Crafting Our Gameplay Trailer

In order for our game, Kanji Samurai, to pass forward into production in the spring semester, we had to present our game to our professors and fellow classmates in a ten minute presentation and demo the game to the professors the next day. Of the 24 game development teams that were formed in the beginning of Fall semester, 16 qualified to present their video game.

In my game production class, three of the four teams were officially confirmed to present the week before the presentations, but I have been preparing for the presentation since we passed into the final stage of our game’s development, Vertical Slice. Because of technical difficulties in the past, the professors required all teams that are presenting to produce a video to showcase our game rather than demo it live. I have previous experience creating promotional content; in my work for the Vermont Shakespeare Festival I created a video to promote the company and a video to promote the play, Julius Caesar. I was confident in my video editing skills, but I knew that creating these videos took time, which is why I created the gameplay trailer for Kanji Samurai two weeks in advance. That way, I had ample time to show off the video to my professor and my classmates to receive feedback. Below you can watch the official gameplay trailer for Kanji Samurai.

The Professors told us the videos were an opportunity to cherry-pick our best gameplay moments to show off. I also saw the video as our only opportunity to showcase how our game is played. The video was the first impression of Kanji Samurai that many of our peers and professors would see, so I wanted it to be clear in explaining how Kanji Samurai is played. I prepared a script explaining the gameplay and reviewed it with my team, then I used a screen recording app on my cell phone to record my voice as well as the gameplay footage.

In formatting the video, I wanted to make sure it started exciting! Unlike the other teams, our video primarily served to explain our gameplay rather than make people hype about our game. It would be hard to make the entire video appear super exciting because of its educational tone, but I at least wanted to draw viewers in with an enticing opening so they would pay attention when I got to explaining the gameplay. I started the video with some fast paced music from our game and some brief cuts of gameplay, then I got into explaining the game loop of Kanji Samurai. Ours was one of the few gameplay videos that had voice over–most of my peers relied on text overlay–which made it stand out and made it so viewers got a clear picture of what our game is. 

After I stayed up most of the night making the video, I showed it to my class and my professor in my senior game development class. I also showed it off during my final CORE review meeting where members from various game development teams met with one of the Core faculty and their peers to receive feedback. The feedback I received was helpful in making sure the video depicted our game in the best light. From the feedback, I implemented a highlight to showcase the undo and pronunciation buttons, as well as added Glynis’s Kanji pronunciation to the video and sword slash sound effects. The video was well received, and I think I did a good job in showcasing what Kanji Samurai is all about.


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