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 Post subject: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:01 am 


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Joined: 08 Jun 2011
Posts: 478
Location: Seattle
I've learned a few things over the past several months of playing STGs:

1. When enemies are shooting directed shots or scattered directed shots and trying to corner you, it's advantageous to shoot while moving diagonally towards them. They will have to play catch-up and rotate more, creating larger gaps in the enemy fire. Next, back it up to the bottom of the screen and do it again the other way if there are still more coming.

2. Strategic alternation between focused shot and standard shot can be extremely helpful in controlling speed. Sometimes macrododging is the quickest and safest way to survival when bullets are less dense, but fast. In this case, use the standard shot to gain speed, allowing you to avoid an entire pattern instead of trying to filter through it. But let's face it, sometimes you have to tap your way out of some thick, slowmotion bullet syrup. For crazy density, micrododging is key. Focus shot can often slow you down for increased control.

3. Some games have bullet canceling enemies. These enemies are actually your friends. It's probably best to try and remember the locations from which all enemies emerge, but it's especially good to remember these dudes. In a tight squeeze, you really want to be able to focus on what is directly in front of you (or a few ship lengths in front of you if it's coming in hot). Knowing where these bullet canceling enemies are without having to look up the screen is crucial because they can grant you relief through all that dodging once you destroy them.

4. Almost every cave game has a part in which swarms and swarms and swarms of enemies come flying at you, very fast, while firing directed shots. Normally you'd think, "there is no way in hell (no pun intended, no really) I can dodge that." But you can! Before the swarm, start as far left or right (depending on what comes after the swarm) as you can and slowly tap toward the other direction. As those fuckers fly down at you, just tap tap tap along while strafing horizontally. The idea is to stay one hairlength in front of the enemy fire while taking these dudes down. Hopefully you can destroy all of the enemies before you reach the other side of the screen. If you run out of room, you might be totally cornered. If this tactic doesn't work, try tactic 1 next time.

5. Point-blanking is the shit. There are a lot of benefits to point-blanking. One, being scoring. Most of these games award you for being brave and aggressive. Refer to individual strategy posts about scoring techniques involving point-blanking. Also, from a survival standpoint, point-blanking is often useful when you have stages where masses of patten-type enemies swarm the screen. The idea is to kill as many as possible as quickly as possible before they flood the screen. Because honestly, once you have pattern on pattern on pattern, it gets really hard to dodge all of them, unless, of course, you know exactly where and when that next bullet-canceling friend will come along.

6. Don't always straddle the bottom of the screen. It's kind of like snowboarding. When you first go hit the mountain, you notice that the speed starts to get intense and want to lean back because you're afraid. But, as anyone who snowboards knows, leaning back just means you will loose your ability to control your snowboard as you turn. Translation: you will catch an edge and eat shit, because you will lose range of motion and control. That's kind of what happens in these STGs. You play a shooter for the first time and see all of these scary bullets, moving to the bottom of the screen in fear. Again, this will lead to you eating shit, as you will not have full range of motion. Being able to move in all directions puts you at a really big advantage while dodging. Certainly, there are exceptions, like when riding pow or dodging the fastest patterns of all time (or what seems like it).

7. For people who savestate: grinding through one part of a game over and over again sucks. Sometimes, it's a lot better to just play through the game and come back to it again fresh. Trust me. It's kind of like skateboarding. Say you're skating with your friends and having a good time. You get to a spot and you try to hardflip this 5 set. Oh no, it's 10 tries and you still haven't landed it. Now 15. Now 20. Now you're pissed off and bruised and want to keep trying it until you land it. Well, at this point you're letting your ego get the best of you. Chances are, if you keep skating and try some other tricks and come back to it, you'll land it first try. This is kind of like STGs. Savestate grinding can really burn you out, in addition to choke the joy out of playing games. If you find yourself in hockey temper mode during savestate practice, just play some full runs. You won't get so hung up on that one part and have more fun. Suddenly, what do you know, you just dodged that totally dense pattern and destroyed TLB. Another good idea is to...put...the...controller (or stick)...down.

8. If you die somewhat early on in the game, don't automatically restart. I know, your impulses want to restart. You think, "I want to have the best starting advantage to produce the best score, chance at survival, etc." But, sometimes you can make an early mistake and totally kill it (at least by your standards) later on. This happened to me recently, so I'm sorta sticking with it.

