Arcen Games

Games => Starward Rogue => Topic started by: x4000 on December 16, 2015, 05:09:12 AM

Title: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: x4000 on December 16, 2015, 05:09:12 AM
https://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Starward_Rogue:Early_Alpha_Release_Notes#Version_0.204
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: mrhanman on December 16, 2015, 05:45:48 AM
I'm loving the new robot player character!  The animations are awesome!  8)

Not sure what the laser thing is supposed to be, as it doesn't seem to damage anything.  Then again, I did just start.

I'm also liking the new bosses and enemies I've run into.  I can't remember their names offhand, but the boss patterns in particular are very nice.  I got an acid sprayer weapon that was very useful.  I don't think I would have beaten a boss without it, but it felt balanced because I still had to get in close and dodge well to use it.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: TheVampire100 on December 16, 2015, 06:12:06 AM
So you've changed from starships to mechs? I guess this works too. Hope there won't be any stairs *wink wink*

Also, i noticed a small bug (if it's any). Shooting your main gun pushes you veeeery slowly backwards. I mantis this but I'm not sure if this intended.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: mrhanman on December 16, 2015, 06:14:52 AM
I noticed the backwards movement too, but since adding "weight" to your shots has been talked about, I assumed it was related to that.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 16, 2015, 06:38:40 AM
I noticed the backwards movement too, but since adding "weight" to your shots has been talked about, I assumed it was related to that.

Yeah, that one's not a bug.


As for the player mech or whatever, I'll add my own feedback a bit later, I actually havent seen it yet!  I'm surprised to see it already ready to go! 

I swear, everyone at Arcen just works so amazingly fast...

I'll say though that I like the idea of the mechs alot more than the flying ships.  It just makes more sense for that internal environment.


Also I'll just reiterate to everyone here that new bosses & enemies are not exactly super balanced yet, probably.  A couple of things are indeed meant to be pretty darn tough though.   The new boss added yesterday in particular is not actually finished, it is meant to have multiple patterns but has only one right now.   And the new version of Mirror should appear now, and THAT one, ahh... I think I mighta gone overboard on it?  I'm pretty certain the exploit is sure gone though!
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 16, 2015, 09:06:14 AM
The new art looks good! Overall the mechs just look better than the ships did. The walking animation adds to it alot. I see that shops are implemented too, that's nice.  New fun items in here too.

On another note, ARGH there's alot of balance issues with enemies right now.  Some of them are related to the category spawning.... that might have to be looked at, but I cant think of an easy solution right now.   But yeah, if you guys are finding that things are just a BIT nuts at times, it's definitely a known issue right now.   I can fix some parts of this on my own.  A couple of these things are just stuff I forgot; the Shifter Core (which has the wrong name, it's not a blasted Crystochet, I could have sworn I changed that...) which is the thing that sprays bouncing blue doom everywhere, isnt supposed to spawn in a normal fashion but is instead only supposed to spawn when a Shifter is destroyed.  I kinda forgot to set that though, so when you encounter THAT loopy thing, that's why it's just there abruptly.   I'm also going to slow the thing down a bit.

Also, player base range REALLY needs to be addressed at this point.  Some things are just too dangerous to get so close to, the Mirror boss right now being a great example.  Anything that uses spreadshots at all becomes exponentially more dangerous the closer you get to it.  Or a variety of other attack types.

A few problems to report also but Mantis isnt working right.  I'll try again a little later.

For example, is anyone actually getting any items out of glass breakables?  I'm not seeing them ever drop anything at all.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy on December 16, 2015, 02:45:48 PM
I saw one item drop from a glass breakable.

I really like the new mech animation. Some of the enemies should also be converted to mechs IMO, otherwise it feels weird that you're only fighting ships.

My feedback on the gameplay so far is that it seems like our stats start out too high. Shot speed is super fast, and range is very long. As a result, I can take on most enemies pretty easily -- it's only the bosses that give me trouble. Additionally, most of the upgrades don't have an observable effect. Adding 10% of something doesn't do much.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 16, 2015, 02:55:17 PM
I saw one item drop from a glass breakable.

I really like the new mech animation. Some of the enemies should also be converted to mechs IMO, otherwise it feels weird that you're only fighting ships.

My feedback on the gameplay so far is that it seems like our stats start out too high. Shot speed is super fast, and range is very long. As a result, I can take on most enemies pretty easily -- it's only the bosses that give me trouble. Additionally, most of the upgrades don't have an observable effect. Adding 10% of something doesn't do much.

Dont forget that plenty of enemies arent really meant to put up all that much of a fight.  Ya gotta have Goombas in a game like this, after all.  They are there to be exploded, or to embarrass you if you manage to take damage from them anyway.  I have done this many times.

For many things, including bosses, the range isnt going to save you.  My thoughts are that it actually needs to be INCREASED, not decreased.

The ONE problem:  The "jumpscare" enemies.  The ones that simply dont move until approached or shot.  Something needs to be done about them, and I'm thinking that it's probably going to be that they'll have invincibility (possibly a glowing outline to show this) while stationary, and wont actually ACTIVATE until you get CLOSE.  As opposed to firing at them from afar.

