Archive for the ‘Flash Games’ Category

Medieval Tactics: Zombie Wars Concept

February 2nd, 2012 2 comments

I realized recently that I haven’t actually explained the concept for my game yet, so here goes.

Game Mechanics
Medieval Tactics is going to be a turn-based strategy (TBS) game, similar to Advance Wars. Each turn you can move and attack with each of your units.

Every unit will have statistics based on its unit type and every unit of that type will be identical. This is in contrast to most fantasy TBS games in which each unit is unique. I thought this would allow for better tactical decisions, because once you learn how to use a unit type you know how to use all units of that type. This also simplifies the balancing because I know exactly what each unit will be able to do.

Each map will probably have a specific set of units available to it. I’ve considered adding the ability to purchase units at the beginning of each map to add more strategy to it, but if I don’t have time then it won’t be added. At the end of each level, player’s will receive a grade or score based on the number and health of units remaining. This will be used to generate a cumulative score that will either unlock future levels or provide a bonus in the final level.

So far I’ve decided on 14-15 units to include in the game. This should be large enough to provide a learning curve and diversity of map types, but small enough to allow easy balancing.

Good Units
-High defense
-Average attack and armor
-Average movement

-High attack
-Average defense and armor
-Average movement

-Average, medium-ranged attack
-Low defense and armor
-Average movement with ability to move and fire

-Very high attack
-Low defense and armor
-Average or high movement depending on balancing

-High attack
-Low defense
-Average armor
-Very high movement

-Very high attack
-High defense and armor
-High movement

-Very high attack with large range
-Average armor
-No defense
-Low movement and can’t move and fire same turn

-Low attack, defense and armor
-Ability to heal allied units
-Average movement

Enemy Units
Note: Most zombie units will have an ability that fully heals them whenever they destroy a unit. Zombies would be able to turn units into zombies to replenish their numbers.

-Average attack
-Average defense and armor
-Average movement

Zombie Archer
-Average, medium-ranged attack
-Low defense and armor
-Average movement with ability to move and fire

Explosive Zombie
-Very high attack no matter what unit’s health is
-Low defense and armor
-Average movement

Hulking Zombie
-Very high attack
-Average defense
-High armor
-Low movement

-Average attack
-Average defense and armor
-Very high movement with ability to cross all terrain

-Very high attack (Or maybe ability to ignore armor)
-High defense
-Average armor
-High movement
-Ability to turn any unit it defeats into a new zombie unit

Level plans
I’m aiming to create around 20 levels for the game, depending on how long it takes to complete each level. Overall I hope the game takes a couple hours to complete and hopefully the ability to get a bonus on the last mission will encourage people to replay levels to get a high score.

Control scheme
I was originally planning on making the game completely playable with either keyboard or mouse, but I’m thinking that optimizing it for mouse will make for a better playing experience. While I prefer using keyboard controls for games, I don’t think I can easily optimize a strategy game for keyboard controls.

I also think that mouse controls are just more intuitive, i.e. click this unit, click there to move it, click the enemy to attack. Keyboard controls would be more like, let’s see, press ‘n’ to go to the next unit, press ‘m’ to move, scroll over to the target square with arrow keys, press ‘m’ to move to that square, press ‘a’ to attack, scroll over to target unit with arrow keys, press ‘a’ again to attack that unit.

Final Thoughts
There are a couple additional mechanics I’d like to include, such as wizards with spells, water-based units and an alternate campaign. I don’t think any of these are going to make it into the first version of the game. I’ll reserve them for sequels.

Any thing you’d like to see in the game that I’m not including? Let me know in the comments.

Listening to Other Indie Developers

January 24th, 2012 1 comment

So I spent a good amount of time listening to the Infinite Ammo podcast today, specifically the one with Andy Moore. I think it helps a lot to listen to other game developers, especially when they have more experience than I do. Their discussion ranges all over the place, but here’s a few things I pulled from it.

Hook your players quickly

Like Murphy Lee said, “Wat da hook gon be?” For flash games specifically, it’s important to get players excited about the game as soon as possible. Players aren’t paying any money up front to play a flash game so if they aren’t enjoying it they have no reason to stick around. With more traditional, paid games, players have a sunk cost that they want to try and recoup before dropping a game. It’s a behavioral economics thing.

