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 Post subject: 3D Shmups- Will they be accepted as 'true' shmups in 2009?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:30 pm 


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I believe it was a couple years back, during a conversation in a somewhat unrelated thread, I remember having a discussion about games like Galaxy Force II, and After Burner II, and whether or not they were "true" shmups. I figured that with the 2009 voting going on, perhaps it was time to look back into this discarded genre, and give my thoughts more clearly than I have in the past.

While I will be the first to say that I don't have the "true" shmup doctrine memorized, I've noticed trends in the shmup community that make me question why at least some of these games aren't considered for things like top 10 lists and so forth. I know that autoscrolling and two directional movement are big issues in what is considered a "true" shmup, and that these two things alone have caused a lot of arguments with games that use push scrolling (Defender, Sinistar, etc). So that's where I'll start.

Those two very big areas are met with games like Space Harrier and Galaxy Force II. You're forced to scroll into the screen at all times, and you can only move up, down, left, or right. Now, I know that many 3D shmups have some kind of speed control. This allows you to move through a level faster or slower. But the reality of this is, that speeding up and slowing down doesn't really affect the gameplay at all on older 3D shmups (newer ones like Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon are another matter). Sure, you can hit the throttle on After Burner II, but all you're really doing is making the game go faster... like running MAME at 130% instead of 100%. The enemies still fire at you when/where they normally would, they still take their pre-assigned paths, and such a boost doesn't grant you much beyond having a better chance to get out of the way of the bullets/missiles... which is exactly what speed ups do in top and side view scrollers. We've all played games like Gradius and Thunder Force IV, where you can adjust the speed of your ship to maneuver through tight spaces, or zip out of the way of a bullet spread. Now granted, with 3D shmups, such speed ups also make the level go by faster, as you get through the levels obstacles and enemies at a quicker rate. But I've always seen this as part of the gameplay, much like how the longer you survive in many shmups, the more shit they throw at you as the levels progress. It's just that with 3D shmups, you can choose to go slow or fast, without missing out on the attacks, level designed obstacles, or bullet count.

Another point I'd like to make is that the viewpoint from which the action is played out, shouldn't be a factor in deciding what is or isn't a shmup. If you were to somehow take a game like Thunder Force III, turn it 90º so that you were flying into the screen, but you left all the gameplay intact exactly as it was (except for switching the speed setting to Z-axis instead of the X/Y axis), would it still be shmup? For me, the answer is a very easy "yes". The reason for that is, that if you took Galaxy Force II, turned it so that it was a side/top scroller, and left the gameplay the same (but switched the Z-axis speed setting to the X/Y axis), I don't think anyone would have an issue with calling it a shmup. It's that Z-axis that seems to really stick in the craw of some folks, while the many other similarities get overlooked. Plus, I simply don't see that change from X/Y speed ups to a Z speed up as a deal breaker.

We all know that some shmups have quirky traits. Zaxxon has it's funky viewing angle, Granada doesn't autoscroll, Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 allows you to jump onto enemies and take their powers for your own... and I'm sure others could name more shmups that have some trait that cause people to cock an eyebrow when that particular title comes up. I know that there are entries in this genre that simply won't make the cut. However, I feel it's time for the genre to looked into with more scrutiny, as I simply can't believe that the likes of Galaxy Force II, After Burner II, Space Harrier, and even Zaxxon 3D, aren't shmups. Or more specifically, that they're some kind of oddity in the shmup world that don't count for the various things that go on here.

I know there's a lot of opposition to this idea, and I also know that some of the older members are likely sick to death of this topic. But I'm hoping we can keep this civilized and open, without resorting to "it's already been decided /thread". Things have changed before, and I'm interested in seeing if they can be changed again :)
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:11 pm 


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To me, the main difference is that in a shmup you dodge bullets, in these into the screen shooters you simply avoid them by jerking the controller around.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:28 pm 



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For The Coop,

Since you don't mention this particular Irem side-scrolling shmup by the name of In The Hunt, I'll gladly mention it. Sure, you can push the joystick right and left to scroll the background scenery (to reveal more enemies that are about to be coming your way) but it's rather the countdown timer that makes the player do so or otherwise lose a life as a consequence of not doing so. So does the player speed through a given stage and risk his or her life in doing so with the maximum time left on the clock or pause at certain spots and futher assess the situation to score more points at the expense of the countdown timer? You could go either way about it.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:35 pm 


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Quote:
If you were to somehow take a game like Thunder Force III, turn it 90º so that you were flying into the screen, but you left all the gameplay intact exactly as it was (except for switching the speed setting to Z-axis instead of the X/Y axis), would it still be shmup?


