Badger Updates!

December 21st, 2016




Hey Smugglers!

Release year is around the corner, and we are working our butts off to make SmuggleCraft as fun, unique, and immersive as possible! Though mostly tightening up the loose screws and bolts of our game, we are constantly adding new in-game content for the game to grow further.

Check out the Badger Vlog for all the best Happy Badger moments!


Click me!


The SmuggleCraft PlayStation theme will be available soon! Hang tight for just a bit longer, we promise its worth the wait.

PSX and Go-Operative Streams SmuggleCraft!

November 30th, 2016

PlayStation Experience, here we come!


The Happy Badgers are on their way to PlayStation Experience 2016 to feature SmuggleCraft! We can’t wait to race hovercrafts and experience all things PlayStation with you! Our booth number is B1018, so if you’re at PSX you should boost on by! If you aren’t at PSX, DONT FRET! You can still tag along on our PlayStation journey by following us on Twitter and Instagram @happybadgers ~

SmuggleCraft will be streamed TODAY with Go-Operative Gaming! Catch the latest version of SmuggleCraft tonight at 8pm on Twitch:, and be sure you give em a follow. Thanks for having SmuggleCraft on your channel, Go-Op! You rock!


Do it. Click me.

We’re going to PSX!

November 15th, 2016


Happy Badger Studios will be part of the PlayStation Showcase at PlayStation Experience 2016 in Anaheim, CA!


PlayStation Experience is a 2 day event hosting everything PlayStation. Smugglecraft will be showcased, alongside PlayStation VR, the PS4 Pro, and many more amazing games and developers. We had an epic time last year, and we can’t wait to showcase Smugglecraft this year!

PSX 2015 feat. Smugglecraft

PSX 2015 feat. Smugglecraft

The couch had cupholders


A BIG BIG thanks to PlayStation for having us at PSX 2016 to showcase Smugglecraft!

Want to hang out with Happy Badger Studio at PSX?  Get your tickets now and get the early-bird deal while it’a available:

The Red Cube…LIVES!

November 8th, 2016

Multiplayer hosts and Scatterjamming


SmuggleCraft Updates!

Online Multiplayer has been making huge strides thanks to our amazing programmer Joey. Getting a computer to host a session was pretty brain bending, but Joey managed to get the ball rolling (literally) from having a 3ish second lag to a little under a second in a day! He’s also been hard at work giving the SmuggleCraft AI some upgrades! Not only are they smarter now, but also A LOT faster and more skilled in the art of smuggling. Joey himself had a hard time besting them in some races!


Track pieces grow more and more gorgeous with every day. Since we’ve got the main track piece and its colors done, TJ has been adding  new ship upgrades and foliage for smugglers to race by and Dana has been adding Dirahlian buildings, as well as creating even more new track pieces.










We’ve also been prepping for a big event we are attending later this year, so lots of focus has been on that. We can’t say too much on that, but more news to come very soon!


Joey, TJ, and Richard all participated and made games in this year’s Scatterjam (Shoutout to the STL Game Dev Co-Op, Discord, and the Zoo for making it happen!)! For those who aren’t familiar, a Scatterjam is a game jam, but without a single dedicated space to work in! Groups are allowed to scatter and make games where ever they pleased! This years Scatterjam theme was “Open to Your Interpretation”. Joey and TJ with their team Hydrozoa Bois made Trash Night, where you dodge incoming trash and a giant Soda Can Monster, and Richard with his team Watchpoint made Escape?, an obscure platformer about discovery and destruction!

Shoutout to all the teams that participated this year! You can play all the Scatterjam games here:





Streamin’ and Pixel Poppin’

October 12th, 2016

Its been a crazy and epic couple weeks!

The Happy Badgers team has been bouncing around doing all kinds of crazy cool stuff. New tracks and foliage are being made, online multiplayer is sprouting, and streamers are loving SmuggleCraft!

Rover8680 plays SmuggleCraft!

Twitch Streamer Rover8680 streamed SmuggleCraft on his channel! His blind playthroughs and gameplays are super entertaining to watch, and his Smuggling skills were nothing short of awesome. Rover’s wife, Ducky, hopped on the stream for a bit to test out some multiplayer and it was a blast! If you haven’t seen Rover8680 stream some games yet, that should be high on your to-do list, along with subscribing to Rover8680’s channel, because he’s pretty kewl.


Pixel Pop Festival!!!!!!!

Happy Badger Studio had a SmuggleCraft booth at Pixel Pop Fest in St. Louis! We got to meet up with many of the STL game devs, along with a few game devs from out of town! Our very own Joey Paniello spoke at the Unity Users and TwitchSTL panel and TJ Hughes spoke at the Game Artists panel! Seeing all the support for the game dev community was amazing, and thanks to all who came out to play some games!

