggesting they try this new MMO, maybe even offering an early boost for this special group.

But don’t confuse “could” with “did” – this is hypothetical. I’d think that a good marketing team would be doing this, though, and it would be far more useful than simply boosting the rating that’s displayed. The conspiracy theory of Kong secretly boosting ratings doesn’t make Kong any money, whereas lining up whales to play a new game does. And it’s no different to the recommendation engine, exxcept that it’s marginally more personable. Show people games they’d like to play, and they’ll play them.

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Topic: Kongregate / so do we have rating botters?

Originally posted by Lloyd_Majere:
Players: I can’t actually give any numbers here, but I can say that during the contest, I finished in the starter zone. That zone was packed enough to lag my computer at the time. Now when I load up the game there are literally like, five players in the area. Maybe there’s a few other factors, but it’s at least worth noting the decrease.

To save space I didn’t quote your entire post. But to have a massive decrease in players definitely does mean there were a lot of players before – from Kong promotion or otherwise – so 9k ratings (out of the millions of people Kong can show a game to) doesn’t seem unlikely to me. IMO every MMO on Kong sucks, but many of them are rated pretty high, so there’s clearly a big audience out there of people ho do like them.

Even for a now dead MMO, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that Kong could have found 5k people who enjoyed it and rated 5/5. Remember that MMOs get pushed much more than regular games – but you’re K+ and don’t see ads, but all MMOs get 1,000,000 free spotlight impressions to get them started.

Originally posted by hamuka:

If anything, the number of ratings convinces me that there was some kind of foul play. I was expecting roughly 3000 ratings. I simply don’t believe that 9,000 people actively rated that game, and enough of them rated it highly to sustain it’s 3.0+.

I actually went out of my way and measured the viewcount/rating ratio (highlighted in bold) of other MMO games with similar viewcounts (which, for Legend Knight, is 486k views / 9.3k ratings = 52.2) to get a deeper look into this.

Guess what, your assumption was perfectly right.

Esgrima 2, for example, has 557k views (more than LK), but only 6.2k ratings – a ratio of 89.8, almost half of Legend Knight’s. 8BitMMO has roughly 208k views, but only 2.5k ratings – a ratio of 83.2.

Now, compare these numbers with ProficientCity’s other MMOs. Zeus Age has 179k views, and somehow, a whopping 2.8k ratings, for a ratio of 63.9, similar to Legend Knight. SwordSaga has 65k views, and 1.3k ratings, making for a ratio of roughly 50.

Notice a pattern forming here?

Legend Knight: 1% of gameplays generates a rating.
Esgrima: 1% of gameplays generates a rating
8 Bit MMO: 1% of gameplays generates a rating
Zeus Age: 2%
SwordSaga: 2%
King of Towers: 1%

About 1% – 2% of gameplays (NOT unique players) typically generates a rating for MMOs.

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Topic: Kongregate / so do we have rating botters?

Originally posted by Lloyd_Majere:

I only half believe this. It’s true that the loudest opinions are coming from a minuscule amount of players, but whether or not the rating accurately reflects the playerbase on whole is completely separate from that. I’d rather base my opinion here on the numbers, not assumptions:

If you’re going to talk about numbers, you’ve got to actually look at the numbers, not your own assumptions about them.

Legend Knight has 9,322 ratings and a 3.05 average, which Kong shows as 3.1 in the big ratings box.

Assuming it was on exactly 3.0500000 (it’s not), then if just 50 more people rate it 1/5, the rating will drop to 3.039 (which Kong will display as 3.04 in the game tab and 3.0 in the bigger ratings display panel).

In the other direction, only 50 more ratings at 5.5 will move it up to 3.06.

Originally posted by Lloyd_Majere:

The only way I can see a 3.8 being legit is, as Tulrog mentioned, the ratings were solely gotten from the users who enjoyed the game. But if that were the case, those users are a minority themselves (based on forum activity and chat room traffic), and the rating should have dropped much faster once the visibility increase allowed an accurate reflection of the game. But it didn’t even go down a full point, and it’s still ABOVE 3.0. Which means that the outraged majority who rated 1 are still outnumbered by the people who rated 4 or 5. That doesn’t make sense at all.

Assume that 50 ratings at 1/5 move the average by .01 each time (not actually the case, but to keep the math simple). Moving the rating to 3.05 from 3.80 in that case would require 3,750 people to rate it 1/5. In theory that leaves us with about 5k 5/5 votes -which isn’t actually true either because we’re not account for 2/5,3/5, or 4/5 votes – but still suggests the majority of people playing the game rated it positively.

Count up your “vocal majority of outraged players” from threads about it, game comments, etc. I bet the number of posts you can actually find, from unique users (not alts or people posting repeatedly), is far less than the expected ~4k that we should see. On the same note, if you count all the people who are playing the game and can be assumed to be enjoying it (eg they comment about the game itself, they post in the game forums, etc) I bet you’d find there were far more of those than the outraged posts. But not many of them will specifically post “I rated 5/5”, they’ll just be talking about the game itself.

Conclusion: you can’t deduce game rating based on the number of people stating they rated 1/5 or 5/5.

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Topic: Kongregate / Please unban Host_2phats

Originally posted by johnnycool11:

And saybox, you seem too radical with the word “clearly”. He did explain to me the situation a bit, they did a refund but didn’t unban him.

What is unclear about that??

So far we know three things:

  • he was banned for payment irregularities
  • the money was refunded at some point
  • he wasn’t unbanned after emailing

So in other words, the refund couldn’t be cancelled, and paying the money back to Kong again wasn’t an option either.

That sounds a lot like a payment was blocked or disputed for fraud – because when that happens, the refund is automatic, and Kong only gets a few weeks to try to reverse it. You said the issue is nothing to do with that, but you haven’t said what it did involve. Perhaps if you explained what caused the ban in the first place, people might be able to offer more informed opinions.