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 Post subject: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master System
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:40 pm 


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Joined: 26 Jan 2005
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As participants in the recreational programming thread already know, I make games for the Sega Master System. My latest one is a score-attack shmup. It's heavily inspired by the caravan modes in Hudson's classic Star Soldier series, naturally. Thematically, it's more akin to the likes of TwinBee or (to a lesser extent) Parodius, though.

I know there are quite a few fans of caravan shmups around here, so hopefully, you'll enjoy this.

Get it here:
http://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/FlightOfPigarus-SMS


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:10 pm 


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Wow. That looks really good HS:D Will try later tonight!
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:13 pm 


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Really enjoyable! I've just played a few rounds on emulator and I loved the presentation and gameplay.

A couple ideas which just came into mind while playing the game: give time extends every X points (this means that the game loops from the start after the boss) and change the first button from a simple "speed change" to a kind of laser similar to dodonpachi, where your shots get concentrated in front of you at the expense of speed.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:34 pm 


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The graphics look stunning! I don't have a flashcart yet, but I will have to download the ROM to try on an emulator later on. Looks neat!
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:50 am 


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donluca wrote:
Really enjoyable! I've just played a few rounds on emulator and I loved the presentation and gameplay.

Thank you.

donluca wrote:
A couple ideas which just came into mind while playing the game: give time extends every X points (this means that the game loops from the start after the boss) and change the first button from a simple "speed change" to a kind of laser similar to dodonpachi, where your shots get concentrated in front of you at the expense of speed.

Those are interesting ideas. Maybe if I ever decide to make a sequel. I have no such plans at the moent, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:06 pm 


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It looks and plays wonderfully. Nice job, nice to see the SMS can still kick it. :D
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:51 am 


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Yay, more Caravan! Looking forward to give it a go.
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:25 am 


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While the (probably terrible) Retroarch emulators I used gave me too much input lag and slippery controls to properly enjoy it, I have to say it's a nice game, with its colorful and quirky visual style and classic caravan style gameplay.

So far I only have two bits of criticism :
-The music is a bit too mellow and peaceful for what should be a pretty intense speed-kill focused game
-That's probably due to following the Star Soldier formula to a T, but there are situations where increasing your power level feels like a regression in some ways, especially with the loss of the twin forward shot for a forward three-way. Against the 2 min mode's boss for example, if you get hit once and lose the max power, it seems more efficient to get hit again on purpose just to get another power level with a twin forward shot that can hit the core for double damage. Of course, the final power level is still optimal but everything in between may not always be gradually stronger.
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:02 pm 


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Thank you.

M.Knight wrote:
The music is a bit too mellow and peaceful for what should be a pretty intense speed-kill focused game

To be perfectly honest, I'm just happy to have been able to squeeze half-decent music out of that piece of junk that is the Master System's PSG at all. I see what you mean, but I wanted to go for a sort of circus-y feel instead of a more typical adrenalyn-laden shmup music style. I just hope it's not too inappropriate.

M.Knight wrote:
That's probably due to following the Star Soldier formula to a T, but there are situations where increasing your power level feels like a regression in some ways, especially with the loss of the twin forward shot for a forward three-way. Against the 2 min mode's boss for example, if you get hit once and lose the max power, it seems more efficient to get hit again on purpose just to get another power level with a twin forward shot that can hit the core for double damage. Of course, the final power level is still optimal but everything in between may not always be gradually stronger.

Yes, that's due to the prevalent Star Soldier influences. During the levels, the powerups are always an improvement, because you gain better crowd control, but at the bosses, powering down on purpose can indeed be the better strategy. That's at least partially intentional, though. I want the players to play aggressively and risk something at the bosses, not play defensively and attack them with angled shots from the sides.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:22 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
To be perfectly honest, I'm just happy to have been able to squeeze half-decent music out of that piece of junk that is the Master System's PSG at all. I see what you mean, but I wanted to go for a sort of circus-y feel instead of a more typical adrenalyn-laden shmup music style. I just hope it's not too inappropriate.


Aww, I like the PSG :D It's pretty basic though. Did you do your own music engine? The thing's pretty capable if you put things like arps, echos, and use the bass hack when possible. Planning to check your game out on real hw today! It looks great.
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:13 am 


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Pretty cool. Now SMS has an answer to NES Blade Buster...

