Backstage Corporate Clash: The v1.1.0 Update

Introduction

Hello, Toontown!

On behalf of the Corporate Clash Crew, welcome to the first ever edition of Backstage: Corporate Clash to be featured on the main site! On this day, September 19th, in the year 2013, Disney’s Toontown Online shut its doors for good, but that wouldn’t be the end for Toontown’s community. Through various community efforts, Toontown has continued to thrive in many forms to this day, thanks to the valiant efforts of many, including those who work endlessly to bring new experiences to life through Corporate Clash.

In today’s blogpost, we’ll be taking a look behind the scenes at all aspects of the v1.1.0 Update during its development. Without further ado, let’s travel back in time, and take a peek at what each department was up to leading up to the launch of the highly anticipated v1.1.0 Update. Additionally, stick around until the end for a peek into the future as well...

Pre-Planning / Conceptual Stages

Let’s start with the “Why?”. To cut to the chase, it’s relatively simple. We collectively had been disappointed with the C.J.’s implementation into Toontown, and felt the bossfight could’ve been so much more. This extended to the actual HQ as well. We felt as a project, if we were going to create new Cog-based content, we wanted to revitalize the already existing poorer elements, and see if we couldn’t make it more special.

It started with Tubby’s idea of turning Lawbots into a Corporate Law branch, away from it’s TTO form. Another idea was to keep the theme of Gag tracks appearing in each bossfight. (Throw in V.P. 's, Lure & Drop in C.F.O.’s, etc) Having suggested using Sound & Trap for “Sound Evidence”, and a way to damage enemies.

So I began writing a treatment for a new bossfight. In the earliest draft, it had been a Chief Justice fight revamp, which was later re-skinned into the new Boss and their theming. At first it was the “Chief Law Officer”, and finally, the “Chief Legal Officer”.

There were definitely a number of changes made as time went on and the bossfight was revised. Things from the first draft included the second battle round featuring two high-level V2.0 .exe Big Wigs to fight. One for each side. After more script revising, this round combined with other script sections to become a really awesome laser-cog fight, using familiar Lawbot elements from D.A. Offices.

In the Evidence Round, my original design was to use party cannons to fly through the air and pick up evidence, bouncing off walls continuously to grab as much as you could. Or, you could run around the room on foot, grabbing as much evidence as possible with hazards around. After undergoing several rounds of development, it was refined into the Cog-aiming minigame it is today.

The final round is where the most revising occurred. The first draft had Toons run up to wheelable Microphone poles. Toons would then wheel their carts around and hold down a key to shoot a sound-blast out. Toons could use the blasts to knock back cogs, which would be roaming all about. As a team, you and your fellow Toons would have to work together to aim your megaphone poles and knock the Cogs back into the CLO, knocking them back into the traps, until you have sent them through the last and final trap for good.

The Art of v1.1.0

We start with creating the Headquarters itself. This process was heavily influenced by a concept artist we had on the team at the time, Wugga. It started out early enough to still be a C.J. based concept, as shown:

The initial layout concept for Lawbot HQ

As you can see, a lot of elements from the final design started here, but a lot was also changed. DA Offices no longer had four entrances, the briefcase-ramp was changed, the Boss entrance changed radically, and the centerpiece changed as the concept developed.
In stage 2, the concept has now shifted to the C.L.O. & the Boss entrance is a lot more thematic and interesting.

Centerpiece is revised.

Border elements are revised, DA Office is touched up.

A first draft of the 3D Modeled & Textured Lawbot HQ

As for the DA Office interior. We did design that in a similar fashion, but we decided to scrap it and have it redesigned in full by Polygon once it moved to the 3D Production phase.

In this piece, you can see similar elements from the finalized design appear. Such as the “perches” where cogs would watch from above. Various hazards were included in this design that were ultimately removed in the finished product.

And for the Boss room, with only the script to go off of, we started with a basic concept:
All the pieces were there, but the room as a whole felt relatively unpolished and needed a lot more attention.

From there, Polygon did her magic and began creating a much more thematic and finalized design.


Eventually being fully fleshed out and completed:
The final product.

The C.L.O was quite an interesting process. 

