March Update – Crunch Time

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Happy Spring, Blitzers!

This update is a few days late, so apologies for that. Some of you have noticed that we’ve been sort of slow in updates, and that’s because of how busy we’ve been! Because of our scheduled alpha testing date, we need to have a public build ready, and that means doing lots of clean up work to make sure the game is playable for non-developers. If you’ve seen other games’ dev builds… they can be pretty messy! In this letter, we’ll recap everything from the past month along with our plans for the future.


Art Recap

Last month we put out the third Armor Blitz Adventures comic featuring the Thor and her chuunibyou aspirations. She read about all the powers of the mighty Norse god, and thinks she can handle it too! If you haven’t seen it yet, go here!

Small Thor

There have also been a few redraws of old characters, done by Tenmuki. It’s a pleasure to have her on the team! The changes are a huge improvement for each character. You may not know this, but all of our old characters had no feet! Their art ended above the knee, so it could fit into the card. Nowadays, we make sure to create the full body even if it’s not needed in the game. It gives us more versatility and looks better outside of the game. Here’s a comparison to see how they’ve changed!

M2A4:

M2A4 Rework

IS2:

IS2 Rework

We will continue to slowly redo some of our older arts with better ones. Out with the old, and in with the new!


And Programming…

So I mentioned that the programming was our biggest hurdle right now. Some of the things we are currently developing include:

  • Push notifications – so we can send timed reminders to your device
  • Analytics server – to track progress and report bugs
  • Patching server – so we can update files without a complete redownload
  • Text system overhaul – We are using a new text system now for sharper fonts, more versatile effects, and more optimization

In addition to those, we are constantly squashing bugs as always. In the coding world, there’s a saying that when you fix one bug, something else  breaks. It’s not THAT bad… but there is some merit in that statement.


What to Expect

As you can tell, there’s a lot on our plates. In terms of business stuff, we did hit a huge milestone of officially incorporating! So we are an actual business under the eyes of American law – so official! Plenty of paperwork to sign there, but it’s important so that we as a team can continue to grow and make games under the Gaudium company name. We’re still the same old team of 5 volunteers, but with a much brighter future ahead.

Like mentioned in February’s update, we’re trying to get a closed alpha build done by the third week of March… that’s very soon! It will just be a small handful of random picks from our mailing list, and some of the fans that have followed our project the longest. You will get personal instructions on how to help on March 21st!

Until next time, keep cheering us on!

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Social Media:

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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: Bugs Bugs Bugs Everywhere!

It’s been a while since our last update so I wanted to get everyone up to speed on what has been going on.

Right now our programmer Kevin has been busy debugging the game to get it ready for testing next month. While most of the games features work, debugging takes quite some time to ensure a stable build, especially when we are also doing tiny design changes along the way. Looking back at our development, we actually had the core functionality of the game completed in July but the amount of time to debug, optimize, and polish the game is what takes the most amount of time … along with Kevin’s sanity as lead programmer.

Each feature alone can be easy to debug, but complexity drastically increases when it is combined with other factors in the game. The good news is that we’re at the stage where there is no more unknowns at this time in development and it is just debugging and polishing until a beta build is ready.

On the aesthetic side of the game, our UI designer Ni has been gradually working on revamping the interface to make things more appealing. We’ve replaced our resources with more vibrant icons and we will be gradually updating things to make the game look more polished as time goes on.

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Besides individual icons themselves, we’ve been looking at setting theme colors for our game. These theme colors give the overall mood and aesthetic for the game for the majority of the different menus and scenes in combat to give the game a sense of consistency in style.

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In parallel to the debugging and UI redesign, we’re working with many talented artists that have been designing and illustrating new characters for the game while our 3D modeler catches up making all the models for the combat. There is still more to come, so stay tuned!
feature_type 3 Ho-Ni III

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Welcome to Armor Blitz – We’re on Square Enix Collective!

It’s finally happening! We’ve been waiting awhile to make this announcement, and the whole team is VERY excited say we’re on Square Enix Collective’s homepage! If you don’t know already, The Collective is an indie accelerator program hosted by Square Enix London to help independent developers get feedback on their games. Over a one month campaign, users will be able to vote on the game’s page to show their support.  They are featuring us for a month to gain feedback about the game, and it’s a great chance to spread the news of our development progress.

Collective group shot

 


For New Visitors:

Thanks for checking us out! Most of our information about the game is located on the Square Enix Collective page, where you can vote, participate in a poll, and leave comments. We take all feedback on that page very seriously. It’s your chance to shape the direction of our game! If you want more information or media to look at, we have some in our Press Kit. It’s made for the press, but also great as a central location to congregate all of our information.

For Fans:

Thanks for sticking around. All of the members that participate on our social media help to keep us sane. We are normal people after all! If you were looking for a chance to support our game, this is the first event where you can do so. Drop a “YES” vote for us on the Square Enix Collective page, and feel free to leave a comment. We appreciate the dedication that you all show, and we are just as focused on making the game you all want to play. Talk to us! There’s tons of avenues where you can reach us:

Mid-Development Testing: Why devs need your opinions

Really.
Oh, really?

Hi everyone! I’m David and this is my first major post here. When I first setup the website several months ago, I put up the very first post to introduce our game and make sure things are running smoothly. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work in all departments: coding, prototyping, website maintenance, and writing. Now that Summer is in full swing, I’ll be posting more often and sharing our progress alongside my other team members.

 


Today, I want to bring up an interesting topic in the field of game development: pre-release testing. This has existed as an industry standard since the inception of the game development industry. For major companies — such as EA, Blizzard, and Nexon — live play testing is a crucial part of their development process. This takes the form of onsite testing for live feedback, and online build releases to a wider selected audience. The purpose of this is clear: to find out if the game is truly fun. It’s easy for developers to be clouded in their own judgment and possess a deeply immovable bias due to their own views. It’s the same reason a mother can love her children no matter how they change. A developer’s game is their baby.

We absolutely need outside opinions to push us out of the sphere of circular thinking. After all, we aren’t making the game for ourselves. It’s for you, the wider audience. As a potential player, it’s vital to voice your opinion about things you dislike so that the developers can try to fix it. Although this doesn’t always help in the case of negligent publishers, indie studios like us will be more than happy to oblige.

How can you help?

Armor Blitz is currently going through some heavy internal testing to improve our core gameplay. After asking friends about their thoughts so far, we’ve found that the game had only achieved a small portion of its potential. With that in mind, we are working on improving everything we can right now! From the UI and art, to the core gameplay and optimization, we are doing our best to test our hearts out.

Eventually YOU can play a role in this process as well. When we reach the point of alpha testing in the near future, keep an eye out for our announcements. You can help shape our game, and have a part in the development process by partaking in limited release alpha builds.

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