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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:49 am 


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Let's hope so. The tiny bit of DSiWare never available on 3DS is on its last legs. Asphalt 4 and stuff.
No clue who might've backed up the iQue ones for that matter, but I don't read Chinese.


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:02 am 


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The shmups community, and Steam ? Not really the same culture and demographics. I think this hasn't really changed and never will.

I don't mean there's an absolute/airtight border between the two, there's a bridge, but it will always remain a narrow one.
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:58 pm 


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I own a few (mostly borrowed, western region too so most shmups don't work) consoles but still play pretty much only on PC as consoles never clicked with me past the NES in the 90s, good Steam ports like Ikaruga let me seriously get into some shmups which aren't emulated well and go for high scores I wouldn't reach otherwise, that said a lot of other ports have issues at least on release, it seems there's a will to seize the PC shmup market but not necessarily the manpower or resources, at least not yet.

Remembrance wrote:
(...)
One way Steam can potentially change the genre is to drive developers to think of more creative ways to fit vertical shooters onto horizontal monitors, while making use of that extra space (and I don't mean just filling them up with talking heads like Cave did with Saidaioujou). It may sound superficial (and self-defeating if you TATE all the time), but there's got to be room for experimentation.


It's pretty hard to innovate and stay close to the traditional formula, one type of attempt to do both is with "dual-battlefield" shmups, like Dimension Drive.

That said I think traditional vertical shmups with 4:3 gameplay and multiple 16:9 display modes can be a pretty robust package:
- they use about as much of the screen as is sensible for gameplay (for vertical shmups with 1-2 players)
- can have a mode for 4:3 displays, by just including all the interface elements in the main gameplay area
- can have multiple modes for 16:9/16:10 displays for all tastes, where the edges of the gameplay area can show background graphics for a cinematic feel, artwork, or extra interface elements


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:18 pm 


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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Look at how the Nintendo


stopped reading there, sorry
can't compare steam to a company that still can't grasp how digital distribution should be handled


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:55 pm 


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If you'd finished reading the sentence, you would've realized it was a condemnation.
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:14 pm 


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MattPaprocki wrote:
Hey everyone,

I'm working on a story for PC Gamer about Steam and SHMUPs/STGs. I'm looking to get a feeling from the community on where the genre stands with regards to Steam. e.g., is Steam a good platform for the genre? How do you feel about the rush of indie genre games on the service? Is Steam good or bad for these games? What has Steam done to change the genre (if anything) in your opinion? I've reached out to developers, so now it's your turn.

Steam essentially is modelled on the 'rental system'. The chief issue for me is that I wish to own the software copy outright. I have no interest in being at the mercy of a company allowing me to use what I paid for - I am only interested in the buy model - I wish to be able to play it for many, many years to come and have no restrictions placed on me as to where i install the software/use the software. Steam already places far, far too many restrictions that leave me cold.

I take the long-term outlook and as such would never buy any titles on Steam.

However, I realise that it may simply be convenient for many shmuppers to be able to play titles through Steam. It just isn't for me.

I feel that the overheads are lower so this attracts many developers who would struggle otherwise to distribute their titles.

Steam has not really done anything to change the STG genre - it goes back way beyond Steam and will outlive Steam. The very tenets of STG go right to the 1970s and the purity is not likely to be affected: a hard shmup is still that, a well designed shmup is still that. If anything, it merely allows the curious and new to the STG genre an opportunity to play Shmups but then, we have had decent emulation such as Mame for a very long time now so why would I wish to play a Shmup on Steam that I could play on the original hardware or an emulator?

You can ask developers but I dare say nearly all of them will be 'current' as in most of the old-timers have most likely retired or moved on so in a way the opinions of many of these current developers are more likely to support Steam as a platform.

If you think back to the doujin movements in Japan whereby titles were distributed on physical media you have to ask if that can really compete against Steam. I think it actually could. The STG scene is sometimes fairly underground as it is with lots of fan driven activity. It would take a great deal for Steam to replace that 'culture' if you like.

For me the notion of playing for score and such really harkens back to the Arcades and although Steam can at least attempt to emulate that spirit I doubt it will surpass it.
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:17 am 


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trap15 wrote:
If you'd finished reading the sentence, you would've realized it was a condemnation.


Sure, but it's guesswork at best. We're only assuming what will most likely happen when the Wii shop closes.
They could defy all odds and refund people or what not.


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:23 am 



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ciox wrote:
It's pretty hard to innovate and stay close to the traditional formula, one type of attempt to do both is with "dual-battlefield" shmups, like Dimension Drive.

That said I think traditional vertical shmups with 4:3 gameplay and multiple 16:9 display modes can be a pretty robust package:
- they use about as much of the screen as is sensible for gameplay (for vertical shmups with 1-2 players)
- can have a mode for 4:3 displays, by just including all the interface elements in the main gameplay area
- can have multiple modes for 16:9/16:10 displays for all tastes, where the edges of the gameplay area can show background graphics for a cinematic feel, artwork, or extra interface elements


Thanks for reminding me that Dimension Drive is due this year - I'm looking forward to it exactly because it's trying something new on this front.

