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 Post subject: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 12:57 am 


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Joined: 09 Sep 2016
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5/5/17 - The demo is available!

I've been working on a horizontal shmup for a few months.
It's a throwback to 32bit Saturn/Arcade era shmups with some modern conventions and aspect ratio.
Shoot, bomb and burst your way though hoards of enemy craft, Combo off every enemy defeated to increase multiplier and earn tons of points.

Screenshots:
Image Image
ImageImage


Videos:
http://i.imgur.com/z2EhrEb.gifv
https://puu.sh/wOoy5/10f2307c99.webm
http://i.imgur.com/oNOv3Mv.gifv
http://i.imgur.com/BaLmF4b.gifv
https://webmshare.com/play/6r9O1
https://webmshare.com/Dx4QQ
https://puu.sh/w7vFP/a9ee5933cb.webm
https://puu.sh/wfYGK/d1b9cc5e4f.webm
http://puu.sh/wwaZz/03b0aec0f9.webm
https://puu.sh/wCWtm/1631616a4f.webm

Devlog 1: Demo feedback
Devlog 2: The HUD and screen space usage

The demo containing the first level is now available!
More videos and further development can be found at the game's tumblr


Last edited by Sinoc on Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 2:52 am 


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Looks pretty fun and well crafted.
I genuinely wish you the best success with this project.
Greetings.


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:18 am 


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Location: Finland
I enjoy the graphical style quite a lot already, definitely interested on giving the demo a go once it's released.

Some nitpicking from the first gif: I wish some of the enemies were more "animated" in their movements. Not necessarily speaking of multiple frames of animation but their movement patterns look kind of stop-and-go when compared with other enemies in the second gif and the boss. Some minor details like more emphasized acceleration and/or animating afterburners while moving could give them some weight behind their movement.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:17 am 


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Really looking forward to play the demo! :D
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:45 am 


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Ebbo wrote:
Some nitpicking from the first gif: I wish some of the enemies were more "animated" in their movements. Not necessarily speaking of multiple frames of animation but their movement patterns look kind of stop-and-go when compared with other enemies in the second gif and the boss.


That pattern was done around January or so, I'm trying to avoid that when I can in the future.

Cristian_CL wrote:
Looks pretty fun and well crafted.
I genuinely wish you the best success with this project.
Greetings.
Stilghar wrote:
Really looking forward to play the demo! :D

Thanks! I look forward to releasing it!


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 8:09 am 


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Update bump -The demo is now avalible!
I'm looking forward to feedback from novice and experienced players alike. Enjoy!


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 10:26 am 


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Some minor and not so minor things I noticed while playing:

- This game is pretty hard from the get-go! I was able to squeeze my way to the third boss, only to be killed by the flying shrapnel its foot stomp send flying. It felt a bit cheap because the parts sort of blended into the scrolling background and the lethality of debris wasn't really telegraphed at the player very clearly during the stage at any point.

- Speaking of telegraphing, some enemies (wallturrets, laserbeam enemies) could use more generous warnings/indications when they are going to fire. The laserbeam enemies are particularly frustrating because when you see the warning sign, it pretty much means you're dead if you happen to be right on their line of sight, at least during couple first credits.

- The intro/boot-up sequence at the beginning of the stage is rather cool but it's also a tad too long and starts to feel aggravating after restart-syndrome kicks in - maybe it could play just once at the beginning of each session?

- The bombs are surprisingly powerful, they can tear down bosses really quickly. However it lacks some punch at the moment so it's power isn't really that evident. I'm also not sure what increases the bomb stock, is it related to score or something? Similarly I couldn't quite figure out the logic behind power-up drops. They seem to appear after killing certain amount of enemies but sometimes I can get three laser pickups in a row, other times three spread pickups etc.

- The burst ability is kind of... just there. Sacrificing your multiplier for a get-out-of-jail-free card isn't that interesting mechanic since I'd imagine optimal scoring ultimately means simply not using the burst at all(unless I missed something very obvious). Then again even the button layout seems to suggest that much :P

Despite some shortcomings, so far it's a very solid effort overall. The style is certainly there and many spots show a promising amount of polish already. Keep working on it!
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:36 pm 


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I've gotten some feedback the past couple days. I've got a laundry list of fixes and features to do, including better teaching the player to be aggressive with bombs, retooling some of the harder enemies and placements, and changes to the powerups and bursting to be more consistent for score runs and useful for everyone else.

Ebbo wrote:
Some minor and not so minor things I noticed while playing...

Yeah I've been seeing a lot of those sentiments around,besides the one about the boss, since nobody seems to be able to get to it.
Part of the overall problem is the game's designed around a specific playstyle, being aggressive with bombs and getting right in thing's faces, but I didn't realize players would have a hard time figuring that out on there own.

