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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:02 pm 


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Been too busy for responses, some notes!

M.Knight wrote:
Timeouts : Even if there are no ways to gain points from milking, I still think it is crucial to have timeouts just in case, as a failsafe. Having a run potentially last forever is an issue, more so if you want to implement replays later on. But even without that kind of features in consideration, it can be a problem with the judgement system. Given that the judgement timer grows over time even if you don't shoot and that every mid-boss or boss only gives the Judgement bonus at least once, it means that if a player used a successful Judgement attack right before a mid-boss and that the mid-boss is too weak to fully recharge the Judgment jauge without being killed before, then the best course of action scoring-wise is to wait ages before the judgement bar increases on its own and can be triggered again, as to not miss out on those bonus points. If there are no incentives to kill the boss faster that outweigh waiting forever to get one Judgement Mode per boss, then this scenario may happen, even if the conditions are kinda obtuse.

That's the kind of potential exploits than can make high-level scoring annoying and I would put hard timeouts on everything to limit the potential for that type of degenerative play.


About Judgement:

1: Bosses / Minibosses come right after big Judgement opportunities, so you should always enter the fight with an emptied guage.
2: An alternative fix would be to just remove bonuses from Judgement altogether during bosses. Since performing at all counts towards speedkill bonus at the end of the fight.
3: Replays are unlikely at this point, tbh.

I understand the risks from not implementing time outs...but I think this is part of the character of the game, and I think it's unlikely that I will change this. Bosses aren't going to flee or blow themselves up spontaneously. They will stay until one of you dies.

Perhaps if replays do get in, and a potential endless stall could result in some replay or game breaking bug...I'd consider adding time outs. But like I said, I don't see replays happening right now.



M.Knight wrote:
Stage 1 pacing : I agree that the scoring potential and the amount of "unlockable" waves can't be as high in Stage 1 as in the following stages, but given the amount of times players are going to go through when trying to nail the 1CC or for scoring purposes, I think it is important not to make the stage 1's skill ceiling too low. Otherwise, it can get kinda boring for an experienced player. You don't even necessarily need to have lots of bullets on the screen, as long as the enemy waves placement allows for a good amount of speedkill optimization.

That also goes for the bosses. 50 seconds for a Stage 1 boss speedkill is way too much IMO. That should actually be how long you need to take it down when you are unfamiliar with the boss and don't know the speedkilling strategies. I think 20~30 seconds to speedkill it is a better estimate and will be more pleasant on repeated playthroughs. Take a look at some arcade shmups' stage1 bosses and how long it takes to quick-kill them : 10 seconds for XII Zeal, around 20 seconds for Dangun Feveron, Darius Gaiden, Thunder Dragon 2, DoDonPachi, Guwange, 40 seconds for G-Darius, Illvelo, Radirgy.

It is important to have a stage 1 boss that does not feel too long because once again, it is the easiest and the one you'll fight the most. Having a first stage that is too long with a boss that is too resilient can be a deterrent for playing the game altogether once the player reaches a skill threshold.


As sad as it is for me to say, I think you are probably right about boss length.

I see this game as having slightly longer battles than most other stg's, but 50 seconds may be pushing it. I may trim one of the patterns off. We'll see.

I think 1:30 will remain the total time for the stage itself (this includes miniboss time, though they will probably get trimmed down as well).

My original intention was to go for something Mecha Ritz-ish, where the stage is very, very difficult to avoid taking a hit in if you don't bomb or go for low risk strategies. Ideally, bombless play would be genuinely terrifying even for advanced players, whereas beginners could still breeze through by spamming. But getting the right balance (both in terms of stage design and mechanics) has proven very difficult. We'll see how it goes.


//////////////////////



Anyway, currently working with a new SFX sound designer. So expect some SFX soon that aren't placeholders ripped from SNK games ^_^

Also new tiles incoming, art. etc.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:33 pm 


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Not sure how high of a score this is but it's the best I've got. Managed to kill the boss in only 69 seconds which gave me a huge score boost from my previous best.

Spoiler: show
Image


Still not sure how to properly use Judgement. During boss fights it lasts only for a couple seconds - didn't notice but it probably does a ton of damage which would explain how the boss died so quickly. And then you could use it to kill lots of popcorn enemies for a big score bonus. All the flashing that happens made me think that you'd be invincible during Judgement but looks like it's not the case.
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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:30 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
They will stay until one of you dies.

Huhu, it really sounds ominous when you put it that way! :mrgreen:

I can understand not implementing timeouts for that reason if all the risks have been covered, especially given how you want to convey a specific atmosphere. In any case, do not hesitate to test how much the level-design makes it impossible to reach any scenario where the lack of timeout can be abused when you make the next stages.

On a side note, I suppose your newest Tile Controller properly loops the tile for as long as required when fighting a boss or mid-boss.

Squire Grooktook wrote:
I think 1:30 will remain the total time for the stage itself (this includes miniboss time, though they will probably get trimmed down as well).

1:30 sounds good to me!

Ruldra wrote:
Still not sure how to properly use Judgement.

