Dev Update #9 – July ’14: Advanced Kenshi (Swordsman) Gameplay, Battle & Gifu Crossroads Progress

Most Important Update Topics

After a few weeks of playtesting, we began to see some flaws in the current way we were handling some aspects of basic combat, so we’ve been working on a better system for hit detection, with more flexibility for polish (sparks on sword clashes, more accurate slashes, etc.) Meanwhile, our lead programmer has been working on wrapping up the Battle game mode with team functionality and the game mode’s rule set. We’re starting to amp things back up again and are making rapid progress on the above areas as well as rounding out the art assets to really start polishing Gifu Crossroads. Finally getting SpeedTree with UE 4.3 is a game changer so far.

Also, we have been streaming development of our game almost nightly during the week. So if you are interested in chatting with our dev team and learning more about our game please stop by:

Programming Update

Our two man programming duo have been splitting up duties on the Kenshi and game mode code. The emphasis on the Kenshi has been on improving overall sword combat, and starting to branch into his more complicated mechanics such as abilities and our training tree system. So far, the new system has felt very good on local testing and will enter playtesting starting this week. The Battle game mode from the previous month is wrapping up after some setbacks from the Unreal migration (Sometimes new versions have code re-writes which causes us to have to re-write on top of that so it delayed Battle progress a bit). We should be able to playtest full Battle games this week, which is great timing with Gifu coming along strongly. Additionally, work has begun on bots, so that we can more easily simulate game activity without a full match of humans, to start getting a feel for level size, play paths, etc.

UI Update

We are starting to flesh out our menu structure and get temporary setups in Coherent for choosing teams, starting a game and other basic game flow areas. With a monthly build for Unreal coming out, Coherent has caused some battles with broken code and builds so the UI area has been a bit paced in lieu of that, but we think a lot of the hurdles have been surpassed and we can start making some real progress in this area. One of my good friends, who is a wonderful artist and UI/UX expert is providing some spot help, getting us some art assets we badly need to start getting the HUD looking really good.

Environment/Level Design Update

We stepped back from Gifu Crossroads for a bit (vacations and a brief break) to see how we feel about it with fresh eyes. We returned to it with some fresh new ideas and the map is really starting to come together. The release of SpeedTree for UE4 has proven a game-changer and suddenly the map is full of life, volume and the visual quality we expect out of our foliage. We’re particularly excited to start showing you all some of those things. Our lead level designer has been making some excellent changes to the the main fighting area that we were debating what to do with, as well as working on a special side map as a proof-of-concept for a future stretch goal. I am working on supporting him with art assets, after spending the last month making mid-level architecture (shrines, water towers, bells, and other mid-sized structures) and will now be supporting with smaller low-level foliage and assets to populate the spawn areas and other areas of the map needing more “life”.

Character/Animation Update

Our animator has been busy revising animations that received feedback from the past few weeks of playtests as well as starting to rough out more animations for the Archer. The Kenshi nearly has a full, polished animation set to carry him to completion. We’re very excited with how all of the animations turned out.

The Archer is slowly being roughed in intermittently between Kenshi polish animations as needed. We expect efforts to be more focused on the Archer in the coming months.

Our third character is being sculpted, which is typically the longest portion of production. We expect this to take a few months, but what we’ve seen so far has been extremely bad ass and unanimously well-received by the team. We’re pleased to have this development cycle go more smoothly than the Archer so far. This character is definitely going to be a fan-favorite we think.


Holiday month’s always prove difficult to stay super productive. A lot of the team, myself included, spent some much needed time away from the game to rest and have a fresh mindset returning to the project. Things are starting to amp up again, and we’re getting back to the freight train kind of level of busting things out. We’re very excited to show you what lies ahead in the next few months as our game nears a state that we could potentially put together our first playable demo (whether or not that is publicly released is to be determined), but it may make its debut at a trade show coming up in the future. We sincerely thank you all for investing any time into reading about and/or supporting this project and all the devs working hard on it on their own free time.

Twitter: @hanakogame, @mattcanei