It feels like BattleBlock Theater released just last month…oh, right! It did. Since its release on April 3rd, the game has made over 200,000 BBT owners into performing gem collectors in our theater run by technologically advanced evil felines. We couldn’t have made it this far without the support of the fans, so THANK YOU. We hit 200K on the leaderboards earlier today. Yay!
An interesting fact we’ve discovered is that half of the people who have tried the free demo have purchased the full version of BattleBlock Theater on Xbox LIVE Arcade. If you run across anyone who hasn’t heard of the game yet, share this Story trailer with them and encourage them to check out the Free Demo of BattleBlock Theater. 50/50 chance they won’t be disappointed!
Last month, we had our first Play with the Devs for BattleBlock Theater streamed live on our Twitch channel. We’re going to continue giving you the opportunity to play against some of The Behemoth staff with a Play with the Devs once a month!
The rumblers and arena modes will change every time, but the chance to show off your BBT skills will remain the same. And even better, we’ll be increasing the play time from one hour to TWO HOURS of Play with the Devs! It will be Team Behemoth versus YOU +1.
Or, if you’d prefer to watch and chat with others about The Behemoth games, you can join us at Twitch.TV and toss us a few questions and comments while you’re at it.
Join us next Thursday, May 30th, from 3:00-5:00PM PST. Here’s the cast and crew:
Follow our Twitch.TV channel here!
Yesterday, we had our first live stream of Design with the Devs, where our level design team discussed three candidates for the co-op Furbottom’s Features. Today, we reveal the chosen one for solo and co-op! *Drum roll*
Solo Furbottom’s Feature: Welcome Home
Co-Op Furbottom’s Feature: Can’t Compare Love
You can find the detailed descriptions of each playlist when you go to the Furbottom’s Features section of the official BattleBlock Theater website.
For the next two weeks, you’ll be able to get Cat Control, a mini-cat controlling the body of your prisoner. How freaky is that?
If you’re interested in learning more about how to design playlists using the BattleBlock Theater level editor, join the discussion in our forums HERE.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to download the update for BattleBlock Theater on Xbox LIVE. We’ve updated a couple areas in the game.
1. The Jail Breaker achievement and any player who has unlocked 50 prisoners or more will now be able to successfully unlock this achievement as well.
Free 50 prisoners in the Gift Shop.
If your profile has 50 or more Prisoners already, after the update is applied, the achievement will unlock on their next Prisoner PURCHASE from the gift shop.
NOTE: If you already have 100% of Prisoners unlocked, you will need to trade away any single Prisoner and re-purchase it from the Chonku machines in the gift shop. (We suggest you do not trade away a star special prisoner because those can’t be bought!)
2. Side netting in Ball Game is no longer viable.
If you don’t know what that means then don’t worry about it! We got you covered.
The game was updated earlier today on May 15, 2013.
>>EDIT: The live stream of Design with the Devs is finished, but the video is right HERE! Watch if you’re curious about how we select playlists for Furbottom’s Features or if you just want to see what silly things happened as we played through user made playlists.<<
Since opening night, players everywhere have embraced the BattleBlock Community Theater as the best place in the whole world to share your thoughts and dreams, so long as your thoughts and dreams looked exactly like BattleBlock Theater levels. Otherwise, you may just want to start a journal blog.
But, far from the prying eyes of the Community Theater community, a new and awesome ritual was also being held each week to identify which levels would become the next Furbottom’s Feature (FF). It is a ritual so new and so awesome, that it has no name.
…though for awhile it was known as “The Pickening”, but that sounded dumb so it went back to having no name again.
Normally, this mysterious process would remain hidden away, deep within The Behemoth’s bowels- but no longer! This Thursday from 3:00pm-5:00pm PDT, three of The Behemoth’s level designers will emerge on our Twitch.tv channel to play and discuss this week’s Coop Adventure candidates; three playlists will enter, but only one will become the next Furbottom’s Feature!
We call it “Design with the Devs”, and yes, that’s 3 playing 3 at 3, not only because that sounded cool, but also because that’s all the time and level designers we have. With any luck, all of those numbers will add up to you learning more about why we pick what we pick when we pick a playlist to be featured.