Also dont forget that enemy HP values are all over the place right now.  Some things are dying WAY too fast (like those "Widow" things) and thusly cannot put up a fight.  It's hard to fight when you've been exploded into a pile of pixels, after all, and many enemies need time to generate the threat that they should.  I dont intend on REALLY balancing this out yet, because player stats and items and such are just going to keep changing and changing over time for awhile (also because other things have priority right now), but I might up their HP overall as a temporary measure to allow them time to actually fight you.

Of course, some of this will also depend on room design.  In many rooms, that range wont do a thing for you, and different enemies become more or less dangerous depending on the structure of the room.  Which is intended, of course.  And the room designs sure do get interesting....  Some enemies however are definitely appearing in rooms that are not at all appropriate for them, this will be addressed later on, I've a couple of ideas that might work on this. 
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy on December 16, 2015, 03:03:19 PM
Fair enough, Misery. I understand stuff isn't balanced yet. I just want to lay out the principles: we need to start out weak, and upgrade certain aspects of our mechs as we go, and those upgrades should feel palpable, not just 10% tacked on to some stat. I shouldn't just want to head straight to the boss on each level, as I do now.

Mantis is definitely broken. I had a whole bunch of ideas, barely managed to submit some, and now I can't post the rest. I'll write the remaining ones here so I don't forget.

- Walking Traps
Now that we're walking, it makes sense to have surfaces that have different effects on us, like slippery ice, shock floors, floors that slow us down, etc. We could also have items/upgrades to counter those traps.

- Narrative issues
Even though the intro has been improved to give more direction, I'm still unclear on my motivation. Why am I here? What is there to be found here? Why am I fighting these enemies? In Isaac, I'm escaping my mom into the dungeon. In Nuclear Throne, I'm fighting to reach the nuclear throne. In FTL, I'm delivering a secret message to the federation (and for some reason when I get there I'm the only one who can fight the big boss). There's some text about saving the universe, but what does that mean? The universe is about to end anyway. And how is fighting some ships in some spaceship going to do anything about the universe? There's no connection there, and therefore no motivation.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: TheVampire100 on December 16, 2015, 03:10:07 PM
I saw the new Mirror boss and HOLY SHIT was he buffed. Nothing like he was at the beginning. His new pattern looks also a lot better. As with most new boss patterns I have first to understand how he works to defeat him effectivly. Currently i loose to the most bosses too much health (except battleswarm and another, don't remember the name).

The Mech animartion looks a lot better what the ships had to offer, more lively (even if the ships "hovered", they still looked rather static). Somehow the mechs remind me of Earth 2150 (which is good, because I loved the game). The new weapon system is a little confusing at the moment but at least I get it that missiles now count as secondary system and not as tertiary system anymore, meaning you have to switch to your energy based gun. I also don't get how hulls works.
I got one that "renders me invulnerable while standing still" but I stood entirely still and didn't even shoot and still got damaged (and killed). Do I have to activate something so that they work?
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 16, 2015, 04:29:31 PM
I saw the new Mirror boss and HOLY SHIT was he buffed.

After a million comments of "this boss is so easy!" and multiple exploits being found with that fight, I was kinda getting tired of the damn thing, so I thought "ARGH fine, you know what, HERES A WHOLE PILE OF BULLETS FOR NO REASON there it's fixed now".

Apparently there's still one exploit after doing this.

(http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view2/3677418/facedesk-o.gif)

That sums up my thoughts on the matter pretty well.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo on December 16, 2015, 04:32:50 PM
The change to mechs seems a bit unnecessary to me. The ship flight had reached a point where I was quite enjoying zipping around. Especially using the afterburner. I know the afterburner is sort of still there, but it doesn't seem the same. I think that only a few tweaks were necessary and things would've been good. Now, you're a mech and all the other enemies are ships. Walking over the window sections seems weird. Even the title of the game seems wrong now -- Starward Rogue summons up images of spacecraft to me. The change seems to have opened up a few inconsistencies. That being said, I was never too enamoured with the old ship art, so at least the new mech design is better. The point about having spaceships in such an enclosed space also makes sense. Just seems like a pretty drastic change.

First thoughts on the new weapon switching thing -- on joypad this seems super awkward, being on one of the analog stick clicks. A couple of the weapons seem to have improved, also there was one item, ram spawner or something which was pretty cool. That's it for now, still getting used to the whole mech change thing.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: x4000 on December 16, 2015, 04:47:44 PM
Various responses:

1. Glad that people are happy with the mechs. :)  We do plan on adding legs to a variety of enemies as well, and having a mix of hovering and walking ones.  Just have not had time yet on that one, and it's a fairly minor detail compared to the player stuff.

2. The pushback when you are firing your guns is indeed intentionally pushing you back.  However, that may no longer be needed because we are going to be adding a recoil animation to the guns themselves.  So that will give the sense of weight and pushback without actually needing to push you back.  Thoughts there?

3. The mech art is super temporary, I should remind you.  It was stuff I cobbled together from IGB to test out sizing and general feel, not actual art done in the proper style of the game.  Except for the feet -- those were done by Blue for the actual game.

4. The laser coming out of your mech's inactive gun is a laser sight.  If it's confusing I can turn it off, but it is the place that either your missiles or your special weapon will fire from.  I figure it's a good guide so that you don't blow yourself up (plus it looks cool).

5. In terms of some enemies being to crazy sometimes, Misery, I think that's not an indictment of the categories system -- but rather, an indicator that some new categories are needed.  No big thing.  If there are certain enemies that you have that you would like to see used only in certain ways, and we can make a new category out of that, then let's definitely go for it.

