This week we are hard at work getting our PAX Prime build feeling and looking good, we’d also like to show you guys some of the changes we’ve been adding to the game to increase clarity!
Viking Squad gets pretty hairy on the visual side when you are dodging giant crab attacks, launching special moves, and lugging around valuable treasure. It’s always good to know where your viking stands so you can properly dole out the proper punishment!
Above is an example of the player markers on our very own Hammer Viking and Shield Viking! they stay the same size when you jump so you can always tell where your guy is when you are hopping onto ice-rafts and other cool things. We also made sure to ding them up a bit like everything in Viking Squad, and try and make them not too severe on the eyes. It’s a tricky balance for sure!
Another good thing to note about these guys is that they actually peek right under our line of action! That means that there will always be a bit of the player marker visible when you are playing through our game. It was a small change, but it really helps keep track of your players on screen.
Also, this week we had a couple of fans visit the studio! We first met at PAX East but this time they decided to come out and visit our neck of the woods. We call them “The Scouts” because they were dressed up as Team Fortress 2’s Scout classes at PAX but they actually go by Chris and Arthur!
Here they are above about to tackle the Grouse Grind with Caley, who took them up the grueling climb to see Vancouver from the mountaintop! It’s was really awesome having these two skilled gamers tackle our game and give us great feedback on its systems. A HUGE thanks to you guys for hanging out and donating all of your time! It’s been amazing!
And remember to stop by our Dev-Stream today at 4pm PST. We’ve been having a great time working on our game with everyone so be sure to bring your pals and stop by! The
So Another Week brawls by here at Slick! We are getting super excited to show our game at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, hopefully we’ll catch up with some of you guys there! Until next time, keep your players visible and your actions clear!
This week we are pleased to announce that Viking Squad will be fully playable at PAX Prime August 28-31. We are located in the Indie Megabooth along side many other fabulous developers from around the world!
Development of the game is coming along smoothly and we are on track for a release later this year or early 2016! We’ll have more news about this after PAX.
So if you’re around the Seattle area at the end of August swing by and play the game. For the occasion we put together a trailer of the latest and greatest action, check it out. It features new bosses, items, levels and secrets!
Just look at all the amazing developers in the Megabooth this year! Lock your sights on Viking Squad and we’ll see you there, booth #881.
Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This week it’s a quick look into some of the props we use around our zones to help cover up areas and unify zones with fewer actual assets.
Below you can see the strange image that I’ve dubbed “Bush Monster” because it looks a little creepy but is super handy for covering up areas with just a bit of visual interest. With a simple rotation and scale tweak in the level editor we can get a lot of mileage out of this little guy. The trick is to never let him get fully revealed or else his cover is blown and the illusion is gone!
Below we can see some smaller areas being used and a larger area as well. The main thing to remember is that these elements need to not be fighting for visual attention with the main characters. To help with this we actually use a softer gray fore the lines and a slightly less harsh shadow layer so that things like player characters, hazards, and enemies pop out more. We even have the ability to fade these elements to color and blur them if they are in the background or foreground. Not too bad for one little bush monster!
And remember that we’ll be Dev-Streaming today at 4pm PST! Come on down and hang out with the team and check out some Viking Squad artwork and game development! We’ve been having a great time sharing our development cycle with you all!
So that’s another week brawling by here at Slick! We’ll be having a very cool announcement happening soon so keep those ears tuned into our Viking broadcasts and until next time, keep those bush monsters super handy!
Welcome back followers of the fearsome!
This week we’ll be taking a quick look at our home base in Viking Squad! It’s gone through quite a few changes but as we get closer to completion we wanted to really nail it down. The main hub initially only had a few options that our players could do but we kept adding more and more elements that needed to be represented with characters, doors and other elements. So that means a bunch more artwork which is great!
Backgrounds have always been a weak point in my artwork but the sheer amount of artwork in Viking Squad has really kicked me around and forced me to get better quickly. Above you can see how I approached the reworking of the home village. Initially I was working on a smaller canvas and building things as they came up. I was constantly getting frustrated because I just couldn’t get anything to feel right. So I just took a whole bunch of screenshots and strung them together so I could approach the artwork on a bigger scale and I like to think that it worked out a lot better! It’s really awesome to know that you’ll constantly be getting better all the time.
Here you can see the first half of our Viking’s home base. Here our players can outfit their Vikings with the super cool gear that they’ve discovered, buff up with our prairie-born trainer, and test out their new item combinations on the attack dummy! Below is a quick detail on the locations of these elements. Making the town bigger let us separate everything a little more so it was easier to take in as a newer player. It also made the main area feel more grand which is something I’ve always struggled to be able to do as an artist.