Whether you choose to chat with your hand flanges or stare with your seeing-eye-bulbs, we hope you enjoy this first opportunity to sit and judge the way we sit and judge you. Hurray!
Love you, mama!
Happy Mother’s Day!
For one day only, Steam has discounted Castle Crashers Steam Edition at 50% off! So don’t just stand there! Go tell your friends and family to take advantage of this opportunity and get the game for PC or Mac.
If you miss out then you might get a little batty.
Go HERE to check out the Steam edition.
About a year ago we were very lucky to bring in a new member of The Behemoth team to help with BattleBlock Theater development. Derek Lieu first joined us in 2012 to help with our Kickstarter video for the Necromancer figurine. Then we brought him in to change the process for BattleBlock Theater’s cutscene animation. You may also recognize his video editing in the recent trailers for BattleBlock Theater with art by Dan Paladin & Eric Haddad and narration by Will Stamper.
Derek has taken some time to share his involvement in the process for the in game cutscenes in BattleBlock Theater (BBT) and his collaboration with Dan & Will, from concept to final product. Read on!
Hi there! This is Derek Lieu the cutscene animator for BattleBlock Theater here to talk about, well, cutscenes!
In 2011, The Behemoth released their first opening and prologue cinematics for BattleBlock Theater with art and animation by Dan Paladin using Flash and narrated by Will Stamper (video below). Later, the story was reworked and new narration was written/recorded to clarify the plight of Hatty Hattington, the friends, the history of the hat and BattleBlock Theater itself.
In 2012, Dan saw my use of After Effects for one version of the Necromancer Kickstarter video I worked on so he asked me to make an animation test because he felt BBT’s cutscenes should be animated in After Effects. After seeing the test, the development team felt that using this software would work well with the game’s look and would be very efficient, so I was offered the job to animate all nine of the game’s cutscenes, which I gladly accepted!
There were many benefits to animating the cutscenes in After Effects instead of Flash. Several features such as 3D layering, lighting and shadows could help enhance the mood and make the puppet scenes look more realistic. Also particle systems and physics plugins helped create even more effects to bring life to the crazy story of BBT.
Before production started on animation, Dan and Will Stamper came up with the story beats for each cutscene. After the narration was recorded, it was handed off to Dan who planned out the visuals for each cutscene. For the opening cutscene, Dan made a rough animatic to give me an idea of what he wanted, so it was my job to recreate and/or refine his animation in After Effects. Each cutscene started with his rough sketches which I would use to animate and then swap out later with the final pieces with full details and colors.
The parts that weren’t in the animatic, Dan either described to me or left up to my own judgment for what I thought would be funny. I used the original cutscene as a cheat sheet as much as I could, but otherwise tried ideas and hoped Dan would approve of them. Fortunately throughout the entire process Dan usually liked what I did and if he ever had a major criticism it was usually about something that I wasn’t completely satisfied with anyway.
Most of the animation was done using the motion sketch tool for the puppets’ motions and manual keyframing for the rotation. The motion sketch tools lets you literally sketch out the motion you want either with your mouse or tablet. So this was perfect for creating the natural movement the game’s narrator would be using if he had actual stick figure puppets. After the boat animation was done, the friends were “attached” to the boat and the physics engine plugin Newton was used to animate the friends.
The way Newton works is that you link objects by creating masks that resemble ball and socket joints for each element you want to simulate. Then in the plugin you assign the pieces behaviors based on how you want them to react (e.g. do you want a piece to react dynamically to the movement of other layers? Do you want it to interpret existing keyframe animation and then use physics for non-keyframed areas?).
Since the release of BBT, Newton 2 has come out which has a full joint system that eliminates the need for this cumbersome technique. Though the side benefit to this joint technique was that sometimes characters would jostle free and fall out which actually provided unintentionally hilarious results when the friends would fall out of the boat. Sometimes I would keep the “mistakes” because they were so funny and worked for the cutscene.
What Newton allowed me to do was only animate the boat and have the friends react to the motion dynamically with convincing physics. To make anything that looked even close to this sort of simulation using only keyframe animation would’ve been laborious to say the least. As for Hatty, his animation was simply parented to the boat animation with a slight offset so that he didn’t stick rigidly to the boat.
