1

Tema: Steel Assault.

Recap escribió:

Steel Assault (WIN, en desarrollo)

Steel Assault is aiming to be an arcade-style game. What that means is tight length, tight design, and high difficulty. The ultimate goal is to clear it in one credit, and the total length on a perfect playthrough will probably be around 25-30 minutes; however, getting to that perfect playthrough will take hours.

http://steelassault.com/

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/43 … ts/1453190

Ya han tardado en darse cuenta, pero al menos, se la han dado...

https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video_thumb/ChbtzMuW4AEPh8I.jpg

https://twitter.com/SteelAssault

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/43 … ts/1626948

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Re: Steel Assault.

https://i.imgur.com/9eneiQR.png

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1S77gM … e=youtu.be

3 (editado por SriK 10-09-2017 02:25:20)

Re: Steel Assault.

Hey Recap! I'm the director and lead developer of Steel Assault. I've been a fan of your site for a while, ever since I was introduced to it through Insomnia about 5 years ago. There are some very cool games I would have never known about if not for your reviews (Magical Taluluto-kun or the GBA Steel Empire, to give two examples), and the scanline filter I am using in my game is even adapted from one of ronan's posts in the English section of the forum. (Unfortunately, my Spanish is very weak and I haven't practiced it since high school, so I haven't been able to properly read the majority of your reviews or articles... still, I remember using your SFC Akumajou Dracula review as translation practice before a test back in 12th grade, haha!)

I'd be incredibly interested in hearing any further thoughts you have on the game, whether positive or negative. You seem to really appreciate the nuances of classic Japanese 2D games and of "dot art", and are also eloquent enough to speak about them. That's the type of person whose feedback I could really use myself; as I told zinger recently, it's hard to take the enthusiasm of some of the game's fans seriously when you see they're enthusiastic about literally anything with blocky pixels!

Thanks for your time, and I hope this message finds you well.

4

Re: Steel Assault.

Hi, Sri. Thanks for the compliments. Despite my labor here, I'm against videos like the formerly linked in my previous post since you're basically spoiling the game, be it just one stage, be it more. I mention that because I had only watched a few seconds (aside of the gifs you've been posting all these months) but I've broken the rule now to have the clearest possible grasp of your game. My first advice, if may I -- don't do this (recording a full stage run and posting it) ever again, even if you're planning to make changes or are facing a new Kickstarter campaign.

I was going to say that your project is one of the most promising one can find both, in the Japanese and in the Western interwebs right now, but well, that's not saying much these days, I'm afraid. So indeed the best thing I find about Steel Assault is the one-in-a-million prerrogative:

Steel Assault is aiming to be an arcade-style game. What that means is tight length, tight design, and high difficulty. The ultimate goal is to clear it in one credit, and the total length on a perfect playthrough will probably be around 25-30 minutes; however, getting to that perfect playthrough will take hours.

If we leave shooting games apart, not even stuff like Kraut Buster or Cuphead seem to endorse a concept like this, so I'm glad you guys had the guts to openly expose your intentions and didn't change your principles after all this time no matter how unpopular they are. Not sure that Natsume's FC/NES games and the likes are the best models for that, though -- on the one hand, they had to deal with the ROM limitations, which prevented them from creating truly elaborated worlds and highly detailed visuals, and on the other, they had to think in their target public, a consumer who already by those years didn't want short, tight experiences anymore like those of the arcade games, so they had to artificially enlarge the stages' duration and mess with the game-over ruleset. Not to mention the hardware's limitations -- the action would be confined to a small number of on-screen sprites, to a not-too-high in-game speed and to input lag figures which weren't always as low as one would hope for. Natsume was likely one of the best to understand and overcome this, but still, arcade games from the same years were usually much better options, if you ask me.

Your video, then. It resembles a lot that breed of action game, which obviously is what you're aiming for, and, in that regard, you really nailed it. I get the feel that it's bit too slow and deliberate and formulaic, and the screen, a bit too empty too often for my tastes, or for how the genre evolved. But read it well -- a bit. What you're doing is not an easy task at all, in the context of 2-D action games itself. You've understood well that a too-basic move set wouldn't work these days especially for a game with this flow and the zipline mechanics, together with the sliding and double-jump techiques, looks fun and deep enough, though it kind of needs something else which hopefully comes later in the form of power-ups or temporary weapons -- attack abilities seem to be too few. If that's not the case --or even if it is, for that matter--, I'd really miss that the game didn't make a turn-over for some stages and changed the short-range action with Metal Slug-style --even Contra-style-- mechanics -- the sprite size and the game's setting and presentation are almost crying for that. Variety in a game like this is imperative, but more on that later. The stage boss is also well thought-out and it shows there's potentially a good --at least-- game here.

