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Whale of a Meetup, Colossorama’n’Steamy and Assortments! • Status Report – December 2019

Whale! It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a Whales And Games Status Report, hasn’t it? It’s been challenging to actually get one of these done lately but it’s time to get back on track and bring out a new freshly-fished December Status Report right before we close-off the year for good! 

While you probably expect a ton of game-related news whenever we make one of these posts, ever since last August’s report things have certainly been a bit hectic with a variety of not-game-related tidbits of Whales And Games happening all over the place, hence the delay in getting around to actually write one of these again.

Strap onto your sea-horses because we’ve got a lot of small but very important milestones to cover! Let’s get into it!


A Whale of a Meetup and a Talk!

When we mentioned that we were extremely hyped for this year of Whales And Games we didn’t expect things to culminate with our co-founders meeting up in person for the first time in Portugal after seven-years of internet-friendship shenanigans! 

Given how long we’ve worked together, it made for a very sentimental reunion which has started to change how we take-on WAG and our games going forward. Not only that, the meetup also happened immediately after one of us had just been relieved of their college duties and had just graduated!

To make things even more interesting, our meet-up was set up to align with our first public WAG talk at Game Dev Camp, Portugal’s highlight conference for game developers. Our talk was all about Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café and how we envisioned it to break the mould of adult games, refine our character’s writing further while developing it and how we fit everything into an ‘impossible deadline’. We ended up having a total of 70 people in the room, and a lot of them expressed to us how they found the talk really interesting! ✨

If you want to take a peek at the slides from the talk which are almost readable by themselves, you can download them here! If there’s enough interest for it, we might even make a full-fledged development insight covering the topics of the talk! 😊


Colossorama’s Time-Bending Finish Line!

This past month of November, we had the opportunity to showcase Colossorama • The Champions Update, along with Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café at a couple other events in Portugal as well! The idea was to collect feedback and further data that would let us wrap up Colossorama’s development neatly, taking notes of what should be tweaked, typos to be corrected, and which challenges still needed to be balanced.

In the end, we took notice of several small rough-corners, and even had to chance to tackle a few changes between the days of both events. The final high-score for the main Colossorama mode was 171 heads, meaning the overall experience of the game is much more balanced compared to previous versions of the game! Of course, some people also gave a try at other newly tweaked challenges such as Party, Trickster and 1-Hit Wonder.

Aside from just showing our games, we had the experience to live through what so many others in the industry do, by setting up our own booths for our own the first time! Planning, printing, purchasing materials, etc. Overall, it was still a very rewarding experience that also gave us the opportunity to socialize and network!


Whipped and Not So Steamy? What would you like to see?

As for Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café, things have been a bit different from what you are probably expecting. While Cosplay Café was also shown at events together with Colossorama – and got some very interesting reactions while at it – and at our talk at Game Dev Camp at the present moment, further developments with Whipped and Steamy are frozen in place until we conclude Colossorama • The Champion Update’s development. We really want to focus that specific update so we can advance with future WAG plans, including those related to Whipped and Steamy.

A few months ago, we released a collaboration with an adult-project, and we have been considering different avenues regarding what we want to do with Cosplay Café or other similar projects in the same vein. Some of these avenues include updating Cosplay Café including more refined gameplay and more characters to designing completely new mature or adult-oriented games. There’s really a lot of paths we can go down through, and we’ll be conducting several polls in different sites to gather feedback on what people would like to see!

We would really love to know what you think about Whipped and Steamy and what would you like to see us do with it going forward! Would you like to see more updates to it, or would you like to see us see a new project? We would like to know your opinion through this form or over at our Discord!


A Fishnet of Assortments!

Like we mentioned at the beginning of this report, there’s an assortment of things that have happened satellite to all the event preparations, decisions we’ve been making with our games and there’s been a lot going on with our Discord community as well. Here’s some highlights:

  • We’ve got stickers! Since we’ve been around some events, we thought it’d be a nice-gesture to hand something over to those who came to see our talk our play our games. We designed four different stickers featuring Polite Whale and Whalechan, our mascots to give around! We even made a public vote for the Whalechan design people liked the most!
  • Can we call ourselves an award-winning studio now? Because at one of the events, we were crowned with a #spotlight award and will be getting an opportunity to travel to Pocket Gamer Connects in London! We don’t have any games that actually go on your pocket other than Petty Puny Planet, but maybe we’ll find a game-changer there! 🏆
  • Holiday spirit might be around the corner, but back in October we celebrated Halloween with style, pitching Skeletons ☠️, Vampires 🦇 and Witches ✨ teams all against each other-in a set of Halloween Server Events at our Discord! It was some of the most fun of the server so far, and Skeletons took the winning spot! We’ve been working on a Skeleton Whalechan and she’s practically done (just missing animation now)!
  • We’re also changing the way our #creative rooms work on our server since a lot of artists have been joining recently! We’ve now got a room just for showcasing completed pieces, a room for work-in-progress sketches and scribbles and we’re also making a whole new dedicated gallery on this website to highlight some of the best work that’s been pinned there!
  • We’re not the types that like to waggle numbers around, but we’ve reached 700 followers on Twitter, 300 followers on Itch and 300 likes on Facebook! Our games totalled have also gathered more than 150K views across all the websites we have our games at! ✨

And that’s just some of the highlights! Honestly, there’s been so much stuff that has happened since our latest report that its hard to keep track of everything that has happened! We believe that rounds up things nicely though. 😊


That nails it for this time around! We talked about so many things here, yet there’s always more we want to have around coming 2020! Things are shaping up quickly, so you may want to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay informed about more and other future announcements!