That's where the problem lies.

That's why Zaxxon isn't considered a shmup, but Viewpoint is.

The enemies and bullets should move in only 2 axis, and you should only move in the SAME 2 axis. When you are moving into the X/Y axis, but the enemies are moving in the X/Y/Z axis, you screw up the shmup gameplay, and it becomes something else.

Or better, if you can't dodge a pattern of bullets, then "come back" and accidentally hit a stray bullet you had already dodged but hadn't left the screen yet, it's not a shmup.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:43 pm 



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Shatterhand wrote:
Quote:
If you were to somehow take a game like Thunder Force III, turn it 90º so that you were flying into the screen, but you left all the gameplay intact exactly as it was (except for switching the speed setting to Z-axis instead of the X/Y axis), would it still be shmup?


That's where the problem lies.

That's why Zaxxon isn't considered a shmup, but Viewpoint is.

The enemies and bullets should move in only 2 axis, and you should only move in the SAME 2 axis. When you are moving into the X/Y axis, but the enemies are moving in the X/Y/Z axis, you screw up the shmup gameplay, and it becomes something else.

Or better, if you can't dodge a pattern of bullets, then "come back" and accidentally hit a stray bullet you had already dodged but hadn't left the screen yet, it's not a shmup.


When the arcade game of Sega's Zaxxon first appeared at my local arcades back in 1982, I saw that most Zaxxon players had to consistantly fire to find the proper route to exit the shield barriers, a single opening in the on-coming wall fortress, etc. When I first started playing it, I saw the reasoning and logic in doing so...it was to survive each successive stage that progressively got harder and faster each time. In addition, the handy High and Low Gauge to the left of the ship to determine just how high or how low the ship had to be to successfully manuever out of a tight jam or else, explode into a million pieces. Quite tricky at times just when you thought that you were safe but the CPU still registered a collision anyways, you were fucked big time. Since the default was to give the player three lives per quarter per credit...you damn well tried your best to make a gaming session of Zaxxon pay off/last as long as possible. The resulting sequel of Super Zaxxon hit the arcades not too long afterwards with the new boss of a red dragon instead of the hulking Zaxxon robotic boss the second time around. ^_~

Zaxxon was new and novel because no other arcade game manufacturer had done such an arcade game with the new fangled isometric viewpoint before then. Even the pesky guided missles are hard to shoot down when faced-off against the Zaxxon robot boss if it gets the chance to launch it at you. When the arcade game of Congo Bongo came out, it too, used the same isometric viewpoint but as an action platformer type of game. ^_~

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:05 pm 


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i thought we had them lumped in with rail shooters already
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:12 pm 


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I've always considered games like Star Fox 3D shoot 'em ups. "Rail shooter" is a misnomer that's better off as a synonym for light-gun games.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:15 pm 


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You know my stance, Coop. All these games are great and welcome into the big family of shooting games. (STGs)

"shmup" is a slang that has been used to identify a (more often than not) precise subcategory of these games. I don't see much point into using this term to refer to shooting games, since they already are well identified with, well "shooting games".

This has nothing to do with keeping the games out of the forums; it's just that I believe these games to play and feel different enough to be dignified by their own definition, just the same way as I would stretch things calling Mario and Contra two exactly identical platform games.

For what it's worth, I might add this: than having Bangai-O included in the voting rules feels so odd (since the game is so different from shmups) that I might as well welcome the others as well. For example, a case has been made to rule out Cabal, but I feel Cabal to be more frantically shmuppy than Bangai-O...

Once you get Space Harrier and Afterburner on the bandwagon, why not Descent...
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:29 pm 



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Turrican wrote:
Once you get Space Harrier and Afterburner on the bandwagon, why not Descent...


What was the next major game title to come out of the Descent/Descent 2 genre in terms of gameplay?


