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Read January 13, 2006, 06:43:33 PM #0
Psycho Squid

Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

As the topic tells, is it "possible" to make a shooter equal to Cave shooters by yourself or together with your buddies?
I really want to make a high quality shooter but I think its too much work. Have someone tried and how did it go?


"Every machine that runs on a CPU is immense fun!"
Legal notice: The avatar is Cave Corporation, Ltd.
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Read January 13, 2006, 07:16:37 PM #1
Impossible

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

Of course its possible, but yes it is a lot of work.  Me and a friend of mine started on a shmup trying to match the quality of the newer Treasure shooters (Radiant Silver Gun, Ikaruga, Gradius V) in terms of graphics and gameplay.  This is not easy Smiley and we never quite finished.  It really depends on the skill of you and your friends.  If you are mostly programmers, you might want to go for a minimalist style like Kenta Cho. If you have a strong pixel artist go for a Cave style 2D shooter, if you have a good 3D modeler and texture artist go for 3D graphics, etc.
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Read January 14, 2006, 12:25:03 AM #2
2dguy

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

Ofcourse it is. I have the talent to code just about any 2D game I wanted to. The only limiting factors in writing a great game regardless of the genre, (assuming you have the coding talent) is:

1) Great media.

2) Alot of time.

Both cost alot of money. Hence that is why I prefer to spend only a few weeks or the longest a few months on a project.
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Read January 14, 2006, 01:16:33 AM #3
solidcube

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

Another alternative is letting the machine do the work as much as possible. 

3D objects, unlike sprites, can be parameterized so that things such as wing length can vary. 

If you code a tree-like hierarchy for your object, you can use addons-- in my current project I'm just using swappable turrets, but many other things would be possible.

Through use of shaders to produce procedural textures-- again parametric-- you could endrun much of the effort of producing your own textures.

Much of this stuff is effort during the setup stage and delayed gratification.  To throw out a few sprites and make them move with the keyboard is easy and quick but rapidly becomes a headache when you realize that there are pitfalls of increasing complexity, not least of which is asset management.

Let it be said that compared to some here, I'm a noob in some ways-- but then again I wrote my first game in the early 1980s and I've kept my hand in a number of esoteric programming domains.  So maybe not so much of a noob really.

One thing I can say for a certainty is that when you start looking up at a mountain of problems that require human intervention in some way, you should start thinking of how you can refactor parts of the problem so that they use computing power, and use the available brain power on the "meta" problems that brainpower is better at anyway. 

When the problem has to do with human creativity, it seems like the best weapons we have available are fractals, in one way or another...
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Read January 14, 2006, 07:43:18 AM #4
Psycho Squid

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

Of course its possible, but yes it is a lot of work.  Me and a friend of mine started on a shmup trying to match the quality of the newer Treasure shooters (Radiant Silver Gun, Ikaruga, Gradius V) in terms of graphics and gameplay.  This is not easy Smiley and we never quite finished.  It really depends on the skill of you and your friends.  If you are mostly programmers, you might want to go for a minimalist style like Kenta Cho. If you have a strong pixel artist go for a Cave style 2D shooter, if you have a good 3D modeler and texture artist go for 3D graphics, etc.

Well we have programming skills but not so much "pixel making" experience. I am not giving up just for that reason. We only need to spend some time looking for an artist or study and practise the art of the pixel graphics.  Wink


"Every machine that runs on a CPU is immense fun!"
Legal notice: The avatar is Cave Corporation, Ltd.
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Read January 14, 2006, 07:55:47 AM #5
2dguy

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

solidcube - Huh?
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Read January 14, 2006, 08:36:06 AM #6
solidcube

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

2dguy: I reread my post and I don't know how to express it any clearer.

But I'll sure try.

Basically, rather than spending time making a small amount of content, maybe it's better for small-press game coders to spend their time making systems that can produce content with varying parameters.  In fact with the increasing level of detail in games, this may be the only way to accurately model organic things like forests and cities anyway.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2006, 08:44:54 AM by solidcube »
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Read January 14, 2006, 03:34:58 PM #7
2dguy

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

"But I'll sure try."

You just did!

"....Basically, rather than spending time making a small amount of content, maybe it's better for small-press game coders to spend their time making systems that can produce content with varying parameters...."

