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 Post subject: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:53 am 



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I know we're all SHMUP enthusiasts here, I know we're a big fan of classical arcade type of SHMUPS. While this will be a big part of me forever :) I've been wondering how this genre - which has unfortunately shown a declining reputation amongst the new generations - be revived while still keeping its core elements. How can it perhaps attract or invite people who are not your typical enthusiast to give SHMUPS a go and what should a modern SHMUP offer for this to happen?

I guess a new approach to a genre we love so much wouldn't hurt - and I'm up for seeing new things coming up... but let's be honest, there aren't too many people making these type of games anymore! What are your views on this and what is it that you would want to see in a modern SHMUP?
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Last edited by bestivick on Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:00 am 


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When games have 2D mechanics, I want them to have appropriate 2D graphics (rejection of 2.5D garbage as the decades-long mistake it always was should be our new "modern" standard), and I want to more shooters adhering to arcade design principles. I'm sorry but I don't care at all about the genre's reputation among people who refuse to appreciate good action game design. If these people eventually learn to do so, they will inevitably find themselves drawn towards this genre like the rest of us have been. I want these games to cater to people like myself, who actually like them as they are, rather than pander to those who don't.

Now arcade design principles don't necessarily mean you have to copy something you might find in an arcade to a tee. There are certain unnecessary things like braindead loops, hidden adaptive difficulty systems, and extremely low 1up limitations that could be jettisoned from the genre forever, making it more inviting to newcomers without any harm done to the hardcore players--who are going to go for those highest scores, impose those no-death limitations on themselves, and play on the highest difficulties anyway with or without a game telling them to do so.

To condense my argument to a single recommendation, every new shooter developer needs to study Hellsinker as a master class on applied innovations that flatten the difficulty curve for newcomers without detracting from the hardcore depth enthusiasts are seeking.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:53 pm 


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I think a modern shmup would have 3d graphics and fill up a widescreen display, like under defeat HD or 1942 on ps3. Alternatively it would be something with psuedo 8 bit graphics on pico 8.

I was about to say that the era of shmups being released in Japanese arcades seems to be basically over, but then I remembered reading about some kind of new game center hardware that was being developed a year or two ago, advertised as the new neo geo in terms of running multiple games on the hardware, and the sizzle real for that hardware showed several shmups.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:42 pm 


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$10 mobile games ported to arcade hardware and sold for $4000.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:53 pm 



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MathU, I thought for sure you were going to say that a modern shmup is digital and doesn't have DRM.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:59 pm 


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MathU wrote:
Now arcade design principles don't necessarily mean you have to copy something you might find in an arcade to a tee. There are certain unnecessary things like braindead loops, hidden adaptive difficulty systems, and extremely low 1up limitations that could be jettisoned from the genre forever, making it more inviting to newcomers without any harm done to the hardcore players--who are going to go for those highest scores, impose those no-death limitations on themselves, and play on the highest difficulties anyway with or without a game telling them to do so.


WELL SAID MATHU (`ω´メ) I BOLDED THE RLY GOOD BIT

Examples of this include Gimmick! and Contra Spirits which give extends out the ass, but NO self-respecting playa is gonna settle for slumming it on them! Thus, chopping their extend rate and slapping on a time limit would see both ready for arcade cabs! That is good noob-friendly action game design imho, let 'em have their D-ranked shitclears while buff men of war bring home the S-rank bacons Image
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:12 am 



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I'm just in it for the classics and updates to the classics. I'm only looking forward to R-TYPE Final 2.

I would like to see more defunct series get a new shot on modern hardware. Give it analog or touch controls if you have to inject something new to it, but don't change everything or make it weird like Otomedius.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:42 am 


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Billions and billions of gadgets filling the sides of the screen. I have no idea what half this stuff is, but when it's all turned on I feel super elite playing this ultra complex looking game.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:26 pm 


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This conversation is interesting, as I have been also considering this.

I guess that the fundamental difference of tone with the question is: should you want to find new audience that could handle and like hard core shmups, and keep the genre "pure", or should you make it more appealing to other modern audience - the ones who don't appreciate "action game design".

Ultimately, as for developing a new game, the question will inevitably be tied to finances, unfortunately. Making a shmup with modern product values - shiny 3D graphics and effects and enough content, will be too expensive to cater for the hardcore enthusiasts. Having a From Software - type of revival with shmups feels like a sweet thought, but even Cave was not able to pull it off, and neither Housemarque. That won't prevent people from having all kinds of opinions, though.

