Recent posts by saybox on Kongregate

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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 opengameart.org 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

Gregstop.

 
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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.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Please unban Host_2phats

Originally posted by johnnycool11:

To saybox: I don’t see how that’s any relevant, they can’t ban him for that.

They clearly can cuz they did.

Since you clearly don’t know what caused his account to be flagged for fraud, I don’t see why you’re trying to argue the point. If his purchase was genuine, and wasn’t disputed with the bank, it should be simple for him to provide verification for Kong. If not, nothing you say here is going to make a difference.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Please unban Host_2phats

Originally posted by johnnycool11:
As I said before, he could suspend the verification for a year it doesn’t change a thing, Host had no obligation to respond to their warnings

That isn’t true since credit card payments cannot be reversed after 6 months, and can’t be refunded after three.

Question as before: do you (or your friend, or whoever) now have the information required to verify the transactions?

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Kongregate allows me to use external micro-transactions (other than Kredits)?

Just Kreds.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / The right time to publish you game

When it’s done. The tricky part is deciding when it actually is done, to the point you can release it and be done with it. If it’s your first project, keep it short and simple and get it finished asap. Everyone will hate it but you can get feedback for your next game, which is essential to improve.

Of course, you should get a few peopel youk now to try it out first. Preferably not people who will always say they like it (eg mom).

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Please unban Host_2phats

Pretty sure all emails to Kong go to the same place, they’re just reassigned to a different department as needed. But the kreds department is the one that you need to talk to, since they’re the guys who will be able to look into why the ban was issued.

The issue is that online credit card fraud is very common on sites like Kong. If you were making purchases with stolen credit cards, not only is Kong out of the money you spent (they have to refund it even if you already used your Kreds), but they also get billed by their bank for every disputed payment, and potentially a large fine if they exceed a certain number of them. What causes the prompt to verify? Who knows….. maybe it’s based on how much you spend in a certain amount of time, or maybe you had a payment declined or disputed by your bank, or maybe it was a random sweep. But if you were flagged for potential fraud and didn’t verify it was legit, you can see why Kong would ban you.

Presumably you now have all the information needed to verify the purchases? If so it should be a simple process to get yourself unbanned.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Kongregate is dying: How we can fix this

The golden age of Flash games has been and gone. Y’all should be pleased that you were here to see it – because what Kongregate used to be isn’t coming back. Ever. Wall of text ahead, just saying. TL;DR at the end :P

That’s not to say that kong is dying – it’s not, it’s still expanding. And it’s not to say that current Flash games are ‘worse’ than in the past, because browser based gaming is more popular than ever.

But there’s been a shift in what people play and what’s on Kong. People don’t play idle MMOs just because there’s so many here – there are so many here because that’s what people want to play right now. They’re also the only genre of browser based game that’s profitable in itself. Most free games rely on either ad revenue, which pays around $2 per 1,000 plays for a fully exclusive game on Kong with all APIs. A game that gets 100,000 plays won’t even make a month’s rent in most countries. On the other hand, if just 100 of those players – 1% – spend $5, it’s made $500 straight up, more than double the ad revenue and without Kong’s requirements for exclusivity.

In app purchases in single player games don’t make the same sort of money. The appeal of them in MMOs is that they give you an advantage, over other people. Everyone says they’d like to buy cosmetics or support a game with donations, but when you actually have a game that relies on these, it rarely makes any money.

The Flash scene originally become popular on Newgrounds, first with animation and then games. That long ago, this stuff was all done for free, not necessarily for fun, but not with the exception that it would make a profit either. Things split in two directions – animators like Egoraptor went to YouTube, which used to be fantastic for making money from animations (not anymore, which is why Egoraptor is gone and Arin Grump took his place). Game devs started making ad revenue, but the payouts NewGrounds offers are miniscule, $0.30ish per 1000 plays.