Beyond my own views on the subgenre, mechanics-wise, my worries reside in the controls, though. I hope you don't mind me expressing myself as directly as I can and as if the game still were in an early stage of production. I could count at least 4 action buttons -- punch, jump/slide, zipline, weapon change (I'm assuming the zipline action is not assigned to the jump button given that there's a double jump action). It's a little bit over arcade standards. You must keep in mind that the best way to play your game will always be with an arcade stick, and there's a limit to what feels good and natural with one of these and a genre like this. A control pad can benefit from using shoulder buttons and therefore allow for more action buttons without feeling too uncomfortable, but still, a control pad is originally a bastardization of an arcade stick for quick, deskless (and also not-so-fun nor comfortable) usage, so it should never be the main focus. With an arcade stick, you normally use no more than three fingers, the third one being for secondary actions, in this case, the zipline thingie. It doesn't mean a 4-buttons layout can't work here (and you can get used to almost anything given enough time, I guess), but the fourth action should be, not just secondary, but also punctual. Weapon change is never punctual since you'll need to press again the button to revert the weapon selection (it works in a game like Cyber-Lip because it's indeed the secondary, third-finger action); throwing granades, on the other hand, is. So my suggestion, in order not to alienate old-school arcade players and keep it conventional -- swap the weapon change action for a throwing granades action. If there're more secondary weapons besides granades (is it really a good idea?), forget the inventory feature and make it so that the player has to choose upon finding them -- it'll add some strategy while reducing the complexity (think of Natsume's Kage).

And of course, if it happens that the slide action is assigned to a fifth button (!), I'd change it to down plus jump as soon as possible.

Getting back to the game's structure, which will lead us to the aesthetics aspects, I mentioned variety being a key factor. You want your game to be played under the one-credit-per-play restriction, and that implies that, together with the control aspects, the stage design should be extremely polished since the player will be playing the same stages over and over. And I'm not entirely convinced that the video shows a stage rich enough for that, even assuming it's the first stage. Does it really respond to tight length, tight design, high difficulty? Let's see -- the stage is long enough to even have been divided into three-four (admittedly short) sections, the only substantial part there besides the stage boss is the elevator hole area which forces you to make proper use of the zipline technique, and finally, the overall difficulty is too low unless you did something really weird with the controls. Since there're no play-for-score possibilities, I can see it becoming a tedium pretty soon.

It's not something you can't say about most home games within this genre and style (it usually gets even worse), anyway, but your premise was approaching (good) arcade games, wasn't it. Which do these to overcome this issue? More and faster action, respawning enemies (anything which keeps the tension level high enough, actually, so no learning areas -- there're demos and attract modes for that) and an overwhelming mise-en-scène. Regarding this, granted; the stage looks stunning for the most part. Your artists managed to truly evolve the more serious FC graphic style without departing too much from it. The result is quite unique and elegant, an shows how talented they are. But maybe there's not enough of it. The train section and the boss are cool and enticing, and generally sprite animation is even better than needed. But the robots fail to impress me (I must confess robots and armor suits are not exactly my thing, though I always try), and the scenery ends up suffering a bit from the palette limitations (not the number of on-screen colors, but the restricted tonalities) -- the insides are indeed dull. The stage, as it is, needs at least a mid boss as big and detailed as the stage boss, whereas the Centaur only qualifies as zako enemy and shouldn't take that long to beat. You're using robots as the theme -- there's no excuses not to place some bigger, more intricate and weirder designs (variety!). Size for this stuff is critical, I'm afraid, and the design resolution is low enough to expect a bit more from you in this regard. I'm not liking the music enough, on the other hand. For a piece I'll be hearing over and over until I can clear the game, I need a better composition. The boss theme isn't too special, either.

I love that you chose 320 x 240, anyway, and that you're avoiding lego-likes with scanlines effect filters. Hopefully they end up working well for any display resolution, but my biggest concern is if there'll be a way to play it with 1 : 1 graphics for the people on 15-kHz. It's really something else:

https://s26.postimg.org/onszcqkwl/101_0686.jpg

(Crappy photo once again, but still.)

I read a couple of comments on You Tube which are worth mentioning. The game's look does indeed evoke GBA-era graphics/sensibilities [ > ]. Aside of the theme approach and tone, I think there're two main reasons for that -- firstly, the dark outlines (coupled with the colorful sprites); due to the filter and whatnot they're more prominent on the video than they actually are in native mode, where they work well. Secondly, the dialogue boxes and how the literary stuff is presented. While I don't think the art style for these illustrations is bad, I can understand people seeing them as too intrusive and favouring a more comical tone than expected. I'm not sure I'd get rid of them in general, but they (and their lines) don't do any good to boss fights -- they're too big for action moments and uglify the scene with no purpose.

