Senior Production Blog 1 (1/20/2017)

(In which I try to think of a Mel Brook's The Producers title for this blog series, and fail.)

After a long, and needed break, I'm back at Champlain College for my final semester. And with it, is weekly blog updates. After an excruciating, and eventful travel back to campus (thanks JetBlue!), I'm starting to settle in and get to all my classes, including my Senior Production team, Radiant Ronin. We will have our first official meeting this Sunday, and we have a lot of things to discuss.

Getting through the Green Light portion of Senior Production is very important to us, and we have a large list of things that we wish to address with the current state of the game:

  1.  UI. The UI in Kanji Samurai is all over the place. There's too many buttons at once, the buttons are too small, the design of the buttons are flat and boring, there's text boxes giving tutorials to the side of the main play area, drawing attention to two different areas of the screen at once to new players, and honestly there's a bunch of redundancy. Considering Kanji Samurai is ALL UI, refactoring the UI as it currently stands is a high priority.  Julia, one of our artists is working on a UI storyboard that I'll stitch together as an interactive PDF, creating a prototype of our first pass at UI revamp.
  2. Juice. The game is fairly flat and lifeless right now. There's no feedback at all in the game. There's a single sound effect, something our sound designer Connor is working on fixing, and the only indication of your inputs being right or wrong is the dots on the grid becoming green or red whether you are right or wrong respectively. Giving any kind of feedback, positive and negative on how you are doing in the game is a top priority, instantly resetting wrong kanji (with a fade), and giving positive feedback for getting things right. 
  3. Rethinking the Kanji system. I'm not super up to date on the backend of the kanji system, as I've been on the team officially for 2 days now, but there has been some early initial talk of changing how inputs work. Currently it's based on stroke order and directions, getting the exact way that the kanji should be drawn. There's some early talk about possibly removing those systems and focusing on just the shape of the Kanji. In addition, a scoring system or a more clear progression system will help make it feel more like a video game, rather than a teaching tool, which it currently feels more like.

I'm excited to get to work on this project this semester, and I'm excited for our first meeting this Sunday, seeing how this team decides to take this Capstone version and bring it to release, but we are still in early days with little to comment on yet.

Luca Hibbard-Curto