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 Post subject: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:59 pm 


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Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 2666
Location: ND, USA
OK, so I've started to warm up to this game and was a little surprised to see that there's been no strategy discussion at all. So I wanted to get things started!

Your Arsenal
Ships
There are three ships. Your ship selection determines your primary shot.

Merenstein IV (Me-VI)
BS4-VR Soprano
GE-22 Liberator - Seems to be the strongest, at least at first. It might be more due to a faster initial fire rate?

Code:
Need: Detailed description of each ship's attributes. Are all hitboxes the same size, do speeds vary, etc.


Pilots
Pilots determine your ship's subweapon.

Argus Pytel - Seeker Missiles - Fires a dozen or so missiles that home in on whatever targets are on screen. They can hit anything solid - including environmental hazards and invulnerable parts of bosses. This makes them difficult to use effectively in cramped situations, such as the Domus fight.
Akyta Dryad - Azumuth Battery
Durak - OA-62-Sonic Sword - Two swords appear and cut a circle around the ship, from back to front, covering around a third of the screen. the swords will clear any bullets in their path, which makes this a useful survival tool in addition to being a heavy hitter.
Ytoo - Zebaoth Driller
Koss - Punk Spirit
Magusa - Gemini Drone - Launches a drone above and below your ship that fire a continuous stream of bullets. How long they stay active seems to depend on the damage they take, and they might go away at certain points, like at time stabilization... need to clarify exactly what will cause them to deactivate. Your multiplier will begin to rise again until your drones are no longer active.
Garai - A-B-C Cluster Bomb - Fires a group of bombs in front of the ship, which covers maybe ~20% of the screen and damages everything in their path regardless of walls or other impediments.

None of them seems to stand out as an obvious best; your best bet is to figure out where your problem areas are and decide which subweapon would be best suited to those situations.

Capsule Powers
Capsule powers don't damage your enemies directly, but are very useful for survival. Use of a capsule power rests your multiplier to 1x.

Speed Up - Slows down time while you move at the same rate (I suppose it's speeding you up). It's helpful for squeezing through tight patterns, and doing lots of damage quickly and safely. Very useful if you find yourself in a position where you're running out of time.

Rollback - Literally rewinds the game. This can be useful if you make a stupid mistake you can avoRid. It's less useful in a situation that's over your skill level - you only get a few tries. Note that Rollback won't save your multiplier from an unexpected hit, but it will allow you to avoid taking a time penalty. You could also use it to save a medal chain if you drop one. (it seems that the current WR holder on Insane uses Rollback - might be especially useful to rollback unexpected hits from suicide bullets)

Reflect - Reflects bullets and protects you from projectiles. It might also protect you from damage if you run into something solid. Reflected bullets can damage enemies they hit, and you can pointblank enemies whiel you're in your protective bubble.

Of the three, Speed Up and Reflect are probably most useful. Both give you significant offensive and defensive capabilities; Reflect is probably better for defense while Speed Up is probably better for offense.

Items
Enemies will randomly drop items when they're killed. There are several different types:

Firepower (Red) - Your ship's primary weapon power can be increased nine times. Seems to become less common once you hit shot level 8 or so.
Time (Orange) - Gives you extra time, usually 5 seconds.
Subweapon (Green) - Gives you an extra shot of your subweapon.
Capsule (Blue) - Refills a quarter of your capsule power meter.
Shield (Light Blue) - Gives you a shield, which activates when you take a hit and protects you from all damage for 5 seconds. Also preserves your multiplier!
Time Extend (Purple) - Gives you a time extend, which adds 10 seconds to the timer if it hits zero.
Piano (Dark Blue) - Drops a piano on you. Instant kill. I've heard rumors that it gives you 999 credits, but have been unable to confirm.

Scoring
There are several scoring systems in Sine Mora. Each is separate, but generally work together to some extent.

The Multiplier
Your multiplier will increase after you destroy a certain number of enemies, to a maximum of x9. Your multiplier is applied to every point you earn during gameplay - enemies killed and medals collected.

Your multiplier will be reset to x1 if you take a hit, use your capsule power, or use a subweapon.

Code:
to do: Do all enemies contribute the same amount to a multiplier increase?


Medals
Every fifth enemy killed outside of a boss fight will drop a medal. Medal value will increase every time is one spawned, increasing from 1,000 to 100,000. If you miss a medal the value of the next one spawned will be reset to 1,000, even if another was on screen when the medal was dropped.

