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milla

Why we’re closing www.ProjectTilt.com and slowly moving away from the web version

By | General | No Comments

Holodrive has now been on Steam for over a month, and this is a new big era for us in BitCake Studio! We’re enjoying it a lot, hope you guys are as well 🙂

Steam has always been our goal and a dream, and the web was an AWESOME way of getting there and building a community at the same time. With the web version we gathered more than 800k player accounts, LOTS of player feedback, made the game change so much for the better, and made lots of friends. The best about developing a game in the open like that was that we could see people’s reactions to what we were building, and it actually mattered for some of them. That’s the best thing ever!

That being said, we always loved having the game on the web – even though there’s a LOT of prejudice around it – and we would keep it there for as long as possible if we could. But circumstances aren’t always what we want, and the events of the past year have made it pretty unpractical for us to keep the web version going.

First, Google Chrome blocked some plugins, including the Unity Webplayer.

If you started playing Project Tilt a while ago, you probably remember that around April last year, it started getting really hard to play the game on Chrome. Until in September it wasn’t possible anymore.  A lot of our players moved to Firefox and loyally kept playing, but that stroke us pretty hard. Even so, we took our time and launched on Steam only when we were ready, and I believe it was the right choice.

Unity offers a solution, and that is porting the game to WebGL, a new technology that runs on a browser without the needs of a plugin. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t work for us.

WebGL has been around for a while and it got a LOT better in the next few versions. Still, from what we tested so far it’s still not enough to run Holodrive. The development process is not so smooth, the build sizes are much bigger, and overall the technology still has some limitations that we can’t overcome right now. Maybe in the future we will be able to make a WebGL build and publish it, but for now it’s not possible, and the tendency is actually that Holodrive will become more and more complex with time – we’re adding more art with modern graphics, more game modes, etc – and it might not be possible at all.

Lastly, Unity has announced that it won’t support the Unity WebPlayer anymore, starting on its next update.

So, if we want to keep using the most updated Unity version, we can’t export to the web. That’s a big blow, too. We would love to keep publishing to the web, but giving up updates on the software we use is very hard – we use a lot of features in Unity and every new version brings fixes and improvements to the tools we use daily. In the short-term it’s not a big problem, but in the long-run, for a game that is still in development, and in Early Access, it’s terrible.

So, after a lot of thought, we decided we’ll have to step away from the web sometime soon.

We’re doing it slowly, though, and we’re gonna wait until the game is bigger on Steam before we do that. A lot of people are still getting the Steam version through the waitlist and we’re working on some major changes for the future. A lot is still to come!

Our first step will be to close the www.ProjectTilt.com website, and this will happen in about two weeks, on June 14. A lot less people play on Projecttilt.com  than on the facebook version, and even the name of the game is not right on this website anymore. Closing the site will also make it easier for the team to release newer versions, since making builds for many different websites + Steam takes a lot of time. The Facebook version will still be live and updated for a while, at least until we have made the game bigger on Steam.

We hope you guys understand the change and why it’s important for the future of the game, and don’t be mad at us. As always, we just want to make Holodrive bigger and better, and we’re working hard for that. The Steam version is where the real action is happening right now, and we want all of you there, together with us <3

P.S.: Don’t forget:  if you still don’t have a Steam Key, you can subscribe to get one here or you can buy the Supporter Pack here.

With love,

The BitCake Studio Team

See you guys in game!

“Project Tilt” 2.0: A new beginning!

By | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

It’s been a while since our last post, and some news are long overdue. In the past few months we’ve been on working on a lot of improvements in the game, and we’d like to tell us a bit about that, and also announce a few major changes that we’re very happy to see coming to fruition!

As we’ve already said many times in our Facebook discussion group and in social media in general, we’re focusing hard on our Steam version. We got greenlit in 2014, and our Steam launch depends only on ourselves, and this year we’ve made it our top priority to prepare the game to get there. We’re going to launch on Steam Early Access first, in a probably-soon date that we still haven’t decided – but, when we do, you’ll be the first to know!
Unity 5

About the changes: First, Unity 5

Probably the biggest reason we’ve been so quiet in the last months is that we decided to update the game’s engine from Unity 4 to Unity 5.

We thought that it wouldn’t be such a big deal at first, since the compatibility between both engines is very big, but that ended up taking a few months of development. We had to change all of our shaders, materials, lightmaps, etc, and also do a lot of bugfixing. But other than that, the biggest thing is that we took the opportunity to optimize the game A LOT.
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Graphics optimization a long time needed

In the last updates we introduced a lot of new features and didn’t have the time to properly  optimize everything, so a lot of stuff needed some re-checking. Unity 5 also comes with some cool new features that help optimization, so we worked hard to make the game run on 60 fps on Unity 5 on most PCs. We’re still gonna have to test that with some people before launch, but we sure have come a long way.