I've touched everything now, I believe. In conclusion -- good dot art, good ideas, needs more rock'n roll in every regard or it's more a home game than it's an arcade one. As a final note, I'd love that you indeed fully banned the continue feature for once, it'll serve for no non-sense ranking purposes (practicing would mean playing the game for everybody, not dissecting it like a corpse) and, especially, to properly explain the ruleset and say that your game is indeed that measured. That'd take either, more guts or designing selectable difficulty levels, though.

5 (editado por SriK 20-09-2017 03:54:55)

Re: Steel Assault.

Thanks for the compliments as well, and for your incredibly detailed feedback! And sorry for the delay in replying (I spent this past week moving states and starting a new job).

Recap escribió:

My first advice, if may I -- don't do this (recording a full stage run and posting it) ever again, even if you're planning to make changes or are facing a new Kickstarter campaign.

Yes, I don't plan to do this again, since as you said it basically spoils large chunks of the game. But I didn't feel too bad revealing the first level, especially since much of it is prone to change (in terms of level design, anyway -- not in terms of level concept).

In general, I always have the temptation to announce everything I've done to the world as soon as I've done it, but if I do that then I've basically spoiled the game for the backers and they have nothing to be surprised by. On the other hand, if I reveal too little then they get upset and wonder if any work is being done on the game at all (...which they had a right to worry about these past months, and that's another reason why I decided to show this much footage). In the future, GIFs and short videos will have to do, and I hope they can be happy with them.

Recap escribió:

Your video, then. It resembles a lot that breed of action game, which obviously is what you're aiming for, and, in that regard, you really nailed it. I get the feel that it's bit too slow and deliberate and formulaic, and the screen, a bit too empty too often for my tastes, or for how the genre evolved. But read it well -- a bit. What you're doing is not an easy task at all, in the context of 2-D action games itself. You've understood well that a too-basic move set wouldn't work these days especially for a game with this flow and the zipline mechanics, together with the sliding and double-jump techiques, looks fun and deep enough, though it kind of needs something else which hopefully comes later in the form of power-ups or temporary weapons -- attack abilities seem to be too few. If that's not the case --or even if it is, for that matter--, I'd really miss that the game didn't make a turn-over for some stages and changed the short-range action with Metal Slug-style --even Contra-style-- mechanics -- the sprite size and the game's setting and presentation are almost crying for that. Variety in a game like this is imperative, but more on that later. The stage boss is also well thought-out and it shows there's potentially a good --at least-- game here.

Yeah, the problem with short-range action is indeed that it limits the pace of the game, even with all of the bells and whistles we've thrown in (slide, double jump, zipline, etcetera). The game definitely becomes more of a memorizer because of the aspects you mentioned as well, and the more stuff we throw at the player the more important the memorization aspect will become. I'm not a huge fan of games with a rigorous memorization aspect myself, and I would love to up the intensity of the action too (while still keeping the overall melee focus), so this is a problem I've thought about a lot lately. And the current solution I'm considering is twofold:

  • a subweapon system: exactly what you mentioned later in your post, where the player has to choose between keeping their current weapon and swapping it for a new one. (The default weapon would be grenades, same as now, but the behavior of these would be modified to serve more of a crowd control aspect, allowing more leeway in having mobs of enemies rush the player.)

  • a default mid-range attack: allowing the player to deal with enemies from a bit farther away, with whatever balance caveats are necessary to keep the melee attacks incredibly useful (recharge time, weaker damage, whatever). The most natural choice for this, given the current concept, would be using the zipline as a whip a la Castlevania.

(Regarding what you said about a variety section where the game switches out short- and mid-range mechanics for straight up run-and-gun action, it's a good idea if we're able to implement it; I just wouldn't want the entire game to turn into a run-and-gun. After all, there are a million games already that play essentially like Metal Slug or Contra, and not so many that play like the Natsume games, or even something like Rockman Zero. I'm incredibly interested to try and see how far the latter formula can go!)

Of course, complexifying the mechanics further like this ties into the control aspect you mentioned. And I have to confess: I hadn't thought at all about how the game would work on arcade sticks before reading your post, as I don't currently own one and hadn't tested with one yet. And it does seem like a four-button layout would be necessary, at the very least:

  • A: jump

  • B: punch

  • Up+B: subweapon (originally grenades)

  • C (on ground): zip whip

  • C (in air): zipline

  • D: slide

I'm not sure how natural this would feel on an arcade stick, and I am going to try it out as soon as I ship one to my new apartment. It feels natural enough on a controller, at least (as you mentioned, C/D can be mapped to shoulder buttons, and A/B work as regular buttons). And of course, controls will be completely customizable in the settings to the player's content.

(The reason I haven't mapped the slide to Down+A is because you need this combination to switch between, for example, the buildings and streets in the first section of the stage.)

You're also right about the flow of the level and how it doesn't exactly match the "arcade" standard. This is something I'll have to work on, tightening up each section and really making sure they each offer something unique.