Last edited by PC Engine Fan X! on Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:35 pm 



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Sure, you can hit the throttle on After Burner II, but all you're really doing is making the game go faster... like running MAME at 130% instead of 100%. The enemies still fire at you when/where they normally would, they still take their pre-assigned paths, and such a boost doesn't grant you much beyond having a better chance to get out of the way of the bullets/missiles... which is exactly what speed ups do in top and side view scrollers.


Recheck Afterburner II (Genesis) or even better Afterburner 32x. Play the first few levels on the default Medium speed, check your score. Now Reset the game, and replay the first few levels on High speed, check your score and it's significantly higher because of going faster so speeding up the game in the case of the Afterburner games is also a method of achieving a higher score.

Quote:
That's why Zaxxon isn't considered a shmup, but Viewpoint is.


I will reassert that Zaxxon is most certainly a Shmup, even if it uses an isometric perspective.

Starting with the first level, stay flying at the highest altitude and dodge all the missiles that are launched from the ground... that red guided missile will certainly show up and home into the ship, and it must be shot down to eliminate it.

Now, keep in mind that Zaxxon also has depleting fuel (sort of like a timer), and the fuel tanks must be shot to at least some extent to refuel the ship because if fuel runs out the ship is lost. Add to all of that, there is a bonus if all of the enemy planes are eliminated between the first asteroid zone and the space zone. Then there is the robot, and whether or not the missile the robot is carrying is destroyed before or after it launches it still has to be shot to be destroyed.

Quote:
Once you get Space Harrier and Afterburner on the bandwagon, why not Descent...


I'd put Descent (and also, Forsaken) in the class of first-person shooters because at no time does the game allow for playing outside of the ship (or bike, in the case of Forsaken), while games like Afterburner, Space Harrier are still showing the icon that is doing the shooting. That said, they are still two very excellent games for the time they were made.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:39 pm 



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toaplan_shmupfan wrote:
I'd put Descent (and also, Forsaken) in the class of first-person shooters because at no time does the game allow for playing outside of the ship (or bike, in the case of Forsaken), while games like Afterburner, Space Harrier are still showing the icon that is doing the shooting. That said, they are still two very excellent games for the time they were made.


Yeah, that's right, it was Forsaken that was the next evolution in the Descent/Descent 2 genre. ^_~


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:23 pm 


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Here's another comparison to feed the brains:

In Bangai-O you wander in a huge maze-like environment, choosing which targets to destroy as you will in order to progress further.

In Turrican, you do exactly the same stuff, except that your avatar is gravity-bound. You do however shoot a lot and no keys of sort are required to advance in the game.

In my view, both those games feel very different from a shoot'em up, and that has little to do with gravity: it has more to do with stuff like open-end structure of stages, feel of exploration, tactical action (duck, take cover, take your time).

Now with today's rules one is seen eligible as shmup, the other doesn't, and frankly the idea to keep one out just because his jump isn't infinte is a bit weird. Both of these games feature great blasting action with tons of bullets; neither of the two is a shmup though.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:36 pm 


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What Turrican said. (his 1st post)

all these other arcade games in which you see your avatar and shoot stuff are fun and everything. But the whole point of the word "shmup" is to know what were talking about when we say it.

i.e. It defines a very specific sub genre.


also, if the forum "officially" decides to include all these genres in the term "shmup" they should also find another term to refer to real shmups. :roll:
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:29 am 


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Hooo boy. I'll try my best to reply to everything. Here goes...


nimitz- You jerk the controller around to do pretty much anything. It's just to what degree is it being done (light taps, or full tilt). And while I do understand some of the differences you're pointing at, I feel both are dodging. Also, I understand what "true" or "real" defines in the shmup world. I'm simply trying to make a case for the specific type of game I'm talking about to be included in that term (or rather, some examples at least).



Shatterhand- Here's where I start not seeing eye to eye with this site. Who said it should only be on the X/Y axis? What official rule was passed that decides bullets and ship movement can only exist on two of the three planes? I don't ask this with frustration or anger, but with puzzlement.