So, if you haven’t been able to play for a while because the game was running too slow on your PC, don’t worry: we know what you mean and we are working on it.
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Game interface in full HD

I don’t know if any of you noticed, but our current main menu UI is full HD (1080p) while the in-game one isn’t. The in-game interface is also not localized, being always on english. On top of that, we discovered that the user interface was a big bottleneck in the optimization, so it was the best time to fix all  of those problems for once.

In the next update we’ll release a new UI (which looks a lot like the old one except for a few changes) but that is much lighter, in Full HD and using a new technology, now ready to be translated to other languages. Yay!
Disarm Effect

Lots of new visual effects!

New engine and new shaders means that we also had to remake a lot of the particle effects in the game….So, as you can imagine, we also took the time to change a lot of them! Some of the effects were really old and could look better, and we’re gonna be on Steam soon, so we gotta step up!
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New environment art: BigRigs

This one we already spoiled a bit on social media, but the BigRigs collectors map got a big overhaul. It is the first of the maps to get environment art in the new style we’re working on, and it is a major improvement from the other ones.

For those interested in more technical aspects, on the Steam version we will have some features that make the game look much better and “next-gen”: real-time lighting, normal maps, occlusion maps, SSAO, etc.

An important thing about the new environment art is that we made it with a lot of future improvements in mind. The fact that we never got to fully determine a background story for the game was always holding us back in terms of art. So, in the process of making this map, we decided it was time to take a few steps back. This is not only the beginning of a new art style we’re developing, but also the start of a lore, coming to life inside the game.

The tutorial map will be the next one to get a facelift. We think it is super important that the first time players join the game leaves a good impression, so we’re starting from there. As soon as we finish it, we will start with another map.  Maybe you guys can tell us your favorite? Tell us in the comments!
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So yes, we now have a BACKGROUND STORY for the game, and we’re starting to add it little by little.

Yes! That’s right. It was a feedback from many many players that they missed some kind of plot behind the robots fighting, and that they wanted to know what was the background story behind the game. Who created Dummy, the bot? Why do they fight? Why is there a chicken robot? Who’s the damned scientist?!

We finally took the time and sought help to fix this problem. We brought to our rescue someone who understands a lot more about narrative and stories than ourselves, and asked them to help us organize our ideas. Turns out we already had a lot of good ideas, a lot of things more or less decided, but we needed help putting them together and connecting the dots. We finally did it, and we hope we can share it with you guys soon!
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The first thing you’re gonna see: Team identities!

The first thing that we’re gonna introduce are the team’s names and logos. Until now, when playing a team game mode (Team Deathmatch and Collectors Mode) the players would be assigned to the teams Electrify and Overclock. This was just a placeholder we created using the power-ups names loooong ago, and we thought it was lame but also a bit funny.

Now, our Dummies will fight on either Team Matrix or Vertex4, the two potencies battling for supremacy in the dummy-arenas-universe. The teams are sponsored by two rival super-corporations that are trying to take control of all things Dummy-related. I won’t give a lot of details just yet, you will discover more in time!
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And the biggest change of all, coming with the Steam version: we’re gonna change the name of the game.

That’s exactly what you heard. In Steam, Project Tilt won’t be called “Project Tilt” anymore. We’re gonna give it a new name, that we have finally decided after a LONG, VERY LONG time, and we’re very happy about.

We know this may come as a surprise for many of you, and that some will certainly be disappointed to see the game they like and have been playing for a while change names all of a sudden. It’s not ideal to change a game’s name after we’ve built a community around it, but we feel it’s needed.

Project Tilt was called that way as a “project” name – a placeholder to be used during the development. But, since we wanted to release it early and have people playing it from the start, we used that name until we got the final one. It took us two years to decide on a new name, and now is the perfect opportunity to change it.

 

A new beginning!

Project Tilt was always meant to come to Steam, and we also have plans for Playstation 4. We’re gonna enter a new phase now that we’re getting close to our goal, and we wanna do that with a new name, new logo, new art, and a background story to link it all together. Actually, the reason we were able to find a final name is because we could bring all the pieces together like this. For us, this is like a rebirth for Project Tilt and we’re gonna make it a lot better. 

So stay tuned, we will announce the new name and show some more cool stuff soon!

