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 Post subject: Devil Engine - Coming to Steam Winter 2018!
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 12:57 am 


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Devil Engine is a high octane, classic styled side scrolling shoot-em-up heavily influenced by the best in the genre from the 32-bit era, featuring a variety of incredible locations, hand drawn pixel art, and a blood-pumping soundtrack (Featuring music from Thunder Force series composer Hyakutaro Tsukumo !) that brings the dark future to life.

Compete in over 8 game modes for score supremacy! Use points to unlock new features like bullet colors, filters and even new playable ships! Triumph or die!

Devil Engine is coming to Steam in Winter 2018, and to Switch, PS4 and EXA Arcadia in 2019!

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9/28/17 - Demo 2 is available!
I've been working on a horizontal shmup for a few months.
It's a throwback to 32bit Saturn/Arcade era shmups with some modern conventions and aspect ratio.
Shoot, bomb and burst your way though hoards of enemy craft, Combo off every enemy defeated to increase multiplier and earn tons of points.

Screenshots:
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The second demo containing the first two levels is now available!
More videos and further development can be found at the game's tumblr
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Last edited by Sinoc on Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:31 am, edited 14 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 2:52 am 


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Looks pretty fun and well crafted.
I genuinely wish you the best success with this project.
Greetings.


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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:18 am 


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I enjoy the graphical style quite a lot already, definitely interested on giving the demo a go once it's released.

Some nitpicking from the first gif: I wish some of the enemies were more "animated" in their movements. Not necessarily speaking of multiple frames of animation but their movement patterns look kind of stop-and-go when compared with other enemies in the second gif and the boss. Some minor details like more emphasized acceleration and/or animating afterburners while moving could give them some weight behind their movement.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:17 am 


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Really looking forward to play the demo! :D
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:45 am 


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Ebbo wrote:
Some nitpicking from the first gif: I wish some of the enemies were more "animated" in their movements. Not necessarily speaking of multiple frames of animation but their movement patterns look kind of stop-and-go when compared with other enemies in the second gif and the boss.


That pattern was done around January or so, I'm trying to avoid that when I can in the future.

Cristian_CL wrote:
Looks pretty fun and well crafted.
I genuinely wish you the best success with this project.
Greetings.
Stilghar wrote:
Really looking forward to play the demo! :D

Thanks! I look forward to releasing it!
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 8:09 am 


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Update bump -The demo is now avalible!
I'm looking forward to feedback from novice and experienced players alike. Enjoy!
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 10:26 am 


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Some minor and not so minor things I noticed while playing:

- This game is pretty hard from the get-go! I was able to squeeze my way to the third boss, only to be killed by the flying shrapnel its foot stomp send flying. It felt a bit cheap because the parts sort of blended into the scrolling background and the lethality of debris wasn't really telegraphed at the player very clearly during the stage at any point.

- Speaking of telegraphing, some enemies (wallturrets, laserbeam enemies) could use more generous warnings/indications when they are going to fire. The laserbeam enemies are particularly frustrating because when you see the warning sign, it pretty much means you're dead if you happen to be right on their line of sight, at least during couple first credits.

- The intro/boot-up sequence at the beginning of the stage is rather cool but it's also a tad too long and starts to feel aggravating after restart-syndrome kicks in - maybe it could play just once at the beginning of each session?

- The bombs are surprisingly powerful, they can tear down bosses really quickly. However it lacks some punch at the moment so it's power isn't really that evident. I'm also not sure what increases the bomb stock, is it related to score or something? Similarly I couldn't quite figure out the logic behind power-up drops. They seem to appear after killing certain amount of enemies but sometimes I can get three laser pickups in a row, other times three spread pickups etc.

- The burst ability is kind of... just there. Sacrificing your multiplier for a get-out-of-jail-free card isn't that interesting mechanic since I'd imagine optimal scoring ultimately means simply not using the burst at all(unless I missed something very obvious). Then again even the button layout seems to suggest that much :P

Despite some shortcomings, so far it's a very solid effort overall. The style is certainly there and many spots show a promising amount of polish already. Keep working on it!
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:36 pm 


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I've gotten some feedback the past couple days. I've got a laundry list of fixes and features to do, including better teaching the player to be aggressive with bombs, retooling some of the harder enemies and placements, and changes to the powerups and bursting to be more consistent for score runs and useful for everyone else.

Ebbo wrote:
Some minor and not so minor things I noticed while playing...

