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 Post subject: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:46 pm 

Joined: 11 Apr 2017
Posts: 5
Hi shmuppers,

A friend and I have been developing a shoot-em-up / RPG hybrid called Cosmonator that we are now trying to get onto Steam Greenlight (before Steam Direct takes over!) We're hoping someone here takes an interest in that kind of combination - think hectic shmup action combined with old school RPG style character building: tons of spells, abilities, different primary and secondary weapons, etc. Even if you don't care to vote for us, feel free to download the playable demo and if you're really cool you can give us some feedback! We're new to this so we want to learn as much as possible from people trying out our game. We're really proud of it but maybe you hate it? Let us know! Here are some showcase gifs, and the links to the demo and to Greenlight are below.

Image Image Image Image

Link to our Greenlight Page!

Link to the fully playable Beta.3 demo

Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!!

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 Post subject: Re: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:49 am 

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Joined: 04 Apr 2017
Posts: 7
Location: Brazil
Well, i love game with RPG progression, with upgrades and stuff, thats why i downloaded the demo and got me almost 2 hours playing it.

That thing about: "Oh my god i upgraded my weapon, now i have to play another level to use it!", thats what i think it is amazing about doing progression. Im creating a shmup focused on upgrades and weapon choice too, and i think thats a awesome feature.

I gonna write as much as i can about everything in the game as i can. (long post INCOMING!)

so, first thing, i think the game looks good, i got a sense of balance about the art and it really seems to work with each other. The small problem here is, i like particles, i really really do, but i think some people might think the game have too much of it (making it distracting). But not me though, but them i think that particle option in the menu, it does the trick.

but one thing i think is really anoying is that the explosions blends to much with the enemy bullets, this make things a little bit confusing some times, the bullet come out of the explosion all of a sudden... i think you should consider change the enemy bullet collor, or at least make it blink or something, it is really important to know where the bullets are coming from.

congrats on the amount of spells in the game, i was stunned about the amount of choices, and they are even upgradable, and aditionally with the gem for extra functionallity, really amazing.

One thing i dont understand, is why my rank multplier screw with my money... it gets worse and worse as you play, am i missing something?

a problem, that would be a deal breaker to some people, is that the game get a little "boring" or too easy, specially at the beginning.
im not talking only about "hard enemies, lots of bullets blablabla", it is some empty parts you get waiting for enemies to come (even on later levels). Maybe im getting a bit too much into this, but i think something to do or to shoot between those moments would be great, them again maybe its just me.

Also, the game seems to be a little too sparse on variety. This is a thing i struggled alot when developing my game, because, what should i do? sparse game milking every type of enemy by repeating it and overusing them alot through lots of stages, or concentrating them in a diverse but short experience? I think, this game would gain a little by concentrating a little more, because the levels take a long time to show some new enemies and cool stuff. but even if i say this, im not entirely sure about it, because i think the progression of the weapons are good, because i can get weapons in a nice steady pace, so maybe the problem is just the length and repetition, so the solution is to go back and create a little bit more diversity through the levels? or at least in the beginning for people to get that boost of "wow! this level is cool!" right at the early levels of the game.

now lets talk seriously, because i think the one thing that annoyed me the most, is that little bit delay when you move... man, this was almost a deal breaker to me... because shmup should be SMOOTH AS F*** when you move, thats the core idea, more so when you say your game is a bullet hell, because in bullet hell you need real precision when you move, and that tiny delay, really mess things up...
An example of this, is when a boss fight come, he shots a wave of bullets, i can only try to maneuver to the sides of the screen, since i dont have precision enough to swing through the bullets. As i played, i get used to this, but even so, every single bullet curtain i get, i wish the controls was more repsonsive. you should really REALLY take some serious time to look at this!

Well, so lot said, i think this game is really good! i enjoyed playing it, and looking forward to the full version! gonna buy it on steam for sure!

Good luck for you guys!

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 Post subject: Re: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:23 pm 

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Joined: 24 Feb 2011
Posts: 185
I can't get my arcade stick working with this, even with joytokey. Can anything be done?
Enjoyed what I played of it on the keyboard.

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 Post subject: Re: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:06 pm 

Joined: 11 Apr 2017
Posts: 5
Hi guys! Thanks for the prompt feedback!!

Clippa - we are still in the process of making the game compatible with as many gaming platforms as possible; at this point most controllers work but there are still some that we need to implement! Glad you enjoyed the keyboard play, but as you can imagine, yea the game is really meant to be played on a remote controller. I'll look into this asap!

Thiago - dude, first of all thanks so much for your in depth feedback! And for your awesome enthusiasm. Please reply with a link or more info about the shmup that you're creating (or once you have a playable version ready) so I can check it out!
Thanks also so much for hilighting the issues here. Some of these issues are ones that I am already trying to fix and having difficulty with. Some are more easily remedied (the game is not yet 100 percent finished, for instance, and I am currently fleshing out the earlier levels to make them more interesting with diverse enemies, to your point) but some issues are super frustrating for me - like getting a simple balance for the RPG progression system with this ranking system that I implemented long ago which just, as you say, makes things too complicated and doesn't really make sense. It's really tricky!
The bullets and explosions being confusing - I actually like that. This is where the game is more RPG than shmup. But I can see how it is an issue, just for the sake of playability, and I have earlier considered making ALL enemy bullets the same colour spectrum and all friendly bullets / spells another spectrum, both different from explosions. At this point I feel like I don't mind it being confusing, though - so as not to sacrifice all the nice different colorful effects and particles (no such thing as too many particles! :) But this is a good point and one that I've heard before so maybe eventually Ill buckle under pressure to make things more clear.
But your last point worries me. When I myself and any of my friends play the game, it's SUPER responsive. This is very important to me. No delay whatsoever - weaving through bullets like a ninja should be a hairtrigger, instant, pleasurable experience. I wonder if we have some incompatibility with your system? What controller are you using? Please let me know so I can look into it!

