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 Post subject: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:02 pm 


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I've been thinking of (slowly) writing a shooting game "technical manual" during my (quite limited) free time, for beginners and intermediates, to help them develop key skills and get to the next level of play. It would be a bit different to Prometheus' excellent practice guide, in that it would delve a bit deeper into game study.

However, I haven't got a clue where to start, or if this sort of thing would even be required or requested here. I have a few topics in mind that I think would be quite interesting/useful to document, for example:

For Technical Manual topics, Icarus wrote:
  • System Knowledge {ver0.01}
    • basic weapon types, and fundamental uses
    • what is rank, how it affects gameplay, examples, and manipulation tricks
    • basic scoring systems, and ideas for utilising them to best effect
    • advanced manipulation concepts

  • Bullet Pattern Studies
    • basic pattern behavior, and how to spot them in all situations
    • manipulation and control
    • the concept of simplification, or "filtering out the noise in the most complex patterns"
    • timing and telegraphed attacks: what to look out for, how to use them

  • Stage Mastery
    • threat recognition
    • controlled destruction: using stalling, screenwipes, environmental hazards, and enemy quirks to your advantage
    • things to know about endless and randomised games

  • Skill Development
    • best practices for viewing the playing area
    • ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination: in-game
    • ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination: out-of-game

  • Practice Methods and Expert Mentality {ver0.20}
    • best practices for setting attainable goals
    • observe, hypothesise, experiment, refine
    • breaking problems into pieces
    • creativity
    • recovery and improvisation
    • breaking past "the wall" and staying motivated
    • being competitive and cultivating competition
    • thoughts on the need to develop a simple game plan

  • Expanding Horizons
    • playing games outside of your comfort zone: variety is the spice of life

  • Examples of games I've played and used over the years to develop my own skills, and a little story of my own development


Are there any topics that might be of interest? Or am I about to waste my time here? I do think that keeping my musings on skill development in one thread/document might benefit the community as a whole, rather than having notes spread out across the quite substantial forum index.

However, despite my reputation around here, I'm not exactly what you'd call an expert (I'll leave that to the many players that can score better than me in many, many games), but I have knowledge and experience in shooting games that I don't mind sharing if there's sufficient demand for it. Also, are there any peeps that might want to participate in the development of the manual?

Also, disclaimer: knowing how long it takes for me to put together an ST, this would be a very long work-in-progress. You have been warned. ^_-

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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:18 pm 


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I'd be interested in something on basic streaming/cutbacks, preferably with screenshots. I've read several sources that vaguely describe the technique, but I'm still not sure I'm doing it right (I've seen it described as being a "U" shape, whereas when I do it, it looks more like an hourglass on its side, but with only the top contoured, and the bottom flat, if that makes any sense).

Code:
|\    /|
| \  / |
---\/----


Something like that, where I tap dodge one direction until I get a bit past the middle, then I make a fast break diagonally up to an edge, tap down, tap back to center, repeat. I also have no idea how to incorporate this into situations where I need to be aggressive with killing certain high-value targets.

Also, anything you can write on breaking past "the wall" would be hugely appreciated, as would anything you can write on how to "see stuff on the screen better" (if that makes any sense at all? I mean that situation where I (or any other bad player, really) ram right into a bullet that was in plain sight but I failed no notice at all somehow; I die waaaay too much that way.


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:20 pm 


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These are all topics that interest me quite a bit, so I'd like to see this happen. I'd also be willing to contribute if you'd like. :)
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:28 pm 


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Icarus wrote:
  • basic system knowledge (weapons, rank, scoring, advanced manipulation methods etc)
  • bullet pattern study (basic pattern behavior, simplification, manipulation and control etc)
  • practice methods
  • ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination
  • examples of games I've played and used over the years to develop my own skills
  • expanding horizons
  • breaking past "the wall" and staying motivated


...a detailed treatment of any and all of these would awesome :D

Icarus wrote:
I do think that keeping my musings on skill development in one thread/document might benefit the community as a whole, rather than having notes spread out across the quite substantial forum index.


Couldn't agree more.


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:47 pm 


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Obscura wrote:
I'd be interested in something on basic streaming/cutbacks, preferably with screenshots.


