First off, the core of the team has been very busy finishing up their Game Development degrees and getting that aspect of their lives in order so Creative Director Matt Canei made the decision to slow production down until July to re-group, replace any team members that no longer want to be a part of what we're building. Congratulations to recent college graduates: environment artist Willie Anderson and creative director Matt Canei (see Willie's cake in the screens section, we think it is pretty sick!)
Right now our programmer is hard at work merging our codebase and upgrading to the May build of the UDK for a variety of reasons then we are aiming to have a playable public demo by September which will also mark the opening for pre-orders so leave your feedback because it will be extremely important, especially after you transition yourself from community member to customer we want to deliver the best experience possible to you.
What we're going to be doing:
- The move to the May build has a lot to do with the addition of Scaleform GFX, which for those that don't know is the industry standard for HUD/UI which is awesome since the default Unreal UI Editor is maybe the worst piece of garbage ever conceived for a game engine sub-editor. We will focus on delivering higher quality interface solutions and getting lacking menus (like class selection) up to speed.
- Polishing the combat system into the smoothest of stones. The gestural combat is in a great prototype state but it is very rigid and play testers still have the tendency to try to click-spam when that's not how the game is built or intended to be played. We're looking for ways to discourage click-spam without removing attacks or functionality. Part of the problem is code, part is animation but bringing the two together we think we'll be in a good place for the demo.
- Improving current level design and environment art. With the team lead recently becoming a professional artist he is rapidly learning new techniques that will be directly applied to the art direction of the game to make it a visually more interesting experience.
- The creation of a training level - we feel that teaching the new style of play to you guys is of utmost importance upfront to try to get rid of those hack-and-slash tendencies so we'll create a fairly interesting training stage full of slice-able bamboo, surreal mist and other elements to set the tone for the game.
- Improving and polishing current animations. They have been getting better with each pass and we're close to having game-ready quality of animations to push us forward into the demo.
- Bringing in of industry professionals, students and freelancers to contribute to the project on a portfolio-boosting basis with the possibility of a start-up position and/or profit sharing down the road. Some team members as they move into the next chapter of their lives will leave Hanako behind but we are not going to let that stop us from our goal so if you have talents don't hesitate to make them known to us and we'll see if you can help us out and in turn we boost your portfolio and hopefully you'll have a shipped title for your resume as well in the future!
We'll keep you all in the loop as to how things are progressing and would love to hear your suggestions and feedback on our direction as we move towards the Hanako Pre-Order Demo.