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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:17 pm 


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Procrastinated a response since I knew it needed to be lengthy, thank you all for the comments though. Remember that talking to an amateur dev / (wannabe nerd) about their game always triggers a release of endorphin's in their brain.

Also fixed some visual bugs in title screen, tightened up timing, and added a transition to the current debug/testing room. I think it looks a bit better now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUh81KfJ12Q

Fun fact: the transition of the particles/fireflies outliving the title screen was originally a bug/oversight. But it looked MYSTICAL AS FUCK YO so I straightened it out and polished it into an actual intentional effect.

ZacharyB wrote:
where bullets aren't immediately cancelled, but they get pushed back


Yeah, Akashicverse has a beam weapon similar to that as well, gradually reversing the motion of bullets. It's something else I considered as well.

I've reached a point where I think the soultion needs to be an "outside the box" innovation from my usual thinking, rather than a simple refinement of the ranges/speeds/hitboxes, so I'm basically just trying everything and trying to be as experimental and playful as I can. Gunning on that eureka moment (what I usually do when I'm stuck).

Shepardus wrote:
For the sort of fast-paced gameplay you're going for, I think slowing down bullets in an aura would be a very bad thing to do. It would cause the bullets to cluster together around you


Hellsinker syndrome 8)

But the thing is that this is during judgment/hyper mode, and the dynamic between shooting and dodging changes during its brief activation period.

The two themes of the game are "speed" and "destruction", and judgment is when destruction comes into its own: with attacks that slow your movement but have cancel properties and fill the screen with precisely aimed but all consuming fiery annihilation.

The emphasis on macro dodging and normally fast movement actually works well with that so far: creates a lot of tension to keep yourself slowed down in front of shit trying to cancel in time (I'm actually really happy with how Judgment 1 aka guwange 'ALTER' turned out, I'll probably post a video of both in enemy overload debug room when I'm done with em both).

Shepardus wrote:
The thing I dislike the most about Eschatos is that even with the shield I can't dash through bullets as confidently as I would like, because I have to check whether the bullets have been erased yet.


Funny thing is, the original playstyle of Flame Thrower was kinda similar to this in conception:

You basically activate Judgment (2nd version, since that's the flame thrower one), at which point you're usually at the bottom of the screen. You got a speed boost while not using the flame, but move slowly when using it. The challenge is to dash forward and kill all the enemies at point blank range before time runs out, using the flame sporadically to slow down the incoming bullets and read a path through them in order to get close enough.

Due to a lot of reasons though, including how iffy this actually played out in most circumstances, I had to rework the idea. Working on a new dynamic for the flame thrower. I'm hoping I can keep a semblance of the original manic vision within a more balanced and consistent framework.

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
been playing a lot of Raiden Fighters and finding the charge shots a letdown too for similar reasons - you have to stop shooting to fire, which can make you vulnerable during the charge time.


The other thing that makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable with them in Raiden Fighters is that I never feel really clear whether they do more damage or not, and when I should be using charge or rapid for dps.

Then again I don't understand how scoring works in those games so I'm probably playing all wrong ^_^

Ps: Deliberately vulnerable charge periods can work for a tactical game. I think R-Type is the crowning jewel of this. My game charge time is extremely short, more just an input method of performing melee (akin to holding for laser in Cave, input time is hold for 20 frames before release) and adding some rhythm to play. There's no vulnerability to it, you continue to fire while holding the button down until its fully charged.

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
I wonder how a special shot would work tied to a fixed Giga Wing esque timer? More reliable recharge than say having to build it up by shooting enemies like in Gunbird/Strikers, with maybe a fraction of invulnerability time (less than DFK hypering) but also inherently tied to score so it has either a survival or scoring purpse? Like, instead of a reflect shield, it's the flamethrower, and using it generates special medals or something? By giving it a brief period of invulnerability it can be used at long range for safety, or can be used up close where it's riskier but actually useful for scoring/damage (maybe score earned tied to how close you flame things?).


Ah yeah, the Judgment mechanic in general is evolved from pretty much this idea.

