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a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 5, 2003 03:09 PM

if anyone's hurting for inspiration about what kind of game they should make, then here's something you might want to consider.

i play a japanese game called "twinkle star sprites" and it is quite fantastic. i've never seen another game like it. the idea is this: it plays like a top-down shooter (mars rising, 1942). but the screen is split vertically, with your character on one side and player 2's character (human or computer) on the other. each character has a life bar (5 stars in this game) and starts with 2 screen-clearing bombs.

here's the twist. enemies come down in waves from the top of the screen in different patterns. killing one enemy (usually takes several shots) causes a small explosion. this explosion detonates nearby enemies that it touches. in this way, a player can destroy many enemies by killing the right one at just the right time. when the player does so, it racks up a "combo" equal to the number of enemies destroyed this way. combos send fireballs flying over to the opponent's side of the screen; more/larger/faster fireballs for bigger combos. fireballs do substantial damage to your opponent if they hit them.

but there's more depth than that. you can 'volley' opponent's fireball attacks back at them, either by shooting them x times or by setting off a combo that connects to them as they fly over. fireballs count as part of a combo and increase your combo count like regular enemies.

'killing' a fireball sends a flashing fireball back at your enemy. these tend to move a little faster (which means they're harder to 'kill'). however these can also be destroyed, as well as comboed. when you take out a flashing fireball, you perform a special attack.

each character has a different special attack, but they generally take the form of an indestructible enemy that moves across the opponent's screen in a set pattern. as you may figure, a combo that destroys a big group of flashing fireballs will send many special attacks over in very quick succession -- four largish indestructible enemies bouncing across your screen (in addition to normal enemies) is really something to contend with.

i think a similar game could also work with a totally different 'volley' (fireball / counterattack / special attack) system, but this one works really well.

games are played as 'best of 3 rounds' - but this could be user-selectable.

i think that's enough to make a really great game out of, but i'll go on and describe a little more of what makes this game so sweet.

each character has a regular 'shot' attack as well as a 'charge' attack. the charge attack is capable of killing many enemies at once - good for shooting down fireballs and sending them back at your enemy. however, since it kills lots of enemies, it is not as good at creating combos out of normal enemies -- only enemies killed by their neighbors' exploding count for combos.

one of my favorite parts of this game is the boss attack. a boss attack is triggered when you volley back a certain number of flashing fireballs -- it essentially sends one huge enemy over in lieu of a bunch of 'special attack' enemies. (this also helps to never create an 'impossible' situation where your screen is utterly covered by 'special attack' enemies.) the boss attack is similar to a boss enemy from a regular top-down shooter (but not quite as hard) -- very large, attacks in a few different ways, harder to kill than normal enemies. you can totally dispatch a boss attack by using both of your bombs, or take a little longer and shoot them down with your normal (and charge) attacks.

finally one little thing, normal enemies (not sent by your enemy) cannot kill you; they can take your life down to 1 star, but only enemy attacks can finish you off. when hit by a normal enemy when you're at 1 star, your character is 'dizzied' - can't move for a second or two - and you have to mash buttons to get un-dizzied. it also awards your enemy 1/2 a star.

that's pretty much it. if anyone wants to create this kind of game, i enthusiastically volunteer to help test it, help tweak balances and speeds and the little things like that (which can make or break this kind of game), help work on sprites, backgrounds, title screens, etc.
i think a really awesome game could come out of this general framework.
any specific thing could be changed without wrecking the fun and unique gameplay. in fact, a very different shooter/puzzle combination could come out of this idea and still be a fantastic game. it could be side-scrolling with the screen split horizontally, for example. or 'volleys' could go on indefinitely, becoming faster with each successive 'reversal'. characters could be anime-style robots, or spaceships, or cute animals or anything. same with enemies and environments. there could be all kinds of powerups and/or special abilities.

anyone seriously interested? anyone need clarification after my long and introverted explanation? let me know here.

EDIT: there's another explanation of this game over here:
(click on "FAQ")
which is probably clearer than my explanation. if anyone's interested.

a game i really want created for mac - David - Jun 5, 2003 04:33 PM

Why not just play it in Mame?

If somebody made a native mac version that would be neat though.

a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 5, 2003 04:44 PM

oh i do, i assure you Grin

the idea here would be to make a game that possibly uses the same basic structure, but is undeniably a new game. i'm not talking about doing a port. that's why i didn't want to link to screenshots or anything -- i would want this to be a new game. even if it was exactly as i described 'twinkle star sprites', it would still have so many unique aspects : different characters, different charge attacks, different special attacks, different boss attacks, different levels, different enemies and enemy deployment patterns, and so on. and that's if someone theoretically made exactly the game i described (without having played the original).
and i think so much could be changed in addition to that -- i mentioned some things at the end there -- that would make this a very new and unique game.