One concept artist created this piece for a “Corporate Law Officer”
The Corporate Law Officer


But once we were confident we wanted a much more feminine Boss, the ideas came flooding in:

C.L.O. Concept

C.L.O. Concept #2

C.L.O. Concept #3

C.L.O. Concept #4

Various elements & ideas were compiled together, and we finalized the design for the C.L.O.
The C.L.O.'s original model

The C.L.O.'s final model

Redesigning the Lawbots was also a monumental task. Here is some concept art featuring designs that both did and didn't make the cut:
-Loopy Goopy Googlenerd
Developing v1.1.0
When I first applied to join the team the big question I had on my mind- the question I wanted to answer by joining- was, “Why has development slowed down so much?”  Clash seemed so lively and active when it first released, but releases seemed to slow down over time.  But after applying to the team, I waited for a while without a reply.  Eventually, though, I did end up getting an interview.

Skipping over the bit where I interview and actually join the team, we get to my first days on the team.  Looking around, I could see that things were happening (and many things for 1.1 were already done), but a lot of the work on the technical side lacked proper structure.  At first I chose to keep most of my opinions to myself as I began to build relationships with many of the other members.  I did what work I could as I learned the ropes and took note of things that I would improve on if I had the chance.

Fast forwarding again, after becoming much more acquainted with most of the leads at the time and after beginning to voice my plans for improvement, Dev came to me asking if I would accept the position as Technical Lead if he were to step down.  Of course, I accepted the offer without hesitation.  

From this point, I implemented many of the things I had thought of during my time as a regular team member.  First of all was the setting of a proper schedule for the 1.1 update release.  Even with a highly motivated team things weren’t perfectly smooth.  Things would get to a testing stage and just wouldn’t feel right or an asset would make it in game and would just look off.  Many of the assets in the cog gallery took more than ten iterations.  It felt like the team was asking Poppy for a new version of a texture daily.  Another big unexpected change was the evidence round.  It was done and dusted for a while before people on the team began voicing opinions that it just wasn’t good enough.  For a bit we almost went ahead and released the evidence round as is, but after some deliberation the team decided to completely revamp it.  In just about a week, nearly from the ground up, we recreated the evidence round to be what you see it as today.  Although we didn’t hit the initial mark, the team came together and pushed through.  With a lot of hard work, we were finally able to release 1.1.  

Now that we have released 1.1, I have no intention to rest.  In fact, Technical Team is continuing to implement improvements as often as we think of them.  One such change is another improvement to our training program.  This will likely be one of the final iterations of internal Technical Training.  We are so excited about it, in fact, that we may end up creating a public version to help anyone in the community who is interested in learning how to work with the Toontown codebase.  Furthermore, we are already well on our way towards the next several updates.  

In closing, I would like to thank everyone on the team, current members and former members alike.  I would also like to remind everyone that we couldn't have gotten to where we are without every contribution made by every member.  Looking forward, the team’s most recent improvements are only the beginning.  We have much more in store and are hard at work creating more original content for everyone to enjoy.  Thank you for taking the time to play our game.

-Lorthos



Moderation Preparations

Gearing up for v1.1.0 on the Moderation front was no easy feat. We currently (at the time of this blog post) have a combined effort of 19 fully trained Moderators. v1.1.0 definitely gave us enough work to where our team was on our feet constantly, bringing in the need to ask for internal staff who were interested in joining the team. In addition, I ended up hiring the biggest batch of Moderators I’ve ever hired recently, with a whopping 5 new members to the team. The interest to keep Toontown safe is what keeps us going, and this is the liveliest I’ve seen the team be!

Lots of work has poured into keeping Moderation organized and on top of things the last few months, all done by myself and my assistants, Turkeybone and Sourdough. I really have to give them a huge amount of appreciation, as before they stepped up to the plate, I was overwhelmed and swamped with so much work for the team. I didn’t know where to start. We’ve taken the time to really comb through Moderation and revamp things where they were needed. This included changing old rules and policies, to keep things fresh with the general outlook for the current landscape.