Holding a high medal value with a high multiplier is a big source of points - with both maxed out, each medal is worth 900,000 points.

Stage Bonus
You are given points based on your performance at the end of each stage. Points are awarded based on:

Hit Ratio: 17,350 x % of enemies killed, rounded down to the thousands (not 100% sure on this)
Penalties: 8,000,000 - (Penalties x 1,600,000)
Continues: 4,800,000 - (Continues x 1,600,000)

The game also gives you a stage rank at the bonus screen, similar to Ikaruga. It seems to be based on hit ratio, penalties, and continues rather than score, so you can get an S++ even if you drop a medal or use a subweapon/capsule. There is no bonus connected to this rank.

Code:
Need: How many points do you lose/continue


Rank
Rank is exclusive to the Hard and Insane difficulties. It impacts the barrages that enemies fire. For example, during the second half of the Kolobok fight its arms shoot small sets of bullets at rank C, but at rank A they are almost continuous streams. I haven't noticed if rank impacts health, though if it did I expect we would be able to see health bars fluctuate as it rises/falls.

Rank is a continuous scale from C to A, with the rank level changing at different intervals. Picture it like this:

Code:
Min----------|--------------------|------------------------------Max
        C               B                              A


Because of the widening intervals between ranks, the in-game meter rises and falls more slowly as your rank rises. As an example, this means that 10 seconds of shooting might be enough to fill an empty C meter to raise rank to a B, but the same amount of time will only fill the B meter halfway.

Rank increases while shooting, collecting items, and killing enemies. Shot strength and speed impact rank growth; higher shot levels will raise your rank significantly faster. Tapping the shot button quickly will cause your rate of fire to increase, and your rank will climb accordingly. However, the impact of tapping on rank seems very small, and it's probably not worth fatiguing your wrist just to hasten a rank increase by a second.

Rank decreases when you take a hit, use a subweapon, or use a capsule power. Capsules drain rank as long as they're in effect; you can use them in short bursts with very little impact to your rank.

Where it is active, rank probably equals or surpassed multipliers+medals as a source of points. This is fortunate, because it is much easier to build and/or maintain your rank than it is to build/preserve your multiplier. Rank points are awarded with the other end-stage bonuses.

Time Spent on Rank C: 10,000/second
Time Spent on Rank B: 35,000/second
Time Spent on Rank A: 100,000/second

Code:
Need: Get more detailed information on how fast each factor increases/decreases the rank meter.


Strategy
General Tips
The GE-22 Liberator will likely be your ship of choice - it's most efficient at killing things at lower firepower levels, and being able to count on having some stopping power without getting lucky with firepower drops makes the game significantly less stressful.

Pilot and capsule choice is up to you.

It's also very good to keep in mind that losing your multiplier is not the end of the world in Arcade Mode. It hurts, but Rank and Time Stabilization bonuses are also significant (though less immediate) contributors to score. With that in mind, don't take too many risks because you want to maintain it - your score will be much better if you finish the stage. And once your multiplier is gone, consider whether it needs to be rebuilt immediately or if you're better off playing safe with capsules and subweapons until you're in a better situation.

General Boss Strategy
If you're on Rank A, it doesn't generally matter how fast you kill bosses, since the end stage/time stabilization bonus is the same. If you happen to below Rank A, you might want to be more aggressive unless you can raise it quickly and safely. Optional boss parts can be ignored, but should be killed unless you don't think you can do so safely.

If you do anything to lose your multiplier, throw caution to the wind and start using your subweapons and/or capsule powers like mad, with some care taken not to decimate your rank.

Some bosses can be milked to build your multiplier. The stage 2 underwater boss is a good example - its last section drops dozens of depth charges while the boss's jets propel them towards you. This can be a rough section, but if you've lost your multiplier before this point you can sit back and blow up some depth charges to boost your multiplier for the next level - and if you're at Rank A, you don't lose any points by spending the extra time. In most cases these boss destructibles aren't worth points, but in rare instances they are.

Ophan
The final boss is almost infinitely milkable. Time orbs appear often enough to keep your time at a fairly stable level unless you take a hit.