I also had to create a rig for Reginald so that his head and hat would flop around, but make sure that everything stayed attached. It took a lot of trial and error, but once it was properly rigged together, all I had to do was animate his body and hope that his floppy head and hat would move about in a way that I liked.
Another trick I used to make the animation look better was this inertial bounce expression for After Effects which gives that bounciness to the animation when objects pop into the screen. The expression lets you adjust aspects of the animation like how much the object overshoots your keyframe before bouncing back, how long it takes for the animation to come to a stop, how wide the bounces are etc. I used this all over the place to really make the animation pop.
I also used the particle system plugin Particular by Red Giant when a cutscene called for a lot of objects that would be far too difficult to animate one by one. For example, the “…carelessly sprinkling friend after friend into the deep dark ocean…!” moment. For that section, Dan drew a few friends that I then fed into the particle generator and adjusted the settings to change the direction they fell out of the boat, how much they’d spin, how much gravity there was and the rate that they’d be emitted. During the “HELP US” moment I increased the number of friends being emitted so it would look like the shaking of the boat caused even more friends to be thrown overboard.
After the animation was finished, it came time to really make the cutscene look cool by adding motion blur and lights! First of all, the layers had to be converted to 3D layers and offset in 3D space so that they could cast shadows on objects behind them to really give it depth and make it look more realistic. Then I had to figure out what kind of lighting I wanted for each moment and when to transition. Looking back, I used way way too many lights for some scenes which increased render time dramatically, but I learned a lot just from this first cutscene. You probably can’t tell, but during the candy island part there are maybe six lights or more in that shot alone, even though it probably could’ve been done with three or fewer.
If I had to do it all over again I would’ve worked much more efficiently and maybe it wouldn’t have taken a week to render the whole thing out at best quality (yes, a WEEK!) For example, I’m not sure people will even notice that there’s a light in front of each friend during the stormy scenes which I put in to make it look like they were being illuminated by lights on the boat. Fortunately, with more practice I was able to make the After Effects projects more efficient to the point that each cutscene could usually be rendered overnight.
After the first cutscene was out of the way, Dan ended up giving me less direct animation reference and instead would doodle out the beats of each cutscene and talk me through it. Then I was free to interpret his pitch by coming up with my own ideas for how to make the cutscenes really funny. The more I worked with him, the more I learned about certain things he liked so that as we went there were fewer changes to be made. The project was so much fun that if anything in a cutscene bothered me I would constantly go back to tweak and fix things here and there whether it was an animation that felt a bit jittery or just how bright a light was in a particular scene.
This was by far the most fun I’ve ever had on a project and I’m overjoyed to be a third of the team responsible for creating these cutscenes. Both Will Stamper’s narration and Dan’s artwork were so funny unto themselves that I knew I had to do them justice by making the animation as funny as possible. For me this project was the perfect blend of being just within my technical range of expertise that I knew I could do it, but still challenged me enough that I was constantly learning new techniques to bring the whole thing to life.
Plugins I couldn’t have made these without are Newton by Motion Boutique or Particular and Shine by Red Giant.
Are you toast? Not yet you aren’t! You’ll need to complete the newest Solo and Co-Op Furbottom’s Features (FF) to get this special limited time unlock!
That’s right! It’s bye bye Winston & Donuts, hello crunchy on the outside bread. For these next two weeks, you’ll need to complete one of the two Furbottom’s Features, solo or co-op, to unlock this special prisoner. Go to the Furbottom’s Features section of the BattleBlock Theater website to read more on the newly featured playlists.
For those of you who didn’t catch Winston, Donuts, Furbottom, etc., the prisoners will be going back into the vault (poor things are trapped in a prison within a prison) but they’ll be back someday for another visit to the outside world. Just stick around and keep following our blog, Facebook pages or Twitter to find out the unlocks!
>>EDIT 3: Thanks to everyone who came out to play or watch our first live Twitch stream! Missed the live stream? Check out the recording HERE!<<
>>EDIT 2: If you want to play with the Devs during the live stream, look for games they host under the gamertags “Mr H Hattington” and ”Mr P Furbottom” but please do not send party invites or messages during the stream. Thanks! Oh and the video below will display when live stream goes up!<<
>>EDIT 1: We’ve updated our Twitch.TV Channel so please be sure to follow us at Twitch.TV/TheBehemoth<<
So, you’ve played with the rest, now play with… well, some of the guys and gals who helped make BattleBlock Theater! That’s right, it’s time again to jump online and beat us at our own game.
