Blade Ballet Devlog: Swords, Skins, Skis, and More

Slight delay for the latest devlog due to attending PAX South. Stay tuned for news on that soon!

We've been up to a lot of great stuff recently - hope you're as excited to hear about it as we are to share.

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It Slices! It Dices!

Last week, we showed off some cool sword concepts. This week, we tested a bunch of them in-game to see how they would work. Going from conceptual weapons to in-game weapons wasn't easy; it took a lot of work to make sure that the new sword designs stood out against the backdrop of the arenas, and that players could easily read and react to the swords during fast-paced robot combat. We'll update soon on our final decisions, but for now here are some pictures of the tests in action.

Of course, any time you switch something up, you're bound to have issues. Oops!

Gigantor Sword - a bug or a feature?

Gigantor Sword - a bug or a feature?

Wear It With Style

We're really proud of the visual style of Blade Ballet, but we never want to stop innovating. So we're taking another pass over the general look of some of the bots. Our main goal for the redesigns is to make each bot stand out from the rest, and, in turn, to make it easier for players to connect with their personalities.

The flavor for Nix is that the bot originally started as a self-aware server. We think the concept art for the redesign does a great job communicating the bot's humble origins.

We're also sprucing up fan favorite Catbot. And, as if that wasn't enough, we're adding in updated Catbot skins so you'll be able to rule the arena with undeniable style - no matter what that style may be.

Catbot may or may not be morphing into Rabbitbot.

Catbot may or may not be morphing into Rabbitbot.

Join the (Ski) Club

It wouldn't be a proper ski level without some really classy skis. Every detail counts, so we made sure to implement quality snow equipment that would make any of the long-dead inventors of the original robot skis proud.

If you look closely, you'll notice the ski brand - Drewski. Wonder if that's a reference to something?

Testing the skis in-game to to see if they're a good fit.

Testing the skis in-game to to see if they're a good fit.

Grasstastic

After a long day of building and perfecting our new grass renderer, you can imagine that our devs might pass through some interesting implementations. What would happen, for example, if the grass was really, really long?

Okay, might have gone a little too ham on the grass.

Okay, might have gone a little too ham on the grass.

Look at that grass go!

That grass can really move!

That grass can really move!

Not all bots know to stay away from the grass renderer. If you look closely, you can juuuuust make out Torque wildly trying - and failing - to escape the clutching grasp of uncontrollable flora.

Clearly, grass is still a work in progress.

Clearly, grass is still a work in progress.

Syphon Redesign

Remember this bot, originally known as Vampire?

We loved the concept of the bot - absorbing the energies of other bots after a hit to make itself more powerful - and the original art is pretty amazing. However, as the new bots took shape, Syphon started to feel out of place. So we made a second pass on its appearance. First came the new concept art, then the models...

... and, after coloring and texture, a new in-game form is born!

(We're seriously glossing over the insane amount of work and care that goes into every new bot in order to keep the blog relatively short and sweet. A bot can take two weeks or more from conception to first in-game appearance, not including testing, animations, and tweaks.)

These Particles Are Going Places

You might be surprised how difficult implementing our conveyor belt level (The Incinerator) has been. Our devs made a surface that would push a bot forward, but it wouldn't work with particles. So these talented problem-solvers added a manipulator (an area that interacts with particles, applies force, changes colors, etc.) low to the ground to push the particles at the same speed as everything else. Pretty clever, huh?

A bunch of particle made to look like they're moving on a conveyor belt.

A bunch of particle made to look like they're moving on a conveyor belt.

That's a good metaphor for game design in general - things that look simple at first glance turn out to be complicated, and things that look complicated... Let's just say, hope you don't mind doubling your development time.

That's it for today! If you have any questions about the sword models, skins, grass renderer, or anything else, feel free to ask us in the comments section!

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