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 2: Happy late Halloween everyone. This episode was a Halloween special with lots of references and parody humor. This was also a trial to check new mechanics for me. As you may have already noticed, almost all the clues are interconnected and some required talking to another person before it can be collected. This made the game more complicated than usual and also gave other recurring characters the spotlight, as usually they have little to no input. Seeing as how the fans breezed through it, I will make this a permanent mechanic in future episodes.
snowroadgames, developer of Gragyriss, Captor of Princesses: Hi, the artist from SnowRoadGames here. Before starting to talk about the development of our project, I would like to thank the Kongregate team for the opportunity to show our creation to a vast audience, and, of course, to the players who played our game, I am very grateful. Now I can go to the main topic.
I think it's worth talking about princesses. I wanted to make them more expressive and interesting, so each princess has her own color scheme, which is quite a simple move, but helps to distinguish them from the environment and also reflect their personalities. The next step was to come up with each of their own room. But in the process of drawing, I thought it would be more interesting to not portray the princesses as hostages, so I made the rooms cozy, and as small Easter eggs I added to each of them some kind of dragon symbol that was supposed to show that they have some volume of admiration for the dragon itself. However, the animation helped to further reveal the character of each princess. In the movement, I tried to introduce some distinctive feature; Amber, for example, shakes her hips when walking. But the problem was that the princesses did not walk often and could stand for a long time; moreover, it was difficult to grasp the differences in movement even when you hover the mouse over the room. The easiest way was to add an idle animation, but after some attempts, I realized that this would only add visual noise, and therefore I decided to make distinctive animations that would be played from time to time. But they were still lost in the background, and then I added small bright effects like Amber’s heart or Francesca’s crown; this option made the animation much more noticeable and revealed the character of each princess more.
I want to thank you all again and promise to do even more impressive art in our next games.
Hello, it's Steven, game-designer of Gragyriss. I think it's good for the game to tell a story and to teach a lesson. And I love to draw inspiration from other, non-videogame sources. For example, the in-game economy is based on the natural foodchain -- grass is eaten by sheep who are eaten by wolves, adding a feeling of a deep, "living" system. In such a "Circle of Life" every creature can be a resource, gatherer, tool, even your enemy sometimes. And you start to learn the rules of that system, that if you devour all of the wolves, they cannot repopulate themselves. That if you eat most of your sheep, wolves will finish the remainings and everyone is now starving... And then I added some "Incredible Machine"-like upgrades, just because it's fun as heck to watch and brings nice feeling by automation of manual actions.
So, today's advice for developers -- look at the world around you. You surely know a lot of interesting things there. Just catch them, bring them into your games and share your feelings of wonder with others.
Have a nice day and thank you for playing!
44Magdalene, developer of Labyrneath For the last game I made -- Ante Hero -- I tried to a dozen things at once. Some of it was new, some of it wasn't, some of it was just old ideas done in new ways or new combinations. The result was... okay, but not great, in my opinion. A lot of concepts that were good in a vacuum ended up interacting with each other in unforeseen ways. Game mechanics kind of tripped over each other. The final product could have been better.
So, for Labyrneath, I wanted to whittle that down. I focused on classic, no frills platforming, and made an effort to get that sole concept down as good as possible. Minimal bells and whistles, no fluff, just some snazzy presentation and very solid platforming. The player interacts with the world by running and jumping, sometimes pushing blocks or hitting switches, that's it. Instead of doing a bunch of new things poorly, I wanted to do one thoroughly tested, tried and true thing as well as possible.
That's not to say I succeeded, or that the game's perfect. I had to hammer out a bunch of issues right after release, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons going forward (mostly about hitboxes). Some people chided me for not doing anything new, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Not every game has to reinvent the wheel. Innovation is good, by all means if you have an idea for something revolutionary then roll with it, but don't torture yourself trying to change the industry. Something old, polished to a fine sheen, can stand out just as much as some newly discovered gimmick hastily thrown together.
lavaflame2, developer of Idle Skilling: I started making Idle Skilling back in May after a previous game of mine did rather well, and I honestly can't believe the journey I've been on since then. I remember envisioning the project, knowing that it would take several months to complete, and wondering if it was even worth doing -- imagine right now, deciding whether to dedicate yourself to something until April 2019, with no guarantee of any sort of results. To see my hard work get enjoyed by so many people has been an amazing experience, and the premise of getting to continue with updating is very exciting!
While I did develop the game by myself, I had so much help from so many people. My parents were there every step of the way to encourage me to keep going, despite the dozens of times I wanted to just give up. My brother was also a huge help, and even showed me some of the more intricate coding methods used to make the game! Once the game was in a stable state, I was fortunate enough to still have some dedicated fans from my previous game, who were all a huge help in balancing and testing the game!
If I could offer any advice to anyone aspiring to make games, I would say set yourself a goal and do your best to accomplish it -- whether or not you do is irrelevant. Also, if you are a lone developer like me, try to find help in those around you. I would have never EVER been able to do this without the moral support of the people I mentioned earlier.
Looking forward to further expanding upon the game! And another big big thank you to everyone who has played so far!
PasKuda13, developer of COLORUID-2 [HTML5]: I'm really glad to see that Kongregate players had fun and helped Coloruid-2 get 5th place. I want to share with you several sentences about how the Coloruid-2 game was made. First I've made the fluid physics simulation and then started thinking about how to use it in a puzzle game. After several days trying different mechanics I decided to stop on the best one. In my opinion it looked nice and quite unique. It seems to me that I've never played something similar before. I found it really funny and started working on level design. It was a bit hard to make a level sequence that had to be not too difficult at the start of the game but not too easy as well. Also, the most important thing was it had to be challenging at the same time! The first level was a typical introduction to the game with an animated tutorial. At level 2 I placed a level that could show a main trick of the gameplay. There, you could be a bit stuck the first time seeing it (having only 2 moves left) but when you come up with what to do you will probably be strongly involved in the gameplay and will have gotten some challenge! I'd like to give a few tips about puzzle game development:
- The game should be easy to play but hard to master :)
- The game must be challenging
- Don't stop even if something always goes a bit wrong
- Just try making it again and again till you find something you really like
Congrats to the rest of the winners below!