KAG 70 and the End of Link-Dead

By: Derek Yu

On: June 27th, 2011

King Arthur's Gold

The development of the team-based multiplayer platformer King Arthur’s Gold continues at a fast clip, with builds 67 and 70 offering all kinds of new changes and features, like a capture-the-flag mode (now the default mode), an in-game map editor, and the addition of collapsible walls with improved physics (no more sky bridges!). What I only found out recently, however, is that the game rose quietly from the ashes of Link-Dead, Michał Marcinkowski’s dark and brutal sci-fi shooter. I had no idea!

Anyway, Michał goes into great depth explaining his reasons for dropping Link-Dead to work on King Arthur’s Gold, and as much as I enjoyed LD, it’s hard to argue against the success of KAG. The explanation is worth a read, if only for all of the insights into game design and development.

  • Guest

    Soooo… I donated 0.01 dollar (I think), can I opt in to get the new game for free or is there a minimum limit?

  • http://twitter.com/doomlaser Mark Johns

    A good post and good read.  Haven't played KAG yet but it looks fun.  It seems like a recurring trope among indies where people will get in these big drawn out projects and then go off and make something rogue and fun on the side.

  • T.I.

    I paid a pair o' dollars for Link-Dead. I realize it was a paid-beta instead of the pay-for-beta-to-get-full-game thing, but still, I feel a touch taken advantage of.

    Oh well, at least I like this game too.

  • Iahgaig

    He should offer to refund the people who donated to Link Dead, that's kind of a skeezy move. Regardless, I haven't had this much fun with a multiplayer game since Soldat, and the game gets better and better with each update.

    I was playing earlier as an archer. A miner chipped through a block, exposing us to the enemy frontlines. The miner got out of the way, and the knight stepped in with his shield, blocking incoming arrows. While the enemy archers knocked arrows uselessly against the knight's shield, I killed a good 5 bad guys in 30 seconds. When people actually work together in this game, awesome things happen.

  • broAhmed

    At the bottom of the linked article Michal offers to refund people who donated to Link-Dead. Send him an email if you're interested.

  • News

    tl;dr the philosophies of subpar writers make ample justification for ditching a complex game for a shitty hipster-fueled fad cash-in

  • Iahgaig

    Ah, I really should have checked before saying that. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • http://www.derekyu.com Derek Yu

    I think the point is that LD was complex in a bad way, i.e. the complexity confused people without offering much depth. Whereas KAG is fun after just two months of development and has the potential to become a more interesting game faster. If you read the comments, Michal has plans to add things to KAG that let organized teams play on a much higher level than the casual players.

  • Glui

    Are you fucking kidding me Michal ?
    Fuck I was waiting for Link dead for years…
    And Bersker…

    I liked when you said years ago “someone can build a soldat like in 1 week”. Link Dead is not a soldat like ? AHAHAHAH

    Srly F*ck you…

  • John

    I just don't understand how he can compare the quick success and popularity of a free game with a paid game. Flash games also get played millions of times, but it is not like the average flash game has the same value as a 15 dollar indie games.

    But what I think is more interesting, how do we, as an indie community feel about people abandoning pre-order projects? I think it is very damaging for all of us developers when our players can not trust us to complete our games. It will hurt the indie community as a whole when people become reluctant to invest in pre-orders.

  • http://www.foppygames.nl Foppy

    A free game that gets played millions of times probably has more value than the average 15 dollar commercial game! :)

  • Devarnodick

    In the article he very clearly explains that LD is NOT like Soldat, because it is actually 5 or 6 games all crammed together.

    So, no, LD is not a Soldat-like.

  • Devarnodick

    Fantastic article by Michal, and quite an amazing move on his part to reassess exactly what his game design needed, and not only go ahead and do it, but make a very successful game in the process. Very bold.

