Author Topic: Huge new alpha build 0.204!  (Read 3853 times)

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2015, 02:29:42 AM »
I prefer the mech style a lot over the ship style. When it comes to this, this is just a personal taste matter and not what "fits" better. they fit both in their own way. The mech fits better the whole "interior" thing and it also looks a lot better. The ship fits the space design of the game.
In the end it's Chris' decision what he want to use, either the mech or the ship. Talking about "what's better" won't do anything about it.

The point of talking about things is so that we can create a discussion about the pros and cons of a certain change or idea. Discussion is good. I'm not going to stay silent when I think that the change could potentially ruin the game. Arcen are developers that appreciate fan feedback and will factor in those opinions when making any decisions. For me it is not simply a matter of personal taste. You seem like you slightly favour the new mechs, that's fine. I completely oppose the change. That's just my opinion.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2015, 03:34:27 AM »
  • Pro-mech
  • I love the new shots.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2015, 04:08:54 AM »
If most beta people say that they prefer the Mech over the Ship, than it's not that much of a big deal as you say. That means that people accept the mech and that they don't think he does not fit into the game.
So let's just see what everyone else says.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2015, 01:28:56 PM »
Pepisolo, I agree with the gist of what you're saying, that there could be a *potential* problem. However, if we have a mix of enemies, both mech and flying, I really don't see much of a problem. It's a mech, in a ship, in space, which makes more sense to me than a ship in a ship in space. And the extra animation of the legs, both on our mech and on the enemies (when it'll be there), just looks better. More animation is good. I even proposed having the doors animate, because any little bit of animation makes the game more alive.

In terms of narrative, it doesn't seem to me like there's much there yet, which is why I was proposing the whole multi-dimension thing. So there just isn't that much to change except for a few art assets and some of the light narrative that has appeared there so far.

I would love an intro with our original ship entering the giant ship and dropping off the mech.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2015, 03:52:13 PM »
I'm going to attempt to make one last case against the walking mech change as I feel it is a critical mistake that could have severe ramifications on the quality of the game further down the line.

Let's look at the original vision of Starward Rogue. It's a kind of action based spin-off of The Last Federation, and an evolution of the original Airship Eternal idea. Flight, and aerial or space combat has always been a core concept. Practically every piece of art or code written so far has been made with this in mind. This is clearly evident in some ways, like all enemies in the game being ships, or the starscape windows that help create SHMUP-like backdrops, or the narrative that speaks of ships and vessels inside massive battleships, or the title of the game, etc, but it is also present in more subtle ways. When Misery was designing an enemy I'd guess he was thinking about space combat. When Dayton was designing a weapon he was probably imagining it blasting out from the cannon of a ship. There are subtleties inside every piece of art and code created so far that were borne out of the original concepts of ships and flight. If you swap out that original concept with walking mechs then rather than every piece of design being uniform and coherent, you are opening up the possibility of clashes and dissonance. Let's look at an example.

OK, so we're a walking mech now and nothing else in the game is. If we stay with that imbalance then that's going to be very strange, so changes must be made. So what do we do? Make some grotesque Mr Potato Head-esque alterations to some of the existing designs by adding feet and arms? Keep all the old flying ships and add in newly designed more mechy floor based enemies and hope that people don't notice a schism in design style? How many pieces of game art have already been designed with ships in mind, let alone those already in the game?

Instead of having a game with a consistent vision, you've now got a game that is one part the original Last Federation spin-off concept that took months if not years to design and one other part a Bionic Dues spin-off that was thought up only a few days ago.

So, what are the benefits of this mech change? Firstly, we fast-track or bypass some of the remaining control and movement design problems that were already mostly solved. Secondly, we create a less unusual and more homogenized game design – instead of being a ship flying around within ancient alien structures, you're now a robot in a dungeon. The one is more avant-garde, but still potentially very interesting, the other is safe, and isn't going to ruffle any feathers. Is that a benefit?

If the original vision of the game is going to be compromised by a change like this, then I would want a vastly bigger potential reward versus the risk. The current benefit is short-term and barely significant : hey, this mech seems kind of cool, and is a little bit easier to control than the old ship which hadn't been fully tweaked, yet, hurrah!

