Hi, I’m the animator and co-designer of Slap City, and today I want to talk about the ideas and philosophies that go into making the game.
Slap City is mainly designed to be fun and silly, but it should preferably also hold up when played competitively, even if not to the degree that serious competitive-only games do. Like most of our games, we’re only six people developing it, so we stick to this whimsical and self-indulgent approach to the art style and characters and hope that others will like them as well.
The heart of Slap City is the fluid character movement. Any ground move can be performed while standing, walking, running or turning, and instead of the “L cancelling” from the first two Smash Bros. games, we have Dash cancelling which gives your character a burst of directional speed if you press the Block button while landing. Meanwhile the Clutch button can instantly reverse the facing and momentum of certain moves, as well as doing a bunch of other things that help the player perform most “analog” inputs with a digital controller or a keyboard. Like the individual tricks that each character has, the idea is that the more options the player has, the more exciting it can get, but they shouldn’t need to use all of them (and newcomers should be able to have fun without discovering them).
Our main focus is to make new content for the game, and we’re currently working on the new single-player Story mode where you’ll learn more about the characters and their silly adventures. But we also look at tournaments and discussions and try to tweak the balance of the characters when we have the time. Here are my personal guidelines:
-Buff weak or underused moves so they become useful.
-Chaingrabs and moves that combo easily and infinitely into themselves are no fun. These are “nerfed to make the game buffer”, as project lead Elias puts it. If there’s an infinite somewhere, we just missed it.
-After the patch that nerfed Ultra Fishbunjin in ten different ways at once (I’m sorry!), and that time I messed up Jenny Fox’s axes and skateboard (I’m sorry!) I try to only nerf one move per character per patch at most, while buffs are free. Sometimes we may still feel the need to change multiple things at once, but if the change isn’t well received, we try to come up with something better.
Our design process for each character is to draw all the moves on a whiteboard until we get tired, and then keep going anyway, at which point you get things like Fishbunjin’s “trust fall” triple Down strong, and the Goddess of Explosions breathing fire or punching bouncing projectiles around. It wouldn’t be Ludosity if the game wasn’t ridiculous.
We have plans to turn the Free-For-All mode into something where points are scored by doing all sorts of things besides KO’s, including some form of items or modifiers you can earn mid-match. So please stay tuned for that.
When it comes to the “Library”, previously known as the “Gallery”, there’s a lot we’d like to put there in the future. The player is meant to unlock additional pages by finding secrets in the upcoming Story mode – some with silly lore about the world and its characters, and some with information on hidden moves and other tricks. I also want to hold off on updating the little video tutorials until the characters have stabilized more.
Oh yeah, the stages! We try to have a mix of wild and competitive stages, and since the standard Slapball stage is very basic, future Slapball stages may get even crazier than Soccer field and Golf. It’s no fun if KO’s or Slapball goals depend too much on stage hazards, of course, but variety is always nice. And if you haven’t tried it yet, there’s a different Smack the Crystals stage for each difficulty level which can be independently selected in the single player menu.
Please continue to enjoy Slap City! 🙂
Hi, I’m Elias, the main programmer and designer on Slap City, and in this post I’m going to briefly talk about some of the changes made to Slap City since the Alpha version. Doing the alpha was a lot of fun, we got a lot of great feedback, and I’d like to thank everyone who participated! Now, Slap City entered Early Access! Can you believe it? I can hardly believe it, it’s been in development forever and now people can buy an unfinished version of it? Boggles the mind.
Make it go faster
One piece of recurring feedback we recieved was that it took too long to die.
When a character is struck by a strong attack, they go flying. If the attack is strong enough to kill, the character goes flying all the way to the blastzone and explodes into confetti and bones. In the alpha, this took far too long to happen, but it was not something we in the development team were even feeling, having stared ourselves blind at the speeds characters were going at to even notice that it was all too slow to really feel fun. After all, if you’re destined to be KOd, all you were doing at that point was waiting, sometimes (for what could feel like) several seconds, for your character to make its way across the screen.
The implementation that was come up with to solve this was simple; for knockback over a certain value, make the character execute their movement at a faster rate. This eats through large flight distances in a much shorter time, without changing how far you’d fly or be unable to act for. Additionally, high knockback values are now increased further by multiplying a portion of them slightly.
So now, combat was suddenly much snappier; if it was gonna happen, let it happen quickly.
However, as a cascading effect of this, if characters were hit REALLY hard, they would vanish from the screen in a couple of frames, making it sometimes a bit harder to understand what just happened. This gave me incentive to implement an idea I’d had in the back of my mind for a while – dynamic 3D smearing.
