Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thoughts for next update

Pic Unrelated

I havent been able to work on BulletHellPonies for the last couple weeks and Ive just come back with some ideas that Ive been sitting on.

Im envisioning some touhou style dialoge. probably between levels and before bosses. Ill probably have to do my own cartoony art for the starcraft portarits to make it consistent. At least as a placeholder, I can grab some renderings I hope.

This dialogue system will be the medium in which the story will be narrated.
Here are the cliffnotes:
-Hybrids have dominated and taken control of the Starcraft races.
-They have stolen the moon and replaced it with a fake moon
-They have stolen Equestria (and replaced it with a fake Equestria?) and taken control of the minds of its inhabitants.
-The Mane Six must work together to save Equestria from its captors.

This means that there will be a Hybrid level as well as a Corrupted Equestria level. (due to constraints of art, it might look just like regular Equestria). Im looking forward to an epic double battle against Luna and Celestia. Im thinking about making the battle similar to Utsuho for Celestia (for obvious reasons). Luna is gonna have her own craziness too. They will be very different from other bosses. There will most definitely be a Derpy Hooves Encounter too.



  1. Sounds really great and more content is always good thing.

    Just asking about one thing: about the Mane Six working together - is it going to be something like all of them face the final boss all together at the same time?
    Because it would be kinda hard to control all 6 at one time unless there is something special planned for it.
    Like maybe some "powering up" the Elements of Harmony during the encounter - each pony has to do her part of it in order to unleash the final blow. (could be nice, though there would need to be some better form of swithing ponies there)

  2. Oh wow, this sounds pretty awesome.

    Having mini-suns flying at me again will be nice, and if Derpy turns up as a boss... well that gives you freedom to do something really crazy. (Reisen-style bullet effects? Though tricks don't work as well when it's not a OHKO system.)

    Will you be adding alternate dialogue for every playable character to increase replay value? That could add up quickly, but since writing a conversation doesn't take all that long it would still be doable.

  3. I actually do intend to have different dialogue per pony. I have to put in quotes and stuff and each pony has a different personality. Im pretty sure Pinky Pie's dialogue will make absolutely no sense.

  4. 5 words: The Great And Playable Trixie

  5. and Luna's fight needs to have a Kaguya-ish feel IMO. for Derpy. . . . go look up Koishi Hell. that will be Pinkie vs Derpy right there. XD

  6. @WinatikaTheJawa:
    oooooohhhh.. I am intrigued by the idea from a gameplay standpoint, but Im reluctant to make her playable due to justification on why she's a good guy. I really can only see her as evil (coughcough Fallout: Equestria) and with the Hybrids corrupting Equestria, Id see her as easy to sway from the path of goodness. I might add her as like a secrets mode or something after you beat the game you can play through as other ponies. Dear god Playable Celestia

  7. Yeah, I can see Pinkie as being completely oblivious to everything while at the same time being the most competent character story-wise in her own weird way.

  8. well Trixie's story could be centered around her pride as the most powerful unicorn in equestria, and this is her chance to prove it. also, for post-game unlockables, there should be;
    Pinkamina Diane Pie(you know, Pinkie pie after she completely snaps!)
    Derpy(shoots muffins, bomb is a bunch of anvils and pianos falling from the top of the screen)
    Big Mac(beat game with applejack, eeyup)

    aaaand finally

    Parasprite(the obligatory joke character)

    .... or Gummy or Angel. oh sweet mother of celestia playable angel bunny pffft carrots everywhere.

    Bloomberg is best playable pony*bucked for that idea*

    and Diamond Tiara with lazer vision. just do it. XD

    in other news;

  9. ohgod best idea ever: granny smith as playable character! DO IT FILLY!

  10. So I played through the latest version the other day so I guess it's time for some thoughts.

    Stage 2 is much better now and I like the new patterns. Twilight quite destroys stages now at full power.

    As for improvement suggestions let's begin with the stages. There's way too much dead air. Too much time where absolutely nothing happens and you're just waiting around. This gets really boring and tedious when replaying the game. Touhou has this problem too and that's why it's a bad example if you're looking at stage design. There should always be an enemy on screen. If you kill a wave of enemies faster than usual, extra enemies have to come out so there's no dead air. This can also help with a better scoring system as more enemies = more score.