6. I'll check on the glass pots.

7. Most of the new enemies don't have actual art assigned right now, I should also mention to folks.  We have a huuuuge amount of art completed, but I haven't had a chance to integrate it yet for these guys.  I was out of the office all last week.

8. Now I have commentary that is conflicting: we need longer-range guns, and we need shorter-range guns. ;)  Honestly, I feel like shorter-range guns are the order of the day, and then grow up from there.  I agree that something like 10% is not a good addition.  Instead we should do something that is actual distance-based, like "add 100px to shot range."

8.a. In terms of enemies that have spreadshots that are too dense... well, that's pretty much just bosses.  I guess we either need to make those lower-floors-only, or provide holes, etc.  In general I don't want to be sniping enemies from way far away, because that is far too easy and boring.  I want to be having to move into mid-range, where the big fun is.  Too far away and it's too easy.  Too close and there's not time to react to stuff that is emitting.  Some of the bosses are holding me just too far away from themselves at the moment.  Possibly simply making it so that their initial shots come out of them from slightly further back on their bodies would fix that completely, to be honest.  We can make visible guns on them and put those further back on the boss so that it visually makes sense.

9. Mantis is all kinds of buggered.  I'm working on it.

10. Understood on the narrative issues.

11. I like the idea of surfaces that do various things -- very nice. :)

12. The shift to mechs might seem like a drastic change, but the core thing was that it was a paradox before: I wanted it to move like a mech but look like a ship.  Other people saw it looked like a ship and felt like it was buggy/cheap when it didn't fly like a ship.  I never wanted it to move like that, honestly.  So this gets back to the original way I wanted it to move, but without people complaining it seems cheap, hopefully.

13. Points taken on the weapon switching, but we're kind of out of room there.  There may be something better we can do, but I'm not certain yet.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: x4000 on December 16, 2015, 05:06:39 PM
Mantis now works properly with submitting multiple bugs in a row!
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo on December 16, 2015, 05:26:22 PM
Quote
2. The pushback when you are firing your guns is indeed intentionally pushing you back.  However, that may no longer be needed because we are going to be adding a recoil animation to the guns themselves.  So that will give the sense of weight and pushback without actually needing to push you back.  Thoughts there?

I think that the having a real recoil feature would be useful for weapons design if it were tweakable in the xml in a similar way to how knockback is. For example, if you've designed a real monster of a weapon then adding some real recoil to that might be nice. For the main guns, though, recoil animations only would probably be better. They're only pea-shooters after all.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: x4000 on December 16, 2015, 05:27:57 PM
Of course recoil is per-weapon and tweakable in xml.  What do you take me for? ;)  :D
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo on December 16, 2015, 05:34:12 PM
Of course recoil is per-weapon and tweakable in xml.  What do you take me for? ;)  :D

Ah! There it is, kickback_strength. Somehow missed that one. Doh! :)
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: TheVampire100 on December 16, 2015, 05:59:25 PM
Quote
2. The pushback when you are firing your guns is indeed intentionally pushing you back.  However, that may no longer be needed because we are going to be adding a recoil animation to the guns themselves.  So that will give the sense of weight and pushback without actually needing to push you back.  Thoughts there?

I think that the having a real recoil feature would be useful for weapons design if it were tweakable in the xml in a similar way to how knockback is. For example, if you've designed a real monster of a weapon then adding some real recoil to that might be nice. For the main guns, though, recoil animations only would probably be better. They're only pea-shooters after all.
Exactly this. it feels currently a little weird anyway. this wouldn't be a problem if you would still play a hovering spaceship but now you are mech standing on the ground and getting pushed back little by little looks so weird.
like Pepsilolo suggested, a weapon with a bigger recoil 8because it hase some impact) would be better, something like the Heat Buster from Mabinogi.
It deals a lot of damage in close combat but throws you backwards (it's literally a close combat explosion).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jos8F63zy6I
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 16, 2015, 06:35:26 PM
The self-knockback on the main guns feels at odds with the shmup need for precise control, especially when weaving through boss bullet patterns and desperately trying to keep firing at the same time. That can turn a situation where I only needed to move vertically (to dodge bullets) into one where I need to also consider my changing horizontal position (to get back in range of the boss, having been pushed away by firing a few hundred bullets).

Does make sense for a big gun, though.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 16, 2015, 07:34:56 PM
Various responses:

1. Glad that people are happy with the mechs. :)  We do plan on adding legs to a variety of enemies as well, and having a mix of hovering and walking ones.  Just have not had time yet on that one, and it's a fairly minor detail compared to the player stuff.

2. The pushback when you are firing your guns is indeed intentionally pushing you back.  However, that may no longer be needed because we are going to be adding a recoil animation to the guns themselves.  So that will give the sense of weight and pushback without actually needing to push you back.  Thoughts there?

3. The mech art is super temporary, I should remind you.  It was stuff I cobbled together from IGB to test out sizing and general feel, not actual art done in the proper style of the game.  Except for the feet -- those were done by Blue for the actual game.

4. The laser coming out of your mech's inactive gun is a laser sight.  If it's confusing I can turn it off, but it is the place that either your missiles or your special weapon will fire from.  I figure it's a good guide so that you don't blow yourself up (plus it looks cool).