In addition, we’ve revamped Moderation to where each team member gets a say on quite literally everything to prevent Moderators from going rogue. (And of course keep an eye on everyone). All appeals and reports are talked about pretty thoroughly. This was the case before, however, we’re on top of it more now. Every voice matters, and most (if not all) decisions that come out of our team are a vote and discussed by everyone.

A lot of our tools have also strengthened from the time of launch - Moderation has never had quite the amount of tools that we do now! Between Judge, Eliz, and Devvy, they’ve really pulled all of their resources together to give us some tooling we’ve desperately needed for a long time. 

In addition, Eliz created some notably fantastic things for the Community, being the new Suggestions and ModMail systems for the public Discord! Both features have been suggested for a long time. I sat down one day and finally just concepted both of them out, and did some revising with Turkeybone and Sourdough. From there, Eliz coded the whole thing, and those features reached the hands of the Community pretty quickly! Suggestions and ModMail has really changed the tide of the public Discord, giving members an easy way to contact all of Moderation, in addition to YOUR suggestions making their way into patches. I also coded a small feature for that Clashbot update (Vamp for Tech Team), and Turkeybone helps with general maintenance of the bot blacklist.

I’m proud of the team for being so quick to think on their feet, and being able to handle the amount of work that’s been flooding in with 1.1. Moderation is quite literally a round-the-clock job, and I wouldn’t be able to do it without the wonderful team I have at my side. Moderation is a lot more work and requires a bigger level of understanding than you’d imagine just looking at the job from an outside perspective. The most common thing I hear from new trainees is, “this is a lot different than I expected!” which is more than often a good difference. I’ve really done a lot to make sure Moderation is a fun team to be on, improving internal environments to make them more relaxed. I do believe that Moderation is also the only team that does hangouts together, playing things from Minecraft to Jackbox as a group. 

I’m really bad at ending things, so I will just say this. Thank you to everyone who’s been on the team since I got hired (February 2019!) for putting in their absolute best and making the team into what it is today. And thank you to the other Team Leads for allowing me to step up to the plate after a rough 2019 for Moderation as a whole. I’m coming up on my year of being a Team Lead now, and I don’t intend on stopping any time soon. A huge thank you to the Community as well! You guys are all so great. I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2020.

-Vamp


Support Preparations

Throughout the process of preparing for v1.1.0, Support has gone through quite the metamorphosis! Not only have we brought along some stellar new members, but we've introduced a variety of new tools to help the players of Corporate Clash in all sorts of ways!

One of the first changes we've made is the seamless integration of Clash Central to our website! The folks over at Clash Central have done a fantastic job developing tools that help everyone in Corporate Clash. From finding groups to tracking invasions, they've definitely proven to be a crucial part in the growth of Corporate Clash.

In addition, the Corporate Clash website has also been upgraded with a fancy new Toon Mail Widget! Players can now open tickets with us by clicking on the Toon Mail Widget right on our webpage.

The Corporate Clash Support Twitter page!

We’ve also introduced an official Corporate Clash Support Twitter! Players can mention us in their posts or message us directly and we'll be able to help you directly through Twitter, without having to deal with pesky emails.

Finally, we’ve just recently introduced a form of Discord support! You can now request one-on-one support with a crew member directly within our Discord server!

In terms of v1.1.0 itself, it definitely put our speedy support tools to the test! With over 500 total support requests since launch, our team has been working around the clock to get players the help they need as quickly as possible! I’m beyond proud of our team for being able to work and communicate so well with one another, as well as always maintaining a positive attitude. On behalf of our entire Support team, we’d like to thank you for sticking with us, and we hope you’re enjoying v1.1.0!

- Spider Tacos



Marketing v1.1.0

Deciding how to market the v1.1.0 Update has been an interesting process from the beginning. Given how substantial this update would be, both for Corporate Clash as well as the overall Toontown community. We didn’t want to just release, we wanted to RELEASE, and do something a little extra to get the word out, as well as celebrate many of the achievements of our community up to that point, and thus, the prize packs were born.

Production on the prize packs began in late 2019, and was to be our first endeavor into the world of physical merchandise. Given the caveats of being a Toontown private server, unable to accept income from players in any form, we had to get creative and think of ways to create interesting physical merchandise that would be cost effective on our side, that still enticed players enough to want to pursue.

