You are an egg. You have weapons. Your job is to take out your enemies, which depending on the type of battle you are in could be the other team or literally every egg on the screen!
Bad Eggs Online is an awesome turn-based multiplayer shooting game that is really innovative because of the integration of some great features such as: in-game chat, achievements, level-ups, skills, custom shells, and even a terrain editor…whew, talk about a big game!
As you progress through the game, you are awarded new weapons and shell design options (so you can tell who has “rank” when you play them). You also acquire achievements, one-time use skills, and there is a store where you can buy things you haven’t yet earned. There are various combat scenarios for you to choose from, such as 3v3, 2v2, 1v1, or 1v1v1v1v1. As if that weren’t enough, the in-game chat that carries over from waiting room to the game and back again is a really nice addition. This allows for teams to talk about strategy and even use disinformation tactics!
In Bad Eggs Online, the Donkin brothers did an incredible job at making a deep and social game. The gameplay is smooth, polish is high, and the experience is great. Congratulations Donkins!
Get To Know Rob Donkin
Tell me about yourself- how many people are on your team? Where are you based?
I’ve recently started working with my brother and we made Bad Eggs Online together as a two man team with me as coder and him as artist. We both live in the UK.
How long have you been making games? What did you do before?
I’ve been making games for just over 3 years. I dragged John on board earlier this year and since then we’ve made a few games together. Learning to make games overlapped with uni for me – I couldn’t wait to finish my course so I could forget all I’d learned and start making games full time!
What was your inspiration for “Bad Eggs Online”?
It’s pretty clear that Worms provided some inspiration for us but actually we enjoyed playing an artillery game that we knew simply as ‘Bomb’ when we were kids. According to wikipedia it was in fact called Tank Wars but was also known as Bomb because that’s what the file name was. We were also very impressed by another multiplayer tank game called Shellshock Live. We were very conscious of treading in the footsteps of these great games in the same genre that had come before us so we really tried to approach it in our own unique way and come up with features and weaponry that hadn’t been done before in quite the same way.
Why multi-player? Why in-game chat? How did you build it?
I was at FGS earlier this year and sat in on a very inspiring talk by Chris Benjaminsen of Player.IO. His talk was all about how he made Everybody Edits using Player.IO and he included some great figures about how much people were spending in his game. I had been wanting to do a multiplayer game for a while but couldn’t see how it would work financially (nor did I want to spend ages learning how to go about making one). Player.IO was so well documented and easy to get to grips with (after a bit of a learning curve at the beginning) that I just decided to dive right. I’d actually prototyped an artillery game with eggs about a year earlier but had dropped it by the wayside.
In-game chat seemed like an obvious thing to include in a multiplayer game. Whilst we were building and testing the game it was clear that the trash talk was a huge part of what made the game fun. What good is smashing your opponent into oblivion if you can’t laugh in their face afterwards? We didn’t get chat right first time though. It took a bit of learning as we went to get it where it is now. We initially only had in-game chat so after a game or in the pre-game lobby you couldn’t chat to each other which was obviously a pretty silly mistake. We also then didn’t make chat persistent from lobby to game which meant that it was hard to follow a conversation. The great thing about a multiplayer game though is that if you don’t get it right first time your players will let you know and you can release an update to fix things.
Can you give us any insight into your content release schedule, and how that has impacted the game?
Although we don’t have a rigid schedule that we stick to, we’re working full time on improving the game, adding new features and additional content on a regular basis. We’ve worked hard at taking on board the feedback and suggestions from our players, keeping in touch using our forum. So we kind of play it by ear when it comes to new content and such, not to say that we don’t have stuff waiting in the wings.
We recently launched a cool new feature which we call skills. You can earn one a day and it enables you to cast little perks such as shields or teleport in the game. Sometimes these can be a real game changer and we feel it adds an interesting extra dimension that wasn’t there previously. At Halloween we added a new map and the zombie egg. We infected one of our players with the zombie and asked them to go forth and spread the outbreak by killing other players with the zombie egg. A week later there are nearly 10,000 infected players.
We also have a huge range of egg shells that people can use to play as in the game. We’re adding new ones every week with plenty more to come. Did someone say Dragon Eggs?
Any early trends or stats you can share about player behavior?
By far and away the most played game type is 1v1 (which is understandable since it is the default selection and also will make for the shortest games). The least played game mode however happens to be my personal favourite: 4 player free for all. I like this game mode because it’s as much about diplomacy as it is about skill. You have to form alliances if you want to win but you can’t trust anyone! I’m also sure that that’s why it is the least popular game mode…
Also, it’s almost worrying how addicted some players get! We don’t get to track this sort of stuff usually but on a multiplayer game where you have to create an account we can see how individual players progress. When we were making challenges for the game we put some in that we thought would be crazy high for the real addicts like get 500 kills. We’re already seeing players that have over 1000 kills which is pretty mindblowing and also fantastic to see that people have enjoyed playing so much that they keep coming back for more.
What types of games do you like to create the most? What types of games do you like to play the most?
I like making all sorts of games. I like to try and do something a bit different every time but I suppose I do always have the old fall backs of ‘something with box2d’ or a point and click adventure. Those are definitely the kinds of games that I like playing so it’s probably not too surprising that I have made a few of them myself. John and I grew up with classic point and click adventure games such as the Discworld games and Myst series so have always been inspired by those.
How long is your game creation cycle? What is your process?
It varies so wildly depending on the game. Bad Eggs has been the longest development time of all my games, partly because it was our most ambitious project so far, partly because I had to learn how to use Player.IO and partly because we’re still working on it adding new features! Generally we try to aim for about a month per game or less if possible. Bad Eggs has been about 3 months so far I think but after going into beta we let it rest for a week and made a quick little game in between (not yet released though).
We tend to plan our games as thoroughly as possible before we start making anything and use a wiki to keep track of our thoughts. Then it’s just go go go, referring back to the wiki and filling in the gaps as we go.
Are there any game developers that you admire or consider “rock stars”?
We admire a lot of developers. Independent game developers in the truest sense of the word who are making amazing games. There are a lot of talented people making flash games and we’re always impressed by the wealth of entertaining and original ideas that come out on a weekly basis. Some games that have caught our attention recently include Cyclomaniacs 2, The King’s League, BioGems (and not just because it was made by mochi! This was a really fresh spin on an exhausted genre and we were very impressed by it), Wonderputt, Last Stand: Union City, Shore Siege 2.
What is it about making a new game that you enjoy most?
Prototyping a new game is a really fun process. Coming up with the ideas that are going to make a game fun and then being able to very quickly translate that into something you can interact with is something I really love doing.
Do you have any hot projects you’re working on right now?
Bad Eggs Online is still taking up a good chunk of our time at the moment but I do have a sequel to a game I made with the artist RobotJAM in the works (Hambo 2) and we have started brainstorming our next game that may or may not involve a ninja teddy bear.
Congratulations again, looking forward to Hambo 2!