As for myself, I personally really, really appreciate the adaptive difficulty of Gradius games. With little bit of tuning, I believe they would provide the best way of attracting new players, and it is probably something I would seek out to do if given chance. It's disappointing to find out that it is actually a likely pet peeve for some hardcore enthusiasts.

Then again, some people are so picky here that I am not sure if I could be able to do a shmup that everyone here could appreciate.

I have no doubt that Hellsinker is a really, really good game, but I am not sure if I want to use it as an literal example on how to attract more people into shmups. This being said, I definitely do agree that any updated modern shmup SHOULD have deep layers of gameplay mechanics embedded in it! Preferably, something that looks simple on the surface but has lot you can learn over time. What I don't agree is that it should bitch slap every new comer into oblivion on their first try.

Then of course, all this is just academic..


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:52 pm 


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It should have vector art only, including fonts.

I also try made shmup games and this is what i think :
With the power of todays computers i would add to much so you see nothing no more,
now another layer is needed, to make things visible again.
All danger close will have a target indicator drawn above all explosions items and bullets.
The player has a indicator so it is visible again.

Lets say you only see gadgets, it makes the game playable again.

So the bullets i divide into useless smaller ones that dont do damage, and the big "normal" ones that do damage.
Basicly there is always harmless action going on, 2 armys shooting at eachother,
and you are the super big gunship.
Your ship wont be damaged from small bullets, and the enemy also not.

I know computers can handle all this today.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:53 pm 



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Going by personal experience ZeroRanger is by far the most successful recent shmup I can think of in terms of its appeal to both casual players and genre ignorami. I put this down to two things:
1. It has huge style factor and
2. Despite the many nostalgia bait references, its gameplay is neither retrograde "wow spaceship go pewpew" nor incestuous danmaku vomit. It's something much closer to traditional action game design where you have clearly defined tools and you're expected to apply them properly to solve a problem. This is much more comprehensible to the average person who has no idea how to cutback on three asynchronous streams or recover on a boss checkpoint with zero resources.

As has been alluded to already, a crucial factor is scalability. Thankfully this is pretty well-accepted these days. Games which are easy to shitclear but hard to score clear, games with sensible difficulty settings or adaptive difficulty which isn't obtuse or bullshit, and consistently hard games with well-integrated scoreplay all fall under this banner. They all allow for a granular approach to learning which isn't dependent on beating you up until you run out of quarters. Of course, you can still play like that if that's your thing.
MJR wrote:
Making a shmup with modern product values - shiny 3D graphics and effects and enough content, will be too expensive to cater for the hardcore enthusiasts.

Frankly, I see this as a hopelessly outdated view: shiny 3D graphics are cheap and easy. They're also generic and bad at conveying information. Pseudo-low resolutions, limited color palettes, and distinctive art styles have been huge in the indie scene for years, and other genres have seen massive success with such games. Repetitive "roguelites" and quasi-arcade games have likewise been popular despite often lacking assets. Watering down a genre for the sake of a hypothetical wider audience has always been a losing move - but sometimes someone has the presence of mind to isolate the really appealing stuff from the restrictions or mistakes of the past, and that's how popularity increases.

I would be interested to see how a total beginner approaches Hellsinker. It's not a terribly complicated game by objective standards (as opposed to shmup standards) and a basic clear isn't too demanding. In a way, coming in without any preconceptions of what you're supposed to be doing might help.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:46 am 


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MathU wrote:
To condense my argument to a single recommendation, every new shooter developer needs to study Hellsinker as a master class on applied innovations that flatten the difficulty curve for newcomers without detracting from the hardcore depth enthusiasts are seeking.

Definitely agree. There's a lot of stuff in Hellsinker that's built to accommodate newbies without compromising high-level play, though the one I'm most impressed with is Terra and the Shrine of Farewell. Terra drops very quickly if the player dies too much in a short span of time, so players in serious trouble will encounter the Shrine earlier and have a risk-free opportunity to refill their lives there. A timely Spirit Breakthrough also saved my skin in a Fossilmaiden non-scoring run once, when I was down to one life in Segment 8. I got it before getting to Unnamed 290, and thanks to that I managed to refill my lives and face down Glitched Kareidoscope.
There's also the various survivability-related attacks that each character/shot type has, which can be loosed freely were one playing merely to get a clear. For score play though, that isn't the case.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:56 am 


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MJR wrote:
Making a shmup with modern product values - shiny 3D graphics and effects and enough content, will be too expensive to cater for the hardcore enthusiasts.