And don’t worry, if you don’t like anything we’re doing (not just the name, anything) feel free to tell us. We accept criticism and feedback, we love to read it and we reply to everything.

To end this all, we’d like to thank you for being with us in this journey! Seeing the players reaction to our game is our biggest accomplishment and is what keeps us moving forward. You guys are the best!

SEE YOU IN-GAME!

New Customization Available! The Swift-shot Archer

By | Art | No Comments

Hey everyone!

This post comes a bit delayed,  I’m really sorry about that. But we released a new update with a new customization set for the Season 01 collection. The Swift-shot Archer is a cute archer girl, and comes with an awesome new weapon: the Arcane Bow!

This is not only the first Project Tilt customization that is visibly a woman (even though many of the other ones are not explicitly male or female), but also the first in a few other things:

  • This set has 2 options for Hat. You can wear the long haired version, or the hood! Since we really liked both, we decided to add both to the collection and you can choose which one you’d like to wear.
  • This set is the first ever to have a SKIN slot! This means you can customize the texture of the robot, changing the body and eye color!
  • It’s also the first set to be inspired by medieval fantasy stuff!

We’re super excited about it, and hope you guys like it too!

The initial concept art sketch:

For those who are interested, I made this drawing live on our Twitch channel. We usually stream our process, and it might be interesting if you want to know more about how the game is made, or meet the team behind Project Tilt! 🙂  You can follow the channel and watch us at http://twitch.tv/bitcake

Concept_Customization_Archer_02

 

A teaser we published on our facebook page!

150428_ARCHER_SET_TEASER_SILHUETA_02

And this is what the set looks like:

150428_ARCHER_SET_TEASER

This is how it looks like with the hood hat equipped, instead of the long hair hat:

Archer_Jumping_07

Which one do you like the most?

 

And the Foil version:

Archer_Jumping_01_Foil

And, last, a close-up on the Skin textures:

Since this is a robot imbued with arcane power, it has runes all over its body. And the eye color is different too, so if you always wanted a red-eyed bot to fight with, now is your chance 😉 (and this is just the first set of skin textures we made. We plan on making many more!)

Archer skin

Normal Skin

Archer Skin Foil

Foil Skin

 

Tell us what you think about it!

NEW UPDATE: Bullet FX & Account Creation Changes

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

 A new update has been released!

We just updated the game with some cool stuff, specially for those who have not won their 50 Bits for verifying your e-mail!

Here’s the changelog:

Changes to the account creation process

– You can now freely change the e-mail you used to start playing Project Tilt BEFORE you verify it. (After verification your e-mail won’t be changeable anymore!)
– You can now request to change your password from withing the settings menu after verifying your e-mail.
– You don’t need to create an account before playing the game anymore if you’re playing on Facebook! (just accept the app and create a nickname) Later, you will be prompted to upgrade your account – this is an optional step in which you insert email address and password. With this “BitCake Account” you can play Project Tilt in any other platform (Facebook,ProjectTilt.com and others in the near future)

Game

– Changed the whole Tutorial ending screen. Now we explain the rewards the player gets when he/she finishes the tutorial.
– Changed all bullet sizes and shader effects (Normal bullets and Double Damage bullets)
– Small visual adjustments on Floorophobic so it reflects its collider better
– Small adjustment on BigRigs post-game so when you hop on a ramp you’ll fall on the vote capsule.

– Many many many bugfixes and improvements to the game Emoticon smile

Come play the game!
https://apps.facebook.com/project-tilt/

It’s Easter in Tilt!

By | General | No Comments

Hey guys, we’d like to wish you a HAPPY EASTER!
And to celebrate we’re doing a huge sale! Check it out:

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A FREE GIFT FOR EVERYONE

Log in to the game at anytime from now to April 8 to get a free Bunny Ears hat!

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DOUBLE BITS IN EVERY PURCHASE

Everyone who buys bits now – and all the way to April 8 – will get double the number of bits they would usually get!

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EXCLUSIVE BOX BUNNY SET

We’re also making our first exclusive sale set! For only a limited time, you will be able to buy a special pack that comes with the full Box Bunny set, and also a few holopacks and legacypacks!

Here is another image of our new set:

Box Bunny Set

Our first season-exclusive promotional set! What do you think about it? 🙂

And here is a short making of we made of the process of creating this set:

Box Bunny Making of

Box Bunny Making of

Weapon Balancing Update

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Hey everyone!
We made some adjustments to how some weapons work!

