It’s me again! In case you didn’t catch the first blog, I shall introduce myself once again. My name is Katey and I am UI Designer and Brand Manager here at Stunlock Studios. My blogs revolve around what people have been up to the previous week.
Due to the Enter the Arena tournament over the weekend, we originally planned to have an esports blog written by our one and only GrimGoon (Esports Manager), but since organising a tournament is a very time consuming business, he wasn’t able to post this week. Hopefully we will get a blog from him fairly soon. Read more »
To kick off the 2017 competitive season in style, Battlerite is pulling out the big guns as it partners with Beyond the Summit and Twitch to bring you “Enter the Arena”.
The event starts at approx 18:00 CET / 09:00 PST this Saturday and Sunday over at Beyond the Summit on Twitch.tv.
This weekend sixteen of the best teams from North America and Europe will collide in an epic showdown with lots at stake. Not just the record setting purse of 10,000 USD hangs in the balance, but also honor and regional bragging rights. Who will make it through? Who will collapse under pressure? And will the top seeds from the invitational process in TelroskMi and Onslaught live up to the billing?
You can view a teaser and an explanation of the upcoming M1 changes here.
Patch 0.11.1.0 is scheduled for the 28th February and will include bug fixes and champion updates. Servers will have a planned downtime on 15:00 CET (6:00 AM PST / 9:00 AM EST), and the process is expected to take up to 1 hour.
The M1 gameplay changes originally planned for this patch have been delayed by a minimum of two weeks due to a critical team member being out of commission for nearly a month.
As a highly-valued Battlerite player, we wanted to make sure you were notified as soon as possible. We realise these are very anticipated changes, so we have decided to showcase a small teaser of the changes in Monday’s dev blog.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. These gameplay changes are our highest priority right now and our dedicated team is working hard on improving your Battlerite experience.
Features & Content
New Mounts – Emperor Scorpion & Deathstalker Scorpion
The Emperor Scorpion (left) will be available to winners of various tournaments. The Deathstalker Scorpion (right) can be obtained via giveaways.
Champion Changes & Fixes
Fixed a bug causing the impact location of Healing Potion (Lucie), Healing Wave (Pearl) and Rejuvenating Sands (Oldur) to be slightly incorrect
“Air time” added to the tooltips of several mobility abilities.
Pestilus – Brain Bug damage limit tooltip changed from Panic Damage Limit to Brain Bug Damage Limit
Using a Counter-type ability at the end of Iva’s Zap buff no longer renders the player model invisible
My name is Konrad Petersson (IGN: Krab) and I’m a Technical Game Designer. I started working here at Stunlock Studios (SLS for short) November 2016, and to be honest, I have loved every minute of it. My main focus has been designing and implementing new champions for Battlerite together with the rest of the Champion team. I also do stuff like fixing bugs, analyze and balance the game together with the rest of the Design team.
This is my very first dev blog post and as many of you might have figured out already, it’s about the making of our latest champion, “Raigon, the Exiled prince”. I will go through our initial goals, how we have iterated upon the concept, bumps along the road and decisions on the way to final product (if you could ever call a champion in a multiplayer game final!) from the perspective of a designer. Hopefully it will provide you with some juicy insight on how the champion creation process works!
How we decide on a direction
With each champion we make, we want to improve the Battlerite roster as a whole. We have a lot of potential champion designs and art concepts lying around, which sometimes makes it hard to pick what to go with next. Creating design concepts and abilities is in many ways a creative outlet, but first and foremost, we try to identify what our current roster would benefit the most from. At the same time, we see great value in introducing new and unique abilities to the game as a whole, and try to not limit ourselves idea-wise. Ultimately, if it works in the game, it can potentially make the cut.
Initial direction / goals
We wanted our next Champion to be:
A Melee Champion
A Beginner Friendly Champion
A Champion with broad appeal
Coupled with the general design directions of Battlerite, such as making every champion unique in the way they play, fill their own role and fit into the game, this is usually how defined a champion is from the start.
The Champion team
The Stunlock Studios Champion Team consists of Game Designers, Artists (Sound, 2D/3D art, Animators, VFX) and programmers. The team works closely together based on the original concept. We communicate regularly through messaging apps and Champion Meetings where we meet, goof around, go through the champion’s current state both visually and mechanically, discuss what to improve, introduce new ideas and plan ahead.
We decided we wanted to make a two-handed sword fighter. We had none of those and it would fit in well with the “Broad Appeal” direction we wanted to take. Fans of BLC might notice the similarities between “Raigon” and fellow two-handed sword fighter “Reaver” from Bloodline Champions. We took some inspiration from “Reaver”, but ultimately, we wanted to find something new and unique that would fit our directions. Our 2D artists presented us with some awesome concept art and prototyping began from there.
