Postmortem: “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”

In place of my usual column at GameSetWatch, I was requested to do a general postmortem of “The Majesty of Colors” this time. I’ll point you that way if only for the inclusion of my initial design sketch for the game. It was an interesting experience writing the piece; usually, this sort of evaluation involves more than one person, so it’s easier to pick out successes and failures. When everything is your fault, it’s tricky to pick out specifics.

Because of the forum of GSW, I left out a few points that I was tempted to include. Here are a few of them.

I didn’t mention the nature of the comments and reviews folks gave the game. On Kongregate, a majority of the negative reviews were poorly spelled or grammatically clumsy. A majority of the well-written reviews had proper spelling and grammar. This made the criticism a lot easier to take.

Another interesting tidbit is the difference in advertisement revenues from various sources. Kongregate has a revenue-sharing program, and everywhere else I used MochiAds. Kongregate has so far made me ten times as much as MochiAds, from ad revenues alone. There’s a huge difference there, especially considering that I’ve had almost as many plays through MochiAds as through Kongregate.

“Majesty” is my first big success as a game developer. “Big” in this case means “will feed me for a couple of months.” Part of me is worried that it was a fluke, and that I won’t be able to duplicate its success. Indeed, the game I’m working on right now is far more conventional than “Majesty,” and it was the latter’s artsy charm that won a lot of folks’ praise. But we’ll see how things turn out.

7 thoughts on “Postmortem: “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”

  1. Glad we’re making you money! Congrats on making such a cool and unique game.

    As for the negative reviews thing… this is something we’ve been wrestling with. We’re thinking of doing digg-style voting on comments and/or having a review section that’s separate from comments

    1. I think negative reviews/comments are a consequence of having a popular site. The self-policing idea is good, but you’re bound not to catch them all. I don’t take the negative ones personally… well, I do, a bit, but I try not to let it bother me and generally succeed.

  2. Thanks for the postmortem, I find it interesting to see the process behind this experiment in interaction and storytelling and gameplay based on exploration of meaning within a single space. Are you familiar with the independent game studio Tale of Tales?

    I’m intrigued by the difference in revenue from Kongregate and MochiAds. I’ve seen that pointed out before, though I haven’t experienced similar results.

    The distinctive character of player comments on Kongregate would make a good subject for a game, I think. :) Maybe I’ll do that sometime.

    Good luck with your next game. It seems like you have a very strong grasp of game design, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you are able to continue making games that people like. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what else you’ll come up with. :)

    1. I am indeed looking forward to Tale of Tales’s upcoming game, The Path. They’ve got a very interesting pre-mortem that they’re doing on their blog, telling the story of the game’s development.

  3. Thanks for an interesting read. Just wanted to say I adored The Majesty of Colors and I’m constantly thinking of a way to copy the concept without blatantly stealing it. What I’d want to create is ultimate freedom in a very limited environment. i.e., for example allowing all that stuff I tried to do in Majesty but couldn’t (the stuff you’ve already seen in reviews, like giving balloons to the sailors, stealing the parasol, etc). I had an idea of a pixie or a spirit interacting with a human tribe, but it’s hard coming up with a control scheme as brilliant and intuitive as a giant tentacle. The setting, the controls, everything is so damn perfect.

  4. Skimming the web for any comments of game design, I came across your postmortem and game, they are much appreciated. What kept me reading the article was your derived inspiration of H.P. Lovecraft, which led I think, to a very original game.

    We hope to see more games from the deep abyss. :)

  5. The Majesty of Colors is one of the most unique games I’ve played. I love the style of graphics, and I love the idea of choosing one’s own direction. I’ve recommended it to many people, some of whom get frustrated right away by not knowing “what to do,” and others who appreciate the open nature of the game.

    For the record, I played the game on Kongregate (multiple times, on multiple computers), so I’m glad to have contributed to your tenfold income.

    I just played Bars on Kongregate today, and I’m mightily impressed by the concept and art. Please keep up the amazing work.

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