(also it would have the added benifit of being legally playable for someone who didn't own the twinkle star sprites game cabinet Rasp )

not that a perfect port would even necessarily be bad, either -- ever play bub and bob? i love that game.

a game i really want created for mac - David - Jun 5, 2003 04:54 PM

That sounds good Smile

There are a lot of mame game types that I think would make effective mac games, like Metal Slug, Windjammers, The Last Blade 2, etc.

a game i really want created for mac - gatti - Jun 13, 2003 09:10 AM

the game you mention sounds kind of like "Ikaruga" for Gamecube.

a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 13, 2003 11:25 AM

Ikaruga is a very good shooter, but this is a split-screen competitive game. even in single-player mode you're just playing split-screen against computer opponents.

i think a combination of the two games would be fantastic

a game i really want created for mac - Bachus - Jun 14, 2003 11:43 AM

Too busy working on my own Shmup to help out on this one, but I just want to second the fact that Twinkle Star Sprites kicks ass. Alas, it doesn't get much play on my comp when it has to compete with Pulstar, Blazing Star, Viewpoint, and DoDonPachi.

a game i really want created for mac - sealfin - Jun 14, 2003 01:41 PM

Sounds veryÖ odd, but fun; are you considering this impure port as your uDG2k3 entry? If so, are you looking for a coder? I've got a few projects to finish at present, but they should be finished before uDG2k3 is open for entryÖ

a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 14, 2003 02:45 PM

Quote:Originally posted by sealfin
are you considering this impure port as your uDG2k3 entry? If so, are you looking for a coder?

well, the thing is, i don't know thing 1 about programming. that is why i was throwing this out as an idea, for anyone who would possibly be interested in making it. like i said, i can do work on beta testing, balance tweaking, concept work, sprites, textures, menus, interface elements etc; but it would not be 'my' game. since i can't program. if you want it, i heartily encourage you to take it.

a game i really want created for mac - Dave - Jun 18, 2003 10:32 AM

I'd be interested in writing the game if you can handle all the media...Only problem is that in one week from this posting, I'll be in Germany without any access to a computer for about 3.5 weeks...

a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 18, 2003 01:11 PM

dave and sealfin, i'd be happy to work with either of you on this game - for ud2k3 or otherwise. what if all three of us could work on it? or is more than one coder/programmer a bad idea?

i think this game could make some fine shareware or donationware, and i'd be excited to work with either or both of you. let me know if/when we can start.

a game i really want created for mac - sealfin - Jun 18, 2003 01:28 PM

I wouldn't mind being in a three person teamÖ

As to a start time for development, I'm out of college now, so I've finally got some free time to devote to the various projects I'm supposed to be part ofÖ so, in effect I can start coding at any timeÖ but if this is intended to be entered in uDG2k3, that isn't really allowed Rasp

I don't know what languages Dave codes in, but I'm primarily a C coder (although I know other languages, I just don't like them as much Rasp)

Anyways, your thoughtsÖ?

a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 18, 2003 01:52 PM

well what time should we start if we're going for ud2k3? also, would this kind of game benifit from more than one coder? i mean, would 2 coders be more trouble than it would be worth? i remember at my last job it was like a team's efficiency was its best member's efficiency divided by the number of team members. but like i said, i know jack about coding, so maybe two coders would be great. i just have to play the devil's advocate all the time Sneaky

also, can anybody write network code? this could maybe have a pop-pop-like netplay element - that would really be fantastic. or even if you could only play it on a LAN, it would still be better than nothing. i.e... a server browser, etc would be awesome, but even if you had to punch in an IP address, it would still be great to play a networked game.

a game i really want created for mac - Dave - Jun 18, 2003 03:17 PM

Well, sealfin asked first, so I think it should be his call as to whether its a 3 or 2 person team. I'd be more than happy to help out if you're both willing. My 1st primary language is C++, but C is is my .97th primary language Wink. I've recently tried RealBasic (I've mentioned some stuff in some other threads) but as a language, I don't like it too much. I mainly use it input/output stuff and do the rest with OpenGL API calls.

Coders can work well together, as long as you make sure they don't work on the same part of a game Wink. I.E. if both sealfin and Dave were to both work on the graphics display engine at the same time, bad things would probably happen. But if one were to work on that, while the other worked the actual physics aspect (how things move, the rules, etc., the thing that interfaces with the graphic display) there shouldn't be any problem.

My experience lies with OpenGL (and data structures, but that's a different story). My knowledge of Cocoa extends to the fact that I find it hard to read =). So, if I'm on the team, we'll probably need to use SDL, SDL_Mixer, and SDL_Net. I've played with SDL_Net, and I may be able to make a UDP protocol for net play. SDL is great, as we could potentially port this thing all over the place with little or no effort, AND under OSX, it makes a Cocoa application, but you get to write the actual program in C, not ObjC.

If we used OpenGL, we could have all sorts of cool blending effects, assuming you're up to make stuff with alpha channels. So, what do you guys say? (Remember, I'm going to be gone for almost a month soon as well, not sure how that works out with the whole scheduling thing).

a game i really want created for mac - erazorhead - Jun 18, 2003 03:27 PM

sounds good to me. indeed there would be a lot of different aspects for different people to work on; the AI for example (unless we did a 2-player-only game, but that would probably require netplay). what do you say, sealfin?