Who doesn’t like a good crossover? Be it in films, videogames or even wrestling, we fans of multimedia enjoy seeing the multimedia become, well, less ‘multi’ and more ‘uni’. So, we at Whales and Games have been wondering, what do we need to be a part of the crossover craze?
As we go into detail about how this match-made-in-a-sexshop came to be, unlike Cosplay Café which has no-explicit imagery but explicit text, this post (and the game) contains visual and explicit Not Safe For Work content from here on out!
Happy Anniversary Colossorama! Three years ago, our original co-founding members joined up together to create a short game that would eventually set Whales And Games and the rest of our game development career into motion. On this day, back in the year of 2016, we released the first version of Colossorama to the world, after an intense game jamming period during Ludum Dare 36.
Being the first time we used Unity to make game jam game, and being our second game overall (following The Farming One), we wanted to keep the scope small. We ended up conceiving a small hack-and-slash side scroller that forced the player to constantly change their weapons and items from a restricted pool of choices and adapt every wave. Looking back at it, we were extremely proud of the result, but obviously, looking at it after three years, it’s hard not to spot the flaws. If you want, you can even play the original build of the game over here!
As it shows, the game gained some moderate attention. A few weeks after the original jam release, we made a post-jam patch known asColossorama 1.1 • The Colossoral Update, improving on many aspects of the jam version we thought were lacking, adding new weapons, rebalancing the game, and improving on some graphical elements. We even had the chance to show it at some events, motivating us to make other games and projects.
Fast-forward to the game’s first anniversary and looking back at the game and its overwhelming reception, we thought it was justified to go back and add even more stuff to it. For Colossorama 1.2 • The All-Stars Update, which is the version of the game that’s currently live, we couldn’t just add more weapons and call it a day. Nevertheless, we added several new ones, added new effects, a whole new cast of unlockable gladiators, and, aside from the main character, added a whole new cast of unlockable gladiators and game modes to complete. As far as anniversary celebrations go, it felt like a big jump! ⚔️
And that’s when we arrive at where we are at now. While we originally expected Colossorama 1.2 to be the closing chapter in the cycle of Colossorama updates, life would prove us wrong, and we’ve been working on Colossorama 1.3 • The Champions Updateon-and-off for several months now. As you might have read in the previous status report, with over six pages of changes, the game feels like pretty much a full reconstruction of the game, adding over eighty new weapons and items, reconstructed physics, several new gimmicky-enemies, more unlockable gladiators, a codex, stats, achievements, leaderboards, more visual overhaul, and more! It’s a whale of an update in size! 🐳
The journey over the years as we’ve picked on Colossorama on and off as taught us and showed us multiple lessons, and has validated us in our growth as we’ve picked it up and updated it time and time again. For its upcoming 1.3 release, since development is being made on-and-off, we’re avoiding making specific estimates of when it will be ready, but we’re pretty much closing on the final tasks in order to ship it once and for all!
It’s been a wacky three years. Since we’ve released Colossorama 36, we’ve made several other small game experiments on the site, finished up bachelor degrees, fostered a community, grew as developers and artists, and yet, it still feels like we’re at the very beginning of a very long race. We’re not stopping any time soon, and over the next few months, after we release Colossorama 1.3 we want to take a step back and rethink the core foundations of Whales And Games. We have tons of ideas in mind, tons of things we’d like to do, but ultimately we want to really turn the page and move on forward to bigger and more whalistic stuff!
We promised one ginormous year for WAG’s third year and we’ve been working full-steam ahead to make sure we deliver! As always, feel free to tell us what you’d like to see from us over at our Discord and join us for the journey ahead! Cheers! ✨
While Whales and Games has been primarily a game development studio, during July and early August, we took a small detour to get into an art-oriented endeavor. Invited by a community member, Moski (that’s me, hello!), the lead artist of the team, participated in an event known as Art Fight, with the purpose of learning new techniques and push the boundaries of what Whales and Games can do at an artwork level!
The event, Art Fight, is an annual art game where people of all skill levels are split into two teams. Participants upload their original characters and “attack” the opposing team by drawing their opponent’s characters! Fighting by gifting! The more you draw, the more likely you are of receiving revenge attacks (that means, being attacked by someone you’ve attacked before)!
