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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingRemote Weapon GunFencer - Horizontal shmup
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Author Topic: Remote Weapon GunFencer - Horizontal shmup  (Read 892 times)
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« on: April 13, 2018, 08:27:45 AM »


I am making a horizontal shmup with Unity3D named Remote Weapon GunFencer. The most recent demo build is available on itch.io here :


The demo includes an arcade mode with three full stages, and I would like to have your feedback on the level design, the boss patterns and the weapons. Do they feel right? Are there any moments that felt unfair? Is scoring well implemented?

If you have any comments or suggestions on other parts of the game, I am also all ears.

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 06:21:56 AM by M.Knight » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2018, 05:39:31 AM »

Hi. I have tried you game. Here is a few notices, but don't take it seriously:

   - When you hit enemies they look like they have lost their texture for a while. Maybe highlighting by red color is  better?

   - I think you should add more shine/radiance/sparkles for shots and explosions because now they look a bit inexpressively. After all, effects are the important thing for this kind of games.

   - The fire in the beginning of the 1st level is made as 3d object, at first i didn't realize it was a fire. I think you should make it 2d.

   - i don't like i can exit from pause menu by only 'Z' key. Maybe close the menu by 'Esc' key too? The same is for opening the menu - it'd be nice to open it not only by 'space', but also by 'Esc' key.

   - i don't like the flying tanks on 2nd lv. They look big and heavy - they shouldn't fly by common sense.

   - blue line lasers don't hit me sometimes.

   - The sky is too blank and gray. You have a lot of colors in your game so why didn't you use blue sky?

   - The fat girl is nice. You have some fun dialogues in the tutorial menu, shouldn't you better put some of them before the levels(of course, with skip option) or even make some simple scenario?

   - as for me, the bosses are too hard in comparison with common enemies(i'm a casual player and not skilled in shmups). Maybe you should make classic system of difficulties(easy, normal, hard) to make this game passable for all kinds of players?

   - personally, i don't like the way your levels are moving. It's like they are on their own, not depending on player's actions. I understand that this is a basic concept and you can't change it, but maybe at least make them move in classic way - from right to left?

   - maybe some more shot types for enemies  - missiles, bombs, rays etc.

   - maybe put some friendly units on the battlefield sometimes that you shouldn't accidentally kill.
Hope this helps.

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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 10:11:29 AM »

Hi and thanks a lot for the comments!

To address your points :

-Texture loss when enemies are hit : Indeed, the textures of the enemy become white to make the enemy flash. This is something classic arcade shmups do to indicate damage on their enemies, and a red highlight wouldn't be as effective IMO. White was also used because no enemies are entirely white, whereas some are red and could blend in with the red highlight.

-Adding effects to the explosions : Yes, flashy and cool explosions are important, you are right! I'll try to spice them up a bit if I can.

-Fire effect : Because the background scrolls in 3D, having the fire as a flat object may make it stand out like a sore thumb, but I could give it a try and see what happens. In any case, the effect itself isn't that great, so there's room for improvement.

-Pause menu : Input is rebindable through the little window that appears before you start the game proper, so you should be able to replace Space by Esc if you wish. Space was used as a default because it is much easier to reach while playing, but you should be able to set it up to have Esc do the same. As for making the pause menu button also close that menu, that's a fair point. I'll add it in for the next release.

-Flying tanks : The tank-like ennemies have boosters on the back of their sides, but there is no jet exhaust effect as for now. Maybe that's also why them being able to fly looked odd to you? I should add effects to convey the idea that they can be propelled through the air.

-Blue Lasers not always hitting you : Were the lasers moving through the mecha's white sphere? If not, it makes sense that you do not get damaged but otherwise, it is a bug. I will investigate into the matter.

-Gray Sky : The first stage takes place during the morning and the sky actually becomes clear blue during the second level. You are right that it is still too dark compared to the rest of the colors. I'll look into it.

-Emily dialogue during the game instead of only in the tutorial : I didn't want to impact the pacing with dialogues that people will skip or disable after the first playthrough; however I have been thinking into ways to integrate some snippets of dialogue during the stage intro sequences and/or after defeating a boss. As long as they take place at the same time as the other stage transitions, they shouldn't hurt the pace so why not.