In 2D animation, smears are used to imply quick movement between two frames. A characters’ features are stretched way out of proportion from point A to point B for a single frame, giving the illusion that the character really did move there, and didn’t just teleport their face.
For Slap City, I wrote a vertex shader that can smear a 3D model along a vector, and project onto two spheres at the endpoints. This is used by the game to morph characters into bullet shape when moving too fast for standard non-stretched rendering to hold together.
Removal of gatlings
In the alpha, “gatlings” meant moves that could be canceled into all other moves besides itself four frames early. Four frames might not sound much, but for combos, it made them much easier. So easy in fact, that it was hard to NOT combo. Gatlings were a thing that had been added as kind of a joke much earlier when the game had still been a prototype and were never really tested without. After some testing with them disabled combos were still very much a thing, but had to be more earned. Also knowing that it would be easier to keep track of and balance the real framedata, it was finally decided to remove them completely.
Another important change made since the Alpha is the replacement of L-canceling by Dash canceling. “Canceling” isn’t the right word for it, but it’s the cool word for it. In the Alpha, pressing defend just before landing with an aerial attack would halve the amount of landing lag. If you were playing competetively, it was something you always wanted to do, no matter what move you were doing. It felt a bit unnecessary, why not just halve all landing lag? But it’s such a neat place for an input, so I wanted it to do something. Another thing you could do in the Alpha after L-canceling was hold backwards to get a dash backwards. This was expanded to work in both directions and is now known as Dash canceling. Friction against the floor was increased for landing, so not doing it will slow you down, something you might actually want sometimes. And lastly, the input window was increased to reflect the decreased importance.
No aerial clashes?
On a whim one evening, we tried removing aerial clashes. This led to a bunch of fun stuff, but why exactly? It’s because when two moves clash, the result is…nothing. Nobody takes damage, and nobody goes anywhere. Whereas a trade, then everybody takes damage, and everybody goes flying. In the end, I still decided on leaving clashes activated for one aerial per character, to inject some possible pseudo-prisoners-dilemma style mindgames into the game.
A small but significant change; all relevant aerials can be fastfalled (fastfell? fastfallen? what a verb), making combo movement ever so slightly faster.
Taken together – characters flying faster, dash canceling and fastfalling it was no wonder some of the stages needed some bigger blastzones to account. As a meta-effect, now there’s the occasional edgeguard. Even I have edgeguarded now. Happy surprises!
Oh, and we have skins now! It was a bunch of work to make it work, but we made it work. Which one is your favorite?
The Slap City alpha is closing on February 15! The alpha has been a success so far with around 10,000 keys sent out and generally very positive feedback. We’re super excited to launch into Steam early access later this month!
Stay tuned for more info, but in the meantime, get those free slaps in before the 15’th!
Here are two idiots trying to play Slap City.
A month or so ago we sneak previewed or next game Slap City at a small local games festival, and we’re gearing up to show it to the world real soon!
Slap City is a brand new platform fighter set in the Ludoverse, (specifically Ludo City, probably?) and it already kinda looks amazing, it plays amazing, it’s amazing! Sign up for the open alpha over at slapcity.se right now!
The Art of Card City Nights 2
Hello everyone! It’s me, Regnslöja, one of Ludosity’s two artists here to tell you about Card City Nights 2.
Just like in CCN1, I’ve drawn all the characters and most of the cards while leaving backgrounds to my co-artist Nils. I don’t have the patience for big scenes like that.
The style we went for here was basically “like CCN1, but cleaner and better”, so I hope those who liked the first game will feel at home. If you haven’t played CCN1 in a while, maybe you wouldn’t even notice the difference, but here we see Jenny Bun and Ittle Dew in both games, and I think you can tell it’s changed a bit.
Just like in CCN1 and Princess Remedy, me and Daniel (star designer and writer here in Ludo City) work kind of separately with characters, which I think is an interesting dynamic allowing us both to be creative. We basically decided on the characters that would appear in the game, and some basics about the character. Then I just went through the list and drew them while Daniel wrote the campaign. This desync can lead to interesting results. For example, I drew Navigator (Green Crystal) as very flirty, giving her expressions like ;P and a kissy face.
And then Daniel goes and writes her as married.
The few cards that reuse the art from CCN1 have been touched up to fit in better with the new ones. However, consistent style isn’t as important with the cards, and there are cards drawn by Nils (notably Bird, just like he did in CCN1, but many others too) and Daniel (Hype Snake for example).