While this was my first Art Fight participation,I made it my goal to try something new on every piece of artwork I’d make. Be it a new style, or a new technique, I wanted to take the event as a self-improvement activity, with plans to put what was learned to work for our games and social media in the future.
Before I go into the innards of the experience, I’d like to say that everything that I created in the Art Fight was made with the free open source digital painting program Krita. I assure you I’m not sponsored or anything, but I highly recommend it to people who want a sturdy and flexible drawing tool without having to pay for it.
Other members of the team helped me through feedback, suggestions and even by animating some of my creations using the game-engine Unity using their new animation package for skeletal animation. Again, not sponsored, although that would definitely be cool.
Considerations About our Approach
Doing an Art Fight attack for a person I’ve never met before resulted in a lot of thoughts for me early on. Should I select characters I would like to draw, or something that would challenge me? Should I do as many attacks as possible, or take my time and make stronger drawings? What style should I use? Should I make revenge attacks, or attack people who are more likely to revenge-attack me?
While I can’t say for certain that I ended up following a set pattern, I came to some conclusions while making this search:
We joined the Art Fight as newcomers and strangers. If we wanted people to attack us, we needed to be known around, commenting on people and networking.
Early on, without any submitted drawings, people that wanted Revenge-attacks may not attack people who have not done attacks before.
A marketing staple – First impressions are everything. Having a nice layout helps people feel that someone is putting effort. This includes the main profile and the quality of the attacks being submitted.
I donated enough to get access to modifying the CSS of my profile, giving it a better appearance that was in-line with what we normally use for our Whales And Games branding.
While I grew up enjoying drawing lots and lots of characters, I decided to go with a quality-over-quantity approach. On average, I’d say that I ended up dedicating a day-worth or more to each drawing. Some took less time, and others took far more. It mostly had to do with the styles and experiments done on each work.
Technical Art Insights
You may ask, though, what kind of experiments did I do? If you’ve seen my work across Whales and Games’ social media (namely on our Twitter and Facebook), you’ve probably known me for drawing cartoonish-esque characters with a cell-shaded style, this means, there’s a very strong distinction between colors and shadows- consisting of one set of shadows and one set of highlights – instead of a smooth blending..
While that still was visible in many of my attacks, some of my new tests during the event were as follows:
Airbrush Overlays – Digital art requires the very least a minimum of organization. By grouping the colors or even the lineart with them, there are ways to help colors pop. A simple-yet-effective way to give colored drawings a more vivid aspect was to add black and white airbrush overlays, giving the picture some light effects. However, these can disturb the background, or even other elements if not used carefully. Fortunately, Krita had something for the occasion.
Grouped Inherit Alpha Property – When making game assets, I had to learn a non-destructive way to make things that can be easily recolored and shaded, and I ended up using that methodology in a lot of my attacks. One of Krita’s layer properties is called Inherit Alpha, which makes the opaque content of a layer only visible where there’s opaque content in layers below that one. Applied inside groups, that allows for things like the airbrush overlays to only be displayed within the group, preserving the edges and avoiding getting in the way of the background and other objects.
Brush Patterns – Half-tones (usually displayed as circles of varying sizes) are a popular technique usually given to make something look retro or stylish. While they can be used as fills, Krita also allows to use them on brushes, and to modify their behavior, up to a point. This applies to other patterns as well, but, as far as I could find out, Krita is somewhat limited on them, and getting a consistent, predictable use of them is nigh impossible within the program.
Layer Styles – Photoshop has styles that allow for strokes, drop shadows, satins, bevels and what not. It turned out that Krita also has some of them. They’re more clunky than in Photoshop, and they seem to amp up the resources to manage the program, but it’s good to know what there’s non-destructive methods to achieve some popular effects.
The numbers aren’t everything, since this event was made to help artists connect with each other, have them practice by making them draw new characters and have an overall fun time.
That is still the case here, but because of our aggressive approach to networking and the mentality of doing quality art over quantity, I think some numbers are still worth evaluating.
During the event, I made 26 drawings. While the plan was to make at least one daily, sometimes I managed to make more, but situations around made it more manageable to take a slower pace than trying to crunch that much work.
