Whales And Games Status Report – November 2018

It’s been two months since we last wrote a status update regarding what we’ve been working on here at Whales And Games! To make sure everyone is always up to date with the last happenings, we’ll be posting more of these regularly. That being said, here’s what happened in the last few months, and here’s what’s coming next! ✅

  • We have announced Colossorama’s 1.3 Update entitled The Champions Update and have been working on it daily. The update already adds double the number of weapons the last update did, several new characters and much needed gameplay tweaks. No release date as of yet. Haven’t caught on with the update’s announcement yet? Here is is!
  • Our second planned major update is still in the works, and its base foundations have already been developed! However, most of the attention has been shifted to Colossorama to allow it to grow larger.
  • The same is the case with Shipyard, our set of backend tools. We’ve been working on it as Colossorama shapes up and have been improving its overall underlying structure.
  • We have returned to actively posting in our Social Media profiles, and have been posting new content Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays! If you haven’t followed us on other networks yet, you can follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • We have started hosting Server Events on our Discord server, including events where the community plays online games together (Gaming Night Clubs), our very own Dungeons and Dragons campaign (Dungeons and Dragorbs) and one for collective brainstorming regarding the Whaleverse (Freeform WAG).  
  • Speaking about Discord, we have also gotten Discord Verified! This means we get to show-off a sexy checkmark next to our server name!
  • Last but not least, we will be participating in the upcoming Ludum Dare 43 from Dec 1st to Dec 3rd! We will be developing a new game jam project during this time to keep you holding you tight until the Colossorama update comes out! Please look forward to it!
  • And as you might have guessed it, yes, we’re still swimming in a sea-of-fun!

This new status report also carries on various of the points of the previous one, like continuing to establish a reliable brand and team. For this upcoming Ludum Dare, five of our six team members will be participating, making it our largest team for a game jam yet! If you’d like to accompany development as it happens, make sure to join our Discord server! ⏳

Announcing Colossorama 1.3 – The Champions Update!

Like we’ve talked on our last playtesting post, we’ve been working on a third update to Colossorama called ‘The Champions Update’!

This update focus on refining and adding new content to what already exists, introducing new weapons, foes and characters, tighter physics, rebalancing, several visual overhauls, bug fixes and even more weapons! We do have some new features we are working on implementing, including leaderboard support, but we will be talking about those later.

We’re expecting to release this update in the upcoming months! We’ve been #playtesting it and are we will be showing you more of what’s new going forward! If you haven’t played the game yet, we definitely recommend you give it a try!

If you’d like to help #playtesting the update, we’re still accepting application through our form at https://whalesandgames.com/playtesting! You can also always join the discussion in our Discord server! ??

Join the #playtesting arena of Colossorama 1.3!

Two years ago, our team created Colossorama. A game with the idea of having multiple weapons, swap them constantly, and adapting to different loadouts. In its original iteration, it barely lived up to that expectation. And, as a result of feedback, it’s been updated twice in the past and becoming a project with plenty of characters, challenges and a weaponpalooza that makes every run unpredictable!

However, and hopefully to wrap it up, we’ve been working on on Colossorama 1.3 entitled The Champions Update. Not only does it reconstruct mechanics and fixes bugs, but is also a major visual and gameplay overhaul, rebalancing, and, of course, weapons, weaponized weapons making it the largest weapon-fest it’s ever been! Over 70 last time we checked. Swords, Axes, Items, Cannonballs, Status effects, Dogs, and more!

Since we want to do out original vision justice, we’re looking for people interested in a #playtesting of sorts, in order to get more feedback before we finish the final product with a few extra surprises on it. You’re more than welcome to participate by filling up this form and joining our Discord Server, so you can tell us all about your experience!

Thanks for all the thrills! We’re looking forward to giving you a far better head slicing experience than ever before! ⚔? Cheers!

Krita • The Free Art Program I used for 3 Gamejams

My buddy Jorge already posted a timelapse video about our game, Petty Puny Planet 38, highlighting the evolution of the project from the coding and developing point of view. However, there’s nothing there about how the art assets actually got done, because I did that on the side. Hooray for teamwork!

Let me talk a bit about why I used Krita, a free open-source digital painting program, to make the game assets for our 3 game jams so far, plus some other projects with varying degrees of success.

Some sprites from Hyper Holomayhem 37, made for Ludum Dare 37. It’s a quasi-randomly generated shooting arcade platformer.

The most important part comes first: Krita is free and open source. Completely free. No hidden charges, no recurring payments, no shades-of-gray morality involved, no account making. I’ve been using it for years now, and it’s a solid alternative to others like Paint Tool Sai, Fire Alpaca and even Photoshop (as long as you don’t need to use vectors or text, which are Krita’s weak points. In which case, yes, I use Photoshop).

If you check the website, you’re probably thinking that it’s mostly a program for digital painting art, and yes, it is. Regardless, like pretty much any other art program, it can be used and adapted to suit your needs. For example, I’ve been using it to make 2D assets for a few projects that Jorge and I have worked on. Our most recent one, made for this past Ludum Dare 38, is Petty Puny Planet 38, which uses full layered drawings.

A sample of Petty Puny Planet 38’s assets. Check it out and leave us a comment!