Recap escribió:

The scenery ends up suffering a bit from the palette limitations (not the number of on-screen colors, but the restricted tonalities) -- the insides are indeed dull.

By the insides, do you mean just the Convergence building, or also the metro section as well? (The Convergence section's palette was inspired by the Cyberdyne sequence in Terminator 2, where I thought the limited blue-dominant palette created a really nice and atmospheric effect.)

Recap escribió:

I'm not liking the music enough, on the other hand. For a piece I'll be hearing over and over until I can clear the game, I need a better composition. The boss theme isn't too special, either.

Thanks for your honesty on this. I'm composing the music myself, and I've found it hard to create iconic themes for both the level and the boss (I have no professional or formal training in music). It's a ton of fun, though, and hopefully I'll be able to come up with something better! And if I can't, it seems composers are much cheaper than artists. (Hitoshi Sakimoto's company follows our Twitter, so we'll see!...)

Recap escribió:

I love that you chose 320 x 240, anyway, and that you're avoiding lego-likes with scanlines effect filters. Hopefully they end up working well for any display resolution, but my biggest concern is if there'll be a way to play it with 1 : 1 graphics for the people on 15-kHz. It's really something else:

(photo omitted)

(Crappy photo once again, but still.)

Man, that's awesome. I seriously have to try this out for myself. I don't see any technical problems with a 1:1 graphics mode as of now, but I'll have to test it myself once I finally get it on a CRT. Don't worry, I don't plan to release without testing this!!

("Lego-likes" is a great term, BTW.)

Recap escribió:

Secondly, the dialogue boxes and how the literary stuff is presented. While I don't think the art style for these illustrations is bad, I can understand people seeing them as too intrusive and favouring a more comical tone than expected. I'm not sure I'd get rid of them in general, but they (and their lines) don't do any good to boss fights -- they're too big for action moments and uglify the scene with no purpose.

The reason for the dialogue boxes, other than to provide necessary story development (since it's always nice to have a bit of that even in a genre like this), is that I just felt it was nice to have human faces appear from time to time in a world populated almost entirely by robots and mechanical things (even if the world is more colorful and vibrant than is standard for this theme). And yeah, we're planning to cull boss dialogue in favor of a quick flashy boss intro where you can see the enemy pilot's face close-up (the ideal would have been voice acted dialogue and the intro, if we could have made the dialogue sound natural, but y'know... money). I really don't like the way the dialogue looks in that screenshot right above, haha.

Recap escribió:

As a final note, I'd love that you indeed fully banned the continue feature for once, it'll serve for no non-sense ranking purposes (practicing would mean playing the game for everybody, not dissecting it like a corpse) and, especially, to properly explain the ruleset and say that your game is indeed that measured. That'd take either, more guts or designing selectable difficulty levels, though.

Indeed, the plan is selectable difficulty levels, with the hardest being the arcade mode (no continues, one life), and the game making it as clear as possible that this is the "real" mode. Can't wait to see how this will go over with people!

6

Re: Steel Assault.

SriK escribió:

Yeah, the problem with short-range action is indeed that it limits the pace of the game, even with all of the bells and whistles we've thrown in (slide, double jump, zipline, etcetera). The game definitely becomes more of a memorizer because of the aspects you mentioned as well, and the more stuff we throw at the player the more important the memorization aspect will become.

Oh, not at all. Think of Irem's Spartan X (or the Western version Kung-Fu Master, if you prefer). It basically is the before-and-after milestone in the short-range sidescrolling action genre. Your character doesn't move around at warp speed exactly and yet, the pace is fast and uninterrupted. And the memorization aspect is way less relevant than the reaction skills, comparatively, at least.

Your approach of course is not that, I'm aware, but that was precisely my point -- the arcade school, with Spartan X as its founder (Tatakai no Banka, Dragon Ninja, Daiku no Gen-san...), is more compelling and exciting than that other school which was soon confined in home territories and their low-spec requirements. (Which doesn't mean that the formula cannot be evolved a bit to be more exciting, and a wider move set is a good start indeed.)


I'm not a huge fan of games with a rigorous memorization aspect myself, and I would love to up the intensity of the action too (while still keeping the overall melee focus), so this is a problem I've thought about a lot lately. And the current solution I'm considering is twofold:

  • a subweapon system: exactly what you mentioned later in your post, where the player has to choose between keeping their current weapon and swapping it for a new one. (The default weapon would be grenades, same as now, but the behavior of these would be modified to serve more of a crowd control aspect, allowing more leeway in having mobs of enemies rush the player.)

  • a default mid-range attack: allowing the player to deal with enemies from a bit farther away, with whatever balance caveats are necessary to keep the melee attacks incredibly useful (recharge time, weaker damage, whatever). The most natural choice for this, given the current concept, would be using the zipline as a whip a la Castlevania.