I'm considering doing something with regards to movement patterns, however the best form of advice I can give you right now is to not be too mindful of how to use a movement pattern, or when to use a movement pattern, but why you should use a movement pattern. This, typically, is linked into bullet pattern study.

The short gist of it is: cutbacks of varying types (V, U, ∞, etc) work best in situations where the majority of attacks are focused and aimed. Depending on the speed of the incoming attacks, you'll either be moving from side to side quickly, or tapping your way across slowly, it's very situational. Practicing cutback patterns in fast bullet games like Raiden DX is a good way to get acquainted, and build the skills up.

But I'll consider how to treat this topic soon, since it is something I'm quite interested in.

Obscura wrote:
Also, anything you can write on breaking past "the wall" would be hugely appreciated, as would anything you can write on how to "see stuff on the screen better" (if that makes any sense at all? I mean that situation where I (or any other bad player, really) ram right into a bullet that was in plain sight but I failed no notice at all somehow; I die waaaay too much that way.


"Breaking the wall" will be a good topic to handle, but in the case of "seeing the screen", I'll point you to something I cooked up a few years ago:

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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:24 pm 


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Q: How important do you think sleep is with regards to STGs?

I've been grinding and studying Galuda II (ok, I went for a run this morning too) all day and I'm a bit pooped. I recall in college we talked about the importance of taking a 45-90 minute nap to retain what you've studied. Any thoughts on the subject?

I don't think too many of us just sit in front of a CRT all day and play, but I may be mistaken.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:37 pm 


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mesh control wrote:
Q: How important do you think sleep is with regards to STGs?

I've been grinding and studying Galuda II (ok, I went for a run this morning too) all day and I'm a bit pooped. I recall in college we talked about the importance of taking a 45-90 minute nap to retain what you've studied. Any thoughts on the subject?

I don't think too many of us just sit in front of a CRT all day and play, but I may be mistaken.


If I don't get about 6 hours I can't play for shit. Too much sleep is even worse, though.

It's probably a good idea to eat and piss and generally feel in ok shape before you start a serious attempt.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:39 pm 


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I agree, 6 hours seems like a decent benchmark for the minimum amount of sleep you want for playing. At least for me, performance starts dropping off very fast if I get less than that. Of course, 8-9 is ideal.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:20 pm 


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In terms of rest, I can survive on an average of 5-6 hours sleep a day. What I do think is more important, is taking regular breaks in-between sessions. While I can quite happily play for hours on end, taking a short breather every hour or two is better, to settle the mind and body, and to help in memory retention. Flooding the brain with too much info is more detrimental to your skills - learning in chunks and then resting for a bit is better for both memory and motivation.

This also goes back to what I stated in other threads, that your learning goes faster if you take it a bit at a time. Guitarists don't learn tablature in one go, they learn in chunks, practicing and refining until competent, then they put all the pieces together into one cohesive whole.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:38 pm 


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Your physical state affects your playing quite a lot.
I always perform at my best when i've had decent sleep 7+ hours and recently done physical exercise.
Dem endorphines and adrenalines. 8)

Icarus wrote:
Guitarists don't learn tablature in one go, they learn in chunks, practicing and refining until competent, then they put all the pieces together into one cohesive whole.

Good practice is when you practice in chunks and put a lot more time into and focus unto the parts that are the most demanding.
When you've perfected the hard parts, work your way backwards and then put it all together (with super-glue lol)!

This should be the most efficient way of practicing but i myself don't use it as i play the games in an arcade.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:05 am 


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Icarus wrote:
What I do think is more important, is taking regular breaks in-between sessions. While I can quite happily play for hours on end, taking a short breather every hour or two is better, to settle the mind and body, and to help in memory retention. Flooding the brain with too much info is more detrimental to your skills - learning in chunks and then resting for a bit is better for both memory and motivation.

This also goes back to what I stated in other threads, that your learning goes faster if you take it a bit at a time. Guitarists don't learn tablature in one go, they learn in chunks, practicing and refining until competent, then they put all the pieces together into one cohesive whole.

Interesting; this sounds like a practice habit I need to change, since I've definitely bee known to go into marathon sessions (such as last night's 4-hour "Crimzon Clover stage 4 boss over and over and over and over and over and over and..." marathon).


