Ken Soto was a member of the OHRRPGCE community back in the early 90’s. Although he disappeared from the OHR populace sometime in 1999, some of his work left a lasting impression on me. Enough of an impression that I felt the need to share it with others. Warriors of Conway was Ken’s first idea for a game, even though it was never fleshed out.
To be honest, there is not much content to it at all. In Ken’s defense, he stated that it was a “pre-demo”, only uploaded to show a select few the project, as per the game’s bundled documentation. Regardless, that is not the point, as I believe that there is an underlying lesson to be learned from Ken and the Warriors of Conway.
As mentioned before, there is not much to the game itself, and the story is ultimately nonexistent. You begin the game as Ken (go figure), and you discover that you and your uncle have moved to your current location from a land far away to aid in your training. Apparently, your uncle can hold his own well, because he ends up saving you from a giant you stumble upon while wandering the forest one day. You can continue through the forest and onto a town that has only a few citizens (and a friend that will join you), but that is completely up to you. There is no real reason to venture to the village, as the game ends there abruptly.
The game is pleasing to the eyes. Although the graphics are not stellar, some aspects could still be considered at or right above average. Considering the game is over ten years old now, I would say that is a remarkable feat. The same thought applies to the music as well. Ken was definitely talented in the musical department and it more than shows here. From what I understand, he wrote the entire score himself, with rumors of 10 or 15 more pieces that were slated to be used in the game eventually. The forest theme sounded fantastic, and every other piece I heard was nice and fit the mood of its respective location.
With that being said, the game as a whole is definitely incomplete. It should not be considered even “demo” material, just like Ken Soto mentioned in his documentation.
So, what is the big deal? Let me quote something from the text file included with the game:
“I’ve taken a look around at all of the ripped OHRRPGCE games, and it doesn’t tick me off, because I can understand it gets frustrating and upsetting sometimes trying to draw your own graphics to match up with the other veteran games out there, but I just hate to see so many people with a lot of potential give up so quickly on their own abilities. Just take a look at the first Warriors of Conway game on my homepage, and even Dark Sword for that matter, and compare it to the graphics in this game, and you’ve got to see a big difference. I tell you, anyone can improve THAT MUCH and more if they just keep at it. It’s going to take time; you can’t put out a winner overnight, so have patience, and take the time to fiddle with even just one maptile if that’s what it comes to. And if you get stuck on a graphic, move on, or ask for help, but please, don’t rip, not because it’ll probably just annoy the heck people, but because your game will be so much better, just because you did it all yourself.”
What does this tell me? Should I not rip graphics? I personally don’t believe in it, but that’s not to say that one should not do it. Should I write all of my own music for my game? I have personally written some pieces for my first game, The Omega, but was never able to write an entire score for it. Regardless of what you may think, this is not the point that I am trying to make. I simply think that Ken Soto had passion. Now, I am not trying to set him up on a pedestal and make him special, but I think that he should be commended for his thought process and work.
How many times do we as game developers lose passion for a certain aspect of game design? Whether it is something that is boring to us personally, or just something that we are not good at, I think we have all fallen victim to that train of thought at some point in time. What I am trying to say is this; whether you are good at something or not, you should still try and do your very best. Even if it is not up to other’s standards, putting 100% effort into your projects can make a huge difference, even if others pick it apart.
Again, please do not take this as saying that you should not receive help from others. Rather, take it as you should simply put forth your best effort into your project, whatever it may be and however you may go about it. I think that is something that we can all appreciate; veteran and newbie alike.