Ugly Baby Becomes Sexy Baby (no! not like that you perv)

// November 5th, 2013 // Comments Off on Ugly Baby Becomes Sexy Baby (no! not like that you perv) // Ugly Baby

There comes a time in every Indie Studio's life when dev art just won't do. For Ugly Baby, this means bringing in Jonathan Elliot to do paint-overs. Jonathan is best known for doing the art on Monster Loves You!. Check out this blog post and this other blog post from earlier this year to see how he works the brushes and rollers. Check out the original images, the paintovers, and the current in-game versions recreated by Dave. Then go play the game and see if you can spot some of the changes.

Original Screenshot 1:


Jon's Paintover 1:

ad wall - paintover

Current in-game WiP 1:

Ad Walls - Ingame


Original Screenshot 2:


Jon's Paintover 2:

long blocks - paintover

Current in-game WiP 2:

Long Blocks - Ingame


Original Screenshot 3:


Jon's Paintover 3:

satellites - paintover

Current in-game WiP 3:

Satellites - Ingame


Original Screenshot 4:


Jon's Paintover 4:

server spiral - paintover

Current in-game WiP 4:

Server Spiral - Ingame


Original Screenshot 5:


Jon's Paintover 5:

solar panels - paintover

Current in-game WiP 5:

Solar Panels - Ingame

We're still working, as always, but in the best instances, the final shots look pretty close to what Jonathan had in mind!

What’s Next With the Ugly Baby?

// September 30th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Ugly Baby

We've been working on Ugly Baby for about twelve four years now (it started as a prototype called Musorqua right after we launched Aaaaa!), and it's now AaaaaAAaaalmost ready for prime time. A new build is on track for November 18th, so here's a sneak peek at some of what we hope to include therein:


You play the role of Azumi Pentak, blind futurist extraordinaire. She's trying to digitize the whole city of Boston Sky; and to capture the data, she's "wardiving" — BASE jumping through the city, taking measurements and scooping up every electronic signal she can. Including your brainwaves.

Azumi Pentak / Born: 8.25.2004 / Nat: American / Parents: Azumi Asahi, Gertrude Pentak / Sibs: Gabriele Pentak (dec. 4.11.2016) / Edu: BE Computer Science (2029), PhD (2025) Machine Learning, Worcester Polytechnic Institute / Foci: expert systems, neural networks / Whasian, 170cm, 53kg, pH~7.5, 1.4rgn / Prosth: ocular, inner ear / Loc: Boston Sky, Azumi@AzuCo / Incomplete: profession, physical address, biometrics.

AzumiOS Startup

Azumi was born blind, but given sight through technology. Her eyeballs (and inner ears) contain computers running what we originally called RetinaOS (though someone pointed out that people may get confused with Apple's Retina display, so we'll call it AzumiOS for now). Here's Ichiro's initial sketch of the startup screen:


This comprises:

  • A background; perhaps a blurred view from Azumi's apartment? This is what's actually in front of her as she's sitting there, using her eyeball computers. If she were to shut the computer interface down and go about her life, her eyes would unblur that — but who cares about real life?
  • A copyright notice for the OS. Something most players won't even look at, but gives a bit of flavor for those who do.
  • The date, cementing the time period during which the game occurs.
  • And a button to launch the OS proper.

The point of all that is that we want to place you within the game world right from the onset.

Ichiro sent his mockup to Jonathan for refinement, which looks like this:


We need to add the background, copyright notice, and date, but it's looking muy sexy!

Title Menu

Past that, we're in traditional main menu territory. Here, again, is Ichiro's mockup:


You can change settings, view the game credits, and explore the "Dejobaan Playground" (fun videos and other Dejobaan-related content to enjoy with your face). The text in the background is debug text from Azumi's eyeball computers, since she enjoys hacking them.

Jon's take on this looks thusly:



Again, Azumi's probably sitting in her living room while she does this, so we'll want to show a faint/blurred view of what she's seeing in the background.

Level Selection

Once you log in as Azumi (the green hex above), you're taken to the level selection map:


The hexagons include three types of levels:

  • Calibration: One level to teach you how to play the game, with Azumi guiding you via VO.
  • "Trunk" levels: A handful of "main" levels where you dive through the songs Azumi creates. Here, she sings about various social topics (what happens in a world where you can 3D print anything?) and her own life (who's Azumi?), and you're jumping and collecting data about Boston Sky to those tracks. (You can also use your own music in these after you complete them the first time.)
  • "Challenge" levels: Smaller, tougher jumps that focus on a single mechanic (dodging, hacking, collecting things).

There's also non-gameplay content to experience and love:

  • Experimenting with binaural beats. Can stereo sound act as a hallucinogenic drug? (A: No.)
  • Azumi's repeated experiments digitizing her personality (listen to Azumi v0.1!).
  • Voicmails from other people in the gameworld.


