As deadlines approach, we find ways to cut down on our tasks by altering certain aspects of the game. For instance, we’ve decided to axe one of the senseis and her corresponding environment and reuse the old lady sensei from our tutorial along with the player’s village. This frees up the artists to work on other, more pressing assets and forms a nice narrative circle. Time is running short so it’s imperative our backlog is prioritized properly so all disciplines are focusing on the tasks most imperative to our game’s core experience.
I’m worried about making the game “juicy” enough in time. That’s the word our professor used last week to describe what our game needed to really pop. We need more little animations and special effects to really sell the player experience. Our programmer has managed to do some fancy things with the grid. Now the flowers have a cool animation when they re-spawn, and the artists are working on new features to make the game more “juicy” such as subtle movement to the flowers. Design lock is this coming Wednesday, but we have two more weeks to implement all art and sound. I added more to the sound document and ensured our sound designer knows what his responsibilities are. If I could go back in time I would have nagged my team about getting their tasks down more regularly. Although I thought I had made it clear where to find his tasks, my sound designer expressed some uncertainty as to what he needed to do, so next time I’d devote my time to reaching out to each member individually more often to ensure everyone is reading the planning and asset documents I send them.
This Saturday was Accepted Students Day so before our meeting myself, Eric our lead programmer, and Connor, one of our artists, and Glynis, our lead designer attended to show off our game to the incoming freshmen. It was fun to meet the incoming students and get feedback for Kanji Samurai. It really took me back to when I was a freshmen. I was happy to see a lot of incoming production majors, some of which were women! One of the student’s feedback sparked an idea as to conveying stroke order for the Kanji. We are going to have a small sword depicting the direction players should go with their stroke in a compass like format on the top of the screen. We’ve been trying to figure out how to convey stroke order to players’ for ages, but I really think this new UI element may solve all our problems in player’s understanding stroke order. I love interacting with people and hearing their feedback. Feedback has been invaluable in designing Kanji Samurai.
A fellow senior played our game too, and he approached me about making our senior reel. I told him I didn’t have any compensation to offer him, but I would greatly appreciate it if he did make our reel because I know his video editing skills are superior to my own and will ensure our game is depicted in a better light. We re-recorded all the interviews this weekend as well so now the sound quality is on point! I met again with this fellow senior to discuss my ideas for the video and I sent him all the footage I’d organized. We’ll be meeting again soon in a couple weeks to see what he has come up with so far. I’m very excited to see what he comes up with. Old Lady Sensei character art by Connor Chapin.