(April 1st) Armor Blitz Update: Rocket/Missile Class

Equalizing the Playing Field

Hello everyone! It’s been a long hard journey so far in developing our title, and we’ve received quite a lot of feedback along the way. One of the improvements that we will be rolling out is more innovative and unique classes. And because of the rapidly evolving sociopolitical climate, equalizing the playing field for players from all walks of life is becoming one of our priorities in the studio. The current ratio of female to male characters in our game is a staggering 100 : 0  … which is simply unacceptable!

Armor Blitz is proud to reveal our new upcoming class of weapon in the game, rockets and long range missiles! Since we have tank girls, we’re introducing powerful and handsome missile boys into the world of Factoria.

To start off, there are 3 new characters: the V-2 Rocket, V1 Flying Bomb (Doodlebug), and the R-1 Missile.

Unlike other traditional vehicles, these characters are activated similar to abilities. Select your target and the character will fire their projectile directly at the target. Their missiles will penetrate through enemy lines and deliver their long range arsenal directly to the enemy commanders in a devastating explosion!

The ramifications of this update are huge: first of all, we will have a fresh source of testosterone on the world of Factoria, something that the world has been severely lacking.  Second, it let’s us venture into a whole new world of character archetypes, that will bring us closer than ever to our anime influences. Archetypes such as:

  • The dense male lead surrounded by girls
  • An all-powerful hero who has never lost a battle
  • The mysterious character, who has never spoken a word, but always saves the day
  • The lucky guy – with absolutely no talent or skills, yet manages to win every fight

This is only the beginning of the future of Armor Blitz. We will continue to keep bringing in more of these male units until we hit a satisfactory ratio of 50:50 female to male characters. I hope everyone is happy with these changes moving forward. Us here in the Armor Blitz Team see this as a vital step towards bringing true balance to the game.

-Armor Blitz Team

Adventures and more!

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Hey everyone!

Here’s another progress update for the month of February. It’s super exciting to know that our email list has grown a lot since the last update, so if you’re getting this in your inbox – welcome! We’ve got a few things to share from the past month, although most of it has been related to business (paperwork, trademark filing, incorporation). That’s boring, so we’ll cut to the chase starting with our new series of comics that kicked off in January!


Armor Blitz Adventures + New Music

If you’ve been following our social media, you have probably seen the little 4koma style comic strips. This is something that we have lots of fun making, and each strip really fills out the personality of our characters. The reception has been great so far, so we’ll keep working hard to make more. Here’s a teaser for the next one: LIGHTNING! Expect to see that one done in ~2 weeks time.

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There’s also a new section on our blog here called Adventures! That will be the archive for each of our Armor Blitz Adventures pieces if you need to catch up on the previous ones.

Another cool thing that happened in January is a new musical piece commissioned by the lovely Phyrnna! If you haven’t listened to it yet, get excited.


 Some things were broken… so we fixed them

Just like the subheading says, we were having a weird bug with save data being lost. Our internal testing had slowed down greatly as a result (among other reasons). Obviously that’s not what we want, so that should be resolved now! Our main goal right now is to complete the networking features like analytics monitoring and online interaction.

On a positive note, our first iteration of optimization is complete (asset bundling). It’s a progressive thing, so of course the task is more long term, but loading speed is a lot better now! One of the other things we need to do to reduce filesize is programmatic cropping of cards. We have various sizes (small, large, extra large) for portraits. Having each of these not only takes extra steps to produce, but it also increases overall file size by a lot. Our goal is to come up with an algorithm to chop out the parts we need, when we need it.


Alpha Expectancy

Last time I sent out a letter to everyone, I did promise news on our public alpha build. Because of some of the problems listed in this post, we had gotten stuck on progression. Also, all of our members are part-time volunteers/students, so depending on work schedule we only have limited hours in the day. Although we can’t talk about everything going on behind the scenes, our team is doing TONS of stuff to make the project a success. With that in mind, our goal is:

Public Alpha test in the third week of March.

And because Feb. 14th is rolling around… Happy early Valentines day! We love you all <3
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Social Media:

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Development Update: Tutorial Implementation

Hello everyone, I just wanted to give an update on our development progress.