5. In terms of some enemies being to crazy sometimes, Misery, I think that's not an indictment of the categories system -- but rather, an indicator that some new categories are needed.  No big thing.  If there are certain enemies that you have that you would like to see used only in certain ways, and we can make a new category out of that, then let's definitely go for it.

6. I'll check on the glass pots.

7. Most of the new enemies don't have actual art assigned right now, I should also mention to folks.  We have a huuuuge amount of art completed, but I haven't had a chance to integrate it yet for these guys.  I was out of the office all last week.

8. Now I have commentary that is conflicting: we need longer-range guns, and we need shorter-range guns. ;)  Honestly, I feel like shorter-range guns are the order of the day, and then grow up from there.  I agree that something like 10% is not a good addition.  Instead we should do something that is actual distance-based, like "add 100px to shot range."

8.a. In terms of enemies that have spreadshots that are too dense... well, that's pretty much just bosses.  I guess we either need to make those lower-floors-only, or provide holes, etc.  In general I don't want to be sniping enemies from way far away, because that is far too easy and boring.  I want to be having to move into mid-range, where the big fun is.  Too far away and it's too easy.  Too close and there's not time to react to stuff that is emitting.  Some of the bosses are holding me just too far away from themselves at the moment.  Possibly simply making it so that their initial shots come out of them from slightly further back on their bodies would fix that completely, to be honest.  We can make visible guns on them and put those further back on the boss so that it visually makes sense.

9. Mantis is all kinds of buggered.  I'm working on it.

10. Understood on the narrative issues.

11. I like the idea of surfaces that do various things -- very nice. :)

12. The shift to mechs might seem like a drastic change, but the core thing was that it was a paradox before: I wanted it to move like a mech but look like a ship.  Other people saw it looked like a ship and felt like it was buggy/cheap when it didn't fly like a ship.  I never wanted it to move like that, honestly.  So this gets back to the original way I wanted it to move, but without people complaining it seems cheap, hopefully.

13. Points taken on the weapon switching, but we're kind of out of room there.  There may be something better we can do, but I'm not certain yet.


Lessee... the categories thing, definitely, more of them would help alot.  In some cases, it might be good to have a few more specialized ones that wont appear very often, or will only appear in certain types of rooms.  For example a type that's meant for somewhat more cramped maze-like rooms (the Charger would fit such a category, that's what it was designed for actually) and not to be put in big open ones, or specifics like that.  Anything that can be done to keep these monstrosities from appearing in places that makes them more nightmarish than they should be is a good thing.

The bit with the bosses and the spreadshots, yeah, that's a nice easy fix in most cases, to just set some of the guns back, for the bosses in the horseshoe rooms.  Though at the moment some of them also just need a bit of tweaking.  Mirror in particular is a bit messy, I cant even exaggerate my level of irritation with that stupid thing at this point.  The stuff added to it's pattern in this update just need their angles tweaked.  MOSTLY though, all of the bosses were designed with the knowledge of how close the player was going to have to get.  If there's really specific ones that are giving everyone trouble though, that's easy enough to fix, just gotta figure out which those are.  In some cases a mere change of bullet sizes will probably help.

I definitely dont recommend shortening the player's base range any further though: that *will* mess things up.  A couple of the bosses will break down entirely (as will a number of enemies), among other things.    I personally prefer to have long range available, but if that's a no-go, the current setup is fine, really.  The shorter it goes though, the more simplified (and slower) the patterns have to be.

Also I'll support the "surfaces that do things" idea.  If you've got a game like this.... it's just not right if you dont have like, spikes or something.  Electric spikes even. 
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo on December 16, 2015, 08:26:46 PM
After a bit more play, I'm getting worried about this whole mech thing. It just doesn't seem to work for what the game has grown to be. It feels out of place. Everything up until now has been designed with spaceships in mind. You've got all the other enemies floating around and you shuffling along on your legs, the room designs seem to be created in a very open space way due to the windows, which seem weird when you're walking around on them, the title screen is spaceships, the game has a very spaceship sounding title. The heart of the game is just not a mech or walking around game.

If this is to be turned into into a mech dungeon crawler then I think that the changes that are going to be needed are going to much more sweeping than just replacing the main player. Ones that initially come to mind are all the enemies are going to need to be re-evaluated to make sure they fit with the new theme, all rooms are probably going to need the windows replaced by real floors, the title of the game needs changing,  the story needs rewriting, and probably lots more that will unfortunately only be uncovered further down the line as little bits of unexpected surgery come to light as a result of trying to change the game into something it's not.

It just doesn't seem worth it. The old ship movement system was almost there. Almost... the only major problem being a disparity between using the afterburner with a keyboard and a joypad. Using ships is what the heart of the game is and has been for a long time, back since it was called Airship Eternal. Walking mechs? Where'd that come from? Might as well just make a Bionic Dues spin-off. If the original ship looked a bit better, then this change would probably not even be on the cards. Make a Hydra or something....but a mech...meh.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy on December 16, 2015, 09:39:30 PM
It just doesn't seem worth it. The old ship movement system was almost there. Almost... the only major problem being a disparity between using the afterburner with a keyboard and a joypad. Using ships is what the heart of the game is and has been for a long time, back since it was called Airship Eternal. Walking mechs? Where'd that come from? Might as well just make a Bionic Dues spin-off. If the original ship looked a bit better, then this change would probably not even be on the cards. Make a Hydra or something....but a mech...meh.