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Stay Tuned!

Craving for more behind the scenes at Happy Badger Studios? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and catch our BadgerVlogs on our Youtube Channel! 

The BadgerVlog is here!

September 26th, 2016

The Life of a Happy Badger

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of Happy Badger Studio? Join us on our adventures with the BadgerVlog!


Keep up to date on your favorite Badgers and be sure to subscribe to the Happy Badgers Youtube channel 🙂

Big Badger Updates!

August 30th, 2016

New Badger Unlocked! – A big and happy welcome to the newest member of the Happy Badger team: Richard! Richard is our Community Manager and will also be assisting in the production of  SmuggleCraft! With a strong eye for solid game design and passion for spreading the gaming love, Richard makes an excellent addition to the Happy Badger team! We’re thrilled to have you on board, Richard!



He’s a goof.


This Thursday, September 1 at 7PM, Twitch streamer TheSilverFoxe will be streaming SmuggleCraft on her channel!! We’re so pumped to have such an epic streamer play our game! Tune in and catch a first look at SmuggleCraft! Check out TheSilverFoxe Twitch channel be sure to give her a follow!

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Click this. You know you want to.

Our epic promo vid for the stream is pretty cool if we do say so ourselves 😀 check it out!


In other development news, SmuggleCraft is hovering along! The experience we are aiming for with SmuggleCraft is forming more and more, and every day has been a new adventure in building the game closer to our vision.

Lately, we’ve focused a lot in building the world of SmuggleCraft. A key part of racing games is the race track – Mario Kart has its Rainbow Road, Star Wars Racer Revenge has the Boonta Eve Classic, Gran Turismo 4 has the Tsukuba Circuit, etc. As a racing game with an RPG narrative, much of the world of Dirah is experienced through the tracks. Every race is its own unique experience, and you’ll learn about the world through each quest you accept and track you smuggle through! Weather has been added to the tracks! You can now smuggle in the rain and fog! From racing past villages to beaming through dark and narrow tunnels, each track piece tells a small visual story about the world of Dirah.

A key fun factor of any RPG is customization. It allows the player tailor the game to a specific and unique style of play, and feel more immersed in the experience. As a Smuggler in Dirah, your Hovercraft is your life. Its the Millennium Falcon to your Han Solo. TJ has been hard at work creating unique Ship Materials to further customize your hovercraft!




Rare ship materials: Holographic and Pearl

These will range anywhere from common to rare, so when you’re out racing against your friends online, you’ll be able to stand out and look like a badass. That said, Multiplayer modes have been high on our radar, so we’ve been taking closer looks into that as well, but more on that in a later post 😉

Stay tuned for more on your favorite Badgers!

Play Happy

The Art of SmuggleCraft Vol. 1 – Crafting Colors

August 4th, 2016

Hey! It’s Tj, and I’m the technical artist on the team! Here’s what I’ve been up to recently:

This is something we’ve been trying to get working for the longest!!!

Color Grading and tonemapping: A process that is normally used in Photography and Filmmaking to enhance colors, and really make things pop.

Color Grading is why all the shadows in The Matrix look green; And it’s what makes period piece films look reminiscent of earlier times. A lot of emotion and atmosphere can be conveyed through which colors we pick, and Color Grading helps us get closer to those ideal colors.

If you’ve ever used Instagram, then you’ve already been introduced to a very basic form of Color Grading!  Filters that you apply to your photos can be used to change the lighting of a photo, make it more idyllic, or look more nostalgic. Color Grading at its core is a dynamic and customizable Instagram filter.

Getting the settings to a place where you want them can be a real puzzle. I mean look at all these sliders!!!! :

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A lot can get hecked up if any of the sliders aren’t at optimal values. For example, you might find yourself saying things like: “The shadows are too red!” “The scene is too bright!” “The scene is too dark!” “…The scene is somehow simultaneously too bright and too dark!”
Fixing one problem can cause a lot of others to arise. There’s also this: “This scene looks fine on my computer, but on the TV, everything looks terrible.”

When color grading, you have to take into consideration the varying devices that your game will be shown on. Problems like these are why so many games have the “Adjust brightness until you can barely see the logo” prompts at the beginning of the game. Everyone’s TVs could have very different color settings.

These prompts are good, because back in the GameCube days, my brother and I would always argue with each other about what we called “Tighter or Brighter”. Before playing a multiplayer game, we would adjust the color settings on our TV. “Tighter” meant the game looked dope at these color settings, but we honestly couldn’t really see what was going on.