Coinciding with the release of Corporate Clash’s “Operation: Break The Law” event, we first teased the prize packs by showing off a poster featuring Resistance Ranger Rocky himself. Attached below you can find an early sketch of that, done by one of our fantastic Brand Artists, Bubblydinopop:

An early sketch for the Operation: Break The Law poster

The other pieces of merchandise that ended up being included in the final prize pack were the following: a sticker sheet, bookmark, letter from the Corporate Clash Crew, as well as a postcard.

Two scrapped pieces of merchandise that never saw the light of day included business cards of the revamped Lawbots (to be inserted at random in prize packs), as well as a brochure featuring the newly revitalized Lawbot HQ. Here’s a peek at their unfinished states:

The Lawbot's business cards.

Unfinished Layout for the Lawbot HQ brochure

Unfinished Layout for the Lawbot HQ brochure (side B)

Overall, I am very happy with how the finalized prize pack turned out, and the community reception has been insane. Perhaps one day we’ll see another prize pack exist in some form, doing our best to outdo the previous one. To be a bit transparent on that front, it may be a good while until we are to see more merchandise out of Corporate Clash (our out-of-pocket budget only goes so far, and the available funds we do have access to are currently prioritized strictly on server hosting), but I am eager to see what the future has in store merchandise wise.

Now then, let’s talk branding! As most are aware, alongside the release of the v1.1.0 Update, Corporate Clash received an all new logo and icon alongside other pieces of miscellaneous brand art. Here are some unused concepts for what almost was:

An early concept for a new Corporate Clash logo
Other possible logo ideas
The close to final sketch

Ideas for a new logo were tossed around for quite a while, until ultimately settling on the above concept created by Sourdough, which was then finalized by Koza.

Corporate Clash's final logo


-Poppy Cheezycorn

The Prize Pack Fiasco!

Imagine one day Poppy came up to you and asked you if you could take on the responsibility of packing and shipping all 100 prize packs because he could no longer do so. That became my reality very quickly! 

Thus began a lot of planning for how to get the merch to me, in addition to shipping materials. 

You can imagine all the mishaps that happened along the way, starting with Poppy addressing not one, but two packages to the wrong address. After I told him to double check the address - dang it, Poppy. I was then transferred a ton of money by Toonsies to buy the stamps and envelopes that Poppy sent to nowhere.

From there, I asked Lorthos if he would want to meet up to help me pack the prize packs since we’ve met up before, and we live a days drive away from each other. He, of course, said yes. When this was brought up at a Community meeting, many others jumped on board, and soon, we had a little mini meetup planned in Florida to pack everything. This included myself, Lorthos, Pandora, Nat, Turkeybone, and of course, my boyfriend (who you might’ve been wondering about in the credits, who the HECK is that?) Baron Von Slimeypaws. Everyone was flying in from different parts of the US, masks equipped and sanitizer ready to deal with the growing pandemic around the world.

If things couldn’t go any more wrong! Quite literally 3 days before everyone was supposed to fly in, COVID-19 cases in Florida started skyrocketing, putting Florida in the epicenter for COVID-19. Everyone ended up cancelling their flights/getting refunds, as none of us wanted to fall ill with the growing boom of cases here in Florida.

cat tax
Lorthos and I decided to still drive and pack the packs together, since driving was infinitely safer than flying. Unfortunately, the people who were going to watch my cat had their own COVID-19 scare, which meant that I no longer had someone to watch her while I left the state. We gave up on a meetup after that. 
It took awhile to get there, but the first packing session (handled completely by myself and Baron Von Slimeypaws) was a video call with everyone who was supposed to come, and a few select others such as BubblyDinoPop, (who made most of the merch for the prize packs) and of course, Poppy. During that video call, we discovered that Poppy doesn’t know how to use scissors - the bookmarks he had cut hastily before mailing them to me looked like an absolute wreck. In addition to that, a handful of the staff letters had coffee stains on them (I don’t drink coffee, so this was obviously from Poppy). I also accidentally packed one wrong, addressing it completely upside down. Whoops. (Hi person who got the upside down prize pack - you know who you are!)

Do not give Poppy scissors. EVER.