Regarding the backing into bullets, I don't agree with that at all. My reason for this is that there are a lot of shmups where you can't hit scenery at all. It's literally point A to point B, with no interruptions of any kind from your surroundings. However, there are quite a few shmups where your surroundings are another hazard to be wary of. It can be slammed into, hid behind to block bullets, or used to lure enemies into. If we were to suddenly exclude one of those two "surroundings" groups for some reason, just imagine the hell that would follow as people tried to figure out why DoDonPachi or Thunder Force IV was no longer a "real" shmup. To me, not having to worry about the bullets you just avoided is no different than not having to worry about your surroundings.



Turrican- Two main reasons why you wouldn't allow Descent (awesome game by the way) have been brought up here... forced scroll, and two directional movement. Despite the Z-axis movement, you're still mainly confined to the X/Y axis for dodging in games like Sky Target. Plus, that Z-axis is always locked in place. In Descent and its brethren, the Z-axis is in constant flux. You can aim your Z-axis anywhere you wish, and then move in that direction. I believe that's what would keep the likes of Forsaken (another cool game) out of this.



toaplan_shmupfan- That's scoring. Something like that would be akin to choosing if you want to chain enemies or collect medals, or just blow through the game and blast everything without worrying about extra scoring techniques. To me anyway.



PC Engine Fan X!- In The Hunt is great example of a shmup that's argued against. I can't imagine not seeing that game as a shmup, and your parallel with how slow or fast you can go through its stages is a great example for some of what I was talking about. Thanks for bringing it up.




Everyone- Also, if I might put forth another game to use as an example of a 3D shmup, take a good look at Iridion on the GBA. Turn that game 90º for a top/side view, and it would be a shmup without changing a thing. I simply can not see the Z-axis autoscroll movement as making it anything other than a "true" shmup.



Hope I got to everyone's points :)




Edit: Please keep in mind guys, I'm not talking about allowing in a shit load of games via one lump sum. I'm talking about talking a look at the 3D shmup genre on a case by case basis, much like what's been done for various games already.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:48 am 


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okay, one more post.

what I meant in my first post, is that shmups usually(if not always) have some pattern recognition where you have to analyze a pattern and find the best route to make it through it alive. You don't have that in rail shooters.

Also, I don't understand why anyone wants to include more games in the strict definition of "shmup" whats wrong with calling an arena shooter an arena shooter and a rail shooter a rail shooter and a run'n'gun a run'n'gun....
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:11 am 


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The Coop wrote:
Everyone- Also, if I might put forth another game to use as an example of a 3D shmup, take a good look at Iridion on the GBA. Turn that game 90º for a top/side view, and it would be a shmup without changing a thing. I simply can not see the Z-axis autoscroll movement as making it anything other than a "true" shmup.


I'll talk about the person I met when I was young...

Err, no. Instead, I'll tell you my personal gripe with the Z-Axis.

My problem with it is really simple, really: it comes down to the usual "shoot & avoid" gameplay principles. The third axis does complicate things. Let's take Space Harrier. you move left and right, up and down your Harrier. Enemies do the same; they move left right, up down and actually on another plane as well, since they get nearer you. You have to line up your Harrier with the enemies to shoot them.

Of course, you have to line your avatar to the enemy since Space Invaders days, but in a single plane playfield lining up with the enemy sprite is easier. That's not "easier" as in "Oh no I suck at these", but an hand-eye coordination kind of easier.

You move your harrier with an eight direction stick and a button to fire, just as you would do with R-9. but the enemies moves on three axis, and your firing is disjointed from your avoiding movements. Although shmups' avatars have gained movement over the Y axis with time, ideally you just need to operate on one axis to line in with the baddie and press the magical button that will vaporize it. With the Harrier you always have to operate on both axis to line in. It adds volume to the game and a whole new level of complexity.

Now, I perfectly understand that a reply to all this might be "so, it's a little less intuitive to line up your fire with the enemies and it requires a bit of spatial awareness, so what? there's still plenty of shooting action!" Yes, yes there is, but the nature of the action presented on screen and the overall feel are altered enough to support the case that games so different need a subgenre differentiation. We already have one - we call Twin Cobra a shmup, and these 3D Shooting games. I think it's a good one.

The Coop wrote:
[Harrier's] Z-axis is always locked in place. In Descent and its brethren, the Z-axis is in constant flux. You can aim your Z-axis anywhere you wish, and then move in that direction. I believe that's what would keep the likes of Forsaken (another cool game) out of this.


