Kongregate Developers Blog

Developer Spotlight: 'NGU Idle'

Idle games began in the heyday of browser-based gaming, taking up screens while players worked through the day or watched shows in the evening. They have since gone global, cross-platform, and exploded in every direction, but at their core, the truest idle games still focus on that one important fact: the numbers have to keep going up.

Welcome to NGU Idle, a silly game that launched on Kongregate.com and has now come in all of its weird, immature glory to Kartridge. We got a chance to speak to the game’s developer, somethingggg (4G) about this indescribable but totally wonderful gem of an idle.

Hello 4G. Tell us about the development team for NGU Idle!

It’s just me, 4G, wearing pants only half of the time as I code and design NGU. There are several members in my Discord community who have helped with bits of code or art here and there (Hi TBlazeWarriorT, Jiur, and Musluk!).

How long have you been developing games?

NGU’s my first-ever game, which I started in the summer of 2017! Unless you count this… ugh… “spork fighter” game I made in Visual Basic for school when I was 15. I don’t have it anymore. It’s been banished to the 9th circle of Hell.

Prior to designing games, were you a game enthusiast?

All my life! Started with NES/SNES as a 4-year-old and I’ve never stopped loving vidya games.

What are your favorite games or influences? This can be anything from classic console titles to RPGs or short stories.

Honestly, there’s too many to count. I’ve tried to make little references to my biggest influences in NGU. Classics like Legend of Zelda or Mario, all sorts of JRPGs and WRPGs, and of course other great idle games that I’ve loved like Anti Idle and Idling to Rule the Gods.

Was there an idle game that you have played in the past that made you want to create your own?

My biggest influence was Idling to Rule the Gods, a fantastic idle game here on Kongregate by Ryu82! Playing it for so many years was the main spark to make NGU.

What do you think makes idle games so compelling?

Three main things:

  2. The ability to just let it run, go live your life, and come back to new developments, unlocked features, and similar shiny things!
  3. The Community! Having a group of people together to discuss your experiences playing a game like NGU really adds something special, I believe.

Can you talk a bit about your experience designing the artwork for NGU?

Well, it started with me having to supply some sort of art for the game, and I’m a really awful artist so I just booted up MSPaint and pooped out whatever I could. Now I stick to the same art style out of sheer stubbornness to change… but also ‘cause making the art myself is a fun break from coding.

How did you come up with the idea for your game?

I wanted to make a game in the same vein as ITRTG, but with complete irreverence to the genre. I wanted to make something completely weird, stupid, and of course immature.

NGU stands for what again?

Numbers Going Up. Since ultimately, every idle game is about getting your numbers up!

NGU has layers and layers and layers of content. What gave you the idea for the crazy little world you’ve created?

In terms of gameplay, new features are designed to use the main resources (Energy/Magic/“Resource3”) in a different way, or to make you focus on a different set of upgrades. I also try to continually weave the various upgrades in the game to feed off one another, so it becomes very hard to know what is objectively the optimal thing to build. All of this is to make your strategy in what to build up feel like it matters to you, the player.

Thematically, I just add in more and more goofy jokes or references to stuff I liked from my childhood.

Have you ever had a feature that didn’t go quite as far as you were hoping?

I had an iteration of Perks way back before release that had chains of pre-requisites and was laid out in a huge web. It was really ugly, and the UI was hard to use and didn’t feel fun to progress, so I ditched it. It got a revival in the form of ITOPOD Perks, though.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from creating and maintaining NGU?

The fans are ravenous, demonic beasts that want to consume my soul. Just kidding guys, I love you all.

The real lesson is that designing and maintaining a game like NGU is like patching a leaky ship as it wanders through the middle of a huge storm. You have to constantly make on-the-fly decisions on how to fix or add new elements that flow well while having things you never thought possible break down.

What sort of experience do you want your players to have?

I want to get you chuckling at something I’ve put in the game, whether it’s the art or the description on a piece of gear. Every time a player laughs anywhere in the world, they fuel a device that extracts their youthful energy and injects it into me to prolong my life. I’m actually 3069 years old.

Is this game about building? Competing? Exploring? Finding this mystical kitty I’ve heard so much about?

It’s about the neverending mission to raise your numbers, laugh at dumb jokes, and wondering about what the next crazy thing you’ll unlock is gonna be! And Daycare Kitty isn’t something you find. She finds you. c:

What is your favorite part of this game?

I love all the jokes on tooltips for failing to buy stuff, consuming an unlock for something already unlocked, etc. I feel like having a lot of these little touches to the game really brings it alive and makes NGU feel personal to me.

What are your next plans? Will there be gasp more poop jokes?

And fart jokes, dick jokes, and maybe even some original and classy humour!

What sort of programming resources did you use?

Google. Goooooooooogle! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGLE!!!!!!!!!! So many problems that you may face in building a project are very likely to have been encountered and solved in a dozen different ways, so you just need to seek those solutions out.

The bulk of NGU Idle is made in Unity, using C#. There’s little bits of Javascript and PHP/mySQL used for server-side stuff as well.

Please feel free to expand on any software or programs that you used in the process, such as sound design, graphics, etc. We are nerds here and would love to hear as much as you want to say about it!


What made you want to post the game on Kartridge?

I did it for the sweet sweet $$$. Oh wait, this is gonna be published on your site? Crap, delete this please.

I like what Kartridge is trying to accomplish by giving indie games a place to thrive, and it’d be really cool for Kartridge to be known as the go-to place for the best standalone idle games, much like how Kongregate is known as home of the best idle games on your browser.

How has the experience gone so far?

Really great! The coding needed to hook NGU up to Kartridge’s SDK was real simple and quick.

Could you recommend one other game on Kartridge from another developer?

Eburnean, by Fusoy! It’s a fun bullet-heck shooter and it has some funny dialogue in it too!

Mantis! (^ _^)/

Tell us something else interesting about yourself!

I am actually three chihuahuas inside a pantomime human suit. One operates the head and mouth, the other the arms, and another the legs.

Why are pieces of furniture so hard to beat up?

The Furniture race have a long and war-filled history that has allowed them to develop highly advanced weaponry and armour, and the combat skills necessary to utilize it effectively. Never underestimate a fluffy chair.

Have you ever wandered into a cave of many things and found yourself assaulted by cheese?

Twice. The first time was a horrible accident. The second time was for revenge.

Is it really just a stick?

It’s a very soft, squishy stick that smells like rotten eggs and leaves a brown streak in your hands.

Seriously, though… give us some funny tidbits or a weird fact about the legend that is 4G.

I once caused four human casualties and nearly destroyed a go-kart car track due to a sandal.

NGU Idle is a wonderfully silly game and you can check it out for free on Kartridge! Come join the rest of our community of idle game nerds and min-max your way to true happiness with this bizarre, glorious game.