I think this is a given for any serious coder worth their salt. What you call systems I call "tools", "editors", "scripts", "engines", "reuseable code", etc.
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Read January 14, 2006, 05:47:36 PM #8
Matt McFarland

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

What solidcube is saying is that you can have on 3D Object and "paramaterize" which I think means to modify the way it looks so that you can use the same object over and over again but it looks different because you modify it's "shape" in realtime instead of needed multiple 3D objects to do it, or multiple png files.

I think that he's saying, forget needed content for EVERYTHING!  Get some content and then render it differently in your code.  That would be called a "system" rather then a 3rd party tool.

For example, all the player bullets use one png file.  But it's mipmapped and alphablended, etc.  Since my explosions are all one explosion in grayscale; I can add complex different looking explosions because I use different blending methods and different color alterations and it makes it look like different explosions and different bullets.

Again though, you still need lots of textures, which makes me wonder... content? 

So can is it safe to say that you need less content to do this in 3D then in 2D?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2006, 05:50:56 PM by Matt McFarland »

<a href="http://www.mattmcfarland.com/flash/myFlashSig.swf" target="_blank">http://www.mattmcfarland.com/flash/myFlashSig.swf</a>
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Read January 14, 2006, 06:15:50 PM #9
kemical

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

about the pixel artist thing, to cut down on time, 3d models rendered as 2d sprites are the way to go (especially if you don't want to do a full 3d game, either for the programming behind it or asthetic reasons). That still requires an artist but it's not as time consuming and can lead to the same artistic results.

from my observations, Cave nowadays does 3d models, they render them in most likely 32 directions (0-31, 11.25 degree change between each dir..). Once they are rendered out they are then cleaned up as needed in an image editing program.
Cave's backgrounds are still mostly drawn by hand, especially the organic type stuff, but for city's and anything with straight edges I'm almost 100% sure that they block out the environments in 3d and render it out, then repaint over it by hand, adding in the details that would be pointless to spend time texturing.. (you cvould actually render it out using solid colors.. then keep the light/shadow layer seperate using the g-buffer and paint under that in the image editing program.)

*edit*
so yes. its entirely possible to make a cave-like shooter. One of the main Cave qualities is the angle all their sprites and backgrounds are rendered at, they dropped the straight-down truly oldschool way of doing shooters for one that gives you more to work with (you have not just the top view of everything, but also a bit of the sides) i'd even say it's more of an involving experience for the player..
just take a look at a raizing shooter for example, raizing still has excellent artwork, but one of the main differences (besides taking gameplay into consideration) is the way the art is... (they go directly top down on almost everything)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2006, 06:25:46 PM by kemical »
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Read January 15, 2006, 10:21:00 PM #10
2dguy

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

"Since my explosions are all one explosion in grayscale..."

Yep, been doing that for quite a while now. Modulating the rgb components of a grey scale image to produce different looking missiles, explosions, fx, etc. And as far as modifying 2D sprites, there's always x,y scaling, rotation, etc. Wink Granted 3D is still more flexable, but 2D manipulations via 3D can still yield plenty of variety.
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Read January 17, 2006, 01:30:07 AM #11
solidcube

Re: Is it "possible" to make a Cave-like shooter?

Matt: Yeah.  Like let's say you want to make randomly generated cities that go forever.  You could make lots of building models, very detailed, and then laboriously design the city with them.

Or you could set up a system for parametric models which could vary randomly within certain parameters.  A building might be able to select from a number of different sets of accessories for different types of architecture and purpose, and these accessories could themselves vary widely.  Awnings might have angle, length, color, fringe type.  The staircase out front might be vary.  There might be different types of finials on the streetlamps outside.  You could also have spawn spots, for things like trash cans, newspaper racks, et cetera. 

Nonrepeating, procedurally generated textures typically use pseudorandom noise functions like perlin noise. 

The side effect of these techniques is that they trade off CPU speed for memory space.  But after a certain point, generating a new block of buildings just ahead, piece by piece as you walk down the street so that it will be ready just in time for you to get there with freshly cooked ducks hanging from hooks in the unique Chinese restaurant-- these things are not particularly CPU intensive since the CPU effort can be amortized out over many frames. 

How much are you learning when you're doing repetitive texture art, level design, et cetera?  Tools yes, but I'd rather make tools the computer can use for me.

Because I'm one lazy mofo.
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