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February 07, 2023, 09:25:16 AM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingPassing Into Fantasy
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HeffMoney
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« on: June 27, 2022, 06:51:59 PM »

I've got a half-finished game and would like to know if I'm even on the right track. TBH I'm seeing a lot of full 3D games even from the indie crowd and am questioning if I can even keep up.

For starters it's a shmup and I have no idea if it's too difficult or too easy or if other people will find it fun. I find it fun and tried to balance it so that I have an easy time at it. The game can be downloaded here:

https://www.mediafire.com/file/khkotfja96mqltf/PIF0.04.zip/file

The upfront plot is an accident at an anime convention involving a model nuclear reactor and an evil wizard's alchemical substance called "Contrivium" caused a disaster. The merchandise being sold at the various stalls was turned into evil magical girls (and a few guys) called "Pseudogami" who started attacking the attendees. In the confusion our hero was bitten by a radioactive cosplayer and also became a magical girl. Now the hero has to defeat the monsters and save the other survivors.

Mechanics wise I wanted to keep it fast and simple. There's no exploration or RPG elements. Dialog will be quick and skippable. (Though there will be some optional cutscenes for people interested in lore.) Powerups are limited - the player can pick up alternate costumes/attack patterns Megaman style by beating minibosses. But there will be no builds to min/max. Basically, I cut out everything that's a distraction from the pew pew.

In terms of art, keep in mind the menus are crappy placeholders and *will* be replaced with something better. Vroid was used to make the characters and sprites. The sprites are more or less what I'm going with. I'll admit 8 directional sprites is a little dated. The dialog models are something I'm not exactly happy with though I don't have a solution other than "hire and artist".

Music is from Youfulca. His music is great though I wonder if it's overused.

The game is 'heavily inspired' by Touhou project and a borderline spinoff. I don't want to call it a fangame since it will be a different setting. If the game gets popular I'll ask ZUN about it - right now there's no reason to assume it's even worth his time. Then again it's not like he has a copyright on the letter 'P'.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2022, 02:31:43 PM by HeffMoney » Logged
flowerthief
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2022, 07:25:27 PM »

I played it but didn't get far. It's difficult! Maybe when you're farther along in the project you'll have the player be eased into things more gradually. Right now the player just gets thrown into it and everything is hectic and confusing. Do you stay in the same room and keep shooting, trying to survive for as long as you can? In my opinion it would be more interesting if you're going places. Shmups aren't really my thing tho, and I never like using a mouse to aim.

I tried the boss fight. First phase is tedious but I can see that it gets more interesting as it progresses to pretty Touhou-style bullet patterns.

The sprites and animations look great. I would love to use sprites like that to make a (different type of) game. Maybe I should take a closer look at Vroid.
 
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2022, 01:29:53 AM »

I've got a half-finished game and would like to know if I'm even on the right track. TBH I'm seeing a lot of full 3D games even from the indie crowd and am questioning if I can even keep up.

For starters it's a shmup and I have no idea if it's too difficult or too easy or if other people will find it fun. I find it fun and tried to balance it so that I have an easy time at it. The game can be downloaded here:
Do you stay in the same room and keep shooting, trying to survive for as long as you can?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 05:47:46 AM by ThemsAllTook » Logged
HeffMoney
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2022, 05:01:58 AM »

The rooms are like the old beat 'em ups. You'll get waves of enemies, and after you defeat them an arrow will point you to the next room.
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jbarrios
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2022, 01:07:18 PM »

Hey HeffMoney,

I played your game:



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HeffMoney
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2022, 07:18:13 PM »

Thanks for the detailed review. I wasn't expecting a full video yet, so this is above and beyond.

One thing I wanted to do with this game is make the starting level later in development. The first level is the first impression, so it should be the most polished. Unfortunately that means at pre-completion, it feels like you were dropped in the middle of things, because you were. In the future, after I finish "Dick Tower", I'll start "Parking Lot of Destiny" which will be the easy level the player has to beat, and get used to the game, before gaining access to 4 of the other 5 levels.