At first it started out very similar to what you said: A recharging special weapon that would be better for survival if used defensively,

One of the biggest inspirations was eXceed 2nd-Vampire Rex. A nice little spin on Ikaruga where doing risky maneuvers to absorb clumps of bullets gives you more bombs, and spending them instantly to speed kill bosses (leaving yourself open to difficult patterns) instead of holding onto them for safety gives you a lot of score.

Given the mechanics and general playstyle here though, it was too hard to constantly provide genuine risk/reward opportunities on a weapon that was by definition more powerful than your default shot and that offered additional defensive benefits. As a result, it ended up evolving into Judgment: a hyper mode that grants you a bonus and greater destruction if you use its unique weaponry to kill all enemies currently on screen before time runs out.
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Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:16 pm 


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Shepardus wrote:
The thing I dislike the most about Eschatos is that even with the shield I can't dash through bullets as confidently as I would like, because I have to check whether the bullets have been erased yet, or if they even still are stuck in the shield. It makes the shield feel slippery and unreliable to me, which is the opposite of what I like most about shmups compared to other action genres.

That sums up my own experience with Eschatos' shield as well. It is even more jarring when I am used to Milestone shields that reliably erase bullets. Well, okay, aside from some missiles in Illvelo's stage 1 boss fight that are not instantly erased as your shield's exp is low at that point in the game, but it is clearly not as prominent as Eschatos.

And as BareKnuckleRoo said, it is also worse in Judgement Silversword due to the shield size decreasing. I would also add that AFAIK, no bullet in that game can be instantly erased, unlike Eschatos which is more selective. As a consequence, using this tool feels a bit tedious as you can't move too much at the risk of getting hit by the bullet you were trying to save yourself from in the first place.

Just like Shepardus said, I doubt the player would want to use some of their brain's processing time to check whether the bullets have been slowed down or what percentage of erasure are they standing at for such a fast-paced game. That said, it's pretty cool if you make it work.

Come to think of it, though, how often can the flamethrower be used? If you can't use it all the time, is it that bad if the game temporaily becomes easy when you get this weapon? If being able to use the flamethrower has to be earned, it can be rewarding and gratifying to tear through the enemy lines with few bullets to dodge, if that can trigger the following waves even faster for more points.

Squire Grooktook wrote:
Fun fact: the transition of the particles/fireflies outliving the title screen was originally a bug/oversight. But it looked MYSTICAL AS FUCK YO so I straightened it out and polished it into an actual intentional effect.

I am sure lots of cool things in our favorite classics were made in similarly accidental ways. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:59 pm 


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M.Knight wrote:
Come to think of it, though, how often can the flamethrower be used? If you can't use it all the time, is it that bad if the game temporaily becomes easy when you get this weapon? If being able to use the flamethrower has to be earned, it can be rewarding and gratifying to tear through the enemy lines with few bullets to dodge, if that can trigger the following waves even faster for more points.


Yup, it's apart of the games equivalent of a hyper mode: Judgment.
Spoiler: show
Your bomb bar fills up overtime and by killing enemies. When it's full (100%), you can cash in for a few i-frames, but if you keep hold of it till it fills a second time (200%), you have a window to activate "judgment" before the bar empties back down to 100%.

In Judgment you gain a risky plethora of offensive and defensive tools, and you unlock a devastating finishing blow and a score bonus if you kill all enemies currently on screen before the meter depletes and you return to normal.

There are also 2 modes for Judgment with a different variety of weapons (The flamethower is on the second mode). Every time you use it, the next activation will have the other mode. It's inspired by the power up switching of old stg's. It's not meant to be a strategic choice which one to use though: an optimal score run involves using it every chance you get, so the ideal scoring path is built around the exact order that will result from flawless play.

Pure survival play you will likely be ignoring judgment (mostly) and cashing in those bombs, since it requires you to hold off bombing and is risky in itself. But when you're ready to take risks, you get a lot of extra score by rampaging with it.


I definitely want both forms of the mode to have a risk/reward element. The "assault course" and aggressive, risky kind of playstyle we often discussion the action-platformer thread is definitely what I want score play to resemble.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:55 am 


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I have an idea, similar to the smartphone version of Espgaluda 2.

