Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 101: Shellrazer Bugzkrieg 101!

02/26/2014

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Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

Tomorrow we’re shipping the new update for Shellrazer called Bugzkrieg!

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Tons of pesky bugs are taking control of an entire island, so it’s up to you so raze it and free the crashed alien Bloop. We made a cool little video, here it is:

Besides adding  a whole new island to play, we’ve also added localization for 9 languages: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

The free update will come out tomorrow on Android and iOS. You can get this awesome new update to Shellrazer by clicking either button below:

Get it on Google Play

Please, tell your friends about our update, it’s a big help to us!  

Nick_avatar64 - Nick

Follow us on twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk SlickEntertainment: @SlickEntInc

Follow us on Google: Nick: +NickWaanders Jesse: +JesseTurner Caley: +CaleyCharchuk

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Dev Blog 95: Wrapping up Bugzkrieg!

01/15/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Jesse here to hit you up with our weekly report here at Slick! Nick is currently down in Seattle at Steam-Dev days! Let’s hope he’s having a super cool time with all those other awesome Devs over there.

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So we’ve been getting together our new project but we still have to get our turtle out the door! With all the localization, new enemy and weapon balances, sounds, and everything else, it’s been a pretty big undertaking. On the plus side we really learned a lot about how we want to be working on our next game further down the road.

-First off we want to be able to add new content easily for all future projects, adding new content to Shellrazer became a ton of work because everything was custom made. Nick had to go in and create every new enemy behavior from scratch and it became really time consuming. What was actually pretty funny was that all the crazy behaviors that we designed in icebreaker ended up being some of our more “un-fun” interactions! The Ninja-Yeti squads and Snowball-o-mancers just weren’t as fun to fight as the classic enemies we had on the first island. With that in mind we kept our favorite bad-guy behaviors and brought them over into the newest expansion, this was much faster and easier to implement.

-Shellrazer also had a definitive ending to the game, and we found that people would just stop playing after they’d beaten the final levels. Now we initially thought that around 5-6 hours of play time wasn’t the worst thing that we could give to a player for a couple bucks but it seems that we were wrong. We’ve been really impressed with the pile of games that have come out with seemingly unlimited replay-ability and want to snag some of that thunder for our next game.

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So we are nearing the home stretch of our newest and dare I say BIGGEST Shellrazer update! Sorry about the short Dev-Blog but we are hard at work getting our newest project up and running! It’s going to be a ton of fun and we can’t wait to show you guys!

Until next time, keep those turtle cannon’s blazing!

-Jesse

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

Follow us on Google+: Nick: +NickWaanders, Jesse: +JesseTurner, Caley: +CaleyCharchuk

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

 

 

 

 

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Dev-Blog 90: Localizing Shellrazer

11/27/2013

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Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

This week I’m going to talk about something that I’m working on right now: localizing our game to multiple languages! (to be exact: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Russian).

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Localizing a game isn’t always easy, but it’s all about preparation! My ‘Waanderful’ engine (as Jesse likes to call it) has a built in localization system that we’ve used for N+, Scrap Metal, and now Shellrazer. It’s pretty straightforward, really. It simply links a number to a line of text. Each language we translate to uses the same numbering, so to start the game in a different language, all we have to do is load different lines of text linked to the same numbers. In the game and editor code we only refer to lines of text by the number, or as we call it a LocStringID. Here’s an example of the localization file for English:

00101 "New Game" //Menus
00102 "Back" //Menus
00103 "Go!" //Menus
00104 "%d" //Menus
00105 "Shop" //Menus
00106 "Equip" //Menus
00107 "Buy" //Menus
00149 "Sell for \xFFFE%d" //Menus

First, there’s a number (LocStringID), then a line of text, and at the end there’s a comment or context for this line of text. Whoever is translating your game usually like to see a context of where the line of text is used in the game. If you were to use Google Translate (which wouldn’t know the context), you might get ‘back’ translated as the body part, not the menu option!

We sometimes use C++ string formatting to replace specific parts in the line of text with something that is calculated in the code. For example, string 00104 above has a %d token. This gets replaced in the game code by a number. In line 00149 there’s a whole lot of tokens going on! the ‘\xFFFE’ part is referring to a specific character, in this case character FFFE hexadecimal. Our font rendering code uses our own generated bitmap fonts, and we insert a little image of a gold coin as character FFFE. Below is a screenshot of our editor, with string 00149 entered in the test area, and the %d replaced by the number 10.

Bitmap font creator

Each language can have it’s own font as well. The screenshot above shows characters that will probably fit French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese, but Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian will need their own fonts because of the vastly different characters used. Our font system also allows for multiple font textures, which we’ll likely need to use for Chinese.

So, how do we get these lines of text translated? In our game data directory, each language is represented by a directory with it’s own unicode text file called localize.dat, which holds all the strings for that language. I created a little tool that can export and import to and from Excel, which is a file format that most translators will be able to use.

