Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 108: Even MORE character stuff! Hooray!

04/16/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This is Jesse here just back from PAX East Boston! I was lucky enough to pocket-pitch some people Viking Squad  and I want to thank everyone that let me talk to them about our game! We are really excited and ready to forge onward!

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This week we’ll be talking about some more main character stuff and getting you guys to know who else will be joining your voyage! As mentioned  last week, removing the “build your own viking” aspect from our game was a pretty big decision but ultimately we feel pretty good about it.

After showing the character designs to a bunch of people down in Boston it started feeling really good that we made the decision. The hammer maiden was the people’s favorite (which is great) so I’ll need to get working on the other guys as well.

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Alright! let’s check these guys out! On the left here we have our long and slender bit of viking wisdom, the bow guy! (we’ll be updating the names of course later down the road). He’ll be going through some small changes later on but this will generally be his design for the time being.

I actually got some sage advice from Darkest Dungeon’s very own Chris Bourassa while I was down in Boston showing off some stuff. The advice was great because I was having the most trouble with the archer guy and luckily Chris had some great ideas. I quickly demonstrated what I got from him here.

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He said something along the lines of, “He’s not a boxy rectangle, he’s an arrow head, he’s dangerous and fast, sweep back those horns, sharpen him up.” What was said was most likely much more eloquent (there was a lot of beers going around) but it really resonated with me so I started doing some tweaking with these white lines here! Thanks Chris!

On the right we have our shield guy! He’s a burly-ball of defensive power and represented by a circle. He’ll also be dealing icy attacks to his enemies so if you need some good control in your trio be sure to bring him to the fight! Right below is a little video of him dealing out some destruction! Things are all still in development of course but I think you guys will get the idea of what you can expect when you wield the shield.

So kaboom! That’s another weekly dev-blog in the can! We are super excited to keep on storming through our development of Viking Squad and we really hope you enjoyed this small look into our world. Until next week, keep open to feedback from amazing people and never let your ego get in the way of honest advice!

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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 107: Main Character Re-vamps! Yikes!

04/09/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’re gonna talk a bit about what we are doing to our very cool main characters in Viking Squad! Recently we started talking about getting the most impact with our characters. Originally we were thinking that the ability to customize and “Build your own Viking” approach would be cool and let players deck out their viking to their hearts content! There were some problems that started showing up though, and we’d like to share them with you guys right here!

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By keeping the parts all working on a universal skeleton with pieces of art being created in roughly the same size we started getting a lot of similar silhouettes with our little vikings! Now this is a pretty big problem when your going to be differentiating between yourself and your pillaging pals. Brawlers make it pretty easy to get lost in the madness of the fray so this was one area we needed to address!

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With our universal skeleton system in place we would have a very hard time getting any of those kick-ass shield maidens in the game to help you pillage! Our men run on burly, goofy, simian skeletons and it just didn’t work too well when we hammered on scrappy warrior maiden parts! Plus it would totally be a bummer if the gals couldn’t whoop butt as well in Viking Squad because shield maidens are so freaking cool!

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So what we decided to do was keep the weapons locked to specific characters! This will help build relationships between the avatar and the player as well as be a lot easier to keep track of your unit. We also incorporated some coloring and shape study with each character to pull out their personality!

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Well that’s all for this week! Next week we’ll be showing you guys the characters and weapon behaviors in detail, but until then I’ll be hitting up Boston for PAX East with the Brace Yourself Crew for Crypt of the Necrodancer! Wish us luck at the Indie Mega Booth and until next time, keep cramming strong design into your characters!

Jesse_avatar64-Jesse

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

Dev-Blog 106: Enter the Dojo!

04/02/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Now that we’ve got a good grasp on the VikingSquad concept we need a way of rapidly iterating on the key ingredient, Combat! After some humming and hawing we came up with our solution that we call “The Dojo”.

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The Dojo is a tool we’ve whipped together that lets us experiment with various attacks and enemies in real time. Woohoo! You just choose which player character you want to test along with an enemy. On the right side of the image above you can see a tree of your possible attacks, clicking on one will show the properties of that attack. Letting you tune to your hearts content. You can add new attacks and even drag existing ones around. I’ve recorded a little video of me using it below.

So with this tool we can make rapid iterations on our attacks, change button mappings, test ai and set up new characters. It can also grow over time as we implement new mechanics and ai.

