Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 221: Heaps of Riches!



Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be taking a look at some areas in background art that we’ve been putting together as we polish up the last few levels in Viking Squad!

We’ve decided it’d be really great to show some of our Jarl’s crazy greed in the form of some massive piles of gold in the background. Trouble is, drawing massive piles of gold is pretty tricky if you don’t take some shortcuts and approach it a little smarter than usual!


As you can see above, we start out with a big, slightly jagged pile, and then fill it in with a few smaller details and even some props to mix it up. It definitely took a few attempts to get it close to something I was happy with, it’s still a little rough but it definitely gets the point across! Drawing valuables in Viking Squad has always been a little tricky. They need to kind of “Stick out” and look shinier than  the metal bits on a lot of our characters. These piles have to perform double duty by being less obvious and hang out in the background to make scenes look more interesting.


Another small thing that helps out these larger piles are smaller piles that are just simple enough to clot around our larger ones. It’s tricky for me to keep them simple because I tend to over design everything but I think they turned out alright! It’s always fun tackling these different challenges, this may not be the best way to handle the problem but it works out ok!

And today at 4pm – 6pm PST we’ll be dev-streaming again! Don’t forget to drop on by and hang out with the crew here as we sail closer to our ship date! We’ve been having a great time interacting with all of our squad mates and Oar-Boys so heft those hams and helmets today!


So that’s it for this week!

Testing our networking. polishing up our last couple bosses and levels, and building some marketing material is what we have on our table! Thanks for stopping by and checking out our progress! And until next time, keep those treasures piled high!


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




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Dev-Blog 220: Cramming in Character and a Duskers shout out!



Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Hope you’ve had a great week! This time we’ll be hopping into the world of viking squad with some of the background characters we’ve been placing through the game.

My strengths have always been in designing goofy characters so for the last bit of polish we are adding some of them to the game.

We started in our first zone, where you hit the ice floes and the dark caves. Below there’s a couple ideas along with one little guy we built on the dev stream! These guys can appear during a difficulty swing to sell you stuff, or just be there in the background offering a new light source to spruce up the levels.


As you get deeper into the caves there are crazy exploding mushrooms and shiny blue crystals. We wanted to show some reasons for the Snowclaw to be in there so we designed up a very crafty looking Snowclaw jeweler! These guys appraise the jewels harvested from the deepest caves and make sure the crystals that are brought back to the den are of the utmost quality.


Adding these characters is a quick and easy way to add some fun to the more sparse areas in our zones. once implemented we’ll have a good idea of what else we’ll need to add to the other more lonely areas, and it also gives us fun and interesting things to work on with our Dev-Stream audience!

We’d also like to give a Viking Squad shout out to our pal Tim Keenan of Misfit Attic for releasing Duskers 1.0 today! Duskers is a super cool, low-fi survival game where you control drones from your ship in a lonely, post disaster space. You explore seemingly empty space ships with your trusty drone pals, upgrade them and try and avoid traps and strange creatures. It’s mysterious, challenging and has a super cool aesthetic. So a big congratulations Tim on your release! And check out his company’s site right here!


And as always! we are back to our regular Viking Squad Dev-Stream programming! Hop on at 4pm PST-6pm PST for some searing hot art tips and fun Drawbarian times! See you there Everybody!


And that’s it for this week! Caley and I are getting the final boss touches ready to go while Nick tackles the massive beast that is Networking. Hope your weeks have been going well and until next time. Keep on Dusking!


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





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Dev-Blog 219: Light shafts



Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week I’ll talk about a cool little visual effect I put in the game: Light shafts. It’s a pretty standard visual effect, so it’s definitely nothing ground breaking, but it does make the game look that much better for very little effort. It was very quick to implement (read: a nice distraction from the monstrous networking task :) ), and I really like the effect.

A while back on our twitch stream I worked on implementing a compute shader to calculate proper volumetric fog, much like the amazing Assassins Creed volumetric fog. I abandoned this approach because it was actually pretty difficult to make it look good in a side scrolling brawler. It was hard to control the fog, created a ton of weird blend mode issues (especially with additive blending) and it also raised the minimum spec because of the compute shader.

Instead of proper volumetric lighting, I’ve opted for a manually placed animated light shafts. This gives us more control over the look, and it also works well in our existing chunk building system.

Last weekend I was playing through Brothers, a tale of two Sons (which is a gorgeous looking game by the way), and they use light shafts in multiple places to create a really cool atmosphere. I wondered how to implement these, as they fluctuate the light over time, yet are always smooth. This blog is about what I came up with.


The light shaft is rendered using alpha blending, using a user-defined color, and using a calculated alpha.

The geometry is 4 triangles, with coded UV’s. the U coordinate is used as the actual U coordinate in the noise texture, and the V coordinate is just used as an alpha multiplier.

The alpha is the product of the user-defined color’s alpha, the sample from the texture, the V coordinate (used as alpha multiplier), and the edge smoothing alpha. The edge smoothing is simply using the (0-1) U coordinate as a parameter for a sine function in the shader to generate a multiplier between 0 and 1 that nicely blends the edges to zero.

The texture coordinates used to render the light shaft is using a thin horizontal sliver of the texture (stretched over the mesh), and is animated over multiple frames to generate the modulation effect in the light shaft.

Here’s a video of the effect in the game:

That’s pretty much it! Simple, but effective. I love putting things like that in the game.

Oh, and as a reminder, we moved our weekly dev-stream to Friday, because Jesse is still in Japan.

Keep lighting those levels!


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



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Dev-Blog 218: Subtlety in Lane-age and a Parkitect Shoutout!



Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be taking a quick look at some of the polishing up we’ve been doing in Viking Squad as we sail closer and closer to shipping!

When we added a bunch of cool vertical elements to Vikings Squad it really made our areas look a lot more interesting but the way that the lanes “cut” into one another made for some lame visual stuff that really needed some touching up. Enter the lane-breaking dirt piles! Below you can see the problem highlighted on the left and some creative image placement on the right that really makes the space more robust.


Since the levels are pretty much locked down it’s super easy to comb through our zones and add these small changes to things that are glaring. Sometimes it’s a little tricky to find things in the game that need visual polish because you have been looking at it for such a long time. Luckily it’s great having a team that voices things to you so you can find quick and effective solutions like these ones!


Also we’d like to give a shout out to a very cool team of Indies that are making the awesome game Parkitect! Garret Randell, Sebastian Mayer, and our very own Bearded Bard Gordon McGladdery are bringing theme park building to the masses this may 5th! drop by their cool site and check out a great game built by great folks!

Click on the image below to check out their site, big congrats guys! Awesome job!


And that’s it for this week! We Dev-streamed yesterday because I’ll (Jesse) be gone for a week! We’ll be returning with another Dev-Stream Next Friday right here at 4pm PST and then easing back into our regular scheduled programming. Hope you liked this quick look into our process and until next time, keep those cut lanes from making it into the game!


Twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk 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 […]