The examples above show that there's no need for mid-range attacks in order to keep the intensity high enough -- it's more a matter of enemies in constant flow. Mid-range would, in principle, help in the subsequent crowd control aspect, but in the end, the game might become as hard as anyone no matter the range (Tora he no Michi is a good example of how to build a game around this). Anyway, both ideas can work, though I'll always be partial to the one which doesn't involve more than one main attack button -- if there's much need of using my third finger constantly (as much as the first button, or close enough), I'll treat that as a design mistake. Arcade conventions are against that and it's for a reason.

The former idea, by the way, suggests me that the weapons should be exclusively upgradeable -- the notion of seeing a more powerful and spectacular version of a known weapon only if you keep it for long enough (like in shooting games) always works and adds to the strategic aspect.


(Regarding what you said about a variety section where the game switches out short- and mid-range mechanics for straight up run-and-gun action, it's a good idea if we're able to implement it; I just wouldn't want the entire game to turn into a run-and-gun. After all, there are a million games already that play essentially like Metal Slug or Contra, and not so many that play like the Natsume games, or even something like Rockman Zero. I'm incredibly interested to try and see how far the latter formula can go!)

Keep in mind that, much like I do when I'm reviewing a game, I'm not considering the budget and resources aspects -- I'm just trying to picture what would be my ideal vision of your game, the perfect form. Adding a Metal Slug-like section would imply indeed creating another game engine, and that may be a lot to ask for. Nevertheless, after watching you video till the end, the first thing I thought is this will need variety more than anything, DECO-style. And it'd also be quite an epic way to surprise the player, especially, after such methodical mechanics. Again, I'm just brainstorming. With limited resources, it's always better one single engine perfectly polished than an amalgamation of genres just because.

Of course, complexifying the mechanics further like this ties into the control aspect you mentioned. And I have to confess: I hadn't thought at all about how the game would work on arcade sticks before reading your post, as I don't currently own one and hadn't tested with one yet. And it does seem like a four-button layout would be necessary, at the very least:

  • A: jump

  • B: punch

  • Up+B: subweapon (originally grenades)

  • C (on ground): zip whip

  • C (in air): zipline

  • D: slide

I'm not sure how natural this would feel on an arcade stick, and I am going to try it out as soon as I ship one to my new apartment. It feels natural enough on a controller, at least (as you mentioned, C/D can be mapped to shoulder buttons, and A/B work as regular buttons). And of course, controls will be completely customizable in the settings to the player's content.

(The reason I haven't mapped the slide to Down+A is because you need this combination to switch between, for example, the buildings and streets in the first section of the stage.)

So yeah; try it. Under the best conditions you can, please. Then, I'm confident that we won't need to discuss that that control scheme is far from optimal. The down + jump command assigned to both, going down to the lower plane and sliding/rolling/etc. is an old issue which is usually solved by not allowing to slide in the upper planes. The game is designed around that (there are numerous holes which let you go down, for instance) and adds an extra little layer of strategy.

I can suggest this:

https://s26.postimg.org/kn9hgu5p5/layout_prop.png

For types 1 and 2:

- A: attack
- B: jump / slide (with down) / go down (with down)
- C: subweapon / zipline (when jumping)
- D: not used

Really -- on an arcade stick (and on any controller, when you come down to it), minus is more. Layouts such as Street Fighter's work for very particular reasons. This is not the case since the conventions are pretty old now. If you need to have both, whip and subweapons such as grenades [hey, I wrote that correctly this time], then, neutral/left/right + C is whip and down + C is subweapon (that is, when crouching). This way, you force me to use C button a lot, that's right, but since I don't have to worry about a 4th button and, since all the actions for that button are indeed about special weapons/tools, my brain will get used to it quickly. Depth without complexity -- arcade philosophy; tight design.

If you _really_ need to make the extra weapons usable mid-air, then D button should be included in the layout for something like this:

- A: attack
- B: jump / slide (with down) / go down (with down)
- C: whip / zipline (when jumping)
- D: subweapon

But then you should limit the subweapon action to a very punctual usage overall, as I explained to you the other day, or think about placing that layout on a type 3 configuration (maybe I'd swap C for D, in order to have zipline right below the jump button) so that you use two fingers for all the actions, but that's always way less natural for this genre.

And yep -- up + attack for subweapon is not something you'll find on arcade games, it's computer/console mentality from an era where these couldn't use a controller with more than 1 or 2 buttons. Not a good idea.

Comments on aesthetics will need to wait till tomorrow, I'm afraid.

7

Re: Steel Assault.

SriK escribió:

By the insides, do you mean just the Convergence building, or also the metro section as well? (The Convergence section's palette was inspired by the Cyberdyne sequence in Terminator 2, where I thought the limited blue-dominant palette created a really nice and atmospheric effect.)

