Postmortem: Path of the Samurai [01.09.14]
- Dylan Tevardy-O’Neil
Path of the Samurai was a student project built by 4 students over a 29 week period for our major work at Qantm College Sydney. I took on the role of lead designer and producer for the entirety of those 29 weeks, which led to many ups and downs throughout the production and many lessons learned.
Path of the Samurai is a tablet-based dueling game in which you draw attack and defence symbols and place them into a timeline. Your timeline of actions will then be compared to your opponent's, and these actions will then be narrated by a series of illustrations shown via an in game book. It was a fairly interesting idea when the team was first brainstorming and due to certain criteria I had regarding what makes a perfect student project I pushed the team into running with it.
Before I get into the rights/wrongs/lessons learnt I feel I should go through the criteria of what I believe makes a good student project, mostly to help me gauge how successful this project was personally, but also to help other games students going into their major work or capstone unit gauge whether or not their team should run with one idea or another.
- 1. Make it interesting and different, you have however many weeks to make a game with a big safety net under you, there's no reason it shouldn't be interesting and different. Push Those Boundaries!
- 2. Every team member should come out of this project with something great to put on their resume, and more specifically, this project needs to help each team member get a job in the local industry (or where-ever the team wants to get a job).
If your local industry focuses heavily on smartphones and tablets, and you and the people on your team are hoping to work locally, build a smartphone game that showcases each person's skills and shows how well each of you can tailor your creativity to that device. (This also extends to any type of device or genre that is prevalent in your local industry)
- 3. The game should be scoped so that it can be finished and released 1-2 months after college/Uni has finished. This way you and your team are able to finish the game quickly after the course ends (before bills and debts start pinching) and release it. Having a released game, even if it's rough around the edges, will put you miles ahead of most applicants when you enter the job market. If you're lucky it might even bring in a little money or press.
These were the 3 criteria I had in my head when the team was brainstorming, and in retrospect it turned out quite well, however there was another criterion that I forgot to take into account:
- 4. Make sure you can figure out why it's fun. If you can't describe why the game you are making is fun(or whatever feeling your aiming for) during the early stages of the project then there's a good chance you won't be able to by the end of the project
This would end up tripping us up later in production.
An early concept image of Path of the Samurai