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:

Mouthwatering May
almost 4 years ago – Thu, Jun 04, 2015 at 03:48:03 PM

Hi Battle Chefs! Quick update this month.

BackerKit

We locked down the vast majority of your BackerKit responses and charged the credit cards of those of you who purchased add-ons. Thank you all! The next phase will be to finalize addresses when the aprons, T-shirts, and posters are ready to ship. We'll give lots of warning for that in case you're planning on moving.

Indy PopCon

The demo's in good enough shape to start playtesting with the public, so we'll be exhibiting at Indy PopCon! If you're going to be there, come find us and help refine the first 20 minutes or so of the game :)

This encouraged us to finally make new business cards. They came out great!

Dragon Love

Our cute little Dragon patiently waited its turn for the combat and coloring fairies to visit. We tweaked a bunch of his behaviors, added a new Ground Pound attack, and then started finalizing his line art and coloring. He'll be all set by Indy PopCon.

Here's a shot of him smacking Mina after Ground Pounding. He doesn't like it when Mina stabs him from behind.

Uncolored and with temp particles, but still powerful!
Uncolored and with temp particles, but still powerful!

Spurred on by the Dragon upgrades, we spent some time improving our camera shake toolset. Camera shake (along with micropauses) can really alter the feel of an attack, so this was a big step towards making Mina feel like a true warrior.

Smooth Running

We want to make sure that the simple act of running around the environments feels great, so Ben spent some time rewriting our locomotion and physics systems. Alongside that, he added a bunch of debugging and analysis gizmos. Here's a ton of them enabled at once, showing velocity graphs, collision contact points, and raycast data. A lot goes into a simple jog!

Testing with the Ferr2D plugin's default terrain
Testing with the Ferr2D plugin's default terrain

In the same vein, here's the debug view of how Mina's Dash searches for safe areas for her teleport to :) Teleporting into the ground is frowned upon!

That's all for this update! As always, please email or message us if you have questions, concerns, comments, or knock-knock jokes.

And, of course, follow Tom, Eric, and Ben on Twitter for all the instantaneous updates you can handle :)

Mina gets a Home!
about 4 years ago – Tue, May 05, 2015 at 02:04:58 PM

Hey Battle Chefs! April sure flew by! Before we get to the good stuff, a slightly important message about rewards:

BackerKit Lockdown Imminent

It's just about time to lock in your extra physical reward add-ons. Most of you have filled out the survey and are good to go, but this is the final warning! If you have any questions, please message us! BackerKit will be locked down on May 21st. This gives us enough time to start printing posters, t-shirts, and aprons in time for...

PAX Prime

We're planning on demoing Battle Chef Brigade at PAX Prime this year! Submissions for the Indie Megabooth and PAX 10 are due soon, so we're been working hard on polishing a demo. If you're on the fence about attending PAX Prime, please do and hang out with us!

Fire

In his quest to color and polish the Kitchen sprites and animations, Eric decided to make a proper fire animation. It might be a tad bit too powerful now, but it looks hot!

Experiential Learning Progression

We're working on the tutorial now and trying to do a good job of teaching the player without being ham-fisted about it. Battle Chef Brigade's cooking system is the meat of the game but won't be immediately intuitive to players. Some games get away with very little explanation, especially if they are building on top of experiences like Mario or Doom. Hunting in BCB can take advantage of some of those ancestors, but there are not a lot of action games with pantries, pans, and burnt food!

Some of our key tenets have been:

  • Once you give the player a mechanic, don't take it away just to force them to learn a new one.
  • Use a strong narrative to reinforce the subject being taught.
  • Spread out concepts so that the player isn't overwhelmed.

To make this happen, we have a new first level: Mina's House, adjoining Restaurant, and its forested Backyard.

This setting allows us (i.e, Mina's parents) to order Mina (i.e. the player) around for a bit. Mina can get annoyed at her parents because she already knows how to cook, but the player, who doesn't know how to cook yet in BCB, can absorb the lessons.

The Backyard provides a constrained (and far less dangerous) hunting area for the player to test out Mina's knives. Our first tutorial versions were overwhelming because there were so many places to explore in the full tournament Forest.

We also introduce the concept of finalizing dishes here by having Mina's family own a restaurant. Players get to experience the flow of hunting, cooking, serving, judging in a simplified way as they serve customers at the restaurant window.

So, hopefully when you play the game or demo for the first time, you find that the "tutorial" scene is perfectly digestible!

Streamlining

We've also been refining the button layout and in-game User Interface. For the entire duration of the project, we've had the concept of an "Action Bar" (or circle in the case of controllers).

This functioned sort of like the QWER hotkeys in MOBA games like League of Legends but was also context-sensitive like the command panel in RTS games like Starcraft. This was quite useful during the prototype stage, when buttons would do something new or different just about every week, but the control scheme has matured to the point where we feel comfortable teaching players what the buttons do instead of sticking them front and center for the entire game. In a few more complicated situations, we're now using little UI banners to explain the specific controls for this context.

That's all for this month, Battle Chefs! I've sent out a reminder to the BackerKit stragglers to finish up before the May 21st deadline. We can't wait to start strutting around in our aprons :) Have a great May, everyone!

March Madness
about 4 years ago – Fri, Apr 03, 2015 at 06:53:52 PM

Hey Battle Chefs! It's time for a monthly roundup. The Train Jam and GDC kicked us into March and we haven't slowed down since! But first, a peek into the cooking system :)

What's in a dish?

One of the hardest game design challenges we face is inventing a cooking system that has all the texture of real (and magical) kitchens. That's super hard because licking or smelling your computer screen isn't very satisfying. Our first prototypes focused on the 5 tastes and 3+ texture pairs (like crunchy/mushy). Those functioned for a while, but had a few problems. They didn't feel magical, interact in cool ways, or give the player good reasons to choose one ingredient over another.