Just the building; the train and the station are gorgeous, even if still too blue. The problem with what you describe is that you go to the blue inside coming from... a blue outside. It's atmospheric indeed, but the effect is diluted due to that. Since it's not too detailed nor it happens much there in either, it's just boring. And the elevator hole just after that (which is boring by definition, I know) doesn't help it.


Recap escribió:

I'm not liking the music enough, on the other hand. For a piece I'll be hearing over and over until I can clear the game, I need a better composition. The boss theme isn't too special, either.

Thanks for your honesty on this. I'm composing the music myself, and I've found it hard to create iconic themes for both the level and the boss (I have no professional or formal training in music). It's a ton of fun, though, and hopefully I'll be able to come up with something better! And if I can't, it seems composers are much cheaper than artists. (Hitoshi Sakimoto's company follows our Twitter, so we'll see!...)

Notice I don't think the themes are bad, just mediocre. They fit the setting and the graphics pretty well, anyhow, which is something. Having Sakimoto on board for a couple of themes would be great, on the other hand.



Man, that's awesome. I seriously have to try this out for myself. I don't see any technical problems with a 1:1 graphics mode as of now, but I'll have to test it myself once I finally get it on a CRT. Don't worry, I don't plan to release without testing this!!

Glad to read that. There shouldn't be any issue, whichever the technology you're using for making the game. In fact, it's very rare the case of a Windows game designed at that res. (and free from subpixel crap and whatnot) which you can't run at the native mode after setting the desktop to it, at least. Devs aren't even aware.

If you face any problem with configuring a 15-kHz WIN-based system anyhow, feel free to ask. After taking a look here if you still haven't, that is: http://geedorah.com/eiusdemmodi/forum/v … php?id=295



("Lego-likes" is a great term, BTW.)

I borrowed it from Josh, if I recall. (You want him in this thread, by the way, if you still haven't talked to him.)




The reason for the dialogue boxes, other than to provide necessary story development (since it's always nice to have a bit of that even in a genre like this), is that I just felt it was nice to have human faces appear from time to time in a world populated almost entirely by robots and mechanical things (even if the world is more colorful and vibrant than is standard for this theme).

I don't mind the dialogue appearing when entering every area. It's a good way of doing it, I believe -- there're not (perceivable) interrumptions. With the faces as they are, I'm not so sure, to be honest. Still find them too comical for the mood and the rest of the art. But it's not a thing I'd worry about for now.



Indeed, the plan is selectable difficulty levels, with the hardest being the arcade mode (no continues, one life), and the game making it as clear as possible that this is the "real" mode. Can't wait to see how this will go over with people!

People will play the easy mode and then will find no reason to play the real mode -- make no mistake. Unless there's scene development you only get there.

8 (editado por SriK 24-09-2017 23:31:39)

Re: Steel Assault.

Recap escribió:

Oh, not at all. Think of Irem's Spartan X (or the Western version Kung-Fu Master, if you prefer). It basically is the before-and-after milestone in the short-range sidescrolling action genre. Your character doesn't move around at warp speed exactly and yet, the pace is fast and uninterrupted. And the memorization aspect is way less relevant than the reaction skills, comparatively, at least.

Your approach of course is not that, I'm aware, but that was precisely my point -- the arcade school, with Spartan X as its founder (Tatakai no Banka, Dragon Ninja, Daiku no Gen-san...), is more compelling and exciting than that other school which was soon confined in home territories and their low-spec requirements. (Which doesn't mean that the formula cannot be evolved a bit to be more exciting, and a wider move set is a good start indeed.)

Okay, I see what you're saying now. I haven't played any of those games except for a bit of Dragon Ninja, so my points of reference for this subgenre are essentially the FC Natsume/Sunsoft games, the Rockman games where you can play as Zero, and maybe Strider, which is why our approach basically mirrors theirs. Looking at a video of Spartan X, enemies which fire projectiles are much rarer than in our game (where basically every enemy does), so the balance is indeed different. Still, tweaking this to support a more constant flow of enemies doesn't sound too hard.

Sounds like I have to play Tora he no Michi, then.

Recap escribió:

Keep in mind that, much like I do when I'm reviewing a game, I'm not considering the budget and resources aspects -- I'm just trying to picture what would be my ideal vision of your game, the perfect form. Adding a Metal Slug-like section would imply indeed creating another game engine, and that may be a lot to ask for. Nevertheless, after watching you video till the end, the first thing I thought is this will need variety more than anything, DECO-style. And it'd also be quite an epic way to surprise the player, especially, after such methodical mechanics. Again, I'm just brainstorming. With limited resources, it's always better one single engine perfectly polished than an amalgamation of genres just because.

Yeah, of course. I understand that you're talking about the ideal game design, rather than what's really feasible depending on our real budget and time, which seems exactly like what a critic should be doing. What can be implemented in practice is for me to figure out.