We're also refining/simplifying the in-game UI. Crude mockup ahead:


Our current thinking is that we'll want four UI elements on-screen. From top to bottom:

  1. A bar telling you how close you are to beating the level's score requirements. It's split up into three segments (fill each one, and you get points towards unlocking other levels).
  2. Your numerical score ("23,142 points").
  3. Your score multiplier ("x4").
  4. How close you are to getting to the next multiplier (i.e. fill the bar at the bottom, and you'll reach "x5").

We'll refine further, but: simpler's better!

Game Over, Man

When you've completed your jump, a view of how you've done:


Above, "Data Retrieval" is your score, and the "Unlocks" refer to points you get towards unlocking other levels in the selection map.

Author's note: It's at this point that I'd like to greet my lovely wife, Alicia, as well as everyone who's reading this. Hello!

Bonus Data Visualization


It's a graph of gameplay flow. Completely useless to anyone who's not writing the game.


Finally, it's time to boost in-game aesthetics. To wit, Jonathan's taking existing screenshots…


…and drawing on top of them with his trusty Wacom tablet…


This gives things meaning and texture. For instance, Jon took the above blank slabs and turned them into solar panels. Based on what he creates, we'll then generate new 3D models and textures for use within the game. It's a virtuous cycle.

I must get back to writing the actual game, so 1. thank you for watching, and 2. here are some further paintovers to keep you company. Until next time!

paintover-2       Abstract-Paintover-(shipping-yard) Abstract-Paintover-(ad-wall)     


Dejobaan’s 9.5s PAX Prime Teaser Trailer

// August 7th, 2013 // Comments Off on Dejobaan’s 9.5s PAX Prime Teaser Trailer // Dejobaan News, DRP, Monster Loves You!, Ugly Baby

Various rejected (and accepted) VO lines for me and Rohit:


  • A techno opera where a half-Japanese woman sings about digitizing the entire world.

  • Azumi Pentak flies through the world, digitizing and singing about technology.

  • A blind, half-Japanese skydiver digitizes the world in a techno opera.

  • An opera about a half-Japanese skydiving futurist.

  • Abba? A blind skydiver digitizes the world with your MP3s…The neighborhood cries.

  • A blind skydiver digitizes the world with Justin Bieber… You are to blame.

  • A blind skydiver sings about the Technological Singularity.


  • DRP is a First Person Bullet Hell Shooter where alcohol and sentience are to blame and only you can save Boston

  • DRP is a First Person Bullet Hell Shooter where human sadness can only end if every human is dead

  • First-person bullet hell with your robot bartender.

  • Robots try to end human suffering by ending humans.

  • Oops! You programmed your robot bartender with sentience.


  • Best-selling children's horror story comes to iOS.

  • Delicious human children: coming to iOS.

  • Devour human children on your iPhone.

  • Gain respect by eating human children.

  • Monsters like children soup: coming to iOS

  • Side-dishes with Childrens toes, now on iOS!

  • Gain monsterly respect by eating human children soup.

  • Grow up as a monster and eat human children.

  • Monsters: Human kids for friends or lunch?

  • Human kids for friends or lunch?

So, yeah.

Sexy Update on Ugly Baby

// July 29th, 2013 // Comments Off on Sexy Update on Ugly Baby // Ugly Baby

One of our earliest concepts for Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby was to have the game recognize songs and populate a level with relevant artifacts and 3D models. For example, if you played the Team Fortress 2 soundtrack, you might see the Heavy floating through space. In this blog post, you'll see recent experiments where we dabble with song-specific levels. We will also talk about some of Jon's art updates, Dave's level design, and modding!

Dynamic levels with 3rd party assets

AKA: levels with stuff from your music in them!

We asked our good buddies at Fire Hose Games if they'd like a cameo. (They said "hells yes"!) So, we took characters from their awesome pre-historic tower defense game Go Home Dinosaurs (GHD) and created the level you see below. Essentially, if you pop in a GHD soundtrack, the game will eventually create a level with their game's art. Our next experiment will have to be with hats…



Jon's Paintovers

Paintovers are the first step in figuring out where we go from a prototype. We'll create a crude-looking level, and Jon will take those and actually sketch over it to show us how to improve it. This first image explores different ways that we can light a building to convey emotion. On the left is a building you might see when you're playing a calm song. The middle one, with brighter white highlights, would be a mid-tempo rock song. Something like Skrillex would give you pounding red buildings such as on the right.

