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Minis Week: Kahoots

Honeyslug is a game development company we started in the summer of 2008, with the aim of creating games with interesting mechanics which we could make with just a couple of people.

Minis - Kahoots

We’ve found Flash to be a great platform for prototyping our game concepts – most of which are 2D games – and one of the ideas we had was Kahoots – a fusion of Zoo Keeper and Lemmings – where you guide your little guys (called Kahoots) to an exit door, but aren’t able to control them directly. Instead you swap adjacent blocks – things like bounce-pads, spikes or reverse blocks – to alter their routes. As we started to build levels with the basic features, we came up with ideas for new ones – and added cannons, which the Kahoots can be blasted out of, Cardborgs – nasty creatures which kill any Kahoots within reach, and cardboard boxes, which must be crushed or torn up by Cardborgs to clear the path – meaning that you often have to juggle things around in order to keep both Kahoots and Cardborgs alive, without allowing them to make contact.

Minis - Kahoots

Based on the pixel art prototype, we worked with a Flash games portal who published the flash version, and funding its completion – and at this point we started to think about ways we could really make the game stand out visually. Since Nat had done a animation degree, focussing mainly on stop-motion plasticine animation, and Ricky was a dab hand in Photoshop, we decided to bypass the route of paying an artist to create polished assets for us, and instead make all the art ourselves – with the strict rule that everything in the game would be real – either scanned, photographed or hand-drawn. We set a budget of £30, and went down our local high street buying things for the game – buttons, beads and fabrics from the local haberdashery, sweets and chocolates in the pound shop and of course, loads of plasticine for the characters!

Minis - Kahoots


At this point, we created the Pegbeast, from a knitted juggling ball for a body, a peg for his mouth and a button for his eye, who quickly became the Tutorial character of the world of Kahoots – singing all of the tutorials to the player. Ricky wrote and sang all of the songs, and his brother Rob did all the musical arrangements.

Minis - Kahoots

When Sony came to see us earlier this year, we showed them a number of our prototype concepts, and were delighted to be asked to develop one of them into a minis title for PSP. At that time, the Flash version of Kahoots was really coming together – just some final tweaks needed – and it seemed like the combination of interesting gameplay and the quirky charm of the art style and music would make it a great fit for the new platform.

Minis - Kahoots

A few weeks later, we had a devkit up and running, and were hard at work on the conversion process. The PSP is fairly powerful – similar to the iPhone – and relatively easy to get to grips with. Sony’s Developer Support team were great – turning around patient and helpful answers to our newbie questions really quickly. The mouse-based controls of the original translated pretty smoothly to the PSP D-pad, and we couldn’t resist the temptation to add a load more songs for Pegbeast to sing!

Kahoots will be out on the Minis store from October 1st

33 Comments
27 Author replies

Certainly looks interesting.

2

Sounds interesting almost like a mini LBP.

How much will it be?

£2.49

3

with a splash of echochrome

They look like Plastus From “Plastusiowy Pamiętnik” book, written by Maria Kownacka.

Hahaha!

When we were doing a photoshoot, a little girl came past and said a similar thing. I think it is the ears.

Looks like a great game. Nice work guys.

Awesome, cheers. We were chuffed to get the opportunity to do it on PSP, the guys at Sony have been really supportive, which is great for a tiny 3 man (sorry, 2 man, 1 woman) dev studio.

Why have Sony not yet updated the PSN Store, theres only one demo to put on, not exactly taxing is it!

That looks really cute. =D

You’ve just made Nat the designer very happy.

Just played the flash version, its pretty good, although a bit slow paced.

R Shoulder button on the PSP version will allow you to speed up the action. As you also may have found, the action freezes when dragging a block, but we’ve also put in a freeze action button on the L shoulder button, so you can navigate the level to suss out the best route.

Thats a really interesting design process! Adding that to classic Lemmings style gameplay, with your own twist to makes it sound very interesting.

@6: Is it Thursday yet? No, I didn’t think so. The PlayStation Store gets updated every Thursday.

We spent about 2-3 hours in local shops looking for stuff, we have a ton of other graphic assets which we could’ve used, but we already had so much stuff there already, we thought we’d hold some stuff back should we decide to K2.

Id buy it twice if it was playable on PS3 and had trophies ;)

I love the first song on the flash version I just found.

Any Idea on the price?

11.1

£2.49/€2.99

Nice to see an Indie developer getting their ‘big break’ on PSP, but then again I suppose that’s what Mini’s are all about! I love that you set a budget of £30 to create the art assets lol :)

Regarding the price I’m guessing it will be £3.99 like the one yesterday…

12.1

£2.49/€2.99 Price point.

Actually I have just got to the second song, very funny too, I’m guessing they are all great!!

13.1

There are more songs in the PSP version.

heh I liked the flash version…can’t wait to try it out on my new PSP Go, come October.

Is it possible for you to let us know the price of the game?

14.1

Saudi Arabia – USD$4.29.

I’m like a walking, talking price label machine.

The graphics are adorable :-)

I’ll be sure to pick this up!

15.1

Cheers. Nat can’t stop smiling here. Like sharing an office with the Cheshire Cat!

heh thanks for the info Mark. I wish you guys all the best with your future titles, and hope you guys make more minis *hint hint*

£2.49?! Wow!!! Got any plans to make some low-budget PS3 games in the near future? There are too many £7.99 ‘disappointments’ on PSN – I’m all for £2.49 games being made!!!

It’s amazing that you have created a whole game on a shoe-string budget when some of the bigger studios try to charge nearly that much for a virtual costume or a guitar hero song or a premium XMB theme!