I think this is a very good point, through I assume Chris has thought this through. The current mech controls very similarly to a suggestion I made on Mantis, and I think it would be possible to go back to that suggestion and have a fast aiming ship that can move laterally if need be. I do really like the look of the mech - I think the extra animation is really nice and it has a great look - but at the same time, this would have to become a mech-centered title. Is Arcen ready to do that?

The dissonance with the name is worth thinking about. Not only is it not in space (the first expectation of the new player), it's also not a ship.

At the same time, I don't feel like there has been any strong narrative put out so far. Not that these games need much narrative, but setting this game at the end of the universe isn't particularly compelling and has nothing to do with what's in the game. Here's a more interesting narrative (IMO) I just came up with: the hydra has been trapped by an malevolent multidimensional entity capable of destroying dimensions and bent on cosuming the power of the last of the hydras (bear in mind, I don't have TLF and I'm not well-versed in the lore. I'm going to possibly expand that lore and say that the hydra exists in all dimensions, somewhat matching its multiple-heads theme.) Every time you die, you *really* die in that universe, and another (dimension) is doomed by the entity. The only way to stop this is to defeat the entity in one of the dimensions. Of course, once you do, you find out that it's not enough, and you have to go even further (a la past Isaac's Mom) to finally destroy the entity.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: crazyroosterman on December 16, 2015, 11:04:22 PM
It just doesn't seem worth it. The old ship movement system was almost there. Almost... the only major problem being a disparity between using the afterburner with a keyboard and a joypad. Using ships is what the heart of the game is and has been for a long time, back since it was called Airship Eternal. Walking mechs? Where'd that come from? Might as well just make a Bionic Dues spin-off. If the original ship looked a bit better, then this change would probably not even be on the cards. Make a Hydra or something....but a mech...meh.

I think this is a very good point, through I assume Chris has thought this through. The current mech controls very similarly to a suggestion I made on Mantis, and I think it would be possible to go back to that suggestion and have a fast aiming ship that can move laterally if need be. I do really like the look of the mech - I think the extra animation is really nice and it has a great look - but at the same time, this would have to become a mech-centered title. Is Arcen ready to do that?

The dissonance with the name is worth thinking about. Not only is it not in space (the first expectation of the new player), it's also not a ship.

At the same time, I don't feel like there has been any strong narrative put out so far. Not that these games need much narrative, but setting this game at the end of the universe isn't particularly compelling and has nothing to do with what's in the game. Here's a more interesting narrative (IMO) I just came up with: the hydra has been trapped by an malevolent multidimensional entity capable of destroying dimensions and bent on cosuming the power of the last of the hydras (bear in mind, I don't have TLF and I'm not well-versed in the lore. I'm going to possibly expand that lore and say that the hydra exists in all dimensions, somewhat matching its multiple-heads theme.) Every time you die, you *really* die in that universe, and another (dimension) is doomed by the entity. The only way to stop this is to defeat the entity in one of the dimensions. Of course, once you do, you find out that it's not enough, and you have to go even further (a la past Isaac's Mom) to finally destroy the entity.
for the record I always liked the way the ship looked I also like the robot (although the laser sight seems pointless to me and worse at times is actually very distracting) but I think I agree pepisolo thematically(and just logic wise) it doesn't really make séance I mean why in reality would the hydral ever choose a manned robot that's stuck to the ground over a ship that(in reality obviously it doesn't work that way exactly in the game for mechanical reasons but in reality that ship he was using before patch would be going in all sorts of angles in the room of the ship but I digress) that can move all over the place and is just over all faster also to bluddy I think the reason the narrative isn't very pronounced is probably because the games in testing mode the narrative will probably be focused on more later down the line. ps for the record I don't like his narrative idea that's just silly a creature that powerful wouldn't even really care about the hydral sure the hydrals pretty powerful but he's not god level powerful like the creature you imagined clearly is.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: mrhanman on December 17, 2015, 06:03:58 AM
I like the mech better than the ship.  It makes more sense for the environment.

You know, it could be a transformer with the mech form having advantages and disadvantages over the ship form.  Or maybe there could be two types of rooms.  Enclosed spaces like we have now for the mech, and more "space-y", open rooms/levels for the ship.  You could maybe even have a more traditional SHMUP level between stages.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 17, 2015, 08:55:20 AM
The mech was necessary.

There was just too much of a problem with the ship design.  It creates an expectation of a type of movement that, in the end, wasnt viable and would have broke half the game.  As I explained to Chris, *all* of the boss patterns and the majority of the enemy patterns, as well as most of the rooms, would have to be COMPLETELY redone, from the ground up, to make that movement (which needed to be a heck of alot more exaggerated than I'd originally thought, in order to meet what people expected from a ship) work in the context of dealing with them.... and it wouldnt be very interesting.  Even the most difficult of boss patterns, for instance, would be extremely simplistic, because nothing else would work.  They would be outright BORING.  Simpler than any other game of this type, and I absolutely mean that.  And as someone that's played this genre and anything even remotely like it absolutely to death, I'm 100% sure of all of this.

If the ship design had remained, it would have just created too many problems and done too much damage.