For N+ and Scrap Metal, Microsoft took care of translating the localize.dat files, but this time we’re on our own (which is probably why it took us until now to bite the bullet!). We chose to use icanlocalize.com for translating our files. We’ve only submitted our files yesterday, so it’s still very early, but so far I’m really happy with the process! You basically upload your file, say how many words need to be translated, and which languages you want to translate to. After you’ve filled in all the fields, you define a duration of bidding, and a duration of the translation work to be completed. During the bidding phase, translators can bid on your project (per language), and you can look at their profile and see if you think they fit your project. It’s really a lot easier than I remember it being on our previous projects!

I can’t wait to see the translated text in the game. (And I hope I won’t have to fix too many screens due to differing string lengths! :) )

That’s it for this week, hopefully we’ll be able to deliver a fully translated Shellrazer to you soon!

- Nick

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

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Dev-Blog 88: Some more comics and the upcoming Game Jam!

11/13/2013

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This week we are wrapping up that bug-filled expansion Bugzkrieg! We’ll show you guys a few more comics as well as talk a bit about the upcoming Full Indie game jam!

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The designs of the Drubbers were one of my favorites to play around with. It was a little tricky to get them into the game because they needed to be really big to show up properly. A lot of the enemies in this expansion are bigger and louder to change up the look of the game.

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Here’s another look at a light trooper that’s decked out in all the alien tech. The armor and weapons are usually abstracted and different every time and I was quite happy with the cyclopean helmet design. We wanted Bugzkrieg to be the hardest challenge yet so made sure that the in game comics and enemies looked as intimidating as we could make them.

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The Swarmers were based off of the wheel-barrow wielding goblins from the classic Shellrazer game. It was great to revisit these guys because they were one of the more fun enemies to interact with. The Wheel-Barrow bombers were added quite late in Shellrazer’s development but filled a gap of interaction that just wasn’t there before. Swarmers are a lot easier to kill than the heavily armored bombers but there are a ton of them on screen. So be sure to be on your toes when you see those scuttling Swarmers enter your screen!

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Full Indie Game Jam Shout out!

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Holy cow! It’s been a year since the last Full Indie Game Jam! Well It’s happening again here in Vancouver with a crazy amount of talented Jammers filling up The Great Northern Way Campus! Last year was a ton of fun and this year will most definitely be as well! So Check out their Meet up Link for more information if you’d like to get involved with the insane talent pool right here in Vancouver. Last year Matt Thorson worked along side Alec Holowka and laid out the groundwork for what would eventually be known as Towerfall at that very Jam!

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So that’s another week here at Slick! Hope you enjoyed checking out some more artwork for our expansion that will be coming soon! Until next time, keep those turtle cannons blazing!

 

-Jesse

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

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Dev-Blog 87: In game comics!

11/06/2013

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we are getting closer and closer to wrapping up the next expansion in Shellrazer so we’ve decided to show you some of the fun Polaroids from the Buglian islands! When we first made Shellrazer we weren’t too sure how many in game comics we’d need but luckily the engine can handle a ton of assets and we can create them quickly.

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The Buglians themselves are super fun to draw and we’ve kept their lore and history pretty loose. Here we see a pretty standard aerial troop outfitted with a repeating sting-rifle. The idea was that the hive on the top is the weapon’s magazine and inside is a functioning bug colony that hatches bullets for the wielder. We also went with a warmer themed color palette to contrast all the ice in icebreaker.

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Here’s what you’ll see when the Lander has been freed! Lander has jury rigged his engine into a cannon to help you iradicate the augmented Buglians and keep their forces from spreading out from their home island. We kept the orange armor theme to mirror the Buglian troops but made the lights a purple instead of yellow to differentiate the player’s alien tech from the enemies’.

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Here’s another “post mission” image. These usually depict our turtle kicking some shell all over the place and breaks up the enemy-only images that come at the beginning of some levels. This picture here is an example of bending the art rules in our world artistically. The bracket holding onto the cannon is different from the basic design, our turtle is a lot more cartoony and even has crazy goggles! A while back I was concerned about not staying true to the initial specs of our turtle but it became apparent that people just accept all the drawings for fun pieces of work and that’s exactly what we are after!

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So another week stomps by here at Slick! Thanks so much for stopping by our neck of the woods and be sure to stop by next week as well! Until next time, keep those turtle cannon’s blazing!

-Jesse

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

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

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – July 26, 2012 – Independent development studio Slick Entertainment is proud to announce Shellrazer for iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, released on the App Store today for a temporary launch sale of $0.99 (regular $2.99). RIDE YOUR GIANT WAR TURTLE TO VICTORY OVER THE NASTY GOBLINS!! You are a Klang Clan […]

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This week is a quick one because we are hard at work getting our demo ready for the Seattle Indie Expo! It’s a free, one day event on Sept. 1st at  Melrose Market Studios. It’s just a few blocks from PAX (directions HERE), so if you are in the neighborhood be […]