You have a valid point, Harrier's Z-axis is less relevant that Descent because it's fixed and since you will always shoot enemies regardless of their progress on the z-axis (their proximity), that may be seen as a non-factor. However, it remains the fact that you have to operate on two axis to get in line with them and these games, undeniably shooting games, still play and feel quite a lot different from shmups.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:08 am 


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nimitz wrote:
okay, one more post.

what I meant in my first post, is that shmups usually(if not always) have some pattern recognition where you have to analyze a pattern and find the best route to make it through it alive. You don't have that in rail shooters.

Also, I don't understand why anyone wants to include more games in the strict definition of "shmup" whats wrong with calling an arena shooter an arena shooter and a rail shooter a rail shooter and a run'n'gun a run'n'gun....


By your definition, quite a few older "true" shmups wouldn't be allowed in. They don't have bullet patterns, but rather areas an enemy is going to come in and fire from. Sure, some bosses have simple patterns, or guns that just fire at where you are at a given moment, but so do games like Burning Force and Iridion.

And please don't take my making this thread the wrong way. There's nothing wrong with calling a type of game that type of game. I'd never dream of calling Metal Slug or Midnight Resistance a shmup, so that's not what I'm rambling on about. I just don't see why games like Iridion, Galaxy Force II, and After Burner II, aren't being allowed to be included in the lists when things like the top 10/25 stuff comes around. It's something that's been nagging at the back of my mind since I joined, and I felt the need to have a discussion about it. I've read a lot of things as to the why nots, but I wanted to give what I feel are the whys.



Turrican- Where I differ on the Z-axis argument, is that it's already been used in what this site would label as "true" shmups. Games like RayStorm and Xevious make you work on two different planes... an upper plane, and a lower one. One is for guns, the other is for bombing. But in RayStorm, those enemies cross between those two planes, forcing you deal with the depth of the playing field, and avoid the shots and ships coming from within the screen. A game like Iridion feels simply like the next logical step... crossing into that depth field even further, without ditching the controls and gameplay aspects that make a shmup what it is. To me, saying Galaxy Force II isn't a shmup because it uses the Z-axis as it does, is like saying Life Force isn't a shmup because it uses top and side view screens. A change of direction, with little else altered, just doesn't warrant an exclusion in my eyes.

I do understand your point about the targeting, but again, I refer to a game like RayStorm, where the targets are more difficult to get at due to their movements and plane positions. But really, the depth in a game like Iridion has little effect when you think about it. You fire, you're bullets travel straight (generally), and you either hit the enemy coming straight at you, or you miss it because it moved. This happens on top view shmups (enemies maneuver on the X-axis), and side view shmups (enemies maneuver on the Y-axis). However, some top and side view shmups have weaponry and enemies that fire and move freely on both the X and Y axis, at any time, around your ship. You can only fire in one direction, while enemies fly in, fly back, zip around your ship and so forth. In other words, you're dealing with the X and Y positions of enemies and bullets, while traveling along the X or Y-axis. With a game like Iridion, they're using the two X and Y axis movements in a similar fashion for the ships, while making it so shots (and ships) travel on the Z-axis (generally). The principles really aren't that dissimilar (again, to me), and games like Galaxy Force II simply feel like a "next step" for shmups, using many of the things shmups have implemented in smaller doses over the years (depth of play field, speed controls, etc).

Now, I know things like Star Fox, or Panzer Dragoon, or even Thunder Blade could be very easily argued against, which is why I've been avoiding using them as examples. I've put a good amount of thought into this, and that's why you keep seeing the same game names come up. It's not all of the 3D shmup world I'm trying to make a case for, just some of them. I could supply a list if you're interested.




Anyway, thanks for keeping the discussion civil thus far everyone. I hope I've managed to do the same.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:43 am 


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The Coop wrote:
Turrican- Where I differ on the Z-axis argument, is that it's already been used in what this site would label as "true" shmups. Games like RayStorm and Xevious make you work on two different planes... an upper plane, and a lower one. One is for guns, the other is for bombing. But in RayStorm, those enemies cross between those two planes, forcing you deal with the depth of the playing field, and avoid the shots and ships coming from within the screen. A game like Iridion feels simply like the next logical step... crossing into that depth field even further, without ditching the controls and gameplay aspects that make a shmup what it is. To me, saying Galaxy Force II isn't a shmup because it uses the Z-axis as it does, is like saying Life Force isn't a shmup because it uses top and side view screens. A change of direction, with little else altered, just doesn't warrant an exclusion in my eyes.


