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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsRemote Weapon GunFencer [horizontal shmup]
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M.Knight
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« on: June 13, 2018, 11:41:07 AM »

Hello everybody!
I previously opened a thread about the game in the Playtesting section but didn't open a DevLog. Time to fix that.

[Latest demo (13 April) : https://mknight.itch.io/remote-weapon-gunfencer ]



Remote Weapon GunFencer (or simply GunFencer) is a horizontal shoot'em up that takes most of its inspirations from caravan-styled shmups I play : Radirgy, Dangun Feveron and Thunder Dragon 2. I like those games and I want to play more shoot'em ups in that vein where the focus of the scoring system is to destroy the enemy waves as fast as possible, so I am making my own.

The weapon system is very similar to Radirgy. You have three weapons with you : a shot, a sword, and a bomb. The shot has regular power and long range, while the sword has a much narrower range but is a lot more powerful. The bomb gives you temporary invincibility, has a circular range and does some passive damage to enemies it touches. It is also tied to a jauge that recharges thanks to the cake slices you get from defeated enemies. There aren't any power-ups or alternate/unlockable weapons, nor there are penalties for using the bomb, as I wanted to create a game where you have a specific toolset and you fully use it to get the most out of it.

In order to get the high scores, the objective is to quickly defeat every wave : there is a time bonus granted for each wave that decreases the longer you take to kill the enemies.  Bosses also feature a similar time bonus.



On top of the speedkill-oriented mechanics, I wanted to have a game with some cinematic appeal, so there will be some action and events in the background, but nothing that distracts from the gameplay. Having a lot of shmup experience, I am perfectly aware of how intrusive story sections can kill the pacing of such an intense genre of games, so the only few moments without action are short and occur before or after a boss fight.

Developement started in December 2016, as I picked up Unity and learned my way through the tutorials and stuff. As I am not always working full-time on this project and because I had to learn some new skillsets such as 3D modelling, I had to do some heavy upfront work before I could design levels and waves in an efficient manner, but I am at a point where I am rather happy with the enemy wave creation system.

The April 2018 demo contains two full stages (out of the 5 that I plan to do) and I am currently working on Stage 3.

Thank you for reading!
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Jesse Ko
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 05:19:52 AM »

Looks awesome so far! I really like the camera placement in particular. The world seems to be viewed at a slightly tilted angle, giving the objects in the world more dimension. The camera also doesn't just move from left to right like a lot of horizontal games.
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M.Knight
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2018, 10:07:12 AM »



Mirror with better quality: https://streamable.com/wptef

I added a new mechanic to the boss fights. They can spawn child enemies which deal back some heavy damage to the bosses when killed. The idea is to rebalance the optimal boss scoring strategies because the melee-oriented weapon system and the kill speed being the key element to the best scores made most fights be just you trying to point-blank the boss with the sword as much as possible. While the risk taking involved is nice, I want the player to move around a lot more and do more varied things than focusing on a single enemy, so this should alleviate this issue.

The mechanic is still pretty experimental and unbalanced as the damage inflicted recharges your bomb very quickly, but I'll keep on improving it.

And here's some eyecatches with the game characters and their mecha/aircrafts that are in the game so far :
https://i.imgur.com/mAjN1IX.png
https://i.imgur.com/H9T0ztM.png
https://i.imgur.com/R0bebcN.png



Looks awesome so far! I really like the camera placement in particular. The world seems to be viewed at a slightly tilted angle, giving the objects in the world more dimension. The camera also doesn't just move from left to right like a lot of horizontal games.

Thanks a lot! (and sorry for the late answer)
I indeed wanted to make good use of the fact that the game is 2.5D. While the player mecha and the enemies are always on a flat plane, the backgrounds are a lot more dynamic. I like the cinematic appeal of some 2.5D shmups like Einhander or G-Darius, but tiltting the player as well could cause some issues like in Eschatos' stage 3 so it's mostly the backgrounds that move. I am glad you like that aspect of the game.
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M.Knight
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 04:19:19 AM »


Mirror with better quality : https://streamable.com/8uo4z

Hi!

Today I am writing a lengthy analysis on my game's Stage 2. The reason for this is that I decided to completely rework its enemy waves and the design process behind this seemed interesting to document so there we go!

