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Kung Fu Indie Style – Part 4
by Jonathan Flook on 08/31/12 02:50:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Preview Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2JxTCPAkC4&feature=plcp

Developers Diary Part 4 – One Finger Death Punch was supposed to be a simple little game, who would have thought it would be the 2012 Dream.Build.Play winner.  When we submitted the game to the Dream.Build .Play contest in June we thought nothing would come of it because we were so far from completion.  Every time we thought we’re getting closer to completion we run into more and more obstacles.  One problem is that it’s turning into a really good game and people are starting to enjoy it.  Why is that a problem?  I feel the game has the potential to be one of the best two button games ever made.  It’s going to deliver fast paced action with very little “gamer tax” (learning curve).  It has the potential to impress right from the first stage.  It’s a problem because it’s our shot at making something very special and we don’t want to blow it.  I feel One Finger Death Punch is at a very critical moment in its development.  If we make the wrong choices we could turn this seemingly fun experience to a repetitive nightmare.  My previous blogs showed our frustration with the game because we couldn’t make it accessible, fun or exciting.  Well over the last few months we’ve really turned that around.  Our biggest struggle at the moment is our graphics.

One Finger Death Punch Screenshot 

The game looks great in videos because the gameplay is starting to shape up.  However the screenshots are abysmal.  The beauty of stickmen is that you can have complex animations without spending thousands of dollars on artwork.  That’s why we have stickmen, because we simply can’t afford anything else.  Unfortunately stickmen just don’t look good in screenshots.  I fear our game will come off as dull or boring because people will be turned off by the amateur graphics in the screenshots.  Our biggest challenge at the moment is finding ways to up the quality of graphic without an artist or money.  We spent a year refining the gameplay, now we need to make this game look good.  If you look at our other games you’ll notice a trend, low budget, small, experimental, and stupid humour.  We’re as amateur as it gets.  Most great developers on XBLIGs that I’ve spoken with were ex professional programmers who worked on AAA projects that decided to take their skills to the XBLIG platform.  My brother and I however have never worked on anything, nor have we taken any formal education in programming or game design.  It’s a testament to how user friendly the XNA programming language is, that someone can just pick it up one day and self-teach themselves enough to make a game.  The downfall of having no industry connections or skills is that most of the games you make look incredibly amateur.

One element that’s special about One Finger Death Punch is the fact that there’s no juggling or 50+ hit combos.  Too many times have I played a game where you juggle an enemy in the sky racking up a “combo” that looks and feels a little over the top.  That over the top feel is part of the fun, but not many modern games have tried to make an awesome brawler without some kind of “combo system”.  Is it impossible, or foolish not to have it?  I grew up on films like Blood Sport and Enter The Dragon and not once did I see Bruce Lee juggle an enemy in the air for a 20 hit combo.  I know this game doesn’t have a combo system…  Or do those knees count as combos?  Our game has its fair share of silly moments, but I think what helps it to stand out from other fighter/brawlers is the fact that it takes a different approach.  Its fighting system is the simplest and the most unique I’ve come across recently.  One element that One Finger Death Punch does well is it allows the player to be awesome, opposed to the game showing you awesome things.  For example, when you fight in OFDP you do all the combat yourself.  There’s never a moment where you enter in some button combination and your character goes off on a pre-canned animation.  Lately I’ve seen a lot of games use quick time events or pre canned sequences that look awesome, but the player really isn’t doing all that much.  To me, that’s like pressing play every 10 seconds to continue watching a movie.  In One Finger Death Punch every button press matters.  Every button press has a consequence.  When you throw a dagger at an enemy impaling him on a beam of wood while the enemies’ sword flies out of his hands and another enemy grabs it in mid-air, it’s because you did that.  Not because that was one of the 25 pre canned sequences that could happen.

 One Finger Death Punch Screenshots

The game’s a ways off and we’re worried about finances to keep the power on in our apartments.  Even with the prize money from the Dream.Build.Play contest we’re going to be struggling.  We’re paying for everything ourselves.  There’s no government grant, bank loan, or parents’ basement to help us get through this.  We wish there were, but these things simply aren’t options for my brother and me.  We might try to raise some money on Indiegogo.com to pay for some new artwork.  If that fails we’ll have to come up with some kind of plan.  Because no matter what happens, we’re not letting this game be anything other than amazing.  We’ve seen its potential and we want to make it one of the best brawlers to date.

As always if you have any ideas, suggestions or anything you would like to see in a Kung Fu game, please let us know.  We want to make a game the people want to play.  We want One Finger Death Punch to be a game for everyone that loves Kung Fu.  Heck, maybe even some people that just like brawlers too.  Please help us make this a game you’ll want to play.  Write us at jonathan@silverdollargames.com or tweet us at @sdgames.  Thank so much for following us on our development journey.

Read part 1, 2 and 3 of our story here.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JonathanFlook/20120321/166914/Kung_Fu_Indie_Style__Part_1.php

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JonathanFlook/20120406/168162/Kung_Fu_Indie_Style__Part_2.php

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JonathanFlook/20120611/172167/Kung_Fu_Indie_Style__Part_3.php


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Comments


Peter Eisenmann
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I like all the thoughts and ideas you are putting into this.
However, the video shows very jerky movements and seems to have no animations at all for the main character, just different poses without any frames in between. Is it supposed to stay that way?


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