When entering Judgement mode, simply kill all the circled enemies to get a short powerful attack and a nice score bonus.
If you see some colored flashes when entering judgement mode during the boss fight, those are spots you need to hit with your judgement weapons and that's how you get the bonus under those specific circumstances.
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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:15 am 


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Location: The Edge Of The Ape Oven
Never played the first demo, but I played this for about an hour or so a few days ago.

Image

I'm really enjoying how this is coming together. The melee + homing combination is a really interesting mechanic in a fast paced game, it reminds me a lot of the tech kills in later Psikyo games with the interesting ways you need to maneuver yourself to get close to large enemies/bosses. The mines seem like they would be really good for optimizing runs, but I haven't spent enough time with the demo to really use them properly. They definitely seem to be more of a planned weapon that you add in to gaps eventually rather than something you use on reaction. The quick dash after getting hit is cool! Too bad I keep forgetting to use it when it would actually be really useful, but that's solely my problem from not being familiar enough with the game.

At first I found the flamethrower weapon to be useful for dealing with the zako rush, but upon subsequent playthrough it seems like the normal shot is just as effective without any drawback. This weapon is interesting, but I haven't really found a use for it since I'd rather be doing melee strikes for the lock or just hanging back with the normal shot. Having it be activated by pressing the two buttons needed to lock + homing shot sometimes makes you lose your lock which is frustrating. I think it would be worthwhile to consider tweaking the flamethrower mechanics and/or input. I also seem to lose my lock when I try to charge up the homing shots too quickly after a lock, but that may be me just not being patient enough.

The judgement mechanic took me a while to grasp, but it's really satisfying when you're able to pull it off. I can get the bonus/finishing attack off of normal enemies, but can't seem to figure it out on the midboss/boss. Right now I just mash shot and get really close and see what happens, but I'm sure there's a bit more finesse to it that I've yet to employ. Besides the flamethrower and clearly work in progress assets, I think this could be something I would genuinely sink time into and enjoy as a full game. The pace is frantic, the way you design to formations and mechanics to encourage lots of fast movements is tasty, and scoring seems like it would be really fun (once I get the hang of judgement at least). I look forward to what comes next from this project.

EDIT: When I said this:
Square_Air wrote:
I also seem to lose my lock when I try to charge up the homing shots too quickly after a lock, but that may be me just not being patient enough.

This is my fault for just being dumb, the transition from lock to homing is actually really smooth. My problem was just that I kept popping the bubbles of the midboss with the melee and therefore wasn't locked to anything when i tried to charge homing shots. oops.
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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:17 am 


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Thank you for the comments!

About Judgement:

I'm actually considering axing it, actually. My plan is to give it one final go with stage 2, which will be a bit Darius Burst inspired with lots of swarming enemies and many opportunities to really cash in with it. I haven't heard a ton of comments on the system besides from you Square Air, so before now I've been seriously considering switching it out for something else.

The alternative I'm toying with is a simple bomb system where you can increase the bomb recharge rate by point blanking and doing other similar stunts. I've prototyped it a bit and it works solid enough.

So anyway, I hope people will continue to give it a chance and give honest thoughts on it. I feel Judgement is an interesting idea as far as hyper modes go, and I've managed to make it fun in prototype waves and situations, but it's also a pain in the ass to design stages around and if it ultimately doesn't provide much meaningful to the stages, then it's better off axed. Admittedly, it is a sort of "advanced mechanic", and so I think it's a bit unfair to expect players to immediately understand or make full use of it after 5-10 minutes of play, so I'm going to take some time with it before I come to a final decision. Still, I plan on having that final decision before moving too far into the stage design for later stages.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:06 am 


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The problem I find is that the judgement system can only be used on specific locations rather than saved for a specific cash-in, and the prerequisites for the final burst attack is weird to do since you have to aim at a number of enemies which requires you to mess your positioning. Due to its nature, any route a player makes would need to be incredibly precise for it to have any use. As interesting and unique as it is, the game isn't better or worse without it because it lacks an important purpose and is a tad janky to use properly. I would suggest keeping the slowdown and replacing the combo/clear system with a more conventional hyper mode or a temporary power-up, possibly adding the burst at the end for an extra punch. Simplicity and familiarity is always a good thing.

As for balancing the stage and bosses, have you thought about using "hits" and "attacks" instead of time? The way the controls are designed demands something rhythmic, where disposing of certain enemies is easier using a specific number of attacks. At the mid-boss for instance, a single slash should drop their shields, as opposed to taking noticeably longer with normal shots. You can also make a few tougher enemies capable of taking a few slashes, but are dropped quickly with a homing attack. Some might even have immunity to different attacks, who knows. Combine that with properly organized enemy waves, you can compliment the pace with precise shot control for a butter-smooth experience with a fair punishment for every mistake. What I'm suggesting is almost present in the stage portion, but not quite. Definitely missing in the boss sections, however.

