Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 37: Happy Halloween!

10/31/2012

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

    It’s that super spooky time of the year, Halloween! And here at Slick we want you guys to know that your free update will be ready for download next week! That’s right, a bunch of new enemies and challenges await your trampling terrapin! The Shellrazer universe is a really fun one to work in and we’ve had a blast coming up with new levels, hopefully you guys like it!

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    And just for being such cool people, we’d like to give you guys a super neat-o Shellrazer 8.5×11 poster that you can print out and hang up on your fridge! How cool is that! You’ll need to get it printed out first and probably get some magnets or something, but HERE’S A LINK to the high-res version! In this picture we can see our favorite war-turtle stomping through some glaciers with that grumpy dragon Chuckles on his back. So show your love for that rampaging reptile with your very own print!

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So another week tramples by! We’d like to thank everyone as always for following our posts and keeping up with the happenings that go on here at Slick. Until next week, keep those turtle-cannons blazing!

-Jesse

 

 

Posted by: Under: Shellrazer,ShellRazer Dev-blog Comments: 2

Shellrazer Dev-Blog 36: Map shot and some new Baddies!

10/24/2012

    Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

    This week we are hard at work, wrapping up the last touches on the Icebreaker expansion! It’s been a lot of fun coming up with new enemies and weapons and we are getting close to submitting the content. Soon you’ll be out on a new island with your terrific turtle tower, stomping out those new bad guys and rescuing your egg! This Dev-Blog will show you a few more badguys and a neat shot of the new island! Hope you all dig it!

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    Yikes! Look at those crafty Yetis!

    We tried something a little different with the new Yeti enemies in Ice-Breaker. We wanted to keep all their base bodies the same and augment them with different armor and helmet styling to mix them up visually. The Snow-bowler Yetis, for example, wears antlered helmets and are masters of creating giant snowballs. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job correctly, the player will start associating antlered yetis and big snowball wielding yetis and beret wearing yetis as rapid fire enemies. We also needed more aerial units for Icebreaker so we beefed up the goblin balloons with fan driven mini-zeppelins that can lift our standard yetis into the sky!

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    Here’s a shot of the new island!

    We wanted to mix up the arctic with some smatterings of volcanoes to make the palette less blue. You can see from this shot that Icebreaker is a little more bleak than World 1, lacking some of the more happier tones and colors. Designing the Yeti architecture was a lot of fun and it turned out being a lot of wonky igloos with bearskins thrown over them. We also wanted to bring in the goblins from world one to layer on top of our new Yetis, so that explains the goblin towers sneaking into the arctic map. Shellrazer has never really been one for story but it always seems to work out in some wacky way or another.

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    So that’s this week’s dev-blog! between android, Ice-Breaker updates and sneaking in some new game prototyping we’ve been super busy. Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out our progress. Until next time, keep those turtle cannons blazing!

 

-Jesse

Posted by: Under: Shellrazer,ShellRazer Dev-blog Comments: 4

Shellrazer Dev-Blog 35: Android Progress with Waanderful Tech!

10/17/2012

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we have Nick talking about working with the android! It’ll be chock-full of awesome information. So take it away Nick!

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This week, I’ll type a little something up about the Android port for Shellrazer. If you’ve been following my twitter (@nickwaanders) you may have seen that I am not exactly thrilled with the Android development tools. Part of this is due to my own stubbornness, so I guess this deserves a bit more explanation than just a 140 character tweet.

About a year and a half ago a very talented programmer helped me set up my engine to be cross-platform, with the goal of being able to develop the entire game on the PC using my favourite development environment (Microsoft Visual Studio), and then simply compiling the same code on all the target devices without changes. It uses a Python script to read a generic make-file and it generates the solution files for each target platform (a bit like CMake). This system works great for PC and iOS targets. Shellrazer was mostly developed on the PC, and all that was required was a compile of the code on a mac to build the iOS version of the game. Android was also part of the targets, but the Android branch wasn’t really maintained for about a year and a half, and Google released a bunch of new SDK’s for Android since. So when I tried to revive this branch (most of which was originally figured out by the talented programmer helping me out at the time), it came with it’s share of frustrations. Most of these frustrations were due to me not having any experience with Android, and basically being a spoiled brat when it comes to development tools.