Poppy ended up having to mail me uncut bookmarks (I recut them myself, though they are still not all perfect) and staff letters.

I was wrapping up packing a few weeks later, and realized that we somehow miscounted on staff letters. I frantically messaged Poppy, who couldn’t print anymore due to moving to college the next week. I don’t own a printer, so instead of spending a ton of money at a print shop, Poppy and I frantically tried to find someone to print us some more and ship them to me so that everyone could have a staff letter. Spider Tacos took up the task, and was able to get us some additional staff letters so that we could ship out the remaining prize packs. 30 printed sheets of paper, shipping money reimbursed, and an Uber Eats dinner sent to Spider as thanks later, we were back on track to get the packs out!

The rest of the packs were sent out about a week later, which means all 100 packs have been sent to their rightful owners. 

This entire process has been messy because of unforeseen circumstances in the world around us, as well as personal circumstance/human error. While the human error was very chaotic, it did end up being something funny to look back on, and will definitely be a funny story to tell in the future. I’m sure we all learned something for the next time we do physical packs. I know I personally learned that Poppy should never be allowed to cut paper or address things. It’s been a crazy last few months behind the scenes to get the prize packs in your hands. I truly hope you guys enjoy them!

-Vamp

Pandora's Sticky Sticker Situation


Oh boy, where do I even begin with this? Well, for starters, I redid the entire sticker sheet twice as I could not get them to look right at all. The resolution kept fighting me; the canvas kept resizing itself; I hit the layer limit four times! (250+ layers) Overall, the project was a colossal mess, and I nearly gave up a few times. Luckily, I was able to pull through and finally get them done. Albeit it was done during my winter vacation with my girlfriend – which she was super confused about, but they got done, and I’m pleased with the final outcome, and I hope you all are, too!

Actually printing the stickers was a big problem on its own as well. I paid the full price to get each sheet printed (~$200) and mailed to Poppy. However, they never came. He had to message me and ask what was up, and it turns out I had to individually place all the stickers in their own folders for the company to move about. To this day, I'm still not quite sure why they couldn't just do it themselves. Finally, they were shipped off to Poppy’s house after the fix and have been successfully distributed from Vamp’s. Phew!

Wrap-Up

….and with that, we’ve just about reached the conclusion of this latest edition of Backstage Corporate Clash. We hope you enjoyed taking a look at what goes on behind the scenes by the Corporate Clash Crew, and all of the hard work put in by every department to ensure v1.1.0’s launch would be as great as it would ultimately end up being.

So where do we head from here? That’s certainly the question on the minds of many at this stage, and we are proud to take this opportunity to share some insight in regards to what’s next.

First off, in the coming weeks, we’ll be unveiling some brand new permanent sidequests! Soon you’ll meet Tumbles, a tourist eager to help fill that Shtickerbook of yours with new Profile Poses!

Concept art for Tumbles

Potential new poses???

While we do not have an ETA at this time for when you’ll see said sidetasks in game, the Corporate Clash Crew is hard at work developing these tasks as we speak, and are on the agenda to be implemented fairly soon.
Next on the agenda, as we get closer to the month of October, the Corporate Clash Crew is ready to bring more spook-tacular fun to the world of Corporate Clash. To be transparent, when it comes to brand new additions to the Halloween event this year will be bare bones (pun totally intended!), we have a few tricks up our sleeve to keep things interesting, as we tell a brand new story in the “spirit” of Halloween.
Finally, we’d like to take the opportunity to announce that development on Corporate Clash v1.2.0 is already well underway, with most of our resources currently being focused entirely on the development of that. Perhaps we’ll finally learn what that secondary entrance in the CLO’s lobby is all about…

Oh yeah! That reminds us, we’re changing how versions of Corporate Clash are structured from here on out, to fit the following format: [Major Update].[Supplemental to Major Update].[Bugfix/Minor Update]. If we were going by initial terms, v1.2.0 would have been v1.1.1, which of course is no longer the case!

We’ll end with that for now. Until next time!

-The Corporate Clash Crew


The Corporate Clash v1.1.0 Update is HERE!

July 23, 2020

Read More

Operation: Break the Bugs

June 16, 2020

Read More

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