But sites started paying developers to put their logo in games; sponsorships. This was very popular for a while. Too popular. Many Flash sites overspent. Prices inflated beyond reasonable levels as people flocked to the scene to make and sell games. This is where we saw the best time for Flash games. But two things caused this to end. First, mobile gaming became a thing and many switched to that side of things. Secondly, naive business leaders on flash startups didn’t heed lessons learnt in the past by TV and movie studios – if you bid against someone you’ll often end up spending more than the property is worth. The bubble couldn’t last. the money had to come from somewhere in the end, and it turned out that there wasn’t enough of it.

At the same time, FlashGameLicense has to take some of the blame for this. Originally a site set up to help sponsors meet developers, they became a clearing house where a game’s profit potential was decided by the site staff, based on a generic set of ranking criteria that didn’t necessarily match real world performance. The bigger sponsors used FGL recommendations almost exclusively to make their buying decisions, and the best performing developers were given priority consideration and extra promotion by the staff, inflating their sale prices even more. “Our ratings tend to predict the price a game sells for,” they said – which was true, because sponsors ignored lower rated games unless they were a ‘budget’ publisher with less money to spend. At the top of the scale, prices increased as sponsors found themselves vying over the few highest rated games, with auction prices reaching tens of thousands dollars in some cases.

Where does this leave Flash games? Well, new developers kept jumping on board while publishers were suddenly paying less and less in sponsorship. The money wasn’t there anymore, unless you were one of the very top devs. Clickthroughs weren’t the same, and people were switching to new technology anyway. People are used to inapp purchases on mobile games; they’re used to paying up front for a game that’s up for download, and those games are often more polished, rounded experiences than the Flash games we used to enjoy. Those same Flash games couldn’t compete in terms of audience appeal anymore, and even if they could, they didn;t make money in the same way.

But idle games were always popular. House Idle was great. Anti Idle, even in its first iteration, has always been fantastic. Sponsors didn’t understand the appeal and declined to pay for them, but it was only a matter of time before someone decided to try to monetise that. Farmville was the turning point, really. A game that your mom could play, and not only that, would spend real money on, in a genre that half of Asia is beyond addicted to. Suddenly the market for browser based games became indescribably huge (that’s not to say your mom is indescribably huge, but everyone’s moms together and all of China, that starts to add up). Studios suddenly have a way to almost print money. Clone or license the engine for a generic idle MMO, reskin it, and launch with a fanfare and people will play it. Does that make it a good game? It sure makes it a successful game.

The end result of all this isn’t as cut and dry as it seems, though. Because the devs who are still making browser based games went for bigger and better. There are some incredible games in Flash available on Kong, many of them quite new. But they’re incredible in the sense that they’re comparable to mobile games – and mobile devices are so powerful now they can easily run full PS2 games and beyond. THese aren’t the small scale games we used to get so many of. Many of them require a lengthy time commitment to play, not to mention reasonable PC hardware to run well. Why? Because games like we used to see getting badged on Kong don’t get a chance anymore. Smaller games don’t get 5/5 ratings anymore. They get a few plays, then drop away. Look through early badged games on Kong and you’ll find so many of them that just wouldn’t be seriously considered for badges anymore – 5 minute timekillers, games with awful graphics, and so on. The players – you – want more than that now.

I don’t think there’s a fix for this. MMOs are another bubble, a fad that will fade. No trending genre in history has ever maintained its market dominance in the long run, in gaming or otherwise. But that doesn’t bring back the feeling that Kong used to have, and I don’t think that can be brought back on a large scale.

What can you, personally do if you don’t like this? Three things.

1. Rate, comment, email developers that makes games you like. Donate if you can afford to. Even if the game isn’t perfect. Especially if it isn’t perfect. If you downvote games for not being perfect, or your comments are mainly negative, you’re contributing to the problem. Constructive feedback doesn’t need to be criticism at all.
2/ Go out of your way to find smaller games that don’t get much attention, and be more accepting of them. Games where the dev has worked hard on something simple, or reached for the stars and fallen an inch short. These games don’t make any money or get any attention, and if you ignore them, the developer will never take another shot at it. In short, praise what you want to see more of.
3. Persuade your friends and chat regulars to do the same.

