Dev Blog

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

05/04/2016

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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 216: Light a fire

04/20/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

As we work on the finishing touches of Viking Squad one area that has been receiving a lot of attention is our visual effects. Today I will break down what goes in to one of the explosions. In particular a Molotov skull that one of our draugr enemies throw!

Below you can see how the effect looks in game.

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So what exactly is going on here? Using our effect editor we can separate each part. This effect in particular takes advantage of our many different render effects which I’ll explain below.

First off we have the base of the explosion. The square shape of this helps visualize the damaging area of the explosion and reinforces the metrics/lanes of the game. This component is one of our ring effects paired with a billboard resting along the ground. The ring effect gives the explosion volume in 3d space.

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Next we have the smoke effect. This gives character and longevity to the explosion. Being frame animated allows the effect to have more expression and personality which is the trademark of all Jesse’s art!

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Then to sell the momentum we use a quick comic POW along with some lingering cinders. Again this is a scaling billboard for the POW with a particle emitter for the cinders. The POW just needs to stick around long enough for your eye to pick it up, we don’t want it to steal the show. Our particle emitters can randomly scale and shoot images in a variety of directions making each explosion unique.

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When all these elements come together you get the effect as it is in game. You can see there’s quite a bit happening in such a little explosion!

That’s it for this week be sure to catch Jesse’s Wednesday art stream today at 4pm pst.

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-Caley

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 214: Loki animations and a Fantastic Shout out!

04/06/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we are going over some of our crafty badguy Loki and his animations! I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a very good animator, luckily Nick has added a bunch of great tools that helps me get things done and every day I’m getting better!

here’s a few examples of our crafty little green guy flying around!

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We noticed that giving our Loki all 10 digits being animating really gave him more character and let us do some really neat stuff with his puppet. we also started giving him a few different “Modes”. Loki turns into a glowing sphere and also a furry ball that sheds fur all over the place. This makes his entrances a lot of fun with a big poof of hair and camera shakes. He’s really coming together and we are excited for people to battle it out with this impressive imp!

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Also we have to give a shout out to Northway Games! Local devs here that just shipped their amazing game Fantastic Contraption! Sarah and Colin Northway are super great developers that are creating amazing things in a totally new space. We also got to shout out Lindsay Jorgensen who is making the game look absolutely beautiful, Radial games who’s helping in Contraption’s development, and our very own Viking Bard Gordon McGladdery who is developing the entire soundscape for the game! Great work guys!

So if you have access to a Vive capable computer, be sure to check out the game and build something fantastic!

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Also don’t forget that we’ll be streaming today at 4pm-6pm PST! We’ve been loving showing you guys some cool Viking Squad art and development and talking with our new followers and regulars! Be sure to stop by and say hey to the crew today while we slay out some art assets!

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And that’s it for this week! We are getting closer and closer every day to our final destination so thanks for stopping by and checking out our stuff! Until next time, keep those Loki animations interesting!

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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

Posted by: Under: Art Work,Slick Entertainment,Vikingsquad Comments: Comments Off on Dev-Blog 214: Loki animations and a Fantastic Shout out!

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

May 04 2016

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 […]