While the base gameplay is done, we’re currently developing the tutorial system for the game. While this process isn’t technically difficult, it is surprisingly time consuming to implement, especially since we want to gradually unlock new gameplay features over time as they progress through the storyline. That way, players aren’t hit with a brick wall of text instructing them how to play the entire game as soon as they enter.

Tutorial Screenshot 22

Tutorial Screenshot 9

After this, the next step will be doing an overview of the current units in the game for balancing, setting up our notification system, and optimization. Once this is done, we should have an early Beta test of the game by the end of December or early January next year. While this is going on with our programming team, we’re working in parallel with new artists to deliver amazing new illustrations for new characters for the game.

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We should be getting some new characters within the next two weeks while our 3d modeler catches up making chibi versions for the game.

Be aware that the Beta won’t be adding quest or achievement features, in game events, or indirect PvP invasions at this time. While the functionality is there, they still need a lot of work before those features are testable.

We will let everyone know when our Beta is out so keep an eye out! 

 

Creating Chibi 3D Characters

Today I would like to go over our process in making 3D models for Armor Blitz. For the in-game combat, we wanted to design cute chibi models of the characters to represent a more realistic form for the cards. Of course, this allows us to create more dynamic battle sequences, and show real time combat in a more exciting way!

Before we make 3D models, the first objective is to design and create an illustration of the character to base it off of. In this case, we’ll show the German STUG IV tank destroyer!

 

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Using Maya, we 3d model the character by extruding polygons to get the shape of the character. The character is modeled in a T-pose to make it easier to animate later on. In Armor Blitz, we keep the head as a separate standardized object. The reason is because we alternate textures through code that changes their expressions depending on what they are doing.
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After finishing the model of the character we have to apply a UV map. What this means is that we unfold the polygons to outline where the texture colors will be on the character. Using Photoshop, we paint the textures for the character with the UV map overlaying it.
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After the character is textured and modeled, the next step is to create a skeleton to rig the character and bind the model. After setting up the bones, we check and weight map the body. This process is used to ensure that each bone affects the proper parts of the character.
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While the character can technically be animated from this stage, it is extremely tedious to do so with simply moving bones. Instead, we start setting IK handles and nurb controllers to help make the character stick to the ground, which in turn makes it much easier to do walk animations for the game.

IK

 

After the IK controls are all set. The character is ready to be animated for the game!

STUG IV crocodile feature

Character Drawing! The Making of a Tank Girl

Hello everyone,

Andrew here! Today I want to show the process that I use for character illustration. I know the technique varies between different artists but this is how I do anime style art. One thing I noticed is that anime style artwork can sometimes take much longer than traditional digital painting due to the amount of time to get clean line art.

Today I will be showing the process for drawing the SU-152 tank destroyer character.

SU-152 sketch

I make a rough character sketch with pencil for the character. Personally, for anime characters I find it easier to sketch and get smoother lines without effort on traditional paper and pencil over my Cintiq, though I do know many people just do the outline digitally from the beginning.

SU-152 outline

I take a photo of the sketch and then I start fine lining the character in Photoshop while doing minor tweaks to fix some of the errors on the sketch. For clean smooth lines in Photoshop, I use LazyNezumi Pro which works amazing for making clean tapered lines. You can get that software in the link below.

http://lazynezumi.com/

SU-152 color

Next, I create a second layer underneath the line art and then block in solid colors for the characters. I do know some artists that break each color on a separate layer for more control, but I feel it’s too time consuming and I just get lazy navigating through many layers.

SU-152 shadow

Next I create a layer between the outline and color layer, this will be where I place the shadows for the character. For this layer, set it to Multiply in Photoshop and I usually set a a light grey for the body shadows and a use a light pink for the skin tone shadows. The goal for this is to block out the main shadows and create the anime cel-shaded effect.

SU-152 final

After the main shadows are done, I play around with the layer colors. For this part I usually use the color picker to select the layer and then do a light burn or dodge to darken areas and add highlights. I also lightly apply a slight orange color on the shadows so color on the metal isn’t so flat. From there the rest is adding details. I used a spotty brush for the rusty metal and painted red on the bloody sickle.

And after that, the SU-152 is done!

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