“Brighter” meant we could see everything, but the colors looked washed out! So we’d take a vote on Tighter or Brighter and then start playing (usually, brighter won).

That aside, here are examples of how Color Grading has influenced the visual fidelity of the game:

Without Color Grading:

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With Color Grading:

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Since our game uses procedurally generated levels, different color grading configurations have to be made for each lighting condition, so every color can be complemented and accounted for. In the example above, I decided to bring out the reds to bolden the color of the terrain and made the lower values (shadows and anything dark) lean towards purple, seeing as the green of the sky and purple are on opposite sides of the color wheel. The colors are able to compliment each other.

Without Color Grading:

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With Color Grading:

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For this lighting condition, the main problem was clarity. Everything was roughly the same hue, so it made it hard to see things at a moment’s glance, which super important in a racing game. So I made the low values even lower so that the shadows stand out more, and shifted the colors to another hue so that there’s more of a distinction between the terrain and the sky.

The night sky was probably the hardest to balance. We needed it to look like night, but we didn’t want it to be so dark that the player couldn’t see where they were going.


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The reds are more saturated, and the lower values have been inched more towards blue so that they balance against all the red in the scene. The overall color curve has also been increased, simply because the scene was too dark after the color grading was first applied.

So that’s basically what I’ve been doing to make the colors in the game stand out more. Follow Happy Badgers on Twitter to see more pretty visuals created by @_Teejay5 and @danahuth!

Let’s Plays and Couch Offers at Indy Pop Con 2K16

June 27th, 2016

Happy Badgers made a journey once again to the super fun Indy Pop Con 2016 and holy hovercrafts was it fun. There were so many amazing games, so many amazing people and developers, and lots of cough drops. We gave you guys a “Guide to Indy Pop Con” last year, so we won’t go over do’s and don’ts, but we’ll fill you in on all the awesome HappyBadger @IndyPopCon news and happenings.


Lot’s of people recognized us from last year, and even commented on the increase in polish of SmuggleCraft! It felt really good to hear our audience talk about how much the game’s improved, especially since we faced a mini-crunch time to get an Indy Pop Con build ready (wasn’t finished until 11am Thursday, we left for Indiana at 11:30. Heart-pounding stuff).

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Someone actually asked if they could buy our couch.


We saw some amazing games and devs at the PopCon. Our booth neighbors we’re Able Gamers (some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet)! They help make video games accessible for those with special needs. Please go check em out and give em your support ( ) because they are too awesome. And right behind us were our friends at Trinket Studios! It was great to see them again 🙂

Our personal new favorite was Tot’s Life by johngroot, an indie dev team from Chicago. Seriously, we could NOT STOP LAUGHING the whole time we were playing. Download and play it and pee your pants laughing (


Smuggling is always better with friends

Smuggling is always better with friends

There’s nothing like seeing excitement, joy, and other emotional catharsis occur while someone’s playing your game. All the blood, sweat, and tears, we poured into this labor of love we call SmuggleCraft truly pays off when we here players say things like “Why isn’t it out yet?” or “It look’s finished!” and “WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”


One of the fun things about Indy Pop Con is meeting youtubers and streamers. Youtubers and streamers from all over come to meet up, talk to fans, and play new games.

We had Let’s Play stage time at 11am on Saturday. There were plenty of other slots filled with really amazing games, but SmuggleCraft drew the biggest crowd hands down. How you ask (other than being an epic game)? Well here’s our secret…ready? We talk to people O.O.


Thursday night, the Badgers made their way to this epic joint Scottys (for some reason this is a key con hangout. take note). There, we were able to connect and talk with a ton of other devs and content creators! We got to meet up with @CrankGameplays who we met last year, and were introduced to a bunch of new friends too. We invited Crank to come on stage with us for our Let’s Play, and quite graciously, he accepted, and brought friends. When the moment of the Let’s Play came, we already had an audience.

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@OGChanYT, @crankGameplays (Ethan), @girbeagly(brian), dana and ben (badgers)





And boy was the Let’s Play awesome. Huge shoutouts to Crank Gameplays @crankgameplays, @OGchanYT, and @girbeagly for playing SmuggleCraft at our Let’s Play! We had a blast playing with you folks!


And we can’t forget, BIG congrats to Graphite Labs and their game Hive Jump for winning the Reboot Indie Game Award! STL REPRESENT!!!

Micheal Myers took a liking to SmuggleCraft!

Even Micheal Myers took a liking to SmuggleCraft!..he didn’t say much, but you could definitely see it in his eyes.



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