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Climbing Mt. Everest in sneakers and shorts: My attempt at going pro

ceosol

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I am really happy to see you taking a spot in the kong weekly contest. You are currently at 5th in the monthly contest.

It is really inspirational. You are making it happen. I have to admit that I am a little jealous since I know I am not at the point of winning any prizes on my own projects :)

KramerGames

  • Posts: 405
Once again I have not won any prices yet :-(

Somehow the ratings for my game are on a steady decline. It was up at 3.3 after a decent samplesize but has decreased to 3.1 already. I'm not sure what the reason is, maybe it's normal that ratings decline a bit, or maybe people are disappointed that the game has an end (or get bored before they get there). In those cases I'd expect comments about it though. My last theory is that Trump supporters got angry about one of the parasites resembling him, I did get some comments including one star ratings about that...totally worth it.
Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

rob1221

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Idle games are something players expect to come back to again and again, so if your ratings are dropping over time then maybe the mid/late game needs to be improved.

KramerGames

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Quite possible, I think the game gets a bit monotone. I'm gonna change that with the sequel, but I will still have an end since my overall plan is to move from idle to strategy games step by step.
Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

KramerGames

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Unfortunately I did not win any prizes for my game, I emailed Kongregate and they said I finished in 4th place. I didn't ask if it's because I was temporarily passed by a bugged game or what not, it doesn't matter in the long run anyway. The game has 25k plays on Kongregate and 150 installs on Android (more than half already uninstalled it though) which has earned me ~5$. The plays on Kongregate are probably worth 30$, though play numbers have dropped badly and I don't expect much more to come. Same goes for the monthly contest, I am currently in 8th place so the probability is pretty low to still be there after another week.
Even though I didn't reach my goal of 50$, I am very content with the run it had. It was a big step forward for me and l finally managed to stick out of the mass of all the uploaded games.

I was asked to move in with my grandparents in a small town in Germany, which I just did. It works out pretty well for me since my cost of living is now around 200$ a month, which is mostly my health insurance. Unfortunately I have a horrible internet connection where uploading a game is impossible. The technician will come in a week though, and hopefully my next game will be ready by then.

It is another idle game set in hell with a lot of dark humor, I'm actually a bit worried I went too far and the game will get banned. I attempted to use real paintings but had to give up on that. My painting skills are pretty bad, scanning reduces the quality even further, and it takes a lot more time. I am now trying to at least draw the lines on real paper (way better than on my tiny tablet), scan them, and add the color digitally.
To be honest I do not have a lot of hopes for this game in terms of success, it is rather a playground for various mechanics. If all goes well (=people don't complain that it's lagging) I will use them for Parasites United 2.

I might work on Parasites United 2 right after my hell-game, assuming the original one has come to a full stop. Afterwards I will attempt to move over to Sim-type games. The biggest problem here is that I still have a hard time drawing faces. Just yesterday I've finished a pretty long book about drawing cartoons, but I'll have to work through it a few more times.
Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

ceosol

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I was asked to move in with my grandparents in a small town in Germany, which I just did. It works out pretty well for me since my cost of living is now around 200$ a month, which is mostly my health insurance. Unfortunately I have a horrible internet connection where uploading a game is impossible. The technician will come in a week though, and hopefully my next game will be ready by then.
That is a smart move. Saving on cost of living means more months you can last on an indie dev "salary" :)

KramerGames

  • Posts: 405
I just published another game, it is once again an idle game, set in hell with a bit of dark humor. It is very simplistic and rather served as a sandbox for testing out new mechanics. If people like it, I can still add a few mechanics, but I wouldn't be surprised if this one just goes under. Drawing was the most fun part, I drew everything with pencil and marker, scanned it and colored it digitally. Unfortunately I came across a very neat trick to get the lines smooth only after I was done (select the black marker with the magic wand, increase selection by 1 or 2 pixels and stroke with the brush tool with soft edges).

I was pretty close to give up on this game when I attempted to balance the cost to gain ratio. Like many idle games, the cost increases exponentially while the profit earned is linear. That makes generators useless once a better one is purchased. I did a lot of math and even made a Stencyl game to make graphs, but no matter how hard I tried, it all failed badly when actually testing the game. In the end, I decided to simply give up because I want to leave idle games behind and spending more time at balancing the math would not benefit my future games/career.

For that very same reason cutting out “offline battles” for the sequel to Parasites United was the very first thing I did. It was a huge pain in the ass to get them to work, and people still complain about bugs. I am now going through the code with an axe, add a few things and redraw everything. Once again I am going to try to use real paintings, I've finally set on Acrylics, even though I think Gouache and Watercolor are more fascinating, but I just “inherited” a lot and there are tons of youtube tutorials. Chances are though that I'm just going to draw the outlines by hand and color them digitally because I still suck when picking up a brush.

Here's the game, any totally overrated ratings are appreciated!

http://www.kongregate.com/games/BambooHutGames/outsourced-hell
Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

ceosol

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Quote
That makes generators useless once a better one is purchased.
That is when you need upgraded milestones. For instance at x10 x50 x100 x500 you get a big boost to the previous generator(s).

Quote from: From Kong comments
If people play and like this game, I will add prestige
I read that you should never publish a game and point out what it lacks. A better response would be, "thank you for the comment - that is a great suggestion. We will look into that". That response makes the player feel appreciated without bashing your own game.

KramerGames

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I have boosts at fixed intervals, but balancing those is the tricky part.