Ability design & prototyping
One of the first design decisions on Raigon’s abilities was to include a core mechanic that would grant him life back, allowing him to stay on and pressure his targets and sustain himself.
Our definition of “Beginner friendly” meant conveying a clear goal to players, rather than just making him a “simple” or “easy” champion to play.
Croak, for example, requires a bit more decision-making (as in jumping in and out to be effective) and is thus harder to learn to the point where the player is comfortable bringing him into competitive play. That being said, we are always working with skill ceilings and viability in mind, so the goal for Raigon would be easy to learn – difficult to master.
We also wanted new players, who might be starting out with Raigon, to learn some more of the common mechanics found in Battlerite. This would allow these newer players to carry on some knowledge from Raigon to their next champion of choice. Read more »
We have decided to postpone Patch 0.11 due to technical issues. It will instead arrive on Wednesday, February 15th. The servers will go down for patching at 15:00 CET (9:00 AM EST / 6:00 AM PST). The patching process will take approximately 2 hours.
Upcoming changes in Patch 0.11.1.0
As we have the Enter the Arena event coming up we have decided to split the mid February patch in two. This first patch brings the new champion along with the next season and some additional changes and fixes; you can view details below. The second patch, Patch 0.11.1, is planned to arrive February 28th. We are experimenting with some bigger changes for it, with the primary goal to make M1’s more exciting to use while also allowing for M1 exchanges to be more interesting and thrilling. This involves changes to both movement speed, damage, cast times and cooldowns/charges. We have concentrated on looking at the M1s of our ranged Champions first, but are also trying a few things out with our melee Champions. We are still experimenting with this and at the time of writing do not have definite details to share, so you will have to wait for more detailed information in the patch notes for Patch 0.11.1.0.
Patch 0.11.1.0 will also bring other gameplay changes, along with some new mounts and additional changes and fixes.
Features & Content
Raigon, The Exiled Prince – New Melee Champion
Raigon is the former crown prince of Quna. He was a well-respected figure among the kingdom’s warriors, until he was exiled due to the manipulations of Pestilus. For now, the arena serves as a decent place to find work and set the wheels in motion for his retaliation.
Hello everyone! I’m Shelt and I’ve been working at Stunlock Studios (SLS for short) since the very beginning. My title at SLS is Creative Director. It’s a very fuzzy role, but within game development it often ties into the overall design vision of the game and its features.
I’ve been given the honor to share some of my work and thought process with you guys for this Dev Blog post. This post will be focused around matchmaking and the new ranking system, where I will give you some insight into our vision, summarize our first season and what you can expect in the future.
Designing and implementing a matchmaking system is a super exciting task, but also one of the most difficult in skill-based competitive games. A small difference in skill can make a huge impact on the match balance. Also having to take estimated skill, visual placement, server regions, champions, archetypes, game type, ranking type, party size, queue times etc into consideration when matching players doesn’t make it any easier. Finally, we also have the player needs; some players gladly sacrifice match balance for faster games but others do not.
As many of you know we launched our first season and new ranking system that introduced leagues and divisions in December 2016. This system was designed to be more visually understandable, appealing and with improved rating changes.
During the season several concerns were raised by our community which we tried to tackle along the way. I’ll go through some of them to explain our reasoning and solutions.
“Players got very low placement results”
Our first intention was to place people a lot lower than their estimated skill to give them a guaranteed positive progression. We wanted to prevent players from getting a better placement position than their end result for the season.
This algorithm was very hard on the players and many of you felt like you were treated as the worst players in the world by being placed in low bronze, even though you felt good at the game. We completely understand this and a hotfix was made to increase the initial placement.
“Players often got matched with people outside their own league”
This is a very interesting topic. What we did before was to value our estimated skill of the player (their hidden mmr) more than their visual position (their League placement) when it comes to matchmaking. Because some players are more active than others, the visual position could vary a lot even if we estimated the players to be equally skilled.
We got a lot of complaints on bad matchmaking and we applied a hotfix which made the visual placement more important than our estimated skill when matching players. We got some great responses from that hotfix, telling us games finally felt a lot more balanced. The ironic thing is they actually became slightly worse. Here are some match result data from the Solo Ranked Queue taken before and after the hotfix was in place.
We were aware that the match balance would statistically fall, but as we also guessed, the visual perception played a big part in how players experience match balance. We will keep a close watch on both community feedback and the match result data throughout the season to determine adjustments needed going forward.