building lighting progression

Apart from music, we can also texture a single model multiple ways to create variations. Here, Jon took the above simple building and gave it several different coats of paint:

building variable 5   building variable 6 building variable 4   

Next up, with proper texturing, larger buildings appear as truly massive skyscrapers, while smaller ones are more appropriate as apartment buildings or small businesses:

building new sizes

And finally the three sketches in the upper-right show how a building may actually animate to the music (consider how a Transformer transforms):

building expanding 2

Abstract paintovers

One aspect of Dave's and Ichiro's level design (and Michael's, now that he's joined the fray) is that much is abstract — it's not all buildings and parks and such. Jon created a few paintovers of those scenes to bring them in line with the overarching aesthetic. Here's a collection of cubes that bear advertisements from various companies in Azumi's world. He suggests that they might be so stylized as to be inscrutable to our 2013 eyes:

Abstract Paintover (ad wall)

An work-in-progress sketch, this is a city's power generator. Raised nodes channel electricity, creating a hazard to the player's navigation:

Abstract Paintover (motherboard)

In the future much is 3D-printed from the comfort of your own home. But what can't be, still needs to be stored and transported. Here's a shipping yard filled with cargo containers:


Abstract Paintover (shipping yard)

Dave bares his midriff…

…and experiments with midground elements.

These "midground" elements comprise architecture just outside of the core gameplay area. They're still technically something you can fly through (unlike background elements), but they're meant to surround the main challenge:

bhgfbihj bhfdbjfd hhcjfeii gdcbbbge dhcdgjci

Modding is just like coding!

A couple of days ago we added the ability to mod Level 5 — with some basic Python scripting magic, you can tweak the level or change it entirely. There is a forum thread where folks have posted their work. Here's Ichiro with some tips on how to do this:

And that's what we got this week! We're especially interested in any mods you have, so if you give it a go, post some videos or screenshots in the Steam forums.

Sexy New Arts, Titans, and Concept Sketches

// July 16th, 2013 // Comments Off on Sexy New Arts, Titans, and Concept Sketches // DRP, Ugly Baby

Who is Reuben Matsumoto?

Reuben owns a bar in Boston Sky, and it's his robot bartender, Tim, who's responsible for ALL the havoc in Drunken Robot Pornography. But the blame ultimately lies with Reuben, who gave Tim sentience, thereby weighting him down with all the world's unhappiness and dischord. After all, people who can't or won't visit therapists often complain to their bartenders. So, Tim decided to end the sadness by killing everyone. Damn sentience isn't necessarily sensible!

Jon, our lead illustrator, has envisioned Reuben and Tim (below). We're especially fans of Bermuda shorts, which is actually the look we're going for, because screw heroes who take themselves too seriously. In case you were wondering, Reuben's half-Japanese, half-various-European. Tim is at least 3/47ths Japanese.

tim evolution  reuben and tim  reuben and tim color

How can a Titan be a dwarf?

Ryan has been busy building "Dwarf Titans." They're smaller than regular Titans, but are still big enough to squash you without noticing. Check 'em out:

Dwarf Titan5 Dwarf Titan
8ykhK Dwarf Titan2
Dwarf Titan9 Dwarf Titan11
Dwarf Titan6 Dwarf Titan7
Dwarf Titan3 Dwarf Titan10
Dwarf Titan4 Dwarf Titan1

How do you sexify an ugly baby?

Trick question. No baby is truly ugly — just ask its mother.

At Dejobaan, we rely on Jon for sexification. Here is some of his latest work on Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby. Tell us what you think of his new logo work…

 azumi 3

…and how about these fancy new graphical elements? Most of them are going into making the game's architecture fuller:

new building designs

Jon's also experimenting with UI for the level select:

UB UI test 1-01 UB UI test 1-02 UB UI test 1-03 UB UI test 1-04

And, finally, some experiments with color:

UB visualizer 1 UB visualizer 2

Got feedback for Jon or Ryan? Let us know on Facebook or in the DRP or UB Steam forums.

Itty Bitty Titans, Ugly Baby UI, and Heroes

// June 28th, 2013 // Comments Off on Itty Bitty Titans, Ugly Baby UI, and Heroes // DRP, Ugly Baby

This week, the Drunken Robot Pornography (DRP) team worked on the upcoming build. Amy, Dan, Elliot, Ichiro, Jon, and Ryan all contributed some new content, and the polish is still drying. While that happens, lets look at some sexy new stuff from DRP and some new concept UI stuff from Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby (UB):


Ryan created these two Titans as "minibosses," the idea behind which is that they're smaller robots that may show up as multiple instances in a level:


MiniTitan02 MiniTitan01

DRP Skeletons

We've talked about level skeletons before; they are a basic level that then gets fleshed out over the course of multiple iterations, typically by 2 or more level designers. Her are two that Ryan just completed:
Spires_screen Hydro_screen


You have heard me talk about Azumi Pentak, the protagonist in Ugly Baby. Now, lets take a look at Reuben Matsumoto and Tim the robot bartender–the protagonist and antagonist (respectively) in Drunken Robot Pornography. Jonathan's still fleshing them out, but here are a handful of early sketches:
reuben and tim

Ugly Baby UI

Moving on to Ugly Baby, Team UB has been spending time dreaming up a UI that will be appropriately futuristic to match the period that the game is set in. This is a mock-up of the level select screen. What do you think?
ub ui 3 ub ui 2 ub ui 1
Okay, the images of Optimus Prime (et al) are just placeholders for now.