Also our very talented team of Audio-Monsters is in Minneapolis sponsoring and donating their time and skills for the incredible Games Done Quick event! All the proceeds are going to Doctors without Borders and there is some AMAZING gaming going on so be sure to check it out! And if you’re lucky you’ll be able to catch a peek at those handsome dudes at Power Up Audio while they make the event sound smooth and amazing!
And don’t forget that today we will be dev-streaming at 4pm pst! be sure to drop by and say hey to the team, ask questions, and be part of the conversation while we craft our brawler in front of your very eyes!
So that’s it for this week! We’ll be showing you guys what’s up with our super awesome town in future dev-blogs hope you’ve liked this quick look at our progress and until next time, keep those home bases looking awesome!
Last weekend Caley and myself took part in the coolest game-jam we’ve ever attended: The roomscale Vive VR jam! Valve and HTC came by Vancouver and set up 3 complete VR rooms of about 12’x10′. There were about 100 attendees making several VR games, and everybody shared the rooms for testing during the two days of the jam.
My personal goal for the jam wasn’t to make an actual game though. I decided I want to get my engine up and running with the Vive! Even though Scrap Metal was the last real 3d game we made, and Shellrazer and Viking Squad are mostly 2d, the guts of the engine are still all in 3d. Of the about 100 people at the jam, there were only 3 people working on their own tech, the rest were all using Unity and Unreal. As a programmer this makes me sad.
Getting the engine converted to be able to render with the Vive was actually very straightforward. The VR library that steam provides is free to download, and it even works with the Oculus DK2! I was able to test small things using just my laptop and the DK2, and when I created a build to test on the Vive setup, it worked straight-away! I had a few problems with the transform matrix coming from the controllers (different coordinate spaces), but once that was solved it was all working!
Working with the Vive, we learned a few things very quickly. First off, you have to run at 90 frames per second. Anything lower than that, and you will start feeling sick very quickly. Most console games nowadays run at 1920×1080, either at 60, or sometimes at 30 fps. For 60fps, you have about 16 milliseconds per frame to fill 2,073,600 pixels. The Vive has two screens of 1200×1080, and each needs to run at 90 fps, meaning you have 11 milliseconds to fill 2,592,000 pixels. To really put that in perspective, for a 1080p game at 60fps you need to fill just over 124 million pixels per second, for a Vive game at 90fps that number is 233 million(!). So, you need to have some serious consideration for what you’re rendering, and how it’s being rendered!
The second thing I learned was that the controllers are a HUGE part of the VR experience. I drove down to Valve to test their prototype VR setup about half a year ago, and at the time they were only showing the headset. That experience blew my mind, because I could feel my brain being conflicted about whether this was real or not. Of course I could reason ‘this is not real, I am just in a room with a headset on’, but at the same time every nerve in my body was resisting when I was asked to step off a virtual ledge. This weekend was the first time I got to try out the controllers, and it blew my mind all over again. When you put the headset on, you can see the controllers in VR on the floor below you. It’s just so natural to bend your knees and grab them and not even think about it twice. That is amazing! And now suddenly you have all this interactivity in the scene. You can grab things, you can throw things, etc. I think the controllers are an essential part of making VR actually work properly. Selling just the headset won’t cut it (looking at you Oculus!)
Alright, so what did we end up making? Well, I just made a little toy where you can play around with our particle systems. But in my own engine! :) Each controller has the same 5 different particle effects you can rotate through by pressing the touch-pad on the controller. All there is to do is to play around with the particles! Somehow it’s pretty fun and satisfying though. :) Here’s a photo of Colin Northway of Northway Games playing around with the particle systems:
I forgot to record the actual output to the Vive in a video, and since I don’t have a Vive here, I modified the code a bit to place a few controllers and move them around in circles. So this is an example of what he might have seen, except then in 3D and using the actual vive controllers. :)
Caley used Unity to make a super sweet VR Tennis game in Unity where a ball-launcher shoots balls at you, and you try to hit them with a racket and try to bounce them back over the net to score a point. He also forgot to fraps it. Maybe he’ll do another blog post in the future if we can somehow record some footage on a real Vive at some point.
In conclusion, it was a super fun weekend, and I cannot wait to get my hands on an actual Vive to experiment with for our future projects. Thanks again to Valve, HTC, Radial Games, Cloudhead games, Nvidia, Unity and Unreal for putting this on!
Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This week we are getting ready to hit up PAX Prime 2015. We’ve been preparing the build and getting a few goodies to give away at the show. It should be a fun weekend for sure! Be sure to stop by if you are in the Seattle area. There are […]