We received 57 attacks, of which I managed to make a revenge of 12. We couldn’t have foreseen we’d get this much attention, and we’re extremely thrilled and grateful for them all! Some were also the result of attacks we did, so I’d say that the system is working as intended. We’ll be trying to answer back to all the attacks we’ve got in the next edition of the event, we hope!
During the event, as a result of commenting, networking, and keeping people on our tracks, we got 400 followers. That’s roughly one attack for every 8 followers!
I only did one friendly fire, attacking one person of our own team. It was a revenge attack. I wanted to avoid doing friendly fire attacks in the spirit of the event, but I did want to respond to some of the ones I got. Sadly, I ran out of time, and that’s as much as I could do.
I submitted 12 characters from the Whales and Games universe namely our mascots and Whipped and Steamy characters due to it being some of our most character-oriented designs. The 57 attacks we received were scattered among them unevenly. Worth noting, Whalechan received 12. Buns Buns got 15. Jazzy and Bluessom appeared together (meaning both characters were accounted for) in 3 different pieces. Only Princess Dom. went back to her kingdom with no attacks.
Now, for some, that might have been some very-specific artist gibberish and marketing boogaloo. But other than techniques and tools, art is also about feelings. And these past few weeks of working almost daily for hours to end have made me evaluate a lot of things about how I feel towards art.
Being able to work with many characters and many styles made me think back on the words that some of our other team members told me once. I don’t have “one style”, but rather, my “style” is still evolving, and encompassing adaptability. Adjusting to different things, instead of just drawing always in the same style with predictable characteristics. Be it soft or intense, fluffy or muscular, cute or monstrous, and the in-betweens, I always found enjoyment in what I was doing. There were some hiccups, but I’m pleased with my performance on my 26 attacks.
Working with so many new characters revitalized my love for character design as well. While I’ve been proud of my cartoonish style, I’ve had a chance to draw cute, sexy, horror, weird, and more, with varying degrees of realism or cartoonishness. I got so excited by making characters that I even sketched a bunch that I didn’t have the time to finish. Hopefully next year!
But drawing this much for so long also had some… adverse effects. Little moving around, lots of time sitting down, just drawing and drawing, nothing of that did wonders to my body. I felt a lot of fatigue at times, somewhat cranky, and I devoted so much time to doing artwork that I had little time for hobbies like gaming or going out with my friends. I got so engrossed in making artwork that almost nothing outside of it mattered for a month.
Trying to get as many attacks as possible, I continued to double, triple, quadruple and quintuple guess if I was doing things right. Was it better to spend more time in a single attack to make it the best it could be, improving as an artist? Or should I cut my losses after a while and submit something that was good enough? Should I spend more time commenting and getting to know my fellow artists, or more time doing actual drawings? The looming feeling of “I’m doing X when I should be doing Y”. Like a thought that someone has said to me before, “it’s the opposite of an art block. It’s an art overwhelm, being incapable of doing a thing because you have so many possibilities”.
While there were more frustrations as results of ongoing life affairs and some failed techniques, overall, I believe that I’ve evolved as a person and as an artist like never before. I’ve learned new techniques, how to use other tools, my workflow has been reshaped, and I ultimately feel reinvigorated, with high hopes of doing for my team what I’ve been doing for the Art Fight participants! More colors, more details, more flexibility!
Do you want to know what’s the main takeaway of the Art Fight experience? Well, if you open up a fortune cookie that reads “Practice makes perfect”, I’d say that’s the one generic statement you should keep close to heart. While it can be arduous and even seem like an impossibly steep climb, there’s no other way around it. It doesn’t really matter if you’re entry level or an expert, there’s always practice to do and things to learn. I’ve swallowed my artist pride more times than I can count, forcing me to think that I can still do more, and so far, I do feel it’s doing wonders.
On the Whales and Games front, I’ll be trying some of the new things I learned, trying to give as much care to our own characters as I did for the characters of other people during the event. The plans include a few updated designs, managing colors and palettes in a more organized fashion, and being thorough with our logos and overall branding image. Just you wait. Moski and the Whales And Games team are going to impress the socks off you!
