Blade Kitten: Behind The Code

Hi there, my name is Sean Edwards and I’m a Senior Game Designer at Krome Studios Australia. In this Blog update I hope to give some interesting and candid insights into the process the team went through to build the levels for Blade Kitten.

Building the World – Level Design for Blade Kitten

Initially we went through several approaches to building the levels, but with a small team we needed a method that allowed fast experimentation and changes. Rather than model large areas of the levels which would require going back into 3DS Max and re-exporting to make changes, the method chosen was to build lots of smaller objects to allow for fast changes and experimentation. This required all the pieces to be built to very specific dimensions so that everything would snap together nicely. The final levels were assembled using those pieces in Krome’s in-house level editor ‘Merktools’ which allowed quick iteration and real time editing of the level as the game is running!

Blade Kitten Image1

The actual process of taking the level from concept through to completion involved several steps. First the Creative Director, Steve Stamatiadis, would conceptualize the level in a very high level “mud map” format. This map included locations for all the key story elements and a basic layout.

Blade Kitten Image2

From here the Level Designer would go through several phases of building the level and filling in the blanks. First a rough block out using simple objects with no enemies, then a gameplay pass to add enemies, triggers for doors, checkpoints, secrets and collectibles. When the levels were almost complete, the Level Design team and Steve had play test reviews to refine the final layout. This was a great time to see what each of the Level Designers were doing in their respective levels, that then inspired new ideas and provided an opportunity for constructive feedback.

The levels would not be complete without mentioning the amazing job our Cinematics, Sound, Visual Effects, Lighting and Environment artists did to make the levels look and feel consistent with the Blade Kitten universe. With so many people working on the same level at the same time, effective communication and coordination was critical and despite some difficulties we pulled it off.

Scripting – Making stuff happen!

Our Programmers provided a very flexible Scripting and Event system for making all of the puzzles and other interactive elements in the levels. Giving the Level Designers more control allowed the Programmers to focus on writing more code and fixing bugs rather than implementing content. Through various events happening in the game we could trigger off a variety of different things, from moving objects, animations, effects and sounds as well as controlling very specific AI behaviors.

Blade Kitten Image3

QA Testing and Bug fixing

As with any game project our QA department is an indispensable part of our team and it’s through their diligence and hard work all of the bugs were found, reported and squashed! I was always impressed with their ability to reproduce a problem and remember the sequence of steps to do so. There were some very tricky things to solve often as a result of the player continuing from a save point which would often show up some very strange events due to the way our games state was saved and restored.

Combat, Movement and Pacing.

Kit has a cool range of abilities brought to life by our talented Animators. We designed the levels to compliment them. As you play through the levels you will encounter Traps, Puzzles and Enemy combinations designed to allow kit to fully exploit her full range of skills. In the hands of an experienced player watching Kit Jump, Slide, Slice and Impale her way through the level, demonstrates her dynamic flexibility. Our simple and accessible controls make it possible for anyone to have fun as well. We consciously designed the levels to also have a nice balance of Combat and Exploration to pace the player’s experience.

Blade Kitten Image4


The spectacular scene in the Trailer where the huge alien creature called Acland is destroying a bridge as Kit flees the destruction, is a great example of all our skills and technology coming together to deliver and exciting experience for gamers. There are several Boss encounters throughout Episode 1 and they are all fun and unique.

Thanks to our flexible scripting system and some ingenuity, we were able to build these encounters without the need for heavy code support. The Acland Boss level required some unique features that did not exist in any of the other levels. For example, the camera scrolls along with the Boss, and Kit is prevented from running off screen, this was implemented by attaching the camera and some collision to an object moving along a path at the same speed as the Boss. This is how the pacing and intensity of the experience is controlled by giving the player just enough space to keep moving forward with a couple obstacles along the path to mix things up.

Blade Kitten Image 5

0 Author replies

Wow, now this is a pretty fascinating little article. Its not very often you get a piece on the blog about coding a game. It made for a great read :D


Great read. I wish we had more articles like this. Can’t wait until the game is released, sounds amazing. :)

price and release date please.?

To Dante

It’s released tomorrow price TBC but there will be a demo.

Thanks for this that was a great read! :)

i have a PSN card at the ready to buy this tomorrow =)

with the european updates sucking this will probably be the only game worth buying tomorrow.

It’s $15 Dante… So… £12.99 probably. We always get treated unfairly.

Steve was hinting at Blade Kitten being brought forward due to the PSN maintenance tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it happens.

Plus great article, nice to see that it’s not just about the game but the creative geniuses behind the game. Well done ^^ Oh and very clever way of designing levels. Going small and piecing together would allow for a lot more changes in short time instead of a huge level built as one in 3DS Max, nice ^^.

Thanks for posting a more “behind the scenes” blog post. I really enjoyed hearing more about the development. Hopefully you have started a new trend!

The maintenance is today (right now infact)

I’ll be picking up your lovely game tomorrow. :)


As someone who has done game development, I love it when other developers working in the field come out and just express the hardcore nerdy stuff that I can actually make some sense of. Hate all the secrecy that’s prevalent most of the time. Good post.


Thanks guys, I’m glad you liked the post, I had hoped it would lift the lid a little on the inner workings of games development.

that was very interesting, thanks :)

I liked reading this. I’m sure many of us are really looking forward to this game and I can see it being a sleeper hit on PSN. Looks fantabulous :)

Interesting article. Just played the demo though and sadly the game is terrible.

devilwithoutfear 22 September, 2010 @ 20:01

and I was looking forward to this now it turns out I can’t even buy it (:

are you guys releasing this in my country cause i was hoping2 play it this week yet it wasen’t for my country WHY?


This was extremely interesting, especially since I’m a student on game designing, I loved reading this

We close the comments for posts after 30 days.

Edit history