Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 213: Bunker Punks Shout out and Boss Cards!

03/30/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be checking out some of our new additions to our mini-bosses!  Our Mini-Bosses are really coming together with cool attacks and interesting challenges. We’ve found that a classic card image sliding into from really punches them up on the intro and helps bring some more interesting poses and characters to the event.

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It also means that we get to use our artwork in a stronger way as well as having a bunch of cool boss art for marketing or even Steam Trading Cards!  We starting finding that getting really interesting animations out of our enemies’ combat ready puppets was pretty challenging. It was hard to cram in goofy poses or bad ass expressions without a bunch of work involved. Going in this direction let us slam in some humor and dynamics that we just couldn’t achieve previously.

Over all we are super excited to see these big wads of art crash into the screen and hope you guys will too! Below is an example of one of our nastier bosses, The Big Mean Bat! you can see that we can make the pose a little more aggressive and add smaller details that will read really easily on a piece that size. You’ll need to be at your best to take on this guy’s flapping frenzy!

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Also we’d like to give a big shout out and congratulations to our pal Mr. Shane Neville of Ninja Robot Dinosaur! Yep! it’s that wonderful designer man that helped us make Shellrazer and his new game Bunker Punks is available on early access today! It’s been awesome having you as a peer Shane and we wish you the best of luck from the crew here on Viking Squad.

It’s a super awesome throwback to 90’s twitch shooting with a cool meta game of building your Bunker along with perma-death and Rogue-Like elements that’ll scratch that trigger-happy itch I know we all have!

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And as always we’ll be bringing you guys some Dev-Stream Art Chopping today at 4pm PST! drop by for some laughs, art, and some searingly hot art tips! Hope to see you guys there!

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So another week slays by here at Slick! thanks for dropping by and checking out what we are working on and we’ll see you all next week with more Dev-Blog goodness! So until next time, keep those bunkers stocked with punks!

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Twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk SlickEntertainment: @SlickEntInc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlickEntertainmentInc

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

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Dev-Blog 212: GDC!

03/23/2016

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Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

Last week we didn’t do much developing, but lots of networking. (That is, meeting people, socializing, going to parties, etc. Not actual network programming). Maybe we should have, but we didn’t plan any press meeting for our game this year. We’ve been working so hard getting the game done that it has become a bit of a marathon, so it was nice to take a break and see what everybody else is up to.

On Monday and Tuesday we attended the fantastic Independent Games Summit, which is pretty much the reason we go to GDC every year. It’s a lot of fun seeing talks by people who are in the same boat as you. The main GDC often has talks that don’t really apply to small indies.

On Wednesday I met up with a few new friends who are all into networking, which in this case IS about network programming. It was good to meet them face to face rather than as an icon on our Slack page! Good conversation was had, and I am hopeful that many more good conversations will follow. It’s good to have friends when you’re small.

On Thursday we visited the Twitch headquarters in San Francisco. Our good friend Mos toured us around the office and treated us for lunch. It was great to see the inner workings of Twitch, and man I’m kinda super jealous of their offices. So modern and so much room for activities!!

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Coming back from GDC I always have a bit of a weird feeling. Meeting so many friendly peers is super awesome, and going to the parties is always a ton of fun. Seeing all the games people are working on is super neat as well.

Now I feel completely social-ed out though. I feel like I could work alone in an attic for half a year just to recover. Also, every year I come back wishing I was more prolific. Seeing all these cool games people are working on makes me want to make a few small games, instead of working on this giant multi year project we’re working on now. Viking Squad is taking up all of our energy, and I feel guilty when I spend time on anything else. Time to get this baby out the door and start working on toy projects again… soon. Soon. SOON!

-Nick

Twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk SlickEntertainment: @SlickEntInc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlickEntertainmentInc

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

 

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Dev-Blog 211: Resizing those textures

03/09/2016

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Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

Earlier this week I sent out a few vines showing my system to resize textures to their proper size. I thought I’d talk a bit about that in our dev-blog.

When Jesse draws his amazing art, he usually draws it at a resolution that is somewhere in the right ballpark, usually slightly higher res than actual screen pixels. Sometimes we decide to shrink or grow an entity for game-play reasons, and having higher res source art helps in this case. However, when we actually ship the game with the final sizes of entities, it saves quite a bit of texture memory to resize the textures to the actual size they are being used at (on average). Saving texture memory also makes the rendering more efficient, as more textures can fit in one atlas, making batching draw-calls easier. Doing less draw calls is good!

