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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingCeramic Shooter - The "Anti"-SHMUP
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Author Topic: Ceramic Shooter - The "Anti"-SHMUP  (Read 4761 times)
ThetaGames
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« on: July 21, 2008, 10:25:51 AM »

Ceramic Shooter
by Theta Games



This is the original Ceramic Shooter.  For the sequel, Ceramic Shooter:  Electronic Poem, click here.



Ceramic Shooter is an "Anti-SHMUP;" that is, the goal is to not shoot anything.  You are the pilot of a malfunctioning ship with a constantly shooting gun, who must make it through a civilian area while causing as little damage as possible.  

The game consists of seven bizarre, abstract levels, each filled with things for you to avoid shooting at.  Each level concludes with a boss "fight," in which you must use special tactics to keep your bullets from hitting the boss.  Each level is timed, and destroying things or crashing loses you time.  If you run out of time, you lose.


Controls:

Move with Arrow Keys
<SPACE> pauses the game


Screenshots:

Title Screen
Game Image I
Game Image II




Thanks to Tim W. for uploading this!


Specifications:

Title: Ceramic Shooter
Download Size: 5.54 MB zipped
File Type: A '.zip' archive that contains the main executable, README.txt, a folder containing the game music, and two DLL's used to play the Ogg Vorbis music.
Resolution: 640 x 480
Version: 1.5
Written In: GM7 Registered


Download:

Mirror 1
Mirror 2
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 02:49:51 PM by Theta » Logged

muku
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 12:55:24 PM »

I like how you incorporated music into the game concept (with the level names, the boss...)

The concept is refreshing, but the game felt a bit too frustrating to me. Admittedly I beat the first level on first try (barely: just 2 seconds left), but it seemed that whatever I did I would still keep crashing every few seconds. Especially with the boss, I had no idea how to avoid those things he was firing. Then again, I'm not much of a shmup player, so that probably doesn't count for much.
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moi
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2008, 01:11:14 PM »

Great idea but the implementation isn't the best you could do with it.
I don't see the point of ship collisions, it should just be a matter of avoiding bombing targets and the ship should be undestructible (no collision) IMHO.
And the text is too hard to read. Gentleman
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ThetaGames
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 01:39:03 PM »

@muku:
Music is very much an artistic part of this game.  I actually recorded the music (and some of the sound effects) on a four-track, analogue tape mixer, did a line-in, and converted it to Ogg with Audacity.  The organ boss is actually a top-view of the Hammond M2 that I used to play the game piece.  I also played the clarinet, keyboards, and Theremin for the music.

@moi:
Perhaps I should eliminate collisions with the ship?  I feared that it would make the game far too easy, although I never really tested it.  And as for the text; I can't really help the readability; the font was the smallest that I could use while still maintaining letter shapes.
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ThetaGames
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2008, 04:16:34 AM »

After careful consideration, I have decided that making the ship invulnerable would seriously alter the gameplay of the game.  As it stands, there are various strategies that must be employed to both prevent from crashing and not shoot things.  When you take away the ship's vulnerability, the strategies instead become "move around as quickly as possible to spread out your bullets." 

The ship crashing is an important part of the game, although it does not cause a huge time penalty.  In fact, it adds only about 2-3 seconds to the existing penalty for the object that you destroyed when crashing.
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Noyb
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2008, 04:51:49 AM »

Just finished it. (Someone doesn't like the apple logo. :D) Very neat concept, and I like how you keep adding in new enemy behaviors and interaction (those black holes surprised me the first time I saw them). I love that the bosses occasionally force you to make acceptable sacrifices, as well as the little messages to the player through text "enemies." The bosses based on classic games were awesome! I dig the whole surreal vibe, plus the contrast of the mellow music. Overall, very enjoyable. Beer!

I think what muku and moi are getting at isn't the penalty for crashing, but more the respawn time. From what I see when you crash, you get the penalty for destroying that object, enemies stop spawning until you fly back onscreen, but enemies already on screen continue their movement patterns. You give the player a lot of down time between crashing and resuming the game. That was really confusing the first few tries, since I thought the timer was counting down until the end of the level instead of being a lifebar, so I had this inaccurate feeling like you were incentivizing crashing over shooting an enemy. I think the counter penalties might need to be emphasized more. Maybe have the penalties stay onscreen for longer and have them in a harsh red?

I don't think having no collision penalty would be good at all from all of the situations where you're weaving through lines of enemies, but I wonder how removing or otherwise lowering the respawn time would play out? Like, you would crash into an object, receive a time penalty, but keep flying? Maybe with a short invulnerability time without actually stopping the game entirely while you respawn? Then again, the current system does do a good job of preventing the player from compounding errors and I was able to get used to it after a few tries. And from me scraping by the last few levels it seems like you've already balanced the time penalty/limit system pretty well.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 04:55:07 AM by Noyb » Logged

ThetaGames
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2008, 05:14:58 AM »

I could probably lower the respawn time, although I would need to allow the player to move around a bit while the ship is invulnerable; otherwise it would hit the last waves of enemies that came before the crash.  So that the player doesn't feel like he is skipping over things, I could make the sequence repeat a bit after the respawning process is complete.

And about the apples; I just don't like Mac's very much.  Smiley


Thanks for the comments!

~ Theta Games
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ThetaGames
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 06:31:04 AM »

I've uploaded a new version that fixes a very rare bug with the Snake boss.  The error message can be ignored (and the game progresses normally afterwards), so it isn't absolutely necessary to download the new version.

Thanks!

~ Theta Games
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ThetaGames
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2008, 04:40:51 PM »

Sorry to triple-post, but I would like to announce a new version, with a few minor bugfixes, one of which includes another fix to the title music looping problem.
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ortoslon
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2010, 12:10:37 AM »

playthrough

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Blackcorn
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2010, 01:12:43 AM »

The concept is great, it reminds me the New Games movement. I also appreciate the little part of narrative! However I just didn't find the time to complete all the levels, but I will try it again at home this evening.

I have a curious question: why "ceramic"? (is it because of the sound made by every breaking object? :p)
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2010, 01:25:29 AM »

coincidentally my game SD sort of has the same basic idea (although you don't constantly shoot) -- but the concept of a ship where the challenge is to avoid killing things is the same.

anyway, great game -- i didn't play it yet, but watched the video, and can tell it's nice from that. my only suggestion would be that the graphics are a bit too simple, i think it'd have been better just to make everything use particles or something.
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ortoslon
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2010, 05:44:39 AM »

I have a curious question: why "ceramic"?

bull in a china shop?
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ThetaGames
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2010, 02:47:41 PM »

Thank you all for your commentary, and for the video, ortoslon!  In general, this is called "Ceramic Shooter" because everything is breakable; you are indeed a "bull in a china shop" as you play this.  That sound (produced when you break something) is indeed the sound of a breaking ceramic plate.

I invite everyone to try the sequel to this:  Ceramic Shooter:  Electronic Poem.
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