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We knew we wanted the final fight of a run to have some *oomph*. We also knew we wanted the character of the combat chefs to be further expressed in the battlefield. This led us to the idea of powerful chef abilities that activate on the 6th fight of the CALosseum for players to strategically adapt to.

At the top, we have an Egg that's below 1HP and a Golden Egg cracks and brings  it back to life. Eggie's sun-like aura eminating at the bottom.
Initial concept sketch of Eggie's ability
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What does a chef ability look like? (figuratively speaking)

Let’s take the trusty Eggie, full of life and unwavering ambition. She believes in her Egg GladiEATers so powerfully that they hold on to life the first time they fall below 1 HP.

A Golden Egg appears on top of a dying food creature and brings it back to life.
Eggie reviving her half peeled Boiled Egg.

The Golden Reviving Egg appears

above each GladiEATer until they

are saved once, at which point it

fades away – great to help players

keep track of who Eggie currently

still believes in.

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What does a chef ability LOOK like? (Like.. literally)

When a chef gets into the CALosseum with their chef ability active, they appear with a deity like flare and aura emenating out of them. This indicates to the player that something powerful is going on!

On the left is Eggie's Golden Egg ability icon, on the right stands Eggie with an sun-like aura around her.
Eggie's sun aura and ability icon.

These auras are meant to both express the Chef’s *vibe* plus

aid the idea of their abilities. In the case of Diane, her B I G knife points to her cutthroat militancy

in the kitchen.

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What does the B I G Knife do?

Diane’s ability empowers GladiEATers below 50% Health with a 50% boost in Power

= a testament to her pushing GladiEATers, and people, to their limits.

On the left, there's an Onion, in the centre her BIG Knife ability icon, and on the right Diane herself with knives surrounding her.
Diane's toxic kitchen ability, her GladiEATer and abilty icon.

Her Big Knife also moves in time with the effect on the GladiEATer activating, making that visual link between the Chef's power and the GladiEATer stronger.

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Could I have one more example of a chef ability please?

...sure: Here’s Jemin, the 7th most successful C.E.A. (CAL enforcement agency) operative. Jemin is all about efficiency, secrecy…and breakfast. His ability mirrors this as he executes any opponent if they end their turn with less than 20% Health.

On the left, a skull appears over a food creature and eliminates it, in the centre Jemin's ability icon, and on the right stands Jemin in the midst of what seems to be fog.
Jemin's efficient ability, an Avocado Toast expiring and his super scary looking ability icon.

Does the CALncil (the governing body of the CALosseum) approve this? Well, your honour, did you SEE his blade cut down that GladiEATer? …no? I rest my case.

*we’re really excited to talk more about Jemin in a future post, he’s just the coolest dude*

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Closing Time

TL;DR Combat Chefs have awe-inspiring talent that empowers their GladiEATers. They activate on the final round of the traditional run and even in multiplayer.

Every chef has their own unique ability that change gameplay and you’ll be hearing more about them SoonTM! Do YOU have any ideas for new chef abilities, or even chefs?? Let us know in the comments or our Discord.

Discord button

As discussed in Blog #2, YOU get to decide what creature to cook in GladiEATers! However, how well you cook will make your creature stronger or weaker

What’s that you say? "How do you make sense of that?" "What about combining multiple creatures?" "There’s no way that’s balanced?!" Well, that last one was a statement – not a question. Regardless, here’s the recipe to cooking up GladiEATers!

Cookbook revealing stats preview
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Stat Serving Size

We want the player’s cooking to impact their creatures. In a way, this is already done, as cooking food faster when time is limited means you get more food creatures. Additionally, we wanted to go further as it just made sense that the better you cook, the stronger the creature… but how much stronger?

A one egg Shakshouka food creature and a three egg big Shakshouka food creature

Given that the player is already getting more creatures, we didn’t want to overdo any stat advantages and restrained the difference in stats to at most 30%. What we mean is: if the worst Chocolate Cake ever made has 100 Health, 100 Speed, and 100 Power then the best Chocolate Cake has 130 Health, 130 Speed and 130 Power. This fixed range means that even in the most extreme examples, both Combat Chefs get a decent creature and a fighting chance.

One the left we have a Chocolate Cupcake, and on the right a Chocolate Cake.
Weak Cupcake, strong Chocolate Cake.

Isolated Impact

After testing, each minigame affecting a specific stat felt more exciting than

one minigame affecting all the stats. Rather than the Frying Egg minigame’s 30% impact being spread out amongst the Fried Egg’s health, power and speed, the minigame only affects the Egg’s power and therefore that 30% has a much bigger impact.

Tell me which set of numbers looks more exciting:

11, 11, 11


13, 10, 10

Egg Frying Minigame preview

This way, each minigame performance feels important. The individual impact of each minigame also pushes the flavour *pun intended* of each cooking game. How fast you whisk an egg will make it faster! It just makes sense.

Egg Whisking minigame preview

Cooking Accumulation

Every cooking step that cooks a GladiEATer builds up to that GladiEATer’s stats. Let’s take our flying Omelette GladiEATer. Three minigames make it up: Egg Cracking, Whisking and Omelette Frying. Cracking affects Health, Whisking = Speed and Frying = Power.

Omelette Frying Minigame Preview video

Any GladiEATer with less than two minigames will have unaffected stats at their maximum value. For example, a Raw Egg, which only has one cooking minigame - egg cracking, will only have one affected stat. A D performance in the egg cracking minigame leads to bad Health, but with no other minigames affecting the other stats, they stay at their maximum value.