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:17 am 


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Obscura wrote:
Interesting; this sounds like a practice habit I need to change, since I've definitely bee known to go into marathon sessions (such as last night's 4-hour "Crimzon Clover stage 4 boss over and over and over and over and over and over and..." marathon).


Constantly grinding for hours breeds sloppiness. Play a little bit, refresh, come back and refine a bit more, refresh, repeat. You'll stay motivated for a lot longer if you keep returning with fresh eyes and mind.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:39 am 


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Sapz wrote:
8-9 is ideal.


Get 8-9 if you want to play STG.



Refreshment is fantastic. There are so many things you can do. Jack off, shoot up, snip-snip, and the possibilities are just endless.

What are your favorites, Icarus?
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:12 am 


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TLB wrote:
Refreshment is fantastic. What are your favorites, Icarus?


Simplest short break between sessions involves a cup of tea and a little snack.

Most of my gaming sessions are pretty short nowadays - an hour here and there, sometimes with several days break in-between - and I normally do other things in the meanwhile. Practice guitar. Meet up with friends. Travel around the UK. Do the day job. Surf the net for things related to art, design, music production, tech, and random funny stuff. Design. Code. Paint. Make electronic music. Watch a film. Watch anime. Listen to music. Read a book. Read manga. Get laid. Get drunk. Go out for food. Go shopping. Whatever takes my fancy, really.

The key for me is to not burn out at any point - if I feel frustrated while playing, I just put down the controller and do something else. When I'm relaxed and motivated, I put in my best plays, learn faster, and am more observant during practice. At the end of the day, I view gaming as just a hobby, and I'm pretty happy just setting a small goal every session and working towards it, and not get annoyed if I don't manage it there and then.

Also, I try to get plenty of rest when possible.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:37 pm 


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Another topic that could be useful is getting back on your gameplan after you screw up somewhere.

More than once, I've screwed up, fallen off of my "plan" for a level, and then proceeded to die like 5 times because I couldn't get things back on plan easily. It seems to happen more in Crimzon Clover than in other games I've played, since if I'm falling off my pattern, I can't just bomb to get back on since the bomb/break is an important part of my gameplan.


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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas and speculation)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:19 pm 


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I've had a bit of a think, and I've fleshed out the topics a little.

For Technical Manual topics, Icarus wrote:
  • System Knowledge
    • basic weapon types, and fundamental uses
    • what is rank, how it affects gameplay, examples, and manipulation tricks
    • basic scoring systems, and ideas for utilising them to best effect
    • advanced manipulation concepts

  • Bullet Pattern Studies
    • basic pattern behavior, and how to spot them in all situations
    • manipulation and control
    • the concept of simplification, or "filtering out the noise in the most complex patterns"

  • Skill Development
    • best practices for viewing the playing area
    • timing and telegraphed attacks: what to look out for, how to use them
    • ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination: in-game
    • ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination: out-of-game

  • Practice Methods and Expert Mentality
    • observe, hypothesise, experiment, refine
    • breaking problems into pieces
    • creativity
    • recovery and improvisation
    • breaking past "the wall" and staying motivated
    • being competitive and cultivating competition

  • Expanding Horizons
    • playing games outside of your comfort zone: variety is the spice of life

  • Examples of games I've played and used over the years to develop my own skills, and a little story of my own development


This is starting to look like a scientific dissertation. :p
I'll probably start thinking of ways to approach some of these topics over the weekend, but for now, I'll ask again: are there any other topics that might be useful to cover? I've already added some of the suggestions to the list.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:41 pm 


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Maybe this is already in 'staying motivated', but something about determining an appropriate goal to aim for would be interesting. Other than that it looks pretty complete, I'd say.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:52 pm 


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I really like this idea! Your guides were huge for me starting out, so I'm interested to see what could come of this. I'm far from an exceptional player but if I can help in any way I'd be more than happy to. Forcing yourself to think something out such that you can convey it to someone else works wonders for your own comprehension.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:20 pm 


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Added a few more topics to flesh it out: stage mastery; setting goals; thoughts on making a game plan, and using it.
I think this looks about right.