My engine is written in C/C++ for maximum speed, and also because the language is supported on almost all possible platforms. On Android, the main language is Java. This begs the question: WHY!!?!? I don’t understand why you would ever choose a garbage collected language as your primary language for a mobile device. Anyway, this is besides the point. Having Java as the main language requires you to have an interface between the Java and C/C++ code, and this interface is really quite ugly. Now, I recently noticed that the current SDK/NDK actually allows you to write a game or program using just C/C++ using the NativeApplication, but I haven’t tried this myself. I chose to keep the system we had and was partly working, even though this may have caused more frustration on my part than was healty.

Another problem I had was using the command line tools. It felt like I stepped in a timemachine and ended up in the 90s. Back then I was programming demos on MSDos using the command line tools. I guess on Unix a lot of stuff is command line, but I’m not a Unix guy. I’m learning, ok? :) Apart from these command line tools, debugging C/C++ code on Android is decades behind the iOS tools. It’s back to Printf debugging, or using gdb. It’s really rudimentary, and it slows down development a lot.

One big problem I ran into was that OpenGL was behaving itself for about 5 minutes, and then everything would fall apart and OpenGL would give me an out of memory error. I never saw this problem on iOS, and after a lot of digging around, I was convinced it was something to do with the Android OpenGL implementation. After a lot of swearing and many moments of almost giving up, I finally figured out what it was: Android runs the activity and the render view on different threads, and I was doing my OWN multithreading on top of that, which made things go a bit haywire. Looking back, I have no idea how it even could have worked at all. After this was fixed, things started behaving like they should.

After getting through all these hurdles, there is some good news. The game actually runs on Android now! It’s not done, but it’s running. I still need figure out why I am having ZFighting problems and I need to implement a lot of the systems like achievements, in app purchases, etc. As proof, here’s a picture of it on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (taken on my iPhone, har har) :

Alright, that’s it for this week’s update.

– Nick

 

Posted by: Under: Shellrazer,ShellRazer Dev-blog,Tech Comments: 6

Shellrazer Dev-Blog 34: Icebreaker intro and an Indie shout out!

10/10/2012

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

For the last week we’ve been working on the update for Shellrazer, the Android version of Shellrazer, and a new game! The Android version is coming along, but we’ve been hitting a few unexpected snags on the way. It’s progressing though, so once we feel that it’s in a ship-able state, it’ll be released. The update for Shellrazer we’ve been working on will feature a brand new island with 25 levels, a bunch of new enemies, and the 2 new weapons we’ve blogged about before. This time your precious egg gets stolen by a Yeti, which is obviously enough reason to blow them to smithereens for 25 more blistering levels!

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Also, this week was the release week of the game that our friend Brian Provinciano worked on for many many years. It’s called Retro City Rampage, it’s awesome, and you should definitely get it here: http://www.retrocityrampage.com/

Congrats on the release Brian, and may the sales be with you!

– Nick

Posted by: Under: Shellrazer,ShellRazer Dev-blog Comments: 2

Shellrazer Dev-Blog 33: Chuckles and The Yeti Elite!

10/03/2012

    Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

    We have another great weapon concept and even more of those sneaky yetis! So bundle up and brace yourself for some more frosty fun in this weeks dev-blog update!

    Here’s Chuckles! He’s one mean dragon that can seriously roast up your foes. We did some experimentation with his projectile and ultimately decided on a different direction with more of a stream kind of behavior. We also wanted to give the player something that really damages the yetis and their frozen attacks and nothing really fits the bill like a fire-breathing dragon. Back in the first art documents there was a team of orange dragons that had the nose cross-hairs that were the original inspiration for Chuckles here.

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        Here’s some more of those yetis! Yeti Owlers are masters of the skies and drop self-launching missiles at your turtle while hovering around like a harrier jet! We also needed to tier up the original yetis so we decided to wrap them in wicked armor and give them cool helmets! Another addition to separate the yeti-elite visually was their tusk standards, these add some fun secondary animation to these neat guys as well.

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    There goes another week! We are wrapping up our Ice Breaker expansion and only have a few more things to get together before it’s ready to go! We are getting super excited for the future of Shellrazer and hope everyone is going to enjoy battling it out with some new levels and weapons! Until then, be sure to keep those turtle-cannons blazing!

-Jesse

Posted by: Under: Shellrazer,ShellRazer Dev-blog Comments: 3

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Dev Blog

January 20 2017

I almost can’t believe it: Slick Entertainment is a decade old! In the last 10 years we’ve made a bunch of great games, and I am super proud of what we’ve achieved with our small team: 4 fun games, custom C++ engine on 6 different platforms, 3 games feature online multiplayer, all hand-drawn art for […]