BATTLE CHEF BRIGADE

Created by Trinket Studios

Play as a magical chef! Hunt monsters and cook them into exquisite dishes to wow the judges and crush your opponents!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

May Flowers
over 1 year ago – Wed, May 31, 2017 at 07:54:31 PM

Hello Battle Chefs! May was a wild month for us. We did some intensive planning and playtesting with Adult Swim Games down in Atlanta, got Mina's story almost entirely complete, and named all the monsters!

Adult Swim Games Visit

ASG invited us down to Atlanta to tackle BCB's schedule, including marketing. That alone was super helpful, but they also brought in strangers from Cartoon Network to play part of the game, answer surveys, and then have a discussion about the game. We were surprised at how helpful that format was. Most of our playtest feedback so far has come from ourselves, friends, and convention attendees. The moderated discussion after a playtest ended up sussing out some really important issues that we've now fixed!

We also hooked up with the wonderful folks over at Battle & Brew for some lengthy playtests. A few players found some really excellent bugs :)

At the Battle & Brew
At the Battle & Brew

Finalizing Mina's campaign

We're itching to start voiceover recording for Mina's campaign, so we've been playing and finalizing everything we can. That's not an easy task when the game is so long! One area we worked on was the difficulty ramp. Balancing the player's understanding of the mechanics, the skill of the AI opponents, the number of judges, and the player's loadout takes a lot of iteration. Here's one of the per-duel AI score graphs before tweaking. Whoops!

Not so smooth!
Not so smooth!

Eric also breathed more life into the characters with some new outfits, including Kamin's stunning Duel costumes and concepts for Battle Chefs in the Brigade.

 

We also added a few nighttime scenes in Brigade Town, which was a really fun challenge. We didn't really want to recolor the entire town, so we ended up using a variety of tricks, including dark vertical vignettes, different deep blue tints on the characters and environment, fireflies, and a few additive "light" blobs.

 Monster names

We've finally named all the monsters, thanks to Megan! For example, the lazily named PlantBug, StealBird, and Bull are now the Caranha, Cheepchi, and Baurun! This led to the next hurdle: ensuring that players know what they're hunting when Kamin presents Baurun as the Theme Monster. And so, a new screen was born:

Work In Progress Theme Monster UI
Work In Progress Theme Monster UI

Audio

The Caverns biome has drawn the attention of George this month. The Goblins on their minecarts got some extra special love:

 Mining has never been so much fun!

Savage: Road to Darkness Shout-out

Some of our pals just launched a Kickstarter with some gorgeous similarities to BCB. If you love hand-drawn animation and platformers, check out Savage: Road to Darkness!

Beautiful!
Beautiful!

 

 That's all for this month, Battle Chefs! Save room for dessert :)

Custom Cookware
over 1 year ago – Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 07:46:37 PM

Hi Battle Chefs! April flew by, but we still got a ton done. Let's take a look!

Items and Upgrades and Cookware

The amazing Juby tackled the remaining list of items. Here are a few that you'll come across in-game, either as gifts from characters or purchases in the store. Filling out your loadout is finally colorful, beautiful, and full of interesting combinations to try!

Specialty ingredients, skill upgrades, the Fire Pot, and an Expertise
Specialty ingredients, skill upgrades, the Fire Pot, and an Expertise


UI

The ultra-precise Benn Marion is almost finished overhauling the user interface. These are the latest screens to get a new coat of shiny paint:

 

Health, Mana, Satchel, and Thrash's Berserk Meter
Health, Mana, Satchel, and Thrash's Berserk Meter

 

Loadout Screen
Loadout Screen

 

WIP Title Screen
WIP Title Screen

 Writing and Judges

Megan has breathed life into so many characters through her writing. The word count in the game has increased 50% since she started. Her first tasks centered around the Duel presentations, especially Kamin and the Judges. They now each have their own personality, expressed through customized exclamations of joy and disgust. Belchior and Thorn, in their Brigade uniforms, are ready to taste some dishes during a neat story moment.

Optimizations and Linux

In behind-the-scenes news, we got a certain console running at an almost solid 60fps, which was an important goal for us. Previously it had been limping along, sometimes dipping down to 20 frames per second. There's certainly more work to do, but we're excited that these performance optimizations will improve the BCB experience for everyone across all platforms.

In that vein, we slipped in some preliminary Linux testing thanks to encouragement from some of you, especially Cheeseness. All looked good in those tests, thankfully :)

Credits

I recently spent some free time implementing the Credits screens. I love seeing controllable credits in other games, so I made sure to add it here. Thanks to the sheer number of you backers, the simple task of displaying your names turned out to be an interesting challenge! Here's an editor view of the solution.

