Dev Blog

Dev-Blog 147: Another Drawbarian Chop!

01/28/2015

devblog_header04

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

Recently we’ve been streaming a lot and it’s been a ton of fun interacting with everyone on the Twitch channel. People have asked questions about how I approach artwork more and more so I thought we’d do a refresher on how we tackle art here at Slick!

Tech used: Photoshop CS3 and a Cintiq 21UX

VS_silhouette71

First shot is a super broad stroke image. I draw really big, so big in fact that Nick has had to craft a crazy tool in the engine that keeps my exaggerated output in line with regimented code.

A- I start with a big ugly pressure sensitive brush and blob out the shapes, I usually have a pretty good idea on what’s going on after this is done.

B- After that I’ll clean it up with a finer brush and some more interesting detail, as you can see this part is probably the most important because I end up adding things that weren’t there before to make new shapes.

C- The flat colors come next! These are typically chosen from a swatch I have set up in Photoshop or eye-dropped from another asset. The clean lines really make coloring faster and easy with the paint bucket!

D- Shading! This process gets the most attention on the stream and has helped out a couple people make their shading process a little easier. It basically involves scooping out light from a shadow layer with the lasso tool. Super fast and easy!

VS_silhouette72

Oh boy! Layers! Some people were curious as to how my layers are set up. It’s pretty basic but with the help of masking to the base it becomes super easy. After the shadows (Step D) get scooped away I tend to flatten the asset down so Photoshop doesn’t get too laggy with hundreds of assets happening.

And that’s basically it! When I tackle characters and puppets the principal is the same, the process from rough to clean lines probably gets another pass to add detail and whatnot but that’s about it!

———-

We’ll be sure to do another art post soon on our puppets but that’ll be all for now! Today is the Wednesday so remember to stop by our Dev-Stream at 4pm-6pm PST where we’ll be having a great time with our great followers, answering questions and working on Viking Squad! It’s been really great interacting with our community and generating interest among fellow developers, artists, and gamers so be sure not to miss it!

VS_silhouette47

 

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

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

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

Dev-Blog 146: Light ‘em up!

01/21/2015

devblog_header03

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

It’s been a while since the last Tech post, so it’s about time I wrote some stuff down again. Lately I’ve been working mostly on porting the engine to PS4, as well as keeping the DirectX and OpenGL versions up to date. Not really something that is super interesting to write about!

Now with those excuses out of the way, let’s talk about lighting. I’ve been wanting to add proper lighting to our game for a while, but since it’s a 2d(-ish) game where we ‘cheat’ with the perspective quite a bit, most of the ideas I had about lighting wouldn’t really work. To illustrate what I am talking about, have a look at the scene below. The left image is the game camera perspective, the right one is the perspective from an independent 3d camera:

StartGameCamera StartPerspective

In the game camera (left image), the entire scene is skewed by an angle of about 30 degrees, much like an isometric view. However, it is actually a perspective view with a very low camera field of view angle, and a skew matrix applied to the world. So you still see a bit of 3d, yet it looks like a hand-drawn flat 2d game.

In the 3d camera (right image), you can see that we’re cheating quite a bit to get the look we want. The boat for example is built up out of a few flat facades, much like the buildings in a Hollywood movie set. Characters in the world are flat camera facing sprites. Also, the background is actually a big flat texture that is pretty close to the back of the boat.

When you apply conventional lighting methods to this, a few things start to go wrong. First off, most lighting methods use the surface-normal to generate proper lighting. We toyed with the idea of generating normal maps for all our textures, but when we looked at the amount of work required to create normal maps we quickly axed that idea. Yes, we looked at tools like Spritelamp, but we are just 3 guys trying to make a pretty content heavy game here! We have to pick our battles.

So I tried implementing simple omnidirectional lights that just ignore the normal of the surface entirely, but still applied a nice falloff based on the distance to the light. That actually looked quite decent! I added omni lights to our puppets and made them animatable, so we can easily add lighting effects to characters. For example, check out the Clang lighting effect (somewhat crappy gif compression, but you get the idea):

Clang

With omni’s out of the way, I started looking at directional shadows. Luckily for us, all our textures are polygonized, so the edges are actually triangle edges. If you’re wondering what I am rambling on about, check this blog post. This means generating a proper depth texture for shadow casting lights is quite trivial, and doesn’t involve any texture lookups for alpha testing at all. Now, when applying shadows to a flat world like this, you DO want to look at the surface normal. You only want to apply light to surfaces that are not-in-shadow, and facing the light. To clarify: I just determine if the light is coming from behind the pixel or in front of the pixel, and either apply all lighting or no lighting at all.

Because of our flat camera facing sprites, the only shadows that look good are shadows coming from the front or from the back of the world, so we are a little limited with how much we can do with the shadows, but it does add a cool effect to our world. Check out these examples below. You have to click them and move your mouse left/right to see the before/after:

LightingClickMeAlright that’s it for this week, I hope it was informative. If any questions pop up, feel free to ask away in the comments, or even in the chat during our stream later today on Twitch!

Also, since it’s a Wednesday, don’t forget to tune into our devblog later today! Jesse will be streaming from 4pm-6pm PST today, and it’s always a blast to see him drawing and chatting with the viewers. It’s a good time, I promise. Come check it out. Click the image below to go straight to our twitch stream:

VS_silhouette44

Nick_avatar64-Nick

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

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

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

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

Posted by: Under: Tech Comments: 1

Dev Blog 145: The power of candor!