The other thing: I read your comment and then reread my comment on kongregate, made me feel incredibly stupid. I think what made me write stuff like that is seeing things from a developer perspective, but the audience was players who do not understand the amount and effort that go into making a game (neither did I before doing it).
Another lesson learned, thanks!

BTW, there's a really cool series about the math of idle games:

http://developers.kongregate.com/blog/the-math-of-idle-games-part-i

Goes even further when you open up the google docs... I also emailed the author with a question and he was nice enough to respond!
Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

ceosol

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Very cool. Progression is definitely something I struggle with on idle games. Since they are one of my favorite genre, I would definitely like to figure it out.

decafpanda

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Hey, I have not checked  this thread in a while, good to see it still going.

  I was not even really following the contest last month at Kong and did not notice your game.  (I am the author of Humanoid Space Race btw)  Yeah there was a bug with my game's rating when it got released and it really seemed to affect people's ratings.  People just love to hate!   It was cool of the admins at Kong to offer the public apology and they even featured my game for way longer than I thought they would.

Very cool to see you get some good views and with your last game and your new one seems to be doing well.

Idle games really are not my cup of tea but I rated you 5 on Kong and Newgrounds.  Congrats on the daily trophy at Newgrounds too!

« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 09:11:04 pm by decafpanda »

KramerGames

  • Posts: 405
As unfair as your case was, it serves as pretty clear evidence that people are influenced by the ratings (instead of their own experience). When comparing it to other games or the ratings on Newgrounds, it definitely should have been higher.

I'm not a big fan of idle games either, but I think they can be pretty cool when you do other stuff like cleaning up your room :-) . I think they are a great start for making games though, especially since I want to go in the direction of strategy games.
Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

decafpanda

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Yeah idle games seem to be extremely popular right now, especially at Kong. 

Which is great.  Kong has much more opportunities to actually make money on flash games so keep it up.

I think if you can do these idle games and start mixing in addictive strategy elements you really could find yourself a winning formula for game design.  Add in your dark humor touches and your games should get lots of views!

Good luck and cheers!  :)

KramerGames

  • Posts: 405
I finally had some time to work on my games again. I added 120 upgrades to my game “Outosurced Hell”, as you can guess I just took whatever quick idea came to mind because 120 really good ideas would take a bit too much time... Implementing was rather boring grind work and afterwards I decided to move on for good.
I did one last thing which was adding the option in the the mobile version to turn off advertising for one dollar. The download numbers are freaking low, so better test it now where the possible damage wouldn't be too high.

And it turned out it was a good thing because the result was that people could be charged and the advertising did not turn off, and that would be people who will request a refund and never again purchase anything from me. Luckily that hadn't happened yet and I removed the option. It's still not working and the total lack of support in fixing the issue has led me to look for alternatives to Stencyl. I'm more and more falling in love with Game Maker, but just like women that I fall in love with, they ask for a lot of money first :-) . I just managed to break even on my journey and am not too eager to go even lower in the reds, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for it.
 

Moving on to my next project, Parasites United 2 – The heart is not enough, it is turning out a lot more work than expected. I should have reworked through my old code with a structured plan, but I did it sledgehammer-style and ended up with a mess.... Furthermore, since I didn't have much time recently to work on my games, I still thought about them a lot and now I'm already 4 games ahead in my mind, which makes it harder to motivate myself for this one. I've done all the drawings for the parasites (22 in total now) and cells, only missing the backgrounds. I also added a sidebar which shows the quantity and production rate of each parasite. That allowed me to remove the “nest window” all together, the player can upgrade now directly by clicking on the nest.

I am now working on getting the attacks right, including some special parasites that will change the parameters of the body cell. Next on my list is an RNG that will change the placement of the body cells with each rerun. And then I'll eventually have to move on to balancing which I don't even want to think about... 

Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)

KramerGames

  • Posts: 405
I decided to change my Kongregate 2017 Challenge from scoring a monthly leaderboard place to reaching one million plays for all my games combined. There is still cheating going, my game “Outsourced Hell” was assigned wrong tags overnight (dozens of votes with completely wrong tags) with a sharp drop in the rating, I emailed Kongregate but nothing happened. I hate to put my fate in the hands of spammers and cheaters and refuse to play that game myself. At least they adjusted the ratings for January and my game Parasites United has apparently won 3rd prize in the weekly competition. I have also emailed them about that a while ago and have not received any money. I appreciate them doing something about it, but as of now it takes a few seconds to make a new account, no bot check and the voting is just as powerful as from a user that is active for years.

Furthermore, combining all games into one challenge makes each game more important. One million seems to be a decent goal too, because currently I'm at 70k and that means I have to step it up. I am somewhat worried though that I have achieved those play numbers because my games were idle games, so maybe I'll fall horribly short when I switch over to strategy games.



I made some decent progress for my game “Parasites United 2”, but I have reached a point where my motivation is almost gone and there's still quite a bit of work to do. The problem is that this game was supposed to be a modification and enhancement of the previous one, but the amount of work was just as much as making a new one from scratch. Given all the ideas I want to let out, working on an old one wasn't a good choice. At least I learned something from going through my old code, but I want to move on so badly...

I will inevitably cut the polishing and testing short, I know it's a terrible decision but there's nothing I can do about it, it's like a junkie telling you how bad that stuff is that he's about to shoot up.

Parasites United  (Idle Parasite Game)