That's enough for now, Battle Chefs! Thanks for tuning in and see you next time :)

March Munching
almost 2 years ago – Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 08:40:53 PM

Hey Battle Chefs! This month whirled by thanks to PAX East and a ton of playtest-driven improvements.

PAX

PAX went extremely smoothly thanks to Adult Swim Games. They QA'd the demo build extensively before the convention, which meant we got to interact with fans instead of fixing the build on the show floor. Our publisher also handled all the booth setup, which was a dream come true. We couldn't be more pleased with how well Trinket and Adult Swim Games are getting along.

One of the kiosks before the hordes arrive
One of the kiosks before the hordes arrive

BCB garnered some very nice articles at PAX, including this one from gamesradar. Tons of great quotes in there, but I particularly love how often we heard variations of this:

The puzzle mechanic is surprisingly evocative of the feeling you get while cooking a new meal - specifically, that little thrill of the "ah ha!" moment where you realize this would be perfect with some oregano tossed in. As time ticks down you find new ways to squeeze in that last ounce of flavor that you know will impress the judge, and the game makes you feel brilliant for it.

A Sprinkle of polish

Tom and Eric spent a little time on a few polish tasks that help bring the world and characters to life.

Minecarts in the Caverns Background
Minecarts in the Caverns Background

 

Minor ground-rotation matching
Minor ground-rotation matching

 

Puddles with splashing!
Puddles with splashing!

 

Health bar displays changes better
Health bar displays changes better

Promo art

As you may have noticed, the BCB Steam page was a little lacking. All of the capsules were made by me, very quickly, right before the Backer demo. Eric spent some time on new main promo image that can also be reused for the website and trailers!

Map

Kevin Hong recently finished the in-game map that we use when the chefs travel. Along with his establishing shots, the map helps a great deal by connecting and grounding the different scenes in the story.

Victusia
Victusia

Chapters

BCB finally has a Chapter Screen to help you track your progress through each campaign!

Dialogue of all sorts

The ever-growing amount of dialogue in the game has presented a problem, especially since we've started the process of integrating voice acting. For now, it's all temporary test voice-over from George, but we've begun selecting actors!

To help with all the writing, we've added the phenomenal Megan Fausti to the team! She's already wowed us with her ability to understand the BCB characters. Currently, she's working on making the Cooking Duel presentations more interesting and exciting.

We've also had to make a tool to manage all the different conversations and writing in the game. Here, I'm filtering the dialogues to see just the ones where Mina is in a conversation on a certain day. This has been invaluable for exporting localization and voice over lines as well! Excuse my poorly-drawn redaction blob - didn't want to spoil any of the story!

Until next time, Battle Chefs!

 

Fired Up
almost 2 years ago – Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 09:38:29 PM

Hey Battle Chefs! Tons of progress all over the stove-top this month along with a few cool announcements!

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo just announced today that BCB will be released on the Switch. There are a lot more details to be figured out and we'll keep you posted!

PAX East

We'll be attending PAX East again this year, though this time Battle Chef Brigade will be hanging out in the big Adult Swim Games booth! Come playtest the Caverns monsters and new streamlined Pantry system! 

Hydra and Wolf

Two more backer monsters have been fully animated and colored. These dangerous beasts keep most Battle Chefs out of the Caverns - but not you!

 

Skylands

Eric has been hard at working upgrading the Skylands art after we improved the layout. Here's Thrash with a little taste:

Input and Pantry Improvements

As we watched streamers and Youtubers play the Backer Demo, we realized that our keyboard control scheme needed work. So, we made some big changes that feel way better. We've been considering streamlining the Pantry for a long time. Originally, Mina could only carry one ingredient at a time when running from the Pantry to her Kitchen stations. In the Backer Demo, we tried allowing her to carry 3 ingredients at a time. That was better for filling up a dish and getting into the meat of the mechanics, but it always felt odd to have to stop after three and return to the Pantry. 

So, in the current iteration, the Pantry moves with you! This little change opened up opportunities to streamline the keyboard and controller a lot. Looking forward to playtesting!

Dialogue animations

Beyond all the character poses we use during conversations, we added tech to have fully-animated snippets. Here's a quick programmer test of Mina's first moments in Brigade Town.

I also spent some time getting our dialogue editing tool to live-update, which makes polishing up poses and emotes much faster!