To do this, we added a new icon to our already quite extensive toolbar in the editor, and this tab does all the re-scaling work.

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First, it shows every single UI screen we have, including all animations. Then it goes through every level, and pans from the far left to the far right, making sure every part of it is rendered. After this is done, every entity is rendered at the size they appear in the game, including every single skin option, and every animation, which in turn spawns the visual effects that are used. In general the idea is to render everything at least once at the size it appears in game. Here are come vines I posted to twitter earlier this week:
 
The levels:

 
The entities:

 

So that’s all fine and dandy, but how does this translate into the texture sizes being used? Well, at the lowest level of rendering, I have a little (editor only) debug routine that calculates how big each triangle is on screen. Everything is rendered to a 1080p target (1920 x 1080 pixels), and for each triangle edge, I calculate the length in pixels being rendered. I also calculate the distance between the UV coordinates in texture pixels. Simply dividing one by the other gives you a scaling factor that you can use to resize the texture! The scaling factor is capped to 1 though, so a texture is never scaled to a bigger size than the original input texture.

For example, say you have a 512 x 512 texture that is rendered to the screen and appears as a 32×32 texture on screen. The screen distance of the top edge would be 32 pixels, but the distance in UV coordinates (in texture pixels) would be 512 pixels. This means you can re-scale the texture by 32/512 = 6.25%, without noticeably degrading the final image. Of course this is a hypothetical example, but hopefully you can see how this would be a huge savings.

One special note is that the blurred background and foreground layers are using a lower resolution render target, which has to be taken into account when calculating the resize factor for textures used only in these layers.

In our game, without texture scaling, we require 36 atlas textures (4096×4096) for all the used textures, totaling about 576mb of compressed textures. With texture scaling this number is currently 21 atlasses with total 336mb of compressed textures, and you can’t tell the difference! HUGE savings!

Alright, that’s it for this week, I have to get back to network programming. :)

Next week we’re at GDC, so there won’t be a dev-blog, but this Saturday at 1:30 EST (10:30 PST), we’re doing an interview and showing our game on the Geeks World Wide. Come check it out!

GWW Presents Indie Dev Day!!

And, as usual, today at 4pm there will be another Dev Stream with Jouste the Drawbarian. Don’t miss it!

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-Nick

Twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk SlickEntertainment: @SlickEntInc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlickEntertainmentInc

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

 

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Dev Blog 210: Our Loki!

03/02/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be showing a bit of the Loki development in Viking Squad! Loki is the main antagonist in our game, he’s corrupted your poor Jarl, ticked off the Snowclaws, and awoken a whole bunch of nasty stuff over yonder that should have stayed in the ground.

in Viking Squad, Loki’s motivation is that he LOVES strife and malady. The constant influx of gold and treasure isn’t so bad either as far as this little gremlin is concerned. We wanted to come up with a sneaky trickster style Loki that would harass the players throughout the game and keep just out of reach until the inevitable confrontation.

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Our version of Loki started to take a more whimsical shape-shifter where he could be impish and goblin like in one instance or a ball of energy in the next. Hopefully his look is iconic enough that we could also make him a floating head that will laugh at the players when things go wrong.

As we were exploring our Loki designs it started to remind me a bunch of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in wonderland, I always loved how he could just be a mouth, or a set of eyes, or something all together different as long as the color scheme and personality could show through. This made me pretty happy with the designs we chose because he could go from being a little goofy hairy guy into a mean set of teeth or a giant yeti monster if we needed him to.

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above are also a few quick expressions on our Loki face. I’m pretty happy with how “logo friendly” his head shape is and how prominent the horns are. We think he’ll be a great adversary in the world of Viking Squad!

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And remember that we’ll be dev-streaming today at 4pm PST! We’ve been having a great time having everybody hang out and learn about our game while we draw stuff and answer questions. See you there!

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So that’s it for this week! Thanks for stopping by to check out what we are working on. Caley is building the last few boss encounters and it’s looking super cool while Nick is tackling our Multiplayer like a beast! Hope your week is going well and until next time, keep making those Loki shapes exaggerated!

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Twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk SlickEntertainment: @SlickEntInc

Google+: Nick: +NickWaanders Jesse: +JesseTurner Caley: +CaleyCharchuk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlickEntertainmentInc

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

Posted by: Under: Art Work,Vikingsquad Comments: Comments Off on Dev Blog 210: Our Loki!

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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 […]