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Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder [Dev Blog #15] - Gunpowder Boulder review

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, Jul 14 2017, 08:55 AM in Development

Gunpowder Boulder review

Hi guys,

We wanted to drop by with another cool blog post that describes one of the new boulders featured in the game. But before we get in to this, we just wanted to briefly mention that we should be announcing the release details very soon. We're currently working on a bunch of updates to go with the upcoming announcement, so please stay tuned. We're at the very end of the road here.

And now back to our boulder details! The Gunpowder Boulder as you might have guessed is an explosive weapon with a very high risk/reward ratio. This boulder deals considerable damage to the opponent's gate, but managing to get it to the very bottom of the course can be quite challenging.

The gunpowder boulder has a short fuse mechanism that is popping out, and every time the boulder rolls over it the explosive contents receive a charge. As long as the boulder is not hitting the fuse the sphere quickly cools down, but if you roll enough times over it: BOOM!

The more the boulder glows red the closer it is to bursting.

Ways to avoid overheating is making sure the fuse is not aligned with the floor when rolling or jumping as the bomb gets hotter.

Offense alternatives

The explosive boulder is also a great tool if you want to wipe out a heavily armed area that you are having problems getting by. The explosion radius can take out multiple units with a single blast.

Mass destruction!

To manually detonate the boulder the player can also rest on the fuse just for a few seconds and KABOOM! Everything is decimated.

What do you think of this new offensive weapon? Let us know in the comments below!

Finally; if you haven't noticed yet make sure to check out our updated Store Page with new information and a lot of cool animations.

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The Deadly Tower of Monsters wins best Latin American game at B​IG​ Festival 2017!

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, Jun 30 2017, 11:57 AM in Awards

​​The Deadly Tower of Monsters wins best Latin American game at B​IG​ Festival 2017!

T​​he Deadly Tower of Monsters wins best Latin American game at B​IG​ Festival in Brazil. We're honored!

The game was also nominated in three other categories:

  • Best Game
  • Best Art
  • Best Sound

Here is ​Edmundo Bordeu receiving the award:

Available on

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RoA2 Classic Pack - Humble Bundle E3 Digital Ticket

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, Jun 12 2017, 03:09 PM

RoA2 Classic Pack - Humble Bundle E3 Digital Ticket
Hey guys. The people from Humble Bundle are running a super cool E3 promotion for this year's show, which features a variety of excellent content from many titles. One of the perks you can get in this collection is the 'Rock of Ages 2 - Classic Pack' DLC which will become available when the game launches. Earnings from this promotion go to ESA and charities.

Please read below for the DLC content details.

Here's the link to the promotion: Humble Bundle E3 2017 Digital Ticket

The Classic Pack includes the following content:
-Smiley Boulder - This is a variation of the default boulder (same stats).
-Sisyphus avatar - If you thought Sisyphus was the hero of the new adventure, think again!.
-Three extra army banners to decorate your team.

Please feel free to drop any questions below.

Rock of Ages giveaway! Win a Rock of Ages figurine!

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, May 30 2017, 07:20 AM

Rock of Ages giveaway! Win a Rock of Ages figurine!
Hi guys,

We're running a new Rock of Ages themed giveaway. This time we'll draw a cool 3D print of the game's lovely boulder lead! Ideal for your videogame collection.

To participate all you have to do is be a member of the Rock of Ages 2 hub. In addition, if you wishlist the game on Steam your chances of winning are twice as good!! To join the hub press "Follow" on the Rock of Ages 2 Steam store page:

We're also running this contest on some of our other social media sites. Join our Facebook and Twitter pages and share our posts about this giveaway if you want to increase your odds:



We'll be drawing 3 figurines in the RoA2 hub. Winners will be announced on Friday June the 9th. Good luck to everyone! Don't forget to tell your friends!

A new interview with Andres Bordeu on VerticalSlice podcast

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, May 18 2017, 08:49 AM

A new interview with Andres Bordeu on VerticalSlice podcast
Anton Hill has interviewed Andres Bordeu about ACE Team's history, the industry, Nintendo Switch, The Deadly Tower of Monsters and a few other things.

Listen to it here.

And damn, 'goodbye' in chilean is really long. :trollface_boulder:

The Deadly Tower of Monsters leads nominations in Brazil's BIG Festival 2017

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, May 17 2017, 12:30 PM in Awards

Deadly Tower leads nominations in Brazil's BIG Festival 2017
The Deadly Tower of Monsters has been nominated in 4 categories for the upcoming BIG Festival 2017 (Latin America's largest game festival but open to the entire world).