Purely from a programming perspective, I don't see a run-and-gun section taking too much work; the engine I've created is certainly modular enough to support it fairly easily. The main challenge would be the design, and perhaps even more importantly, the aesthetic aspects (trying to deliver the player a similar scale and sense of destruction that the Metal Slug games do). And as you surmised, it's not something I would want to include unless I was 100% sure we had the time and resources to pull it off properly.

Recap escribió:

I can suggest this:

https://s26.postimg.org/kn9hgu5p5/layout_prop.png

For types 1 and 2:

- A: attack
- B: jump / slide (with down) / go down (with down)
- C: subweapon / zipline (when jumping)
- D: not used

Really -- on an arcade stick (and on any controller, when you come down to it), minus is more. Layouts such as Street Fighter's work for very particular reasons. This is not the case since the conventions are pretty old now. If you need to have both, whip and subweapons such as grenades [hey, I wrote that correctly this time], then, neutral/left/right + C is whip and down + C is subweapon (that is, when crouching). This way, you force me to use C button a lot, that's right, but since I don't have to worry about a 4th button and, since all the actions for that button are indeed about special weapons/tools, my brain will get used to it quickly. Depth without complexity -- arcade philosophy; tight design.

This indeed sounds like the best way, now that I've thought about it for a bit. When I try to picture the way my fingers would have to move on an arcade stick, or even a controller, this definitely seems more natural than the alternative you suggested. The "downside", as you mentioned, is that the player won't be able to use their subweapon in the air, but how necessary was that going to be anyway?...

I like the idea of finally fitting the entire moveset into three buttons, at any rate. What's also nice is that, in this scheme, it doesn't seem very easy to accidentally enter the wrong command. I will have to try both variations on the slide you listed: either not letting the player slide on the upper planes, or not letting them go down without the help of "holes" added in the layout (which they can quickly slide to). At the moment, the latter option seems more natural to me, and as you mentioned it even adds a slight new strategic aspect.

Recap escribió:

Notice I don't think the themes are bad, just mediocre. They fit the setting and the graphics pretty well, anyhow, which is something. Having Sakimoto on board for a couple of themes would be great, on the other hand.

Sure, but "mediocre" isn't exactly what you want for the first music the player hears going into the first stage of your game. (Or any other music, really, but it's even more important at the very beginning of the game.) The Sakimoto thing was just brainstorming BTW, I have no idea if that's going to be possible yet. It'd be really nice, though!

Recap escribió:

Glad to read that. There shouldn't be any issue, whichever the technology you're using for making the game. In fact, it's very rare the case of a Windows game designed at that res. (and free from subpixel crap and whatnot) which you can't run at the native mode after setting the desktop to it, at least. Devs aren't even aware.

If you face any problem with configuring a 15-kHz WIN-based system anyhow, feel free to ask. After taking a look here if you still haven't, that is: (link omitted)

That looks awesome!! But, Radeon only... Is there an alternative for nVidia cards?

And yeah, the game's fullscreen mode just uses the current desktop resolution. This will be the default, but you'll be able to change it in the options (based on whatever resolutions are detected on your monitor), if for some reason you need to.

(By the way, I had to edit out the link from the above quote before being allowed to post this. The forum software gave me an error about only being allowed 1 link in a post...?)

Recap escribió:

I borrowed it from Josh, if I recall. (You want him in this thread, by the way, if you still haven't talked to him.)

I had e-mailed Josh a while back, but apparently the e-mail I used was out of date, so he literally just got back to me... around 10 minutes ago. I had talked earlier to zinger through PM on the gamengai forums, until those went down recently (as they seem to every other week), and to icycalm on the Insomnia forums about a month ago. Both their positions matched up with yours, essentially: good art, and the zipline is a good idea, but the music and the action need spice.

Recap escribió:

People will play the easy mode and then will find no reason to play the real mode -- make no mistake. Unless there's scene development you only get there.

True...!

9

Re: Steel Assault.

SriK escribió:

Okay, I see what you're saying now. I haven't played any of those games except for a bit of Dragon Ninja, so my points of reference for this subgenre are essentially the FC Natsume/Sunsoft games, the Rockman games where you can play as Zero, and maybe Strider, which is why our approach basically mirrors theirs. Looking at a video of Spartan X, enemies which fire projectiles are much rarer than in our game (where basically every enemy does), so the balance is indeed different. Still, tweaking this to support a more constant flow of enemies doesn't sound too hard.

It's all pretty much summed up in that -- whether if you're fighting enemies no matter what, or only when you approach them or scroll the screen. This is the first thing I'd decide, since it will determine the game's flow and pace, as well as a big part of the mechanics and controls. But the sprites' size (the visible area on screen, that is) is capital as well, because a distant camera which lets you see a huge area will make crowd control easier than a closer camera, so it'll demand more enemies at once, which is what your video's lacking, much like the FC games you're getting inspiration from. But yeah; you can balance it as well with the enemies' projectiles, or with the platforming (and zipline usage) aspect, etc. etc.

