Dev Blog

Slick turns 10, and joins Klei Entertainment!

01/20/2017

I almost can’t believe it: Slick Entertainment is a decade old!

In the last 10 years we’ve made a bunch of great games, and I am super proud of what we’ve achieved with our small team: 4 fun games, custom C++ engine on 6 different platforms, 3 games feature online multiplayer, all hand-drawn art for the last 2 games. That’s a lot of stuff!

At the same time running Slick has been a huge roller coaster of emotions. Every emotion in the Robert Plutchik’s list of emotions has been present in one way or another. There have been a lot of ups and downs, and after a decade of dealing with all the intricacies of running a business, we’ve decided to just concentrate on the fun part: making the games. That’s why we’ve made the decision to join the successful world-class studio, Klei Entertainment.

To many of our fans it will come as no shock that Slick and Klei have a long history that started  well before either company was even started. Jamie Cheng and I worked together at Relic Entertainment, and we remained friends after Jamie set off on his own to start Klei. Then the N+ project came along, but Klei had other commitments at the time. So Jamie called me to see if I would want to start a company to do the project, and this is how Slick Entertainment was started.

Over the years we have worked together on numerous occasions. We watched Klei grow from a small startup to a professional studio with an amazing level of quality, support and community. With us joining Klei, we intend to extend those qualities to the games we’ve released. We’ll mainly be working on making great new games, but don’t worry, we’ll still support the current games.

Lastly, and most importantly; I’d like to thank all of you for the decade of support. It’s been an amazing journey and we couldn’t have done it without you!

-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 251: World Events and a Merry Christmas from Slick!

12/21/2016

Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we wanted to wish everyone some happy holidays! The year is almost over and it’s been a really crazy ride. Conventions, shows and updates all around as well as some super fun live streams.

So just like our last holiday, be sure to fire up Viking Squad with your pals over the Christmas break and check out a couple of the additions we added to keep your brawling experience festive!  Be sure to check out the town for classic decorations and see if anyone might need your help over the holidays.


We are also starting to add our super cool world events! Now whenever you visit the world map, after stopping by town for some upgrades, you’ll be shown some random events that you can re-visit in completed levels. These range from a new store, to an even more craftier treasure goblin. We have been having a lot of fun adding these elements to our game so be sure to check it out!


And as always, we hope you have been checking out our recently moved dev-stream! We’ve been front paged for the last little while so have had a great time meeting new people! Be sure to drop by Tuesdays 4pm-6pm PST for some more good times.


And that’s it for this week’s Dev-Blog! There’s a few new things happening over the holidays that we’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on. But until then, hope you guys all have a great time with friends and family this holiday season!

From everyone here at Slick!

 -Slick Entertainment

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

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

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

Merch: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/slickentertainment

 

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Dev Blog 250: Black Marketing!

12/07/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we’ll be checking out some of the super cool new additions for the world map! The world map is going to be getting some neat events that happen on levels the player has already completed. These events will range from new treasure opportunities to dangerous new bosses. Today we’ll briefly talk about the black market Snowclaw.

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If you’re familiar with Viking Squad you may have noticed the blue crystal hoarding trader that will sell you some cool equipment if you’ve gathered enough gold. Now he’s figured out what to do with all those crystals and is passing the upgrades onto you!

With this new update, there will be a chance that the Black Market trader will appear in previous areas and you can visit him and buy his tonics for a permanent upgrade to your character. There are also a few more world events but we’ll be showing those next week!


Our Dev Streams are now on Tuesday! It’s been great meeting tons of new people and fans of art and game development. Be sure to drop by and say hey to the whole crew.

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And that’s it for this week! Thanks a bunch for stopping by and checking out what we are working on. Until next time, keep visiting that black market!

Jesse_avatar64-jesse

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

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

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

Merch: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/slickentertainment

Posted by: Under: Art Work,Slick Entertainment,Vikingsquad Comments: Comments Off on Dev Blog 250: Black Marketing!

Dev Blog 249: Autumn Sale and the Weekend Stream!

11/23/2016

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Welcome back followers of the fearsome!

