Game Studio Spotlight: AutoAttack Games

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Hey, I’m Jules, one of the developers on Legion TD 2. Our studio AutoAttack Games is based in Alameda, California. Our team consist of Brent Batas, Julian Gari, and Jean Go. Here’s a little about us:

Brent – Studied electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley. Created the original Legion TD mod for Warcraft III in 2009. Technical director and head honcho on Legion TD 2.
Julian – Studied statistics at Harvard. Former data scientist and game balance expert at Riot Games. Design director and wearer-of-many-hats for Legion TD 2.
Jean – Studied illustration at RISD. Former illustrator and concept artist at Riot Games. Art director on Legion TD 2. Responsible for all art in the game from 2018 onward.

Legion TD 2

Legion TD 2 is the first competitive 2v2 tower defense for PC. It’s the standalone sequel to the Warcraft III mod, Legion TD, which inspired StarCraft II’s Squadron TD and Dota 2’s Legion TD: Reborn.

Legion TD 2 is like a tower defense, but instead of building towers, you deploy fighters that come to life and move, attack, and cast spells automatically. The game is played by two teams of two. Defend your lane against waves of enemies and hire mercenaries to attack your opponents. To win, you must defeat the opposing team’s king before they defeat yours. From start to finish, a match lasts around 20 minutes.

Legion TD 2 features 2v2 matchmaking, custom games, leaderboards, stat-tracking, reconnecting, anti-leaver/griefer detection, and many other features you might not expect from an indie game. The game has over 100 unique units with custom models, and we’re releasing new units every month.

As the newest addition to the team, Jean is responsible for all of our recently-released units, environment assets, icons, and VFX. She is a world-class artist with mastery in illustration, graphic design, concept art, modeling, and texturing.

Her most recent creation is Grarl. Grarl is a powerful melee brawler and the tier 4 fighter for the game’s newest legion, Atlantean. Here are the tools used to make the unit:

Concept – Photoshop
Model – ZBrush, Maya, 3D Coat, and sometimes xNormal for AO baking
Texture – 3D Coat, Photoshop
Animation – Maya
VFX – PopcornFX, Maya, Photoshop
SFX – Reaper
Icon – Photoshop
Gameplay – Apex

The first step of making Grarl was its design. It’s usually a bit of back-and-forth between art and gameplay. Grarl was meant to fill a certain gameplay niche as a heavy-hitting melee fighter, so we knew off-the-bat that he was going to be hefty. Grarl is part of the Atlantean legion (class of fighters), which has a deep sea creature and humanoid thematic. We explored a few concepts and landed on what you see now.

After the concept comes modeling. ZBrush is used for creating a quick, yet high resolution sculpt. Jean tweaks and enhances the design as she sculpts because being both the concept artist and 3D artist, it’s faster to start sculpting as soon as a loose concept is ready. In most studios, concept art needs to be perfected before being handed off to another 3D artist because communication between two artists takes time and effort, and sculpting and design can’t really happen in tandem. Once the hi-res model is completed, retopology process is used to create a low resolution model of the same model, which is the actual in-game asset (the hi-res model is never used in the game). After the model is completed, normals are tweaked to show smooth and rigid surface, and the texture is painted using 3D Coat and Photoshop.

Following modeling and texturing is rigging and animation. This is handled externally, so we can’t comment on their specific process. From our end, we provide the assets, animation descriptions, and references. While the animators have some creative freedom, we try to be as detailed as possible about each animation’s timing, feel, and use case.

The next step of the process is VFX. We use PopcornFX for our visual effects, which is a real-time particle effects solution. It’s fairly technical but powerful program and requires a combination of art and math skills.

The penultimate step is creating the unit’s icon, which is a 64×64 2D representation of the unit that is used in-game. This is done in Photoshop.

Lastly, we handle the gameplay stats and abilities of the unit in Apex, which is our proprietary tool built to manage Legion TD 2’s game content.

Here are some of our favorite units:

We have over 100 custom models on Sketchfab, which you’re welcome to check out!

We love using Sketchfab to allow players to view and interact with our units close-up and familiarize themselves with the their animations and personalities.

Unit stats and models can also be viewed here.

For those curious about how to play Legion TD 2, here’s a brief overview:

At night, you deploy fighters to defend your lane. Once deployed, fighters cannot be moved, so plan your formation carefully. During the day, your fighters come to life and battle against enemies. Even if your fighters die in battle, they return fully restored the following night.

Enemy creatures spawn at the top of the lane and move downwards towards your fighters. Fighters move upwards to challenge them. If the enemy creatures win the battle (“leaking”), they attack your king. If your fighters win the battle (“clearing”), they teleport to the king to defend.

You can also hire mercenaries to attack your opponents and damage the enemy king. If their king is killed, they will be defeated, and you will be victorious!

Thank you for reading. If you’re interested in checking out the game, here’s our Steam page.


About the author


An artist in the pursuit of dopeness.

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