Yeah I've been seeing a lot of those sentiments around,besides the one about the boss, since nobody seems to be able to get to it.
Part of the overall problem is the game's designed around a specific playstyle, being aggressive with bombs and getting right in thing's faces, but I didn't realize players would have a hard time figuring that out on there own.

Ebbo wrote:
Despite some shortcomings, so far it's a very solid effort overall. The style is certainly there and many spots show a promising amount of polish already. Keep working on it!

Thank you! It's going to take some tinkering to get it more approachable, but I intend to continue the quality of the demo into the rest of the game.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 7:42 am 


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The bombs do feel pretty limited in their usability at the moment, mainly just offering some extra firepower and only directly in front of the player. Besides the bosses I didn't really use them much because I didn't find them that useful when compared with the regular shot at the maximum level. So here's a hoping for some extra utility for each bomb type - maybe the missiles could have some homing capabilities or fire in much more spread out fashion while laser bomb could create circling turrets around the player.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 4:43 am 


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Hi there!
Here are some random thoughts as I played your pretty game!
My preferences are R-Type, Gradius, Thunder Force -style side-scrollers which favor level design and interesting enemies/weapons over bullet hells.

-How far I played: I played about to 5 game overs, and I could fight the level 1 boss through a few its cycles, but never beat the level 1 boss.

-All the basic enemies feel like they take a few too many shots. I feel a bit underpowered.

-If I skip the first laser powerup because I simply don't want to use the laser, I definitely feel underpowered. Basically it seems like I should never miss a powerup even if I don't want to switch.

-The contrast between the background (that I can't hit) and the mid-ground (that I can hit) needs to be increased. The parallax helps, but I'd like to better
detect with my peripheral vision what objects I'll crash into.
Oh, I found the 'background dim' options and put it down some. I think you should default the graphics dimmer (10 or 20%) for readability.

-The game is tough and is pretty unforgiving. If I'm off a little bit and a powerup comes out, then it's gone. The powerups move fast.
Also the default bullets from turrets are very fast. I feel like the firing time between shots from turrets (in level 1) is too frequent.
I feel like I'm playing the hard mode instead of a normal mode.

-I got shot by turrets on the left side of the screen (as they were leaving) which felt like BS and should be reserved for suicide-bullet settings/difficulty.

-The art looks very good! Music's good too.

-Some of the design is pretty good. The bosses attacks are well done, but even the first level boss is too hard and too fast, yet constricting. I'd suggest
you pick a design direction for the boss. Is it fast and wild? Or is it tight quarters and you move around slowly? I think it'd be fun but it was too fast and frustrating to be in tight quarters with
everything moving too fast.

-The player weapons are un-interesting, and don't make me excited to play or make feel like I have any interesting strategy.

-It suffers a bit from 'Gradius syndrome' of being underpowered if you die, but here I really struggle to ever feel like I can make it back on top.

-I think the max power of the weapons (the damage they do) *is pretty close to enough*. But I think the starting weapons need to be increased a bit in how much damage they do.
The bottom line for me is I generally feel underpowered as I play, which makes it not too fun.

-I never really understood the 'burst'. Can I kill things with it? Is it powered by my score multiplier? Not bad in thought, but I never used it successfully.

-I think a lot of this is well made! Congrats!
Not trying to be a downer, it's a good game. But as it stands, for me personally, it's too hard, not terribly interesting or original to play but it is certainly competently made.

I wish you luck out there!
-Nathan
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:54 am 


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Ebbo wrote:
The bombs do feel pretty limited in their usability at the moment, mainly just offering some extra firepower and only directly in front of the player. Besides the bosses I didn't really use them much because I didn't find them that useful when compared with the regular shot at the maximum level.

The raw power and the extra bonus to the combo counter they add in addition to the regular shots is sort of the point. There's not a whole lot of problems that can't be solved by shooting it harder.
Ebbo wrote:
Here's a hoping for some extra utility for each bomb type - maybe the missiles could have some homing capabilities or fire in much more spread out fashion while laser bomb could create circling turrets around the player.

The bombs have a utility that's not easily apriciated; they add heavily to the combo counter when they hit. They also do a lot of damage, witch tends to solve a lot of problems.
The problem with widening the spread of the missiles is that it gets very unreliable for small targets and long ranges, and it shortens the distance needed to unload every one into a boss.
The laser's options need some work though. The rotating turret thing is what they did in the first game, but they were sorta underwhelming.
MommysBestGames wrote:
Hi there!
Here are some random thoughts as I played your pretty game!...