    One thing I didn't get in his post was this quote:
    “Unfortunately we now live in an age where nobody cares about that.
    Pushing the limits of 2D graphics and tile mapped games doesn’t interest
    anybody other than a few die-hard fans and me. People are actually
    ecstatic about low-res pixel graphics (Minecraft). So until this fad
    dissipates I’m gonna join them. I see no point in fighting it.”

    Wasn't the whole article's point that simple 2D graphics aren't a fad, and let designers focus instead on tight, smart game design?

  • Devarnodick

    You make a good point, and I hadn't thought of it when first reading the article.

    It reminds me a bit of the “full-version beta” plague that many commercial PC game developers got caught in about a decade ago, where a game would be released with obvious flaws just so it could be out by the deadline, then patched when customers found all the bugs.

    It betrayed the customers' confidence in the designers, much the same way this sort of thing could.

  • Honest Guy

    Nice… another minecraft ripoff… just stop it guys, make something that's not exactly the same as minecraft plz

  • Eld

    I do think he strays a bit from the true reasons L-D never hit big (I hadn't even heard about it before this)
    However great it was, it didn't have the simple looks of KAG, nor did it get the PR lucky break that KAG did, that and people are thirsting for reshapable terrain (remove the block building/destruction from KAG and then imagine how it would be)

    L-D seemed like quite a niche-project.

    People ARE interested in high end 2d graphics, but they won't be if they never hear about the project itself.

    In the end angry birds will always be a less complex and more cleanly designed game than DEUS EX. ;)

  • John

    It is if you think that popularity is the same as value. I don't share that opinion though.

  • Anonymous

    “subpar writers”

  • Jocoloco

    Like Minecraft?? Hope you were being ironic…

  • Guest

    No, seriously.

  • Guest

    Link-dead suffered from confusing visuals (poorly designed way of seperating the environment from the background, lack of players and technical issues. Otherwise it was a great game with loads of depth and tons of potential.

    All the other reasons such as combining too many concepts and learning curve etc are just wrong in my mind and sound like a cop-out to me.

  • http://twitter.com/celluloseman Evan Balster

    Some very good food for thought in that article.  Best of luck to Michał.

  • http://twitter.com/sabanski_n Nathaniel Sabanski

    I don't get why half of you random Anon's feel cheated that you donated a few dollars for the Link Dead Alpha.

    It was an AWESOME Alpha and well worth a few measly dollars.

  • Bleagle

    I somehow sensed this, Link-Dead sounded way to complex and too big for such a little team (were there even more people involved?). He always wrote such long articles about the development and I felt that there werent many people reading them, I guess its kinda frustrating if you put that much work into it. KAG seems easier to develop and more accesible for people. (wrote this before I read the article)

  • http://twitter.com/Lizardheim Arne Lie Bergheim

    Flash games are also indie games.

  • John

    You must be trying really hard to miss the point. The emphasis is on FREE vs COSTING MONEY.

  • Rivon

    Where’s the minecraft ripoff? That it has terrain made from blocks? It’s more like Terraria ripoff, but still they’re completely different games when it comes to gameplay…

  • http://twitter.com/Lizardheim Arne Lie Bergheim

    Flash games get money from ads on the flash game portals, games that cost money get money from the person that plays it.
    Developer still gets money, what is your point?

  • John

    My point is that there is a barrier in place for games that require pay before play. That is why a game that requires the gamer to pay is less likely to go viral/popular quickly and be played by a lot of persons in a short time, unless the game offers something that increases its value over your average free game.

    To make this more specific. I have played KAG, but I would never pay for it. I have not played Link-Dead, but I would probably buy it once it is done.

  • Snow

    I’m just glad that he found what he was always looking for: the right game and right combination of elements. It goes to show you how difficult game design can be.. especially multiplayer game design. That is a whole tier above single player. You need people to have fun working as a team.

  • Snow

    Also wasn’t Minecraft an Infinniminer clone? Hmm.

  • News

    Hemingway and Chekhov produce work that is near-optimally boring.

  • News

    I don’t contend that Link-Dead’s design is anything but muddled and confused, just that KAG’s is inferior in every respect.