Games Wot I Made

Here is a list of the games created by Michael "Mikey Kae" Krutzler
Most are non-violent and family friendly
You can use the GUO's search function in the sidebar for articles on a particular title


Zero Sum : Stalemate Manager

Download for Windows, Linux, and Mac via MikeyKae.Itch.Io

An experimental re-imagining of the single player real-time strategy experience, Zero Sum casts the player as an operative for the Illuminati-esque Pyramid organization tasked with manipulating armed conflicts into quagmires so as to earn money from selling supplies and ammunition to both sides. Designed to be infinitely replayable, it features a number of maps, premade scenarios with both fixed and randomized setups, as well as an interface for players to design their own conflicts. A session of Zero Sum is designed to last 10-15 minutes making it a great coffee break strategy game.

Design Notes: As a conscious attempt at creating an entirely new flavor of RTS, Zero Sum went through many iterations (and titles!) throughout its lengthy development period. I wanted something as easy to understand and play as tower defense games while offering still providing the construction options and spectacle of large scale conflicts offered in traditional RTSs (Highly optimized, Zero Sum games can consist of several hundred units before noticeable slowdown occurs on mid-range systems).

The core inspiration Zero Sum's new "Stalemate Manager" gameplay style actually evolved from thinking about children playing with action figures: One player acting for both sides. Simple, familiar unit types with predictable AI completely removed the necessity for micromanagement and placed emphasis on the much more satisfying activity of base building economic management.

The most difficult design challenge with Zero Sum was to create a system that would unbalance itself without feeling like a cheat to the player. The early (and still implemented) solution was a very minor variability added to each unit's reload timer, one of the very few random elements the game. This ensured that even the most balanced setup would slightly 'wobble', usually causing the tower to collapse one way or the other if left unattended. Later the optional "AI Intervention" mechanic solved this problem wonderfully (in addition to making the conflict feel more 'alive').

It was also vitally important to give players a reason to unbalance the simulation of their own accord. Three high value 'briefcases' are present in every map provide the dual benefits of building resources and (potentially) increasing player score incentivizes players to build factories outside of their comfort zone. The real 'secret sauce', however, was the Suspicion system which forces the player to act unilaterally regardless of which way the battle is leaning.

Fun Fact: Influenced by the story and setting of Far Cry 2, the oldest of builds for Zero Sum (then titled "Dying for Dollars") used a more realistic graphical style and took place in a war-torn Africa.

Everything in Zero Sum was created by myself from scratch except the original Holst compositions my MIDI interpretations are based on.

Easter Eggs: The initial login prompt will backtalk the player when trying to use profanity or one of my personal handles as a user name. The spreadsheet used in the 'data tube' introductory sequence is composed of reported campaign contribution totals for the U.S. Senate.


Bored Breaker

Download for Android via Google Play

An instant to learn - A lifetime to master! Break from boredom and break boards with Bored Breaker - a quick reaction game designed to challenge your reflexes, complete with 3D graphics and realistic physics to delight your senses. Refine your skills with the predictable Zen mode in preparation for a real test of skill in Ninja mode.

Design Notes: A little game I made quite on accident while experimenting with inverse kinematics, Bored Breaker is a fun spin on the classic shooting gallery style games that gained a resurgence thanks to touchscreen interfaces. Rather than instantly reacting to threats, the player must be aware of the time involved for the avatar's movements required to achieve the desired effect. Additionally, boards require an amount of force to actually break preventing players from simply holding the avatar's hands up to block.

Easter Eggs: You can tap to bang the gong after the game is over.

Fun Fact: Years later, I still play this on my own phone to kill time :) I find it quick, difficult, and pure. IIRC, my record is 22 on Ninja mode.


My Magnificent Balls!

Download for Windows via Dropbox
Download for Mac via Dropbox
Download for Android via Google Play


TitleTrimBad Things come from Holes. Master the ancient art of Swinging and break Bad with the might of Magnificent Balls!

My Magnificent Balls! is a high-speed, high-skill, physics-based, top-down, arcade, smash-‘em-up modeled after the classic quarter-gobblers of yore. With a sledgehammer. And dubstep.