Translated from Portuguese:

IGN Brazil article

DToM is nominated in the following categories:
  • >Best Game
  • >Best Art
  • >Best Sound
  • >Best Latin American Game

ACE Team is proud to be representing the region with our wacky Sci-Fi adventure. A big thanks to the organizers and to our fans for your continued support smile.gif

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Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder [Dev Blog #14] - Impressionist Art in RoA2, using Unreal Engine 4

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, May 10 2017, 08:04 AM

Impressionist Art in Rock of Ages 2, using Unreal Engine 4
People who have been following our blogs will know by now that we're putting a lot of effort into creating distinct visual art styles for the different art periods of the game. Of all the work we've done, the most radical and unique is most definitely the real time rendering of impressionist type levels in Rock of Ages 2 (Siggraph worthy stuff here!).

The following image is not concept art – it is an actual in-game screenshot of one of the levels in the game:

Edmundo developed the technique we use to make Impressionist art, and the method is not based on a post-process that we apply over an existing 3D scene. The assets are all custom-built into the game using a creative way of mixing 3D assets, with 3D brush strokes that are “hand placed” by the artists in 3D Studio Max.

Below is the first Impressionist level we developed and our source inspiration; a painting of Monet:

In very simple terms, the way this works is that we custom paint simplified base models with a variety of brush strokes, similar to how hair is placed on characters in current video game development. We use the vertex colors of our mesh and brush strokes to determine the colors of the “paint”.

Baba Yaga, are you in there?

These painted strokes use a special shader in Unreal Engine 4 which does many things, such as lighting, aligning the strokes properly to the camera, and also allows us to control the width and thickness of the brush strokes. This allows us to make the art seem as if it was painted by a very thin paint brush or a very thick and larger paint brush. (See image above)

Here you can see the technique applied to some assets and a comparison to regular models. (Note: The models on the left are not the same models than the ones on the right. They are completely different assets)

While we mostly use this rendering technique for static meshes and world geometry (re-creating all units in the game could be done, but would be too much work) it can be used on skeletal meshes with bones and animations. The technique is also compatible with lightmapped objects. Here is another example of a level using the Impressionism rendering style:

There is a lot more that can be said about our implementation of this art style, but we try keeping these blog posts short so that they are appealing to everyone. We will probably re-visit this subject in future trailers or maybe another post. For now you can watch the Rock of Ages 2 trailer if you want to see a brief glimpse of how the art style looks in the game itself.

Who said games aren't art? Our Impressionism levels would make Vincent van Gogh proud tongue.gif

(Note: This is a screenshot of a custscene – it is not using the implementation discussed in this blog post. It is purely 2D art)

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Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder [Dev Blog #13] - Unit review: Da Vinci tank

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, Apr 13 2017, 10:01 AM in Development

Unit review: Da Vinci tank

360 degree firepower!

The Da Vinci tank was one of the first new unit ideas we decided for the sequel, but it was also one of the very last units to reach its final design because we iterated with it many times before reaching a mechanic with which we were all happy.

We quickly identified and fell in love with Leonardo's 'fighting vehicle' machine, because the radial design was ideal for a defensive structure that could attack in any direction without having to rotate, something that would set it apart from most of the other offensive defenses. However, getting the actual unit to work properly proved to be a challenge where movement and projectiles were the two key areas that kept us iterating the most.

Cannons, cannons, cannons...

With a radial array of cannons the unit immediately targeted all approaching boulders from any orientation, but the initial firing patterns and the actual projectiles where not turning out to be very effective. With so many cannons covering all possible angles we expected that a regular straight cannonball would be enough to make it quite powerful. However in practice, the tank missed almost every single shot because even if a boulder was at close range the overall stiffness of the cannons meant it couldn't really aim with any of these. We tried to address this by making the three most closest cannons fire in a sequence, but this still proved to be ineffective.

Our final solution was to implement an instant spread burst (much like a shotgun) so any boulder in the vicinity would receive a set amount of fragments depending on how well aligned it is with the cannon making the shot. This solution made the unit immediately useful.

Boom, boom, boom!

Just like the real thing each cannon works independently. The reload time is suggested by the smoke coming out of the barrel, so if any particular cannon is releasing smoke you have a couple of seconds to approach from that angle.

The final projectile design was so effective we had to nerf it a couple of times because you could dominate a match only using tanks.

Considering how limited the unit was by straight shots we really have to question Da Vinci's vehicle effectiveness. Maybe when they prototyped it during the Renaissance they bumped in to the same problems that we did and that's why it never was produced on a mass scale. :-)


The next thing we had a hard time tackling was the movement patterns. The first idea was to have it rotate like a turret, but that was immediately discarded since many of the units were already stationary and we didn't want to add another one with this limitation.