There's a lot you can do with these controls, specifically with the relationship between the player's attacks and what they can or must to do in certain situations. From what I see, it's based on something as arbitrary as time and health, which resulted in any pace it had being killed by the bosses who overstay their welcome, even if the players know what they're doing. The time and pace you should be looking for should be within button input, not numbers.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:33 am 


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Thanks for the comments <3, some thoughts:

Rue wrote:
The problem I find is that the judgement system can only be used on specific locations rather than saved for a specific cash-in


This was actually the intention: a system that you'd deliberately use whenever it became available, rather than saved for a cash in. I actually wanted to deliberately avoid the typical "cash in" style hyper use, and encourage players to earn and use the mechanic as many times as possible per stage and focus on making the actual "killing" with it feel different and more risk/reward oriented.

Rue wrote:
You can also make a few tougher enemies capable of taking a few slashes, but are dropped quickly with a homing attack. Some might even have immunity to different attacks, who knows. Combine that with properly organized enemy waves, you can compliment the pace with precise shot control for a butter-smooth experience with a fair punishment for every mistake. What I'm suggesting is almost present in the stage portion, but not quite. Definitely missing in the boss sections, however.


This is pretty much how it already works. The normal "wraiths" for instance are always dropped by a single slash. The teleporting version, however, is dropped by a fully charged homing shot. Zakos are dealt with by rapid fire. Etc.

Bear in mind, the dps hierarchy is as follows for all enemies:

Slash + Fully Charged Homing Follow Up > Slash > Shot

If something doesn't die from a single shot, then slashing it will be faster. If it doesn't die from the slash, then the homing follow up will be the fastest kill method.

Making enemies immune to certain attacks feels wrong to me, however. There's a very deliberate flow to slash > homing shot > slash, which immunities would disrupt. Immunities are more for games with more "rock paper scissors" style weaponry, which doesn't exist here except in the zako vs tank dichotomy.

Rue wrote:
At the mid-boss for instance, a single slash should drop their shields, as opposed to taking noticeably longer with normal shots.


Pretty much everything you can do is faster than shooting them with normal shots. The DPS is poorly balanced (due to some last second changes) but far range combat will pretty much always be the worst for anything that's not a zako.

The ideal speedkill method for the bubble phase is as follows:

>Charge up the mines while they are invulnerable, and place it on two of them.
>Slash the two you dropped the mines on, and destroy the shields with a fully charged homing shot. The mine + the homing shot will be enough to drop those shields
>Move over to the two and slash > fully charged homing shot > slash. The second slash will finish them off.

This should be enough damage to transition phases.

The miniboss is pretty shit right now though, I agree. Worst part of the demo IMO.

Anyway thanks again!
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:07 pm 


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If you end up ditching the Judgement system but still want to have Hypers you are encouraged to immediatly use, why not only remove the enemy targeting system and keep the reusable bomb tied to a rechargeable bar?
When the Judgement bar reaches the maximum amount, you could immediatly activate the spinning flame attack that a succesful Judgement gives you at the moment, and if you decide not to use it, it'll still be ready and in stock but the bar won't go up any further and you'll always have one judgement bomb on you at best, unlike the DDP hypers whose levels can increase.

Even though a player can keep his Judgement bomb for later or for defensive purposes, the simple fact that the attack's effectiveness helps you in quick-killing enemies in better ways than the other weapons will push an experienced player who wants the best scores to use it frequently, while still giving you the right to have a level-design that doesn't need to have extremely specific spots where the Judgement mode has to be used.

Milestone shmups have that kind of bombs and you end up using them very often, which is part of their fun.
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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.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeon Zenith
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:50 am 


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M.Knight wrote:
If you end up ditching the Judgement system but still want to have Hypers you are encouraged to immediatly use, why not only remove the enemy targeting system and keep the reusable bomb tied to a rechargeable bar?
When the Judgement bar reaches the maximum amount, you could immediatly activate the spinning flame attack that a succesful Judgement gives you at the moment, and if you decide not to use it, it'll still be ready and in stock but the bar won't go up any further and you'll always have one judgement bomb on you at best, unlike the DDP hypers whose levels can increase.

Even though a player can keep his Judgement bomb for later or for defensive purposes, the simple fact that the attack's effectiveness helps you in quick-killing enemies in better ways than the other weapons will push an experienced player who wants the best scores to use it frequently, while still giving you the right to have a level-design that doesn't need to have extremely specific spots where the Judgement mode has to be used.

Milestone shmups have that kind of bombs and you end up using them very often, which is part of their fun.


Something like that would be the idea, yes.

I was thinking of adding another little twist to it, wherein it recharges stock faster by point blanking enemies, bullet cancelling, multikilling, or overkilling them. Just little things you could do do further optimize your movement a bit.

Another idea was something like:

>use bomb to trigger extra waves
>extra waves give you extend
>suicide for more bombs
>repeat

Kinda permanently riding on the edge, with 0 lives remaining and bombs that you'd want for a safety net used up on rinsing out easier waves.

Anyway those are just ideas (though I've spent a little time prototyping them). Square Air's comment gives me a little more faith in seeing Judgement out, and stage 2 will be more encouraging of it, so we'll see how that pans out first.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

Aeon Zenith - My STG.


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