I’ve read before that with a flash game, you want to try and hook a player in the first minute, including load time. That’s also one of the reasons why keeping game file size down is important because people without a fast internet connection might give up on your game if it takes too long to load. Ideally, the player will feel like they’ve accomplished something within the first 4 clicks.

That might seem extreme, but why not? One click for “Play”, one click for “Okay” on the tutorial slide, one click to select your unit, one click to select an enemy. BOOM! You’ve defeated your first enemy! YAY!!!

I’m trying to keep this in mind as I design my user interface.

Metrics can make games better

While it’s important not to rely on metrics to design your game for you, they are a necessary tool for fixing and polishing your game. For example, let’s say you’re tracking what percentage of players are completing each level. Over all 20 levels, about 3% of players quit during every level, but you find that 20% of players quit on level 5.

Is it because level 5 contains an especially difficult challenge? Is there a glitch that causes some people to be unable to complete the level? Is there a mistake on any of the hints on that level that causes confusion? This merits further investigation, but without the metrics you’d have no way of knowing that there even was a problem.

Tips for new Indie developers

I realize I’m still in the target group on this one, but here are a few of the tips I gathered from the Infinite Ammo podcast.

1. Release your games
It’s very difficult after spending a lot of time on a creative work to think rationally about it’s quality. I know from just a couple months of working on this game that it’s all too easy to put an endless amount of work polishing, correcting, adding new features and generally improving the game. But if you do this forever, you’ll never release your game.

It’s also possible to get to a point where you’re sick of the game, having playtested it for the thousandth time and still not being satisfied with the way the characters move or with the level difficulty. At that point I think it’s time to fix any big glaring bugs and then publish it. It’s better to publish a game that has a few issues than to never publish a game at all.

2. Secure your code
This is a particular issue with flash games. Because of the way flash saves your game, it’s all too easy to decompile the source code, make whatever changes you want and then upload the game as your own. Fortunately there is software that encrypts code so that it’s more difficult/ near impossible to make changes to the swf file. Flash Game License provides a 25% code for Kindisoft’s secureSWF. It’s still $300 for the professional version, but it’s better than having your games ripped off.

3. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by other games
While this isn’t specifically mentioned during the podcast, it’s a lesson I drew from it. Around the 2:20:00 mark they discuss game clones. While copying a game action for action and level for level is definitely too far, there is a point at which you can borrow from other games. Innovation comes when people take what came before them and either reimagine it in a new way or combine it with other things to make a new combination.

It’s all too easy for critics to call any work derivative, but at the same time it’s impossible to construct a creative work in a vacuum. If you’re especially inspired by another game, don’t be afraid to say so. As long as you put your own touches on your game you have nothing to be afraid of.

A few of my favorite Flash games

January 14th, 2012 No comments

Since I’m working on my own Flash game. I figured it would be appropriate to highlight a few of the best games I played last year.

Multitask 2

This game is actually 6 games in 1, all played simultaneously, each using a different set of keys on the keyboard. In standard mode, the game starts with one game and slowly adds them until you’re playing all 6 simultaneously. You might think you’re an expert multitasker, but even after you’ve mastered the controls it’s impossible to keep all 6 games juggled for very long.

Multitask 2 Screenshot

Bullet Audyssey

This game is a blast. Top down shooter with nothing but boss fights. Each boss fight is set up with stage’s music so that the enemies fire in time with the music. You also have the ability to slow down time in order to avoid getting hit. It’s nice and difficult.

Bullet Audyssey Screenshot

Pandemic 2

In this menu based game you create and evolve a disease with the goal of spreading it to every single person in the world in order to exterminate humanity. Evolve disease vectors, symptoms and resistances to make your disease the best it can be. On Kongregate, beating this game in under 100 days (game time) is an impossible achievement.

Pandemic 2 Screenshot


Take control of the last bastion of humanity after the zombie apocalypse. Manage your people to keep your base safe while expanding throughout the city. This game was sold on and apparently made its creator enough money for her to become a full-time game developer.

Rebuild Screenshot

These are just a few of the Flash games I’ve really enjoyed in the last year. Feel free to post your own favorite games in the comments.

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