ARC Strider Hiryu is a special case, I believe. The actual enemy is the stages' configuration and the protagonist's behaviour. It's all about memorization in the end. It's like mentioning Monster Land -- the game's so based on the character's inertia that it's not really a good example here.



Purely from a programming perspective, I don't see a run-and-gun section taking too much work; the engine I've created is certainly modular enough to support it fairly easily. The main challenge would be the design, and perhaps even more importantly, the aesthetic aspects (trying to deliver the player a similar scale and sense of destruction that the Metal Slug games do). And as you surmised, it's not something I would want to include unless I was 100% sure we had the time and resources to pull it off properly.

And let's face it -- you have many control features you can (and must) elaborate on first. For being a debut piece, the game has many novelties you should make sure they'll work well enough and won't be a mere gimmick. I don't think it's an easy task at all. You can design some auto-scrolling areas, if you finally run out of time and money -- that always adds some variety. I strongly believe that you should only create what you really want to; your own vision. If it's Sunsoft's Batman or Natsume's Shatterhand what lies behind your personal motivation, then so be it. I myself think that formula was obsolete even before its own era, but maybe you can show people like me that it can be evolved. But if you're using the arcade philosophy as a catch phrase, know that it can turn back on you -- play at least the seminal pieces in the genre and you may find out a new thing to hug and love. (Or not.)

Anyway, I mentioned Metal Slug before Contra for not neglecting the short-range attack even in these areas (I think that having the ability of killing enemies with the knife is a cool feature of the former series), but I wouldn't expect your game (nor any game, for that matter) having the visual detail of MS. Super Contra or Contra Spirits' sense of destruction is nothing like MS's (in regards to the scenery and even bosses, that is) and they still work flawlessly (thanks to the overwhelming sense of killing all kinds of enemies).



This indeed sounds like the best way, now that I've thought about it for a bit. When I try to picture the way my fingers would have to move on an arcade stick, or even a controller, this definitely seems more natural than the alternative you suggested. The "downside", as you mentioned, is that the player won't be able to use their subweapon in the air, but how necessary was that going to be anyway?...

I like the idea of finally fitting the entire moveset into three buttons, at any rate. What's also nice is that, in this scheme, it doesn't seem very easy to accidentally enter the wrong command.

The downside, I'd say, is that only being able to use subweapons when crouching is a bit touchy, since you can't release it right after placing yourself or the scroll when you need to; you're required to also crouch. As with everything, it can work (remember Metal Slug's rapid grenades), but there's another limitation you must attend to.

You have other options, though. You can assign whip action to quarter-circle + attack commands, a la hadouken. All the protagonism you can bring over to the attack button from the third button is always a plus, in fact. Take a look (with the manual, if possible) at Kick Master (NES) for how new attack techniques can be implemented in a genre like this; if you still don't know this game, it belongs to this FC/NES school you're so focused on, and it's a quite special entry, at that.

And then there's the possibility of assigning slide action to quarter-circle + jump, like in Shadow over Mystara. It can work pretty well (it demands a little more effort from the player, but your video shows it's a very useful technique, maybe even too much, you know) and will also let you slide on the upper planes too if you limit the go down action to a strict down + jump (diagonals excluded).

Unceasing quarter-circle motions are easy on arcade sticks, but they can get quite exhausting with pads, so keep always in mind the perspective I'm talking from. People love Gekka no Yasoukyoku anyhow and I guess all of them played that with Sony's control pad, so whatever.



That looks awesome!! But, Radeon only... Is there an alternative for nVidia cards?

Take a look at this: http://geedorah.com/eiusdemmodi/forum/v … 1216#p1216

...but I can't help you there. I can say to you though, that if you're really serious on having a 15-kHz system (and you should), take the dedicated route and look for a Radeon card. As that forum will let you know, Calamity's work is in a very advanced status now and you'll get to play the best MAME version for this purpose. There's nothing like it, no matter what you'll hear.



(By the way, I had to edit out the link from the above quote before being allowed to post this. The forum software gave me an error about only being allowed 1 link in a post...?)

Thanks for reporting this. We'll have to look into it 'cause it makes no sense.

10

Re: Steel Assault.

Still hard at work, and a lot is going on behind the scenes!

https://twitter.com/SteelAssault/status … 3285893120

11

Re: Steel Assault.

Another large update is finally coming, within the next 2 weeks. Here's a preview...

https://twitter.com/SteelAssault/status … 8694764545


Una pena que no me oyera en lo de eliminar los retratos al menos de las escenas contra los "bosses". El dibujante ha ido muy a peor...