In the Arcade modes this can best be exploited on the Ophan's section section, where it shoots lasers on you. If you kill all but one you are free to collect time tokens and collect Time Spent bonus (and other powerups) with very little risk. Your time pickups won't entirely keep up with the time that passes, but the best leaderboard scores imply that you can get away with this for an hour or more before you have to move on and finish the boss.

In story mode there is no Time Spent bonus, but the boss's third section drops a drone and groups of mines all over the field. Each contributes to your multiplier AND gives you points, while time and other powerups continue to appear. This is a higher risk and lower payoff than the Arcade milk.
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Last edited by CStarFlare on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:03 pm 


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Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 2666
Location: ND, USA
Kind of a strange question for everyone else - the way Sine Mora handles its Continues, do people tend to consider them your "life stock" or traditional continues? I've been curious, since the game actually gives you bonus points for not using them and there are a few instant kill situations that would be really really nasty if they ended your credit in a traditional sense.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:38 pm 


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Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 2341
Location: Murda Mitten, USA
I feel credit feeding is legal in only Sine Mora for two reasons:

1. There are circumstances in all sections of this (long) game where a single mistake can cost (the standard's equivalent of) three lives. Because of the lack of an invincibility period between mistakes, there are no concrete rules governing which mistakes are severe and which are minor.
2. The leaderboard allows it, and I think it was intentional. Reiker has significant experience with the basic mechanics of the STG. He also clearly stated this game was designed to bring in casuals and uninitiated "hardcore" gamers. Yes his game has flaws and strange omissions in mechanics, but in the grand scheme of his stated intentions (and that bonus points section), I feel this leaderboard design was not an oversight.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:16 pm 


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Joined: 19 Feb 2008
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Location: ND, USA
That was my initial line of thinking.

Playing the devil's advocate, some of the achievements have traditional 1cc requirements. :? Also, the time requirement does allow many situations where you can take several hits (in a short period of time or otherwise) without losing your credit. I believe it also adds one to your score to distinguish scores done while credit feeding (will have to double check). There are also a number of games where a mistake at specific points is almost significant enough to be credit ending.

Maybe Reiker still comes around and can give us the official line. I'd like to add Sine Mora to Restart Syndrome or maybe a high score thread here, but I'd rather have a clear idea of what the rules should be (whether by the community or by the developers).
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:30 pm 


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Location: Murda Mitten, USA
Ask him. https://twitter.com/theodorereiker
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:31 am 


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Location: ND, USA
Shot him a message on Twitter, will post if he responds. In the meantime, I updated the rank section a bit with some additional observations.

Has anyone posted a video or have any tips on how to dodge Kolobok's spiral on Hard/Insane? I can't see a way through it without resorting to trying to dodge through the "arms" of the spiral, which are extremely tight (especially considering the bullet speed). If I'm using a capsule other than Reflect this basically ends my run, because two hits seems to make it impossible to survive until the fight ends and I can't seem to take just one.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:20 am 


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Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 2521
Location: BRA
So there's no way to practice each stage section separately?
Score attack shoots you back to the start of the stage if you die....
That sewer debris part is annoying!
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:11 am 


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Location: ND, USA
Unfortunately, there's not really a good practice/training mode in Sine Mora. Fortunately, the stages themselves aren't too long so Score Attack works for most situations.

My best advice is to play Score Attack, using your subweapon on the beginning group of turrets and the wall of lasers to make the first few screens easier (since you only care about getting to the middle of the stage). It's not that bad; familiarizing yourself with the run up to the pipe is really useful because if you can kill those enemies before they fire your life will be much easier.

You could also just play full runs; continuing the main game sets you back to a checkpoint, in this case right at the entrance to the pipe. This allows you to practice everything up to that point as well. (Story gives you 9 continues to play with.)

No matter how much practice you get, do your best to have a shield going into the pipe - play loose with your capsule and subweapons if you have a shield that you might accidentally use in the first half of the stage. If you take a hit it's basically impossible to reclaim your power items while staying in the cloud, so even if you make it through you might find yourself crippled if you don't have something to protect you.
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 Post subject: Re: GD: Sine Mora
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:37 pm 


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Joined: 16 Aug 2008
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Location: BRA
CStarFlare wrote:
Story gives you 9 continues to play with

Thanks for the tips, man. :)

I will never play Story mode though, there's too much bullshit in it and it takes FOREVER to get through them.
For me it's arcade hard all the way.
I did learn the pipe section though and am now dealing with "Insector X" stage 4.
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