I'm already working on most of these; Stuff like adding in a Raiden style powerup rotation, adjusting the scaling on weapons, darkening the backgrounds a tad,better conveying the bomb and burst mechanics (and getting the player to understand bombs are meant to be used, not hoarded) and the third shot type.
MommysBestGames wrote:
-It suffers a bit from 'Gradius syndrome' of being underpowered if you die, but here I really struggle to ever feel like I can make it back on top.

This bit is a harder though. The game already adds to the power-up drop rate every time you die proportional to how many lives you have left and all 3 bosses have opportunities to get power-ups (but not milking for score) mid fight, but if a player is so completly overwhelmed that they can't kill anything it becomes hard to get them to bounce back.
MommysBestGames wrote:
I think a lot of this is well made! Congrats!
Not trying to be a downer, it's a good game. But as it stands, for me personally, it's too hard, not terribly interesting or original to play but it is certainly competently made.
I wish you luck out there!
-Nathan

Thanks man! Serious Sam DD was pretty rad!
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 8:41 am 


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I played the demo a few times, enough to beat the stage (but not without using continues though). So here are my impressions, which I think mostly align with the others' feedback :

What I liked :
- The presentation is top notch : Graphics, but also music, sound effects and the general amount of care given to the title screen as well as the intro and warning sequences are enjoyable and leave a really good first impression.
- When at full power, the pacing is quite good. Having three bosses in a single stage could have been too much, but they can go down pretty fast.
- The visibility and hitbox options are a nice touch

What I didn't like :
- The lasers from the small enemies need some serious warning. A sudden death to a laser the player couldn't know was going to appear is frustrating. Oddly enough, the laser attack telegraphing is well done on the bosses, so that means you know how to do it.
- The turrets can fire even when they are at the very left of the screen where you can't even hit them with your shot. That feels unfair.
- Dying reduces your firepower way too much, leading to chain deaths in some tight places (the corridor before the second boss for instance)
- Some turrets are unreachable, or at least very difficult to hit without using a bomb because they are at the right of a wall. If you want to horizontally align with them to kill them, you'll just crash into the wall.
- Power ups are way too eager to leave the screen

What I suggest :
- I suggest you color-code the enemies who will drop the power-up on destruction if that is not determined at the moment of destruction. Darius games do that for instance, and you immediatly know what enemy should be destroyed first.
- Increase the contrast bewteen the turrets and the walls they stand on. Right now, they don't stand enough and sometimes blend into each other.
- The startup sequence should be skippable with the press of a button.
- Continuing shouldn't be done with the shot button as you'll be pressing this button almost all the time. The first time around, I continued without even realizing it.
- Bombs feel more like secondary weapons than actual bombs, while the burst is closer to what I would think of as a defensive bomb. Maybe calling the bombs a "special attack" or something like that would make more sense?
- Add some feedback to tell the player who just used a burst when he can use it again. Speaking of the burst, make sure the full game can be cleared without it.
- The first boss' blue homing bombs can be difficult to see because they flash and almost disappear before heading for you. You should make them fully visible at all times.
- The second boss has a mix between super fast patterns and claustrophobic maze-like ones, which is unsettling. Balance the boss as to give it either one of those pattern philosophies but not both at the same time.
- The third boss' flame walls at the top or the bottom of the screen didn't look like they could kill me due to their low contrast but it seems they are supposed to be dangerous. Making them stand out more could clear up that confusion.
- The regular enemy agressiveness is really high, especially in that horizontal corridor section before the second boss. It feels like they are just as agressive as the enemies before, but because your movement is severely limited by the walls, it comes off as much more tricky. I suggest you tone done the fire rate a bit in that section.


Good luck with your game! It looks quite promising. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:33 pm 


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I've added another video and links to the two devlogs to the OP. Work on level 2 is going smooth and I'll add them to the OP as they're made.
M.Knight wrote:
Good luck with your game! It looks quite promising. :)

Thanks man! Most of that feedback I worked on over the last week. I'm focusing on new content at the moment, but level 1 will probably get another pass in the future.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 2:51 am 


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Hi!

I just played your game and recorded my face and the screen while playing. I also commented on what I liked and what I disliked.
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 Post subject: Re: Project SHMOOP 2 - Demo available!
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:01 pm 


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Added a webm of more of level 2; the background was redrawn from scratch and there's some additional paralaxing effects.
SergioAlonso wrote:
Hi!
I just played your game and recorded my face and the screen while playing. I also commented on what I liked and what I disliked.