Alternatively, you could get informed or hang out with us at our Discord server! Not only can you meet some of the artists we mentioned before, but also engage in more Whales And Games talk, gaming discussion and much more! Dive in and say hello! Cheers! 🐳

It’s Spooky Month! Join us for Halloween Server Events!

Halloween Banner

Boo! 👻 Were you spooked? Well, you should have, because we’ve made our Discord and Social Media all festively scary! That’s right, instead of cleaning away the cobwebs, we placed them around all over the place, just in time for this Halloween! And of course, we have to once again feature the incredible banner art from last year from VampyrOfSwords!

Festivities are a bit busy with our upcoming talk, Moski’s trip, making stickers and the upcoming (at this point that’s our actual Halloween monster) Colossorama – The Champion Update but we still wanted to do something special to vary things a little this season on our Discord Server! Here’s what we came up with!

Hope you’re ready to become the monster under your bed because you’ll have to pick between becoming a Skeleton ☠️, a Vampire 🦇 or a Witch ✨! The team with the most members by November 4th will result in a special Whalechan-design themed after that team’s monster, to be posted at a later date!

You can join a team by heading to #commands-cemetery on our Discord and typing !skeletons, !vampires or !witches to join each respective team! You can only be in one team at one time, but you can switch to another team by using that team’s command! You can also leave the competition entirely by using !leaveteam but that would be a bummer. 😱

We want to see your spooky art! No, really, any spooky art that you have around at all! From monster girls that you’ve drawn, to special Halloween commissions that you’ve been making! We want to see what you have been up too, and we would love for you to share it with us on the Server over at #creative-candy channel! In fact, there’s already been some spooky art shared there! 🍭

Also make sure to tweet it over to us , or send us a link to a tweet of some of the Halloween stuff you’ve made so we can share your stuff in all of its glory! ✨ We’ll be making a art-thread later on just for Halloween art, but you can tweet it at us at any moment!

It’s time to bring it back from the dead one of old server events for a one-off! Join us on November 1st (Friday) at 9:30 PM UTC for a night of spooky-scary glorious multiplayer video-game fun through our special Halloween Gaming Nights Club! Don’t know what that time-zone corresponds to? Check this link out!

We’re taking suggestions for games to play so we can announce them in advance for everyone to get ready at hand! Make sure to drop your spookiest suggestions down on the #gaming-ghouls channel!

Steamy Seedies and Feedies • A Morning-Cartoon-like Adult Game Collaboration!

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?

Turns out that, together with the collaboration of the creative minds at Cactus Labs, some exotic characters with lots of personality and inversely proportional amount of clothing would do the trick! On our last monthly status report, we talked about a small collaboration between Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café – our ero-themed visual novel management sim – and Draw the Seedies So I Can Has FeediesCactus Labs’ underpaid-commission-artist sim.


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!


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Three Years Worth of Chopping Heads at Colossorama!

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 as Colossorama 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 Update on-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! ✨

Art Fight Post Mortem – Artistic Wholesome Warfare

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!

Art Fight Website

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.

‘Crab-chan’ by nyancatimusprime

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.

‘Molly’ and ‘Ru’ by MDLune

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?

Art Fight Characters

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. 
Art Fight Profile

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.

Art Fight Attack Submissions
Credits from left to right:
‘Madoc’ by Wilderness, ‘Goo’ by mot-bot, ‘Pratlene’ by Prate-Dragon and ‘Lottie’ by Moontastic

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 StylesPhotoshop 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.

Numerical Results

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.

Art Fight Profile

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.  
Art Fight Defences
Credits from left to right and top to bottom:
‘Mr. Woofman’ by KiRAWRa, ‘Whalechan’ by Bright, ‘Jazzy and Bluessom’ by MDLune, ‘Glade’ by Xneovaii, ‘Cheqmate’ by UncleCucky, ‘Caffie’ by Tofumeat, ‘Buns Buns’ by PicoSheep and ‘Cheqmate, Monetizationman and Bootybeard’ by HeroicOutlaw.

Artistic Feelings

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.

‘Kotie’ by Glittermilk

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!

Final Remarks

Art Fight Submissions
Credits from left to right:
‘Penny’ by UncleCucky, ‘Olé’ by KiRAWRa, ‘Lisbeth’ by Royalspaghetti, and ‘Yuki’ by Crazyie

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! 🐳