Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 81: A return to Swarm!

09/25/2013

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be talking about some rough ideas for an expansion for Shellrazer! With our contract work keeping us busy we decided to put together some thoughts on what new race of foes our turtle could crush. This is all very early concept stuff but that’s what makes it so much fun to show off. Nothing here is final, it was created more to establish a feel for some new enemies and explore a neat race. What is extra cool is that we could also use these ideas in other games! We are tentatively calling this expansion “Bugzkrieg!” as we would like it to involve these brutal insect mercenaries we are calling Buglians.

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So here we have a standard Buglian beside a surly goblin for scale! We initially started playing around with orange as their base color but found that a bright red carapace was the ticket. Larger Buglians are called “Drubbers” and have a rhinoceros beetle horn-like nose and can wear heavier armor and carry crazier weaponry. Drubbers would be raised specifically to be jerks and used as shock troops.

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Here’s some ideas about what their homes would look like and a bit of their culture. They would worship bright lights and most likely eat a lot of sugar. Here we can also see their “bugs of burden” which could be laden with merchant goods or rode into battle. Their thorny nests could house any number of Buglian commandos and should be carefully taken care of!

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A couple more unit ideas are here. The Buglians are crafted from a young age to become certain soldiers. The Sky-Biter is a flying warrior with a bee’s butt that can slice up their foes, while the Chewer is a mini-gun weapon that fires out stingers while getting rid of the rest of the bug for aerodynamics.

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Some Buglian melee weapon ideas! We thought the bright orange would make the biggest impact and bring a goofy quality to their weapons. Here we can see the classic axe, mace, sword, and dagger as well as some more exotic weapons. Buglians use bright yellow stingers that are forged in the deepest hives of their kingdom. I also went  a little overboard here because I love drawing weapons and accessories.

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Buglians can breed themselves into super great weapon engineers and that’s given them access to some super cool guns! here we got some stinger-carbines and pistols as well as hive-grenades and bug-zookas! How cool is that!?

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So another week swarms by here at Slick! Hopefully this quick look into rough concepts was interesting for you guys. Be sure to stop by next week for some more shenanigans and cool dev-blog goodness! Until next time, keep those turtle cannons blazing!

-Jesse

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

Dev-Blog 80: Intergalactic Planetary, Planetary Intergalactic

09/18/2013

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Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

This week I’ll talk a bit about the tech behind the turn based game prototype we’ve been working on (see an earlier devblog).

Turn based games are interesting programming exercises. They seem so simple to build. After all, it’s just like a board game, right? There is a world state, and then everybody modifies this world state in turn, and done! In our game things are a little more complicated than that though, because we’re adding fog of war, visibility ranges, playback systems,  local (hot-seat) and online play, AI players, etc.

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The fog of war makes it look like the entire world is dark, and only the parts you’ve discovered will be opened up. The visibility ranges affect how far each unit can see, and when the unit moves, the fog of war is updated. Tiles that were visible at one point in your exploration are marked as ‘discovered’, and will be visible forever after. If they aren’t currently visible though, they will be slightly darker. This adds an interesting extra level of complexity if the terrain can be altered. Imagine I walked one of my units around the globe and on the way it discovered a nice grassy area. Another player also discovers this grassy area, and starts building on top of it. The first player shouldn’t see the terrain changes if the terrain isn’t currently visible!

Since this is a turn based game, the delay between taking turns can be relatively large (hours or days). Also, because it’s asynchronous, the world state can change quite drastically between your last turn and your current turn. This makes it really hard to follow what happened in the enemy turns, so we implemented a playback system that can play back the moves made by the other players (but only the parts you can see of course). Basically I keep the world state as the player last saw it, and all events that happened since the player’s last turn.

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I really want to make this game a good online game, and I believe for strategy games, it’s really important to prevent cheaters from gaining the upper hand. Our online server was designed from the ground up to prevent cheating as much as possible. This means that for online games, only our online server has the full game state. Every client requesting the game status will only see their limited version of the game, and the game won’t transfer any information about enemy units that are invisible. This makes hacks like adding huge spikes to the player models so you can see their location through walls, map viewers based on intercepting network messages and clearing the fog of war a lot harder, because the required information to cheat just isn’t there. clearing the fog of war on a client would simply show a big planet of undiscovered tiles.