Lethe wrote:
Frankly, I see this as a hopelessly outdated view: shiny 3D graphics are cheap and easy. They're also generic and bad at conveying information. Pseudo-low resolutions, limited color palettes, and distinctive art styles have been huge in the indie scene for years, and other genres have seen massive success with such games. Repetitive "roguelites" and quasi-arcade games have likewise been popular despite often lacking assets. Watering down a genre for the sake of a hypothetical wider audience has always been a losing move - but sometimes someone has the presence of mind to isolate the really appealing stuff from the restrictions or mistakes of the past, and that's how popularity increases.
.


I dont' disagree with everything you say, however; your definition of "massive success" is hardly that when looking at it from the game industry angle. Most of the indie scene is using 2D pixel art with low resolution simply because it's low hanging fruit, easier to learn, execute, does not require massive skill or technical abilities, and the style is easy to copy as long as you understand basics and have at least an average drawing and rendering ability. Personally, I think they are simply playing on a "hip" trend, but they have never brought anything new to the table at all.
Also, yes, it's very true that 3D can be "cheap and easy", and also "bad at conveying information" if you don't know what you are doing, and most people don't know how to employ it well - it takes years of experience to understand and do well. Just as well as it is very difficult to make 2D art look brilliant.

And most of the so-called indie devs definitely don't make the 2D art look so good that you could jump on a top of soap box and state that 3D is defunct and outdated. It's more like, getting to do 3D well in these days is simply out of reach for indie studios, so they are doing the only thing that is financially sensible - which is to employ faux retro look.

Please bear in mind that I also like 2D art - well made 2D art - in shmups generally better than 3D. Because 2D is better for conveying personal style and expression (though it is not the case anywhere really, except maybe in cuphead, game which graphics and animation I admire very much). In my opinion, no one has simply employed 3D in shmups very well. Either the art style has been lacking or technical skills have been lacking because it is very difficult to gain sufficient knowledge of both, as making them can require different skill and mindset. I have also seen Zeroranger, but personally, I was not a fan of the art style. If you people like it and see it as the "future of shmups" that will bring more people to the genre, that's ok, but do not get disappointed if the rest of the world disagrees with you. I think Cuphead is the most succesful on bringing shmups and platforming for modern audiences, and they did that by doing something unique as trying to advance the presentation, not by looking back (though as a game, Cuphead is not my favourite). As for any 3D shmups that would look better than Zeroranger however, I don't think that there are any. But I think it could be done.

Furthermore, I would not try to tell any indie shmup dev how to make their games or do their graphics. There should be room for everything in this world, but in the context in this discussion, I am not sure I agree your definitions of "success", "outdated" or "popular", as I think they are highly biased and looked only from one viewpoint. I might have come off bit snarky in my post but I hope I did not sound antagonistic.. at least I tried to bring an example as what I define as success in terms of an 2D art style. And I say it is Cuphead.


Last edited by MJR on Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:46 am 


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It would have to look good in high resolutions*, that means - no upscaling; whichever rendering technique used, the graphics would have to be highly defined. I believe Rayman Origins and Legends proved it can be done with a traditional 2D gameplay genre. While I have reservations about how their shmup segments HANDLE, I've no such problems with their LOOKS. Furthermore, it would have to be a full widescreen spectacle. This rules out 4:3 screen proportions, unfortunately.

*) By this I don't necessarily mean highly DETAILED graphics. Something like Space Giraffe or Gridrunner Revolution looks and sounds good enough for me (although I played them on a 3:4 CRT).
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:59 pm 


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Derpy flash animation with art that looks like it was ripped out of a modern Robotech comic.... then shovel all that onto a "Limited Run" release with a fake plastic cart.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:05 pm 


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God-willing, they’ll ALL start looking like this
https://youtu.be/nVtVpv3Nj-Q

Quite tired of the current aesthetics, and even R-Type Final 2 is looking amateur... bring on Cygni

Also, I did like the look of Sine Mora.
Just the look.
Nothing else.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:32 pm 


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kid aphex wrote:
God-willing, they’ll ALL start looking like this
https://youtu.be/nVtVpv3Nj-Q

Quite tired of the current aesthetics, and even R-Type Final 2 is looking amateur... bring on Cygni

Also, I did like the look of Sine Mora.
Just the look.
Nothing else.


