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 Post subject: RQ: Mid-level shmup strategies
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 4:00 am 


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I've recently rediscovered shmups. While I wasn't a huge fan when I was a kid, when sprites were limited, and memory shmups reigned supreme, I absolutely love modern manic shmups.

So I know the basics about hitboxes and focus fire and panic bombing. I can 1cc Imperishable Night on easy mode. The problem is I've hit a bit of a brick wall at higher difficulty levels for a number of shmups. All the guides I read online are either aimed at absolute beginners, or they're written for absolute masters to maximize their score. Nothing in-between for someone still struggling to 1cc shmups at normal difficulty.

I recently tried out the game Spirit Collect and while stumbling through the japanese menus came across some kind of STG tutorial. I couldn't read what it said, but the animated cutscene that went with it made the lesson clear: don't move unless absolutely necessary. I put that into effect and noticed a big improvement in my gameplay (I no longer get clobbered by swarms of direct-fire enemies.)

So I was wondering if there are other general mid-level shmup tips anyone here would be willing to pass along. Or even better, if you could link to an existing guide.


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 5:11 am 


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don't look at the bullets or your ship

its bad for you

unless the bullets are REALLY SLOW

look at your shot
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 6:30 am 


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First, don't expect to 1CC a shmup in a few credits. Some harder games take months and even years (Gradius 3 :roll: ) to 1CC.

In general: The faster the bullets, the higher you should look (in a vertical shmup)

You should know the position of your ship without staring at it (at least most of the time) this way you can focus on what is important. Also, you should know the exact size of your hitbox: concsiously but also unconcsiously (without putting mind to it)


The rest is pretty much practice and memory. As long as you are improving youre on the right track.


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:14 am 



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
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GAL, the Arcadia record holder for Tavia in Gunbird 2, has a guide on the differences between a beginner and an expert (I imagine that a mid-level player has made some progress on reconciling these differences). Here it is:

http://galford.hp.infoseek.co.jp/biginar.html

The guide is in Japanese, though. But I have written some commentary on his guide, which you can find here:

Consider each point, and identify the one point that's constraining you the most from going beyond the beginner level. Then work on that point until a different point constrains you more. Right now, you seem to be worried about point #3, honing your techniques on dodging bullets. Is that what's keeping you back? Maybe you just need more knowledge about the games you play. Maybe you just need to plan better. Maybe you just need to find more time to play. Maybe you need to find a shmup that fits your talents better. Maybe you need a better environment to play in. Be sure that honing your bullet dodging techniques is indeed constraining you the most from playing beyond the beginner level.

If it happens that you do need to hone your bullet dodging techniques, I have a guide to help you get started. It's not well written (it's just me brainstorming, and I never bothered to clean up the writing), but it's readable:

http://shmups.com/beepreying/old/stgtools.txt

Let me know whether these tips helped.
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 9:47 am 



Joined: 27 Jul 2007
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Sorry to nitpick, but the stgtools.txt document is actually barely readable. As in, really hard to understand what do you mean there (at least without knowing that beforehand). :\
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 Post subject: Re: RQ: Mid-level shmup strategies
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:06 am 


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Mischief Maker wrote:
I couldn't read what it said, but the animated cutscene that went with it made the lesson clear: don't move unless absolutely necessary. I put that into effect and noticed a big improvement in my gameplay (I no longer get clobbered by swarms of direct-fire enemies.)


wtf ?? I don't recommend doing that lol @_@

I guess what you call direct-fire enemies are enemies that shoot aimed, non widespread bullets or patterns. One basic technique to get past a swarm of those is to move a little like you're saying : only move to whatever direction you're planning to move to when a bullet is close to hitting you. That will save you if the swarm doesn't last long. But if it does last long, you will end up stuck against a wall and die if you keep doing this. To create a hole for you to squeeze through, make a large ample movement in the same direction you were going, preferably decreasing the distance between you and the shooters while you make that move (while staying safe), and as fast as possible (you could release the laser button to go faster in DDP for instance). This way the shooters aiming at you will have to shoot each bullet in the largest possible angle from the previous one : that's a hole. Move through the hole and repeat if there's more of this swarm.

However in many occasions this technique isn't usable, either because your enemies shoot widespread patterns that you really shouldn't dodge this way, or because even though there's this kind of swarm you need to get somewhere in particular to continue a chain or whatever, or because there are other types of enemies besides the swarm.....


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 4:07 pm 


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Games that really help getting better at different aspects of dodging:

Raiden: Loads of aimed bullets and many of them also come from the sides and various directions. Also, very fast bullets compared to your ship speed.

Most Ikeda shmups (DDPs, Mushis, Galudas): Pattern reading skills, especially with the Bosses. They often fire some complex patterns where you need to analyze many components of the movement to find where you should go. Also, aimed barrages, where most of the enemies are on top of the screen and fire huge ammount of bullets, as PROM sais, you need to learn to kinda "wave" around the aimed barrage and make holes in the shots not to get caught in the corners.


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 11:31 pm 



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
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moozooh wrote:
Sorry to nitpick, but the stgtools.txt document is actually barely readable. As in, really hard to understand what do you mean there (at least without knowing that beforehand). :\

Hehe, yeah, I agree. I just threw it up there, because I don't know of any better all-in-one bullet dodging guide written in English.
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 3:53 pm 



Joined: 18 Oct 2007
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shoe-sama wrote:
don't look at the bullets or your ship

its bad for you

unless the bullets are REALLY SLOW

look at your shot

This.
--------
Also, Postman has a few ideas on how to play the games. Fun little read. You may have already read it, but it's always good to check again every now and then.
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 Post subject: Re: RQ: Mid-level shmup strategies
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 6:33 am 


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PROMETHEUS wrote:
To create a hole for you to squeeze through, make a large ample movement in the same direction you were going, preferably decreasing the distance between you and the shooters while you make that move (while staying safe), and as fast as possible (you could release the laser button to go faster in DDP for instance). This way the shooters aiming at you will have to shoot each bullet in the largest possible angle from the previous one : that's a hole. Move through the hole and repeat if there's more of this swarm.


This was the single most useful piece of text I've ever read.

Seriously, my DOJ survival has gotten probably 5x better since I read this. I just managed to get to the very end of 1-5 as opposed to getting game over in the first third of the stage.


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