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Bushido is a Half-Life 2 modification set in the Feudal era of Japanese history. The gameplay is based around melee weapons such as the katana and other weapons of that time. Players are called to use honour in their game as this was the code of the samurai. Strict attention to detail is what makes this mod so authentic, but not at the sacrifice of being fun.
The mod is currently in pre-production stages for a release on the Half-Life 2 engine sometime in 2005. Watch Planethalflife.com for updates.
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The more astute of you will have noticed the severe lack of updates over the last few months with concerns the Bushido website. There have been various reasons for this, some have been noted, others haven't. The honest truth is that the announcement of Half-Life 2 has changed our plans somewhat, and I will try and explain some of these here for you now.
First of all, I've been painfully aware of how long this mod has taken up to this point, more so than anyone, and the annoyances echoed on the forums about the commonplace delays are shared by myself and the team also. We began working on this mod for fun but lately it has become more of a chore than anything else. We're not industry professionals (well, we weren't when we started this, some are now) and so there are many many factors that go into the delays you are seeing. The major factor though is motivation. It's incredibly difficult staying motivated for over 2 years on a project that can at times see no apparent progress for months. The team has worked phenominally hard up to this point to get the mod to where it is and I'm sure they will all join me in saying that it has not been a waste - not one second of it. Everything that has been done has been a major learning process for us and invaluable in anything further we go to work on. But over the last few months decisions have had to have been made so that the process can continue.
So far you are probably thinking that this is sounding very much like a farewell speech, but it isn't. However I am sure that the following information will not go down well and am fully prepared for unpopular responses.
After conversing with the top dogs at Valve, it became known to us (and I believe common knowledge now anyway) that Valve had planned on moving all their major modifications (TFC, CS, DoD etc) to the Half-Life 2 engine and indeed was already in the process of doing so. This came as quite a shock to us as it potentially meant the life of the Half-Life engine was fading faster than we had anticipated. While support would still be given to Half-Life modifications, the players that would most likely not and so we had to face reality. Valve also told us (again, now common knowledge) that they would be releasing tools that would allow Half-Life mod teams to easily port their modifications to the new Source engine.
Therefore, Bushido for Half-Life will now head in a slightly different direction. Currently, most of our resources are pooled into the combat system and we are aiming to release a working duel mode-only "preview" of Bushido that runs on the Half-Life engine by the end of July/early August. We will gauge the reaction of that and look to work on the combat system (which has always been the most important aspect of our game) for the coming versions of Bushido. That, unfortunately, will be the only release Bushido will see on the Half-Life engine. Once the SDK for Source is released to mod authors we will begin work on porting all our existing content (albeit with higher resolution textures and most likely updated maps) and gameplay changes to the new engine and work extremely hard to get an early "beta" release shortly after the release of Half-Life 2. We will use this beta stage to again monitor various aspects of the gameplay. While this is going on and bug fixes and patches are released, we will also be working on "Version 1.0" of Bushido. I can tell you very little of this right now, but work on the design documentation for this has already begun and there are some VERY significant changes to the gameplay that will occur with the release of Version 1.0. On top of gameplay changes there will of course be a complete overhaul of the visuals taking full advantage of the Source engine and with the lessons learned from this current project, every effort is going to be made to make the development time and process as efficient as possible. The differences between Bushido beta and Bushido Version 1.0 will be staggering, but it will still be Bushido, so do not worry too much. Suffice to say we have some very exciting things planned for Version 1.0, but as I said before, I cannot divulge any information at this time, and work will not begin properly on this until the current plans have been completed.
As I stated earlier, I am aware this will be an unpopular decision for various reasons, highest of which is most likely the further delays. We hope that the preview will appease some people's desires but we are aware it will not others. These plans are needed though in order to keep us working on this modification. Motivation is low and working on a dated engine can get very tiresome, especially when it's been outdated for 5 years (I am talking from a technical standpoint of course - there was never any doubt about the popularity of it). As developers and gameplayers alike there's only so much we can do and in order to stay both motivated and sane, these changes are going to happen.
I hope that some of you will see the positives from this statement and those who are probably angry right now don't look upon us too harshly. We do have lives of our own and while for most of us working on Bushido takes up most of it, we do enjoy doing other things from time to time.
My thanks goes to those who have stuck by us through all the good times and the bad so far and I hope that we can deliver to you soon. To all the naysayers I thank you too, for your negativity has also kept us going just to prove you wrong :-)