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PsychoGoldfish's News

Posted by PsychoGoldfish - April 24th, 2008

Since we went public with the Newgrounds API beta, one of the observations I have made is that people have a hard time distributing their work.

Distribution is a key ingredient in maximizing the revenues your flash ads generate, because it exposes your game to a variety of large markets.

For example, Newgrounds has long been a prime location for showcasing work to a younger game-savvy group of people. Here, you can really succeed with hardcore gamers and people with a twisted sense of humor. So when you make a catchy puzzle game, you get some great reviews and initial attention, but the general audience here would rather move on to something with a lot of shooting and combat action.

This does not mean your game is a failure in any way, you simply haven't gotten it to the right demographic.

Most game portals have a pretty good mix of user types, and webmasters from smaller sites are always fishing them for swf files to swipe. Back in the day, having people host your swf without permission was always frowned apon, but in this viral market it is the best way to get your ads running on as many sites as you possibly can.

So now that you know the advantages of distributing your game... where do you actually submit to, and what can you do to streamline the process a bit?

Unfortunately portal sites each have their own style and presentations. This means icons and screenshots are never the same size for more than one or two sites, and one could spend an insane amount of time dealing with these problems.

Before you start submitting, I suggest taking the time to tackle these image formats first.

While all the portals out there have varying sizes, one thing that is somewhat common is the size ratios, and image designs.

The most common design style is the icon. Icons tend to be based on the following ratios: 1:1 (square), 7:6 (slightly wide), 4:3 (wide).

Icons can range from 46 to 100 pixels in width. These icons are usually too small for a lot of text or elaborate logos, but can really pop out if you have a nice image that can relay the overall feeling of the game.

Not all games do well with a screen-shot for an icon. If you have a cool character, you might want to use that as the base for your icon rather then trying to show actual gameplay in sucha tiny image.

When you have the design planned for your icon, make versions at the folloowing sizes: 60x60, 70x60, 100x75.

Make sure when you save the files, you put the dimensions in the filename... ie mygame_icon_11x75.jpg (I would recommend saving as jpegs with the quality set at 8/10, but be prepared to make gif files for sites with extreme filesize restrictions).

Now that you have the base ratios set up for your icons, you can resize them and save them as new files to cover most of the image sizes you will encounter. Here at newgrounds, we use 46x46 icons... so you would simply resize your 60x60 file to accommodate.

Here is a lits of some icon sizes you will probably be asked for:

1:1 - 60x60, 50x50, 46x46
7:6 - 70x60
4:3 - 100x75, 93x73, 96x66 (these ones don't ratio up perfectly so design your 100x75 with a little bit of free space so you can crop as needed).

After you have your icons together, you can prepare the other common format which is a larger image, often a screen shot. These images are almost always a 1:1 or 4:3 ratio.

These images give you a little more creative freedom since they are larger than the icon formats and can fit more text and logo imagery. If your game has enough action, a screenshot will work great, but you should try and make something that stands out a bit more.

Think about the game section at your local electronics store. Every game company has dropped a lot of money into graphic design to make their covers stand out, and the covers never show the actual in-game art. Your images should follow that premise and make the name of the game really stand out, while showing some imagery that makes people want to see how the actual game looks.

For these, I would suggest starting with bigger images, 250x250 and 320x240. These won't really be used for submissions, but they give you more room to work before scaling down, and we'll be using them later when we package a distribution file together.

After you have the images prepared, you might want to scale them to the following sizes:

1:1 - 250x250, 125x125
4:3 - 320x240, 160x120, 168x118, 129x98, 120x90 (again these aren't all dead-on 4:3 sizes so let your master image allow for some cropping).

Then, just to be safe, take a few screen shots of the game in action and save them as 320x240 files. I would suggest 3-5 images.

You will likely run into other image sizes, so keep your base files handy.