If I had a PSP I would get this game just to say thank you for pricing it at £2.49!!! Sadly I don’t have one, so unless you turn your talents to PS3 development you’ll not be getting any money from me…

P.S. 11 replies to 16 comments is good work too! You’re ticking all the right boxes Mr Honeyslug! lol ;)

17.1

Thanks. Getting giddy with the praise.

We’re platform agnostic, so we’re open to other platforms as long as we can justify the dev cost up front.

I’m always keen to reply on forums, plus having thrown our own website together, with it’s own desperately underused comments section, I feel I owe the website engineer a chance to have their comments area a bit of a workout.

Thanks again for the comments.

Just played the flash game, and i love it! Ill make sure ill get this mini, if not on day 1, defiantly soon! Also, thanks for the great price, and a great looking game, aswell as supporting the PSP. Im excited about this kick-start of the PSP, and im actually buying the majority of games this year on PSP and not my PS3

18.1

Great stuff! Thanks! We’re chuffed with the fact that the feedback seems positive about the game, we’re really pleased with how this turned out. We’re interested to see how the PSP community takes to the Pegbeast!

@Ravenblade86,

Sonys Official twitter page says Uncharted 2 Demo is going on the PSN Store today. They do update it on the odd occasion on a day other than Thursday such as the Wolverine Demo!

Yay, you just been pwnd, now stfu if you don’t know the facts!

I played the first few levels I played in the flash game. Honestly, I didn’t expect much (I guess I just didn’t like Lemmings…), but it was actually a lot of fun! At the reasonable price, I will pick this on up. :D

20.1

Thanks, glad to have a convert.

Since you’re on such a good roll with the prices, any idea what the Norwegian prices are gonna be?

doesn’t really matter, if i know myself i will pick it up no matter what, it looks great:D

21.1

Not sure on the Norwegian price. I’m sure it’ll be sensible.

Sorry about that!

Typically the kind of game that would have greatly benefited the use of a touch screen. It’s a shame that the PSP Go don’t have one :(

Anyway, I might be tempted, I love this kind of Lemmings-like puzzle game, and this one seems very interesting to play, and seems to have a lot of charm :) The mini-price is a huge plus. And for 3€ it seems like a really great deal.

22.1

Cheers!

23

All the minis I’ve looked at are pretty sweet. I never thought they’d look so good. If this keeps up I’ll have a real hard time choosing what I want on thursday.

23.1

There’s a nice game at the top of the page here.

/hard sell

@Mark Inman, I’m really sorry, but do you know the price for Tetris and BreakQuest?

24.1

No idea, sorry. I’m sure the full price list will be available on Thursday.

It’s only *checks watch* 29 hours or so until then.

25

@ Mark lol I was thinking about your game too. I’m a big fan of Lemmings, been playing the same levels since it arrived on the amiga all those years a go lol, so there’s a good chance I’ll be picking this up on Thursday.

25.1

Ace, I worked* on Lemmings**, too!

* Tested
** It was Lemmings 3D and Lemmings Play Paintball – I only just started as Tribes was finished.

Brilliant stuff. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more of the Pegbeast’s musical stylings in future.

( the web version is here: http://bit.ly/kahoooots )

26.1

I hope so, thanks for your comments.

Even though i’m no lemmings fan, i’m really liking thisand enjoyed reading about the development of it.
I reckon i’ll be picking this game up for sure.

27.1

Wow, thank you. We’re really flattered by the positive comments not just about the game, but the story behind it.

28

I’m a huge Lemmings fan, and have been looking for a Mini or two to pickup come Friday – this will definitely be the first.

I also like the organic graphics, and the gameplay sounds good.

It’s also refreshing to see such honest enthusiasm from the developer – wish all the best for you guys!

28.1

Thanks, your feedback reassures us that we seem to be doing the right thing.

We make games we’d play ourselves, I realise that can be a hackneyed statement, but with just three of us in the team it’s got to be something we all believe in and are enthusiastic about.

LAST!

29.1

Well done. Don’t be last to buy Kahoots on PSP, mind!

I’ve embarrassed myself with that reply.

Brilliant. You gotta love them cute looking Kahoots. : )

Mark Inman, it’s great to see how much time you spend on responding to your readers/potential customers, and thanks for sharing a little of the story behind the game. A highly interesting read.

I’ll be sure to pick this one up for me and the missus tomorrow.

I wish you guys the best of luck.

30.1

Kiitos swiftswig.

We’re really excited to have managed to bring Kahoots to a platform like PSP, I think the story behind it shows that we don’t go into meaningful development without feeling this is something we will enjoy making.

I hope you enjoy it, thanks for your support.

Buying it Day one because I can relate to how it is working indy, browsing stores looking for stuff and doing everything yourself, from scratch while working on a tight budget. Congratulations, guys! It’s awesome to know that you don’t have to be the HUGE FISH to get to mainstream audience.

Now… I’ll just let you know that I will buy this game a second time if you release a PS3 version *wink, wink*…

31.1

Wow! Thank you very much. Loving all the positive vibes!

32

Bought this game yesterday, really loving it. So full of charm, constantly have a smile when playing this game – even when trying to get the more trickier cake pieces!

Laughed like a loon on the bus yesterday when I unlocked a polaroid – the songs are amazing!

Well done.

32.1

Excellent, glad you are enjoying it!

33

Hi Mark,

I am Luigi from Impressionware (we have a minis title out too).
I just wanted to let you know that yesterday I bought your game and I really like it. Well done!

ciao

33.1

Wow thanks! I’ll be sorting out downloading some other minis once I get my Go!

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