    Visual presentation could also be better. Shmups are pretty and a lot has to go on to make it the most exciting. I mean, just look at these and tell me you don't feel pumped to see all those point numbers on screen.
    Touhou is quite bad at this too, there aren't even any decent explosions. There also needs to be more variation of big enemies shooting patterns and small popcorn enemies shooting other things at the same time on screen.

    As for scoring systems you can try chaining like in Dodonpachi or Medal chaining like in Battle Garrega. Maybe even get rid of the POC and make the point items act like the discomen in Dangun Feveron. Or make enemies drop lots of gold and a meter determines if focused or unfocused gives the most. And point blanking = more gold. Maybe something involving the magic shot. Like killing enemies with it gives you 5 times the amount of score they normally give you so it's very risk-reward as you have to graze a lot to get more magic while having to survive at low power a lot of the time. Just some ideas.

    As for making it harder you can implement a rank system that makes the game harder the better you play. Or you do not regain lost lives or you can also do like I said and make the healthbar like Guwange's or make enemies shoot a ton of suicide bullets like this:
    If you're afraid it will make the game too hard you can implement these in a second loop you can only reach by meeting certain requirements at the end of the game. Any thoughts for a TLB by the way?

    Lastly, the screen is very tiny. I find myself having to squint quite a lot to even see the bullets. Will there be a TATE mode that fixes this?

  11. @Jaimers:

    Definitely good advice. I am definitely planning to make it more flashy eventually. Im not an artist so my main effort is going towards content and story right now. Hopefully I can get lots more shiny things in there. My issue with some of the videos you showed me was that I cant tell what is going on and there doesnt seem to be much bullet dodging despite all the particle effects all over the screen.

    A lot of the enemy spawns kind of have to be timed correctly in order to match the terrain (I cant have hydralisks spawning in the lava so its kind of hard to keep a steady spawn of enemies. so I compensate for having them in waves. I might add something on top of that eventually if I figure something out.

    Thanks for the great feedback

    Also TLB? TATE? I dont know what those mean.

    In regards to the smallness,
    The native resolution of the game is 1280x800 and the bullets should be identical in size to those that are in touhou.

  12. @huod umop apisdn:

    Ah yes, the first two games linked utilize a system where you can either use a bomb or a hyper. Hypers clear the screen when used and canceled and severely boost your firepower but in exchange the rank will go severely up. So it's another risk/reward thing. DaiFukkatsu hypers also cancel some bullets but require a few seconds of shooting them for it to work. Scoring well and point-blanking raises a gauge that gives another hyper when full. There's a lot of dodging going on but it's a lot harder than it looks.

    TLB stands for the game's True Last Boss. This is a pretty common thing in shmups where only the best players will get to face these guys.
    In 1-loop games they only show up immediately after beating the Last Boss on the highest difficulty without continuing, or sometimes you cannot die at all.
    In 2-loop games they show up at the end of an insane second loop of which you can only get access to immediately after having beaten the first loop with requirements of sometimes without dying or bombing.
    Seeing as they are the game's ultimate challenge they're incredibly difficult. As seen here, the last two phases of the boss are completely new in this loop.


    As for smallness, the Touhou bullets were designed for a 640x480 screen so that may be why they look small. Or maybe it's just my 4:3 monitor that makes the game look kinda weird at fullscreen.

    One thing I forgot to mention was the cutiemarks.
    It's probably better to make them smaller or at least their hitbox as they're really hard to avoid and can sometimes be more lethal than the actual bullets. Maybe it's better to make them only hover higher up on the screen.

    Also I don't remember there being many enemies on the ground were there? This may be worth looking into.

  13. Eh, I really don't have much to throw out there, only one idea comes to mind. If there's a Derpy encounter, make it like a 'Player vs. Player' battle; Derpy has her own unique standard attack and special attack, like the Mane 6, and has high maneuverability. Minor enemies would spawn on either the left or right of the screen, allowing the both of you to gain MP. You'd have to program an AI for her in order for this to work, though, rather than give her a specific pattern.

    And that's all I have to offer. Can't wait to see the next update for this game!

  14. @Jaimers: unfortunately I do not think I will be able to implement a TATE mode. I could just make the bullets bigger, though some might bitch about the increased difficulty.

    I may introduce a TLB. I will probably have a troll moment at the end of Trollestia difficulty that will kill you. but if you manage to survive, then the true last boss will appear.