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 Post subject: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:59 pm 


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So, as mentioned in the index of developer friendly threads I wanted to start a discussion about avoiding gimmicks and overcomplexity in a shmup. This has partly stemmed from a discussion I've been having with BareKnuckleRoo regarding design philosophies behind a shmup. So, without further ado:


A shoot em up video game
Firstly, you're writing a video game. A video game. Games are supposed to be fun. Writing something that is actually fun is a very hard thing to do but should be your primary focus. You should be playing your shmup while you write it and if you find yourself getting bored - you need to address the fun factor. The exception to this would of course be Easy/Novice/Beginner modes that are designed to allow Joe Bloggs down the street to at least reach Stage 3 of your shmup before he has to really think too hard. Those modes can be unintense - but your default (i.e Regular Difficulty) should not be boring.

Secondly - although this is of equal importance... You are writing a shoot em up. In the french video - history of shmups, one of Caves developers made the best point ever that really stuck with me. A shoot 'em up at its core is about shooting enemies that explode in a satisfying way. This doesn't mean that you need to tart your game up to epic proportions so that every enemy explosion gushes with sparkles like Aphrodite mid coitus (!) - but there should be an element of satisfaction and responsiveness when your enemies blow up - even if that's just a satisfying crunch sound and a simple explosion ring.

That's the mindset you probably want to be in to write a good shmup. Fun and explosions.

Related Video:
Part1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AHhkq7p3Qw
Part2 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv7fCr6QFis
Part3 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-qFAtkCcIk


Scoring Systems
Scoring systems enhance the experience of a shmup on a different level that most casual players wont get. Using Street Fighter as an analogy - most players will start throwing a few fireballs and learning a couple of 2-3 hit combos. As they play the game more, they'll start learning about reversals and counters doing more damage. Towards the later stage of learning their character, they gain an understanding of how to extract the most from every situation. They never really stop learning and competing.

A modern shmup can be very competetive. It's you versus the machine on whatever difficulty you can manage. Take Mushihimesama Futari Black Label on Original Mode for instance. After some considerable amount of practise on this game and getting over my issues with using bombs in the later stages (Damn you 1UP Dragon!) I managed to 1CC that game and at the time place around 230th on the leaderboards. In spite of Original Modes very simply scoring mechanics - I know looking back on my run that there's more I could do to improve my score. There are points that I missed that would allow me to extract more points with a little bit of patience and better positioning. A good shmup should always offer the player the ability to increase their performance and work towards counter stopping the game. Whether or not counter stopping the game is possible is an entirely different discussion and there's an argument for not allowing a counter stop. However the thing that keeps us coming back and replaying games that we've "beaten" with a 1CC is the knowledge that there are always more points to gain.

BUT...
There are times when your scoring system can just get in the way of a fun game. Remember - fun is your primary objective. If your game feels like a chore to play, then you'll only get the niche within the niche playing it. You don't want that. So now on to the meat of this post, which is gimmicky scoring systems and mechanics that can make a shmup boring to play.. What do I mean by boring? Anything that takes the action out of the game, leaves the player with sections where they're just holding a button and not doing much else.

These are a bunch of things I've played with and either refactored, moved to an alternate game mode or flat out removed:

Bullet Cancelling
Bullet Cancelling can be a wonderful thing.

There are a bunch of shmups out there that use bullet cancelling to good effect. See DDP:DFK. However this game hinges around the fact that you must earn your bullet cancelling through taking risks as you weave through fields of bullets. When you're in bullet cancelling mode, there are mechanics in place to add a mini game of shot switching to keep your chain going, push back lasers and reap points from bullets. When Bullet Cancelling doesn't work is when you give your player too much power to deflect bullets.

Lets say you've got a hyper system, upon activation your ship becomes invulnerable and you zoom around the screen collecting bullets with your shield. That's fine - but you need to take balance in to consideration here. Are you allowing the player to accumulate another hyper during this phase and keep it going? If your ship is invulnerable - that's going to lead to some serious boredom after you get your first hyper as there's no risk. Crimson Clover is a perfect example of how to make your player feel satisfyingly overpowered and godlike by making them earn that lovely break mode and adding an additional mechanic within the break mode that allows them to extend this further - giving them something to work for in that mode too.

Be careful with bullet cancelling and protecting your player... make sure there's always something for them to be mindful of.