Now that you have the image work done, you can prep up your text stuff. Open up a new text document and write up a few descriptions for your game within these basic guidelines:

Brief Description: 1-2 short sentences relaying the premise of the game
Short Description: A short paragraph describing the game
Detailed Descrption: A full description of the game with general instructions.
Instructions: An breif outline of how to play the game and a list of controls.

Save your file and you now have everything ready to go.

Once you have these files ready, throw them all in a zip file with a copy of your swf file, you can use this for sites that do not have submit forms.

Now you can start hitting portal sites, and simply copy and paste in your descriptions, and upload your pre-made icons, or email your zip file.

Here is a list of sites you might want to submit to:
www.newgrounds.com (duh)
www.addictinggames.com *
www.kongregate.com *

* These sites do not allow in-game ads on submissions, be sure to use the API settings to disable ads for them. Other sites will grab your swf from these sites, and they are pretty high traffic, so they are still worth submitting to. You might even win a prize or be offered a non-exclusive sponsorship.

A lot of these sites do not have submission forms, so look for 'contact us' or 'suggest a game' links.

You may also want to shoot an email to sites like Jayisgames.com and flashgn.com with a link to your game and a little press release on your game.

I'm sure there are other high-traffic sites I have overlooked, so feel free to drop some links in a comment if you know any.

Posted by PsychoGoldfish - April 23rd, 2008

In response to the many PMs I get asking for help with the new NG API, I have decided it would be nice to have a single place people could go for general help until we have a proper FAQ on the API section itself.

If you have any questions about the API that are not answered below, post a comment and I'll try and get your question included on here.

NG API FAQ Holy acronyms Batman!


Q: I just want to run ads, what do I need to do?

A: From the main API Page, add your movie. When the settings page loads, scroll to the 'Flash Ads' panel and make sure they are enabled. Leave all the other options disabled or blank and hit 'save changes'. Follow the installation help for your version of flash.


Q: I have the flash ad in my movie but nothing is happening, what do i do?

A: First, make sure you have the NewgroundsAPI.as file in the same folder as your game or movie. Flash 5 and MX users, you need to have the NG_API_OBJECT (not to be confused with the NG_AD_OBJECT) on a layer that spans your entire movie. View the API help page for your movie to obtain the files you need.


Q: When I test my movie, the flash ads cover everything up, what's the deal?

A: The ad unit movieclip should only appear on the frame you want the ad to run on. If it covers your whole movie, you probably have it on a layer that spans your full movie. If you are using Flash 5 or Flash MX, chances are you simply confused the NG_AD_OBJECT with the NG_API_OBJECT.


Q: I want to use version control... how do I hard code the version number into my movie?

A: You need to set your version number on the same keyframe you have the API installation code. Using the appropriate AS version, replace "1.0.3" with the correct version number.

ActionScript 1 users:
_root.NewgroundsAPI_movieVersion = "1.0.3";

Actionscript 2 & 3 users:
NewgroundsAPI.setMovieVersion( "1.0.3" );


Q: How do the ads work? How much money will I make?

A: The ads run on several platforms... CPM, CPC and CPA. What that means is that different ads pay for different things. Some ads pay based on how many views they get, some by how many click-throughs they get and some by how many customers buy something from the advertiser. Because much of the ad inventory is dependent on user interaction there is no way to say for sure how much money you will make. From your stats pages you can guess as to how much you will make by looking at your eCPM rates.


Q: What does eCPM mean?

A: eCPM stands for "estimated cost per mille", or in layman's terms, the average amount of money you earn for every 1000 ad impressions.


Q: Why is my eCPM so low?

A: The amount of money you earn depends directly on 2 things. The quality of your work and the level of distribution. If your work is of low quality, less people will play it and you will not have much success with ad revenue.

If your work is high quality, but you only have it on one or two sites, you limit the amount of exposure your ads get and will also earn less revenue.


Q: Can I use the ads and/or API if I have a sponsor?

A: We have no problem with that, but you should always check with your sponsor first.