MintyTheCat wrote:
For me the notion of playing for score and such really harkens back to the Arcades and although Steam can at least attempt to emulate that spirit I doubt it will surpass it.


That's something worth pointing out. Steam is not going to cultivate the culture of playing to get on a leaderboard, which is so central to this genre. Just the concept of global internet leaderboards is a self-contradiction: the fewer people care about a leaderboard, the more relevant it actually becomes for serious players.

First, the vast majority of people assume they will be buried irrelevantly low on the leaderboards and so will just never try. (Ironically, this leads to tons of actual games with underpopulated leaderboards where you can get to the top with barely any effort...)

Second, the PC as an open platform means you can never stop a determined cheater from faking a score (or at least it's not worth it to invest in serious score integrity measures for most games). So you rely on nobody caring enough about the game to go so far as to cheat.

So most game leaderboards stagnate with stale scores because there is no real active competition at any given time. You're not going to work to beat someone's high score from three years ago. And look at Steam Leaderboards, probably among the most ignored features of the Steam API; nobody really knows or cares if Steam Leaderboards are left out or left half-implemented, as is the case with a lot of shmups.

But people do play games competitively and compare scores, and it's mostly done these days by uploading videos. Steam is far from having the video sharing integration of the PS4, but being able to upload replays directly to Youtube from a shmup could go a long way towards actual competition.


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:51 am 


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Remembrance wrote:
That's something worth pointing out. Steam is not going to cultivate the culture of playing to get on a leaderboard, which is so central to this genre. Just the concept of global internet leaderboards is a self-contradiction: the fewer people care about a leaderboard, the more relevant it actually becomes for serious players.

First, the vast majority of people assume they will be buried irrelevantly low on the leaderboards and so will just never try. (Ironically, this leads to tons of actual games with underpopulated leaderboards where you can get to the top with barely any effort...)

Second, the PC as an open platform means you can never stop a determined cheater from faking a score (or at least it's not worth it to invest in serious score integrity measures for most games). So you rely on nobody caring enough about the game to go so far as to cheat.

So most game leaderboards stagnate with stale scores because there is no real active competition at any given time. You're not going to work to beat someone's high score from three years ago. And look at Steam Leaderboards, probably among the most ignored features of the Steam API; nobody really knows or cares if Steam Leaderboards are left out or left half-implemented, as is the case with a lot of shmups.

None of these are problems unique to the PC platform, except maybe the cheating one (I've seen hacked scores afflict some leaderboards but not some others, even relatively popular shmups such as Crimzon Clover and Astebreed), and they even apply to arcade games nowadays. Just throw in a "friends" filter (or even a filter by Steam group, if the Steam API supports that) and you can get a much more personal/localized leaderboard if you want. But I don't think that would make people care a lot more about scoring either.

No matter how you present your game, it's always going to be a small fraction of players who actually care enough to keep playing the game over and over again. With the "buy once, play forever or until Steam goes out of business" model, having dedicated players doesn't even help the developers financially. So if shmups are to survive and do good business on Steam, their core appeal can't be in the leaderboards unless you plan on monetizing the hardcore players through some ad or microtransaction program (which is basically what coin-op arcades do), and their core selling point can't be in the replay value afforded by leaderboards. Deep scoring mechanics with high skill ceilings may give those players more to do, but they do little to grow the audience interested in scoring and replaying the game in the first place. Even if there's no skill to improve or if it's literally a movie, some people will still replay the game. Not only is Steam not going to "cultivate the culture of playing to get on a leaderboard," but it doesn't make sense for developers to highlight that mentality either, lest they convey the message that their game is good because it, like many other games, has a leaderboard, and if I like the game enough to try for a high score than I will find the game worthwhile (when is that not true?).
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Last edited by Shepardus on Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:21 am 


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Refined gameplay and deep scoring mechanics aren't the only things that make shmups and video games in general interesting to play, and play over anyway.

Simplistic gameplay-design yet an overall polished and addictive game is an even more difficult formula to achieve for developers.
The problem with Steam is that if they listen to us there'll be more games for the niche dedicated players, and if they listen only to the indie-Steamy scene there'll be more simplistic yet for most uninteresting or quickly forgettable titles.
I know there are some true gems in the middle of it but heh, not there yet for a headsturner library.

Porting moar things coming from the arcades and console world could be seen as the 'safe' selection, for us, maybe not for the primarily Steam audience.
But as always the problem with straight ports is that they aren't that much more interesting compared to new - even of poor quality - games. Because a lot of people have played the old games in their time or throught emulation already.