Slow Motion
Some games do this well (Mushihimesama), other games dont (Sine Mora).

One thing that generally hasn't worked (in my personal opinion) is an ability to slow down bullets by holding a button. My preferred method of implementing slow motion is to engineer a wait system (The game pauses for a frame, ala Mushi) and directly tie that in with the number of sprites on screen while enforcing limitations on how much things can slow down.

I had to take out the original slow motion features when I started writing Chronoblast because they just didn't sit well with the game. Given that the game is called CHRONO-Blast, you'd think that'd be it's unique selling point. Turns out it sucked! So no slowmo there.

I've seen a lot of indie games that implement slow motion systems that just allow you to weave through bullets without much issue. That's not really fun! If you're going to incorporate slow motion in to your game, then you need to make this a calculated decision for the player. If they fill a meter - activate and enter a slowmo mode - what are the mechanics for reaping points from that? Is there a timer that upon expiry cancels the bullets in to points? If so, then the player has to decide when and where to use their ability and work out when it is simply wasteful to do so. I've experimented with fields around the player in hyper mode that slow down bullets, or just having all the bullets go really slowly. Whatever I did with slow motion, beyond a wait mechanic for incredibly dense sections or when there were a lot of powerups to colllect - everything just seemed so wrong. So I've pretty much decided that slow motion is rubbish unless it's done properly, like Espgaluda 2.

Also if you're going to use a weighted wait system where you calculate a value based on the amount of shit on screen - add a nice juicy weight for your players bomb or hyper activation. You'll thank me later when you play for score.

Special Abilities in general!
We're not talking about risk/reward mechanics here. We're talking about things like slow motion, invincibility on a meter. Keeping them in moderation.

For example, Espgaluda 2 has both of these things but they're restricted to your bomb meter and slow motion is dictated by the number of gems you've harvested. For this game it works well. But if you were to increase the availability of these powers and allow them to be used 2 or 3 times as much as they are now - the game would be massively different and probably not as solid as it currently is.

Try not to design your shmup with your special ability as the core focus of the game and instead use it to enhance the core gameplay. The core focus should still be shooting things for points with your special abilities coming in to play to deal with whatever remains on screen after the enemy has been shot at. In the example above with slowmo, if it's painfully obvious that your ability MUST be used in that one spot with the million bullets on screen, everybody is going to do it and you won't get a lot of variance in scores. If you must experiment with fancy mechanics, throw in an arrange mode to showcase these cool little tricks. Make sure these abilities dont impact your main game. God knows I've had a bunch of mechanics in there ranging from Crimson Clover style missiles, to bullet cancelling options that move like Akai Kitana/Deathsmiles etc... all completely terrible and too confusing. Hold shot all the way. ;)

Turning the player ship around
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj1LB56zaD8

After playing Deathsmiles, part of me went "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if you could spin your ship around and make enemies come from both top and bottom of the screen?! It was a cool little idea and for a while it worked well, but it was an extra button to push that just got in the way of core gameplay.... It's not big and it's not clever. Plus Uridium probably did it better. There's a video of this in something I put together for a job interview. It was taken out because it sucked.

Insane varying bullet modes
Red and yellow and green and blue... games too confusing its true...

Playing Espgaluda 2 or Muchi Muchi Pork Arrange, having fun and getting a vague handle on its mechanics does not mean that you should go off and start leading your player through 20billion different modes of play whenever they activate hyper. Don't have them shoot bullets to turn them green and then have those turn in to points by collecting them before the time runs out or any of that nonsense. Like turning ships around, I found this to be neither big nor clever. I ditched this system in favour of simply turning bullets red and making them go faster when the rank meter was full, or the player was in hyper. This lead to a much better style of gameplay where the player becomes aware that danger is imminent and must try to shoot as many enemies as possible in order to fill the rest of their hyper meter so they can panic bomb. There's a bonus for staying in this mode as long as possible during the stage, but there's also an opposing bonus for being in hyper. Simple risk/reward and meter management - highly effective. Don't know what I was thinking with all that "green bullet" nonsense in the video Sined posted.

Chaining
"Wait what?! Chaining isn't a gimmick. How dare you belittle the Angry Bee Boss?!" I hear you say.