Agreed


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:00 pm 


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kid aphex wrote:
God-willing, they’ll ALL start looking like this
https://youtu.be/nVtVpv3Nj-Q

So another glowing neon mess full of distracting effects and lighting/transparency that obfuscate the actual game action? God willing, we finally toss this spectacle antithetical to 2D action into the dustbin of history where it belongs.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:12 pm 


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MathU wrote:
kid aphex wrote:
God-willing, they’ll ALL start looking like this
https://youtu.be/nVtVpv3Nj-Q

So another glowing neon mess full of distracting effects and lighting/transparency that obfuscate the actual game action? God willing, we finally toss this spectacle antithetical to 2D action into the dustbin of history where it belongs.


Nothing distracting about it to me. Maybe you’re just too old and ornery to keep up?
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:39 pm 



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kid aphex wrote:
MathU wrote:
kid aphex wrote:
God-willing, they’ll ALL start looking like this
https://youtu.be/nVtVpv3Nj-Q

So another glowing neon mess full of distracting effects and lighting/transparency that obfuscate the actual game action? God willing, we finally toss this spectacle antithetical to 2D action into the dustbin of history where it belongs.


Nothing distracting about it to me. Maybe you’re just too old and ornery to keep up?

I sort of agree with MathU on this point. While that trailer was flashy, I'm not sure I want every game looking like this.

The Gradius V esthetic is the furthest I would want to push into the 3D realm and flashy effects like Cygni does.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:09 pm 


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MathU wrote:
I want to more shooters adhering to arcade design principles. I'm sorry but I don't care at all about the genre's reputation among people who refuse to appreciate good action game design. If these people eventually learn to do so, they will inevitably find themselves drawn towards this genre like the rest of us have been. I want these games to cater to people like myself, who actually like them as they are, rather than pander to those who don't.


THIS. Words of utter wisdom.

kid aphex wrote:
God-willing, they’ll ALL start looking like this
https://youtu.be/nVtVpv3Nj-Q


This gives me sine mora vibes....

Lethe wrote:
Games which are easy to shitclear but hard to score clear


I find no joy in this. As I love playing a shmup first for survival, and then later trying to figure out score after getting the clear.

chempop wrote:
$10 mobile games ported to arcade hardware and sold for $4000.


Very funny! I can't abide mobile gaming in any form. Blasphemy to port a good shmup to mobile. It does it a disrespect. That's how I felt when I checked out DFK on mobile.

The best execution of something somewhat akin to this, is using a switch in tate mode with the flipgrip. Pure handheld shmupping bliss playing DDP on that thing. Though you'd need a hacked one to run retroarch on it.

What I want from modern shmups. Is more ZeroRanger, more CrimzonClover WI. Crimzon Clover blew me away, I did not think it was an indie shmup when I first saw it. Though to some people, the havoc on screen is off putting. It felt right at home for me.

I think we'll be seeing more STG makers in the future. Things like danmakufu. Engines that allow the non technically minded, to create shmups and share.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:55 pm 


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MathU wrote:
When games have 2D mechanics, I want them to have appropriate 2D graphics (rejection of 2.5D garbage as the decades-long mistake it always was should be our new "modern" standard)


I'd say "what about G-Darius and RayStorm?" but I seem to recall you disliking those games (or am I wrong?). :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:06 pm 


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I have yet to sink a lot of time into Raystorm (if I ever will), but G-Darius was a definite step down from Darius Gaiden. Problems in a number of stages arising from perspective issues and unclear collision zones were a direct result of their choice to use 3D graphics. And Darius Burst, made over a decade later, has some of the exact same problems! Those are smaller reasons they are inferior to Darius Gaiden however. :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:32 pm 


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prophetic wrote:
kid aphex wrote:

The Gradius V esthetic is the furthest I would want to push into the 3D realm and flashy effects like Cygni does.