It's kind of going in circles, I can't picture any particularily good solution for Steam, aside from bring more games in general, yet slow down the "greelight every even remotely shmuppy-looking game" strain.
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:25 am 


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Porting also inevitably draws comparisons to the other versions of the game, as we've seen with CAVE and their issues with slowdown. With an original game you at least have the freedom to do whatever, though that's also what makes ports safer and cheaper to develop - it's already clear what the end product should be. I do appreciate that ports have allowed me to play some games I wouldn't have been able to otherwise, but it's the new games that really define the state of shmups (and other games) on Steam. It's one thing to sell a game that's already well-known on other platforms, but it's something else to build an audience on Steam from scratch and sell a game that hasn't already proven itself.
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:41 pm 



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Shepardus wrote:
None of these are problems unique to the PC platform, except maybe the cheating one (I've seen hacked scores afflict some leaderboards but not some others, even relatively popular shmups such as Crimzon Clover and Astebreed), and they even apply to arcade games nowadays. Just throw in a "friends" filter (or even a filter by Steam group, if the Steam API supports that) and you can get a much more personal/localized leaderboard if you want. But I don't think that would make people care a lot more about scoring either.

No matter how you present your game, it's always going to be a small fraction of players who actually care enough to keep playing the game over and over again. With the "buy once, play forever or until Steam goes out of business" model, having dedicated players doesn't even help the developers financially. So if shmups are to survive and do good business on Steam, their core appeal can't be in the leaderboards unless you plan on monetizing the hardcore players through some ad or microtransaction program (which is basically what coin-op arcades do), and their core selling point can't be in the replay value afforded by leaderboards. Deep scoring mechanics with high skill ceilings may give those players more to do, but they do little to grow the audience interested in scoring and replaying the game in the first place. Even if there's no skill to improve or if it's literally a movie, some people will still replay the game. Not only is Steam not going to "cultivate the culture of playing to get on a leaderboard," but it doesn't make sense for developers to highlight that mentality either, lest they convey the message that their game is good because it, like many other games, has a leaderboard, and if I like the game enough to try for a high score than I will find the game worthwhile (when is that not true?).


This is the kind of thinking that's needed to break out of the kind of futile cycle you see on Steam forums all the time:

"I beat it in half an hour, now what?"
"Now play for 1CCs/score"

Which doesn't end up convincing anyone that they should actually do those things.

(Yes, this is another problem that's not exclusive to Steam. But Steam conveniently lets you see all these problems in one place.)

Xydonia might get one step closer to giving the non-hardcore players a good reason to replay, by borrowing Star Fox's branching stage structure where you have to meet specific conditions to unlock the better paths. Star Fox 64 always stood out as one of the most replayable "short" games because it teased you with those paths you couldn't reach the first time, and with optional objectives that you probably failed the first few times. They're also borrowing the in-level radio chatter, which also worked in favor of replayability in Star Fox because they made each stage more memorable, and were simple (and cheesy) enough to not be distracting or repetitious.

And yes, I like deep scoring mechanics as much as anyone here, but the average player will appreciate them as much as a wine tasting. When I look at my shmup collection on Steam, it's still "do I want to play the game with grazing, or the game with bullet-canceling, or the game with chaining, or the game with the special gauge", etc.


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:00 am 


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As long as less "indie" games starring sprites 7 pixels tall centring around an "emotional" journey are greenlit we'll all be better off. 8)
I can only take so many moody contrarian narratives centering around a square in a 32x24 resolution.

Now keep in mind I'm still offering my "indie sprite template kit" which consists of the sprite template below ($19.99)!
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:56 pm 


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MattPaprocki wrote:
Hey everyone,

I'm working on a story for PC Gamer about Steam and SHMUPs/STGs. I'm looking to get a feeling from the community on where the genre stands with regards to Steam. e.g., is Steam a good platform for the genre? How do you feel about the rush of indie genre games on the service? Is Steam good or bad for these games? What has Steam done to change the genre (if anything) in your opinion? I've reached out to developers, so now it's your turn.

I appreciate any responses. If you DON'T want your response in the article, do note as such, but feel free to contribute regardless. I'd still love to hear your thoughts.

If you prefer, you can DM me for a chat.

Thanks!


When might we expect to see this hit the shelves?
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:26 am 


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http://www.pcgamer.com/how-steam-brough ... naissance/


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:42 am 


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clippa wrote:
http://www.pcgamer.com/how-steam-brought-shmups-out-of-arcades-and-into-a-new-pc-renaissance/

Quote:
Shoot-em-ups have a language all their own. Here are some words you'll want to know.
...
Bullet Hell: A genre defined by enemy bullet patterns with few safe spaces.
...
Traditional: There’s a communal debate about the exact term, but traditional refers to shmups styled like those prior to the advent of bullet hell. Less intense.

It's official: 90's style shooters (as they call it) are for pussies. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:54 am 


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Xyga wrote:
It's official: 90's style shooters (as they call it) are for pussies. :lol:

...and Touhou is as vital a key word as "horizontal".

Equally as depressing (as the thing Xyga mentioned) is the fact that non-bullet-hell shmups are regarded as "the old ones". We really need more of them.


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 Post subject: Re: SHMUPs PC Gamer Piece
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:11 am 


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To be fair, that's a really easy impression to get. I often see people who are otherwise into arcade shmups declare that they aren't into those newfangled shooties which have way too much stuff going on, and as a result rarely look beyond the early 90s.
I think actually getting rid of the term "bullet hell" entirely, and not using it to define a dividing line between two types of shmups, would be a huge service to the genre. But it's probably a little late for that.


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