So there we have it; we’ve resolved the cooking to stats mechanic for GladiEATers with 1 Minigame, 2 Minigames and 3 Minigames. We’re done right?

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GladiEATers with more than 3 Minigames

What about the case that a GladiEATer has more than three minigames? Sticking to our previous range limit of 30% that we set on the impact of these games, we couldn’t have an additional minigame make another 30% difference to a GladiEATer’s stats. That could make a GladiEATer 60% weaker than a perfectly cooked one

– and that would frankly suck.

Instead, each additional minigame that affects the same stat will be averaged out when calculating what that stat should be. The same goes for combining GladiEATers like Avocado Paste and Toast to make Avocado Toast: we take the average of the minigames affecting Health to get the Health of the GladiEATer and so on.

As example, when making an Avocado Toast both cooking the Toast and mashing the Paste are Health affecting minigames. In cooking Toast, the player scores a C, in mashing Paste they get an A - the Avocado Toast's Health will be as though the player scored a B in one minigame.

On the left we have Avocado Paste, in the centre Toast and on the right Avocado Toast
Our Avocado Toast family

Man… I really wish we had some block of numbers separated into columns and potentially colour coded to keep track of all these numbers…

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Spread Sheets

The part every designer yearns for, spread sheets! Here we store all the potential ranges of GladiEATer stats. I think it’s important to share this somewhat mundane side to the process, as this how we make sense of it all.

On the left side we have the creatures, and on the right the stats
Spreadsheet excerpt of the stats

Our best way to display these ranges was to have the maximum values, then to their right, we show which stats are affected by the minigame that makes that GladiEATer. For example, boiling an egg here affects that Egg’s Power. The other stats haven’t been affected yet, so we keep those grey and blank, so we’ll take the max stats for that.

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Closing Time

Wow, you’re still here! Given that you are, please let us know what you think about the system. Any problems or even ideas you have for this or other systems? How else could we have gone about this?

What about abilities, how do they interact with Power? What is Speed and how does it affect when a GladiEATer acts? Stay tuned for those discussions and perhaps some actually fun ones in-between!

Bread Slice sleeping
Bread Slice taking a break from all the numbers

In this blog, we’ll be taking you through the changes and improvements that the

UI in our battle scene has gone through, to allow you to make your most tactically informed decisions as the world’s best Combat Chef.

Take One – March 2023 – All Upfront

This screenshot is from the first build that we took to a conference, March 2023 W.A.S.D. in London. We had all our UI drawn up, and we were really quite happy with the character and colours of our UI.

However… watching people play, we felt they were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of text on screen. That bar was also so thick that we couldn’t quite fit the

GladiEATers on the field.

The GladiEATers names were also a first attempt at just telling the player whatever they needed to know, but ultimately our GladiEATers should speak for themselves.

A screenshot of a GladiEATers prototype, where the Abilities' text is visible and the Timeline is bulky
GladiEATers March 2023 Screenshot

Take Two – July 2023 – Icon Cramming

Fast forward to Develop Brighton, July 2023, we brought this version of our battle scene with a few interesting solutions to our problems in take one.

Firstly, we drastically reduced the text overload by encapsulating abilities in cool, unique icons. This not only made the interface less overwhelming but also provided a sneak peak into the GladiEATers' powers before they were cast… and we only had to draw 3 ability icons for every GladiEATer in the game!! /lol

A GladiEATers screenshot from July 2023 of the battle scene. Notbaly the ability bar now has icons for each GladiEATer ability.
GladiEATers July 2023 Screenshot

Secondly, we brought in the Combat Chefs as physical presences within the CALosseum. Their animated reactions added a touch of life to the battlefield, and their introduction allowed us to do away with the corner icons.

A few final details were the removal of the GladiEATer name plates, spreading them out better, adding health bar section indicators, zooming out on the CALosseum artwork, adding colour to key parts to the text and greying out the non-targets when targeting an ability.

All was well --- until a new issue emerged! New players didn’t not know what to click! The icons were central but not as central as the big interactable buttons we had previously. How did we fix this? Well….

Take Three – September 2023 – Space Optimisation & Colour Control

colour swaps! By eliminating the visually catching bright gold and light brown from the majority of the menu, we keep the colour, and player focus, on the interactable objects. Our ability icons grew in size, became more interactive with hover and click states, and displayed their descriptions on hover.

Taking this to W.A.S.D. x IGN in September 2023, players were doing what we wanted them to easily – success!

Next, we made optimal use of the corner space left vacant by removing the portrait corner boxes by spreading out the Timeline. The Timeline received a sleek transparent black backing to allow more of the CALosseum artwork to shine through. An arrow and tiny name label also now indicated who’s turn it was.

In the bottom left corner, we introduced a sprite, name, and health bar for the GladiEATer currently taking their turn, mirroring the same for the target

GladiEATer in the right corner. This maintained the cherished symmetry from the earlier version.

To assist players with colour blindness, we added meanie and friendly symbols to GladiEATers on the Timeline and positioned friendly GladiEATers above and enemies below.

We didn't stop there! Another massive improvement was the nifty pop-up that showcased GladiEATer abilities, power, speed, and any debuffs or buffs affecting them.

This allowed the player total strategic awareness available at their mousetips.

(Not) Concluding Remarks

And that’s where we are for now! The battle scene has gotten a lot clearer over time. But the journey is far from over. With more tinkering and more vital player feedback, from the best community ever, will push us even further in the right direction. Sooo stay tuned and be sure to give us more and more feedback :)

Final CALeseum Ringless_edited.jpg
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