Deca wrote:
I really like this idea! Your guides were huge for me starting out, so I'm interested to see what could come of this. I'm far from an exceptional player but if I can help in any way I'd be more than happy to. Forcing yourself to think something out such that you can convey it to someone else works wonders for your own comprehension.


I'll think about how to integrate contributor bits into the write-up once I get cracking on it. ^_-
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:42 pm 


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Obscura wrote:
Another topic that could be useful is getting back on your gameplan after you screw up somewhere.

More than once, I've screwed up, fallen off of my "plan" for a level, and then proceeded to die like 5 times because I couldn't get things back on plan easily. It seems to happen more in Crimzon Clover than in other games I've played, since if I'm falling off my pattern, I can't just bomb to get back on since the bomb/break is an important part of my gameplan.


I have this problem sometimes. One thing that helps me is to have backup plans for sections where I consistently have trouble in. This is easier in some games than others - in games that have a heavy emphasis on resource management, it can be hard to get back on track after a mistake because you won't have the resources you generally want after a mistake. But at least having a plan ahead of time will help minimize the damage.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:02 am 


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I've spent the evening drafting up an early version of the Practice Methods chapter, since that's a topic that's currently fresh in my mind, and I have some recent posts to work with. There aren't many examples in there just yet, as I wanted to get the base information down.

I'm releasing ver0.1 for consumption, and to give people an idea of how I'm going to approach this and other chapters. This chapter will be fleshed out with further details and some examples, but for now, it should hopefully be useful. It probably needs proofreading, but that will come once I put a bit more into it.

(And excuse the formatting, I'm using iA Writer for Mac as my drafting app, which has a specific way of formatting text.)
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:22 am 


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Nice stuff. I enjoyed reading that. I particularly liked the section about how to tackle problem areas. One thing which I think would good to mention (even though it might be obvious) is that the process of finding a solution to a problem is often cyclical - you'll often discover that your first hypothesis isn't working as well as you'd like, so you'll need to observe why it isn't working and then alter or develop a new hypothesis with which to test.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:50 pm 


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marus wrote:
Nice stuff. I enjoyed reading that. I particularly liked the section about how to tackle problem areas. One thing which I think would good to mention (even though it might be obvious) is that the process of finding a solution to a problem is often cyclical - you'll often discover that your first hypothesis isn't working as well as you'd like, so you'll need to observe why it isn't working and then alter or develop a new hypothesis with which to test.


Thanks. Suggestions already taken into account.

Practice Methods ver0.2 is now up, I went through and proof-read the previous version today, re-ordered bits here and there, and added a section on utilising resources. I'd say this one is relatively done for now.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:19 am 


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Pretty excited about this actually. Maybe a small section on medal chaining and scoring tricks. These will completely alter the techniques that a person usually relies on, and is a good example of risk vs reward, and will sometimes push a player beyond their skill level at first. It also seems tied to some of the ideals of being creative and trying out new tactics while you play.
Great stuff so far, thank you very much for the work you're doing in this! Please make it available for PDF style download. And any diagrams would be super cool.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:30 am 


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Cool idea Icarus, your guides / replays are always a great help. :)
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:08 am 



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Simon, I can help out.

I will read the thread, first.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:35 am 


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I wanted to fully read your draft before commenting, but its getting late here and im only half way through, so ill make some suggestions about what im currently most intrested in improving for my own game. Theres probably too much detail for what you want but its the best way I can express my meanings.

*Safespotting and manipulating the enemy into creating a safespot. ie something like which I cant do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpK79HMZ ... ure=relmfu

*Understanding complex (and / or fast) bullet patterns and what to do when I cant internalise the pattern and correctly see openings (especially boss bullets patterns like Futari Original larsa 1st pattern, where im unsure which way to takle it, 1) option of rote learning a slow pixel by pixel route through the pattern or 2) method of quickly moving left and right follwing the flow of the pattern (ie just holding left of right on my dpad, moving diagonal to dodge bullets on the fly) The later seems to me to be a riskier method but less time consuming to learn.

*Bosses which move around the screen randomly or in relation to the player, and correctly manipulating them (Ie DFK ura 2 midboss and also following the correct flow and what to do when things go wrong (ie Cyvern stage 2 boss / Futari st 3 which seems to have an set flow/ way of moving with the boss and how all the bullet patterns can go to pot when you mess up)

*Reaction vs preemption ie dodging bullets because you see them onscreen and dodging before they even fire.