Stage of Development Series

Over the past few months, the wonderful Russ Pitts and crew stopped by our co-working space a few times to film the Chicago indie scene. There's some stealth footage of us working on BCB and interviews with the three of us. Check it out if you're into behind-the-scenes looks at game development or building an indie community.

  http://store.steampowered.com/app/591480/

That's all for this month, Battle Chefs! See you at PAX and beyond!

The Cutting Board
almost 2 years ago – Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 10:07:56 PM

Hey Battle Chefs! It's been a while due to the holidays, so we're got a lot to cover.

Backer Demo in the Freezer

The Backer Demo will continue to be available to everyone at that tier, though we won't be updating it until closer to launch. We'll use that beta as an opportunity to test a ton of the big changes we're making to the game as well as all the new content. The Daily Cook-Off leaderboards are likely to break in that old version as well (the backend service we used has been shut down), but the next one will use Steam's service instead.

Campaign

Mina's campaign is fully implemented now, in a rough state. Not all the characters have color, the dialogue needs another couple passes, and a few bits of gameplay are missing. However, it's playable from start to finish, which is a big step. Playtesting and polishing have already begun. There were some systems, like the Town's job and shop economy, that needed the entire game to be functional before iteration could really begin.

Mina's campaign introduces Sauce, Chopping, Poison, and Bone mechanics, which we need to playtest a lot to make sure players don't accidentally poison Judges! Weaving those teaching moments into the narrative has been really fun - and involves a few surprises! We've also added better controls for difficulty. Previously, the AI could arbitrarily either satisfy a Judge's preferences or forget to, which resulted in big random difficulty spikes. We now have full control over how well the AI cooks.

Chop Chop

One scary aspect of the final phases of game development is figuring out what's not going to make it into the launch version of the game. A lot of the promises we made so long ago during this campaign seem rather silly now given how BCB has evolved. For instance, multiple playable chefs seemed reasonable when each chef only had a few attacks and shared a generic story. Whoops! As the hunting portion of the game improved, it became harder to imagine putting that character into a bland, recycled story, so the narrative and dialogue improved too.

The result is certainly a better game, but our focus on quality will mean that some quantity will need to be postponed. We're working with Adult Swim Games to decide which features, languages, chefs, and stretch goals should be prioritized and which can be released after launch (in the style of Shovel Knight). That may sound rather dire, but fear not! We've got a great game here and have to walk the balance between shipping soon and having a feature list like a AAA game. If you have a favorite stretch goal, localization language, or extra mode, please let us know what it is, either in the comments or in a message. Your opinions matter a great deal to us!

Arenas get a new coat of paint

The Hunting Biomes have been really hard to iterate on because they're made up of enormous illustrations. In fact, the Forest we've been showing off since this Kickstater campaign hasn't changed at all, despite the removal of default double jump and many speed changes. We've been improving our toolset to address that and are super proud of our first tests in the Caverns.

Not only can we now easily edit a level's jump heights, ecosystem, and combat areas, but we have the opportunity to make custom hunting levels for specific Hunter's Guild and Break the Targets challenges. Here are some shots of the remodeled Caverns.

 

Caverns monsters

The Caverns is full of monsters inspired by Backers! A couple are still being colored, but the (codenamed) Lobster, Lizard, and Slime are integrated already. We're thrilled to finally have them in the game and can't wait for you to discover how to hunt and cook them.

 

 

Dynamic Music

Tom Dunkin has started composing a bunch of new songs, some of which have dynamic variation. We've been working on the Brigade Town set lately, where the Inn, Town proper, Workshop, Hunter's Guild, and Restaurant all have variations on the same theme. It sounds phenomenal and makes the Town feel very alive. We'll be sharing those as they get their final mixes!

Miscellaneous

This is going too long, so here are some other cool features we've been working on:

  • Controls remapping (keyboard and controller)
  • Controls improvements - streamlining the cluttered keyboard interface in particular has made big strides
  • Directional hit reactions are now fixed
  • Inspired by a bug discovered at PSX, AutoMina now runs continuously while we work, finding bugs and errors. She basically presses buttons faster than humans can and "plays" the game while logging bugs directly into Trello.
  • The Loadout system has been improved by categorizing items - you can no longer enter a Duel without cooking vessels! This change also makes your many items way more understandable.
  • More items and containers - the backer demo only had about a third of the items that are now available in Mina's campaign.

 Around the Kitchen

We want to highlight two amazing fan creations this month: Victoria's real-life Beef Udon Soup inspired by the in-game recipe and Twylark's delightful Perler bead portraits!

 

Catch you in the Kitchen next month, Battle Chefs!