Here’s a changelog:

Minigun:
– Damage reduced to 10 from 12
– Spin decay time reduce to 0.75 from 2
– Fire rate reduced to 16 from 18

Bazooka:
– Fire rate reduced to 0.6 from 0.7
– Initial ammo reduced to 2 from 3
– Total ammo reduced to 4 from 6

Phantomzooka:
– Fire rate reduced to 0.5 from 0.7

Tell us what you think in the comments!

Try out the new balancing!
https://apps.facebook.com/project-tilt/

It’s Carnival in Tilt! – Update and Sale!

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Hey everyone! We decided it’s a good idea to start posting our changelogs in our blog. I’m trying to revive it for a very long time, and changelogs are always there and maybe useful for some people to see in a specific link. So here it is, our first one 🙂

 

FEBRUARY 14, 2015 – CARNIVAL UPDATE

It’s Carnival here in Brazil, so in the spirit of that we are giving you a surprise!

– Everyone will get a Speacial Giftpack with a Carnival Mask headgear
– Special SALE! If you buy Bits on the store you’ll get DOUBLE the Bits!

Also here’s a changelog of the updates:

– Lobby news are now clickable and contextual! (If you click on a Weapons rotation news it’ll take you to the loadout screen for instance)
– Free Weapon Rotation is now AUTOMATIC and will happen every 3 days! (thank god, says [Dev]Ashkental)
– You can now use the chat if you’re spectating a game! (If you join a match while people are on the Post-Game Screen)
– Improved loading screen between matches
– Fixed opening empty holopack bugs
– Added a pretty new loading before some important server calls
– Added some cool new art to popup menus!
– Moved the AUDIO/VIDEO options to its own sub-menu
– Added option to disable Music in the In-Game options menu!
– Fixed Background music playing on the Post-Game Screen even if you had disabled it before
– Added and remade a bunch of localization stuf Emoticon smile
– Fixed some other bugs! Emoticon grin

So GO PLAY!
https://apps.facebook.com/project-tilt/

Crossroads Part I: Character Design for Project Tilt, or How Project Tilt was Once About Paper Craft

By | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

So, the story behind Project Tilt’s main character is a very winding one. Project Tilt was, for a long time, a game without any art, without any idea of theme, and without a character. It was a long process that is, actually, still happening, and we all learned a lot. I’m going to make a series of posts about it, and I hope you guys enjoy it and comment back with your opinions! 🙂

Early Investigation

When I joined the Project Tilt team around May last year, the project was going on for about five months but we had nothing more than a big pile of sketches and no idea of what to do with them. So we started an investigation of what we wanted out of our game in terms of language, to start building the beginning of our art direction.

Early sketches

Early sketches

All we knew was that we wanted the game to be fast and crazy, with a kind of explosive humour, but not explicitly violent. Just cartoon-ish explosive fun. Like Team Fortress or Smash Bros, with a bit of nonsensey-ness from cartoons, like Invader Zim, Dexter’s Laboratory or Adventure Time (who doesn’t like that?).

Comical, Crazy and Charismatic

Comical, Crazy and Charismatic

So we made the graph below, comparing the humor and tone that we wanted out of Project Tilt with other similar games. This might seem weird, but it was useful to put everyone in the team in the same place: sometimes each person in the team is thinking something different and we can only find that out in the worst way. That’s why this kind of investigation is useful, and since I was new in the team, I wanted to align my ideas with the rest of the team’s, and also to see if they were all aligned between themselves and if our ideas made sense.     Btw, the app I used to make that graph is a very cool web app called Mural.ly. It’s a great way to creat moodboards and communicate visual ideas to a team 🙂

A Starting Point: The Character!

We needed a character to begin with. The character was central to the game’s concept, since the idea behind Project Tilt has always been that every player starts the same: we have no grinding and your level doesn’t change your power in the gameplay. Our character had to be cool enough for the player to like him and want to play with it, but also had to be customizable so players could differentiate themselves and show how much they played by the items they have, and how their character looks. So, we looked first at the requirements of our project:

  • The character had to be highly customizable;
  • It had to look charismatic on its own, but even cooler when customized;
  • The customizations would be other 3D models on top of the character, like in Little Big Planet or Modnation Racers (this is a decision we made early on before starting the design process, since it also involved technical things about the 3D modelling and the way the game would be programmed);
  • Our customizations would include garments and hats of any kind, even if very different from the theme of the game (Ex: Pirate hat in a robot character);
  • The character had to hold a big and visible weapon – for gameplay reasons, since the weapon had to be readily recognizable;
  • The head of the character also had to be pretty big, so hats would be easily seen and become important to the experience.
Proportions - at the same time we were studying the proportions to fit our game

Proportions – at the same time we were studying the proportions to fit our game

With this in mind, we took a look at some real-world references that could be useful, like Lego toys, Toy Arts, and Paper Craft. We studied games that used those kind of references and tried to decide which ones we liked the most and fitted our game more.