For someone who still believes in the original vision of the game, I think it's an awful and foolhardy change.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 03:53:51 PM by Pepisolo »

Offline Misery

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2015, 04:14:31 PM »
When Misery was designing an enemy I'd guess he was thinking about space combat.

I'm usually just thinking "Okay, need a horrible thing that rips your face off and beats you over the head with it".  It really could look like a giant hamburger for all I care.

Actually the shmup I'm most familiar with and drawing a huge amount of inspiration from has no ships or robots or anything at all, but instead uses giant insects the whole way through.  Or sometimes they get REALLY weird...  so I dont really have a particular theme that comes to mind.  I figure, the art isnt my realm here... that's up to the others to do.  I just make the monsters do unpleasant things.


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The one is more avant-garde, but still potentially very interesting, the other is safe, and isn't going to ruffle any feathers. Is that a benefit?

I think it is.  Like I said, people get freaking strange about this.  "It looks like a ship/plane but it doesnt zoom around like one!  WHAT A RIP OFF I WANT MY MONEY BACK".  You know people think that way, and it seems damn silly to me to lose sales to that.  I wish they WOULDNT think that way, but they often do.  A small detail like that, creating a conflict between appearance and player control, is enough to throw some people off (who WOULDNT be thrown off by problems that actually made SENSE, sigh...).

As for how far along the art is already beyond what's already been used, that one I have no answer to.  All I know is that recent new enemies have no new art associated with them, which to me says that there might not be any ready yet.  I just assign them temporary sprites taken from older enemies when I add them to the game; Chris gives them new ones later on when they're ready to be used.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2015, 04:25:06 PM »
Pepisolo, your views are valid and definitely need to be heard by Chris (and hopefully also responded to).

I get that you're mentally committed to the old model of the game. I don't have such commitment, since I never really bought into the 'ship inside a ship' model. Had this game been set properly in outer space, I would have been solidly in your camp. But it wasn't. It took the 'safe route' of being set in a dungeon - in this case a large spaceship - to begin with, and so the commitment to the player being in a spaceship was never there.

Clearly Chris had no problem scrapping the player avatars and switching them for mechs. I don't think it'll take too much effort to do the same for some of the enemies, and then you get the advantage that some enemies will be mechs and others will be ships ie. variety.

The space background still fits in the game, since you're playing inside of a spaceship. In fact, I think it fits better, because now your place inside a spaceship is clear. Before, there was conflict between the fact that you, as a ship, should be in space, but instead you were viewing space from the inside of a giant ship. Now you're like the mech from the end of Alien (or was it Aliens?) -- you're inside of a spaceship hurtling through space, and that's cool.

However, between your words I read the echo of something that's been a thought of mine for a while. What is the hook of this game? Arcen produces games at far too fast a pace to be competitive on polish, so what's the hook that makes this game stand out? What will make the average gamer want to take a second look at this game? TLF stood out because it simulated a star system, factions, the interactions between those factions, and the ability to intervene in this system, and I believe that's why it did well. Is this game Binding of Isaac in space with some more shmup-like fights? Is that enough to get people's attention? How many people play real shmups anyway? This genre has quickly become very crowded, and I don't know what would make this game stand out. I haven't seen any new mechanics other than the more complex boss attack patterns. Certainly being a ship inside a dungeon will *not* make this game stand out IMO. Had this game been set in actual space, I think that would have been something more exceptional, and also something worth going back to a player ship for. This is an open question btw.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2015, 04:36:26 PM »
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Actually the shmup I'm most familiar with and drawing a huge amount of inspiration from has no ships or robots or anything at all, but instead uses giant insects the whole way through.

Flying or walking insects? Heh. :)

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I think it is.  Like I said, people get freaking strange about this.  "It looks like a ship/plane but it doesnt zoom around like one!  WHAT A RIP OFF I WANT MY MONEY BACK".  You know people think that way, and it seems damn silly to me to lose sales to that.  I wish they WOULDNT think that way, but they often do.  A small detail like that, creating a conflict between appearance and player control, is enough to throw some people off (who WOULDNT be thrown off by problems that actually made SENSE, sigh...).