And in all honesty.... the ship didn't make much sense to begin with, for two reasons.  1, it had that shape despite CLEARLY not being an "aerial" vehicle, but being one in space (making the wings, for instance, utterly pointless), and was plenty capable of simply stopping and hovering in place, a behavior not exactly associated with something that has wings.  2. Ships in general dont make a whole lot of sense within the internal "dungeon" environments that the game takes place in.  Yes, you could say that the enemy designs are an issue, but if you look at them, many of them ARENT shaped as what you might think of as a ship of the type the player uses.  There are a few winged enemies, but not enough to make an issue.  They still make enough sense in an environment where wings arent necessary.  And if necessary, they can probably be altered a bit as well to fit it better.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy on December 17, 2015, 02:59:45 PM
Just to improve my narrative suggestion a little bit, I think that it's a shame to have a sci-fi setting without using some sci-fi ideas that really suggest themselves for this kind of game. The idea of infinite dimensions fits perfectly with the concept of many lives, as well as the fact that the layout is different each time. It's not that the ship is changing -- it's just a different ship in a different dimension each time!

The other point I wanted to make is that the end of the universe is *boring*. There's nothing at stake since everything is gone. The point of my initial narrative suggestion wasn't to suggest a complete narrative, but to push in a more interesting direction. For example, suppose the hydra has helped the federation form, and now a robotic race intent on wiping out the multiverse has arrived. The hydra needs to infiltrate the main ship and stop the race from carrying out its plan, but the chances of success in any particular dimension are miniscule. Fortunately, the hydra has some communication between dimensions/exists in multiple dimensions, and is therefore able to learn from its mistakes in one dimension (which is now doomed since it's dead there) to do better in another dimension.

We could even have some power-ups that capitalize on the multi-dimension aspect, such as inviting other hydra mechs to join us in attacking for a limited time.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo on December 17, 2015, 03:41:02 PM
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The mech was necessary.

There was just too much of a problem with the ship design.  It creates an expectation of a type of movement that, in the end, wasnt viable and would have broke half the game.  As I explained to Chris, *all* of the boss patterns and the majority of the enemy patterns, as well as most of the rooms, would have to be COMPLETELY redone, from the ground up, to make that movement (which needed to be a heck of alot more exaggerated than I'd originally thought, in order to meet what people expected from a ship) work in the context of dealing with them.... and it wouldnt be very interesting.  Even the most difficult of boss patterns, for instance, would be extremely simplistic, because nothing else would work.  They would be outright BORING.  Simpler than any other game of this type, and I absolutely mean that.  And as someone that's played this genre and anything even remotely like it absolutely to death, I'm 100% sure of all of this.

If the ship design had remained, it would have just created too many problems and done too much damage.

This post might have made sense a few weeks ago when people were saying that the ships felt very off, but in the context of the recent changes with most people saying the ship was now absolutely fine, I don't understand your point. Why would things need to be completely redone when things were already working very well? I myself must've racked up 10 hours or so under the latest ship incarnation and it controlled completely fine, the sense of movement was there, the precision was perfect, indeed the end result was a really nice and interesting control method. There was a tricky problem in getting the feel people wanted while maintaining the precision of a SHMUP and you pretty much nailed it, barring a few tweaks. You can't unnail it now and say that things never worked and that all the patterns would need to be redone if it'd stayed.

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And in all honesty.... the ship didn't make much sense to begin with, for two reasons.  1, it had that shape despite CLEARLY not being an "aerial" vehicle, but being one in space (making the wings, for instance, utterly pointless), and was plenty capable of simply stopping and hovering in place, a behavior not exactly associated with something that has wings.  2. Ships in general dont make a whole lot of sense within the internal "dungeon" environments that the game takes place in.  Yes, you could say that the enemy designs are an issue, but if you look at them, many of them ARENT shaped as what you might think of as a ship of the type the player uses.  There are a few winged enemies, but not enough to make an issue.  They still make enough sense in an environment where wings arent necessary.  And if necessary, they can probably be altered a bit as well to fit it better.

1)

Then just do a better looking ship. Make it more circular like a flying saucer. Give it hover thrusters like a jump-jet. No need to go straight to mechs just because doing walking things is a bit easier than doing flying things.

2)

Yeah, ships inside dungeons is a bit weird, but I'm presuming that has been part of the design for months if not over a year. Surely this had been thought through -- I'm assuming it was, which is why the levels have that open starscape feel about them. It's unusual, yes, but if it's only just now being realized that spaceships inside structures is a bit odd then that doesn't say much for the design process. This must've been accounted for already.

If the design is going to change to a mech-based game then let's all realize that the existing vision is dead, and everything will need to be overhauled. From the title of the game, the story, the enemy designs, the tilesets, the existing weapons etc. Thinking that you can just swap out a flying ship for a walking mech at this stage and everything's going to be fine, is crazy.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 17, 2015, 05:23:09 PM
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The mech was necessary.

There was just too much of a problem with the ship design.  It creates an expectation of a type of movement that, in the end, wasnt viable and would have broke half the game.  As I explained to Chris, *all* of the boss patterns and the majority of the enemy patterns, as well as most of the rooms, would have to be COMPLETELY redone, from the ground up, to make that movement (which needed to be a heck of alot more exaggerated than I'd originally thought, in order to meet what people expected from a ship) work in the context of dealing with them.... and it wouldnt be very interesting.  Even the most difficult of boss patterns, for instance, would be extremely simplistic, because nothing else would work.  They would be outright BORING.  Simpler than any other game of this type, and I absolutely mean that.  And as someone that's played this genre and anything even remotely like it absolutely to death, I'm 100% sure of all of this.