You're quite right, it's not. But as I mentioned before there's times where a mechanic can get in the way of fun. It will also add to your development time considerably and is not for the faint hearted. If you're able to implement a chaining system to good effect - go for it. They're glorious things, however after extensive testing of my own game it started to become apparent that chaining simply wasn't the way to go in the face of fun as it started to detract from the games other scoring mechanics (shedding gems from large enemies etc)... so that's why it's listed here.

Sure, your first couple of stages are doable with a bit of calculated use of hyper (to slow down the combo timer) while the bullet count is relatively low - but when you start getting in to the later stages it can become painfully obvious when you start dropping in tougher less threatening enemies just for the player to buffer their chain on. Like.. painfully obvious to the point where you might aswell put your player on rails because there's no room for deviation through risk of losing a chain.

I'm not saying that chaining is bad, in fact if I'm honest - chaining is one of the better mechanics you can find in a shmup. But if you're going for Daioujou levels of precision with your chains, you need to be an amazing shmup player... because you'll have to make sure those chains are doable on every single difficulty through the fields of bullets that you create. In short, if you've never actually reached the second loop of Dodonpachi Daioujou - throwing that many bullets at your player and then expecting them to carry a chain through it is a real gamble... Plus I already have access to every version of DDP I could ask for and they're all better than anything I could write, coming from a professional company... This brings me to:

BUTTONS
A is fire, B is bomb, X is Hyper, Y is Banana Mode, RT is Rewind, LT is slow motion, RB is slow mode, LB is reverse direction, L3 is mega bomb, R3 is switch shot, Left Stick aims your gun, Right stick aims your crosshair and whats a dpad?

A,B,C is all you need! Possibly a D if your game has a switch mode. Rapid fire on C, Bomb/Hyper on B and Tap A for shot, Hold A for laser. Don't reinvent the wheel and don't try to convince yourself that tapping A requires more skill than holding down the auto fire button. You can have tapping of shot to allow the player to get their own natural rythm going - I know that I tap shot in games from time to time when I don't need to, just because it feels cool and helps me stay in the zone. But never at the expense of losing that rapid fire button.

This is not to say that you have to stick firmly to a 3/4 button layout. Heck, go crazy and have all the buttons in use - but one thing is for certain MAKE SURE THERE ARE ENOUGH BUTTONS ON A STANDARD ARCADE STICK. This means you probably shouldn't use L3/R3 or their equivilents since we don't have those on a standard 6-8 button arcade stick.

Above all, make sure that your buttons are laid out in a way that is intuitive. Copy other games control schemes - not so much because they're how it SHOULD be done, but it's certainly what people are used to. If someone can hit the ground running with years of muscle memory aiding them to just pick up your game - they're more likely to keep playing it. If they have to scratch their heads and go "ummm, what button did that thi... Ah shit I'm dead" - less likely.

Don't write for a skill level higher than your own
...without playtesters who love the genre to death and are better than you.

There will always be someone better at the game than you. Any game I've contributed to and released, despite the weeks of playtesting it myself and being rather good at it - there's always a player who has a natural flare for taking the top spot. So be prepared for and in fact *embrace* comments like "Touhou is harder" or "Game was too easy". If you released your game and somoene says "This game is fun but it could be harder" - make a sequel, or "Black Label" style patch and take pride in the fact that someone paid you the highest compliment. Your game was fun.

I'd be interested in hearing from the rest of you what mechanics you've tried over the years that you stripped out and replaced, or indeed any games you've seen that have gone down in flames for overly complicated systems and mechanics.

DEVELOPER BLINDNESS
You WILL get it. You will always get it. You simply can't avoid it. This is that magical thing that happens when you play your game constantly, with about 30-40 compiles a day with just you sitting there and playing it. So you wanted to do a Yagawa and test the players raw dodging abilities on stage 1? You've had hours upon hours of playing the same segment over and over again while you were just refining your players shot pattern. Your brain wasn't even looking at how difficult that section was - it became muscle memory. Your new players are not going to have this muscle memory.

