By Yi Wang
The Beginning of it All:
Back in 2012, Apple had released the voice-activated assistant known as Siri unto the world, and that latest innovation in technology is what gave us at Centaurs Technologies the idea to create the world’s first, voice-controlled mobile fighting game.
With the game also taking inspiration from one of my favourite fighting games, The King of Fighters, I believed that voice-control would be more fitting of the fighting game, especially when I found it’s difficult to achieve the complicated fighting movements fluidly by touching the screen.
By 2014, I had quit my job in China to come to America and make the idea come to fruition, along with the help of three other founders, which made up our game development studio of Centaurs Technologies.
Symbolism Behind the Team:
Here at Centaurs Technologies we are a team of 18 diverse partners from all walks of life, spread out all around the globe. The majority of our partners are students, but with their general work ethic and maturity it hasn’t only helped us overall strengthen as a team.
The name of the company, Centaurs, is from the original four founders – We all played Dota together, with one of the characters in the game being Centaur, a character we felt was fitting for the team as a whole.
We also took inspiration on the mythic creature itself; as the Centaur is a creation of both man and God, and the original founders at Centaurs wanted someone close to God.
The third and final meaning behind our company is a hybrid of two cultures being brought together, with them being American and Chinese culture.
What to do about the Story?
When it comes to the fighting game genre, it should come as no surprise that story isn’t ever one of its strongest elements; due to the fact it tends to be simply shoehorned in just to get it out of the way.
With Vocal Warrior, we wanted to spend a little extra time on the story, thanks to the rather unique and interesting setting that we decided to go with from an early stage: historic icons.
Throughout the game the player will come across historic icons that may help or hinder them. Even now, after all this time working on Vocal Warrior with the rest of the team, taking on Albert Einstein in a good round of fisticuffs always brings a bit of a smile to my face.
Back onto the story, you play as a descendant of the famous Italian explorer, Marco Polo. The main character goes by the name of Macro and heads to China to learn martial arts from the best Tai-chi master in the world. However, one day his master is murdered, and Macro sets out on a global journey to seek out his master’s killer.
We’ve made it so the story is an integral part of the game, while keeping it simple for anyone to look at and understand, yet make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the overall flow for the game.
Sound is a Funny Thing:
It’s not easy to develop a game around one specific idea, especially when that idea requires a system to hear inputs using audio ques. At the end of the day, an idea is only half the work, and it’s not until development where you realise that things might need to be altered or changed, or that they may not go the way you hoped.
In the case of Vocal Warrior, the game had been optimised over 100 times; all to make sure players got the optimal system that they deserved from us all.
The game has been designed in such a way that even in busy, crowded, and even loud environments, the game has no issues comprehending what the user has said. Thanks to this optimisation, it allows the game to be played pretty much anywhere! This is one such feat we as a team are all particularly proud of.
Combos with Your Voice:
A feature of the game we at Centaurs Technologies hope individuals will quickly find themselves coming to enjoy is the chance to rename their abilities. Throughout my time on the game, I’ve renamed my personal abilities a number of times, and am happy to say they still manage to come out perfectly fine, even with some of the ridiculous names that we’ve mustered up.
Another feature we’re quite proud of, one that people may not notice unless told, is that the game slowly optimises itself to the user’s voice, meaning that it only gets easier and easier to shout out your stress without issues cropping up. It wasn’t the easiest thing we’ve done at Centaurs Technologies, but we felt it was a must for the game and it wouldn’t be the title we wanted without it.
Throughout the development, once the general consensus for the game was that it was ready to be in the hands of potential players, we sent a few copies out, only to receive positive feedback from the players who gave the game a go.
One user had said the game was really easy and fun to learn, as well as play, and was the first instance of a voice-activated title he had ever really played and enjoyed. A quote from the user reads: “It feels so good to yell out my stress when I’m playing this game!”
Another user had voiced their concerns about how the game would initially react slowly to the users input, but was delighted to find that even in a real-time setting that the game runs exactly like you would hope: fast and fluid.
Plan in the Future:
If I’m speaking honestly, Vocal Warrior is the game we were hoping for when we started the project. Everyone here at Centaurs Technologies knows it was never going to be easy, but we managed to make our crazy idea work, and for that we are all proud. Everyone who helped make the game what it is, be that down to the artwork, the coding or even the testers, they all did a wonderful job, and I couldn’t be happier to see how the public reacts to our first title of hopefully many.
Simply because Vocal Warrior is our first title, doesn’t mean it’s going to be our last. In the future, we’re hoping to expand our designs on the idea, with the implementation of possible PVP. Not only that, but a 3D version of the game, along with one that will feature the use of virtual reality technology is on the cards, and we honestly can’t wait until the chance we get to show it to everyone.
Want to Help? Come Give Us a Hand:
We’re always looking for more awesome players to give us feedback on the game and help us only improve the game further. If any of you out there wish to help out, then please contact me at: email@example.com I’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP!
Also, we are planning on our Kickstarter project. If you like our game, welcome to support us at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/590765354/vocal-warrior-voice-controlled-fighting-game.