Kong will never go back to feeling like one community again, it’s too big. But it doesn’t need to. All you need is a reasonable sized group, probably all in one chatroom, who share the same enthusiasm for games outside of what’s popular (without being super hipster about it) and you have a community again.

I fully expect most people to skip most of my post so here’s the TL;DR: Flash games don’t make money anymore; you can still find games like Kong used to have but you need to look a bit harder; rate them up, tel lthe devs you like them, tell your friends to play them so that they have a chance to become popular again.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Kongregate is dying: How we can fix this

Originally posted by ilneutrino:

6. Meh, partially true. I love how everyone here keeps going about “get a new pc” as if that has any significant bearing on lag – it doesn’t. Most of the games here are not cpu intensive. I’d suggest that you get better internet, that will certainly help. With that being said, you also have to be aware that that flash games are outdated and they’re subject to lag if the back-end coding is not up to standards (AS3, SQL’s, API). Poor knowledge about coding will produce a game that can be extremely laggy and unresponsive.

Most Flash games are very CPU intensive because they run exclusively on the CPU. Only some of the more modern ones offload work to the GPU, and even then, that requires a relatively modern GPU to process it. Generally, on an older CPU, Flash is going to take up most of it’s resources, and if you’re using a system that also only has 1gb of RAM (eg an old laptop), you’re going to find a significant amount of that in use as well. This is why Adobe doesn’t allow it on mobile devices, its so CPU intensive that it drains the battery. SQL is a database system which most Flash games don’t use at all.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / strong arm tactic to get us to kong plus

Although Bobby is the only person really saying this outright, the reality is this: people don’t buy cosmetics. It’s the same with donations: people don’t donate. Everyone says that they’d donate to support a developer, or that they don’t like pay2win stuff, or that microtransactions / IAP should only be for cosmetics, but nobody buys these. If you want to sell cosmetics, they have to confer some sort of status on the buyer. Donations need to be begged for. Even then, in either case, the numbers don’t come close to what people say they’d spend.

But here’s what’s sad about it all. Dobby is happy to pay for Pogo Premium. Kind of ironic, since Jim Greer quit Pogo to make a better gaming site. So what does Pogo offer for premium members?
- you can earn badges
- you can play every game on the site
- you can do quests
- adfree
- for $40/annual

In case anyone isn’t seeing the problem here, it’s this. For more money than K+, Pogo sells the same features that Kong gives away for free. And yet Bobbs considers Pogo+ to be good value but not K+.

Would you like to pay for badges and quests on Kong? Probably not. But this is why private chats are K+ only when other sites have them for free. And this is also why profile customization is K+ only. And this is why you can be sure that any of the new features Kong adds that people would really like, will be being considered as K+ only options. You might think that all the forum regulars would leave in protest if Kong added bookmarks, notifications, velocity exemption and signatures as K+ only, but the reality is that people would stay, and they’d pay for them. And a site elsewhere that offers all those things for free would not be able to sell its own adfree package because people wouldn’t see the value in it.

In short, ff, like Obby, you say you “need value” for your money, then the stuff that’s added to make up the value is stuff that will be restricted from free accounts. There is no other way to make a premium service that has value.

The point that too many people don’t seem to understand is that most websites need to make money some way or other. And if you won’t pay without being strongarmed into it, you’re going to get strongarmed into it – except you’re not, because you don’t have to be here. Go to a competitor if you must. If you’re not making money for a site that needs money, you won’t be missed. And when people say that, it’s not to be a dick about it, it’s because the site that you want for free simply won’t exist if everything is given away from free, so whether you’re here or not becomes irrelevant. If the site closes, you won’t be here anyway, and neither will the people who were willing to pay.

Kong is big enough that freeloaders are still useful to them, as FlayingCat pointed out. But a free, adblocking user is not as useful as a free, ad-viewing member. So don’t expect the site to consider you as a priority when you’re here with the attitude that you, and only you, matter; or that you should be able to have a completely free, adfree, experience on someone else’s dollar.

PS: someone claimed ads 10 years ago were less intrusive, and I felt the need to point out that that’s not the case. In 2005 most sites still ran popup ads, but most major browsers blocked them by default.