Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 130: Keepin’ it Universal and Streaming!

09/17/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome! this week we’ll be checking out some of our very cool universal elements!

while we want to bring a bunch of different enemy races to viking squad, we also realize that we are not an army of animators and artists. Originally we were making a new puppet for EVERY enemy in our game, this was quickly becoming an organizational nightmare that required a lot of fragmented work that really needed to share the same animations and general art assets.

To solve this problem we came up with the “universals” base models that would have all the base animations like death, running, lane shifting, and landing from a fall. With the skin selection system we can hook up different sets of arms to the base puppet and have a bunch of different enemy types that are shown below!

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So we build the main enemy with no arms and animate the basics and then “Hang” the different gameplay arms on top of the  armless Snowclaw. specific enemies like mini bosses or strange shaped enemies will still most likely get their own puppets but a lot of the enemies can be taken care of with this system.

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Our system also still allows us to mix up fun elements like ears and mouths to mix up the enemies and make them more fun. This is the first universal we’ve been working with but it’s shown us what we can focus on in future badguys! Above you can see our knife-er with a few different neck elements, mouth parts, and even ears that will be randomized across all enemies in the Universal puppet. Super cool!

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Another fun bit of news is that we are starting to do development live-streams here at Slick! We have it set up and did one last Wednesday and it went super well! We usually will have other team members in the chat to answer questions and hang out with everyone. We also will be grabbing music from our very awesome composer Gordon McGladdery during the streams. If they aren’t too busy with their plethora of projects, those awesome guys at Power Up Audio have been known to stop by the stream and hang out as well!

So be sure to drop by on Wednesdays (Today!) around 4pm and on to watch some drawing and maybe grab some silly art tips!

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So another week pillages by here at Slick! Thanks a ton for stopping by and hopefully we will see you on the stream!

Jesse_avatar64-Jesse

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

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

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

Posted by: Under: Art Work,Slick Entertainment,Vikingsquad Comments: 0

Dev-Blog 129: Active Crits

09/10/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Since starting on Viking Squad we’ve tried many ways to add more player precision to the brawler genre. The first of these was the lane mechanic so players could tell when their attacks are lined up with targets. This has been a huge help with ranged attacks and the satisfaction of landing a chain of attacks.

However in doing this we found it took some of the player skill out of aligning with your target, since it is only on the X axis that players must worry if their attacks will connect. After discovering this we began experimenting with various mechanics to bring player skill back in to the equation.

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So with this we bring you the Active Crit Bar! In most games critical hits are based on random rolls that increase in chance as players gain levels. With the Active Crit Bar performing a critical hit is based on player reflex and muscle memory.

Players can learn the crit timing of their favorite character and alter the bar to fit their skill level with equipment. Want a critical hit that is easier to perform? Equip a dull weapon that widens the window but reduces critical damage. Or if you have mastered your characters attacks equip a sharp weapon that increases critical damage but shrinks the window.

The timing of the bar varies per attack making some attacks a longer commitment but easier to pull off. You can see it in action below!

HammerCrit

Also new this week is our Mailing List.

Sign Up to receive news and other goodies on VikingSquad!

Until next time!

Caley_avatar64

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

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

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

Posted by: Under: Slick Entertainment Comments: 0

Dev-Blog 126: Adventures with Ai

08/20/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Today I will talk about the thought process of our melee Ai and some genre specific caveats we have run in to.

When working in a specific genre for your first time Ai is one of those features that balloons in complexity from very simple beginnings. “It should pick a target and attack” turns in to “It needs to announce itself and change targets based off who attacked it in the last X seconds, while being constantly aware of its screen presence”. An announce could be as simple as sprinting to the center of the screen before engaging a target. This avoids situations where an ai enters the screen immediately attacking the player, which often feels like a cheap shot.

While I have had experience timing ai state machines with an animation state machines in the past. Another specific hurdle in the brawler genre is the fact that attacks combo off each other. So in order to perform a light,light,heavy combo the two state machines need to be in an even tighter lock step rhythm.

Below is a simplified breakdown on the order of events that our melee ai go through when choosing a target to attack.

VS Ai logic (2)

Spawn: Ai are spawned off screen or out of view.

Enter Screen: The Ai runs from off screen to center screen or plays a specified animation. This can be a simple leap up on to the stage from the foreground or a more pronounced entrance for larger enemy types.

Poll Targets:  Choose the target with the least attackers, or the closest target.