Thanks! It was kind of hard to make out what you were saying for most of the video, but I think I got the gist of it.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:00 am 


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Bumping the thread to announce a couple things;
One, the game's got a proper name now. The old demo will still retain the Shmoop 2 name for archival purposes.

Two, a new demo, featuring the second level and many other additions and changes, is tentatively scheduled for early September.

The OP's also been updated with new webms. You can see them first, and some additional comments, on the devblog.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:18 pm 


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Played the new demo, cool game. I really like the weapon choice, very fond of that laser sprite. I'm guessing you're supposed to use bomb weapons liberally? Then again, Shmoop has that no bombs difficulty.

I played the first Shmoop, but it seems very hard to "play" on a basic level. Weapons are difficult to power up, it's hard to position myself to destroy anything, the difficulties are kinda meme-y, etc. Trying to play with the R-9 was even more brutal. I don't have any of these problems with Devil Engine.

Would you believe that I actually found this through Freem!? You may want to update the demo there, by the way.

Some other things:
-Is there any chance you can add a toggle to disable the left/right behavior in menus?
-Is there any chance you can add a toggle for starting speed?
-Found a weird bug where if you restart a stage with another weapon, you start the stage with that weapon instead. Which gives me an idea: can we have a toggle for starting weapon? Not a fan of games that make you start with a specific weapon, especially when there's scoring for collecting excess powerups, which leads to using that weapon for the entire game. That's not how this game works, of course, I just want a starting weapon toggle because it's Cool.*
-May want to create a sound effect for changing speed?
-Homing tracking could definitely use some adjustments.

*Admittedly I did have this idea for weapon powerups and scoring, but it probably requires at least minor reworking of any given stage.

Speaking of which, the laser totally rocks. Laser alone incinerates the first part of boss 1 before you get to any of its hard attacks, while laser + bomb makes the poor thing look like Kraid. Spread, on the other hand, requires you to see the boss with all of its nastiness. Allowing the player to select a weapon at the start of the game would also allow for secret achievements/scoretables for each weapon, which would test their ability to use each weapon in unfavorable situations. However, that would be much harder to balance.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:52 am 


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I'd frankly had forgotten I'd even made this thread. Thanks Email notifications. I'll update the OP again soon with some newer stuff. Development's still going, check the tumblr for the latest stuff as usual.

Despatche wrote:
Played the new demo, cool game. I really like the weapon choice, very fond of that laser sprite. I'm guessing you're supposed to use bomb weapons liberally?

Thanks for playing! Yeah, the bombs are meant to be used pretty fast and loose for big damage and score multiplier. I've found a lot of players really confused by it or expecting big CAVE screen clearing bombs, but it shouldn't be too hard to get used to.

Despatche wrote:
I played the first Shmoop, but it seems very hard to "play" on a basic level. Weapons are difficult to power up, it's hard to position myself to destroy anything, the difficulties are kinda meme-y, etc. Trying to play with the R-9 was even more brutal. I don't have any of these problems with Devil Engine.

Shmoop ended up being practice for making Devil Engine, and what to do and not to do in shmup design. There's some nuggets of gold in there (the bosses mostly) but a lot of the balance is wack and the mechanics needed a lot of polish.

Despatche wrote:
Would you believe that I actually found this through Freem!? You may want to update the demo there, by the way.

The Freem demo should be the same as the current itch.io build, with the control rebinding and such. They actually reached out to me asking to put it up over there, so I finished up rebindable controls and translated the rest of the menus for that build.

Despatche wrote:
Some other things:
-Is there any chance you can add a toggle to disable the left/right behavior in menus?
-Is there any chance you can add a toggle for starting speed?

Sure can. The options menu's getting pretty full though, gotta start making more menus within menus.