I guess that wraps it up, nice and tidy. Am I going to be there for next year’s Art Fight? Most likely, unless my life has some massive shift. Even then, I’m willing to find time to do some attacks even if it’s far less time. Drawing is a thing that fills me with good vibes and positivity, and I’d highly recommend any fellow creatives – new or experts – to live up to the Art Fight challenge. May we meet on the battlefield, and look forward to what we at WAG have to offer! 🐳
Whale hello there! It’s a brand-new month, isn’t it? And that means it’s time for another Whales And Games status report about what we’ve been up to and what’s next for our in-development games!
In case you’ve missed it, last month we announced we’d start publishing a new status report at the beginning of each month, and this month we have a whole lot to talk about! From a sudden participation on Art Fight,to even more polishing work on Colossorama •The Champions Update to a whole new surprise collaboration around Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café, and more! Are you ready to reel in? 🐳
An Unexpected Artistic Quarrel in Art Fight!
As a bit of a surprise for us, back at the beginning of July a member from our Discord told us about this event happening in July known as Art Fight. In case you haven’t heard about it before, it is a yearly event all about artists drawing each other’s characters, while scoring points for their respective teams! Driven by curiosity, we decided to give a glance at it and it ended up becoming our biggest highlight of the month as we made a bunch of digital art for other artists and received a bunch of new WAG artwork ourselves!
In the picture above you can see some of the attacks (artworks made for other artists) that we’re made by our artist, Moski, during the event. As part of his goal for joining the event, each of the 26 pieces he made feature some twist in their styles here and there, from cartoonish to chibi designs and from pixelart to lineless artwork. And of course, some of us at WAG helped animate a few pieces here and there! 😊
And to our surprise, we got almost double the artwork we received back (we tried to reply back to all of it but we ran out of time 💦)! We’ve received a bunch of new art of Whalechan, Cheqmate, Buns Buns, Jazzy, Bluessom and others! We’ll be looking for a way to showcase them all for everyone to see (as long as each piece’s artist allows us for it)! Meanwhile, the samples above will have to be enough for you to feast your eyes on.
It’s been an extremely art-motivating experience and we (especially the artist) have a lot more thoughts about Art Fight and our experience with it that we want to talk about and discuss publicly. However, for the sake of not stretching this post, we’ll be leaving those for its own post-mortem in the future! Keep an eye out for it!
Blood isn’t the only juice flowing around Colossorama!
Like we discussed last month, we have been working on getting Colossorama • The Champions Updateready for release and have been continuously working on its final touches, adding a final coat of polish to make sure we close off the game for good this time!
What final polish is missing, you ask? Well, we’re currently redoing most of the sounds of the game to make sure they have way more extra oomph than the previous white noise samples, making sure that all of the menus are controller compatible, as well as revising final art assets and gameplay features! We’re also adding a little bit of extra juice here and there to make sure even the smallest stuff stands out and feels great! Here’s a look at our fully-polished Leaderboards for example.
Currently, the Colossorama changelog for this version boasts over six pages of changes, from gameplay tweaks to new features and menus, to visual overhauls and more! We’re also working on playtesting the game together with our feedback committee and we can’t wait to get it into your hands and close off a long pending chapter of Whales And Games! Get ready to slay some heads! ⚔️
Whipped and Seedies Together for the Feedies
While we’re currently focused on working on Colossorama • The Champions Update, it doesn’t mean we have no news about Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café! While development has certainly taken a bit of a background note, we’re still very much working on the game and even have a little surprise we’ve cooked on the side for this month!
Recently, we finished all of the main writing for the new character we announced last time, Roberta (Caffie’s Roommate), and we have also started working on the writing of the second somewhat-new character! Likewise, we’ve also worked on implementing and polishing some of the new items and even added brand new item filters (art-pass pending) to the item selection screens, making finding items that target specific cosplayer groups even easier!
And of course, we also have to mention the brand new music track that was composed for the new Support group, which Roberta and the second unannounced character will be a part off! Give it a listen, will you? Its considerably long though, after all, it has all four variations of it in a single track!
As for the side surprise we’ve been cooking, back when we released the game we were invited by the fine folks at Cactus Labsto do a small cross-over collaboration with their also-adult-parody game Draw the Seedies So I Can Has Feedies to add some Whipped and Steamy inspired content to their game’s art assembler! And guess what? That’s coming up next week!