Ebbo wrote:
Despite some shortcomings, so far it's a very solid effort overall. The style is certainly there and many spots show a promising amount of polish already. Keep working on it!

Thank you! It's going to take some tinkering to get it more approachable, but I intend to continue the quality of the demo into the rest of the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 7:42 am 


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The bombs do feel pretty limited in their usability at the moment, mainly just offering some extra firepower and only directly in front of the player. Besides the bosses I didn't really use them much because I didn't find them that useful when compared with the regular shot at the maximum level. So here's a hoping for some extra utility for each bomb type - maybe the missiles could have some homing capabilities or fire in much more spread out fashion while laser bomb could create circling turrets around the player.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 4:43 am 


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Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 377
Location: Indiana, USA
Hi there!
Here are some random thoughts as I played your pretty game!
My preferences are R-Type, Gradius, Thunder Force -style side-scrollers which favor level design and interesting enemies/weapons over bullet hells.

-How far I played: I played about to 5 game overs, and I could fight the level 1 boss through a few its cycles, but never beat the level 1 boss.

-All the basic enemies feel like they take a few too many shots. I feel a bit underpowered.

-If I skip the first laser powerup because I simply don't want to use the laser, I definitely feel underpowered. Basically it seems like I should never miss a powerup even if I don't want to switch.

-The contrast between the background (that I can't hit) and the mid-ground (that I can hit) needs to be increased. The parallax helps, but I'd like to better
detect with my peripheral vision what objects I'll crash into.
Oh, I found the 'background dim' options and put it down some. I think you should default the graphics dimmer (10 or 20%) for readability.

-The game is tough and is pretty unforgiving. If I'm off a little bit and a powerup comes out, then it's gone. The powerups move fast.
Also the default bullets from turrets are very fast. I feel like the firing time between shots from turrets (in level 1) is too frequent.
I feel like I'm playing the hard mode instead of a normal mode.

-I got shot by turrets on the left side of the screen (as they were leaving) which felt like BS and should be reserved for suicide-bullet settings/difficulty.

-The art looks very good! Music's good too.

-Some of the design is pretty good. The bosses attacks are well done, but even the first level boss is too hard and too fast, yet constricting. I'd suggest
you pick a design direction for the boss. Is it fast and wild? Or is it tight quarters and you move around slowly? I think it'd be fun but it was too fast and frustrating to be in tight quarters with
everything moving too fast.

-The player weapons are un-interesting, and don't make me excited to play or make feel like I have any interesting strategy.

-It suffers a bit from 'Gradius syndrome' of being underpowered if you die, but here I really struggle to ever feel like I can make it back on top.

-I think the max power of the weapons (the damage they do) *is pretty close to enough*. But I think the starting weapons need to be increased a bit in how much damage they do.
The bottom line for me is I generally feel underpowered as I play, which makes it not too fun.

-I never really understood the 'burst'. Can I kill things with it? Is it powered by my score multiplier? Not bad in thought, but I never used it successfully.

-I think a lot of this is well made! Congrats!
Not trying to be a downer, it's a good game. But as it stands, for me personally, it's too hard, not terribly interesting or original to play but it is certainly competently made.

I wish you luck out there!
-Nathan
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:54 am 


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Ebbo wrote:
The bombs do feel pretty limited in their usability at the moment, mainly just offering some extra firepower and only directly in front of the player. Besides the bosses I didn't really use them much because I didn't find them that useful when compared with the regular shot at the maximum level.

The raw power and the extra bonus to the combo counter they add in addition to the regular shots is sort of the point. There's not a whole lot of problems that can't be solved by shooting it harder.
Ebbo wrote:
Here's a hoping for some extra utility for each bomb type - maybe the missiles could have some homing capabilities or fire in much more spread out fashion while laser bomb could create circling turrets around the player.

The bombs have a utility that's not easily apriciated; they add heavily to the combo counter when they hit. They also do a lot of damage, witch tends to solve a lot of problems.
The problem with widening the spread of the missiles is that it gets very unreliable for small targets and long ranges, and it shortens the distance needed to unload every one into a boss.
The laser's options need some work though. The rotating turret thing is what they did in the first game, but they were sorta underwhelming.
MommysBestGames wrote:
Hi there!
Here are some random thoughts as I played your pretty game!...

I'm already working on most of these; Stuff like adding in a Raiden style powerup rotation, adjusting the scaling on weapons, darkening the backgrounds a tad,better conveying the bomb and burst mechanics (and getting the player to understand bombs are meant to be used, not hoarded) and the third shot type.
MommysBestGames wrote:
-It suffers a bit from 'Gradius syndrome' of being underpowered if you die, but here I really struggle to ever feel like I can make it back on top.

