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 Post subject: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 7:58 am 



Joined: 22 Jul 2022
Posts: 6
Location: Tokyo
Am I alone in being constantly disappointed by the visuals / artwork of modern shooters? The last game that really “wowed” me visually was Gradius V and that was released back in 2004!

I’m sure there are some people who like the anime girl character aesthetic that has been around for some time now but personally I miss the imagination and detail of older shooters.

This is not a criticism of modern shmups in general, I’m very thankful that people are giving up their time to add to the library of shmups.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 1:24 pm 


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Ikaruga wowed me visually at the time. If I was encountering it for the first time, it'd probably still wow me. I thought their use of sienna backgrounds and lensflare was particularly compelling, and the player ships looked delicate in an appealing way.

I also thought DDPDOJ had a very impressive visual direction. I guess most of it is pre-rendered cg rather than hand drawn sprite art, but this is some of the best looking pre-rendered cg that I've seen. Taken in the context of the hardware it was running from, I really felt like this was the peak in terms of taking some 1990s era arcade hardware that can only display things at a low resolution, and maxing out its capabilities to make the ultimate low resolution 2d game. The only other thing I can liken it to is something like KOF 2003 or Garou MOTW on the neogeo. From a graphics perspective, I like it more than the DDP games that came before or after it.

Karous/Radirgy kinda snowed me initially too, just because of the art style that imo didn't really look like anything else. I disagree with people who say it looks like a java game :)


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 2:08 pm 


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I was very disappointed with how lukewarm the visuals in Cotton Fantasy looked, especially in comparison to 2/Boomerang. Something about it just looks cheap, like something you expect to see on a phone.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 3:14 pm 


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Agreed. Very few look that good these days. Either budget, talent or both is at a minimum in most that get released now. Looking more like high-res PS2 era games. Taito keeps pumping out variations of Dariusburst that originated on the PSP. Hoping they've moved on now from that. Modern Raiden games make me sad. I don't want to include indie titles in this because I'm not expecting standards from them.

I thought R-TYPE Final 2 looked okay, better than most. Even it could have been improved.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:33 pm 



Joined: 25 Aug 2017
Posts: 65
I certainly struggle to think of many 3D shmups I like the look of. Ikaruga, Gradius V, perhaps Borderdown. Even though I like Gradius V, it lacks the variety of previous Gradius titles. Aside from the Salamander-esque level it's all spacestations in various shades of grey. A lot of recent 3D shmups look like they were cobbled together from the Unity Asset Store and have tacky moody lighting. There's no unique style. I seem to remember thinking Sine Mora looked okay actually, it just wasn't a very good game.

Sprite-wise, it was a shame that most companies abandoned pixel art just as it was getting really good. Eg Dodonpachi, or the bosses in Darius Gaiden. I can appreciate pixel art of that level is extremely time consuming though and I do still like the look of some pre-rendered sprite games like DDP DOJ.

Right up to the present day, I generally like the pixel art in Andro Dunos 2 (let down a little by some slightly shoddy console ports). I've been playing Steel Assault recently which isn't a shmup but is a great example of how good an arcade inspired action game can look with excellent backgrounds and intermission screens.

Theme-wise, I don't mind anime influences, for example Progear has some gorgeous artwork, but lolis...PLEASE no more lolis, ever. It's just embarassing.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:55 pm 


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I believe the last wow-moments for me were Deathsmiles (went through the night on the 360) and Crimzon Clover, which just blew me away for its intensity
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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 5:08 pm 



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Posts: 87
StrzxgvNuvWvfld wrote:
I certainly struggle to think of many 3D shmups I like the look of. Ikaruga, Gradius V, perhaps Borderdown.

...

Theme-wise, I don't mind anime influences, for example Progear has some gorgeous artwork, but lolis...PLEASE no more lolis, ever. It's just embarassing.


I love the late 90s/early 00s 3D shmup aesthetic (all DC/Naomi shmups pretty much, Raystorm, Strania, that sort of stuff). Agree that lolis can get right in the fucking sea- I refunded Sisters Royale for that reason, which is a shame, cos underneath is a decent game but the whole thing just put me off.

I do like the look of Raiden III and IV though mind, I haven't played V so I can't comment on that one. Jamestown is gorgeous to look at, they absolutely nailed the palette on that one whereas some 'retro' styled smhups look too washed out; a limited palette is all well and good but the colours in it have to be right! See also Donut Dodo and Annalynn for correct colour choices (not shmups, but they get my point across).


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 7:31 pm 


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Good call on the recentish Raiden games. Those didn't wow exactly, but the graphics were very clean and fit the game very well, and there were no lolis, so altogether a great experience :)


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 11:52 pm 


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Under Defeat
Stills me wows how this game looks in a 21” tated computer crt through vga. Visuals, sounds and pacing are astonishing
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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 1:35 am 


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Danmaku Unlimited 3 really looks like it’s going to be the next STG to beat when it comes to graphics.
Everyone interested in this topic should check it out.

Edit- Danmaku Unlimited Wyver Ultra… not Danmaku Unlimited 3
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Last edited by kid aphex on Sun Oct 02, 2022 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 1:38 am 


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Location: Moai Zone
Here’s a link to the developer’s twitter
Check out his posts under the Media tab,
He pretty frequently posts clips of the game
(Work in progress, of course)

https://twitter.com/sunnysytam
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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 2:51 am 


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I'm about to go into contrarian mode here. Apologies in advance, but you guys are literally reciting the list of games I bought whose visual & aesthetic elements made me quit them.