In case you haven’t given a try at the game before, the game is a parody on the age of digital art and being an artist. As you struggle to pay your rent and must take commissions, will you strive to answer only to the safest-of-work ones, or will you go for the extra-spicy requests in exchange for some extra cash? You can pick from multiple preset backgrounds, foregrounds and subjects to assemble art and please your clients. And hey, you can even export some of your finalized art for safe-keeping!
And, as you can expect from this sort of collaboration, there’s a whole new set of backgrounds, foregrounds and character art all themed around Whipped and Steamy (which materials were handled by both our Moski and Cactus Labs’ Birdpun). Some characters from the game might even send you some interesting requests for you to fulfill! Do have extra caution when we release it next week though! There is actual explicit material in this one. 👀
And that’s pretty much a wrap when it comes to art and games this past month! We are extremely excited for our future plans we have in store for Whales And Games. You can still look for more on Colossorama • The Champions Update, the Art Fight post-mortem and our collaboration with Draw the Seedies So I Can Has Feediesthroughout this month! You can keep up with the announcements for all of these over here on our Blog, on our Twitterand Facebook!
On a side-note, some of our team members are also going to be casually visiting both Devcomand Gamescom in Cologne, Germany later this month! If you do happen to be visiting any of the events, look out for some people in extremely royal-blue shirts. There’s a very big chance that’s us! 🐳
If visiting events isn’t really your thing, no worries! You can always hang out with us over at our Discordchat! We just had a bunch of artists join us after Art Fight so feel free to join along and showcase some of your stuff as well! Cheers! 👏
Hey, there! Haven’t heard from us in a while, have you? Well, fear not! While we certainly have been a bit quiet these past few months, we’re still around and swinging in full action, and have a brand new status report full of news to make it clear for you!
We’re currently hard at work in two different updates to existing games: We’re finishing progress on Colossorama – The Champions Updateand have also begun working on the first expansion to Whipped And Steamy • Cosplay Café! Likewise, we’ve been revamping our community focus, and have discussed new community events and features we’d like to host. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details, shall we?
The Champions Update is almost ready to make you a Champion!
For Colossorama – The Champions Update, our original target was to release the update immediately after releasing the Whipped and Steamy post-jam patch. Unfortunately, after we released the latter, we underestimated the time it would actually take us to wrap up Colossorama, and have needed a few more months in order to iron out everything!
On the plus side, the game is now feature-complete, making it an all-in-one-package featuring brand new physics, dozens and dozens of new weapons and upgrades, achievements and scoreboards! What was originally meant to be a small update has turned into an almost full revamp of it, and we can’t wait for you to give it a chance and compete for a spot on the leaderboards!
This means the game is almost release ready! However we still have a lot of small quality-of-life fixes and juiciness we want to add before we ship it to make sure the game is just that extra mile ahead in terms of polish!
Presenting Roberta, the latest gal at the Whipped and Steamy Café!
In conjunction to working on the Colossorama update we’ve also been working on our first expansion to Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café! This expansion is meant to be just that, an expansion of the concepts we’ve introduced in the base release, together with extra polish, quality of life changes, as well as a few new characters and scenes!
And surprise surprise! We’re ready to show off one of these new characters! Introducing Roberta! You might have heard of her before, as she was mentioned in multiple conversations of the original game! She’s Caffie’s roommate, and an extreme mecha lover in every sense of the word you can imagine given the type of game we’re making.
In addition to that, the update also introduces new items, fixes, as well as attempts to streamline the management side of the game even more. It’s still in very early progress, but you should look forward for us doing some important polls in the future in order to help us decide some of the new scenes you’d like to see in this update!
And that wraps it up in terms of the games! In addition to them, ever since our latest Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Cafépatch and the celebration of our second anniversary, we’ve been working on overhauling our working methods and the way we tackle projects and games going forward. This past month our progress at Whales And Games has sped up considerably, and we expect the working rhythm to increase considerably as the weeks go by!
In addition to those, we also recommend you pop over to our Discord Server where we all hang-out and play videogames together frequently! We’re currently planning and setting up a new season of Discord events focused on games and art, and it’d be great to have you aboard for those! 😄
Going forward, we also want to start doing more of these status reports at least every month. We hope that you look forward for them! Cheers! 🐳