Dev Update #16: May 27, 2015 – Happy Birthday ‘Hanako’ & More

A Personal Note First

Typically, our updates begin with the most important development topics but today is a very special day to me, and to the meaning of Hanako – Soul of the Samurai. Today would have been the 60th birthday of my mother, Janie (or Hanako as the game loosely translates). Our game, as we sometimes tell, is a tribute to the loss of her life as well as the loss of a mentor and supporter of the project in its infancy.

For anyone who has lost a parent or someone very close to them, I ask that when you may eventually play our game, that when you find a moment of beauty or serenity in the game – be it the scenery, music or anything else, that you stop to remember their lives and the lives of the fallen for whom this game is being made to honor.

Matt & Mom (circa 2006) & same (circa 1991)
Matt & Mom (circa 2006) & same (circa 1991)
Happy 60th Mom – from the Hanako Team. We will make you proud.


Most Important Update Things

We haven’t posted much since our Kickstarter wrapped up. We all decided in our own way to step away from the project for a few weeks and take a hard look at our own motivations, ideas and contributions to come back to the project recently and assess, as a group, where we feel the project is headed, where its strong, where its weak and start heading into a very development heavy phase.

We’ve spent a lot of effort on getting demos ready for conventions, contests and other things – and while some of those efforts included mechanics we intended for the actual game, some things did not and we felt this pulled away greatly from our ability to progress the designed game.

So we looked at our direction and decided we felt combat messaging and some combat pacing aspects were fairly weak in the game, and have been prototyping ideas to make combat feel impactful, fun and easy to read outcomes of swings/combos/etc.

Environment Art Update

One of the last Kickstarter updates ( was a rather lengthy explanation of the Yari Bridge area (called the Bridge of Hope) and part of that set. The next part of that set is the gateway to that sacred territory, a very ornate Gazebo. Below are some shots of that piece that I (Matt) recently finished.

Yari Foothills Gazebo
Yari Foothills Gazebo

With the most significant pieces in that center area complete, the focus will shift to secondary props and the starting areas/backgrounds for each team’s side.

Character Art Update

The Naginata class is almost ready for animation to get started, we’re finalizing some issues with the rig before we hand that over to our animator. The ninja was recently completed as well and will be passed off to rigging to start very soon. We’re extremely excited about this character because we feel the direction is a very unique take on a ninja, and well its a freaking ninja!



We are working hard to implement the rest of the Ite (archer) abilities and mechanics so that we can test with an equally complete Kenshi and Ite to start looking at some pacing and balance concerns. One of the things that has suffered the most because of our side-tracking for Kickstarter demos, conventions, etc. was getting our skill tree/ability system fully realized. We had an earlier prototype that we pulled for the Kickstarter demo, but we are turning focus to getting that done so we can start testing it in builds. It’s really important to us to refine our designs as we go, so we want an early iteration to make sure its fun, fits well with the rest of the game and adds a great deal of dynamism to the gameplay.

We also are trying to get all of our game modes prototyped so we can tweak the rules and start blocking out maps for our campaign levels to make sure all of our game modes are fun and different enough to warrant having.

Wrap Up

We’re also looking into better ways to build our community so make sure you keep in touch with us at our website ( by joining our mailing list, the forum there and all of our social networks. Until next time guys, we are glad to be back on top of things and motivated to get the game done, and done right.


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