Flashiness has it’s place.
Visually chaotic games offer their own kind of challenge to a part of your brain that’s very interesting to develop.
I find the ‘flow-state’ in these kinds of games much deeper and more rewarding.
(See high-level Geometry Wars 3 gameplay for an example)

Losing yourself in extremely complex visuals is the same as losing yourself in extremely complex gameplay mechanics.
Maybe it’s left/right brain?
I’m a righty.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:41 am 



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MJR wrote:
...

Sorry if I came off a bit aggressive in that post, it wasn't my intent.

The crux of the argument that I'm trying to make is that in the last few years, the niche of people receptive to non-AAA production has become way more significant. Obviously games with higher(-budget) production quality are going to be more successful on average, of course they are. But the current attitude is openly more pragmatic than it's been in a long while, and as long as a niche like that exists, you don't need to appeal to a "games industry" monolith to succeed. You only need to appeal to people who are willing to take a risk on the game. Everybody else can be ignored.
mastermx wrote:
I think we'll be seeing more STG makers in the future. Things like danmakufu. Engines that allow the non technically minded, to create shmups and share.

SHMUP Creator has been one in development for a while now and is currently in beta. AFAIK danmakufu is often a hilarious mess to work with so there's a good chance of this project being better.


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:38 am 


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Lethe wrote:
MJR wrote:
...

Sorry if I came off a bit aggressive in that post, it wasn't my intent.

The crux of the argument that I'm trying to make is that in the last few years, the niche of people receptive to non-AAA production has become way more significant. Obviously games with higher(-budget) production quality are going to be more successful on average, of course they are. But the current attitude is openly more pragmatic than it's been in a long while, and as long as a niche like that exists, you don't need to appeal to a "games industry" monolith to succeed. You only need to appeal to people who are willing to take a risk on the game. Everybody else can be ignored.
mastermx wrote:
I think we'll be seeing more STG makers in the future. Things like danmakufu. Engines that allow the non technically minded, to create shmups and share.

SHMUP Creator has been one in development for a while now and is currently in beta. AFAIK danmakufu is often a hilarious mess to work with so there's a good chance of this project being better.


What you say sounds good to me :)


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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:09 pm 


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Lethe wrote:
SHMUP Creator has been one in development for a while now and is currently in beta. AFAIK danmakufu is often a hilarious mess to work with so there's a good chance of this project being better.


I did not know of this. Looks pretty awesome. Are there are any notable games made with this maker that I should check out?
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:12 pm 


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MathU wrote:
I have yet to sink a lot of time into Raystorm (if I ever will), but G-Darius was a definite step down from Darius Gaiden. Problems in a number of stages arising from perspective issues and unclear collision zones were a direct result of their choice to use 3D graphics. And Darius Burst, made over a decade later, has some of the exact same problems! Those are smaller reasons they are inferior to Darius Gaiden however. :wink:


I'm wondering if the G-Darius HD version that will be coming out in February (assuming schedules are met) will correct some of those problems? Gaiden is awesome, but in terms of sheer mechanics, G has the edge, as the capture ball system is a pretty interesting step forward, and the super beam mechanic is a lot of fun to play with.
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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:51 pm 


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Joined: 12 Dec 2013
Posts: 1094
Location: France
mastermx wrote:
Lethe wrote:
SHMUP Creator has been one in development for a while now and is currently in beta. AFAIK danmakufu is often a hilarious mess to work with so there's a good chance of this project being better.


I did not know of this. Looks pretty awesome. Are there are any notable games made with this maker that I should check out?

The Nanoforce shmup project is using Shmup Creator :
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=67411
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RegalSin wrote:
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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 Post subject: Re: What does a modern SHMUP look like for you?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:55 pm 


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Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 2026
Location: Paranoia
FRO wrote:
Gaiden is awesome, but in terms of sheer mechanics, G has the edge, as the capture ball system is a pretty interesting step forward, and the super beam mechanic is a lot of fun to play with.

The capture and laser system in G-Darius seems deeper than Gaiden at a superficial level, but the reality is that in both survival play and especially score play the game devolves into some of the most rote of memorization. Fail to capture the proper enemy and fire its laser at just the right previously anticipated time and you're dead or you've missed out on a critical amount of points. Add to that a less forgiving weapon power-up system with dramatically reduced weapon variety (something Gaiden had previously made a huge improvement on compared to past games), no adaptive difficulty system, and less stages and bosses. Taken all together, I just don't think G-Darius measures up to Gaiden.
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