While I completely get this point, I don't think we'd reached a stage where we could say, "well this whole ship thing really isn't working. Controlling a ship was a bad idea, what were we thinking, we really got that wrong". If we have in fact reached that stage then the whole game is pretty much conceptually dead at this point and needs a complete overhaul. The ships inside rooms idea is something I could foresee people scratching their head about and going "huh, bit odd this" but surely this far on in the development (due for sale January isn't it?) I would've thought that everyone would've made peace with some people not quite getting this aspect of the design. Also, it's not THAT crazy. Many stages in SHMUPs take place within structures, heck, lots take place inside living organisms.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2015, 04:59:14 PM »
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I get that you're mentally committed to the old model of the game. I don't have such commitment, since I never really bought into the 'ship inside a ship' model. Had this game been set properly in outer space, I would have been solidly in your camp. But it wasn't. It took the 'safe route' of being set in a dungeon - in this case a large spaceship - to begin with, and so the commitment to the player being in a spaceship was never there.

I agree that the "ship within a ship" thing is hard to buy into, but I can actually see potential in it. All the game really needs is to open things up a bit more and it would probably work. Many SHMUPs have stages that take place within structures, however these are usually broken up with other stages that take place in outer space. If, for example, this game had end of floor levels that took place in outer space, let's say a basic scrolling level leading to the next facility then it'd probably work. But, as you say that would require treading a less safe route.

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The space background still fits in the game, since you're playing inside of a spaceship. In fact, I think it fits better, because now your place inside a spaceship is clear. Before, there was conflict between the fact that you, as a ship, should be in space, but instead you were viewing space from the inside of a giant ship. Now you're like the mech from the end of Alien (or was it Aliens?) -- you're inside of a spaceship hurtling through space, and that's cool.

The only real problem I had with the space backgrounds is that they shouldn't all have been windows. Just get rid of the windows, stick with making the areas windowless like you're roving through an ancient junkyard structure with holes in it. The backdrops made sense to me then, stylistically, now I just feel like I'm walking on windows when I run around.

Offline Misery

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2015, 05:00:55 PM »
Pepisolo, your views are valid and definitely need to be heard by Chris (and hopefully also responded to).

I get that you're mentally committed to the old model of the game. I don't have such commitment, since I never really bought into the 'ship inside a ship' model. Had this game been set properly in outer space, I would have been solidly in your camp. But it wasn't. It took the 'safe route' of being set in a dungeon - in this case a large spaceship - to begin with, and so the commitment to the player being in a spaceship was never there.

Clearly Chris had no problem scrapping the player avatars and switching them for mechs. I don't think it'll take too much effort to do the same for some of the enemies, and then you get the advantage that some enemies will be mechs and others will be ships ie. variety.

The space background still fits in the game, since you're playing inside of a spaceship. In fact, I think it fits better, because now your place inside a spaceship is clear. Before, there was conflict between the fact that you, as a ship, should be in space, but instead you were viewing space from the inside of a giant ship. Now you're like the mech from the end of Alien (or was it Aliens?) -- you're inside of a spaceship hurtling through space, and that's cool.

However, between your words I read the echo of something that's been a thought of mine for a while. What is the hook of this game? Arcen produces games at far too fast a pace to be competitive on polish, so what's the hook that makes this game stand out? What will make the average gamer want to take a second look at this game? TLF stood out because it simulated a star system, factions, the interactions between those factions, and the ability to intervene in this system, and I believe that's why it did well. Is this game Binding of Isaac in space with some more shmup-like fights? Is that enough to get people's attention? How many people play real shmups anyway? This genre has quickly become very crowded, and I don't know what would make this game stand out. I haven't seen any new mechanics other than the more complex boss attack patterns. Certainly being a ship inside a dungeon will *not* make this game stand out IMO. Had this game been set in actual space, I think that would have been something more exceptional, and also something worth going back to a player ship for. This is an open question btw.

Dont forget, half of the game is missing right now.  We havent seen any of the meta-stuff yet, all the things that happen between runs (and no, I cant answer any questions about it, mainly because I cant remember much about it).  It's likely to make quite a difference.  Bionic Dues was much the same way;  Were it JUST the combat levels and nothing more, it would have been a pretty same-y roguelike.  Within the combat stages alone, there wasnt much in the way of new ideas.  But the stuff between levels is a huge part of what makes the game what it is, or at least I've always thought so.  When combined with the solid gameplay of the combat levels, it all worked really well.