We recommend thumb squats.
Or, if you’d prefer to watch as we get pummeled by tiny digital fists, you can also join us at Twitch.TV and take part in the magic that is LIVE STREAMING. Toss us a few questions and comments while you’re at it- the following Behemians will be rumbling and/or chatting from 3:30-4:30 PST, Thursday:
Join us on our very first LIVE stream of BattleBlock Theater – Play with the Devs! Follow our Twitch.TV channel here!
It’s Friday! Which means a new Furbottom’s Feature is up!
We will be alternating Featured Adventure and Arena Playlists from the Community every week. This week’s Feature is a lovely Arena Playlist entitled: SS Friendship.
In related news, the BattleBlock Theater website has been updated to always display the current Furbottom’s Features available for play. So if you’re ever curious, away from your Xbox, on a train, or waiting in line at the local barnacle store, you can always check to see what’s Featured.
There are some wonderful sounds in BattleBlock Theater (BBT) and we’d like you to have some! We’re currently working on an official sound track for the game, but those plans are still solidifying. So to satisfy your ears until then, we’ve put together a pack of BattleBlock Theater sound effects, Will Stamper (narrator) quips from the game and BattleBlock Theater songs as ringtones in two formats: MP3 & M4r.
Just so you know what you’re getting yourself into, here are a few things that come in the pack:
Buck Chiptune Ringtone
“Just run like you have diarrhea and it’s starting to come out… a little bit”
“Everything’s coming together like butt cheeks”
“Get the best time and I’ll give you a kiss because I love you!”
“It’s kind of like soccer except it’s more like basketball & noghting like soccer.”
“What the f-…art”
And many more!!
Get the full Ringtone pack HERE on the new BBT audio page!
If you’d like to brainstorm ideas for the next BBT Ringtone Pack, sign up for our Forums and add your ideas to THIS THREAD. We started off by asking our forum users and then took their favorite quips on to the BattleBlock Theater Facebook page as a poll for everyone. Then we threw in a few of our own favorites! We enjoy working together with our fans to bring you more of what you love!
Today, we’re proud to showcase our very first user created playlists that are being featured in Furbottom’s Features (FF)! In celebration, we’re giving away two special prisoner unlocks — Donuts and Winston.
1) Solo Furbottom’s Features:
Playlist: Buckle Ur Pants
Creator: Xx Tawnia xX
Complete all solo levels to get the special Donuts prisoner!
2) Cooperative (Co-Op) Furbottom’s Features:
Playlist: Flem and Friend
Complete all co-op levels to get the special Winston prisoner, Dan Paladin’s loyal companion.
3) Feature Arena:
No unlock, but plenty of smiles to be had.
We will continue to update the Featured areas every week for the next month! Keep up with what playlists are currently up by checking out the Furbottom’s Features section of our official Forums.
The changes will rotate between Arena Features & Furbottom’s Features, so next week we will only change the Arena Features. Remember, the special prisoner unlocks do not necessarily change every time the FF does and they are still Limited Time Only. So, get them quick because YOLO.
P.S. To the person who asked about donuts in the Raptr Q&A, just wanted to let you know that Dan does give donuts to everyone! Seeeee. It was his plan all along!
>>Edit: If you don’t unlock the special prisoner when you first sign on, then make sure you’re signed into your Xbox LIVE account and go to Furbottom’s Features. It should trigger the unlock!
This coming Friday we’ll be putting up the first BattleBlock Theater user playlists to get featured on either Story (a.k.a. Furbottom’s Features) or Arena! To celebrate this momentous occasion, we’re making this week into Furbottom Fridays’ Kick Off Week!
We’re going to start it off by giving everyone a special prisoner: Purrham Furbottom. All you’ll need to do is sign in to your Xbox LIVE account and launch the full version of BattleBlock Theater! The Furbottom prisoner is now available for a limited time only until this Friday when we launch the new Featured playlists. Once those playlists go up, the Furbottom prisoner will no longer be available (for an indefinite amount of time). So get him ASAP and tell your friends!