Q: I want to submit my game to a site that doesn't allow in-game ads, what can I do?

A: When you install the ads in your work, you have the ability to disable them from loading on any site. Lets say you want to submit to www.adfreegames.com but they don't allow in-game ads.

Go to the settings page for your game and scroll down to the 'Flash Ads' Panel, and locate the text bar labeled Add a New Host.

Type "adfreegames.com" in the box and hit the 'add host' button.

Now, if your game is hosted by www.adfreegames.com, the ads will not load. Your ads WILL load on any sites that swipe your swf file from this site!


Q: Can I change the tank image and the black border on the ad unit?

A: The ad unit was designed so authors could customize how they look. You can change any of the artwork in the ad movieclips, just avoid altering any of the scripting or instance names. If you break the ad unit you may get limited support, so this is not recommended for novice users of Flash.


Q: Why am I getting a "There is no method with the name 'isInstalled'" error?

A: Your copy of NewgroundsAPI.as is out of date. Re-download the API for your version of flash to replace it with the latest version.

Posted by PsychoGoldfish - April 18th, 2008

So yeah, I guess the cat is out of the bag now.

Yes I do work for NG now... and yes I coded the super confusing API stuff.

On that note, I will be trying to make regular updates on the API stuff so check this userpage out every now and then to stay in the loop.

one more thing...


Posted by PsychoGoldfish - March 3rd, 2008

I hear it contains lots of nutrients and fiber, and is part of a balanced breakfast.

What do you think it tastes like?


Posted by PsychoGoldfish - February 26th, 2008

Mindchamber, who is an avid Hillary Clinton supporter, stabbed his brother-in-law for supporting Obamma.... here's the story:

in-Law-Stabs-Another-in-Vote-Disput/17 13466

Posted by PsychoGoldfish - January 31st, 2008


But now that you are here, my 9 year wedding anniversary is on the 1st so it's not a total bust!

Posted by PsychoGoldfish - January 17th, 2008


Posted by PsychoGoldfish - October 31st, 2007

For over a year NGers have been enjoying the demo version of Mini-Putt Online here on Newgrounds.

In honor of my favorite holiday, Halloween, I have uploaded the full version of the game.

The full version includes the original 2 courses as well as Spooky-Putt, a Halloween themed 18-hole course.

If that wasn't enough, Ross and I worked a little magic to allow for NG players to quick-play using their NG usernames!



Posted by PsychoGoldfish - October 15th, 2007

So, I have a minor dilema that has blown itself out of proportion.

A while back, I got a box of (12 cans) of Manwich at ye-olde Sam's club. At the moment I have this obsession with the fact that all 12 cans are still in my pantry and have yet to be used.

The obvious solution is to simply make sloppy joes, but alas... I have no ground beef.

It's cool though.... if Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and SPAM have taught me anything, there are 100's of people who have a bunch of creative recipes for can-based food, and surely the internet would provide me a creative way to use up some of this manwich that is plaguing my soul.

A half dozen Google searches later, all I have found is recpies to MAKE manwich, and variations of the traditional sloppy joe.

How the hell has Manwich gone by so long without, at least, ONE dedicated recipe site or some kind?

Has anyone done anything new with Manwich? Why hasn't this sauce technology been explored?

I call upon everyone who ever enjoyed a nice sloppy joe in their childhood to help me rectify this sadly overlooked canned commodity.

If you have any creative uses (anal lubricants aside) for manwich ... I need to know! NEH, THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW!

Manwich needs your love

Posted by PsychoGoldfish - September 21st, 2007

I just wrote up a big ass walkthrough and cheat-sheet for Alkie Kong 2. If you liked the game but had troubles beating it, now you have no excuse for sucking!

The full walkthrough is at http://www.webgamemagazine.com/2007/09 /21/alkie-kong-2-walkthrough/

May the b33r be with you...

Alkie Kong 2 Cheats