Blade Ballet Devlog: Coloring Characters, More Level Design, Menus

Greetings once more! Loads of fun stuff to share about Blade Ballet development today. Our levels and characters are coming along nicely. We're also testing new options for a menu select UI, and updating our sound effects.

 Artists communicating changes artistically.

Artists communicating changes artistically.

What's In a Color? A Bot By Any Other Shade...

"So here we have our ten bots, and the original 4 on the left. Does anyone else feel that the first 4 (including AZ-Tek, Goblin, and Riot) look much better (colorwise) then Steve, Vampire and DropJaw? ... A stronger and more saturated base might actually be the way to go with texturing these characters."

Game art is rarely perfected on the first pass. No matter how excited the team is with assets the first time through, it's often the case that a month or two later changes made to the art direction mean work is required to bring older assets up to the new standard of quality. Even if you have thorough design documents, it's easy for things to drift over time.

We're comparing our bots against one another and the levels to make sure everything looks good together.

 Colors and textures, works in progress.

Colors and textures, works in progress.

And My Axe! Er, Shield

Getting through the shields when attacking a bot is an important Blade Ballet mechanic. We've had shields in from the beginning, and the mechanic works, but the way the shield has been rendered up to this point hasn't properly communicated the presence or absence of shield capabilities to the players. Here's one of the screenshots from our shield-visibility exploration.

Out of Focus Doesn't Mean Out of Mind

Making a game is hard work. There's so much that goes into it - characters, levels, mechanics, special effects - that it can be easy to decide to take shortcuts when it gets to be crunch time. Last week, we posted concept art we'd put together for making more interesting backgrounds on our levels. This week, we modeled and textured those concepts. We started out with this...

 Blade Ballet Level Design Circa 2015

Blade Ballet Level Design Circa 2015

Not too shabby, right? Nice depth of field effects, cute smiley faces on the columns, warning signs that you're about to be sliced in two by a rotating death laser. The background is simple, but pretty. You probably wouldn't even notice that something was missing unless it was specifically pointed out to you.

Well, it still wasn't quite what we wanted. So we turned it into this:

 Gato Boto for scale.

Gato Boto for scale.

Pretty cool, right? We have some fun lore that goes along with the characters and world we're building, and this new level design does a better job of communicating that.

We're working on concepts for the conveyor belt level too!

Menus Matter

User Interface design is not terminology that gets most players super excited. However, bad user interface can be a death knell, especially for indie games that have limited opportunity to wow their audience. Now that we're locking down our UIs in general, we're ready to make a first pass on our select menus.

The Arenas Are Alive With the Sounds of Murder

It's hard to express just how happy we are with our sound designer/musician of all trades Alec Galambos. Listen for yourself to hear the awesomeness of the latest stuff he's been working on.

Chillin' With My Buds

Relaxation is important after a hard day's work spent slicing other robots into bits.

Okay, so this is just a texture test, and probably won't make it into the game, but it's cute so we're sharing it.

Hope you enjoyed this week's devlog! If you have any comments or questions, share them below - we're always happy to chat about the progress of our game.