Every so often, you should go off and play another game or two - give yourself a few weeks break. If you can't stop working on your game - take a backup and work on a different branch. Try making some things easier and play that for a week. Go back to your old version and see how it compares. If you find yourself saying "Fuck!" every few minutes with every miss - you suffered from developer blindness. Trust me, I've done it - it's not pretty. Chronoblast has gotten a mixed reaction of praise and negativity due to it being absolutely nonsensically brutal. Some people find it refreshing and don't mind the difficulty - however seasoned players are having none of it. I'm a seasoned player and on reflection, I'm having none of it - hence working on a patch for the bloody thing. Difficulty might pull in some casual players who have "never seen anything like it" - but long term replayability and scoring is going to be reserved for the exceptionally elite players (and they're in the minority) if your opening stages utterly destroy your players.

So in summary, my list of evils:
* Too much bullet cancelling
* Slow Motion
* Rotating Ship
* Forced special abilities
* Crazy bullet modes
* Chaining at the expense of fun
* Difficulty levels that you can't verify as completable without cheats
* Unnecessary buttons
* Copying Ikaruga
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Last edited by n0rtygames on Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:23 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:55 am 


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n0rtygames wrote:
BUTTONS A,B,C is all you need! Possibly a D if your game has a switch mode.


Most arcade pads have at least 6 buttons nowadays. I think if it was designed so that the controls felt natural (for instance have 3 limited use subweapon slots you can pick and assign weapons too at the start of the game) a 5+ button thing could work in a shmup, but I agree that overcomplicated controls probably aren't the best way to go. Something like Daioh's pretty interesting; instead of powerups to switch weapons, you can fire any 3 weapons and any 3 bombs on the fly in the North American 6-button version.

My only beef with Cave's games is I'd actually have preferred the Rapid Fire button to be a Touhou-style Slowdown button (there are the occasional cases where I'd like to be able to slowdown my movement to weave through bullets without damaging the enemy, either for score or just to timeout bosses for amusement), with the main shot being rapidfire and whether you use shot or laser dependent on if you're using the slowdown. But I can see why this probably wasn't done normally for arcade games; a 2 button cab could play DDP even without Rapid if necessary by simply tapping/holding shot instead, so having the Shot + Rapid optional control scheme lets you get away with playing the game on a cab with one less button than intended.
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:38 am 


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BareknuckleRoo wrote:
My only beef with Cave's games is I'd actually have preferred the Rapid Fire button to be a Touhou-style Slowdown button (there are the occasional cases where I'd like to be able to slowdown my movement to weave through bullets without damaging the enemy, either for score or just to timeout bosses for amusement), with the main shot being rapidfire and whether you use shot or laser dependent on if you're using the slowdown. But I can see why this probably wasn't done normally for arcade games; a 2 button cab could play DDP even without Rapid if necessary by simply tapping/holding shot instead, so having the Shot + Rapid optional control scheme lets you get away with playing the game on a cab with one less button than intended.


Well, you certainly have to keep in mind that those buttons cost money. Not a lot of money, but money nonetheless.

You do make a very good point about having a slowmode button for milking score. Touhou rewards you with graze points so that can be used to great effect - though I do find in Cave games - part of the fun is managing the amount of damage you do to the boss while still staying alive through the field of bullets. A perfect example would be Mushihimesama Futari Original mode. To reap the largest number of points from a boss you need to be using the correct shot type for that final pixel of boss health before you send it in to the next phase. Galuda2 gives you an audible warning when this is about to tick over - Mushi requires you to look up.

I find that really adds to the fun of dodging bullets when you're up against a relatively unthreatening pattern but when you're moving at full speed even those mile wide gaps seem intense if you end up working yourself in to a corner and those barrier shots are getting ever so closer with each repeat of the firing loop.

Dodonpachi as an example would punish you for breaking your chain, so slow mode wouldn't be useful there.

Again though, you have to at least assume that a part of the games design is to limit the amount of playtime an individual gets before the next player gets a chance to sit down and put their coins in to the machine. By allowing too much milking of bosses, you might extend the playtime by considerable amount.

Sure, for homebrew games we're not taking peoples quarters or pound coins so there's no reason to even worry about that and you could argue that the player should be allowed to play for as long as they like - but you do then start to run the risk of perhaps having an exploitable scoring mechanic that will make it considerably easier for players to creep closer to a counter-stop.... especially if you're dishing out points based on grazing.