Alright, that’s it for this week. Lots of work to be done on the http server, but things are slowly starting to work!

– Nick

Follow us on twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste SlickEntertainment: @slickentinc

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Dev-Blog 79: Necrodancer Exploration!

09/11/2013

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

It’s time for another visit to the Crypt of the Necrodancer! As you all know Slick has been doing some contract work for Brace Yourself Games for the awesome upcoming Crypt of the Necrodancer game. Here’s a little update from Jesse about coming up with ideas for bosses!

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I’ve been doing some super fun exploration stuff just to get the creative juices flowing. Working on stuff like this is pretty much the most fun thing ever, make it messy and quick and get the point across. Things are never set in stone but it’s always a lot of

Here’s some ideas for a “Mommy Mummy” boss. We wanted something that spawned little mummies to chase Cadence around and mess her up. Figure “A” is the most feminine and the idea was kind of a ballroom belle with a bandaged bee-hive hairstyle. When all is said and done a character with some elements will be crammed into a super elegant pixel version done up by Ted! It’s an awesome process and probably my favorite part of the project.

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Here’s some ideas for a Minotaur boss! Keeping with the musical theme we tried mashing together instruments with the classic dungeon monster. Harp-Head became my favorite as he was easily the most iconic. Sometimes just having a bunch of rough ideas can be good to figure out where you want to go with that particular character.

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Here’s a Necrodancer take on the classic beholder! We found the eyeless speaker monster to be actually pretty terrifying. Necrodancer has a very cool vibe that ranges from spooky to goofy to scary that really makes it a unique project to be working on.

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Here’s a few ideas that came out of a miss-communication. We are hoping to have a speed-metal type boss who’s themed with metal music and is faster and interesting to fight. After pouring over some seriously ridiculous metal album covers I went with a mutant and a manticore idea. Ted’s take on classic dungeon monsters has been really awesome so I’m super sure that his manticore would be amazing.

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After a quick parley with Ryan, he mentioned that he wanted more of a grim-reaper metal head boss. That was fine because I can get through these pretty quickly and I got to work on something more in the vein of death.

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We already have a great robe bearing character design with the Necrodancer himself so I tried to make this guy a little more his own. We mashed a speaker into his chest and turned his scythe into a mic stand so he can growl out the metal songs and ruin Cadence’s day!

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So Another week dances by here at Slick! Thanks as always for checking out our blog and what we have been working on! Until next time, keep those character concepts fast and fun!

 

-Jesse

 

Follow us on twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste SlickEntertainment: @slickentinc

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlickEntertainmentInc

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Dev-Blog 78: A return to Races!

09/04/2013

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Contract work and prototyping have kept on going here at Slick. The last few days have been a flurry of PAX-ing with those all stars over at Brace Yourself Games. Necrodancer got a ton of plays from a ton of people and some very great press coverage!

Even thought Star-Razer was having some development hiccups but we still had a lot of really fun race ideas. The strategy sphere game could totally use a bunch of fun races. The prototype is one of those games that needs a lot more “Game” than art so I’ve been experimenting with some ideas of what kind of little guys could be terra-forming up a planet or whatnot. It’s been a ton of fun just brainstorming up basic units and skinning them with different looks and we wanted to share some with you!

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So a while back on Star-Razer we had the idea of a race of laser-beam people which is probably the most cool idea ever. So here the guys are in tiny-tactics style! We liked the idea of incorporating a day and night cycle to the game and having it drastically effect things. Like Refractors hate the dark so they’d do worse when the sun is down. We also thought about what kind of buildings they would live in and use to take over a planet.

We kept the colors neutral here because Nick has put in a way to change team colors by simply keeping the right areas 0% color. Below here is the system in action! We have some super abstract units for testing drawn up here and as long as I remember to draw the metal grays with a tiny bit of color in them they will stay grayish and not turn color like the helmets and clothes of each team.

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So another week blows by here at Slick!

Hope to see you again for some more bloggy goodness and until next time; keep those interesting races varied and balanced!

-Jesse

Follow us on twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste SlickEntertainment: @slickentinc

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlickEntertainmentInc

Posted by: Under: Slick Entertainment Comments: 1

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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 […]