The flamethrower is powerful; it can cancel bullets. The dragon moves slower while firing it. How about the dragon cannot move at all? While firing the flamethrower, the dragon's movement is suspended, and the player's controller input then transfers to the flamethrower flame itself. As more bullets are cancelled, the flame targeting reticle/area of effect grows slightly bigger and awards more points. This means that players in pursuit of score will be waiting for large bullet swarms to use the flame, but it's risky, because the dragon cannot move. If the player can successfully mop up all of the bullets with the flame before the dragon is hit, the payoff is good.

I was also thinking of enemies that were destroyed by the flame—or even bullets that were destroyed by the flame—releasing some kind of special bullet or salvo... but that might be too much work/too complicated.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:28 pm 


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ZacharyB wrote:
The flamethrower is powerful; it can cancel bullets. The dragon moves slower while firing it. How about the dragon cannot move at all?


That's pretty much how it is! My model for the movement decrease while whipping it around is Guwange, which is to say you're moving so slowly that you're barely moving at all.

ZacharyB wrote:
more bullets are cancelled, the flame targeting reticle/area of effect grows slightly bigger and awards more points. This means that players in pursuit of score will be waiting for large bullet swarms to use the flame, but it's risky, because the dragon cannot move. If the player can successfully mop up all of the bullets with the flame before the dragon is hit, the payoff is good.


The "growing bigger with enemies destroyed" is actually a neat idea and maybe in line with the kind of ideas I've been tossing around. Maybe it could even be a vampiric kind of thing where it'll start to shrink again if you don't steadily keep the kills coming. I'll give that a try!

As for cancelling bullets into medals, sadly it conflicts a bit with the central idea of "always speedkill for score" since that kind of cancelling encourages you to leave enemies alive for a while so that the the most bullets can fill the screen. It could probably be done but I imagine it would also complicate routes a bit, and I'm aiming to be as intuitive as possible (kill everything as fast as possible, judgment every chance you get).

It is an interesting idea though. I was actually toying with the concept of including a few bonus "extra stages" with different mechanics. Not full arrange modes (don't have time!), but each one being more like a Touhou extra stage thrown together using interesting mechanical ideas and concepts that had to be left on the cutting room floor for whatever reason. I wouldn't have time to thoroughly balance them, but it was an idea for throwing a little extra content at players and seeing what ideas had appeal and potential for future games.

That's far off for now though.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:04 am 


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Tried a new gimmick and the resulting prototype "feels" right, unlike the past ones. I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I got it figured out, and with more testing/polishing it should be genuinely fun.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:43 am 


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Too busy to comfortably make a real update with exams hitting hard for the past few weeks. Afterwards I look forward to getting back to work on this (along with no longer having the possibility of crushing suicidal depression hanging over my head in case of failure).

Hagane is still too busy to work full time for me, but he's helping me out with some minor stuff. Like these new prototype slash/melee animations:

"skinny" version
Image

"fat" version
Image

Very rough 10 minute mock ups. We are still talking about size/shape/speed, in conjunction with both aesthetic and gameplay. Comments/thoughts welcome.

I'm also negotiating with two other artists with different specialties at the moment, and it's going well. Everyone involved with these sort of things is in the perpetual state of "not having 5 minutes to fist myself" so it's slow going and I prefer to be relatively quite about it.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:13 am 


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Skinny version looks cooler IMO but I don't know how it would fit with gameplay.
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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:18 am 


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Skinny was at my suggestion to be more in line with the narrower hitbox that I've been working with. Both are "close enough" though, and I've been considering increasing hitbox size a tiny bit anyway, as of late. So either work, gameplay wise.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:56 am 


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The skinny one looks sharper and more deadly to me. The fat version doesn't give off the feeling of slicing things as much IMO.
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I think I have downloaded so much I am bored with downloading. No really I bored with downloading stuff I might consider moving to Canada or the pacific.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:04 am 


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Yeah I'm thinking I'll go with that one and request a very slight increase in length (for gameplay purposes).

Someone on the gamedev discord also suggested removing a frame or two to give it a bit more strength.
_________________
RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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