Dude, thanks again for all the feedback - and I'm super stoked you enjoyed the game! You won't be disappointed with the full version - the real RPG depth only really comes after level 20, when the Feats and Master Upgrades (which are locked in the demo) really open up the different possibilities for interesting character builds.

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 Post subject: Re: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:01 am 

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Joined: 04 Apr 2017
Posts: 7
Location: Brazil
Hey man!

well, if you want to check my game, i made a post in this forum too:
If you want to play my demo, or watch the trailer you can, in this link:

so... hey i love partciles too! i agree with you on this, there no thing such as "too much particles" hahaha! (i did LOTS of particles in my game too hahaha)

one thing, i could not even begin to try all the weapons in the game! Have to say again, congrats on this! And i really like one spell, i dont remember the name now, phantom or something... The one that makes a little ghostly ship that shoot for you for some time, i liked it so much, that i actually thinking in doing one like that in my game! (can i? :D )

i gonna try your game on the computer at my work, to see if there is no delay on movement. here in my home, i experienced a really tiny short delay, but to me it was noticeable enough to be annoying.
im actually not using any controller, it didnt recognize mine, (ps4 controller with steam), so i used my keyboard to play it the entire time.

But man, i feel you, its hard to balance RPG stuff, and one of the worst parts in balancing RPG, a shmup RPG, is the fact that we dont have too much reference to get from, personally for example, im struggling with weapons that do area damage, since large enemy groups with low armor gets destroyed with a single well placed shot, making that part too easy, to this day i dont have a solution for this yet

i was thinking about the money balance problem in your game, cutting money earning from the player seems like a really bad thing to do, one solution maybe, would be as you buy a new weapon/spell, every other weapon/spell gets more expensive, that way, the player knows that he need to choose more wisely which weapon he buys, and he continues to earn the normal amount of money.

or another idea,(which i actually like better) is that, for him to buy a new extra spell, he need to buy a new aditional slot, that gets more expensive as you buy.

well, enough said i guess! if you play my game, tell me what you think of it when you have some time! cya!

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 Post subject: Re: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:42 am 

Joined: 11 Apr 2017
Posts: 5
Hey Thiago!
Yea for sure I'm gonna check out your game later when I'm at home!
I'll be happy if you want to use some of my ideas here like the Coverfire spell - in this genre, there is very little that is 'original' anyway, we all kinda borrow ideas from the giants that came before us right?
It also just occured to me that for the keyboard, we have a movement setting 'eagle' or 'snail' mode - try setting it to eagle mode if it isn't already, that way the ship might respond slightly faster? Though I'd be surprised if that actually fixes your playability problem. We still have to make the game compatible with different controllers, it plays much more fun on a controller! But really even on a keyboard it should be super responsive so I hope that was just a hardware issue for you.
Ranking / cash balancing - you think just like me man, I've considered all these options. I still have to find a perfect sollution. The problem is that the current system is kind of enshrined in the entire structure of the character building design of the game so changing it would take a LOT of work... I still need to think about it.
AOE damage balance - this is something that surely every action RPG coder will struggle with :) but that's what makes it so much fun! This is why people don't tend to combine action and RPG by the way, because it makes the balancing so difficult. What I did in Cosmonator was a: to simply make AOE spells and effects quite underpowered generally, so that they are ONLY useful for taking out clusters of enemies or bosses with many components. But another good sollution is b: to make that large explosions, or projectiles that move through many enemies (like a firewave for instance), have a limited TOTAL damage expenditure. so every time damage is dealt, to any enemy in the range, the explosion entity loses x amount of its total damage that it can still deal. this way, whether it is dealing all the damage to a single large enemy, or to many smaller ones, you can control the total amount of damage, so it's easier to balance. The drawback of this is that it is counterintuitive - splash damage should really just damage everything in the area, right? Anyway, maybe that helps. Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Cosmonator - classic shmp/rpg hybrid
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 5:21 pm 

Joined: 19 Jan 2009
Posts: 605
Location: stuck at the continue prompt
Good pixel art, good game engine and general organization, but not perfect.

Technical problems:
  • Bundling a JRE half the size of your game is rude.
  • Not including 64 bit libraries that are 1/20 the JRE size is inexcusable.
  • The bundled JRE and the included LWJGL are both very old. In the case of the JRE, it is quite irresponsible because of the plentiful security problems.

  • Replaying levels in order to "farm" score is boring, particularly when the levels can be beaten with 75% or more health (to earn the large cash bonus) the first time around.
  • If players could sell off upgrades without losing money (in practice, reallocating the whole coins and gems budget to different stuff every level) they could try every upgrade without boring grinding, without wasting money on useless upgrades, and without maxing out early and in predictable ways; moreover, levels could demand extremely specialized "builds" instead of being adapted to conservative upgrade choices.
  • The spell "charges" are an unwelcome surprise: I'd like to spend energy to cast spells freely. Different spells might have a different energy cost for balance reasons.
  • Enemy formations are repeated and boring. The sparse and unstructured background is a contributing factor.
  • Many instances of unfair shooting too close to the player's ship.

  • Far too dark, particularly the backgrounds.
  • Background images are blurred.
  • Inconsistent outlines between different sprite types.

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