Dev Blog

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

05/18/2016

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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 219: Light shafts

05/11/2016

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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.

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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!

-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 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!

Jesse_avatar64-Jesse

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 217: Fantastic Face Lifts and Indie shout outs!

04/27/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome! We hope your week has been awesome as you check out what’s been happening on this side of the Squad!

Today we’ll be checking out some of the visual updates we’ve been giving to our beginning area. I’ve always had a problem when creating spaces that I focus too much on the details and not enough on the over all area. Eventually I’ll get really good at this but until then it’s a bunch of refining and figuring out what really fills up a space.

Typically the biggest bangs for our buck are architectural visuals that bring the whole area into check with similar shapes and directions.VS_silhouette162

Above is a quick screen grab of the first entrance you’ll see in Viking Squad. It used to have a universal door but it was a little too complex and really wasn’t that imposing. So we kept the Viking lock we normally use and beefed them up alongside some nice fat pillars and terraces. We also added even more of the green cloak statues which were a blast to draw.

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We can also flip the light around by renovating some of the closed off areas and opening them to pools of cooler light. The more important doors have also been beefed up with some universal artwork that makes the area seem much more important and memorable.


We’d also like to give a shout out to our pal Mike Molinari of Studio Bean and his new update for Choice Chamber. Choice Chamber is a super cool and unique game that you play with your twitch chat and your viewers play along by granting you items, changing the hazards, and directing the monsters!

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The new update has a bunch of super great stuff so be sure to check out on steam! Congrats Mike!


And let’s not forget that we’ll be Dev-Streaming today at 4pm-6pm PST! Come on by for some red-hot art tips and brawler-drawing goodness! It’s been a ton of fun building our Twitch community and we hope you drop by!

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So that’s it for this week! Thanks so much for stopping by!

The multiplayer is really coming together and the bosses and enemies are almost finished up! hope your week has been good and until next time, keep those starting areas visually interesting!

Jesse_avatar64-Jesse

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

May 18 2016

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 […]