I guess what I'm getting at with that, is that in certain bullet patterns you will see areas of the screen that are fairly safe looking - at least for a period of time. If on your first run through a bosses attack you basically hold down the laser, you might look at that spot on your next run and think "I could milk some more points by weaving in to that massive gap over there and letting the stage counter tick down closer to zero next time"

Note to self, Bareknuckleroo wants a slowmode button... implement it
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:07 am 


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Quote:
Again though, you have to at least assume that a part of the games design is to limit the amount of playtime an individual gets before the next player gets a chance to sit down and put their coins in to the machine. By allowing too much milking of bosses, you might extend the playtime by considerable amount.


Yeah, I understand why they were designed the way they were; boss timeouts (ZOMG I EXPLODE FOR NO REASON) are needed in arcade games to prevent someone from hogging the machine via infinite milking, or for Touhou style games with points for grazing from letting you get a massive score just by sitting at one pattern.

And no, I don't really need a slowdown button or anything, I'm fine with the DDP style Shot/Laser setup (and if Chronoblast is going for a DDP-esque style, stick with it, don't change it for the sake of one person). Since I just bought it I also notice that in DDP DFK, if you're holding Rapid Shot, pressing Shot instantly switches to Laser with little noticeable delay, yay!, I'm used to older Cave games taking a second or so of delay to respond to holding shot to activate the laser, which is also partly why I usually prefer slowdown button as that's instantaneous, a problem averted by DFK it seems (by comparison, in DaiOuJou holding Shot takes a second or two to activate Laser + slowdown as the options need several frames to move in front of the ship).

Quote:
find that really adds to the fun of dodging bullets when you're up against a relatively unthreatening pattern but when you're moving at full speed even those mile wide gaps seem intense if you end up working yourself in to a corner and those barrier shots are getting ever so closer with each repeat of the firing loop.


I actually kind of like Reco Abnormal for this reason, weaving through patterns is very intense when your movement speed is crazy fast. If her option beetles when lasering (which do easily 80% of the total laser damage) had the lock-on range they do in her Black Label shot type, she'd be a lot more fun. The speed isn't so much of an issue as her being super weak unless you manage to latch on all of the beetles on the enemies, something you have to get close to do and need to do every time a boss changes phases. ;_;
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:00 am 


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I've actually only 1cc'd BL... Haven't played 1.5 in ages. Mostly because there are things in it that bug me... Arf!

I actually have a non firing slow mode already, it's bound to RT by default so I can just add that as an option. My mechanics feature mushi style stage counters and a ddp max mode to help with building them. Once the stage counter hits zero, no more points can be milked without shedding gems from the boss... There's a timer too, so it will only further enhance score based gameplay - which is a good thing. Plus it's not a button that the player MUST use, so no harm presenting it as another option.

In reality I'll be lucky if I get 200 sales. So yes, one person does matter. :)

My laser behaves like mushi shot - tap laser button and it fires on release. Hold for 5 frames and enter slow mode. I'll have to put an AND check in for instant lasering as you've mentioned. DFK addressed that well.

Since I mentioned 1.5 bugging me - rocks that explode in to bullets can be added to the list of evils.....:P
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:45 am 


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n0rtygames wrote:
Since I mentioned 1.5 bugging me - rocks that explode in to bullets can be added to the list of evils.....:P


If you're talking about the Stage 1 Ultra rocks before the midboss, have you seen Gus's 1CC run? The trick to avoiding the bullets seems to be not shooting the rocks altogether (or shooting the bare minimum).
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:29 pm 


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I'm not sure about the Special Ability aspect of this thread. Yes, it makes things a lot easier to get wrong and make overcomplex but I have a feeling a good portion of players in this forum are going to laugh at you for being critical about bullet-cancelling and the "special abilities" that Cave seem to have a knack for.

Another less complex case that is subject to different opinions is a game I've recently purchased and been getting into, XII Stag. Anything that comes from you kills enemies, but the main 'gimmick' is going spastic by hitting the joystick left/right to emit sonic booms that kill enemies and increase a chain. The chain you've targetted specifically already which is fair but I find the whole spastic thing to be quite a novel concept that generally works - the only reason people hate it is because there's no auto for it (like plain shooting in older shmups, mind you the PS2 port has an auto for it) and it breaks joysticks.

That being said, I feel this thread is a lot more considerate in every other part instead of minor pedantics like the other thread, so I've put this in the Developer-Friendly Topics List right at the very top. :D
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:01 pm 


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BPzeBanshee wrote:
I'm not sure about the Special Ability aspect of this thread. Yes, it makes things a lot easier to get wrong and make overcomplex but I have a feeling a good portion of players in this forum are going to laugh at you for being critical about bullet-cancelling and the "special abilities" that Cave seem to have a knack for.


n0rtygames wrote:
When Bullet Cancelling doesn't work is when you give your player too much power to deflect bullets.


