Wuxia Warriors is a 2.5D Multiplayer Action-Sports game for PC. Think of it is NBA Jam but with Shaolin monks and the ball is always on fire! What this means in practice is a very frenetic competitive versus game for 2 or 4 players, with tight platforming controls and lots of room for player strategy.
Made in collaboration with Iain Lawson and Adam Battocchio for final student project at Vancouver Film School’s Game Design program. I was a programmer and team lead on this project.
Three things I like:
- This thing is incredibly fun to play! Our game's design sure had a lot of different potential directions at the start but we kept making good decisions based off of what we felt was the 'true heart' of the game. I just couldn't be prouder of how the game feels to play and how excited people get while playing it. Showing it off on portfolio night, and getting to see total strangers have a blast with the game without prodding or supervision was a real treat.
- The current version of the game is very stable. We had several bugs throughout development but those have all been squashed or (when they're funny) co-opted into optional gameplay variants. Finding the balance between what we were capable of and our sky-high dreams was an ongoing challenge but a really enjoyable one. We saw what we could do, what we were good at, and made the game based off of that and not some silly challenge or complex feature. Plus, if you look at our original prototype compared to our final version, the amount of polish, in design and in art, is pretty amazing.
- As my first full, official project as a 'team lead' I learned an incredible amount about leadership and how to project manage for software. I am definitely not tooting my own here, many mistakes were made, but I did find a balanced approach that empowered the other people in the team and kept everyone motivated. There were many times during production, and especially pre-production, that the whole thing could have gone off the rails but we kept rallying around the design pillars and continually re-focused towards that, leading to the fun game you see before you.
Three things I don't like:
- The art, or rather the art direction. While we had our hands tied a bit with just one artist going into production, we could have made different choices to mitigate that lack of capacity. 3D art was always going to be a necessity based on our artist's skillset, but we waited too long to define the final look and scenery of the game's stage. Much more could have been created and what's there could have been polished, but we didn't find enough creative solutions to allow that to happen.
- The PR buildup could have received a hell of a lot more attention. As everyone foolishly does, I thought that social media would be a breeze to keep up with but the reality is that it takes a hell of a lot of time and that time just wasn't there during production. I underestimated both the programming and the team management tasks I had on my plate and didn't dedicate enough time to fostering a community and getting the word out. One of those times where not having any interests outside of games might actually help.
- The technical art and my own diminished capacity. Continuing from above, I spent way more time designing and developing systems than I thought I originally would. Part of this is not having the experience to know how much work something will take but another part was not having the specifications available up front, meaning extra revisions. I wish that I had that extra time to do a deep dive into shaders, materials, and post-processing effects. Hopefully I get to do that on the next big 3D project I attach myself to.