Real food interacts with your tongue's taste buds in important ways, but it's really your nose that's making sense of millions of chemical compounds and letting you know what you're eating. So, we had to find an abstraction of cooking and food qualities that would allow us to make a game instead of a food simulator :D

Here are some of the food properties we're currently working with. They let us represent all sorts of ingredients and game mechanics, from squid to dragon and stirring to huge cooking spells.

Fire - Commonly found in dragons and aggressive monsters. Somewhat analogous to spicy.

Water - Seafood is loaded with this elemental taste.

Earth - Similar to umami - found in a whole range of creatures!

Doughta - Necessary to make crusts, breads, cakes, and more! Represents dough and batter. The name started as a joke but it might stick ;)

Poison - Makes processing difficult. Don't stir or cut these!

Sauce - When you've got a dish that just needs a minor tweak to be perfect, sauce it!

Bone - Judges really don't like dishes with bones, though they can have benefits while cooking.

Mold - If you cut mold out of an ingredient early, it's no big deal. Just don't leave it or it'll start spreading!

Hopefully that gives you a taste for how we're making a magical, fun cooking system! I'll write up more about it in future updates :)


Itty Bitty Bash and Train Jam

The pre-GDC events kicked off with Itty Bitty Bash, the latest in a series of events from Bit Bash Chicago. It was an opportunity to hang out with all the Train Jammers and play lots of games that would be impossible to play otherwise, like 8-player Wormball!

The next morning, a giant herd of indies gathered at Chicago's Union Station and set off for the 50+ hour ride to San Francisco! Eric and I (Tom) quickly joined teams and got to work. We worked the entire time, only taking breaks for food and the gorgeous scenery!

 You can play all the games from the Train Jam here on itch.io. I worked on Ride Jumper and Eric worked on PSHNGGG!

Upon finally reaching San Francisco, we met up with Ben and started preparing to show Battle Chef Brigade. Our playtests with developers helped immensely, both by confirming which parts of the game are fun and guiding us towards improving the parts that are still behind. In fact, just hanging out with so many creative and excited indies was really inspiring. We got back from GDC really jazzed to push BCB to the next level and playtest even more!

Until next time, Battle Chefs! If you'd like more frequent updates, please follow us on Twitter!

GDC, Combat and Tutorials
over 4 years ago – Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 08:32:14 AM

Hey Battle Chefs!

Sorry for taking so much time between updates. We hit 2015 at full speed with a focus on preparing a vertical slice of the game for GDC. This is primarily an internal milestone, but it's also an opportunity to do more local playtesting!

So, what changes have we been working on? Let's see...

Combat

Eric has been coloring in the rest of Mina's combat frames, so she's looking phenomenal. We've also been modifying and adding new moves to test out some combat possibilities.

Stomp

Mina is all about rapid movement in the air, so we're experimenting with a Stomp move that will have a chance to stun enemies. It also can combo really nicely when she hits monsters and bounces back up, which makes it really fun.

Whirlwind

Mina usually gets up close and personal with her knives, but an occasional ranged attack can be invaluable.

Dagger

In contrast to Whirlind, Daggers don't cost Mana but can be picked back up, making them the perfect ranged weapons for some playstyles. Air and ground moves make dagger throwing especially useful in mid-air.

Dash

Eric upgraded Dash's visuals to be a lot more punchy. Mina can now engage and escape in an instant.


Town and Kitchen

I'll save the Town and Kitchen updates for the future because they're being revised a lot for the internal demo right now, but they're both progressing really nicely. The Town provides a relaxing change of pace from the timed matches and plenty of opportunities to absorb some backstory and character details.

Here's a shot from the demo. Mina's talking to the Shopkeeper(s), none other than Luis & Louie! His/their quips are perfect for selling upgraded kitchen tools to the player.

BackerKit

There are about 200 of you who haven't filled out your surveys! After GDC, we'll lock down pledges and start shipping out physical rewards, so now's the time to adjust your extra rewards if you'd like to. I'll send out a reminder email to anyone who hasn't filled out the survey right now!

GDC

Tom and Eric will be on Train Jam and then we'll all be at GDC in San Francisco! If you'll be there too, hit us up and we can show you the game :)

Have a great day, Battle Chefs! As always, you can follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Happy Holidays!
over 4 years ago – Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 12:13:45 PM

Hey Battle Chefs! As 2014 winds down, it's time for a brief  BCB update!

Backer Kit

85% of you are good to go, but there are still some slowpokes who will be getting another email from Backer Kit. Please fill out the survey! We're hoping to lock down pledge and add-on changes in the first few months of 2015 so that we can start manufacturing and shipping physical rewards!

Onward

We've been busy with a bunch of systems, all with the goal of having a solid demo game loop by the Game Developer's Conference in early March. To that end, Eric put together a rough 3-layer Village environment. Our plan is for this area to provide a change of pace compared to the chaos of each tournament cookoff. The Village will be one of the key ways in which we can showcase more of the world and characters. Here's Mina in the black and white test scene:

We also recently whipped out the construction paper and scissors to help us rapidly prototype some cooking system changes. Cooking was getting too complex for players to manage while hunting, so we're experimenting with some changes that will make it more understandable at a glance while retaining the open-ended nature of TV cooking competitions. Paper prototyping is wonderful because it lets us run through many situations without having to program all the rulesets.


Thank you and Happy Holidays

Each and every one of you made our 2014 a year to remember. We can't thank you enough, but hopefully some great aprons and t-shirts will help :) We hope you all have a wonderful end of the year and we'll see you in 2015!