01/14/2015

devblog_header08

Hello followers of the fearsome, welcome back for another episode of the Slick Entertainment dev blog.

We have been receiving great feedback on Viking Squad since demoing it at the PlayStation Experience in December. Some praise, some constructive all very much appreciated!

As an indie developer you are constantly receiving feedback on your project. Like plunging in to a frigid mountain stream it is one of the major shocks of becoming an indie developer, the other being the wild bull ride of learning to wrangle the market (more on that some other time). The truth is the two go hand in hand, the more you market the more feedback begins to flow.

DSC_1671

This is what Jesse looks like embracing candor.

At any given time feedback can and will come through on all channels, unfiltered. The volume grows when you attend a conference like PlayStation Experience making it even more worthwhile. It is sometimes difficult to hear but almost always for the betterment of your project. The importance is in learning how to internalize any qualms and aggregate trends that appear from multiple sources. There is really no course you can take on this. It mostly comes from experience, having a mentor can ease the pain slightly. When it gets down to it any feedback is good feedback but every now and then you receive some that doesn’t just fix a glitch here or there, it renews your interest as a developer in an area of the project. This week we got just that!

This feedback would not have been possible without the dedication from one of our fans! So the next time you are playing an alpha or beta game take a second to give some honest feedback and you might make a developers week. Developers embrace candor!

VS_silhouette44

Also since it is a day starting in ‘W’ Jesse will be doing his art stream from 4-6pm PST. Be sure to tune in! http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

Caley_avatar64-Caley

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

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

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

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

Posted by: Under: Slick Entertainment Comments: 0

Dev-Blog 144: Back and a Happy New Year!

01/07/2015

devblog_header08

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

We hope you all have had a most excellent holiday full of good times and cheer! We are getting right back into the groove of developing content for Viking Squad and are super stoked you could stop by and check us out!

This week we are tackling all kinds of neat stuff, from lighting to boss battles!  I’ve been drawing up some cool background elements to bring more visual interest to our levels and here’s some quick examples right below here!

VS_silhouette69

It was a nice refresher to get back into the style of Viking Squad with some fun buildings and background elements! They’ve always been a weakness of mine but I think that I’m finally getting the hang of it.

With these background elements we want to be able to spread them out across a bunch of similar levels and keep them looking interesting. luckily the silhouettes are all pretty cool looking and combine well. on the right we have some of the hovels that our Draugr enemies live in! How spooky!

———-

We’d also love to give a big shout out and congratulations to our very own audio pal and crafter of amazing sounds Kevin Regamy of Power Up Audio! It looks like his awesome audio puzzler Phonopath is a finalist in the IGF for Excellence in Audio! Way to go Kev! Such a wicked game that’s truly a brain twister and anyone that getting their hands dirty with Audio should definitely give it a try. Recently Kevin also did a robust playthrough and commentary of the game that you can check out right here! It’s been awesome working with Kevin and it’s great to see him get this recognition!

VS_silhouette70

———-

And we are super excited to get back into our weekly Dev-Streams! Hopefully you guys can come check us out at 4pm PST! We’ll be answering questions and drawing a bunch of neat stuff so don’t be a stranger! We are getting a great pile of people drop by every week and it’s just awesome!

VS_silhouette47

———-

And that’s this weeks Dev-Blog! we are super happy to be back and thanks again for checking us out! Until next time, best of luck in the Independent Games Festival Kev!

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

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

 

 

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

Dev-Blog 143: Happy Holidays from Slick!

12/17/2014

devblog_header08

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we are implementing new and exciting bad guys for Viking Squad! Flying foes have presented some interesting challenges and we are working to implement a super fun burrowing treasure boss! We are looking to get a lot more fun things to fight in Viking Squad during the next little while as well as getting our game loop up to snuff.

VS_silhouette67

Above you can see our super crafty (and slightly advanced) Cave Mole and our often sleeping, Bat enemy! The Cave Mole will burrow around the screen and unleash stalactite drops with his huge crushing gloves and knock players away when he erupts from the ground! Bats will be annoying monsters that are quicker and harder to hit than your regular Snowclaw keeping the tradition of bats in video games alive!

A lot of the ideas here were created during our weekly livestreams, it’s been a bunch of fun creating with a crew of watchers and contributors and we hope to keep the tradition going throughout the development of Viking Squad!

———-

And as always be sure to drop by today at 4pm PST -6pm for our weekly Dev-Stream! Ask questions! Learn about our process! Talk to the team! It all happens every Wednesday right here!

VS_silhouette44

 

———–

And we’ll be out for the holidays the next two weeks! So from all of us at Slick and our wonderful collaborators Have an amazing holiday season!

VS_silhouette65

 

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

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/slickentertainmentinc

Posted by: Under: Slick Entertainment Comments: Comments Off

Follow us!

titlebutton_twitter titlebutton_facebook titlebutton_youtube titlebutton_twitch

Join our mailing list!

/ /

Dev Blog

January 28 2015

Welcome back followers of the fearsome! Recently we’ve been streaming a lot and it’s been a ton of fun interacting with everyone on the Twitch channel. People have asked questions about how I approach artwork more and more so I thought we’d do a refresher on how we tackle art here at Slick! Tech used: […]