Welcome back to another Samurai Showdown development blog! As has been a running theme for the past few weeks, I’ve been busy testing Samurai Showdown with the help of Murdoch uni’s Co-Op game dev group and generally improving the user experience for players. While most of the changes are pretty difficult/boring to show, I have reintroduced and reworked some features that were present in previous builds due to user feedback so this update won’t be too boring.
Before I begin the blog proper, I’d just like to take the time to let everyone know I’ll be away in Darwin for a week so development will have to be put on hold until I get back. However, after I get back, I’ll be showing off Samurai Showdown at the Playup Perth event on the 21st of April so if you want to check it out in person, feel to say hi!
Reintroduced Pre-Clash Versus Screen:
At the request of my testers at Co-Op, I’ve reintroduced the versus screen which appears prior to the Samurai Fighting. While it’s very much a work in progress (as in it uses temporary materials and sprites from Wolfenstein), it’ll provide a good platform I can work on to make the game seem more alive and kinetic. The idea I have is for each Samurai to have their own an animation set that lasts for a second or two, and an animated material which gives them an interesting background.
Improved UI and Adjusted Level Design:
As part of my continued efforts to improve the visibility of the UI and help players understand what’s occurring in the game, I’ve made a few tweaks to Samurai Showdown’s UI. Firstly, I’ve moved the time bars to run parallel next to each player’s list of button inputs as it minimises the number of places they need to look, and makes it so that the time left is always available to players.
Secondly, I’ve adjusted player spawn positions in the Mountains level to emphasise the near and mid-grounds, and to tighten the focus on the characters themselves. The sky has been deemphasized though it’s still present in a minor way as I’d like to experiment with animated clouds and birds. This focus will be continued in later levels as soon as I finish designing them and get some assets to experiment with.
Thirdly, I’ve made it so that the buttons players will need to hit are visibly disabled prior to the start-of-round countdown completing in order to make it clear to players just when they should start hitting buttons on their gamepads. During testing, players noted that they were sometimes confused as to the expected state of the game and the current state, and so I made sure to change this pretty quickly as it was pretty urgent.
Improved Navigation/UI Interaction:
At the request of several users (and because it was honestly something that I’d intended to do but just forgot about :v), I’ve made it so that players can now hit the O or B buttons on their DaulShock/Xbox controllers in order to delete the last character entered. This is a pretty minor change to make, but it should have big impacts on usability as it’s a pain to hit the proper backspace key compared to just hitting a single button on the controller.
Speaking of pains, I’ve also removed the confirmation screen that would pop up when making changes to the options menu and replaced it with a ‘Revert Changes’ button. I’m unsure as to whether this is the best solution available as there may be situations where players are unable to see the screen despite my best efforts, so I may go back and fix the confirmation screen issue so that changes revert after X seconds unless confirmed. It’s a minor thing, though, so I’ll have to see what further testing says about it.
Finally, I’ve standardised the pre-round screens across the various game modes in order to prevent confusion from emerging and because changes to the game made since their introduction rendered asking players if they’re ready irrelevant.
Added Additional Feedback When Fighting:
Continuing on from my last post’s efforts on the gamepad rumble front, I’ve added controller rumble for when the players clash. As with the pre-clash versus screen which appears prior to Samurai attempting to kill one another, this change is designed to make the fighting feel more alive, though I’ll have to see how it fits in once we introduce proper animations to the game.
New Game Mode:
The final big change to the game I’ve made is to replaced the central list game mode with a single-round game mode that’s pretty much the same as the multi-round mode. I’ve done this as many players were confused as to why the central list mode existed and because they felt that winning a round depended on luck rather than skill and that’s pretty much the antithesis of what I’m aiming for.
- Missing controllers now pause the game until reinserted.
- Fixed options menu navigation issue where fullscreen toggle was unselectable via the gamepad.
- Fixed issue where nested canvases would forget their anchor values.
As mentioned previously, I’ll be showing of Samurai Showdown at PlayUp Perth on the 21st of April as part of their showcase of young WA developers. So if you’ll be nearby and have the $10 needed for a ticket, I’d love to see you there!
Anyway, thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this update. I’ll catch you all later!