During Ludum Dare 36 and 37, however, we instead made games that used sprites. With brushes, guides and tools that can help with it, I also used Krita to make everything that you can see in our games, minus the text. All the UI, buttons and such were made with it as well. Krita is just that flexible.

Colossorama 36 made for Ludum Dare 36, was our first game jam project. The original title screen was too gory, so we later updated the game as just “Colossorama”, with this more refined and appealing title screen

Thus far, I’ve shown that we’ve used Krita for a platformer, an arena and even a simulator of sorts. While it’s not public, we also made a tower defense game at some point. The assets, again, were made with Krita, even though the animations and what not were done inside of Unity itself. (Krita actually supports animation, but that’s something I haven’t dwelled on yet)

Some enemies made for out tower defense game, which we might release in the future. It was a school assignment. Here, you can see some enemies, with their limbs separated, ready to be animated.

Since we’re a team, it’s been a breeze to separate our work and allow for the coders to code and the artists to art, which have resulted in appealing and polished experiences, or so we’ve been told. But if you’re a one person game jammer, well, with enough practice, you can have some of your most needed assets done within minutes. I’m still learning a lot about this, but so far, I’ve had a lot of fun.

Platformer shooter concept art and assets that never were put to use. Oh well. Not all projects can be winners.

Aside from games, though, I’ve mostly used Krita to draw fanart, comics, original characters and even channel art for youtubers, streamers and what not. Feel free to click on this shameless plug if you’d like to check my deviantArt.

Krita doesn’t reinvent the wheel nor try to do some arcane magic, so whatever you know about art theory, layers, filters and what not still applies. Here’s the link again if you’d like to check it out! Take it out for a spin and see if you can put it to use in your own projects. As for me, I can see myself using it in Ludum Dare 39 as well.

Before I leave, if you liked this post, please give Pretty Puny Planet 38 a try. I hope that you like what you see there. In behalf of the team Whales and Games, thanks for reading. Cheers! ?

Colossorama • The Colossoral Update

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since our post-mortem post, we’ve been spending days doing some renovations to Colossorama 36, the hack and slash arcade game we made for the now past Ludum Dare 36. We hired more gladiators, bought more weapons, prayed to the gods for more Pantheon Techs, and much more! We spared no expense! Well… except that we couldn’t afford to keep the 36 on the title. That thing was not cheap.

Behold! Colossorama! Our brand new update to the original version with most of the feedback issues addressed and a bunch of extra new content!

We got a lot of feedback during this past month, most of it thanks to the Ludum Dare community and everyone who played our game. Taking from it as much as we could, this update added and changed a lot of mechanics to make it a more gratifying beheading experience. Among the most received feedback, here are some of the issues we tackled:

  • People wanted more potions. Not only are they more common now, but Maces also have a draining property, so you may consider to get one as soon as possible.
  • Spears got a buff. They’re longer now, which means you’re safer when using them, unless your enemies are jumping.
  • Physics have been reworked, so it’s way harder to get stuck above a wave of enemies without being able to touch the ground.
  • Axes got relatively nerfed. Actually, no one weapon can 1-hit gladiators anymore, but axes are still effective against the largest enemies.
  • The instructions are now on their own screen and can be read at your leisure.

And that’s only the changes made from feedback. We added more content and made sure there was even more juice in this version!

  • New weapons! Scythes have a chance to poison, which does wonders against the buffier enemies. Hammers have great knockback, which can help you with crowd control.
  • There are some Fun items that are not super strong on their own, but their properties make them excellent side weapons. They’re rare, but well worth it.
  • New utility items! There’s an alternative for the grenade, and a few more with curious effects.
  • These new additions don’t make the game much easier, because there are new enemies! Face the resilient Champions, the fast Lions and the bouncing Hawkmen.
  • Don’t like the new additions? You can choose to play the Classic 36 mode, which only spawns the Ludum Dare version weapons and enemies.
  • There’s now a Push property on most weapons, which increases their knockback, giving the player more space to breathe.
  • Almost total graphic overhaul. Most UI elements were remade from scratch.
  • Rebalancing of waves for meat-ier and longer game sessions.
  • Controller Support! In case you get disoriented by aiming with the mouse, you can also play with an Xbox controller now, even on the web version!
  • Sound options together with some new surprises here and there.

We have actually posted this new version on itch.io a few days ago, but we’ve both been really busy that we were only able to make this post now.

In other Colossorama news, there was this Portuguese Game Development event, the Game Dev Camp, which mostly consisted of talks and showcasing the games that the Portuguese developers were working on. And Colossorama was one of those showcased games! There were quite some people playing the game and giving us brand new feedback on what to improve next. We’re always happy to see more people playing the game, having fun and enjoying it!

But that’s not all! The reason why we were so focused in making a new build right after coming out of the jam was so we could improve it in order to submit it to a jury and maybe get the chance of being able to showcase the game at Lisboa Games Week, another event in Portugal. However, in contrast to Game Dev Camp, this one is actually for the general public, which means if we pass, we will be able to showcase the game to an even bigger amount of people!

Lastly, an acquaintance of us, Tibblewinkles, did a playthrough of the latest update. If you don’t mind being spoilt a pair of surprises, go check it out!

Thanks a lot! We hope to bring you more news soon, and hopefully to participate again in the next major Ludum Dare! Of course, we’re also looking forward to play what you make, so let’s get developing!