Despatche wrote:
-Found a weird bug where if you restart a stage with another weapon, you start the stage with that weapon instead. Which gives me an idea: can we have a toggle for starting weapon? Not a fan of games that make you start with a specific weapon, especially when there's scoring for collecting excess powerups, which leads to using that weapon for the entire game. That's not how this game works, of course, I just want a starting weapon toggle because it's Cool.*

I actually had this in for a little bit, but it ended up messing up the balance pretty badly. I might revisit it and try to bend some of the early game to make it work some time.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:48 pm 


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Oh, hm. When I had downloaded this from Freem!, then Googled about it and found it on itch.io, I just noticed that Freem! had a .28 version and itch.io had a .30 version. Maybe that was already changed by now.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:33 am 


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Just dabbled with the demo again and enjoyed it very much! Last time I felt I couldn't kill anything fast enough. Once things were looking how I wanted and got the hang of the bomb and burst mechanics I had a blast! Took my awhile to realize bursting a power up changes it. Need to practice the boss a bit more though.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:49 pm 


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Finally got around to playing the demo of this. It looks really damn good! I, uh... couldn't actually beat the second stage before my hands needed a break, though. :oops:

Reading the thread, I guess I should've used bombs, huh? When I did use them they definitely weren't what I was expecting. Do they even provide any invulnerability? Seems like whenever I used them I died almost immediately afterwards. If you want people to use them more as part of their regular arsenal instead of hoarding them like panic buttons, it might help to call them something other than bombs, like "Special Attack" or "Sub Weapon". And maybe make it more obvious when it is you get one (like have the ship flash a little), if that's not already in there.

I think the invulnerability period after dying could be extended by a second or two. Feels like I barely had time to think "dammit!" before being able to die again. Chain deaths in a game with power-downs is pretty damn brutal.

The burst can be used to change the weapon icons, but it seems kind of weird to sacrifice a scoring multiplier just to have a choice in what weapon you pick. I mean, I guess it's not really "objectively wrong" or anything, just feels odd to me.
e: thinking about it, while the Burst is useful, it looks like I'm not the only one here dying left and right anyways, so it's probably not so good that the score-based drawback is really needed. Hell, it might actually be more fun if using it was part of scoring in some way instead.

also, it looks like when you burst around bullets that they are absorbed by the ship? Does that do anything, or is just a graphical effect?


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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:10 am 


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mamboFoxtrot wrote:

also, it looks like when you burst around bullets that they are absorbed by the ship? Does that do anything, or is just a graphical effect?


It charges the multiplier a little and adds a few points. Due to the small number of bullets in the demo and the game design utilizing faster bullets and wider spreads, it's pretty insignificant outside of a few key attacks against mid-bosses and bosses.


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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:36 am 


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Finaly updated the OP. I probobly should have gotten to that the other month...
Despatche wrote:
Oh, hm. When I had downloaded this from Freem!, then Googled about it and found it on itch.io, I just noticed that Freem! had a .28 version and itch.io had a .30 version. Maybe that was already changed by now.


That was just a quick fix for a couple of typos and changing the header, nothing significant.

kaiza wrote:
Just dabbled with the demo again and enjoyed it very much! Last time I felt I couldn't kill anything fast enough. Once things were looking how I wanted and got the hang of the bomb and burst mechanics I had a blast! Took my awhile to realize bursting a power up changes it. Need to practice the boss a bit more though.

Glad you liked it! I've had a lot of people say similar stuff. The game seems to have difficulty displaying that you need to be aggressive with the bombs.

mamboFoxtrot wrote:
thinking about it, while the Burst is useful, it looks like I'm not the only one here dying left and right anyways, so it's probably not so good that the score-based drawback is really needed. Hell, it might actually be more fun if using it was part of scoring in some way instead.

It gets that way on the later stages and higher difficulties. If you can absorb enough bullets at once your combo can increase and every bullet is worth a flat 10 points, so there are situations later on where you'll purposely throw yourself into seas of bullets to get that big combo boost. I didn't want to start the game out like that though as I feel like players would get overwhelmed, but even in the early stages there are key times to use it for big points.
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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:58 am 


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I hope you add a higher difficulty on the next demo so you can showcase the burst mechanic a little better. Stage 3 from what you've posted on twitter looks precisely to be the part where you're going to want to start spamming it to maximize points, and it would be great to see how it plays out.


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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:14 am 


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Location: Florida, Estados Unidos
Oh, so absorbing bullets was raising the multiplier some. I thought that was what I was seeing, but honestly for some reason couldn't really tell for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Devil Engine - Demo available!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:48 am 


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Posts: 26
Well it's been a hot minuet. I've been so busy working on the game I put off updating the OP for about a year, but might as well save it for the big one right?

In addition to the fresh new OP, the game will be at Tokyo Game Show over the next few days. If you're in the area, come play a new build running on the Switch! There will be a new demo afterwords on steam available to everyone.
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