Out of the Oven: Patch 1 on Nintendo Switch

Hey Battle Chefs! Thanks so much for all the kind tweets, comments, and emails :) We’re excited to keep updating Battle Chef Brigade for you! For Patch 1, we focused on bug fixes along with a few general improvements. This Switch Patch means that the Steam and Switch versions now match. That’s our goal moving forward as well! Read on for the full list of improvements to the Nintendo Switch version:
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Now serving: Patch 1!

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Hey Battle Chefs! Thank you all so much for your support. We’ve been reading and responding to your emails, tweets, and discussion threads and then got to work on improving BCB as quickly as possible. This first set of changes fixes a collection of bugs (especially with key remapping and achievements!) and smooths over a couple difficulty spikes on Normal. Thank you all so much for pointing out these issues! Keep the feedback coming, especially since we’re planning future updates now :) Read on for details on quality of life updates and some bug fixes in Revision 12394!
For improvements and fixes, including these, for the Switch version, stay tuned! Those will be coming soon.

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Capturing Gameplay Footage

As we prepare for the upcoming Kickstarter, I wanted to get back into the habit of typing into programs other than Visual Studio. So, I’m going to give a quick rundown of how we’re capturing gameplay footage for the Kickstarter video.

 

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Monster Control

Of course, it’s important to show your game in the best light possible without being dishonest. Battle Chef Brigade’s Arena can be difficult to film for this reason, since the monsters are much more interested in stealing your ingredients or attacking than acting cool for the camera.¬† To encourage them to behave nicely, we disable or encourage certain monster actions for each shot. This way, we can trigger behaviors that happen naturally in gameplay without having to do a few dozen takes due to randomness. In other words, instead of hoping for three different monsters to choose and synchronize a set of behaviors, we can force them to!

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Kickstarter Preparations!

Hello Stranger! We’ve accidentally become rather stealthy here on the blog, but we haven’t slowed down on Twitter or on the game!

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Here’s the lightning edition of what we’ve been up to these last few months:

  • Updating the environments (Yann has been delivering amazing work!)
  • Revamping the Kitchen mechanics (there’s now an elegant space-management mechanic)
  • Helping with Bit Bash planning
  • Revamping the UI (controller support is now in as well!)
  • Molding a tutorial into shape – playtests have begun!

Most importantly, though, we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Kickstarter campaign! We’re polishing up the game in anticipation of capturing lots of gameplay footage, so Mina and the monsters are finally all getting colored! One of our friends, Mike Antonicelli, is helping Eric color some of the gazillion frames of animation.

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Music and Monsters

Tom Dunkin had a lot of fun working on this next song which will play in our title screen. I provided a quick mock up of what that menu may look like (fire… lots of fire) and essentially asked for something regal with a bit of a military feel. We hoped to capture that feeling of a young cadet standing in the shadow of this grand tournament, anticipating the greatness to come right beyond the gates. Hope you like it as much as we do. Enjoy!

 
 

 
 

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Other than that, the game has been moving along nicely. I hope to do an environment art post eventually, but for now I’d like to also share this mockup where I explored more of the arena and some more basic UI design.

 
 

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I’ve also been trying to get the monsters more filled out with animations instead of single key frames to represent their states and actions. It’s been a challenge juggling the desire for smooth animations with time and efficiency, gameplay considerations (will this animation be responsive and accurate enough for what we want in combat?), and the ever looming issue of atlas sizes. For instance, while I’d love to always animate a creature as a whole entity to really make it feel alive and not having any part of it be too static, the dragon will be separated into a few parts to hopefully save atlas space as well as time. The legs are more often than not totally still, but the head needs more attention being a focal point.

 
 

Another topic of interest for me has been idle states. Idle states are strange for our game because I would imagine players would be engaged with the monsters more than just avoiding them and watching a creature breath and blink, but we still need to create some sort of animation for when this does happen. The smaller the creature is, the easier it is to have that creature always be moving. A lot of pixel art games have their characters bob up and down constantly to make the whole world feel alive. But if you have something large like a dragon to hand animate (not puppetry/rigged style), it would take a lot of frames to get a smooth breathing animation that doesn’t look like hyperventilation, or just excessive movement in general that is a waste of time when more of my focus could be on other attacks and behaviors. So my idea has been to start with something rather robotic, constraining movement to just 1-2 areas of a monster. If I have more time I could always embellish later. Other than hoping those moving areas are interesting I want to show different angles of the monster than just a side view to show off the 2d hand drawn quality of them. I’m really trying to get the most out of the choice to do traditional animation for this game!

 
 

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We’re hoping to wrap up a solidly working version of our arena section within this month and a half. Wish us luck!

Our First Song

Hi all, Tom Dunkin here. I have the great pleasure of working with the talented Trinket and sound guru George Hufnagl to compose the music for the upcoming demo of Battle Chef Brigade. Since Eric first asked me to take on this quest, I have been both excited and scared out of my pants. I’ve mainly worked in the electronic music genre, so this being my first symphonic project has stretched me and energized me in ways I could not have imagined. Thankfully Eric is a clear creative director, and his artwork is completely inspiring if you haven’t already noticed!

 

Today I get to share with you the first bit of music for BCB, the main gameplay song for the demo. Since the game was still in early stages of development, I did not compose the music after playing through levels and experiencing all the art and gameplay at once. Instead, I worked with Eric in trying to musically capture emotions and abstract ideas such as heroism, bravery, regality/nobility, fantasy and adventure – all stirred together with the important art of cooking! Of course, the concept art has played a huge role in how I perceive the music should sound (including the fantastic arena environments), and this song is influenced by Mina’s character – she is the main heroine, after all! You could say each character has their own instrument or style, so Mina would be represented by strings and violin.

 

Probably the most difficult aspect about composing such a piece is understanding that the same music will be playing and looped for both the action-packed arena battle segment AND the strategic cooking segment. So the music itself has to be dynamic and versatile enough to fit in with both gameplay sections (though for me cooking is always an intense battle – I promise since being involved in this project my cooking skills and ambition have increased!)

 

I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with so far, and please look forward to future updates on the sound, art and gameplay right here on the DevBlog!

 

 

 
 

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A little album image created for the occasion from Eric.