Path to Target: Move to the target re-polling the situation along the way. If a certain target becomes more desirable or the path becomes blocked adjust. Once reaching the target, if the target already has an attacker move to standby, otherwise engage.

Standby: Standby has the ai follow the target at a distance, depending on the enemy type the ai will perform support attacks or actually attack the target if a distance threshold is broken. (IE. backed up against a wall or camera bounds) When in standby ai also continue to poll targets to break off and engage if the opportunity arises.

Engage: Once the ai enters here it performs it’s main combo attacks. Keeping in close distance with the target. If the distance is for some reason broken re-path.

And all this is just for reaching a target. It doesn’t include the logic of what to do once engage is reached! The big AHA! I’ve found in brawlers is the fact that AI need to be aware of their screen presence at all times. In an FPS Ai will shoot at you from off screen and you can support that with hit indicators and audio, all the players needs to do to combat the situation is rotate the camera. But in a brawler where an arena is set up within the camera bounds having an Ai perform a ranged attack from off screen feels like a cheap shot and exiting the screen while engaged leads to a lull in the action.

We will have Viking Squad playable at Seattle SIX in September. More on this next week!

Caley_avatar64

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

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

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

Posted by: Under: Slick Entertainment,Vikingsquad Comments: 0

Dev Blog 125: The Size and Scale of Things to Come!

08/13/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be taking a look at our experience with enemy sizes and scale! Getting everything to be the right size can be tricky but is super important to make sure everything in the world “fits” together.We have some weird enemies and what not but as long as things look like they belong we should be fine.

A trick I used at the beginning of Viking Squad development was a simple gray box template to get the basics of our characters relatively the same height. Below you can see our hammer maiden standing inside the template. There is roughed out areas that approximated character movement so we could make sure our limbs had enough play when we drew them.

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What we found later on is that standardizing every enemy into this template made everything feel quite similar when you interacted with them. We started to add smaller “Gremlin” sized enemies as well as created super large “Miniboss” sized bad-guys. Brawlers are known for their larger than life characters so we wanted to make sure the huge guys could play with the small guys and keep the graphical fidelity we were after!

Below we can see how big the Snowclaw mini-boss in relation to the small civilian. We want to make sure that the big guys are nice and intimidating when they stomp onto the screen. We are also adopting the “Bigger is always better” mantra when it comes to bosses and events in general.

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So another week brawls by here at Slick! Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out our stuff. If there’s anything you’d like to see in our next dev-blog be sure to drop a line in the comments! We are looking to add things like art streams and other fun stuff so keep a look out!

Jesse_avatar64 -Jesse

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

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

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

Posted by: Under: Art Work,Slick Entertainment,Vikingsquad Comments: 1

Dev-Blog 124: A Quick Revisit to the Foes!

08/06/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be taking a quick look at some more art stuff for Viking Squad! Usually in the morning to clear away artistic cobwebs I warm up by drawing some of our existing enemies and characters to build a familiarity with them. The more I work on these guys in a bigger format the easier I can create new enemies of the same type and find out what makes them visibly interesting.

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First up here’s everyone’s favorite undead fiend! It’s our Draugr! To tackle drawing the Draugr in an action pose instead of a game asset I started seeing what were the best things to break up his miles of gross green skin. Arrow shafts, staples, and spines are what we’ve been going with thematically on these guys as well as extra heads and those spooky red eyes. I also took the tunic down to his chest making it more like a robins crest to look a little more interesting.

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Here’s a shot of those ship raiding Marauders. This design was a lot simpler and was created after some time on Viking Squad when we wanted a more “human” foe. The demon skull helmet and bone-guard sabers are what this guy uses and the head scarfs help show a lot of motion in this action pose. Since a lot of our characters are in the midst of being stabbed or bludgeoned we also added some daggers that have found their mark through his thick leather armor.

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And let’s not forget our heroes! This is a shot of our “Axes” character. It feels good to revisit our original guys with this larger format so we can focus on their personality and see what makes them interesting. Axes’ bear scarf, strange beard, and heavy plated arms are shown here as well as his wedge-shaped horns.

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So that’s it for this week! Hope you liked this quick look into some more artwork from us here at Slick! And until next time, keep those characters interesting!

Jesse_avatar64 -Jesse

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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Dev Blog

September 17 2014

Welcome back followers of the fearsome! this week we’ll be checking out some of our very cool universal elements! while we want to bring a bunch of different enemy races to viking squad, we also realize that we are not an army of animators and artists. Originally we were making a new puppet for EVERY […]