*casual play vs pratice sessions, is it wise to play like at the same time in 1 session

*Dealing with seemingly random mishaps that tend to occur in many scoring routes, ie the "single bastard bullet" shot from a tank while point blanking in Crimson Clover and DDP (this imo is the biggest diffence between doujin and arcade stgs)

*Not biting off too little or too much when first memorising a route through the game which can be later built upon. ie playing for score and the 1CC from the get go, or getting the 1CC first and relearning a new route and system of play for scoring.

*Different dodging styles for different controllers (and games) and adapting to each one.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:41 pm 


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I will read the crap out of this.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:20 pm 


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@Randorama
Feel free to take a look at the current available chapter and add your own thoughts to it if you'd like. Your input is, and always has been, very welcome.
Ditto for any other players that might want to contribute some thoughts and advice to the document. Having other viewpoints from a variety of players can give readers some different perspectives and approaches.

@TrevHead (TVR)
Quickly answering your list:

TrevHead (TVR) wrote:
*Safespotting and manipulating the enemy into creating a safespot.
*Bosses which move around the screen randomly or in relation to the player, and correctly manipulating them… and also following the correct flow and what to do when things go wrong

*Understanding complex (and / or fast) bullet patterns and what to do when I cant internalise the pattern and correctly see openings
*Reaction vs preemption ie dodging bullets because you see them onscreen and dodging before they even fire.


This stuff will be covered in both the Bullet Studies section and the Stage Mastery section, in due course.

TrevHead (TVR) wrote:
*casual play vs pratice sessions, is it wise to play like at the same time in 1 session
*Not biting off too little or too much when first memorising a route through the game which can be later built upon. ie playing for score and the 1CC from the get go, or getting the 1CC first and relearning a new route and system of play for scoring.
*Dealing with seemingly random mishaps that tend to occur in many scoring routes


Already covered in Practice Methods v0.20 in some form or other. I may add a little more detail to that chapter, once I've got the rest of the document written down in some form.

In short:
- I don't personally believe that there is any such thing as casual vs serious, or one being superior to another, as long as you endeavor to learn something new each time you pick up the controller. I often find that when I play fast and loose, experimenting with ideas, I discover things I wouldn't normally find through focused play, and vice versa. What is important is that you have a set goal, no matter how small, when you switch on your game.
- Take your own preferred learning methods into account: if you learn better in bigger chunks, go for it, otherwise learn in small stages and build a bigger picture as you go. Learn in a manner that you find comfortable, and you'll find you'll progress better than trying to learn in an approach that is unsuitable for you.
- Recovery is easier when you have a good plan. Learn to develop a plan that works for you, commit it to memory, and stay confident. Don't let one mistake put you off your rhythm or degrade your confidence, otherwise you'll end up making more.

TrevHead (TVR) wrote:
*Different dodging styles for different controllers (and games) and adapting to each one.


I don't think there's any need to distinguish between different controllers, because it's all a matter of comfort. Some players are more accurate with a keyboard, some faster with a pad, some sharper with a stick, and others capable of using any kind of controller. What is important is that you find a controller and setup that you find comfortable when you play, and stick with it.
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Last edited by Icarus on Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GD: Shooting Game Technical Manual (ideas, discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:02 am 


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With regards to different controllers I'll say that going from arcade stick to control pad or vice versa isn't too hard really, I went from a PS2 dual analog pad using the thumbstick to my Arcade Stick and the transition took literally about...1-2 hours of flailing at Blue Wish Resurrection and Dodonpachi.

To be fair I was already playing fighting games with the arcade stick but it still didn't take long. The main thing is getting used to the deadzone on the stick, as I always used as little deadzone as possible on the control pad.

I hope you're going to put in there that people should ignore the whole "savestates are cheating" crap, cause seriously I personally would go bonkers if I had to play the first 2 stages of Pink Sweets just so I could practice stage 3 once.

I also think you should discuss the benefits and problems with modifying things like starting lives, extend markers etc. to make the games easier when you're starting out, as that was something that caused me real problems when I first played, i.e. giving myself like 7 lives in Imperishible Night then playing Dodonpachi where you get 3.
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