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Hammerwatch Coliseum

Enlist as a gladiator and fight your way through the ranks in this fantasy-themed hack-and-slash adventure. Do you have what it takes to beat enough coliseums and earn the emperors liking in the Hammerwatch Castle?

By Hammarhaja AB

Illustration: The story of Hammerwatch

The Story

It all began in Stockholm’s beautiful Old Town where several game companies shared office space. One of those companies, Crackshell, released the retro-styled Hammerwatch for PC, Mac, and Linux back in 2013. With King offering support for Defold projects, one of our game designers Mikael saw a great opportunity to utilize art assets from Hammerwatch and create a sort of spin-off.

The Process

Our starting point was unusual as we already had Hammerwatch assets to use as a starting point. At the same time we were pushed for time and had new challenges to consider whilst developing for mobile such as different input, shorter average play times, the prevalence of free-to-play etc Illustration: Process of creating Hammerwatch We had a wealth of assets created by the original Crackshell team. Our priority was to create the biggest impact by using the characters, monsters, and environments that they had created as much as possible. Instead of coming up with a design and then asking yourself "what assets do we need?", we found ourselves looking at the assets and asking ourselves "what could we make with this?" With this starting point, certain elements such as the top-down view and fantasy setting were created, and enough was automatically defined for us beforehand to ease us in to design early on. With clear restrictions and a sense of urgency, much of the remaining design came quickly. Our lightweight game design document and task list (Trello) has, with the help of Skype- and e-mail based feedback and specifications, kept the whole project moving smoothly. Working with Defold was a new experience for everyone involved, and getting a hang of new tools is definitely something that can take time. Luckily our lead developer Johan managed to pick it up quickly, so quickly in fact, that he was already helping other developers out in the forums within the first month. Our overall impression is that Defold is very easy to use.
“Our overall impression is that Defold is very easy to use.”
Even the not-so-technically-inclined designers were constructing tile maps (small level sections that fit together) and synchronizing their creations with only a 10-minute introduction. While it's true that we have a relatively simple game well suited for the use of Defold, it's also true that from the very first engine installation and throughout the project, it's been a very smooth ride, with very few problems along the way.
Illustration: Process of creating Hammerwatch Illustration: Process of creating Hammerwatch
The team is separated geographically and has other commitments, meaning our schedules rarely align well. Some things that have helped us in this situation is doing lots of design work early on and writing that down.
“Even the not-so-technically-inclined designers were constructing tile maps with only a 10-minute introduction.”
We have a lead developer keeping track of the to-do list and delegating task as required. It has been vital for us to have different people to work on different parts of the game simultaneously, and then synchronizing the project. Overall we've been very happy with Defold. We think it's a neatly packaged engine that has been a nearly perfect fit for the Hammerwatch project. The version control, usability, and of course community of developers, are all strong reasons for us to use Defold in the future for similar projects.
Illustration: Process of creating Hammerwatch

The Team

Our team consists of Johan Högfeldt, our megalomaniacal lead developer, Mikael Cruseman and Erik Wonnevi, two genius game designers (who did not at all write any of this, for sure), Niklas Pettersson and Björn Fyrvall, offering their extensive brain power for additional programming support and Jocke Sjöberg, who probably played the game more than anyone and in between sessions filled our game world with sounds. We're also helped by the Crackshell guys, including the dynamic duo behind the original Hammerwatch game, Joachim Skoglund and Niklas Myrberg, as well as Chris Nordgren and Victor Ankarberg, who help out with a lot of additional artwork that was not available in the original game.

Play Hammerwatch Coliseum