-Difficulty levels : As of now, I haven't planned any difficulty modes, because balancing them all would increase the game's scope way too much. Instead of balancing a single game, I would have to balance three variations, which is much trickier. Maybe later, but that's not in the works right now. I still take note about the boss patterns' difficulty.

-Background camera movements : The background is definitely independent from the player. I wanted to have some more movement compared to the classic left-right for a more cinematic approach. Because the player doesn't interact with the background, I can have some more dynamic camera movements. Though it's still possible that the effect doesn't look quite right yet.

-More shot types : The first boss fires some missiles, but it could be cool indeed to have some other bullet types in the stages themselves. I'll think about it.

-Friendly units : That idea would go against the game's design as you are pushed to kill everything as fast as you can. Units you shouldn't kill would be very distracting IMO.

Thanks again for the feedback, it was pretty useful.  Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2018, 06:24:24 AM »

Here is a new demo! You can get it here :

Compared to the previous itch.io release, it adds a lot of stuff, including the Stage 3, but also a lot of audiovisual effects and re-balancing, as the Stage 1 boss and Stage 2 have been modified and ajdusted. Given that the previous version was a few months old, the changelog is pretty huge. It includes a few changes that were made with the feedback here in mind, such as the visual effects or the Escape button binding.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found properly fitting placeholder music, so there isn't any BGM in the game.

Thans in advance for any feedback and comments.

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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 03:45:04 AM »

After a bit more than a year since the previous release, here is the newest demo : https://mknight.itch.io/remote-weapon-gunfencer

It mostly added some polish and ​features to the pre-existing 3 stages that were playable in the previous build. The exact list of changes is pretty big given the time gap bewteen the two releases so here's a summarized list of new things you can find in this build :
-Visibility improvements to the main game, with darker backgrounds and slower camera movements to help focus on the action and the foreground elements. Point counts when destroying enemies and picking up medals are also toggleable and off by default.
-Addition of a test room feature, which is an endless stage with harmless enemies. It can be used to test the controls and most mechanics in the game.
-Reorganization of the main and option menus, with their own submenus.
-New color schemes for the GunFencer
-Recap screen at the end of each stage
-Special Bonuses triggered by performing specific actions on some enemy types
-Bosses summon helper enemies in a dynamic way (the faster you destroy them, the more spawn)
-Some enemy waves and boss patterns adjustments
-Life cap at 3 (but all midbosses spawn a 1UP)
-New animated opening video
-Improved Sword slash effects
-Some enemies can fire destroyable bullets
-VSync ON and OFF options (when launching the game). The game logic should also be framerate-independant but I haven't tested it on a 144Hz monitor to confirm.
-Analog inputs for shot/sword/bomb
-One new outfit for Emily, the game's heroine
-Additional visuals in the VN-style tutorial segment to illustrate the topics discussed

[Note : The Mac version has not been tested on an actual machine, so there is no guarantee it will work as intended]

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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2019, 08:22:46 AM »

Hey M.Knight,

I played your game.  I recorded it and my thoughts:

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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2019, 02:48:49 AM »

Thanks a lot for this impressions video !

-Movement : Instant movement without acceleration or deceleration is completely intended. In a type of game where the bullet patterns can require accurate movements and good reaction times, it's essential that the player avatar moves immediatly whenever a direction is pressed and stops as soon as those buttons are no longer pressed.

With acceleration, you will instead be struggling with the controls more in the face of danger. For example you wouldn't always be able to move away in time from a bullet you've seen coming for you, as you need more time to build up that speed. You can run into a bullet that you didn't intend to collide with because the player avatar had to decelerate when you stopped moving in the path of that bullet.

Most arcade-style shmups do not feature advanced acceleration/deceleration mechanics because there isn't much to gain from (if at all) and in return it makes the game more slippery and the player craft more unreliable.

-Glad you like the art and the art style! As for music, I plan to put some in the game of course. As you may have noticed, there already are some sound effects in the game; they are mostly missing from the opening video.