As far as cancelling, I think he was more being critical of games that give you way too much ability to cancel bullets like Bullet Soul. To score you have to do close range-attacking to crank the multiplier up but the game is rather stupidly easy if you're just looking to 1CC, especially with that particular shot type. I do disagree with him saying "Make sure these abilities dont impact your main game" especially when you look at something like Psyvariar - the buzz/levelling gimmick is very much the focus of the main game itself and it's done well. For wacky special abilities, I think the difference between it working and not is really down to execution; the more gimmicky whatever special ability you're making the focus of the game is, the more you need to make sure the game's designed well to show it off in a fun way.
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:56 pm 


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BareknuckleRoo wrote:
The trick to avoiding the bullets seems to be not shooting the rocks altogether (or shooting the bare minimum).


Oh, I know that's one way to do it, but not shooting something in a shmup feels very counter intuitive.

BPzeBanshee wrote:
I'm not sure about the Special Ability aspect of this thread. Yes, it makes things a lot easier to get wrong and make overcomplex but I have a feeling a good portion of players in this forum are going to laugh at you for being critical about bullet-cancelling and the "special abilities" that Cave seem to have a knack for.


Oh not at all. Don't forget I'm massively in to Cave games myself. Cave tend to execute these abilities well - as I said in the post DFK does it's bullet cancelling extremely well as while you're in hyper mode there is still an element of risk to your ship... patterns where lasers swoop by forcing you to switch between shot/laser. It works well because you have to keep a rythm going. There are sections where you can sit back and absorb huge streams of bullets to boost your multiplier. What it doesn't do is force you in to going "Your ability MUST be used here" - in a very on-rails segment of the game that's painfully obvious.

When I was being critical of Bullet Cancelling, all I really meant was that you should be mindful of how you do it and ensure that you're not doing things like destroying bullets fired by an enemy in your regular shot mode.. Save it for something special, like a powerup or hyper mode etc. Or make specific larger enemies produce this effect like some of the enemies in DFK or Mushi.

BareknuckleRoo wrote:
I do disagree with him saying "Make sure these abilities dont impact your main game" especially when you look at something like Psyvariar - the buzz/levelling gimmick is very much the focus of the main game itself and it's done well. For wacky special abilities, I think the difference between it working and not is really down to execution; the more gimmicky whatever special ability you're making the focus of the game is, the more you need to make sure the game's designed well to show it off in a fun way.


Well that's just it. When I say impact upon your main game - they should not make it a confusing experience. Take Ikaruga as another example, that's got everything I said was bad in this thread. But Ikaruga isn't a bad game, because everything has been considered and done well. The polarity shield system gives the player a degree of choice, cancels bullets and contributes to the players score. If you now imagined Ikaruga with monochrome bullets and a shield around the players ship that is far too easy to gain (like you go all of 5 seconds of gameplay between periods of being unshielded) - you can start to see how that might be an ability that's starting to impact upon your game. Not all gimmicks are bad so long as serious design consideration is given to them.

Don't get me wrong, I would love for some of my weirder ideas to work in practise - I may even try to get the 180 degree ship-flipping mechanic back in to a shmup at some point as I can really see there being a good game in that. I just need to work out a fun way to reap score from chains of enemies that appear top and bottom of the screen... something for another project I feel.
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:02 am 


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Ah, okay, I think I understand what you're saying a bit more now. Thanks for elaborating.

It seems clear that keeping your special functions simple in execution is key here. Ikaruga gets a lot of hate here for not being that fun due to its puzzle-like complexity in actually pulling off chaining of specifically-coloured enemies, but it'd sure get a lot more (actually well-placed) hate if it wasn't so easy to switch polarity as it is.
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 Post subject: Re: Avoiding Gimmicks
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:50 am 


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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 975
In light of Giests nice little boss battle post - I went to review my own rantings and see how many rules I broke.

Not many, but I added a new one which I feel I overlooked for the first release. Consider this a bump for new devs who never read the damned stickies - so that we never have to go through this batshit insanity again and we can all get back to making good shmups.
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