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Dev-Blog 93: Hiring!




Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

Slick Entertainment has grown by 50% this week! We hired a new person to come join our two person team, so we are now at a grand total of 3 people! Yay! I’m super excited. New computer, dual monitor setup, Windows 7, installing update 32 of 144, what else could you wish for? Check it out:

Caley desk small

So who did we hire? His name is Caley, and he’s a designer. To put it all in context, a bit of history: For N+ the fantastic Mare and Raigan from Metanet were the designers, and they were actively involved with the production of the game. Also, the game was mostly a port of their game N, which was a big success as a flash game, so the design was mostly done. For Scrap Metal, we decided to try designing a game ourselves, and we quickly found out that designing a game is HARD! This was during the days that Kees was still working at Slick, and we both loved to make technology, so instead of actually designing a game, we often quickly made some awesome technology instead. In the end we scraped by, and Kees did a lot of the design and tuning to make the game. Then, Kees left and Jesse joined, and we started on Shellrazer. We teamed up with Shane Neville from Ninja Robot Dinosaur, and that worked out great! He did all of the tuning, and helped us out with the design a great deal, as well as taking care of the marketing and press.

This got us thinking, and we thought it would be great to have an in-house designer who can really push for certain elements in the game because the game needs it, not because it would be cool tech. We got talking to Jesse’s friend Caley, who worked at Microsoft as a designer at the time. He was super interested in joining us, even though Slick can’t provide the same level of benefits and compensation as a giant company like Microsoft, but we can provide an interesting work environment. We are super stoked he’s joining us, and we’ve already started on a game prototype that we’re all super excited about (more on this in the new year!)


Three people is a nice amount of people to have in an office, I think. With two people in an office, there’s no question who farted. Three is much better! Especially with every person having their own specialty (I’ve switched to talking about skill-specialties by the way). I feel with this new setup, we’ll have a lot of our bases covered: art, design and programming. We’ll still outsource audio for now, and apparently Caley is well versed on the piano, so maybe we can even make some music ourselves! 

Alright, another week flies by, and just to let you know, the next two Wednesdays the Slick office will be closed, and we’ll be getting fat and drunk during the Christmas Holidays. We’ll be back in the year 2014 with our weekly dev-blogs, now featuring another person, Caley!!



Follow us on twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders, Jesse: @jouste, Caley: doesn’t do the twitterz, SlickEntertainment: @slickentinc

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Dev-Blog 92: Necrodancer Story Time!



Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This week we’ll hop back onto some super cool Crypt of the Necrodancer stuff!

Working on Necrodancer has been a super fun time for me. The team is some of the best in the biz and everyone is really bringing some awesome stuff to the table. I’ve been recently working on the story cut-scenes and initially I never thought there would be that much of a story involved in Necrodancer but boy was I ever wrong!

What we’ll show today is a small rough sequence with one of the more finalized images attached! This sequence is a fast one that is only three shots but it gets a few great ideas across quickly.

In the first shot here we have a young Cadence with her Uncle blowing out some candles! To save time and clarify the ideas shown in the cut-scene we kept the background simplified so the focus is shifted to the main characters.


Shot 2 comes right after with a simple scene of Cadence receiving a gift! Cadences Uncle is one of my favorite characters and it’s fun to see him not stomping down a dungeon monster but being a pretty sweet Uncle here.


Shot 3 is what Cadence got for her birthday! Looks like Cadence was pretty easy to buy for that year. Drawing kids is pretty tough for me because I usually spend all my time drawing goofy monsters and things like that. Luckily Ryan is a patient guy and puts up with my artistic struggles like a champ!



We’ve shown this process before but it’s really  a lot of the work we’ve been doing here at Slick recently so we wanted to show you guys what we’ve been up too.

Here’s the finalized pass on the first shot. We’ll run it through my pixel process to pull out a 16-bit looking shot and then Ted Polishes it up with his much more experienced hands!



So another week creeps by here at Slick! We’ve got some pretty exciting things in the pipeline that we look forward to showing you guys soon! Until then be sure to keep that shovel sharp and dominate those dungeons!


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

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Dev-Blog 91: New sprite system



Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

Earlier this year I wrote a bit about our sprite system in Devblog 57. After seeing cool sprite editors in action like Spriter, Spine, as well as seeing the amazing Rayman Legends making of video, I thought it was time to upgrade my little sprite system!

I get lots of people asking me: “Why don’t you just use Spine or Spriter?” And that is a very valid question. I think it comes down to preference. There are pros and cons to building your own sprite editor, and there are pros and cons to using Spriter/Spine. I like the artists to be able to hook up visual effects, sound effects, camera shakes, etc, right in the editor, and see the actual final result, running in the actual game engine. I also want to extend the standard skeleton/bone editing with Verlet-physics bones, for things like headbands, braids, things hanging from belts, etc. These are all things I could simply add to my own system, while I’d have to import the animated character from the sprite software, and attach these effects in a separate home built editor otherwise.

The way the old sprite system worked is that each animation had it’s own skeleton setup. This may sound weird, but our previous sprite system had to handle all kinds of sprites, not just humanoid characters. Of course the downside of this approach is that there is no way to interpolate between two animations. So instead of throwing away the sprite system we have now, I decided to build a puppet system in tandem, and in the engine we’re able to use both.



The puppet system has a more traditional skeleton setup, and will likely be used mostly for characters in the game. You create one skeleton for your character, and then you attach animations to that skeleton. This approach makes attaching a different skin very easy, allowing you to re-use animations and skeleton setups between characters. In Shellrazer the characters varied so widely in size and anatomy that this system would probably have been overkill, but for a future game we’re planning to use more similar characters.

The last week I’ve mostly been working on iterating on the puppet editor, adding more precise keyframe control, bone animation, as well as a nice big horizontal time bar like in Spine. This week will be more editor work, as well as getting the puppet system integrated into the engine.

That’s pretty much it! Hopefully next week we’ll be able to show the first animated character in this new system. Until next week!

– Nick


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

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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 […]