I have an Action Fighter cartridge with an EEPROM in it. Does this use the same bank-switching scheme?


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:24 pm 


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louisg wrote:
Aww, I like the PSG :D It's pretty basic though. Did you do your own music engine? The thing's pretty capable if you put things like arps, echos, and use the bass hack when possible.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but the impossibility of changing the wave form and the lack of a proper bass range make it really hard to create something pleasing.

The engine I use is PSGlib, which one of the talented guys over at smspower has developed. It's a beautiful solution for both music replay and sound effects. The sound data takes up a bit of space, but the player of PSGlib is super-fast, so that's been my go-to solution from the beginning. For creating the music I used Sneventracker, a version of 0CC-Famitacker specially taylored to the PSG.

ED-057 wrote:
I have an Action Fighter cartridge with an EEPROM in it. Does this use the same bank-switching scheme?

I'm not so much into the hardware side of things, but I don't think so. As far as I know, Action Fighter is one of the early titles that use the 315-5208 paging chip, which only works with 1 Megabit games, whereas Pigarus is a 2 Megabit game that would require a 315-5235. What certainly won't work with an EEPROM cartridge based on a donor board are the highscore saves and the replays, because I use the full 32KB of SRAM Sega's specifications allow for, but there is no commercially released game that ever used more than 8KB.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:09 pm 


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I gave the game a try on the Genesis with the Mega Everdrive and it works great. Very fun game. Some of the best graphics I have seen on the system too.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:18 pm 


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BrianC wrote:
I gave the game a try on the Genesis with the Mega Everdrive and it works great. Very fun game. Some of the best graphics I have seen on the system too.

I really don't understand how a hobbyist developer in his freetime was able to make a game that looks and runs better than 99% of the commercials games released on the system by teams of professional developers who had access to official documentation and support.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:05 pm 


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If I recall correctly, Sega were notorious for giving their internal development teams just three months to finish a game, reagrdless of its content. Knowing that, it's no surprise that most of the stuff that used the hardware well or even pushed it came from third party developers (e.g. Taito, Compile, Westone).

I still occasionally dream of an alternative past where Nintendo's iron grip on third party developers had lessened a few years earlier, and Konami had poured all the Z80 wizardry acquired by working on the MSX range of computers into SMS development.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:31 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
If I recall correctly, Sega were notorious for giving their internal development teams just three months to finish a game, reagrdless of its content. Knowing that, it's no surprise that most of the stuff that used the hardware well or even pushed it came from third party developers (e.g. Taito, Compile, Westone).

I still occasionally dream of an alternative past where Nintendo's iron grip on third party developers had lessened a few years earlier, and Konami had poured all the Z80 wizardry acquired by working on the MSX range of computers into SMS development.


Damn, I didn't realize the time period was so short for Sega's internal games. That explains a LOT. I'm amazed they were able to pull off something like Fantasy Zone 2 now.
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 Post subject: Re: Flight of Pigarus - caravan shmup for the Sega Master Sy
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:19 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
To be perfectly honest, I'm just happy to have been able to squeeze half-decent music out of that piece of junk that is the Master System's PSG at all. I see what you mean, but I wanted to go for a sort of circus-y feel instead of a more typical adrenalyn-laden shmup music style. I just hope it's not too inappropriate.

I checked a few other SMS soundtracks to compare and yeah it doesn't seem like the sound capabilities of that machine were the best around, though maybe I haven't checked enough games to have an accurate idea.
Having some more relaxed music can work but I fear there isn't enough catchiness to it here to compensate. The tracks would fit a slow-paced RPG a lot more IMO.

Herr Schatten wrote:
Yes, that's due to the prevalent Star Soldier influences. During the levels, the powerups are always an improvement, because you gain better crowd control, but at the bosses, powering down on purpose can indeed be the better strategy. That's at least partially intentional, though. I want the players to play aggressively and risk something at the bosses, not play defensively and attack them with angled shots from the sides.

It's fair to want the players to play in riskier ways for score, especially in a caravan shmup. That said, I think the power-down mechanic only comes into play after you have already taken a hit. At max power, you'll always have the twin forward shot (on top of the side shots) so you'll already try to stay in front of the boss as often as possible to quick-kill it.
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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.

Remote Weapon GunFencer - My shmup project


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