If the ship design had remained, it would have just created too many problems and done too much damage.

This post might have made sense a few weeks ago when people were saying that the ships felt very off, but in the context of the recent changes with most people saying the ship was now absolutely fine, I don't understand your point. Why would things need to be completely redone when things were already working very well? I myself must've racked up 10 hours or so under the latest ship incarnation and it controlled completely fine, the sense of movement was there, the precision was perfect, indeed the end result was a really nice and interesting control method. There was a tricky problem in getting the feel people wanted while maintaining the precision of a SHMUP and you pretty much nailed it, barring a few tweaks. You can't unnail it now and say that things never worked and that all the patterns would need to be redone if it'd stayed.

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And in all honesty.... the ship didn't make much sense to begin with, for two reasons.  1, it had that shape despite CLEARLY not being an "aerial" vehicle, but being one in space (making the wings, for instance, utterly pointless), and was plenty capable of simply stopping and hovering in place, a behavior not exactly associated with something that has wings.  2. Ships in general dont make a whole lot of sense within the internal "dungeon" environments that the game takes place in.  Yes, you could say that the enemy designs are an issue, but if you look at them, many of them ARENT shaped as what you might think of as a ship of the type the player uses.  There are a few winged enemies, but not enough to make an issue.  They still make enough sense in an environment where wings arent necessary.  And if necessary, they can probably be altered a bit as well to fit it better.

1)

Then just do a better looking ship. Make it more circular like a flying saucer. Give it hover thrusters like a jump-jet. No need to go straight to mechs just because doing walking things is a bit easier than doing flying things.

2)

Yeah, ships inside dungeons is a bit weird, but I'm presuming that has been part of the design for months if not over a year. Surely this had been thought through -- I'm assuming it was, which is why the levels have that open starscape feel about them. It's unusual, yes, but if it's only just now being realized that spaceships inside structures is a bit odd then that doesn't say much for the design process. This must've been accounted for already.

If the design is going to change to a mech-based game then let's all realize that the existing vision is dead, and everything will need to be overhauled. From the title of the game, the story, the enemy designs, the tilesets, the existing weapons etc. Thinking that you can just swap out a flying ship for a walking mech at this stage and everything's going to be fine, is crazy.

For the first thing you mentioned, hmm, I dont think I quite phrased all of that right.

Remember BEFORE the most recent changes?  When the ship was zooming around alot more, with alot of momentum and stuff?  This would have been right before Chris recorded the video that he put up on Youtube.   At that time, the ship was moving around alot more like you'd expect one to behave, all zooming and whooshing around in big turning arcs and stuff like that.  THAT is what I meant but probably didn't explain properly or I explained the wrong thing entirely.  Basically, when people look at the player ship, and they see the image that it was before... mentally, they EXPECT it to move in such a way that it meets what they associate it with in their mind.  Something that looks like the original player ship just LOOKS like it should be moving like it did when it was all over the place.   If it was left that way (as in, the sprites were unchanged), yet was using the movement that the game has for the player NOW, it's basically inevitable that people would complain a whole bunch about it once the game released.  You know how people are... they absolutely WILL complain about things like that that are ENTIRELY based on some visual or even psychological aspect rather than on the actual functionality of it.   This is why the ship was changed to a mech.

Though I do agree that things like flying saucers wouldnt at all be a bad idea either, but I'm not the one that makes that decision, heh.  Besides, having the mech DOES allow them to do an extra thing, which is to have special floor tiles that do things.  From a gameplay standpoint, that could get pretty neat.  Could add alot to the structure of all sorts of rooms and keep things extra interesting.  Floor tiles wouldnt make sense if you are flying though.


I dunno.  It's all subjective, I guess.  I personally am fine with the mech, but I would probably be fine with a giant pig or something too, so I might not count here.

If you have any specific suggestions for Chris though on stuff that might help (this certainly aint my aspect of design, heh, so I sure cant do much), by all means, write up anything you can think of.  It could end up helping out a whole lot. 

I personally dont have any ideas for it myself though.  But I'm totally open to any changes that might be made if it's determined that they should be made, to keep this making as much sense as possible.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: TheVampire100 on December 17, 2015, 06:33:59 PM
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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo on December 17, 2015, 07:26:44 PM
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Remember BEFORE the most recent changes?  When the ship was zooming around alot more, with alot of momentum and stuff?  This would have been right before Chris recorded the video that he put up on Youtube.   At that time, the ship was moving around alot more like you'd expect one to behave, all zooming and whooshing around in big turning arcs and stuff like that.  THAT is what I meant but probably didn't explain properly or I explained the wrong thing entirely.  Basically, when people look at the player ship, and they see the image that it was before... mentally, they EXPECT it to move in such a way that it meets what they associate it with in their mind.  Something that looks like the original player ship just LOOKS like it should be moving like it did when it was all over the place.   If it was left that way (as in, the sprites were unchanged), yet was using the movement that the game has for the player NOW, it's basically inevitable that people would complain a whole bunch about it once the game released.  You know how people are... they absolutely WILL complain about things like that that are ENTIRELY based on some visual or even psychological aspect rather than on the actual functionality of it.   This is why the ship was changed to a mech.