Until Next Week

That's all for now! We hope you've enjoyed the post. As an aded bonus, here's a video of a prototype for Rice Cake Parade that never quite made it into production:

Images from Kick It… then and now

// June 11th, 2013 // Comments Off on Images from Kick It… then and now // Ugly Baby

Before there was Ugly Baby, Ugly Baby was Kick It. We'd like to share 25 images from the original with the question: How do we make this stuff fit into our current Ugly Baby aesthetic? The Answer? Well see for yourself with a collection of our newer art. Its probably also worth noting that the original was built on the bones of Aaaaa! so you may notice some art-i-facts… see what I did there 😉



Ooo! Ooo!-20 Ooo!-24 Ooo!-33 Ooo!-36 Ooo!-39 Ooo!-59 Ooo!-70 Ooo!-90 shot2498 shot2570 shot2753 shot3016 shot3197 shot3291 shot3422 shot3490 shot3537 shot3737 shot3760 shot3793 shot3794 shot3837 shot4549 shot4628




S5 Screenshot_20130522_133228 S3 Screenshot_20130522_133055 paintover 4 Screenshot_20130517_161159 azumi fall paintover 3 paintover 2 paintover 1 azumi 3 Screenshot_20130313_132736 Screenshot_20130313_132541 Screenshot_20130313_131724 Screenshot_20130313_140937azumi newbuilding doodads set 2

Random Images Submitted Sans Explanation

// June 4th, 2013 // Comments Off on Random Images Submitted Sans Explanation // Ugly Baby




It's just a test, baby.

Ugly Babies Also Like Lullabies

// June 4th, 2013 // Comments Off on Ugly Babies Also Like Lullabies // Ugly Baby

We've been "heads down" working on Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby. Ichiro's been designing levels in Python, and has been working on two of his favorite things: narrative and audio. Let's take a look at a new track that he has been working on called "Future Shock":

Future shock is society's boon.
It might not kill us, just turn life around.
When am I s'posed to silence my phone?
Trust a robot surgeon of world-renown?

How many petabytes is enough?
How augmented do I want my reality?
In a world where we are merging our minds,
How do we approach the

Wait! You want to hear it? Here's a really, really rough demo version.

Ichiro's also been working on "Chitter" chirps, which are basically sound bites that the game's main character speaks during the game. Here's an example of one, and here's what that looks like when he's editing it together in Adobe Audition:


Future Shock takes place around February, 2032, when Azumi Pentak decides to take up base jumping. She is the main Protagonist we talked about briefly in a previous blog post.

azumi fall

Azumi was born on August 25th, 2006 in Providential Hospital, Boston Sky. She is the child of Azumi Asahi and Gertrude Pentak, and had a younger brother, Samuel Pentak, who died from a falling accident. She's into robotics, and has a PhD in Machine Intelligence from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Whenever she jumps, she has her oculars morph what she sees into this stuff:

It's these jumps her fans watch for. They're illegal, dangerous, and a lot of fun.

Too ugly? Keep stirring the baby until the lumps disappear

// May 24th, 2013 // Comments Off on Too ugly? Keep stirring the baby until the lumps disappear // Ugly Baby

This week was B-U-S-Y! We brought the Ugly Baby team in, shackled them to their chairs, and asked everyone to crunch. The goal was to launch our next amazing build, but we wanted to give it another week to bake it to perfection. Here is how the week went… in pictures and video, 'cause words are lame-o.

We streamed level creation and art creation on Twitch for several hours each day. Grab a sack of popcorn and check these out:


Concept Art From Jonathan:

Jon streamed the creation of some of these:

swiss chees structure UB building paintover 4

3D Models from Amy:

The top left one started out as the "Swiss Cheese" piece and evolved to be a Hot Pocket. You can see Jon's concept sketch above. To Quote Amy: its the "The sexiest parking garage modeled after food!"

hotpocket radio_tower
fans skyscraper
gardenbox_final helipad
helicopter loading_dock

Level Screenshots Featuring The WHOLE Team's Blood and Pixels:

Screenshot_20130521_165651 S1 Screenshot_20130522_132726
S5 Screenshot_20130522_133228 S3 Screenshot_20130522_133055
Screenshot_20130521_165458 Screenshot_20130521_165648
Screenshot_20130521_165404 Screenshot_20130521_165647

Next week: Catch us for another episode of "We will make this game awesome if it's the last thing we do."