9. Listen to that guy Sapz, cause, I dunno, he's really good and shmup wise.

10. Don't copy that guy Sapz. His techniques are likely too advanced for you, and you will eat way more shit. In fact, you really shouldn't copy anyone all too strictly, especially starting out. You'll lose the ability to actually improvise, which takes some skill. Sure, it's good to follow loose lines to get ideas, but pixel copying won't improve your skill as a beginner.


That's all I got. I pretty much still suck, but I've noticed some improvements in my gameplay and overall joy in playing shooters. Perhaps advice in this context will be helpful for other beginners as well. Goodnight, and good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:30 am 


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Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 1189
Location: Sweeedeeeen.
One very important thing that you failed to mention and what i feel is the most important lessons of all for n00bs to learn:
Economy of Movement
(sounds like a DEP-album lol)

In my work (lolol) i see a lot of new people trying out shmups and the first and biggest problem they have is that they play like an epileptic having a seizure.
Aimlessly flailing around all over the screen.
Of course this creates a maze of bullets that will be very intimidating to get through for someone new and so they die.
Not moving unless you have to is one of the absolute corner stones in a good shmup players arsenal of skills.

Of course, "not moving unless you have to" can entail a lot of movement in Yagawa games etc. where you need to pick up lots of items and differentiate between those you need and those that aren't good for you.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:20 pm 



Joined: 23 May 2011
Posts: 97
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Last edited by Chirpy13 on Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:31 pm 


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Posts: 3215
Location: Southern Ontario
Eaglet wrote:
In my work (lolol) i see a lot of new people trying out shmups and the first and biggest problem they have is that they play like an epileptic having a seizure..


I seriously don't get this either. Reminds me when I saw this dude on Canada's Worst Driver. It's like they're panicking and hoping that flailing aimlessly will somehow help them. I think this is only an issue with absolute beginners though; anyone who's spent a few hours with their first shmup will probably learn that random, jerky movements aren't all that helpful.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:48 pm 


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Joined: 12 Aug 2009
Posts: 114
Location: Sheffield, England
BareknuckleRoo wrote:
I think this is only an issue with absolute beginners though; anyone who's spent a few hours with their first shmup will probably learn that random, jerky movements aren't all that helpful.


I'm not so sure.

Ok, the overtly spastic movements may no longer be there but if you compare a video of yourself to a super play or even a very good player, I bet one of the stand out features will be the fine control of very small movements - e.g. take a look at a simple movement such as tap dodging. The better player will often be using very small 'taps'.

It's something I've worked on myself. I think I'm well on the way with the small movement 'mentality' but my motor skills need more work :P


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:28 pm 


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Joined: 08 Jun 2011
Posts: 478
Location: Seattle
Yeah, lots of beginners twitch around and spazz out when it gets heavy. Who didn't at first? It mainly derives from the player's lack of skill and/or confidence. As a result, he or she puts everything up to pure luck to get through it. Funnily enough, sometimes staying completely still will give you a better chance of survival (obviously, this isn't not always true).

But yeah, I'd agree in saying it's best to curb that impulse. Random motions definitely shouldn't be confused with skilled motions that have some idea of a path to safety, or objective.


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:23 am 


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Joined: 26 Oct 2014
Posts: 769
Quote:
8. If you die somewhat early on in the game, don't automatically restart.


That's my current problem in Triangle Service games where there are no extends so you can't allow stupidly loose a life early :|


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Just the Tip [big tips for those who suck]
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:50 am 


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Posts: 2420
Location: Singin' in the rain of extends
It's especially useless to reset in games with checkpoints, since hoarding lives doesn't help you much when you have to defeat the final boss in one life anyway. If the game has difficult recoveries, the early game may actually be the only place where you can afford to die. That said, I still reset if I die super early like in the opening waves of stage 1.

Vertical movement (horizontal in horis) is useful for putting threats behind you as soon as possible. If you see an opening in a spread of bullets, it's better to dive through it while it's still there, rather than wait for it to come to you, when it may be blocked by an overlapping pattern. More generally, be on the offensive and dictate the pace of the game as much as you can rather than letting the game force you to do things.

In games where it's possible, you should at least occasionally experiment with different weapon sets or other strategies. For example, using double instead of laser for a stage in Gradius, raising autofire at different moments in Battle Garegga, or changing when you get speed ups in Parodius Da, or even just choosing a different ship/character. By putting in a bit of effort to go outside your comfort zone, you may uncover a technique that ends up saving you a lot of effort and frustration. For this reason I like it when games give players multiple ways to deal with challenges.
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