Our first implementation allowed it to roam freely, trying to reach the player so it could aim from a closer range. This also generated several complications. The tank is so wide and covers so many tiles that it had a really tough time navigating the environment. Also, by looking in to its interior you can see that it wasn't really designed to turn:

Look at all those fancy details you never get to see in-game!

So our final execution is a middle point between 'stationary' and 'free-to-move'. We decided that the tank will only travel along a straight line in either direction that the wheels spin. This movement pattern requires you to plan the layout of surrounding units with care, but not everything you place near it will necessarily obstruct it's path.

The central line indicates the movement restraints and the outer lines the range of the cannons.

A nice detail we added is a cue which suggests which direction the unit will decide to follow. The soldier commanding the tank has to open the hatch to look where he's going, so whenever the soldier is leaning out that is an indication of the vehicle's 'forward' direction.

I can't see a thing in here!


And that's it for this update. Hope everyone enjoyed the details behind this unit's development. Until the next blog post!

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'The Deadly Tower of Monsters' wins best Console/PC and GOTY at the Chilean Checkpoint 2017.

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, Mar 25 2017, 08:32 AM in Awards

'The Deadly Tower of Monsters' wins best Console/PC and GOTY at the Chilean Checkpoint 2017 videogames event. We're honored!

Carlos and Andres Bordeu receiving the awards given out by VideoGames Chile. Happy to get this recognition from our peers.

Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder [Dev Blog #12] - Level comparison: Bologna vs L'Aquila

Posted by Dmitriy Gorbachev, Mar 21 2017, 04:22 PM in Development

Level comparison: Bologna vs L'Aquila
Hey guys. Apologizing here again for the lack of updates. The recent Game Developers Conference trip has generated a lot of interesting developments regarding our upcoming projects and there's also been some cool new stuff happening with Rock of Ages 2 that we'll be sharing later. Small team here and so much to do as usual...

On this occasion I'll be sharing our new take on the Renaissance level that features impressive jumps.

Bologna on the left (Rock of Ages 2), L'Aquila on the right (Rock of Ages).

Unlike Scotland vs. Wallachia, where we essentially revamped the same layout, for this particular map we wanted to bring back an extensive slope that ends in a huge leap, which was characteristic from the L'Aquila level from the first title. The concept behind the level was cool, but we weren't so happy with the layout, so we decided that instead of modifying it we'd completely redesign the circuit.

The slide

Featuring a section where you can gain a considerable amount of speed that culminates in a big ramp was the main idea behind this level. In the original game, the L'Aquila level didn't technically feature a ramp since the area that holds the giant bull accidentally served to propel the boulder in to the sky.

Above: Rock of Ages2. Below: Rock of Ages.

The first noticeable change is the amount of ramps featured in the new level. If the concept is fun, why limit it to a single time for every descent? In Bologna players will have to traverse through a series of giant slides, each featuring a large jump at the end of the path.

Something else we decided to change is the defensive unit tiling. The center area which features a stream of water does not allow you to build there, so players can always gather speed during the slopes. Defenses will be required to be placed on the borders of the circuit. However, descending through the stream will slightly affect your speed, allowing players that risk the path on the sides to gain an advantage.

The cannon

Our first tests with this new level were designed so that players could cover a long distance by simply rolling off a ramp after having reached maximum speed. However, one of the things that has changed in the new game is that boulders cover less distance when jumping, (less than in the original Rock of Ages). The configuration difference seems small in a regular jump, but on a giant ramp like this it was clear that the boulders were not covering as much distance as we wanted. Thus, we decided to include a form of propulsion to enhance the jump at the end of each slope.

To the skies!

We really missed the giant cannons from the DaVinci and Cherub bosses from the first game, so this seemed like an ideal scenario to bring these back. At the end of each slope the player must aim at the barrel of the cannon to get blasted through the air and reach the next platform. Total speed is still taken in to account, so if the player blasts through the cannon at a speed that is not sufficient he still won't cover the distance.

Note: It's not accidental that the DaVinci giant statue from the first game is featured again in this level (did you miss it from the previous screenshot?)

The trampoline

So what happens if you miss the cannon or don't gain enough momentum when reaching the cannon? The level is designed like a giant aqueduct with lower levels, so players that don't cover the distance during the leap of faith (or "blast of faith"?), will fall to the bottom level where there's a trampoline at the end.

Pretty sure there were aqueducts that looked just like this in ancient Rome...

The trampoline was designed so that the jump is not mandatory, but taking this path will make you lose valuable time.

And that's it for this latest blog post! Hope everyone is looking forward to playing this level which has been very fun to design and test. Stay tuned for more developments coming up next.

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