This week we have a quick update to share with everyone who hasn’t picked up everyone’s favorite lane-based Viking Brawler! It’s the Steam Autumn Sale and we’ll be discounting our game by 35% until November 29th. So if Viking Squad is on your wishlist be sure to pick it up during the sale and get your brawl on.

Click on the image to go straight to the Steam store:

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We are also doing a couple small updates to the game as well as working on some bigger ones. But over the weekend we did a “Play with the Dev” Stream with two very cool streamers Elspeth and HJ Tenchi. They are really cool people and did a great job playing Viking Squad so be sure to check out their streams.

We’ve been really happy we’ve managed to be this involved with the streaming community as developers. Streamers are very supportive and friendly and it was a real joy to play and interact with them in person and online.

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And as always, Viking Vednesday is happening! Come on by at 4pm-6pm PST right here! We’ll be doing some super cool art stuff and talking to our awesome community so we hope to see you there! Also for a bit we’ll be shifting our streams after this one to be on Tuesdays 4pm-6pm PST so keep an eye open for the change next week!

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And that’s it for this week!  Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time, keep those streams clean and fun!

Jesse_avatar64-Jesse

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

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

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

Merch: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/slickentertainment

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Dev Blog 248: Route those packets!

11/09/2016

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Welcome back, followers of the fearsome!

Over the past few weeks we’ve been working on making the game better, based on what was reported through crash logs, forum posts and emails coming in from helpful customers. We’ve fixed a few (rare) crash issues, and there are a few more fixes coming soon.

One of the more ‘interesting’ problems we heard of through emails were network connection issues on the Playstation 4.

Our game uses a peer-to-peer ‘mesh’ setup, which means every client needs to be able to talk to every other client. The mesh starts by one person starting in ‘host’ mode. Then up to two other players connect to this host, and to any other players already in the network.

Occasionally it turns out that while players can connect to the host, they cannot get any messages through to the other player in the game, even though the NAT negotiation library seems to indicate it can. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why exactly, since we have never seen this exact behavior in our test setups. It probably has something to do with firewalls/NAT traversal, but it’s hard to say exactly if we can’t reproduce this problem in-house. Interestingly enough, we’ve never had complaints from our Steam customers, but that is likely because Steam has their own routing-service that automatically sends messages through a ‘known’ steam server if it can’t send directly.

After a bit of investigation on what to do about this problem, I decided to send each client-client network packet directly to the remote client (if a connection is available) as well as through the host. The one sent to the host is marked as a ‘routing’ packet, meaning the host is expected to forward it to the other client. On the receiving client, because of the double message send, we now often see two of the same packets coming in at different times. This is not a problem because we automatically reject duplicate packets based on the packet ID.

There are two downsides to this approach: Double the latency, and double the network bandwidth. Luckily our game was designed to be very latency resistant. We almost always test with 250-350ms of lag in our test setups. Even with 350ms of lag, the lag is only really noticeable occasionally, and usually not really a problem.
The bandwidth of our game is quite low. The total host bandwidth with two connected clients is about 30kbps on average, which is quite low compared to most modern games. Because of the bitpacked network packets, and the use of the ‘data-blobs’ which use binary delta compression, the bandwidth is kept to a minimum. So doubling the bandwidth to around 60kbps is still well within the acceptable range.

For a minute I was thinking I should just not send client messages directly to other clients at all, and always route them through the host. This would increase latency, but the bandwidth would remain the same as before (30kbps). But because the bandwidth is already so low, I decided to always send two packets so we get lower latency for clients that are able to communicate.

I could probably improve it further by only sending messages through the host when it is detected that the client-client connection isn’t working, but that’d introduce a time frame where the game would feel ‘locked up’ until the messages were finally routed through the host, which would create a pretty bad user experience.

I might change it around for other games, depending on the requirements, but for now I think the current routing system will fix the issues with the PS4 networking. We’re submitting a patch soon, but we have lots of testing to be done to make sure it’s robust first!

Until next week, keep those packets routing!


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

January 20 2017

I almost can’t believe it: Slick Entertainment is a decade old! In the last 10 years we’ve made a bunch of great games, and I am super proud of what we’ve achieved with our small team: 4 fun games, custom C++ engine on 6 different platforms, 3 games feature online multiplayer, all hand-drawn art for […]