-Chipping away at the boss lifebar : That's a good point! The fight is actually divided into "phases" of sorts, and the patterns and attacks will change up when switching to different phases (whenever enough damage has been inflicted or enough time has passed). I was thinking about putting some markers on the lifebar to show those HP thresholds for the phases, so that you don't get discouraged as much.

Another thing is that the missiles and enemies that a boss spawns can be destroyed, and if you do that the enemy in question can be reflected at the boss for a lot of damage. Was this not properly conveyed to you by the game? Is it not clear that you can and should destroy the missiles you've seen the boss fire?

-It seems like the game ran a bit slower than intended on your machine. If you compare the review footage with some of the recording I have on the itch.io page, you'll notice mine is faster. Do you know your machine's specs? I am aware I have some optimization work to do, so this can be helpful for me.

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2020, 05:30:13 AM »

To start off I am sorry that my video is not working to showcase my feedback on the game. But, I did manage to play your game and I got to say the visual novel and the classic shoot'em up that blend together that separate itself shoot'em up genre. I do have few suggestions for the game based on the feedback. The first suggestion is to include an exit button within tutorial menu because I was encountered with text with a no way of exit. The second suggestion is to change the confirmation from “W” to the enter key of the key board. And finally the last suggestion is to included weapons upgrade like charge beam or spread bullets for examples and include weapon HUD in the middle of the top screen. But if the weapon upgrade is already included that is great. But I hope these suggestions helps your game.  
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2020, 01:30:41 PM »

Thanks for those suggestions! Let me answer them :

-Exit button in the visual novel-style tutorial : Nice catch, I forgot to add one! ("@[email protected]) The current way to exit it is to press the button assigned to "Cancel" (it should be X by default). I'll add an option in the menu to do the same thing.

-"Enter" to confirm : "ZXC" is usually the combination that's used as a standard for many games like this for the default controls, and this is why the confirmation button is on both "Z" and "W" (which is the key that's located where Z is on the AZERTY keyboard I have). However, being able to confirm with Enter is a very good point. I'll add the ability for Enter to confirm. (without removing the current default controls)

-Weapon additions: The fact that all weapons are available at the best of their abilities right from the get-go without any upgrade system is actually a very deliberate design choice and I do not see the need to add more weapons, more power levels or more upgrades.

A lot of classic (and also modern) shmups have powerups and power levels, but I find the concept to be pretty tangential to the core game loop of shooting enemies and dodging bullets. Most of the time, getting an upgrade is only satisfying because the previous power levels were unbalanced and poor on purpose. By having a fixed power level, I can ensure the player is always equipped with everything he needs to have in order to overcome the game's challenges. It's also much easier to balance the enemy health and avoid having fights that last too long or have enemies that can never be killed in time for underpowered players.

There are some examples of new shmups without said power levels like Blue Revolver, Fire Lancer, or Pawarumi that show a shmup can be very fun even without power ups.

As for the weapon system, it currently has all it needs to have for the playstyle I want to encourage the player to follow. The shot deals ranged damage but isn't super powerful, which is useful for players of any skill levels and can still nicely deal with smaller enemies. The sword is very powerful and more satisfying to use but requires to get closer to the enemies, this is a risk-reward system for more experienced players. And finally you can benefit from the rechargeable bomb's invincibility by either keeping it to save yourself against an incoming bullet, or using it more regularly to destroy enemy waves faster and ensure that you can use the sword more easily at the risk of not being able to save yourself while recharging it again.

This is a very similar system to the one in Radirgy with only minor tweaks, and it worked well in that game so I kept it. Other design elements of those weapons are also on purpose. If the shot is narrow, it is in order to force the player to move a lot to hit targets above and below him. A spread-shot would reduce the need to move and risks making the optimal playstyle be a lot more passive, immobile, and thus boring, which is not what I want.

Other weapons like a charge shot (which can be a very fun weapon type to use) could overshadow or be overshadowed by some of the weapons I already have (especially the sword) if their functions overlap. It's something that can still work if the player has to choose his weapon loadout before a run, for example. But in terms of scope, I think I want to stick to just these 3 weapons, and design all of my waves and enemies around their use.

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