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Robotoki

We are an independent video game studio in Los Angeles, CA. Currently developing original IPs across console, PC, mobile, and tablets. 

Artist Update: Hand Drawing a Level

DESIGNING THE ADVENTURES OF DASH, ONE LINE AT A TIME

My favorite aspect of this project is seeing the different perspectives each artist takes on their individual level. Thats what makes The Adventures of Dash so unique, is the fact that every level is "owned" by a different artist and their unique style. 

I wanted to take some time today to dive into just how much work goes into creating one of these levels, from hand drawing every piece of detail in the environment, to hand animating each frame of a characters run and attack cycles. Our artist, George Alexopoulos, takes us through his process of creating his version of Dash, and the RPG inspired Black and White dream we'll be playing in:

STEP 1: THE SKETCH

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George first sketches out the entire animation cycle for Dash. Since he is starting from scratch with each frame, it's important to capture a unified look and continuous posture from one frame to the next. HE does this by sketching out every frame of the run or attack cycle next to each other and then painstakingly detailing each frame for animation.

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Once he's finished an entire cycle, we'll scan each frame of animation and put it in gameplay engine so we can see how it all looks in motion.

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George will repeat this cycle for every action the play can have Dash do in the dream. Running, walking, jumping, ducking, rolling, interacting, and of course attacking.

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Once the animation is in-engine, we'll evaluate it and determine if we need to extend or tweak the animation cycle. More frames = smoother movement. Any changes mean back to the drawing board (literally) to create additional frames and movements by hand and scan them in to add to the in-game animations.

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The same level of detail applies not only to the characters of the dream world, but the entire environment as well. Every leaf, rock, cobblestone road, and building needs to be created from scratch on paper first and then scanned in for the level designers to build out the dream world. 

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The big challenge with hand drawn art in level design is flexibility. For a number of reasons, we can't just scan in a large or long, hand drawn scene as is and expect it to work for gameplay or technical reasons. For one, to keep frame rate high and gameplay smooth on screen, we can't load every asset of the level in at once. The file size would be too long and slow down the action. Plus, you have to often change around a level for gameplay reasons. Enemy placement, platforming challenge, story telling. Therefore, its not feasible to expect the artist to go back and re do an entire scene every time we want to move a rock or platform a few inches to the left or right. Therefore, we have to approach the level design in a modular fashion. Hand drawing every piece of background, foreground, and playable space in a way that can be easily adjusted and iterated on by the designer to get that perfect mixture of fun and challenge for the player.

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Now that we've got our hero, our kingdom, and our attacks. It's time to design some enemies to use them against and start the process all over again...

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Announcing: The Adventures of Dash

We are extremely proud to announce, The Adventures of Dash: a 2D side scrolling, platform, puzzle adventure game from Robotoki!

This is a passion project that has been a year in planning and months in development as we worked towards a playable prototype to present to you as part of our Kickstarter launch!

We encourage you to check out the video, check out the Kickstarter page with screenshots, details, and of course unique rewards for those of you who choose to get involved with the project!

LINK: The Adventures of Dash (Kickstarter)

The eve of a big reveal...

T-minus 5 days

We're on the eve of a big reveal here at Robotoki that has been about 6 months in the making and about a year in the planning. A passion project that has been fueling us as we hammered away on pre-production for Human Element.

I'm extremely excited to share what we've working on with all of you Monday morning, so be sure to tune in here or on our social media feeds when we go live with it!

Welcome to Robotoki!

NEW YEAR NEW BLOG

Twenty Thirteen is going to be a very busy year for us here at Robotoki. As such, I wanted to afford us the opportunity to have a more indepth and detailed dialogue with our fans and visitors to our studio's site. Hence, the launch of the official long form blog here, opposed to the visually focused postings we were doing on Tumblr previously. 

While news will be reposted here, it's more a place for lengthy postings about development, studio expansions, and highlighting major acheivements by the team, studio, or our projects. So if thats your thing, then STICK AROUND! 

NINE YEAR OLD ME HAD A HEART ATTACK

I can vividly recall the moment I got every new video game console throughout my childhood and even adult life. To this day, every single one of those consoles is hooked up in my office and home, with it's original boxes intact and original games on my shelves. It's a fact I take great pride in. It was an era of game development that was filled with infinite possibility for me. When a new console hit, it consumed my life, I'd do whatever I had to in order to raise the funds. I'd head off to the store (often the local Toys'R'Us), throw down my hard earned cash, and then spend the next hour dissecting every screenshot, lauded specs, and coveted detail on the back of the box. It was a beautiful moment in my childhood and more often than not, these were Nintendo consoles. The NES, the SNES, the N64 all held very warm places in my tiny heart. 

So last month when I received an email congratulating me that Robotoki Inc. had been approved as an officially licensed developer for Nintendo, I nearly died. 

Sure, it was no surprise, we had been in talks with them for a month confidentially, and we had to file all the neccessary paperwork to become approved, but nonetheless, this was a moment. This was something that no one could take away from me.

I've had the highs of success while working on Call of Duty for the last seven years, but this was different. To me, this was personal. A studio I've spent the last year building from scratch, sinking every last penny from my personal savings account into, had done something I had always dreamed of doing, and it felt good. 

What will come of this new found relationship with one of my favorite publishers in the world, I can't say, and not in the "contracts are secret" sort of way. In the, we haven't decided, sort of way. We have plans, we have hopes, and dreams that we'd like to see fulfilled, but the most important thing is knowing the intent is there, the desire is there, and now the ability to actually release on the systems is there. We just need to make it happen.

IN CLOSING

There is so much happening right now, most of which we can't discuss, and much of which is being crafted for a special reveal for you. For the thousands of you who have supported us since we first announced, I want to thank you for coming on this journey with us and I can't wait to share every development of the next year alongside you!

beep. boop.

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