Within the first three hours of the launch Arimac servers crashed, because they couldn’t handle the traffic. During the first three days after the launch, Kanchayudha was downloaded by 25,000 users. With a 1.6 million page reaches and a page following of over 100,000, PC game Kanchayudha took Facebook by storm last week.

“We honestly didn’t expect such a load,” admitted Arimac, CEO, Chamira Jayasinghe. They have since resorted to a more updated cloud system. Lead 3D artist, Isuru Sandaruwan came up with the name Kanchayudha, which translates to ‘Ultimate Weapon’, during one of the company’s brainstorming sessions.

Kanchayudha will be shipped to five countries, including India in early January. The mobile version will be released by early January, 2017 in which the essence of the PC game will be incorporated into the new mobile platform. Assured to provide a completely different gaming experience, a VR (Virtual Reality) ready version will be released by March or April next year.

Located adjacent an abandoned paddy field. Arimac office, if you can call it that, was the ideal work environment for the creative mind. We were greeted by barefooted guys in shorts. When asked what inspired him to start the company five years ago, Chamira said that it was his passion. “I just wanted to create a platform for young talent. I couldn’t find a company where I could fit in,” said Chamira. So he went off and started his own company. Currently there are 53 members on board and a few techies, working from home.

“All of us here are misfits of sorts,” said Creative Director, Lahiru, which probably explains why they all fit in perfectly. When Nation went to Arimac Lanka to meet the team that worked on Kanchayudha, some team members were still asleep. “They worked really hard for the past few months,” said Arimac CEO Chamira.

Chamira explained that the trick to hiring new talent is to assess their social behaviour. “You must see whether they have the passion and are able to work in a team, when hiring them. “We sort of push them off the deep end a hope they learn to swim,” said Lead Developer, Thilina. Chamira emphasized that the key to life at Arimac is the balance between work and family. “We’re quite big on the concept of family at Arimac,” said Chamira.

They have also previously released Kundalini and a multi-touch table project titled Kedapatha. Kundalini is of particular interest as it uses EEG to quantify different human emotions. This information is then used for gaming. Chamira assured the process is quite technical. To cut a long story short it enables people with disabilities to play games with the use of their brains instead of using peripheral devises that depend on gestures. Arimac also recently developed a totally free gaming portal, where users can log in and play up to 250 games.

“We also made The journey of Kimaki and Adventures of Tia,” chimed in Thilina proudly. More good news for Tia fans, Chamira announced that they will be releasing a 3D movie based on the game.

“Even if one of us has a dream, we all put our heads together to think of ways to turn it into a game,” said Kanchayudha, Creative Director, Lahiru when asked what inspires characters such as Tia and the lead role of Kanchayudha, Badra. “None of us are textbook geniuses. All of us here like to play games,” said Lahiru. He said that all at Arimac like to think out of the box. “We have brainstorming session where we try to come up with ideas. “At the brainstorming sessions we all try to scratch our own itches, so to speak,” said CEO Chamira.

Some members of the Arimac team
Some members of the Arimac team

The Arimac team worked on Kanchayudha for six months. “For three months we worked full throttle and it was exhilarating. “The game engine we used was unreal 4. Software such as 3D Max and Maya were used for developing 3D models and UIs (user interface) were done on photoshop,” said Chamira.

When asked why instead of the usual camo, heavy weapons and blood of other commercial games, Kanchayudha employs a Sri Lankan theme, with golden beaches, coconut trees, elephants and carts, the team remained tight lipped. “If you play the game until the end you’ll realize the reason behind the local team.” Understandably they didn’t want to spoil it for the gamers. All they were willing to disclose is that the game has key social messages of mindfulness and forgiveness.

Lahiru explained that they did the sketches and script initially. A lead character is a process and every developed character starts off with just an idea. He explained that the lead role of Kanchayudha, Badra, with his build and beard, initially just had a Sri Lankan outlook. “It was later built on with historical reference to develop the setting and attire,” explained Lahiru. “He wasn’t based on a single period, but a combination of all periods such as Anuradhapura, Plonnaruwa, Kandy and Yapahuwa. It’s the essence of a 2500 year-old history.”

Speaking of the narration, Lahiru confided that they wanted it to be in Sinhala because it was never tried before. The trailer released on utube gives the impression that they have overdone the narration. “We wanted to provide the user an authentic Sri Lankan experience. But we have received a lot of feedback, which we always welcome. Each experience is a learning curve and we hope to improve the game in the future, based on the reviews,” said Chamira, hinting that they’ll tone down on the narration in the next version.

“The credit for the theme music goes to Audio Engineer of B&S Studio, Chrishan Fernando,” said Chamira. He also revealed that a song by Chitral Chity Somapala will be released early January.

When asked why they were giving away Kanchayudha for free, Chamira explained they decided to give it away out of a sense of gratitude for all the enthusiasm expressed by gamers. “Most people leave Sri Lanka, claim they don’t have the resources. We charge for international downloads, because we wanted some of that money to come back to the country.”

The team that developed Kanchayudha