Then, when this Friday’s Features come out, the celebration will continue as we’ll be giving BattleBlock Theater players an extra treat! The Behemoth Chicken prisoner will depart, BUT for this kick off week only each Furbottom’s Features playlist will have its own unique secret prisoner unlock when you complete solo or co-op. You have your chance of getting TWO unique secret prisoners instead of the usual one special unlock!
Also, it isn’t too late to submit your user created playlists–ever. Last week, we discussed Furbottom’s Features and Arena Features in detail. If you didn’t get a chance to see the break down on how to submit your playlist, go HERE now! We’ve already started our hunt for the best playlists to feature but we’ll continue looking and changing the Featured playlists every so often.
Check back on Friday when we announce the launch of the user created Featured playlists and the two secret unlocks!
launched on April 3rd, 2013
*Launch Day post by Dan Paladin
*Reddit IAmA by Behemoth Staff
*PlayXBLA streamed BattleBlock Theater
*Our forums expanded with a new BattleBlock Theater section
*The official Battlepedia wiki is revealed and open for submissions
The reviews start rolling in &
BBT gets a high Metacritic score!
…filled with absurdity, fart jokes, and curious characters that will easily suck you into a colorful world. -Games Radar
BattleBlock Theater is a fantastic game, and you should buy it, play it, and invite your friends to play it with you, so you can all revel in your shared misery. -Machinima
As a platformer with beat-em-up tendencies, BattleBlock Theater is a rousing good time, alone or accompanied, and it weaves a charming tale throughout every challenge. -Joystiq
Don’t be fooled by BattleBlock Theater’s downloadable format and low $15 price tag; this is a massive game filled with opportunities for exploration, collection, and fun. -Game Informer
BattleBlock Theater – Top Rated XBLA game!
Launch Lunch for BattleBlock Theater
Whew. That was a huge recap. There was a lot more, including all of our favorite quotes from BattleBlock Theater fans, but we’ll have to save that for another post.
It doesn’t stop here! We’re going to continue unlocking special prisoners for you, we’re working on an OST and some where down the line we will be doing a play date with the community! Keep following our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear more updates on BattleBlock Theater.
You’ve played Furbottom’s Features in BattleBlock Theater and now you want to create your own levels for the world to see. Perfect! The hours you’ll toil away at making a fantastic playlist will not go unseen. Currently, Furbottom’s Features showcases our level designer’s playlist, but future Furbottom’s Features will include user playlists!
The best of the best playlists will be chosen and featured in either the Story mode or Arena mode! Here is the break down on how to qualify to be a featured playlist on BBT:
Furbottom’s Features (In the Story Mode)
Solo Adventure Playlists and Co-Op Adventure Playlists
- Must have 9 adventure (classic) levels, 5 challenge levels and 1 secret level (classic).
- Playlist must be in that specific order!
- Select “single” or “co-op” when you upload your playlist.
- The Behemoth staff will determine the playability and comprehension of uploaded playlists. They’ll choose their favorites to be featured!
- Playlists that are selected will be famous and their strawberries and pie become gems and yarn–something special so that their fellow BBT players will be able to collect more gems and yarn for unlocks.
- Click HERE for a video tutorial on how to create & upload an Adventure playlist.
Arena Feature (In the Arena Mode)
- Must have at least three arena levels in a playlist.
- Can consist of any variety of arena modes.
- The Behemoth staff will determine the playability and comprehension of uploaded playlists. They’ll choose their favorites to be featured!
- Your playlist is more likely to get picked if there’s MORE awesome stuff than the minimum 3 levels.
- Playlists that are selected will be famous and teams who play through Arena Featured playlist will be able to collect actual in-game gems for winning.
**Remember, once you upload a playlist, you can no longer edit it!**
Find out more info on the different block types, how to use level editor and how to upload your playlists at our official BattleBlock Theater Wiki, Battlepedia.
Fancy yourself more a player than a creator? BattleBlock Theater fanatics who playthrough the entire Furbottom’s Features will be getting a special prisoner unlock!
