Updating Old Work

Something I’ve been planning to do for a while is to package all of my old Flash games into a single Steam app, for the purpose of long-term preservation. Technically this is easy enough – I just need to program a simple Adobe AIR app that can load Flash files, which is how most of my Steam games already work.

The hard part is figuring out how much I should change the games themselves.

I obviously need to remove music that I don’t have permission to use – and there’s a lot of that in my old games. I’ll aim to replace it with music that Phyrnna made around the same time as each game was made. I’ll also need to edit copyrighted characters that are a bit too obvious – like recoloring some of the Pokemon. And finally, users will expect a few Quality of Life features – mute button, fullscreen mode, Steam achievements – stuff that is essential now, but wasn’t at the time. I don’t think anyone will complain about QOL features.

But things get tricky in a few cases – is replacing silly text tips with more useful ones a QOL change, or is it censorship? What about replacing a ridiculous font that’s almost impossible to read? What if I want to keep the old font, but I don’t have it installed on my computer anymore, and can’t find the exact same one?

Is making the game easier a bad thing, even if it was universally panned for being too hard? (no one complained when I made EBF3 easier by adding QOL features and lowering the requirements for minigames)

What about really offensive and cringy content? Well… I guess I need to keep that in. Even the bad guy’s Swaztika armband may need to stay. That one AIDS joke too.

I’m interested to know what people think about all this – how much change is best? Maybe the bare minimum, plus some QOL, like in Epic Battle Fantasy 3?

I’m leaning towards that.

I started updating The Kitten Game, only to quickly realize that it loses a lot of charm if I update too many things. We’re talking about stuff I made 12 years ago. As Ronja said, “It’s good because it’s shit.”

It’s also less work if I don’t change much.

27 thoughts on “Updating Old Work

  1. Blue_Elite

    I’d just be certain to put the date each game was created somewhere (highly recommend on the start menu). It’s like playing Megaman 1 just to learn all the design changes that have gone on in the series and all the polish, improvements, and most importantly pitfalls that have been overcome with time.
    Preserving the games as they were would be for the learning experience (which would pretty much be the point of playing decade(s)-old Flash games). It’s a time capsule.

    Plus, you don’t want to overdo refurbishing old games unless you’re doing a full-on remake. Seeing the gradual progression in art-quality and design is part of the charm.

    Reply
  2. Penguin Master_br

    I think The Kitten Game and other minor games like that should use music from other EBF games instead of having no music or entirely new ones. Epic Battle Fantasy 1 should have new music, but it”s fine if it reuses old EBF music too. (Also, keep zombie goku plz! just rename him to Zombie ROKU like that npc in Epic Battle Fantasy 5 or something)

    Reply
  3. SkySpiral7

    You don’t have to do more work if you don’t want to. Having the games be retro means they aren’t worse than the original so who can complain? I would keep silly text tips specifically since I enjoy the useless tips in Bullet Heaven 1. If you want to adjust the difficulty a stat multiplier should be easy enough to do and making it adjustable lets people play the original (even if the original is now “hard”).

    Adjustable difficulty in Bullet Heaven 2 is the whole reason I started looking at kupogames. I’m a big fan of BH2 even though I can only handle “normal” mode for now.

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  4. Ain

    Maybe you should try to configure the program which is running the game or try to switch from flash to something else.
    I’m saying this because a few people have trouble running flash games properly, as in the “game runs slower than usual”.
    I have experienced this in EBF 1-4 (3 had that change speed option though which helped a lot)

    I’m not saying that you should completely remove the flash plug-in, but if it is possible and somewhat managable, port / convert the game in a different way.

    I used to play another flash game on my browser which had the same issue, and after they made a “Collection” port to steam, the game itself got a lot faster.
    but sadly i don’t really know what certain changes they made.

    This specific problem mostly effects amd cpu/gpu’s from like 2015ish, atleast from my experience.

    Other than that i would strongly suggest that you keep the changes as small as possible. I’m looking forward to this !

    Thanks a bunch.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I think you dont need to make them easier, let them be a mark on history of your abouth how you made them, i like it that way but ultamily the decision is yours. will stil try yhem when you are done either way so you have nothing to lose if you want to change it, remember, its your game. 🙂

    Reply
  6. 2014.RH

    >”What if I want to keep the old font, but I don’t have it installed on my computer anymore, and can’t find the exact same one?”