With shmups that use a ground and bombing, such as Twinbee or Xevious, I try to concetrate on the ship and consider the targeting apart. Of course, in theory you are right: these games are evidently trying to simulate a 3D space. But in fact, they are as flat as they come. With Raystorm it doesn't change much - the point at which your target locks on is always on your same plane iirc.

You say "a change of direction" but that's (Salamander's) just a change in perspective. Some years ago I struggled to have Tempest included among the eligible games, because I felt that the change of perspective didn't change the game's mechanics a great deal. With Space Harrier is different: I truly feel that having to deal with enemies not on my plane makes things quite different on a gameplay level. On a theory level, it's all shoot and avoid, and that's why the root family is the same.

The Coop wrote:
The principles really aren't that dissimilar (again, to me), and games like Galaxy Force II simply feel like a "next step" for shmups, using many of the things shmups have implemented in smaller doses over the years (depth of play field, speed controls, etc).


Maybe an historical point of view might shed some light - at some point (was that Gaplus?) the player's avatar gained movement on the second axis. This "revolution" sparkled the subgenre we use to call "shoot'em ups", and there hasn't been turning back since: besides some Space Invaders anniversary release, shmups have by large welcomed the movement on the second axis (aka the ability to move freely on the plane).

Now, it may very well be that Galaxy Force II and Harrier's third axis was meant to be the next logical step, the following revolution in the genre. But the idea withered - or, perhaps, the z-axis found better applications (Wolfenstein 3D an such). the "digital fossil" known as "shmup" basically rejected the third axis, probably because it makes things way too complicated: and since Harrier days we've had thousands of plain regular shmups. In a sense it may be said that the shmups subgenre is built around this renounce. Embrace it, and you're straight into Panzer Dragoon and co.

The Coop wrote:
Anyway, thanks for keeping the discussion civil thus far everyone. I hope I've managed to do the same.


Always a pleasure to have a civil debate. :) And I'll tell you one thing which imho counts as a solid plus for the inclusion of Harrier and Co. : as much as I see the third axis a genre-splitting feature, I also see Harrier much more shmuppy, arcade, frantic, forcescrolled than Granada or Bangai-O. In other words, I'd rather have the third axis in and the "here's a huge maze, now select which targets you're going to take down" out. :)
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:43 am 



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So how is Cave doing their next-gen shmups (before Death Smiles II that is)? Are they modeling sprites and rendering them out with alphas then integrating them into their 2d engine? I've noticed their sprites only moved in certain directions but I wasn't sure that was because they still 'traditionally' draw the sprites out or because they didn't want to go through too much hassle with transferring the renders back into 2D and then programming them to do whatever. Maybe it's all procedural? I'm just curious because I don't know how to plan my workflow to creating the assets for my shmup that isn't overthought or overly complex...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:07 am 



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Games such as Ajax demand that both be done however. Not doing both shooting and bombing in the overhead helicopter stages certainly means getting shot down by a ground target. (Unlike Xevious, the Ajax ground targets are significantly more aggressive with their attacks).

Also, I think one of the first games that gave the player movement in the second axis might have either been Astro Blaster or Moon Cresta. In both cases, the movement was only for docking stages, but still, the movement was there.

Either way, Gaplus did seem to be one of the first to give continuous movement along the second axis to the avatar as far as the fixed shooter was concerned (the starfield scrolled either downward or upward, but Gaplus was still mostly a fixed shooter).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:29 am 


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galaxy force 2 fucking owns good thread


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:18 am 


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LionFish wrote:
So how is Cave doing their next-gen shmups (before Death Smiles II that is)? Are they modeling sprites and rendering them out with alphas then integrating them into their 2d engine? I've noticed their sprites only moved in certain directions but I wasn't sure that was because they still 'traditionally' draw the sprites out or because they didn't want to go through too much hassle with transferring the renders back into 2D and then programming them to do whatever. Maybe it's all procedural? I'm just curious because I don't know how to plan my workflow to creating the assets for my shmup that isn't overthought or overly complex...