By the way, did you know that we brought back cards in the upcoming Ittle Dew 2+ thingy on Switch?
In CCN1, we really had to scramble for cards to the point where some cards were the geometric shape enemies from Daniel’s old game Castle of Elite, haha. This time around, it’s the opposite! With Ittle Dew 2, two Princess Remedy games and Psycard… the amount of characters in the Ludoverse have increased dramatically!
So now we have more than we need, really. Not even close to all the Remedy characters have cards yet (my beloved Pancake Master is missing), and not even all of Ittle Dew 2 either. Psycard has a surprising amount of cards for a mostly unknown game, but that’s because they were so easy to make – just take the portrait straight from the game. Since we needed a lot of cards quickly, “ease of making” did play part in what cards got in for release. Like “Crossover Adventure” below, the art is just a promo picture we already had.
Rest assured that we’ll be adding a bunch of cards in patches after release, just like we did with the first one, except this time there’s online multiplayer so it’s even more fun to get new cards!
As usual, we had a lot of fun making this game. I love designing alternate versions of our characters! Will YOU recognize them all?? Probably not, as some are too obscure – like Rulle or the musical group that only appears on a tiny poster in ID2.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of your Let’s Plays after release 😀
Thanks everyone that participated in our beta! We ran it for 10 days at got a lot of really valuable feedback. We managed to push out two balance updates during the beta, and while we’re not completely done balancing, I think we have something pretty stable right now!
There has been some talk on the forums what cards are dominant, overused, OP, IMBA or in need of love. Well here are the stats for the cards you choose to put in your decks:
This beta focused solely on multiplayer, but with less than 2 months from release we are now going to post more updates about the single-player adventure that makes Card City Nights so unique among other card games. Be sure to check in here or on social media during the summer!
The Making Of A Sequel
The original Card City Nights started out as a fun side project, but turned into one of our most beloved games. It has such a great atmosphere, stellar soundtrack, and a core game mechanic that’s very different from most traditional TCG’s. It also plays very differently in that it’s more of a light Adventure/RPG where you travel the city, meet weird people and adventure through a story line. Only instead of RPG-styled battles, everyone is crazy about playing cards.
This time around we’re thinking things through a bit more, and knew from the start some of the things we wanted to add and improve upon. The big one is multiplayer, which was the number one requested feature with the first game. We’re also addressing some flaws in the original game design and among other things have merged the two boards into one, competitive playing field.
Card City Nights 2 features two hundred cards with all your favourite (and probably some of your least favourite) characters from games by Ludosity, all with their unique mechanics to bring out the most of possible strategies.
At the same time we are definitely keeping some things – the atmosphere, the adventuring, and making sure the soundtrack is at least as good as the first one. In the coming devlogs we’ll make deep dives into each of these areas, so stay tuned!
The development of Card City Nights 2 has so far been a blast for everyone at the studio and we are super excited for the game to be released! Giving the players a multiplayer feature is sure to bring out the best and worst in you, and we are looking forward to see some of your favourite strategies and fantastic plays!
As of writing this, we’re right between beta round #1 and round #2 – with the first round we invited only the 100 first signups, and with the upcoming round we’ll open up for a lot more. We already fixed a lot of things, and can’t wait to hear what y’all think of beta #2!
Card City Nights 2 is kooky, quirky, has a stellar soundtrack and a very interesting and unique card battling mechanic that makes it stand out from other TCG’s. With an all new adventure set in a space station this time, much improved UI and an all-new online mode, we think you’re going to love the game when it releases September 1st!
And remember, it’s always night in space.
We’re happy to announce today that he have a definite launch date for Card City Nights 2 – It will be available on Steam September 1st, 2017!
In the coming days and weeks we’ll be updating with more info on gameplay features, online play, beta rounds, additional platforms, and more. Pick and channel of choice for your updates!
Game Website Facebook Twitter
And remember, it’s always night in space.
Hey guys, we got a little sidetracked from Card City Nights 2 – right now we’re actually working on a rather large update for Ittle Dew 2 which is coming to Nintendo Switch this summer! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this release, it has a few extra goodies =)
As soon after we’re done with that we’ll continue work on CCN2 and the the next beta round!
But for now, have a look at this
We’re proud to officially announce the game we’ve been working on since August last year: Card City Nights 2!
We will talk alot about the game in the coming months, but for now the biggest reveal is that there will be online multiplayer, and it’s going to be available for beta testing in just a few days! If you’re interested in trying it out, head on over to www.cardcitynights.com and sign up!
And remember, it’s always night in space.
XOXO, team Ludosity