Blade Kitten - Constructive criticism and feedback

Hi everyone,

I'll be writing up a list of feedback and constructive criticisms regarding blade kittens current trailer, website and current state of the project.

The purpose of this forum is to provide useful feedback to the development team behind the project.
I can make no guarantees that the list will even reach the development team or that they will take the feedback seriously. But I feel that as it's one of Australia’s upcoming IP projects, that we as developers should offer our thoughts on the trailer, website and overall current quality of the product in a critical and constructive way.

Comments that are directed to insult/troll Blade Kittens creator and the development team are not welcome. We here to talk about the product, not the people who made it.

Useful subjects to provide feedback on is the games current art style, presentation, technology, website, the trailer video and the game itself. All feedback will be anonymous.

All useful feedback will be complied into a list and sent to Kromes HR.

Thanks. :)

Anonymous's picture

Krome let go a heap of QA staff earlier this month :(

hope it's not a sign of them feeling the pain of the recession and go belly up.

souri's picture

First of all, Steve Stamatiadis is an *awesome* artist. His anime inspired artwork seen in his comics is brilliant, and quite honestly, there are anime artists in the U.S who have a cult following / their own table at Comic Con etc that don't even match up to Steve, in my opinion. Man, I wish I could even draw anime even half as good as he does.

But translating that sort of style into an exciting 3D game is always going to be a tough task. The thing about the anime style in 3D is that it just doesn't impress as much as, say, realistic or styalised visuals in other games, and I think that if you're doing anime, you need a lot more to compensate (in the way of visual effects and just other bad ass stuff).

The first thing I thought needed improvement was the shader / renderer. The characters needed to be more vibrant and colourful, just like the comic.

The animation, which I think a lot of people have mentioned, is a bit stiff or mechanical in certain areas.

The character designs - that's a hard one. Steve's got the anime design and look down pat, it's exactly what you'd expect from that style.

I have issues with the octagon patterned screenwipes and blood spray effects from a design viewpoint, but that's a non issue really. The hand drawn artwork seen in the backgrounds etc are great, however.

I'm sure Krome won't mind some honest and constructive feedback - it's possible they'll be reading these threads anyway. It's best they iron out these concerns now than later when game reviewers have the chance to shred it apart.

I have to say, my first impressions of the trailer were probably the same as everyone elses - a bit underwhelmed. First impressions are vital, and if people are not terribly excited at this point, Krome need to step it up a notch.

However, I'm guessing that this is a *really* early teaser of the game (there are no game mechanics being shown whatsoever), and I'm sure they'll be refining many of the things people have criticizing already. There's not much else to comment on in regards to gameplay or story etc so I'll leave it at that...

designerwatts's picture

Feedback:

Newly released video:

- Animation:
o The animation of the characters gives the impression of a rigid and mechanical movement. The fine touches that create the illusion of organic movement aren’t currently there.

o We only really get a look at two human characters in this trailer. But it’s surprising how little facial animation that’s being expressed. One of the most enjoyable aspects of cartoon western and anime animation is the extreme expressions that can be explored in both body and face movement. Some more work to make the character faces more emotive could go a long way if cut scenes are part of the downloadable package.

- Sound:
o It’s personal preference but I really didn’t like the music track accompanying this video. The old-school Japanese style music is interesting but at times it sounds like it’s overpowering the music and made the whole thing sound like a mess. It was hard to decider a moldy, theme or tune from it. Every game, movie or franchise needs a recognizable tune.

o The lack of sound effects was noticed. Lack of voice work is completely understandable as voice talent may not be current available. But I feel the video could of benefited with an extra layer of sound effects that compliment the action of the video.

- Editing:
o Cuts to scenes via the hexagonal/sword transition didn’t feel right. If the sword is going to play such a major part in the video. Some explanation or reference as to why this is the case would help to sell its significance. The cuts feel like that they’re taken from someone else’s anime.

o Overall I didn’t think this video told a story. Which if your video isn’t showing gameplay then it should strive to explain a story or premise. It starts out well with the planet in the sky which is intriguing, but past that we’re treated to a number of scenes that don’t link together. After watching the video I’m still clueless as to the premise and story of Blade Kitten.

- Conclusion:
o Of the criticisms stated above, the one that strikes me as the most important to address is the lack of direction in the video. We aren’t given a story or a premise. Only a collection of scenes that tell us that the main character will battle sword-wielding robots. There might be an interesting story to explore with this game but as it stands at the moment I don’t know what that story is.

Website:

- Content:
o There is a severe lacking of content on the website and it does show. Primarily any sort of screenshot gallery of gameplay or cut scene footage and also a feature list of what the game has on offer. The game tab needs to be larger and the priority of the site. There needs to be screenshot and feature list created.

o A few of the pages like “Universe” is fluff pages. There’s nothing wrong with padding the website with such things like character bios. But if you do add things like that in. Implement them completely and comprehensively.

o Another piece of fluff that may do well for blade kitten is concept art. Also development video logs are also one of the most compelling pre-release efforts that a dev team can create. Bringing people on for a journey through the development of the game can be compelling.

Game:

- Overall feel:
o I’ve yet to see any gameplay videos or screenshots. Now there may be a few reasons for that. I’m hoping the core reason is that the team believes it’s currently not good enough to show. If that’s the case then that’s a great sign because it shows that they are keeping a level of quality control to it.

Impressions are very important. First impressions double. And while the nature of downloadable titles, which is the intended market for blade kitten may be slightly more forgiving then the retail market the level of quality needed to shine is still a very high roof to reach to, artistically more so with the beautiful indie efforts of games like Braid and Trine.

If it can be helped, don’t show it until the studio is comfortable with the games level of quality. Blade Kitten indeed represents someone’s pet project being created into a game, which is a heavy investment of time and money from multiple sources. A balance between the original creators’ vision and the ideas of the development team as a whole is needed to work together and to create a strong product.

Anonymous's picture

be careful of the tone, you might be destroying your future industry prospects.

Our local industry is small, everyone knows everyone - don't project yourself as a 'know it all'

Nobody knows everything about everything.

Just a tip, you can take my advice or not :)

Marty

Anonymous's picture

As someone who has worked at Krome I welcome any sort of feedback.

You've been the first to say in the forums Marty that the games in Australia need to be of a higher calibre, and you've setup your own company to try and step up the quality in Australian games.

This guys is just voicing his opinions on what could make this game in the calibre the international market expects. Krome have the same option to shove his advice or not, but the reality is I don't think many people were "trolling" when they said the game trailer videos that were presented recently were "underwhelming".

Krome's fault in my opinion hasn't been so much the tech, but always on the design side, trying to get that fun factor into their games. I think if Krome listen to community feedback (and they probably will) they will hopefully get a better game.

Anonymous's picture

I agree with you 100% .. I am sure the guys at krome are aware of this forum and probably even themselves think that the trailer could be improved. They probably were tight on time and it needed more polish.

One thing I have learnt over the years with trailers is.. less is more. Just like a demo reel you just put your absolutely best work, even if it was just 10 seconds long. If I see quality, just give me one image or a few seconds.. it is enough to sell me. Behind closed doors with publishers, they could show them actual gameplay footage and a longer version. To me it is all about building expectation and then delivering.

Anyways enough of my rant. The krome guys have released some visually great games before and they are talented enough to know how to step the trailer up another notch.

tojo's picture

i think designerwatts has summed up some of the problem areas fairly well..

i think a lot of the problems with the video are most likely due to allocated resources to the project.

kinda gives off that vibe- and definitely lacking a bit of polish.

still you can see the potential..

very 1990's ish though.. i dont really know how the genre survives these days, but realize that there still a strong fan base for this sort of stuff.

cant wait to see more :)

Anonymous's picture

It's good to see someone pushing for their own IP, though I do agree with the comments about the animation. The visual style is good, in parts great, although it is let down by some very mechanical character movement in parts. More than mechanical though is the lack of "zip" in the movement which makes it all look like it's happening in space. A few small tweaks and it would look a lot more convincing.

Good luck with the project!

Anonymous's picture

i am simply being hoest here and stating my opinion so please don't bite my head off over this...

the animation is terribe, simply terrible. it is not a stylistic thing, it is just poorly animated plain and simple.

before i really make an animaiton i will "block out" the rough poses and timing of the animation- this is what the anims look like, rough blocked-out sketches of movements you will animate properly later on.

i am having a hard time imagining even a beginning animator doing such broken and basic work

Anonymous's picture

I am an industry animator as well. The animation in the original teaser was woeful; you didn't need to be a preofessional to see that. The shot with the mech running down the hallway in particular suggested that the problem was more than rendering rough pose-to-pose blocked animation that needed a few passes for polish.

However, I imagine it was probably because of resource allocation issues (either they didn't have a spare animator and had to get an unsertrained artist to do it [personell], or they had a professional animator but wasn't given the time to create anything better [time]), rather than a deeper underlying talent issue at Krome.

From what I can gather form the trailer, it looks like the in-game animations will be polished, but the cut scenes are suggesting a similar, if not as dire lack of resources. But for a game like this, that is really to be expected and it shouldn't be held against it. Not by gamers, or by people in this forum.

The trailer was suprisingly good, considerng what was being shown a few months ago... Its personally not a game I would play, but I was excited to see that it looks like it could be pretty decent. I wish it success, and that Krome moves forward to bigger and better things. I think the industry as a whole need these two things to happen.

Anonymous's picture

...they should make this game for 3D play! It would work really, really well.