Wrong thread my friend. "3D shmup" refers to the ship/person moving into the screen, not polygonal graphics :)




Turrican- Yeah, "perspective" is the proper term. My bad. Even so, 3D shmups like Galaxy Force II are just changes in perspective as well.

Regarding the historical part of your post, as you said, you fought for at least some of the tube shmups to be included in the rankings and such that go on here. Well, aren't they just as much of a historical oddity in the shmup time line? Tempest and others like it do the same basic things the 3D shmups do. You move your ship on the X/Y axis, fire into the screen via the Z-axis, and have to line up your shots to hit the enemies that are moving around on the X/Y axis as they slide "up" on the Z-axis. Gyruss (a personal favorite) is the same way.

I haven't seen anything to tell me one way or the other for a while, so I don't know if these tube shmups are acceptable for the ranking lists here. If they are, then I see even less of a reason for the 3D shmups like the ones I've mentioned to not be included.

Even if the shmup world ditched the whole Z-axis thing and stuck just the X and Y ones, I don't personally see that as a reason to lock out every 3D shmup. Games like Descent or Doom that have some shmup-like qualities, don't belong in the shmup world that's been defined here. I whole heartedly agree. But I feel the small group of games that quite literally play like a "true" shmup, but use all three axis equally instead of just X and Y (with occasional touches of Z), do belong. This is obviously an area you and I disagree on, and that's cool. But like you did with Tempest and it's brethren, so too do I with Galaxy Force II and the games like it. I can only hope that I have the same success you did (assuming tube shmups are allowed in the top lists).





Oh, for the sake of examples, here are the games I narrowed my list down to in this 3D shmup campaign...

After Burner II
Space Harrier
Galaxy Force II
Zaxxon 3D
Iridion
Gyruss
(if it's not already accepted)
Star Wars: The Arcade Game (the old Vector graphics one)
The Empire Strikes Back (ditto)
Night Striker
Galactic Storm
Burning Force
Solar Assault
Sky Target



Ones I think a case could be made both for and against (more against most likely)...

Panzer Dragoon
Panzer Dragoon Zwei
Star Fox
Star Fox 2
Star Fox 64
Shadow Squadron
Stellar Assault SS
Thunder Blade



I know there are many more, but those are the ones I'm most familiar with.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:35 am 


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How is Star Fox 64 any less of a 3D shoot 'em up than After Burner?
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:41 am 


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MathU wrote:
How is Star Fox 64 any less of a 3D shoot 'em up than After Burner?


The 360º sections are more like Descent and its kin. That would likely be seen a major strike against it, even if the rest of the game plays more like the first game.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:16 am 


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Eh, I would argue Star Fox 64 is more like a 3D Zero Gunner 2 than a 6 degrees of freedom game like Descent.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:30 am 


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True, but I felt a strong enough argument could be made against SF64 that it belonged in the "maybe, maybe not" list. I could easily be wrong.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:18 pm 


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The Coop wrote:
Regarding the historical part of your post, as you said, you fought for at least some of the tube shmups to be included in the rankings and such that go on here. Well, aren't they just as much of a historical oddity in the shmup time line?


Yes, they are. And as I said, the moment we include arena shooters as Granada in the vote, we might as well include these. Heck, Granada/Gauntlet, those play nothing like usual shmups and they don't even have to bring things in three dimensions to do that. ;)

The Coop wrote:
Tempest and others like it do the same basic things the 3D shmups do. You move your ship on the X/Y axis, fire into the screen via the Z-axis, and have to line up your shots to hit the enemies that are moving around on the X/Y axis as they slide "up" on the Z-axis. Gyruss (a personal favorite) is the same way.


No, you are slightly in error. Tempest and Gyruss enemies move along the plane which is formed by the axis X and Z, but not the Y (the "height"). They remain, all the time, on the same plane your avatar is. And in fact lining up with them is a simple matter of adjusting your ship along the X axis. In fact, what we are calling Z-axis in Tempest is just the Y Axis of the plane you are on:

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/3396/ashmuprh5.jpg

Quote:
I haven't seen anything to tell me one way or the other for a while, so I don't know if these tube shmups are acceptable for the ranking lists here. If they are, then I see even less of a reason for the 3D shmups like the ones I've mentioned to not be included.