Until next time!

Caley_avatar64Caley

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

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Posted by: Under: Slick Entertainment Comments: 2

Dev-Blog 105: Glory to the Gods! Some loose ideas!

03/26/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we are gonna talk a bit about some ideas we have for the god mechanics! We are hoping that a big part of Viking Squad will be the numerous Gods that you can worship and unlock during your voyage. Representing Gods artistically is kinda tricky, to solve this problem we’ve started characterizing our gods with enchanted stones, lashes of rope, and grim relics all over the place. We really wanted to get the primal and uneasy feel with these powerful effigies and hopefully with some clever art and effects tricks, you guys will love them as much as we do!

When you first climb aboard your rugged longship you and your crew get to each pick a different god to worship. We are hoping that these changes bleed into each other to make for interesting combinations. Some Gods could make more rare treasures show up but make the enemies harder, while another god could grant you some one use items every destination you hit. Currently the Gods aren’t implemented but we need to rough out ideas and really wanted to share this fun adventure with you guys.

Here’s the first design-doc we put together to explore some ideas. Look at that crafty viking stealing away that god!

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Here’s how we could rough out some ideas for new gods. They can end up being themed along with an enemy type like these horrible goatmen! They worship a strange and old god that grants the worshiper and his party less health but the ability to gain it back from killing foes! To liberate the Goatler’s God you’ll need to cross paths with them during your voyage and hopefully raid and pillage their boss camp! At the end of a boss camp there would be their god-rock being worshiped by some of the Goatler’s champions and you and your crew will need to hack them up and liberate that crazy rock!

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So another week slays by here at Slick! After a crazy time “Pocket-Pitching” Squad over at GDC we are inspired to get right back in the saddle and get this game worked on! So thanks as always for checking out our dev-blog and until next time, keep worshiping those strange and old gods for sweet bonuses!

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Twitter: Nick: @nickwaanders Jesse: @jouste Caley: @caleycharchuk SlickEntertainment: @SlickEntInc
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Posted by: Under: Art Work,Slick Entertainment,Vikingsquad Comments: 0

Dev-Blog 104: Attack of the Animations!?

03/19/2014

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome. Today we share one of the challenges we’re solving behind the scenes on Viking Squad!

The start of a new project is a very fun time in the life of a developer. Random and exciting ideas fly around the room, problems you face are fresh and new. The game is full of possibility. However, along with each project comes one burning question you’ve probably never had to answer before. Since none of us have formally worked on a brawler our question came in the form of satisfying combat. “What makes a satisfying melee attack?”

A lot of our past experience came in to play here, but there were also grey areas. What do you emphasize in an attack animation? How will we get proper weighting on the hit? Where do vfx and sfx come in to play? With these questions we began playing around with our attacks.

First off, the animation. We tried a bunch of different animations, quick single frame swipes that left the motion up to vfx and slower hits with a lead-in swing. The single frame swipe felt too fast for a viking (think Strider or Ninja Gaiden) while the hit with the lead-in felt nice and impactful, it was too unresponsive for gameplay. You can see what we ended up with below.

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What we ended up with is a bridge between these two styles. A short draw back with a quick snap to the hit frame. Your brain fills in the gaps between the drawn back arm and the extended reach. After the snap to the reach we hold for a fraction of a second to let the impact play out and give time for players to comprehend the action. We want our vikings to feel responsive and heavy, not agile. They are portly fellows after all!

Sound plays a huge part in selling the weight of an attack. Power Up Audio was kind enough to do a pass on what we had. There is nothing like a bassy thump to get your heart racing. You can see everything together below, keep in mind the combat is still in progress.

Effects are created to visualize the sound, rounding off the assault to your senses. Screen shake is also a different beast when same screen coop comes in to play, you cant have the screen shake every time a player hits an enemy. The screen would never stop shaking. So screen shake needs to be limited to events that would cause all characters on screen to jump.

Well thats it for this week. Until next time!

Caley_avatar64Caley

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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Posted by: Under: Vikingsquad Comments: 0

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Dev Blog

April 16 2014

Welcome back followers of the fearsome! This is Jesse here just back from PAX East Boston! I was lucky enough to pocket-pitch some people Viking Squad  and I want to thank everyone that let me talk to them about our game! We are really excited and ready to forge onward! ———- This week we’ll be […]