Beyond that though, to me, this is just Arcen's take on the genre.

As for being set fully in space, I cant say that that would make the game stand out much.  Too many games that resemble this (and I dont just mean rogue-lites of this nature, this stands also for actual full shmups and such) have been done in space already.  About a trillion times over.  ....that and the concept of "rooms" at all wouldnt have worked in that context.

That's my thoughts on it anyway, Chris could definitely say alot more than I can.

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Actually the shmup I'm most familiar with and drawing a huge amount of inspiration from has no ships or robots or anything at all, but instead uses giant insects the whole way through.

Flying or walking insects? Heh. :)

Both actually.  You get your giant doom spiders, and your "OH GOD NOT THE BEES!!!!" in one game.  Though it's generally beetles, not bees...

Of course being a shmup it doesnt have to make sense, so you also get your gigantic walking centipede thing that takes up a whole level and constantly coughs up giant flies the whole time but at the end it's head pops off, starts flying around on it's own, and goes bonkers at you.  Just like real life.

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I think it is.  Like I said, people get freaking strange about this.  "It looks like a ship/plane but it doesnt zoom around like one!  WHAT A RIP OFF I WANT MY MONEY BACK".  You know people think that way, and it seems damn silly to me to lose sales to that.  I wish they WOULDNT think that way, but they often do.  A small detail like that, creating a conflict between appearance and player control, is enough to throw some people off (who WOULDNT be thrown off by problems that actually made SENSE, sigh...).

While I completely get this point, I don't think we'd reached a stage where we could say, "well this whole ship thing really isn't working. Controlling a ship was a bad idea, what were we thinking, we really got that wrong". If we have in fact reached that stage then the whole game is pretty much conceptually dead at this point and needs a complete overhaul. The ships inside rooms idea is something I could foresee people scratching their head about and going "huh, bit odd this" but surely this far on in the development (due for sale January isn't it?) I would've thought that everyone would've made peace with some people not quite getting this aspect of the design. Also, it's not THAT crazy. Many stages in SHMUPs take place within structures, heck, lots take place inside living organisms.

To be fair though, alot of "full" shmups also dont exactly try very hard at the story/lore aspect of the game, provided they even HAVE that (plenty of them genuinely dont).  The original Salamander, also known as Life Force, is a good example.  The idea is that you're going through this gigantic organic beast that is so unbelievably huge that it's eating planets, but they take the "has worlds inside of it" and run with it so far that it makes a whole lot of no sense.  One level might be organic and then in the very next you're just abruptly flying through an ancient Egyptian temple just because they wanted an excuse to drop giant bricks on you from above.  This all being AFTER you kill the thing's freaking BRAIN in the very first level (it's the first boss, and it tries to punch you).  The end boss makes the least sense... I always wondered WHY the thing's heart was inside a mechanized area (how does it GET there?) with a big green dragon circling it, with the door to the place being defended by the infamous Moai Heads from Gradius.  Except that they jump now.  I never got an answer to that question of why ANY of that is there or makes sense.   And a TON of shmups are like that, even recent ones.  It's the genre where you can just get away with whatever.

I've forgotten where I was going with any of this, now that damn game is on my mind.  So is Fantasy Zone, now THERE was a weird shmup...
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 05:03:49 PM by Misery »

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2015, 05:09:37 PM »
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To be fair though, alot of "full" shmups also dont exactly try very hard at the story/lore aspect of the game, provided they even HAVE that (plenty of them genuinely dont).  The original Salamander, also known as Life Force, is a good example.  The idea is that you're going through this gigantic organic beast that is so unbelievably huge that it's eating planets, but they take the "has worlds inside of it" and run with it so far that it makes a whole lot of no sense.  One level might be organic and then in the very next you're just abruptly flying through an ancient Egyptian temple just because they wanted an excuse to drop giant bricks on you from above.  This all being AFTER you kill the thing's freaking BRAIN in the very first level (it's the first boss, and it tries to punch you).  The end boss makes the least sense... I always wondered WHY the thing's heart was inside a mechanized area (how does it GET there?) with a big green dragon circling it, with the door to the place being defended by the infamous Moai Heads from Gradius.  Except that they jump now.  I never got an answer to that question of why ANY of that is there or makes sense.   And a TON of shmups are like that, even recent ones.  It's the genre where you can just get away with whatever.