Kollision wrote:
Crimzon Clover, which just blew me away for its intensity


Crimzon Clover is a well made game that certainly is very flashy. On the other hand, the resolution on its artwork makes it look really grainy & rough. But what really kills it for me is how utterly visually overloading it is. It was burning out my corneas after lengthy play sessions.

dark wrote:
Good call on the recentish Raiden games. Those didn't wow exactly, but the graphics were very clean and fit the game very well, and there were no lolis, so altogether a great experience :)


I legit thought Raiden V was a low budget PS3 era title until I looked it up, I feel like it's the poster child for bland polygon graphics, they just tried to sorta cover it with bloom effects. Add in the fact that it's a vertical shmup purposefully designed for console which only takes up 40% of the screen yet won't allow tate mode, the incessant chatter and bizarre, terribly translated wooden dialogue, and it's one of the most aesthetically offputting games I can think of. I want to strangle glasses lady for her passive aggressive putdowns any time you miss a single zako. With all that stuff going on I just couldn't stick out its pretty brutal length and difficulty.

Image

Bleh.

kid aphex wrote:
Danmaku Unlimited 3 really looks like it’s going to be the next STG to beat when it comes to graphics.
Everyone interested in this topic should check it out.


For a half decade old mobile game, it does look decent, and it is a solid pastiche of bullet hell mechanics. I would feel a lot better about it if the game didn't just feel like one long pink & purple & blue smear though. If we're talking about artwork, the backgrounds don't really account for much, the game's really more about lighting FX all over the place. This was another one where it was specifically the visual elements that made me bounce off it. I know Mark MSX is a fan, but he remarked a few times that there was only him & one other player on the leaderboards a year or so after it came out. So I can't be the only one who didn't get into it.

Image

Pictured: Pretty much what the whole game looks like.

R-Type Final 2 isn't a AAA game or perfect by any stretch, but I'll take it over any of those TBH.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 3:20 am 


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Eschatos looks generic in screen shots, but I really like how the backgrounds and obstacles occupy space in a 3D world. I think it's a nice hook and makes the game visually interesting.

I also really like the overall presentation of Border Down, but I think the visuals and music are kind of inseparable in that game. I'd probably really like that game if it wasn't for the stupid Border system and how you need to suicide to keep the rank from going insane. If that game was a Darius style, branching paths game, with traditional lives and a rebalanced rank system I think I would love it.
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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 3:04 am 


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I hate the excessive anime yeah, but I think there's still a lot of STG's, even the ones with weeb shit that's really striking.

Devil Engine has a contrast issue, but the designs and animations in that game were some of the most wild, genuinely "video game-y" things I've seen in a LONG time. What is it called, the Ikki-Tursou? The stage 4 mid boss? That's the kind of STG design I'm always wanting to see more of. Just insane designs but still have clear well contextualized functions communicating an impending action to the player. It's tremendous.

And while at this point it's very old, I still think Crimzon Clover is gorgeous for the same reasons. Those bosses are some larger than life monstrosities with a lot of power. And the visual effects are spectacular.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 4:11 am 


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Came to say Under Defeat.
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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 10:48 am 


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Under Defeat first came to arcades 17 years ago. :lol:

Only on shmups forum can a game that's going on 20 years old be brought up as an example of modern graphics. But I like that lol. Dad Gaymers 4 life


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 11:58 am 


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Rastan78 wrote:
Under Defeat first came to arcades 17 years ago. :lol:

Only on shmups forum can a game that's going on 20 years old be brought up as an example of modern graphics. But I like that lol. Dad Gaymers 4 life


Well, comparatively modern. :P
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heli wrote:
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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 4:46 pm 


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My vote goes to Pawarumi because I love the ancient astronauts artstyle. Ships and ancient mechas made out of stone and energy - awesome and original.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 5:04 pm 


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cj iwakura wrote:
Rastan78 wrote:
Under Defeat first came to arcades 17 years ago. :lol:

Only on shmups forum can a game that's going on 20 years old be brought up as an example of modern graphics. But I like that lol. Dad Gaymers 4 life


Well, comparatively modern. :P


I mean, you can date incipient proto-modernity to the Song Dynasty in the 11th century if you want to, so you're good.


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 Post subject: Re: Modern shmup artwork
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 5:05 pm 


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Location: Moai Zone
Quote:

For a half decade old mobile game, it does look decent, and it is a solid pastiche of bullet hell mechanics. I would feel a lot better about it if the game didn't just feel like one long pink & purple & blue smear though. If we're talking about artwork, the backgrounds don't really account for much, the game's really more about lighting FX all over the place. This was another one where it was specifically the visual elements that made me bounce off it. I know Mark MSX is a fan, but he remarked a few times that there was only him & one other player on the leaderboards a year or so after it came out. So I can't be the only one who didn't get into it.



You are totally right.
I made a mistake and meant Danmaku Unlimited 4 aka Danmaku Unlimited: Wyver Ultra
It’s currently in development

Check out the vids in the twitter profile of the developer I linked above.
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