Ah, now I get your point, thanks. If the early very first high momentum version of the controls was used, then yeah, I could see that causing all kinds of screwy problems with regards to bullet patterns and enemy design etc, but in the very next iteration the tweaks made seemed to really work. You pretty much achieved that subtle illusion of movement with the precision of a SHMUP. The only thing I was concerned with at this point was the disparity between the keyboard and joypad afterburner controls. I don't think that people ever really wanted a super momentum based floaty ship like in Asteroids, they were just searching for that feel, that subtle illusion that felt right. You pretty much got that in the second round of tweaks. I can't erase my brain and get a fresh impression of the refined ship movement to see if I would get a feeling of things not being quite, right, but I suspect not. After all, in pretty much every SHMUP there is very little actual momentum, it is all illusion. Nobody complains about the Gradius ships not feeling right because there is no actual momentum. Or ships of practically any other SHMUP because usually the illusion works, as it seemed to be doing for Starward Rogue after the second iteration.

Getting this feel correct is not easy, granted. I imagine you'd probably still be tweaking and refining things for a while in order to get things absolutely perfect, but what's the alternative -- just switch to walking, I guess, that'd make things easier. Who cares if mechs weren't in the original design and that they look out of place amongst all the other enemies and starscapes of the tileset or all the other inconsistencies that will probably arise as a result.

Here's a small mod I made to improve the main sprite -- I simply moved the wings back to a more aerodynamic (hey, seemed to work) position. The whole thing looks better, turns better, feels better. This is just a minor tweak that a completely cack-handed non-artistic fool made. If more effort were made to create a nicer looking and feeling main sprite then that would take things up another notch. Heck, maybe have the artists do super rough ship prototypes and put it to a poll to see which one the community prefers.

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Though I do agree that things like flying saucers wouldnt at all be a bad idea either, but I'm not the one that makes that decision, heh.  Besides, having the mech DOES allow them to do an extra thing, which is to have special floor tiles that do things.  From a gameplay standpoint, that could get pretty neat.  Could add alot to the structure of all sorts of rooms and keep things extra interesting.  Floor tiles wouldnt make sense if you are flying though.

This could be done in a similar way in a flying environment, instead of tiles you'd use particles and do gas or a nebula. A floor filled with ice plasma particles that slows you down or messes with your thrusters etc. There's lots of cool stuff that can be done in a flying environment or in a walking environment, I don't think it's a particularly good reason to prefer mechs over the original vision.

The biggest thing that would make me accept the mech changes is if everyone somehow only just realized that having ships in structures is a bit unusual and doesn't quite make sense -- I really think that this probably would've been accounted for in the overall design, already, but you never know. With regards to this change NEEDING to be made because of the momentum problems, that argument doesn't work for me. The old ship controls and feel was really shaping up nicely.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: ptarth on December 18, 2015, 03:34:27 AM
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: TheVampire100 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery 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...
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Pepisolo 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Bluddy 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: TheVampire100 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?
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: ElOhTeeBee 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.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 18, 2015, 07:22:24 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.

Yeah, I originally couldnt tell what in the hell it was, the thing is weird looking, and I'm most familiar with the game on Ultra mode, where, well... it's hard to even see the damn thing.  Either way it makes just as much sense as the rest of that gigantic monster.  Takes up the whole level, walks on molten rock, CONSTANTLY farts those super-irritating suicide bees at you (seriously, it never... stops.... doing that.... argh), shoots bullets from every conceivable part of it's body, and so on.

One thing I never could tell in that game though though wasnt that boss, but with the first boss.  That very final pattern it does, what the hell *are* those things that are firing the bullet streams?  They just sorta pop into existence and look like some sort of bizarre alien gate to another dimension, which makes even less sense due to the fact that there's like 6 of them; what the heck they have to do with that particular gigantic insect, I have no idea.  It's hard to even get a good look at them at all, really.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: xaid on December 19, 2015, 01:25:06 AM
I have been playing the alpha for a bit and I must say that I like the mech design more than the previous ship design.

Any chance of getting a hoverboard-like upgrade / pickup which adds some kind of glide ability to the mech? That will make it seem like they're flying without them actually flying...
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: ElOhTeeBee on December 19, 2015, 02:30:47 AM
That very final pattern it does, what the hell *are* those things that are firing the bullet streams?
If you watch it in slow motion, you can clearly see those things unfolding out of the bug's back, the part behind the broken bit. It's some sort of weird-ass organic cannon; nothing the game doesn't have in droves elsewhere...
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: mrhanman on December 19, 2015, 02:41:48 AM
uses giant insects the whole way through

Mushihimesama?

So is Fantasy Zone, now THERE was a weird shmup...

You can't talk about weird shmups without mentioning Cho Aniki (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qglx7EWMJw).  There's like a law or something.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: Misery on December 19, 2015, 02:42:09 PM
uses giant insects the whole way through

Mushihimesama?

So is Fantasy Zone, now THERE was a weird shmup...

You can't talk about weird shmups without mentioning Cho Aniki (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qglx7EWMJw).  There's like a law or something.

Yeah, it was Mushihime-sama.   Specifically the first one.  Futari goes further and then adds dinosaurs and jellyfish and stuff, because that makes perfect sense.
Title: Re: Huge new alpha build 0.204!
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 19, 2015, 02:54:04 PM
Yeah, it was Mushihime-sama.   Specifically the first one.  Futari goes further and then adds dinosaurs and jellyfish and stuff, because that makes perfect sense.
Yea, there's "I Wanna Be The Guy" and there's "I Wanna Be The - what on earth is that thing?"