For a limited time only, the Behemoth Chicken Prisoner will be awarded to any BattleBlock Theater player who finishes an entire Furbottom’s Features playlist! It is available when you finish either the co-op or solo playlists. It will be switched with a new prisoner unlock and we’re not telling when, so get it ASAP!
>>Edit: Direct link to the Q&A can now be found HERE.<<
This week we’ll be chatting with the Raptr community about all of our games.
During the Q&A, we’ll be answering your clever and creative questions while the Raptr team will be selecting their favorite questions to send a prize to! Of course, we’ll do some BattleBlock Theater XBLA code giveaways in the Q&A as well!
Your questions. Our answers. Prizes for the top questions (as determined by Raptr staff)! Random code giveaways. Hours and hours of fun.
I write to you today to let you know we’ve made you something. It took us a little over 4 years but it’s finally here. That’s the most time we’ve put into something, and I think it shows! It is my overwhelming pleasure to announce BattleBlock Theater‘s release.
What was once an idea grew into the most expansive idea we’ve ever had, even though it wasn’t initially conceived to be. It demanded more and we gave it more. It’s our largest game to date in every possible way with our most involved story we’ve ever written. I’d be surprised if this thing’s story wasn’t twice the length of Castle Crashers. It’s got hundreds of unlockables and even more levels than that. It’s got a soundtrack that rivals our previous best. You’ll find hours of recorded narration that is natural and uplifting.
You might find friendship, betrayal, cats, and something in between all that. You’ll also find a gift or two waiting for you if you’ve gotten an achievement in Castle Crashers and/or Alien Hominid. A small token of our appreciation for keeping our team alive… almost 10 years now and counting!!
For the excited: You can pick up our little gem for 1200 Microsoft Points on XBLA, 4/3/2013.
For the ones without a friend handy: Don’t worry – You can just host a Story Mode game online, or if that’s not your thing there’s also a Single player Story!
For the skeptics: Oh you! There’s a free demo you can try out either alone or with a friend, so no sweat off your back if you ever want to look!
For the ones listening to “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses: Please don’t forget it’s only April. Though I suppose there’s a lot of rain outside the theater so it’s still fitting.
Enjoy and Thank you,
We have a couple hidden gems that come with BattleBlock Theater for our loyal fans out there. We first brought the alien over from Alien Hominid HD to Castle Crashers XBLA when the game first launched and now we’re doing another cross over!
Anyone who has the full version of Castle Crashers will be getting a special unlock of a Castle Crashers knight in the full version of BattleBlock Theater. You can bring your Castle Crasher buddy onto the mysterious island run by technologically driven cats.
Also, for the super duper fans who have Alien Hominid HD (our first game!), you’ll be able to unlock the alien in the full version of BattleBlock Theater.
Last, but not least, we have the Can’t Stop Crying Pack which will unlock in the full version of Castle Crashers XBLA when you earn at least one achievement in BattleBlock Theater. In order to unlock the Can’t Stop Crying Pack to get Hatty as a playable character, you must have the must updated XBLA version of Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theater and Castle Crashers must be installed on the same Xbox system.
Check out the Can’t Stop Crying Pack for Castle Crashers and special unlocks in BattleBlock Theater in the video below!
Major Nelson announced earlier today that Microsoft will be doing a new rewards program called MyPunchcard, an exclusive feature for Xbox LIVE Rewards Members, and it starts on April 1st!
This April, with Microsoft’s exclusive Play To Earn offers, your passion for playing arcade games can pay off in a big way. By simply playing your favorite arcade games and adding to your game collection, you can earn rewards in April.
Here are the three ways you can earn rewards all month long.
- Play 20 hours of any combination of arcade games, receive a free avatar item
- Purchase any four arcade games for 400 Microsoft Points or more from Xbox LIVE, receive a one month Xbox LIVE Gold membership
- Spend 3200 Microsoft Points on arcade games, receive 800 Microsoft Points in return.
It’s easy and fun, you can earn for playing and or buying ANY arcade game from Xbox LIVE, like Castle Crashers! BattleBlock Theater will also be a part of the Play To Earn offer as it releases Wednesday, April 3rd!
You’ll need to be an Xbox LIVE Rewards member to sign up and learn more on Xbox.com.