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|-+ Tom Russell's Entry

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Read February 03, 2009, 07:39:31 PM #0
tomrussell

Tom Russell's Entry

I'm in.

I have a few ideas that I'm trying to put together into a cohesive whole.  Basically: the player has no offensive capabilities of his own; all shooting is handled by the units the player is charged with defending; enemy bullets are destroyed if they graze the player; the player himself places the friendly units on the screen; the more units he has the smaller the radius of his grazing shield is and vice versa; friendly units attack in various (cardinal?) directions and can be rotated to triangulate/quadrangulate/whatevulate attacks.

The trick will be to (1) make this all as simple as possible-- especially re: the interface, (2) balance the difficulty/enemy movements so that the player can't simply set up an impossible to pass firing squad, (3) balance between the action and strategy components of the game play, and (4) make it fun.

And it's those four things that are going to be occupying the bulk of my attention in the next couple of weeks.
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Read February 04, 2009, 12:01:13 AM #1
Olick

Re: Tom Russell's Entry

My first instinct was to make it so that your allies only fire, but in the end the game I came up with was no longer a shooter, but more of a strategy defense game. Grazing seems like a good idea, so lets see how well it turns out.
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Read February 04, 2009, 02:40:22 AM #2
tomrussell

Re: Tom Russell's Entry

My first instinct was to make it so that your allies only fire, but in the end the game I came up with was no longer a shooter, but more of a strategy defense game.  Grazing seems like a good idea, so lets see how well it turns out.

Yes, that's the problem that's going to give me the most trouble-- this being Shmup-Dev I of course want the end result to clearly be a shmup.  I think the grazing idea will definitely help it in that regard but I think I'm going to need at least one more good idea to bring it all together.  Hopefully the time constraints will help stimulate me in that regard.
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Read February 09, 2009, 02:17:07 PM #3
tomrussell

Re: Tom Russell's Entry

Well, one week in and I seem to have hit quite the road-block.  To wit:

I decided that the best way to prevent the game from becoming a stragety-a-thon and also to prevent the game from becoming embarrassingly too easy was to not allow the player to position the friendly units themselves.  Each board would have its own unique group of units, and the player would have to use each group in a different way to defeat the enemies in that stage.  Somewhat strategic, but still the fast-paced action game play that we require of our shmups.

But this poses two problems.  Because the friendly units are fixed in space, and because they are the only means of attack the player has, even if they can be rotated it's still difficult to hit enemies.  Even simple enemies that move slowly in lateral patterns defy the player's attempts to hit them.  Which kind of works against the whole nature of a shmup.  That's the first problem.

The second problem is that the game itself is just too damn hard, even with simple slow-moving enemies.  I found myself able to either concentrate on moving my ship to graze enemy bullets in order to protect the friendly units, and I found myself able to rotate the towers in an attempt to attack the enemies, but I wasn't able to do both at once.

In a standard shmup, the twin mechanics of hitting enemies and avoiding enemy fire are contained in the same ship, the same movements: the two are inextricably interlinked.  But dividing those two mechanics across two sets of objects, and adding the burden of defending one set with another-- it's too complicated.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to solve these problems or not.  They are, perhaps, insolvable; the standard shmup style is the standard, after all, because it works.
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Read February 09, 2009, 03:37:25 PM #4
the2bears

Re: Tom Russell's Entry

Those sound like difficult (or as you say, maybe impossible) things to work out.  However, I still think this sounds very interesting.  Personally, I don't mind seeing ideas that don't work either, in fact getting discussion on them might open up new ideas.

Bill


the2bears - the indie shmup blog
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Read February 10, 2009, 01:04:01 PM #5
tomrussell

Re: Tom Russell's Entry

Those sound like difficult (or as you say, maybe impossible) things to work out.  However, I still think this sounds very interesting.  Personally, I don't mind seeing ideas that don't work either, in fact getting discussion on them might open up new ideas.

Well, if I can't solve the problems, I'll see what I can do to get something that's psuedo-playable (i.e. more than two rudimentary enemies) before this session ends.

In thinking about it, I think that perhaps the basic idea of splitting up the game play between the two sets of objects-- one group to attack and one ship to dodge-- could be workable and a bit different but that it doesn't work as well in the "defend the friendly units" theme of this session.

At the same time, the game needs _something_-- in a "normal" shmup, because you have to reposition yourself to attack as well as to avoid fire, the player has a reason to move.  If you fire automatically from fixed points and just have to dodge fire with the other ship, there's no reason really to put yourself into any danger in the first place.  So, like I said, it needs something.

So, I dunno; I'm going to try my best to deliver on the theme and we'll see what I can come up with.
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