LOL, that sounds awesome. Don't remember playing that before. If a game can get away with all that then surely Starward Rogue can get away with ships inside ships, though? I mean, crazy stuff is kind of part of the genre.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2015, 05:39:58 PM »
As for being set fully in space, I cant say that that would make the game stand out much.  Too many games that resemble this (and I dont just mean rogue-lites of this nature, this stands also for actual full shmups and such) have been done in space already.  About a trillion times over.  ....that and the concept of "rooms" at all wouldnt have worked in that context.

I think very few rogue-lites have been truly set in space. The key thing is how to do barriers and such, but I don't think it'd be that difficult with some creativity -- a combination of force fields and asteroid belts could form the walls. It would also have a much stronger shmup vibe. It would be like Soldak's Drox Operative, which took ARPGs into space, as hard as that was to imagine initially.

Dont forget, half of the game is missing right now.  We havent seen any of the meta-stuff yet, all the things that happen between runs (and no, I cant answer any questions about it, mainly because I cant remember much about it).  It's likely to make quite a difference.  Bionic Dues was much the same way;  Were it JUST the combat levels and nothing more, it would have been a pretty same-y roguelike.  Within the combat stages alone, there wasnt much in the way of new ideas.  But the stuff between levels is a huge part of what makes the game what it is, or at least I've always thought so.  When combined with the solid gameplay of the combat levels, it all worked really well.

OK I didn't realize there was meta missing between the levels. As in, I literally had no idea. Bionic Dues had some unique mechanics for rogue-likes even in the runs themselves, though: just going sci-fi was an innovation for turn-based rogue-likes in terms of the kinds of weapons you could have (lasers and such), and then there was the multi-bot concept. Regardless, I don't think it stood out enough, not that you could say with certainty what particular factor influenced financial performance.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2015, 05:50:00 PM »


Actually the shmup I'm most familiar with and drawing a huge amount of inspiration from has no ships or robots or anything at all, but instead uses giant insects the whole way through.  Or sometimes they get REALLY weird...  so I dont really have a particular theme that comes to mind.  I figure, the art isnt my realm here... that's up to the others to do.  I just make the monsters do unpleasant things.


Is that the reason why most enemies have insect names?
Because you mentioned it and a redesign of enemies is in talk, would "Robo-insects" make sense as design change?

Offline Misery

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2015, 06:13:13 PM »


Actually the shmup I'm most familiar with and drawing a huge amount of inspiration from has no ships or robots or anything at all, but instead uses giant insects the whole way through.  Or sometimes they get REALLY weird...  so I dont really have a particular theme that comes to mind.  I figure, the art isnt my realm here... that's up to the others to do.  I just make the monsters do unpleasant things.


Is that the reason why most enemies have insect names?
Because you mentioned it and a redesign of enemies is in talk, would "Robo-insects" make sense as design change?

A redesign of enemies?  I think I've gotten lost here.  Again.  This conversation, it makes many turns, and I think I fell off the cart at some point here.

But as for the names they're generally whatever pops into my head at the time.  Sometimes they start out stupid and Chris will go and assign them less idiotic names later.  For example Crystal Mother and Battleswarm were not names I came up with.  But usually when I'm coming up with one it has to do with whatever the thing does.  The Spiders were named spiders because I had the idea of something that gets in your way and slows you down by dropping a web in place.  The Charger is so named because it charges at you, of course.  This is about as creative as I get with names.  The one name that stands out as being a bit odd is Labyrinth, and this is there for two reasons.  1, the original concept was "it shoots a maze at you" but this was annoying to make and I'm impatient, so now it's reason #2 which is that it makes you constantly weave through those bouncing green beam walls as you're chased by the missiles it constantly sends at you.  And the newest boss is named "Aggressor" because I ran out of ideas for names and just chose a word out of a nearby browser window.

Offline ElOhTeeBee

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Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2015, 06:18:40 PM »
but at the end it's head pops off, starts flying around on it's own, and goes bonkers at you
Is that what that thing is supposed to be? I always figured it was just sort of hanging around or something.

And, now that I finally take a look at the achievement list, and see that it's named "Kyurionesu heddo", I feel a bit silly.