Regarding the key mapping:

Spacebar is the bomb. I initially wanted to make bomb right click. But, the player character can unlock alternate costumes with abilities. If you beat the Mall of Ninja's mid-boss you unlock the ninja costume which has a still-in-development sword attack. (Works, isn't animated yet) Thus melee attack became right click and bomb had to be moved to space bar. That's a decision I question since this character has 5 forms and only 1 of them even has a melee attack. (Though super-long term I plan on adding more melee attacks - though 'super long term' is if I can manage expansions and sequels.)

Shift puts you in "aim mode", which slows the character down, and puts a bright red dot on them to show the hurtbox (exactly like Touhou - the hurtbox is actually a small circle)


Regarding the difficulty:

I swear I can beat these levels in the two lives provided, even when intoxicated. If I'm having a good run I can do it without dying at all. Is that a fair standard?

The problem is I know where all the enemies spawn from and can cheese them. For example spam shooting the right staircase at the start of "Manor of Wrath" will kill all the enemies before they can even shoot at you. In general, standing in one corners and spam shooting at another corner will hit everything that spawns from an entire side of the screen. The fairies are very vulnerable to being clotheslined - also, trust me, once you figure out their weakness, they're trivial.

The solution to cheese was to spawn twice as many enemies from two different directions. Though this has the side effect of stomping people who are on their first run.

While stats can be carried over from level to level, they can also be reset. In the final version I plan to have normal mode be where you try to clear a level with the 2(3) lives provided, and if you do it's cleared forever. So the difficulty I'm going for is 'if you can beat a level once, you've beaten it'. There will be an 'iron man' mode for people who want to follow the story and clear all the levels sequentially, but that's for the masochists.

The 'P' boxes (yes, I'm ripping off Touhou a lot, deliberately) increase the player's energy bar, on the top of the screen. It's a combined health and ammo pool that regenerates, so if you're in a tight spot you can stop shooting for a few seconds and then maybe tank a hit. An issue I've had with this is it sort of makes the latter half of a level easier than the first half. You start off with 25 points, the cap is 100 points (corresponding to a 'power level' of 4...after that point P boxes are indeed just good for score), and most enemy bullets are 40 points. So once you're past about 2.5 power-ish if you're conserving energy you'll take a hit, get a loud 'pank' sound, panic, stop shooting, regenerate, and recover. Though before that point a hit will straight up kill you.

I guess since one of my goals is "respect the player's time", upfronting the difficulty might not be a bad thing.


Regarding the Art:

Main Title Screen: Yep that was ass and a placeholder. I've already half replaced it in my development version. Final goal is to have a background of a blacked out city skyline with night sky in the background, character portrait in the foreground, with the title of the game as text.

Stage Select Screen: It's farther along but also needs replacing. Eventually what I want to go for is to make it look like a tourist map. Supposing a convention center had a map placard showing visitors where all the supporting businesses were. And then one of the bad guys came along with a marker and changed all the names. (That being said I may not be up to the task artistically) Your reaction was about what I wanted considering it's half-finished.

The Music: Youfulca's music is great and underrated in my opinion. It's free and is sort of what RPGMaker game makers use when they realize they need to deviate from the default material but aren't quite at the stage to commission their own art. In fact part of the inspiration of this game is I feel his music deserves to be in a genre that makes the player listen to it. I want to make a game worthy of the music. (That being said at the moment I need something better for 'Rosetta Stoned' - I don't even know where to find appropriate 'psychedelic boss music')

Why it's dark: Well I did want the bullets to stand out. Also story-wise it's night time and the electricity is out.

What's going on when the enemies die: The plot is an evil wizard attacked an anime convention and turned all the various merchandise into evil magical girls. So when you defeat an enemy it reverts to whatever inanimate object it was before.

The Mall of Ninjas: Sadly, it's full of mall ninjas, not real ninjas. The girls came out looking a little more Chinese than Japanese and I decided to roll with it. And dolls and fairies are kind of the default enemies and thus spawn everywhere.


My take-aways from your video:

1) I should make the characters and collide-able parts of the environment brighter for mechanical reasons. Collide-able parts of the environment should be 50% brighter, and the player character and enemies 100$ brighter.