In the next coming months we will be working on preparing Battlerite for Free-To-Play launch. We need to improve some core areas of the Battlerite experience before it is ready for the influx of new players at launch.
We want to open up about these changes with you so you have the opportunity to provide feedback as we progress.
1. Improve the experience for new players
We want to ensure the first experience of Battlerite is as optimal and fun as possible. Right now our analysis shows players aren’t quite ready for PvP after the tutorial and Vs Ai. Improving this area will help players find their first PvP games more rewarding.
One possibility we’re looking at is introducing 1v1 matches. This would include PvP duels as well as vs AI matches and we’re considering a campaign mode to enhance the new user experience. We are also looking at improving the existing AI and adding lighter tutorial segments where additional information about playing Battlerite can be introduced.
By improving the new player experience we will improve our retention which will encourage more people to play Battlerite, adding to the matchmaking experience as a whole.
2. More ways to play
Our statistics show that players have started to play in shorter sessions. We’re now looking at introducing other ways to play Battlerite which offer more variety and breathing room.
We are considering to add additional game modes with more fun objectives or rules, where the pace feels significantly different to the main mode. Game modes is something we have heavily experimented with. At the moment we have 2-3 strong game modes that are being tested.
3. New UI Styling & Experience
The current user interface (UI) was designed in early Alpha and has remained more or less unchanged. We want to create a new UI that is reflective of the in-game Battlerite experience and allows more flexibility for new features to be implemented in the future.
To solve this, we’ve started work on a user interface overhaul and an improved look that communicates the fast-paced brawling action of Battlerite. This includes (although not limited to) looking at a new menu navigation, new character selection screen, new art styling, improved friends/social system, improved Odeum/replays integration and improving the pre/post match experience as a whole.
Our plan is to use the current UI as a testing ground for new features and backend improvements until the new UI is ready for implementation.
4. Gameplay and Mechanics
Before the Free-To-Play release we will be looking to push the gameplay of Battlerite a step further. Besides continually looking at the Battlerites of our champions, we are also experimenting with the core mechanics.
We are looking at mechanics that are applicable to all champions as well as mechanics that are specific to a champion. Another area we are looking at is the mechanics associated to the maps, as well as the maps themselves.
We have detailed what we are currently trying out below.
Pushing the overall quality and depth of Battlerite is our priority in preparing for the Free-To-Play release. You can expect new champions and content at a slightly slower pace as we use our time in Early Access to experiment with the core mechanics of the game.
Welcome to the very first dev blog! My name is Katey and I work here at Stunlock Studios (SLS for short) as Brand Manager & UI Designer. If you’re an active reddit user, you may have seen me on there recently. I’ve been trying to answer questions and get more involved with the community.
To start with we will aim for a dev blog to be released every Monday. The blogs will be written by a different developer each week and will also vary in subject matter. We want to open up about our development, give insight on decisions we’ve made, and involve you in the process.
The first thing I want to mention is that some time this week we’ll be posting a bigger announcement that’s going to give you a better overview of what we’re focusing on in development in the months ahead. This will be a broader look at our development process, so if you feel like this blog falls short, be sure to check back for that upcoming post as it may give you more insight.
In my blogs, I’ve decided I want to give you guys an update on random things that people in the office have been working on in the previous week. In the office, we’ve jokingly called this the “Katey going around annoying everyone” blog. I can also provide specific information about what’s going on in the user interface team, since this is where I primarily work.
I am personally a big fan of art, so what really grabbed my eye when pestering the art team in particular was the upcoming Grand Champion mount. It all started with the concept by our Art Director, Johan Aronson:
As the mount is for use by Grand Champions of the previous Season only, it needed to not only match the Grand Champion league icon, but also make players feel like kings of the arena. The art team felt that a lion was the perfect choice.
After the concept is nailed, it’s down to the 3D artist to begin sculpting the mount. Our 3D artist intern, Sofia Hansson (aka Chili), kindly shared some shots of the sculpt with me and talked about her process.
Sofia: “The hardest part for me was the fur. Luckily, I recently worked on a Legendary Outfit that gave me some insight into texturing fur, which helped to speed this up. We texture our models by hand using 3D-coat. This program allows us to paint onto the model directly in a 3D space. Another thing I had to do a bit more learning about was hard-surface sculpting, so I watched some videos to point me in the right direction. The hard-surface parts of this sculpt are the armor plating, etc. Once the sculpt is done, I then create the low-poly version which is what will be used in the game.”