They are eligible; since their gameplay is still two-dimensional despite the odd perspective, they aren't a big help for including the three dimensional ones. What I did back then was just to point out that these games were already fully in the shmups criteria despite their weird perspective.

Quote:
Even if the shmup world ditched the whole Z-axis thing and stuck just the X and Y ones, I don't personally see that as a reason to lock out every 3D shmup. Games like Descent or Doom that have some shmup-like qualities, don't belong in the shmup world that's been defined here. I whole heartedly agree. But I feel the small group of games that quite literally play like a "true" shmup, but use all three axis equally instead of just X and Y (with occasional touches of Z), do belong. This is obviously an area you and I disagree on, and that's cool. But like you did with Tempest and it's brethren, so too do I with Galaxy Force II and the games like it. I can only hope that I have the same success you did (assuming tube shmups are allowed in the top list.


It's a flawless logic and I at this point would make them eligible, along with Contra and the likes. If I can vote for Granada, It's all too obvious that we are dealing with shooting games (*) in general. Besides, it's agreeable the fact that introducing some more elements into the equation (like forced scrolling, fixed z-axis) you could manage to allow Space harrier in while keeping Descent out...

(*) my modest proposal: let's just change the name of the poll. From the Top 25 Shmups of all times, to the Top 25 Shooting Games of all times. It's the easiest route.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:47 pm 


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I think you guys are putting a bit too much thought into it.

We can obviously go on for weeks (years?) if we start to include every specific or "odd" game. There will always be a game that feels very close but is not quite there.

You can even create concepts for types of shmups that would break almost any strict definition.


I always thought that "shmup" was another word for what many people call "old 2d space shooter like gradius". Personally I would leave out anything That's not 100% shmup. Which would mean: If there's any doubt that a game might not be a shmup, then it's not.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:03 pm 


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Turrican wrote:
The Coop wrote:
Tempest and others like it do the same basic things the 3D shmups do. You move your ship on the X/Y axis, fire into the screen via the Z-axis, and have to line up your shots to hit the enemies that are moving around on the X/Y axis as they slide "up" on the Z-axis. Gyruss (a personal favorite) is the same way.


No, you are slightly in error. Tempest and Gyruss enemies move along the plane which is formed by the axis X and Z, but not the Y (the "height"). They remain, all the time, on the same plane your avatar is. And in fact lining up with them is a simple matter of adjusting your ship along the X axis. In fact, what we are calling Z-axis in Tempest is just the Y Axis of the plane you are on:

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/3396/ashmuprh5.jpg


As I look at that picture, I see a plane that the player's ship moves around on. Its movement is on the X-axis (horizontal location) and the Y-axis (vertical location), with the enemies moving around on those same axis. But the enemies get closer to you as you fire into the screen at them, which would put their other sense of motion and your shots on the Z-axis. Sure, they're restricted to the given shape of the "arena" as it were, but those arenas use the Z-axis for depth, while they reside on a flat X/Y plane... or should I say, flat X/Y planes.

The way it looks to me in games like Tempest and Gyruss, is that there are two X/Y axis planes... a foreground one, and a background one (kind of like what goes on in games like RayStorm with an upper and lower layer). Your ship is in the foreground layer, and your enemies first appear on the background one. The Z-axis comes in when you both start firing at each other, and when they move from the background to the foreground.

Again, that's how it looks to me. I'm not saying which one's right or wrong, just how I read it :)
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:24 pm 


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All the action in Tempest and Gyruss takes place on a single plane - if you take a paper sheet and fold it in a cylinder shape you basically have done the perspective transition from Galaga to Gyruss.

In these games you strafe along the x.axis, while your shots run through the y.axis. Enemies can dodge your shots by strafing (moving on the x.axis of the same plane) or can get near you (running through the y.axis of the same plane, same movement as your bullets). Although perspective would suggest that Gyruss and Tempest stages are building a solid space (in the case of Gyruss, a cone), since all the action takes place only on the surface of these areas, a third axis is never used. I can simulate galaga or Tempest with a piece of paper and a pen.

Space Harrier's gameplace is indeed a solid. I would need a solid space, like an empty shoebox, to simulate it. In fact, that's a neat idea and I'll probably do that in a matter of hours. :)
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