Category Archives: BattleCrypt

BattleCrypt Slow Progress

You may have noticed there have been very few posts about BattleCrypt lately. The development has been somewhat on hold. I haven’t written new code for the game in a long time (but I have done art….see!!!).

Rough sketch of new tile designs.

Additionally, the site is coming down because I don’t have the time to support both my personal blog and a dev blog for the game. The domain will forward to my personal blog and all future BattleCrypt posts will be written here on my personal blog.

Progression from rough sketch (left) to finished tiles (right).

That being said, the game is not dead and work has not stopped. I have been working on art a lot and refining my technique. I’ve tested some new tools such as Lazy Nezumi (AWESOME) and I bought a Monoprice 22″ graphics tablet (poor man’s Cintiq).

Statue with some experimental foliage added.

Honestly, it’s unlikely that BattleCrypt will make a lot of progress for a while. In the meantime, thanks for your continued interest!

Character Selection UI

Commit 53f13f0.

I’ve been working on two big things.

First, my buddy Vic helped me with the math to make my procedural animation 1000x better. I was close before but things just weren’t right. My code was a spaghetti mess and the maths were what can only be described as wonky. Now it’s much smoother and looks really nice (my opinion) although this low-framerate gif doesn’t do it a ton of justice (hosted on imgur b/c my cheapo server pukes trying to thumbnail big gifs):

BattleCrypt Animation Interpolation


Second, I have been working on various UI things. From a game-design standpoint I’ve been trying to decide if characters are highly defined, meaning that character “Bob” would always look the same, have the same taunt phrases, the same elemental power, etc. Or, if characters should be kinda customizable. Like maybe you pick the heady, body and legs separately.

I started with characters being immutable. Then I entertained the idea of allowing mix-and-match because I think that would really appeal to some players. Now I’m leaning back towards immutable characters because I can create stronger personalities and recognizable styles.

Anyway, here’s some work I did while puzzling out what the customizable character UI might look like. The image at the top of the post has arrows that let you select each customizable part separately. Another take on that would be to have buttons that toggle through each body part. Whatever direction I take, the UI style will probably look something like these.





BattleCrypt Art Style

Commit 977b814.

This is it. This is what BattleCrypt looks like right now for REALS. I really liked the progress I had on tiles using Photoshop to paint. However, it took forever to create tiles and was difficult to keep the continuity of style across elements. This is my natural style. This is the type of art I can do quickly, maintain a consistent feel across assets and be satisfied with the presentation. I’m still tweaking color palettes, ink lines and other stuff but I think I’m hitting my stride in the overall look.

I started with this mockup work:


Then I recreated almost every Tiled asset I had created over several weeks in Photoshop in a few long, caffeinated evenings. I also overhauled characters and started sketching some UI stuff. Spells, particles and lots of that stuff are still screwy.

Is this style better than the previous? I don’t know. I like that style a lot too. But I can’t turn it around fast enough to bring the game together. Another thing I like a lot better about this is that it feels more “fun”. The other style’s more realistic feel was a bit dark and scary. I want this game to be something parents are comfortable letting their kids play. The theme, while it does have skeleton wizards, is not intended to be horrific, occult in any serious sense, or aligned with any particular religion. I think this style nails that so much better. Hope you like it!

Manga/Clip Studio and More Art

Commit 2c94b2c.

I follow a guy on twitter named Derek Laufmann. I love this guy’s work and bought his art book (SPOILER: It’s amazing). He recommended a program called Manga Studio (now named Clip Studio), which was on sale at the time for only $20. This program is AMAZING.

I consider myself pro-level with Photoshop as a designer. But I’m a bit of a noob as a digital artist. I have gotten better but still really struggle with the “feel” of Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. My digital work has always been inferior to my traditional media skill. Manga studio may have just completely changed that. It’s out-of-the-box brushes are fantastic and within an hour felt so much more like the art tools my eye and hand know. It does have tons of quirks that frustrate the crap out of me but this is a cheap program! I pay more every month for Adobe Creative Cloud than this product cost me forever and it is a really solid application.

Anyway, I’m really having fun with this. I grew up drawing a very comic-book-realism style and I finally feel like I might be able to nail that digitally. I’ve been working on some sketches that might become the menu backgrounds and have been playing with UI stuff too.

Here’s one of the first sketches I did in Manga Studio:



Here’s me getting the feel for coloring with the various tools:


Playing with what a menu might look like, characters still unfinished:


And testing some UI component style and stuff:



The character at the top of this post was one of the last things that I did. I was playing with masks and other things that will differentiate characters and personality at small sizes. Note that I also have been sketching more non-digitally as well:


A Brave New (HD) World

Commit 69e4f6c.

It has been about two months since the last post and there have been HUGE overhauls!

First, I worked on a variety of mockups per the last post. I started by mocking up what a character might look like with higher-resolution sprites:


Then I mocked up what the level might look like in the same style:


Then I played with what the background walls might look like, starting with things like windows:


Then I took that style, created some quick-and-dirty tiles and played with a map in Tiled to see what it would really look like:


I didn’t like aspects of this style so I played with color palettes and changed stone styles a little bit. This is a Photoshop mockup, not actual functioning tiles:


I liked that and turned a lot of the foreground into real tiles. I created a Tiled level and then mocked in the background in Photoshop. This is a combination of real tiles in the foreground and mocked up sketches in the background:


I turned the background concepts into tiles too, and I also played with tiled light pieces. This is all real tiles:


Finally, I got this all into the actual game. This was a big effort because ALL of the art changed. Moving to larger tile sizes broke literally everything and also required changes to character movement and properties because levels were now further apart.

Another thing I’ve struggled with is character animation. Even being super excited about art, I have to have limitations. I can’t animate hundreds of frames of character art and ever finish this game. I also can’t have characters with no animation. So, I have been working on a procedural animation. I think this is going to be a good balance of quality/presentation and reasonable level of effort. Characters won’t run and have complex leg movements, they’ll float.

The image at the top of this post is the current product. The game is once again playable with procedurally-animated characters, higher resolution tiles, better parallax, new character art and all new tiles. This is an interesting graphic of the art journey so far: