A Fun Hobby Turned into a Full-Fledged Game: the Journey of Shukuchi Ninja’s Solo Developer
I first began making Shukuchi Ninja as a bit of a fun hobby, just for something to do and pass the time. I was working as a self-employed sports trader, but then COVID happened and there were no sports to trade, so to keep myself occupied I decided to see if I could make a little game. It was always something I wanted to do, but never had the time nor money to do it — add this to the fact I can’t draw, I can’t compose music, and I can’t code to save my life, I knew it would be a challenge.
One day, I reminded myself about Construct 2, a game making software that I had previously looked at many years ago, and it sounded like the perfect starting place to look as I recall it being more of a visual/drag and drop style engine. Obviously C2 was made obsolete years prior, but C3 had superseded it. I found a couple of templates and started to learn how the engine worked. I then found the perfect template, a little physics-based throwing object that immediately called out “crazy ninja game”!
After about three months tinkering with it, adding the abilities that are in the game now, along with making the graphics look better with premade game assets etc., I had about 15 levels done, but no real aim for the game, sports were back on, so I stopped development.
Then again, another lockdown, sports were not like they used to be, so I opened up C3 again. Decided to get some actual character design done (remember, I said I couldn’t draw, or use any graphics software at the time), so I paid a designer to make some simple mockups. After this, it gave me the surge to go for it, and finish the game. I got the characters fully complete and found someone to animate them. I then invested in some nice backgrounds, tile maps and some custom music. I’d then made about 40 levels, but stopped development again due to family circumstances.
Development picked back up after a few months, adding more details to bring a bit more life to the game, until I finally had it ready. I mostly enjoyed the 18 months or so it took me to make the first deployable version: from some very mundane parts of making a game (like adding details manually, for example) to the discovery that there were far simpler ways to do things and having to redo them—it all contributed to the final product and part of an amazing learning process!
My main inspiration for Shukuchi Ninja was the ancient Japanese culture as a whole. I tried to work out a way I could incorporate the typical pop-culture aspects of the Ninja, (cool, quick and mysterious) with the honorable Samurai, and what a Samurai actually fought for. For instance, the little circle that appears around the ninja when you’re throwing him around is the symbol for the Seven Virtues of Bushido, the Samurai warrior code. By no means am I a game developer of any real talent, but I’m full of drive, determination and have the imagination of a child and I’m very pleased with what I’ve accomplished! If you’re looking at getting started with games development but don’t know where to start, pick up some game-making software and start learning. You’ll find you’ll pick up lots of other skills along the way including creating your own graphics (yes, I can make some myself now, but I still can’t draw!). Shikuchi Ninja is available today on Xbox!