2) It's imperative when I make the tutorial level, that the player knows where the bomb key and aim mode key are before they pass it. That being said, I also know players who are struggling with later levels will need to farm it for Power/Bombs, so I really don't want to put annoying 'press shift to aim' menus up or *force* the player to expend one of their limited bombs.

3) Also that tutorial level needs to be on-point.

4) Make sure the art is good

In conclusion, thanks for the video. You made my whole week worth living.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2022, 07:53:10 PM by HeffMoney » Logged
HeffMoney
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2022, 11:36:44 AM »

Big update here. The game is basically complete now, and just needs other eyes to spot some of the bugs.

Be warned the introduction and first level are NSFW!!

Link:

https://heffmoney.itch.io/passing-into-fantasy

I would like outside opinions on what content rating you feel this is at, or if it would be appropriate to add more or less censorship. The game is intended to have adult humor, but it's not a pron game.

I'd also like opinions on whether or not financial investments to polish the game would be worth it. I'm thinking about hiring an artist to draw the dialog models and hiring a composer to make a unique final boss theme. (My business model this time is to make some DLC with a 'better' canonical ending. The base game will be free, but I'm charging for DLC.)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2022, 03:18:02 PM by HeffMoney » Logged
michaelplzno
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2022, 09:45:46 AM »

Here's my video thanks for letting me try it out:



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michaelplzno
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2022, 09:59:35 AM »

So youtube struck me for uploading this. I think that's nuts, the "nudity" is just a censor bar and its not even clear any anatomy of the character. I've already appealed it because its silly to strike it.

In terms of polishing it: games don't really sell well unless you are already famous. So don't go into this thinking you are gonna spend thousands of dollars and make thousands back. However, the game, an anime shmup based on fanservice, is a solid concept at least. It needs a lot of polish in terms of knowing where the hit boxes are and being more forgiving for small mistakes, but the game is decent.
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HeffMoney
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2022, 12:54:24 PM »

Just to clarify, Kenny is just one of the guys I borrowed graphics from.

It seems the Scene Select screen needs to be completely overhauled. I wanted to avoid forcing people to watch the cutscenes, but it seems people are going to migrate to the big "Black Plains of Destiny" button rather than the little "Introduction" button. (So you know why she's running naked through the parking lot. It never occurred to me somebody could end up at the defeated cutscene before the first three.)

And I guess I really need to add a "Press Shift to see your hurtbox" prompt as well as "point the cursor in the direction you want to move if you want to go faster", etc.


I was going for the Super Metroid style tutorial that teaches without saying. For example, the fairies and the fairy mid-boss won't hit you if you stand still. That teaches a bullet-hell principle of "move as little as possible". The stage boss has patterns that teach streaming, identifying a spread, and a little rhythm. But that clearly doesn't do any good if I haven't taught basic controls. Alas, the Super Metroid team could pull it off because they were masters of their craft; I'm not.


« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 02:58:18 PM by HeffMoney » Logged
michaelplzno
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2022, 09:34:53 AM »

Don't be down on yourself! Tutorials are imo the most insanely difficult part of making a game. You can't baby the player or they will get annoyed, but you also can't skip important details because the player will get annoyed. The whole thing is annoying. The key to getting tutorials right is to show fresh players and get honest feedback. Sometimes a lot of obvious fixes show up right when someone new takes a look. 

Your project shows a lot of promise and could be a real A+ quality shmup if you tweak it enough. I like the opening of the naked fight being a clever fan-service moment. For cut scenes its not too big a deal to auto play a cut scene with a "SKIP" button visible somewhere. I did that with Strategery 2012, (my political game that ruined American politics) there is a cut scene before each level and a skip button on the upper right of the screen. People seemed ok with that.

Please find me @michaelplzno and directly ping me when you have more updates so I can play again.

Edit: I think the hitbox should be known to the player at all times, even if you make a glowing heart that is the hitbox or something part of your character, like sailor moon's ribbon on her chest, it needs to be 100% clear at all times what a hit is.
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