June 12, 2015
Iaido is a minimalistic first person shooter about being a samurai who only knows the martial arts of Iaido. You kill and get killed in one hit, but there is a lot of time between strikes. The game also features dashes that bring you far into the air, and can be activated from any surface, including walls.
Project took 4 weeks to develop.
Iaido was the end of semester project. We wanted to create a simple arcade like game and we wanted to use Unreal Engine. Because of that; we wanted it to be 3D. We the lake fight scene from Hero (2004) and we watched the snow fight from Kill Bill (2003). And from that spawned the idea of a one-shot arcade game similar to Samurai Gunn (2013), but as a 3D FPS.
We wrote all the code in blueprint, but I was only responsible for the coding of the scoreboard. Instead of coding, I spent most of my time making assets. This is the first project where I got to work like an artist. I learned 3D modelling in secondary school (high school) when I had architecture, and have used it here and there, but I have never really focused on doing just that. I did not want to make low poly art, as it has become kitsch and a sign of amateurish craftsmanship. But at the same time; I was poor at 3D art and therefore needed an art style that was not difficult to execute. I settled on the simplified cartoonish art style a la Team Fortress 2 but simpler. I started out drawing some variations of a Japanese maple tree, to see how simplified I wanted the style.
I really liked number 2, but asked the rest of the group who seemed to like number 4 more. I tried to make both in 3D but number 4 turned out better, so that was what I ended up with. I knew we were going to need pagoda to really make the game look samurai-like, so instead of making many variations of a pagoda I tried to make it modular. The modules started out being a bottom, middle and top piece but the level designer wanted more modulability so that he could create non-square buildings. So I also created variations on the roof to make scaling work better in that case. The rocks I made was, to begin with, crafted polygon by polygon. But after searching around on the internet I found a neat technique to procedural generate rocks which I then used over and over again. I still kept the handmade rocks, but they were not used as much.
My other responsibility was the UI, specifically the scoreboard. I wanted to create a horizontal listing of scores instead of a vertical one, because Japanese is read column after column. The players is represented with a column each, the column being the color of the player, the top letter being the number of the player, the 2 other numbers being the player’s kills and deaths. The concept of this looked like this:
I wanted a mountain, as the level was fought on a cliff side. I knew that I could find height maps somewhere, I have seen other software access specific detailed height maps from the earth. I found out that NASA provides height maps in a format called HGT, but I had no reader for that format. So I made my own HGT->PNG converter program using C-Sharp and open sourced it. I (of course) extracted Mount Fuji, but was unsatisfied by its flatness. To be able to see the mountain from the cliff side I had to stretch the top of the mountain. Here is the result:
We had created such a beautiful game and we were told it was going to show cased at the Dania Game’s Expo. The only problem was that the computers that they had gotten for this, did not have a graphics card. Our game is not super taxing on a system. But unreal has some minimum requirements, which these computers simply did not meet.
Tags: Arcade, Artsy, Multiplayer, Samurai, School, Unreal