Features include:
  • Ten levels with a gentle learning curve to showcase the core gameplay
  • Real physics determines not just where you Swing, but how Hard
  • Eight unique power-ups ranging from Incredibly Useful to Outright Stupid
  • Musically driven effects that enhance the visuals without blinding the player
  • A ‘combo decay’ system designed to allow everyone to achieve high scores while still rewarding experts
  • Unlimited continues so everyone can enjoy the entire game (At the cost of their score)
  • And, as always, a fabulously overproduced title screen
Design Notes: This is a 10 level alpha demo/proof-of-concept for a silly, physics-based arcade style game. It was not developed further due to my own 'writer's block' on level design and complete apathy on the part of the public.

Fun Fact: There are a number of unused enemy designs and AI behaviors in the project not used in the actually demo.


Break Out Your Dead

Read instructions and download original version for Windows, Linux, and Mac via Google Drive.
Download the updated, 'remastered' version for Windows and Mac via Google Drive.

A classic breakout style game spliced with a 3rd person shooter, BOYD features two completely different play styles. The first half of the game features five levels of traditional breakout action while the later five levels showcase advancing undead monsters that require using timing and cunning to overcome.

Design Notes: was my first modern era game and my first encounter with the Unity game engine. I chronicled my adventures learning programming and creating this title extensively in a series of articles titled The Brick Dead Project.

Easter Egg: You can click inside of the title diorama to hurl Force Balls at the skeletons.


Seasonal Games

Any given holiday is ripe for gamification and I love making them!

I Hate Halloween

Download Windows EXE installer via Dropbox
Download Windows ZIP archive via Dropbox
Download Android via Google Play
Download Android via Kindle App Store

It’s Halloween and the Trick-or-Treaters are coming! They want candy and are prepared to egg your house if you cannot satisfy their demands. Defend your home on this endless night of arcade mischief!

Design Notes: This was the second title I would release to the public following the canceled Zombie Fling and the quagmire that would eventually become Zero Sum. I wanted to do something for Halloween, but didn't want to resort to just making a horror game and release it around the holiday. This was the end result: A game literally about Halloween from an adult perspective.

The play mechanics were inspired from the arcade classic (Root Beer) Tapper but brought into a 3D perspective, although I've been told that people can no longer see the resemblance. I was very happy with the way the corner-lot you're 'defending' keeps the player moving to ensure complete situational awareness.

Fun Fact: This was my favorite main menu backdrop, narrowly edging out My Magnificent Balls!.


Kringle Krunch

Download for Windows, Linux, Mac or play instantly using a WebGL compatible browser (Chrome, Firefox) via MikeyKae.Itch.Io

Help Santa dodge air traffic and drop presents down chimneys in this high-skill arcade experience.

Design Notes: Made in four days, and released two days before Christmas 2016, I think this is one of my best and least played arcade-style games. The 3D Santa sleigh rig works magnificently with the rest of the 2D game elements and made the 'cargo spill' effect a real showstopper. Speaking of the cargo spill, it was actually added in the 11th hour to give a bit of a reward back to players who were more conservative with their present bombing.

I found doing voice work for Santa was surprisingly difficult. He's just so iconic and we've all heard it so many times that not finding that special sweet spot is immediately off-putting. I think I nailed it in the end, but it was the result of several hours of practice.

Fun Fact: Creating a family friendly, Santa based game poses some interesting challenges. For example, you can't just blow up Santa if the player loses.

The fat birds are actually from my Ludum Dare game "Runty Raptor's Rock Roller" while Santa, the sleigh, and Rudolph are heavily modified 3rd-party assets used in my previous Christmas game "Santa Ready for Takeoff!".

This was my first project distributed using Itch.Io. I was not expecting the batch of changes that had wrecked my current cloud distribution system and tried it out of desperation. I could not have been more satisfied and fell instantly in love with Itch's ease of use and business model.


Santa Ready for Takeoff!

Download Windows EXE installer via Dropbox
Download Windows ZIP archive via Dropbox


It's Christmas eve and Santa is ready for takeoff!  There's just one problem: The Elves forgot to clean up after their snowman building competition! Help Santa steer the sleigh and knock down snowmen to give Rudolph enough time to reach 88 clippity-clops per second to get airborne.

