Creating Kung-Fu Clash

Rather than a lengthy techncal explanation of how I created Kung-Fu Clash, I thought it would be more fun to discuss little bits of trivia about my game.

None of the characters have names

Since the start of the project the main character has been referred to as 'the Kung-Fu dude' and his sensei as simple 'the Sensei'. When it came time to design the cut-scenes I realized I needed to either come up with names (so you knew who was talking), or tell the story without using words (which is exactly what I ended up doing).

Car-Walk Metric

I have a fairly lengthy (~2 minutes) walk from my car to the office. I used this walk to help design Kung-Fu Clash. I wanted the game to be casual enough that I could start and finish a game within the duration of the walk (and not be hit by car along the way).

The Kung-Fu dude was supposed to be for a different game

The main character wasn't intended to be used for Kung-Fu Clash. In fact, he was supposed to be in a completely different game. I had decided to do the hero animations last, so in the meantime I used other character art as a placeholder… but eventually it stuck.

Kung-Fu Clash took about 4 months to create

The first commit was on July 8th, 2012 -- but since this was a side project (late nights, weekends) then it's rather difficult to be certain how long it actually took.

The Storm Ninja attack was accidentally discovered

I struggled with the Storm Ninjas attack for months. I didn't like the idea of him using his sword directly, but I also didn't like the idea of a purely 'lightning' based attack. At one point, when creating the shield effect, I accidentally inverted the character's colors and then the idea immediately came to me.

Kung-Fu Clash is based on a project in college

A long time ago, I had a project in college using Flash. I created a dojo where enemies would jump in (just like the Basic Ninjas) and a Kung-Fu guy would beat them up and send them flying (he actually used all of the character sound effects from the somewhat controversial Shadow Warrior game)

The original game idea was very different than the current

The first plan was to have a game where you had to hold down a Taunt button, which would cause you to build up power and heckle the enemies at the same time.

While the idea sounded good, it made the game less frantic since enemies had to be slowed down a lot to give you time to build up power.

The Storm dojo is inspired by one of my favorite fighting game scenes...

When I was younger I used to play a lot of fighting games. One scene has always stood out in my mind as the best. I wanted to pay homage to those people that inspired me.

...and it took about 3 weeks to finish

Because the Storm dojo was so important to me, I invested a lot more time in getting it just right. Compare that to the Frost dojo which was about 3 hours or so.

Using two hands to play? I never thought of that!

For the first few months of development any testing required a mouse. I had the assumption that players would hold their device with one hand and then tap enemies with the other.

However, once the game was tried on an actual device, every single person who has played it does it with two hands using their thumbs. I totally did not see that coming.

Some Dojos are actually 3D models

I'm not all that great with Blender 3D, but I do understand it well enough to create basic scenes.

Some dojos are actually 3D models with a bit of touch up work in Photoshop. For example, the Frost dojo where everything is a 3D model… except the floor, which was still created in Photoshop.

My left-handed daughter inspired Left-Handed mode…

Having a left-handed daughter gives me a unique perspective on user experience. In the original Taunt power version, holding down the button with one finger meant you were covering the entire screen.

By adding a left-handed mode I was ensuring that all players would have the same fair experience… but…

… Left-handed mode really wasn't needed

As it turns out lefties adapt pretty easily. My daughter immediately started playing with two hands and never switches to left-handed mode when she plays.

I still think keeping left-handed players in mind is a good idea should your UI ever call for it.

Everyone loves the Wind Ninja

Seriously, he is apparently nearly everbody's favorite Ninja. Even my daughters think he should be in his own game (as opposed to a sequel with the same Kung-Fu dude).

Power Ups were going to be things like Cheeseburgers and Burritos

But then the obvious question was raised -- Who's going to eat food off the floor?

Storm Ninjas were supposed to be level 3

The Fire Ninjas were supposed to be the final level but after hearing my wife and children crying out in frustration "I hate that electric guy!" I decided he was better suited for the end of the game.

Fire Ninjas originally weren't going to attack

Fire Ninjas reduce your strength so that you only do 1/10th the normal amount of damage. It's a neat idea, unless you have 6 of them on the screen -- then they all sit and stare at you. After discovering this first hand while testing, I added the dual attack.

Frost Ninjas used their nunchucks… but they were too distracting

At one point I came up with an animation for Frost Ninjas where they spun their nunchucks around. But, when shown with all of the other Ninjas on the screen, he seemed to stand out too much. Begrudgingly, I removed the animation.

The voices in the game might surprise you

Obviously, the 'Get Ready - Fight!' voice is mine, but the Kung-Fu dude's voice is my 11 year old daughter's -- after a few minutes in Audacity, of course.

There was supposed to be a Zombie Ninja

While I plan to reuse their "special ability" in a later version of Kung-Fu Clash, I didn't feel that they fit into the theme of the game -- Fortunately, they don't have feelings so they weren't bothered by being excluded.

More Kung-Fu Clash?

You bet -- I already have an expansion idea for Kung-Fu Clash but I think I may take a break for a bit and start on something new. I have a couple web applications to build, half a dozen game ideas, and I've been itching to get myself a set of Lego MindStorms...

November 9, 2012

Creating Kung-Fu Clash

Bits of info and trivia about creating Kung-Fu Clash.