Viking Squad is a brawler, and what fun is a brawler if you can’t break stuff? When you break an object in Viking Squad, we used to just play an animation. The canned, always-the-same, animation is something your brain picks up very quickly, and things start to look very boring very quickly. There’s something about proper physical movement that catches your eye, and it never gets boring (in my opinion anyway).
This week I’ll be talking about visual polish, and how we implemented Box2D physics for visual polish in a somewhat 3d game. Somewhat 3d you say? Well, as mentioned in previous posts, the game is actually rendered using 3d geometry with flat puppets facing the camera, much like a flip-up book. Because of this flip-up book feel, I decided a full 3d physics engine would be overkill, and it would probably look weird, because flat front facing sprites moving in 3d don’t really feel ‘right’. The solution is to divide the physics up into the 4 game-play lanes. Below is an image that shows the physics objects created for the lanes (the big green boxes), and if you look closely, you can count 4 lanes. There are a few rocks flying around on the front lane.
Instead of spawning 4 separate physics worlds, I actually just spawn one Box2d world and use the collision bits masks to make sure the separate lanes don’t collide with each other.
During Shellrazer, I created a physics editor that allows you to define rigid bodies, joints, etc, and allows you to override specific bones inside a puppet. I moved this editor over into our viking squad editor, and in the screenshot below you can see how the boulder is set up. It has a puppet, and three rigidbodies. Then it has 3 puppet node links (which link the bones inside the puppet to the position and rotation of the rigid bodies).
Also shown is a push actuator. The push actuator is an animatable element that pushes rigidbodies away, and with the right amount of force you can make it look like the boulder explodes:
In game, it looks like the animation below. Note that the parts of the two boulders in the top lane collide with each other, while parts of the boulder on the bottom lane only collide with the bottom lane, even though this is all done as a single Box2d world.
Now it feels quite satisfying to break stuff in our game, which I guess was the whole point of this addition! :)
So a huge congrats to the whole team that got this amazing title to launch. Touring around this game has been such an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. So this week let’s just sit back and enjoy this great launch trailer from some fellow indies! And don’t forget to check out the game right here and the AMAZING sound track here!
And ANOTHER very cool Indie game came out from our friend Mike Gabory! Yep it’s that lovable action-jumper Jump Jet Rex! It’s out already and here it is in action! with a bunch of Music done by the very cool Danimal Cannon! Way to go guys!
Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This week we will take a look at our world map zones! This involves a whole bunch of artwork that needs to be scaled down and still look recognizable. It’s a bunch of work but is pretty cool so let’s take a look!
We try to keep each zone covered in relevant elements. for our second zone for example, we like to keep the Snowclaw’s culture in the large map. This will include things like Fishbier kegs, huts, carvings and totems relating to their love of fish and snowy home.
When we need to crunch these elements down into a big scale world zone it’s important to keep them feeling the same but not being too busy. We also have to consider our line weights as we will be zooming in and out whenever our players pick a destination. It took quite a few attempts to get this looking right, but after a while we settled on a flatter look with brighter colors and less lines.
It’ll end up looking something like this right here!
We can see that we have a lot of the elements we saw in the top image! Large greenrock fish totems, a bunch of pine trees and cliffs that emulate our gameplay zones and unite the game with the world map. We keep some larger areas blank and able to fit in the destination nodes, it’s also pretty easy to move elements in the artwork and the gameplay around to meet our specifications, if we for example want a cave level to appear near a cave we can move the nodes around to the right visual area. And that’s pretty much how we are tackling our zone maps! Phew!
And as always we’ll be doing our Dev-Stream today at 4pm-6pm PST. We’ve been having a great time streamiong with everyone and getting great feedback and discussion generated in the chat. We’ve been trying to get in touch with the Twitch stream community as well and there’s a bunch of local streamers right here in Vancouver! It’s always a great time so be sure to stop by and say hey!
And that’s another week here at Slick! Hope you liked our quick look at the art action of Viking Squad! keep those helmet-horns sharpened and your axes ready for raiding! have a great week!
Last Saturday we had an awesome time showing off Viking Squad at the Butcher and Bullock and wanted to thank those great guys over at Filthy Casual for the invitation! Also a huge thank you to everyone that checked out the game in between all the festivities! Our friend Jumpjet Rex even made a surprise visit in Viking Squad in the form of a stylish hat! Whoah!
This week we have a quick one about setting up scenes in Viking Squad! The areas our players will be visiting should always have some flavor to keep them interesting. Whether they be raiding a strange ritual, crashing a snowclaw party, or even alongside the rickety bones of a whale carcass!
Here’s a few elements we made for a draugr ritual level. We wanted it to be moody so we were sure to add some lighting solutions like blood-red candles and creepy ancient statues that reflect our Draugrs and all the bad stuff that they get up too.
It really helps to keep these elements away from hard black outlines so they compliment our enemies and characters instead of fighting with them visually.
Below is a challenge level with these elements in mind. Caley builds these levels to be a tough set of enemies or mini-bosses for our Vikings to tackle. Since it’s a single screen with no longship intro or outro we can focus on making the screen full of great stuff!
You can also see that background we had going on a few dev-blogs ago as well as some flame effects on our lighting solutions. Now it’s just going to be making these little scenarios for each zone! We’ll visit them soon and be sure to show you guys what we have whipped up!
And as always we got our Dev-Stream Wednesdays! come on by at 4pm-6pm PST for some great times and game-dev discussion with all of us here at Slick!
That’s it for this week! So until next time keep those scenarios full of interesting props and art! have a great one!
As most of you know Fan Expo is hitting Vancouver this weekend and our good friends Filthy Casual have a booth there. They also happen to be throwing an after party at The Butcher & Bullock Saturday April 4th. If you’re in the area stop by for a pint with the coolest clothing company this side of Winnipeg, eh! Oh, and we will be there knocking glasses with the rest of them.
If you’re feeling extra fearsome you can take a stab at one of the bosses in Viking Squad. There will be a demo station running the latest build!
Doors open at 7pm with a $5 cover (but you get a 1 free drink). See you there!
Don’t forget to stop by the twitch stream between 4-6pm pst to see Jesse performing sans beard.
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 […]