    You don’t know what font it is, or you can’t find THIS font? Most fonts can be easily identified by their names. For example, The Kitten Game contains only 3 non-MS fonts: Skeksis, Myriad Pro Light and President.

    Reply
  7. Raleigh

    If ebf1 will be more original with music (if it’s a possibility), then maybe we can have another soundtrack I would throw money at.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    “no one complained when I made EBF3 easier by adding QOL features and lowering the requirements for minigames”

    Wow, it’s been so long, I don’t even remember EBF3 *having* any minigames, even with this reminder. Looking at the achievements, apparently there were a lot.

    Reply
  9. sureman

    Depends on what’s your goal: making a port, an update or a remake.
    Port: exactly the same, but works on a different platform.
    Update: change just a bit here and there (what you did to EBF3).
    Remake: lots of things change but stay reminiscent of the original (AOE vs AOE remake, remix of a song).

    IMO update is the best option. A bit of QOL, a bit of polishing, removing copyrighted content.

    Unrelated question: if I buy during a steam sale (or as a bundle) do you receive less money or all the profit loss is suffered by steam?

    Reply
    1. Matt Roszak Post author

      The revenue split for Steam is always the same – Valve always takes 30% of what you pay.

      Reply
  10. matheus

    I think you should do two versions, one where you only change the things that would bring you problems regarding rights, and one where you make all the necessary changes, such as modifying tips and so on.

    Reply
  11. dayzproplay345

    all of it is literal history changing it should be limit as much as possible i think yes as stuffy said offensive joke can stay anyway thx for the childhood u gave me

    Reply
  12. ShadowsSun

    I’m in favour of a an updated mode by default and a “What was younger me thinking?” mode for people with a burning desire to realise exactly how many bad jokes those games contained.

    Reply
  13. Kenneth

    Hmm… Dont think recoloring pokemons is a good idea, they are still physically the same. just replace anything that could get you in trouble. Zombie Goku i think is fine (except the pokemon controlling it). You can change the name to Zombie Roku, since Roku is the name you gave his parody version in epic battle fantasy 5.

    Reply
  14. MaskedMan

    i would say that getting ebf prtotype could’ve been cool but…

    i remembered its just shield spamming
    maybe you could make at least a ebf prototype reference somewhere in your work?

    Reply
  15. Rbstat

    In terms of copyright and stuff i’d say that most of the not music stuff is fine except for the Pokemon. and maybe some of the final fantasy creatures like the Mog in the first EBF. but those Pokemon gotta go, i don’t know if re-coloring them would actually get around the issue. And if i were you, i would just replace all the pokemon with something else entirely. Some of the anime characters in brawl royale might be able to get by with color changes tho, like zombie goku for instance.

    Reply
  16. Jaque

    If you are worried about censorship, you can always excuse it as just retroactivelly making things consistent with the newer games.

    Reply
  17. banjo upton

    If I were you I’d simply add two settings, “classic” and “safe” (or something), classic keeps everything the way it it, safe adds QOL and gets ird of some things that aren’t as acceptable these days. Maybe even change round item drops in safe mode so there’s an incentive for much older players to give it a go

    Reply
  18. Joseph Howard

    I think it can be good to keep the original jokes, even if they seem outdated or offensive to some. I am excited to replay the older games in the EBF Collection. I also watched some of your really old animations recently, and I really enjoyed them, but it seems like the oldest ones aren’t on Youtube, which is a genuine shame. Thank you for putting the extra work in to polish your games for your fans.

    Reply
  19. StuffyKnows

    The offensive stuff can stay. Yada yada yada, product of its time, denying you did thing is denying that prejudice towards thing exists, whatever. What I’m interested in seeing is how you’ll handle EBF2’s port. How much bug fixing will be done? Will the unused skill bonuses be added? Will defence and magic defence bonuses finally work? Will all the incorrect descriptions be fixed? Will beating the game on Epic count as doing it on Hard and Normal finally? Also wanna know what EBF1 Zombie Goku will be replaced with, and if he’ll be made less obnoxious to fight.

    Reply
    1. ChaosSorceror_Davidicus

      Hey, Zombie Goku wasn’t too bad to beat on Epic (when I first played it on Kongregate).
      … But that thing (gestures to EBF2 Epic Lance)…. that thing scares me.

      Reply
  20. crewell

    When I first played ebf3, that was cool that it was not as hard as ebf1 or ebf2.
    Or maybe u can try to preserve the original one(s) and also put the easier versions in it.

    Reply

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