Blade Ballet Devlog: Weathering Storms, Better Dummies, Swag, and More

Thanks for returning to check out our latest devlog (and greetings if this is your first time here). We managed to mostly avoid the PAX East con crud, and productivity is high - except for when we get distracted by trying to prove to one another who is Blade Ballet Master during our "testing" sessions.

Relax Into the Mayhem

Nothing quite as peaceful as a breezy Aero Meadow miles in the sky that features drones intermittently flying past a robot brawl arena.

Pictured: Riot having a chill session after wiping the floor with her enemies.

As we get ever-closer to launching our game, we find ourselves making those last 10% tweaks that will hopefully take Blade Ballet from "decently fun robot couch brawler" to "I need to tell all my friends about this game right now!" We consistently return to this concept of breathing life into our game and our fictional universe, whether that's giving a robot more personality, adding blurry shadows to our backgrounds that hint at unseen dangers in the distance, or animating tiny specks that may go unnoticed in the heat of battle - but that create a more attractive and compelling narrative in players' subconscious minds.

Lightning Is Not Quite So Soothing

While the bots have done their best to recapture a sense of peace and relaxation in Aero Meadow, Frame Drop is an entirely different story. This stormy maelstrom battle arena is a terrifying stage fraught with danger and chaos.

At least, that's what we're going for. Turns out that animating a lightning effect is a little harder than it looks.


Okay, getting closer with this next pass, at least it's not phasing through the level now.

Bzzz bzz shock shock!

And with our typical hand-waving magic glossing over hours and hours of work, here you see a more final version of the lightning in action (with a few tweaks still in the works).

 That STEVe Hauler in the background is in for a bad time.

That STEVe Hauler in the background is in for a bad time.

It's always amazing to us what a difference in mood a few particle effects can make.

Totally Deserted

To round out our set of environmental effects, we've got some great new dust blowing loosely across one of our most recent levels, OA.SYS.

 Wee-oo-woo, wah, wah, wah...

Wee-oo-woo, wah, wah, wah...

New Dummy Bot

The dummy bot that appears in the Blade Ballet tutorial was long overdue for an overhaul. To get a better sense of what we mean, here's what the bot looked like way back in December.

 Vaguely robotic yellow cylinder for me to stab on.

Vaguely robotic yellow cylinder for me to stab on.

And here's what the dummy bot looked like last month.

 You look familiar...

You look familiar...

As you can see, Dummy Bot has been way far down on our list of things that need to be updated. But no more! We've put James on the case, and we're moving forward with a sweet new concept.

 Meet N31L

Meet N31L

A few art passes and an in-game model later, this is what the bot looks like in his new home.

 Chillin' all buddy-buddy with Catbot and Riot, right before getting smashed to pieces.

Chillin' all buddy-buddy with Catbot and Riot, right before getting smashed to pieces.

Of course, this inevitably raises all sorts of questions. Why has N31L been relegated to the tutorial? Will he ever get a chance to prove himself in the battle arena? Will he ever get his own button? Speaking of which...

Swag 2.0

We love coming up with new ways for people to enjoy our game outside of our game. Our latest endeavor was to make new character buttons for PAX East that represented our updated character models.

Not surprisingly, Lauren went above and beyond to capture each bots unique personality and flavor. Here are a few of our new designs:

The buttons were a huge hit. STEVe disappeared halfway through the second day of PAX, with Catbot nearly meeting the same fate by the time the expo was over. Snag one of the remaining bots at an upcoming event - Playcrafting Expo or Momocon, for example - while there's still time!

Artists Doing Art Stuff

Oh the wonders that appear when creative people are left to their own devices.

That's it for today! As always, we're thrilled to share our devlogs with you. Questions and comments are welcome - if you have any thoughts, share them below!

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