Each month, developers win cash prizes for having the highest-rated new games! Click here for official rules. Check out the official contest page here.
We reached out to the top 5 winners to ask about their inspirations and experiences developing last month's top games on Kongregate!
VasantJ, developer of Medieval Chronicles 1: Well, the fans have spoken. It seems sometimes, returning to your roots is the best thing to do. For the last couple of months, many fans have been requesting the original detective-style gameplay, but the storyline and game structure didn't allow it, which is why I created Medieval Chronicles, which has no relation to the main story but has all the characters from it. This gave the fans a much-needed break from the main story, allowing them to play as the ever-depressing Dregg, insulting everyone and solving cases like he used to. This made me realize that public opinion is very important and can make huge differences in the response future games receive. So, if any game developers are here reading this, listen to your fan base. We make games for them, so their opinions matter. Listen to them and craft your art accordingly and you may end up with a masterpiece on your hands.
Lu_Muja, developer of ZS Dead Detective - Graves & Secrets: Hello everyone! As always, I'd like to thank all the players who voted and supported my game, as well as Kongregate and its staff for their hard work and this great opportunity.
Some of you guys have asked me how I can be so prolific, and how I come up with a story for each new episode of the Dead Detective series, so, for this month's blog entry, that's what I'll talk to you about.
I won't lie, coming up with a new story every time is the hardest part. Detective whodunits usually revolve around a murder –- but that's out of the question in a world inhabited by people who're, well, already dead. It's also the funniest part. I've always liked telling stories, and this particular setting forces me to think outside the box, to think like a zombie would (it's lucky I AM one, huh?).
So, the answer is: INSPIRATION. ...Which, in my case, means to completely stop thinking about it.
Ideas are weird creatures. They're shy and so they lurk in the shadows of your brain, carefully remaining out of your reach. You must pretend you're not paying any attention to them. Watch TV, play video games, go out with your friends, read books (lately I've been reading Terry Pratchett's "City Guards" series of books, they're all great and funny). When they think you're distracted, they'll build up their nerve and crawl out into the light. That's when you capture them! Use your notebook (or a smart phone) to write them down as soon as they come because, trust me, ideas are sneaky, slippery, and very good at running away.
And that's how it works. For me, at least. Hope that helped, see you in the next episode of "Zombie Society – Dead Detective"!
eddynardo, developer of Choppy Orc: First of all, third place for Choppy Orc...WoW!!!
It's been an amazing experience making games for Kongregate the past few months. I've had so much fun creating my small series (in a reversed order for some reason) and the overwhelmingly positive response from the community made me decide to quit my job and focus on creating games for you guys. It's going to be difficult to adapt at first because I'm also moving to another country, but having more time means I can make bigger games (I've read the comments, you want more levels, I want that too).
Right now the way I'm going about making my games is:
- Find a fun mechanic
- Make a character with tight controls that uses said mechanic
- Find different ways to utilize the mechanic
- Make 15 levels about it
So if I had to give any advice to new developers it would be to make a small game, make it fun on a fundamental level (like moving around or shooting enemies), expand upon it enough for players to enjoy it for a few minutes, but keep them wanting more (don't exhaust them). Respecting your players' time should be a top priority. That said, if you can find a way to add replayability... do it. I did that by adding a speedrun mode for "One Trick Mage" and "Choppy Orc." It's easy, cheap and I guarantee you are going to have so much fun watching YouTube videos of people trying to optimize their routes to get a perfect time on your game.
That's it from me now. Maybe if I ever get the chance to be in the top 5 again, I can talk about designing games for speedrunners, we'll see.
P.S. Why are people locked inside chests???
Well there is a reason for that and you are going to find out soon. ;)
Crescentyr, developer of Where Are My Pets?: Hey everyone! We are Crescentyr, an indie game studio based in Indonesia. Firstly, we'd like to thank everyone for playing and voting for Where Are My Pets?. Also, please check out our other games here: https://www.kongregate.com/accounts/Crescentyr. From our profile page, you can tell that we love making puzzle games. :D
We started and finished the development of Where Are My Pets? in 2016, but we finally released it recently for some reasons. This game is heavily inspired by Inspector Parker, a logic puzzle game from 2003. But we wanted to give it a cute theme that involves animals and sweets instead of heavy crimes. We also tried a new art style for this game. If you've played our other games, you can see that most of them have very minimal graphics. Fortunately, the players really like the art style in Where Are My Pets?. We also think that it fits the theme very well. However, we also received some feedback about the gameplay being too easy, whilst the comments that we got on our previous game Loisian Runes were mostly about the hard gameplay. From these two games, hopefully we can balance the difficulty better for our next games. That's why as a game developer, you should read every single comment, as it will guide you somehow in developing your next games.
Speaking of next games, we already have a plan to release a new game at the end of this month. And yes it's a puzzle game because that's what we think we're good at, haha. Don't forget to follow us on Kongregate and/or our social media pages so you won't miss anything. :)
flori9, developer of Stop the Darkness: Hi! I’m Florian van Strien. I currently study Computing Science. Next to that, I work on ports and updates for the puzzle game Lines by Gamious, and create web games. One of these is Stop the Darkness, which won 5th place in the Kongregate monthly developer contest. Thanks to all players for rating, and of course for your great feedback in the comments!
Stop the Darkness was created for Ludum Dare 42. I had a lot of difficulty coming up with an idea for the “running out of space” theme at first. After having worked on a really boring game for a few hours, I finally decided to start over and created Stop the Darkness. It has been really fun to create, and I’m happy to see a lot of people here have enjoyed playing it too!
I have a few tips for other Kongregate developers:
- Making multiple small games is often better than making one big game. It gives you the chance to experiment much more and learn quicker. You can always expand on your idea later.
- Make games in genres that people like, but that few other developers develop in. For example, there are plenty of people making idle and puzzle games, so your game has to be really great to stand out. But far fewer people make city building or strategy games, so your game will have a much better chance there. And you probably know another genre that has way too few new releases for your tastes!
- Do feel free to use ideas from popular genres! For example, idle games have been really popular on Kongregate for years, and I think the main reason for that is that there’s always something new to discover. So it’s a great idea to add a lot of things for players to discover in your game too! For example, this is the reason I added the water tower in Stop the Darkness, and I will have more such buildings in the next update too.
- Don’t worry too much about art. If your game is fun, people will play it anyway even if the art is not great. This doesn’t mean amazing art isn’t a really nice bonus, though. :)
- Do game jams and competitions! They’re a great way to ensure you actually finish a game, and the theme helps to come up with ideas.
Congrats to the rest of the winners below!