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Road to the IGF: Teknopants' Samurai Gunn Exclusive
February 11, 2013 | By Kris Graft

February 11, 2013 | By Kris Graft
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More: Indie, Design, Exclusive, Video, IGF



Once you see other people playing Teknopants' games, you really can't wait to jump in and try them for yourself.

Samurai Gunn is the latest from Teknopants, a.k.a. Beau Blyth, and it's up for the Excellence in Design award at this year's Independent Games Festival. Like many of his previous games, such as Uberleben, Action Fist and Shoot First, it employs local multiplayer for a raucous, genuinely social effect that's truly magnetic.

In Samurai Gunn, two to four players (alright, samurais) go head to head, each one possessing a sword and three bullets per life. Swords and bullets can be deflected with precise timing. It's all 2D, it's hectic, and it's as much fun to watch as it is to play.

What is your background in making games?

I've loved games since I watched my brother unbox his super Nintendo. I've always been more of a spectator than a player, except when local-multiplayer games are concerned. I've been making games since middle school, ever since I Googled "Game Maker" in hopes of finding a program that would let me do just that. 400 projects later I think I've finally stopped making crappy work so now I'm aiming for making commercial games! Samurai Gunn will be my first commercial release.

What development tools did you use?

Game Maker!

How long have you been working on ?

I know the core game was made in a week but I've probably spent half a year developing it.

How did you come up with the concept?

My friends and I were all watching Tommy Wiseau's The Room for like the billionth time and I think I would've died if I had to sit through it again, so I told my friend Jake I wanted to make a game. He said I should make a game about Samurai. And then I added, "With guns!"

Later that night I had a prototype running, and it was pretty neat so I kept working on it. Every time I added new features, my girlfriend Sido would help me test them out, and she doesn't really play video games. I think having other people's eyes on the game for its entire development has been a big help.

How far do you think this game could become as a serious tournament game, and would that even be your intention? I saw the video of it being essentially shout-casted -- I see potential!

I would love for it to be a serious tournament game! It was never my intention, but I have tried to develop it so that controls are consistent and all moves can be countered in some way.

What do you think of the comparisons to Super Smash Bros.?

I suppose the comparison stems from being knocked back when swords clash? Super Smash Bros is superbly designed--to be among its ranks would be an incredible honor.

What's next for Samurai Gunn, and what other game ideas do you have stirring around?

Haha, I'm really bad at focusing--I think of a new game every couple of weeks, but I think I've finally got enough self control to just keep 'em on paper for now. I've got about six non-paper projects going at the moment, but Samurai Gunn is definitely my star child right now. My other projects include an abstract action arcade game, a VS ultimate frisbee game called LA Death Disk, a SharkNife game I'm making with comic artist Corey Lewis, a typing game...

The problem is that there are too many cool people out there I want to work with, and too many ideas I want to come to life. But hopefully I'll make some [dollars] from Samurai Gunn, and I can pay people to help me out.

Have you played any of the other IGF finalists? Any games you've particularly enjoyed?

I role-played as a crew member named after me in an FTL ship when my friend was playing...haha. I'm utter crap at Super Hexagon but I like its purity and focus. I had a lot of fun with Super Space _____ at Indiecade. Dys4ia is very moving. Incredipede is innovative and I feel opens the door to more art styles in games. People could learn a lot about storytelling from Thirty Flights of Loving and Hotline Miami. I cried from laughter while playing SpaceTeam.

What do you think of the current state of the indie scene?

With new purveyors of cool and support from more platforms I feel like the boundaries are getting nice and blurry. There's also like a hundred more game systems out there now. When did that happen?!

Plus everyone and their dog is making indie games. I trip over indie games in the street. You can buy Angry Birds gummy snacks.

Indie sort of feels like a style word now. We're all entrepreneurs. I think what's important is honing the craftperson's spirit.

Above video courtesy of IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer.


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