This bit is a harder though. The game already adds to the power-up drop rate every time you die proportional to how many lives you have left and all 3 bosses have opportunities to get power-ups (but not milking for score) mid fight, but if a player is so completly overwhelmed that they can't kill anything it becomes hard to get them to bounce back.
MommysBestGames wrote:
I think a lot of this is well made! Congrats!
Not trying to be a downer, it's a good game. But as it stands, for me personally, it's too hard, not terribly interesting or original to play but it is certainly competently made.
I wish you luck out there!
-Nathan

Thanks man! Serious Sam DD was pretty rad!


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 8:41 am 


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Joined: 12 Dec 2013
Posts: 413
Location: France
I played the demo a few times, enough to beat the stage (but not without using continues though). So here are my impressions, which I think mostly align with the others' feedback :

What I liked :
- The presentation is top notch : Graphics, but also music, sound effects and the general amount of care given to the title screen as well as the intro and warning sequences are enjoyable and leave a really good first impression.
- When at full power, the pacing is quite good. Having three bosses in a single stage could have been too much, but they can go down pretty fast.
- The visibility and hitbox options are a nice touch

What I didn't like :
- The lasers from the small enemies need some serious warning. A sudden death to a laser the player couldn't know was going to appear is frustrating. Oddly enough, the laser attack telegraphing is well done on the bosses, so that means you know how to do it.
- The turrets can fire even when they are at the very left of the screen where you can't even hit them with your shot. That feels unfair.
- Dying reduces your firepower way too much, leading to chain deaths in some tight places (the corridor before the second boss for instance)
- Some turrets are unreachable, or at least very difficult to hit without using a bomb because they are at the right of a wall. If you want to horizontally align with them to kill them, you'll just crash into the wall.
- Power ups are way too eager to leave the screen

What I suggest :
- I suggest you color-code the enemies who will drop the power-up on destruction if that is not determined at the moment of destruction. Darius games do that for instance, and you immediatly know what enemy should be destroyed first.
- Increase the contrast bewteen the turrets and the walls they stand on. Right now, they don't stand enough and sometimes blend into each other.
- The startup sequence should be skippable with the press of a button.
- Continuing shouldn't be done with the shot button as you'll be pressing this button almost all the time. The first time around, I continued without even realizing it.
- Bombs feel more like secondary weapons than actual bombs, while the burst is closer to what I would think of as a defensive bomb. Maybe calling the bombs a "special attack" or something like that would make more sense?
- Add some feedback to tell the player who just used a burst when he can use it again. Speaking of the burst, make sure the full game can be cleared without it.
- The first boss' blue homing bombs can be difficult to see because they flash and almost disappear before heading for you. You should make them fully visible at all times.
- The second boss has a mix between super fast patterns and claustrophobic maze-like ones, which is unsettling. Balance the boss as to give it either one of those pattern philosophies but not both at the same time.
- The third boss' flame walls at the top or the bottom of the screen didn't look like they could kill me due to their low contrast but it seems they are supposed to be dangerous. Making them stand out more could clear up that confusion.
- The regular enemy agressiveness is really high, especially in that horizontal corridor section before the second boss. It feels like they are just as agressive as the enemies before, but because your movement is severely limited by the walls, it comes off as much more tricky. I suggest you tone done the fire rate a bit in that section.


Good luck with your game! It looks quite promising. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:33 pm 


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I've added another video and links to the two devlogs to the OP. Work on level 2 is going smooth and I'll add them to the OP as they're made.
M.Knight wrote:
Good luck with your game! It looks quite promising. :)

Thanks man! Most of that feedback I worked on over the last week. I'm focusing on new content at the moment, but level 1 will probably get another pass in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 2:51 am 


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Hi!

I just played your game and recorded my face and the screen while playing. I also commented on what I liked and what I disliked.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:01 pm 


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Added a webm of more of level 2; the background was redrawn from scratch and there's some additional paralaxing effects.
SergioAlonso wrote:
Hi!
I just played your game and recorded my face and the screen while playing. I also commented on what I liked and what I disliked.

Thanks! It was kind of hard to make out what you were saying for most of the video, but I think I got the gist of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:00 am 


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Bumping the thread to announce a couple things;
One, the game's got a proper name now. The old demo will still retain the Shmoop 2 name for archival purposes.

Two, a new demo, featuring the second level and many other additions and changes, is tentatively scheduled for early September.

The OP's also been updated with new webms. You can see them first, and some additional comments, on the devblog.


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