Nailing Down to One Theme

Then, we chose some options that we liked and started brainstorming and making sketches. From those sketches, I decided to make a presentation to the team. The theme of the game is something that everyone should be excited about, and a short presentation is a nice way to make everyone informed about everything at once, expose your arguments, and make a decision from there.

Toy Art Sketches

Toy Art Sketches

Paper Craft Sketches

Paper Craft Sketches

Cartoony Robot Sketches

Cartoony Robot Sketches

All the three ideas were loved by the team, the robot one because it was actually the original theme of the game from the beginning, the toy art looked cute, and the paper craft looked very different from what other games were doing. And we wanted to try something different so we got really excited about the Paper Craft theme.  And on top of that, we were thinking we could name the game “Paper Crash”and it would sound awesome! And it would! So we decided to take that route, and the characters would be robots made of paper, being made in large quantities in a crazy lab and studied by awkward scientists. All the game could have a low-poly papery look. And so we began a long road of paper-robot drawings!

Pirate Paper Robot Science - Paper robots have a heart too :{

Pirate Paper Robot Science – Paper robots have a heart too :{

Some references that we used:

Retro3D by ~ABELOroz on deviantART

Retro3D by ~ABELOroz on deviantARTMonster Life mobile game characters

Monster Life mobile game characters

 And here is a link for a project with a paper aesthetic that looks really cool: https://www.behance.net/gallery/Power-Giants-lowpoly-paperworld/7890183

The Paper Craft Path

The drawings were going well and during that time our 3D modeller, Daniel, joined the team, and we had him modelling everything we could so we could test as early as possible!

Papelez - One of our concepts for the PaperBot

Papelez – One of our concepts for the PaperBot

The PaperBot - One of the first concepts

The PaperBot – One of the first concepts

But the problem came when we actually transported the drawings to 3D models and put them in the game. We made simple textures and rigged the 3D models of the new ideas and used Unity 4’s Mechanim to transport all the animations from the old placeholder robot character to the news ones. Then we could rapidly make early tests by playing with the new models. And the result was… Well, not so cool. We tried lots of things, with lots of silhouettes and shapes, but it looked like the pointy corners of a Paper Craft models didn’t really fit into the game. They didn’t look good in the camera, and we weren’t really happy. Of course a lot could change with lighting, shader and more texture work, but it looked like no matter how we tried changing the shape and working a bit more in the texture, it didn’t look the way we wanted.

The Turning Point!

So, we had to make a rational decision to make things work. We decided to make a test in the same way we’ve been doing, but with one of our robot ideas. We all loved the first concepts and would like to see it back anyway, and it would probably work out. So I started drawing some robots and our 3D artist modelled them and we made some in-game tests. And it looked A LOT better from the start. We learned a few things from that too: – First, the rounded corners looked a lot better than the pointy paper ones. Our character is really small in the game, so his shape has to be simple and easy to understand from a distance. The paper pointy corners were not easily readable. – A more rounded head was also much clearer to see in the side-scrolling camera view. Our robot shape right now is actually still not so round, but it is a bit, and it allows some of the character’s face to show even if we are seeing it completely sideways (a pretty common thing in a side-scroller game). We were really happy with the result and started working in the design of our robot non-stop! The only down-side was losing the opportunity to use that name we liked so much — but we can save that for a next game. 🙂 It was still a lot of work to get to the version that is in game now, and even that one is still not done.

After that…

In the next part of the post I will be explaining how our design came to life and what we learned with it! Also, if you are insterested in seeing creative process in character design, here are a few links! Sackboy is one of our favorite characters of all time, and our biggest reference in terms of customization. In this link from Media Molecule’s blog, they explain the process behind the creation of this awesome character: http://www.mediamolecule.com/blog/article/from_yellowhead_to_sackboy/ And this is their Flickr with lots of pics from the process: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mediamolecule/sets/72157625338372788/ If you want to see more, this is a video from the Modnation Racers team talking about character customization and how they made it unique in their game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfx0xCHNC70 If you have any questions, tips, feedback, feel free to comment below! 🙂 We are happy to discuss anything with other developers or people who just appreciate Project Tilt and what we are doing. See you in the next post, and in-game!