Design Notes: Whipped this one up in two days using modified 3rd-party art assets. While I love the camera move at the beginning of the game, I think this is probably my least graphically appealing title.

I knew that most people would only play this once, so the game was designed not to have a fail state and force the player to practice during the initial play session until they can win.

Fun Fact: No one 'got' the 88MPH reference from Back to the Future. Strangely, I felt it was too obvious, especially with the speedometer font being copied from the movie.


Game Jam Entries

Thus far, I have only participated in the Ludum Dare Compo game jam.
Each of these titles were created entirely from scratch in 48hrs (art, audio, and code)
and based on a 'mystery theme' revealed at the beginning of the event.


Runty Raptor's Rock Roller

View the game jam page for public feedback and downloads for Windows, Linux, and Mac

Runty Raptor's Rock Roller is a level-based runner game that challenges you to balance greed with speed to beat the pack to the juiciest prey. Pointless skateboard tricks and bad physics included AT NO CHARGE!

Runty was always the smallest of his pack; Always late to the hunt; Always stuck with the unappetizing leftovers (Feet and tails! Yuck!). Runty dejectedly kicked a large stone down the hill and sighed. His eyes widened as the little dino gears in his mind began to turn. The stone picked up speed as it bounced and rolled across the terrain!

Runty worked tirelessly throughout the night, leveraging tooth and claw to craft a wondrous example of ancient technology: The Skateboard (Or, as Runty dubbed it, The Rock Roller)! With this, Runty would be able to beat the pack to the Hunt and, finally, have his pick of the juiciest prey!

Design Notes: This was my first Ludum Dare and I was proud just to have finished. I spent a week cramming and practicing, most on how to do 2D vector art. I knew I wanted to make a 2D runner-style game yet had never actually done a runner game nor worked in 2D . Ironicly, while I prepped a ton for this event, I did not create a 'practice game' before hand. I just didn't seem sporting.

Note that this was an odd Ludum Dare event as it was the only one without community scores/ratings.

Here is a blog post with more of my thoughts written immediately following the event.


Antagonistic: Hamburger Hill

Visit the game jam page for public feedback and event scoring.
Download for Windows, Linux, Mac, and to play instantly using a WebGL compatible browser (Chrome, Firefox) via MikeyKae.Itch.Io


AntagonisticNew16x9.pngFly, spit acid, manage egg production, and lead your army of ants into beetle territory and up Hill 943 to snatch the burger in this completely unique action-strategy experience.

God save the Queen’s lunch!

Design Notes: I failed out on my second Ludum Dare, giving up half-way through. This was to be my triumphant return. And boy, oh boy, was it ever! I absolutely ADORE Antagonistic! This unique twist on a hybrid shooter/tower defense is fresh, original, and tightly balanced. The puns in the title are pretty good and "God save the Queen's lunch" is the stuff Internet memes are made from. Making a game about ants had also been on my to-do list ;) I'm still a little peeved about my innovation score, believing it should have been much higher.

Four additional updates for bug fixing and graphical touch-ups were issued in the week following the event. The new title image, inspired by movie posters like Demolition Man, was also created during this time and I still love it. I feel it is my 'box shot' since I Hate Halloween.


Airship Engineer

Visit the game jam page for public feedback and event scoring.
Download for Windows, Linux, Mac, and to play instantly using a WebGL compatible browser (Not recommended!) via MikeyKae.Itch.Io


AirshipEngineer 2017-07-31 15-49-02-74.jpgMan the engines and burn all the cats in this arcade action bonanza. Maintain three uniquely cantankerous steampunk engine contraptions to keep the travel schedule of this experimental, animal-powered, luxury zeppelin. Arrive at your destination late and you’ll be fired. Push the engines too hard and you’ll blow up the ship. Do your job right and your boss is sure to be promoted.

All a day in the life for the Airship Engineer!

Design Notes: This was an especially tough jam. I actually scrapped the first game I was making and started over from scratch after the first night of the event, leaving particularly strapped for time. Still, I'm fairly happy with how this game turned out and the balance is spot on. There's also a surprisingly large number of 3D assets for a Compo title.

Sadly, this is the first title I released with a dull, static main menu.

Here is a blog post with more of my thoughts written immediately following the event.

No comments :

Post a Comment