For reference, here are the old and new versions of the Stage.
New :


Old :



Around a month ago, I finished a first version of Stage 3 which seemed pretty fun to play. As I was play(test)ing the game and its three stages over and over again, I noticed something. I liked playing Stage 1 to try to get a higher score as it's a short  ~1m20 challenge. I enjoyed playing Stage 3 with its variety of enemies and locales. But Stage 2 for some reason was much less played. Subconsciously, I didn't want to play it as much.

Why is that? That's goddamn weird. Every stage of the game has to be fun. Every single one should make me want to play it. Something's not right.

So I wondered why it wasn't that fun and analyzed that problem by comparing Stage 2 with the other stages. Why are those much more fun than this one? The answers I found mostly boiled down to two things : pacing and variety.

Stage 1 is seperated into two 30 second-long halves, with mostly small and medium enemies in the first half, a mid-boss in the middle and then bigger enemies accompanied by the previously introduced small enemies. This creates a sense of progression because the first half feels like a fast-paced introduction to the game in general and when you are comfortable with it, you've got tougher enemies that spawn. While every single one the enemies before the midboss could be killed in one sword strike, now there's a pink tank that can endure around three slashes, which changes the feeling you get from the waves. Another enemy introduced is an orange pistol drone that fires long bullets forward, while all of the previous enemy types fired circular aimed bullets. Those reduce your mobility potential in a different way and shake things up. You can kill them easily but you have to move near the right side and take risks.

Stage 3 also adheres to that design philosophy with various "segments" that each have exclusive or new specific enemy types and are accompanied by small fry that you are already familiar with, or even some new small fry.

So what's the problem with Stage 2 ? Well, it lasts twice as long as Stage 1 but the changes in the enemy waves and enemy types are not that drastic. Which is weird because given the added length, it should actually feature even more changes. In the one minute-long first half of the stage, only two new enemy types are there : the blue planes and the pink sunfish enemy. The blue planes are interesting IMO because they spawn from behind and thus make you sometimes fall back near the middle instead of always being on the right side. The sunfish is not bad but it's a popcorn enemy. None of these two enemies are enough to carry an entire minute of content, so the waves recycle lots of already-seen enemy types. While those waves' configurations are different from Stage 1 and some challenges they create are new, the sense of discovering a new enemy type is not there at all.

The second half of the stage also has to do with only one new enemy type, the little blue drone that fires a 4-bullet cluster. But that's a just a popcorn enemy, and yet I treated it as a big enemy in the way it is introduced as a special thing instead of being there to accompany something bigger.

Stage 1, being the first stage, introduces around 8 enemy types, but Stage 2 only had...3, and none of them are big enemies. Thanks to the caravan scoring and the wave pacing, the stage still managed to be playable and relatively enjoyable of course, but deep within my heart (lol) I knew something felt off, and that's why.

What did I do then? Well, introduce more enemy types for starters! Stage 2 now has 10 enemy types in it, with a mix between popcorn and mid/big enemies. Thus, this allows me to make those short segments within the stage that feature specific enemies and then move on to the next big enemy type without stretching and padding the potential of the previous enemy type for too long. The first and second half of the stage also feel more distinct thanks to that. It's important to have memorable moments and parts in your stages and those different enemy types with different patterns help a lot. Now the entire stage has a real identity with its exclusive enemies. And it even has a recurring theme in most of its enemy visual designs, will you find it? It's rather easy to guess actually.

The second thing that I did was increase the amount of cake slices the pink popcorn enemies give. It recharges the bomb a bit faster and thus improves the pacing by giving you more quick-kill opportunities.

Ultimately, you'll be the ones to see if it's genuinely more fun when the next demo releases, but so far I like playing Stage 2 again. Hopefully you will, too.

And thanks for reading!
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M.Knight
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2018, 04:30:26 AM »




Here is a video showing off the new medal spawning system : almost every enemy now spawns a medal upon destruction.

The three types of medals are the same as before and each retains its static point value, and which medal type is spawned simply depends on the enemy that was killed.

The other major change is that those medals now behave like the Dangun Feveron discomen. They will move on the left side, then bounce on it and leave by the right side. Unlike Dangun Feveron though, there is no penalty for missing a medal.

Scoring is still focused on quickly killing the enemy waves as the wave bonus is higher than the medals' worth, but you have to juggle both to maximize the score. The idea is to make the game even more frantic and have even more stuff to do while playing. The bomb's medal-attracting property also becomes more useful and it becomes even more interesting to use it regularly to quick-kill the waves but also grab as many medals as possible in the process.
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