Shmups

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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hazeredmist
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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

I honestly thought clippa was royally joshing saying that, in fact I'd bet my right leg on it. And the left one. But it's the internet and you can't see expressions and body language in a post. The banter probably needs to be dialed back a bit to accommodate everyone's tastes, that's all.

@Suits: It's understandable to get that impression if you end up on the wrong page of the thread when you're passing through... it's a fantastic discussion that's brought joy to millions (well five or so of us). Sometimes the wheels come off, but we always stop at a decent garage and put them back on :owl:

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Stanshall
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Re: Shmups

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Interesting stuff all round, cheers. Lots for me to think about. (Edit: Haha. I started my reply at about 7am so just seen the intermittent, I'm skipping it!)

I'd say a couple of things to 'defend' my approach (without being defensive) are that, first of all, knowing a route in any of these games is a hell of a long way from actually pulling it off - at least for me. That's what I mean about 5% learning where the bees are or where the big enemies appear or which side the wave of popcorn comes from or when you need to point blank stuff before it comes on screen. That knowledge comes pretty quickly and while there's typically a tiny bit of randomness in Cave games with spawning extra enemies, you're basically getting the same fixed challenge every time. So my conclusion is to respond to that with the best possible strategy and execution I can.

That takes me fucking ages! I am not inherently good at these games but I'm persistent and I really enjoy them. I think the execution is the hardest thing by a mile, but it's also the most exciting and satisfying and I really enjoy the tiny incremental progress. (As an aside, while Dark Souls is probably still my favourite game, I find many of the bosses stressful and they bring me little satisfaction beyond relief, I enormously prefer the incremental progress of tackling the areas in-between.) Another thing I really like is that throughout the hundreds of attempts, you do develop a feel for the game and its mechanics which goes way beyond simply repeating someone else's inputs. For some people, maybe they could watch 'how it's done' and within an hour they've managed to copy it. Bingo. That's not the case for me, though, and to be honest, I doubt that's the case for most people even with a videographic memory. You have to develop the feel more than anything else. Once you have that, you're able to adapt on a micro level, both to dodge bullets and deal with the randomness and also to adapt to your mistakes and variations and so on. Remember me going on about scrolling my phone with a tap tap tap tap tap tap rhythm? I realised it's not tap dodging, it's the rhythm of the bloody chain meter, tapping before it breaks...Brrrrr! :D

I totally agree with KSub's point, therefore, that using an established route is fundamentally about learning why and developing that feel for yourself, rather than producing a Xerox run. And as I say, I think that both developing that feel and understanding the nuances are absolutely essential even if you ultimately produce a similar-looking run. Every single little section and transition needs your fingerprints all over it or it won't happen. Without being critical of the chaining guide, nor exaggerating my creative input, there are a couple of bits where I felt it could be done better or where I learned something subtle along the way that I tried to optimise, and I definitely improved on those sections. The very last section with the two big ships and the three remaining bees is probably the best example. I didn't like the idea of collecting the bees and then destroying the enemies because you're missing out on the extra combo bonus points of the last two ships. It's just not satisfying even if the points are negligible. After umpteen failed attempts I asked for advice on the shmups forum, nobody replied, so I had to figure it out. Was that 'discovery' extra satisfying? Hmm. Not really, nowhere near as much as pulling it off.

That said, painting-by-numbers is a great way to describe that process and I think it's absolutely fair. I might add a bit of shading or use slightly different tones but the overall picture is very similar. What's different, really, is that I've learned a lot, relatively quickly, about how to use light and colour in finer detail and I can then apply that elsewhere. Also, you raised the question of whether DOJ is such a strict game that a free form approach is even possible. Again, I think painting-by-numbers is a perfect analogy because no matter who we're talking about, Prometheus, Jaimers, or the WR guys from Japan, the outlines are very similar, but there are more creative flourishes and the details are more refined. Basically, they have the feel and understanding and skill to optimise beyond what I can hope to do.

In short, though, I do think that DOJ is one of the strictest Cave games and that a route is absolutely essential if you're collecting all the bees and trying to chain the stage. It seems designed rather prescriptively, so whatever route you try to take is mostly going to fall into a very well-worn groove. Maybe that's part of the appeal for me in that it's easier therefore to experience what it's like to play fairly near the highest level (on stage one!). I'm obviously not saying I'm at the highest level but I now know a little bit about what it feels like playing at that level of intensity (again, on stage one!). "Jaimers91? Fuck that shit! I'm Jaimers92!" Am I interested in copying routes in Futari or Espgaluda 2 or Ketsui or Rolling Gunner or Progear? Nah, no chance. I'm happy to freestyle it and just enjoy the ride, for the most part, and learn from playing and experimenting. But for DOJ, Ikaruga, or probably the original DDP? I think there's a way to approach them which ultimately depends on learning to execute a strict plan, and the execution is by some distance the important part.

Also, from a purely practical point of view, I feel like I want to make the best use of my time playing it (see what I mean about refine refine refine?) and while that might sound like an entirely joyless approach, I've found that I get the most out of these games with a goal in mind. And if I've decided on an end point, I'd rather head straight for it and bang my head against all the obstacles in the way than pootle around until it comes to me. I know that's probably a major personality thing more than anything else! Maybe a sense of the fleeting nature of time and fading dexterity? Maybe the institutionalisation of the 'outcome-focused' workplace? Maybe it's the reassuring structure of the shmup continuum where time in = progress, unlike the constant firefighting and treading water at work where the same cyclical issues arise and every step forward is a step back in another direction. Maybe I'm talking bollocks.

Anyway, I know this is incredibly self-indulgent but I do find the topic really interesting and yours and KSub's insights got me thinking more. I'm also fascinated about these games and why they've gripped me so much. On some level, though, is all this just convoluted delusional justification for robbing someone's route and standing on the shoulders of giants? God's honest truth? As I said in the first place, not in the slightest! :D

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Stanshall
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Re: Shmups

Post by Stanshall »

Suits wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 8:17 am
This thread has taken a turn for the worst.

On the odd occasion I stick my head in, you’re all bloody fighting, or Clippa is apologising 🤪🤪.
Mate, it could be worse. You could have seen the 5000 words I wrote about why shmups are essentially about capturing the nuance of light and shade in a colouring book! :D

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Suits
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Re: Shmups

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Stanshall wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 8:49 am
Mate, it could be worse. You could have seen the 5000 words I wrote about why shmups are essentially about capturing the nuance of light and shade in a colouring book! :D
Sounds like a dissertation 😄.

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hazeredmist
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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

clippa wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 8:46 am
I want to engage with stan too, but he's a cold fish and holds me at arms length just like you do! :lol:
Stan did engage with you, see his latest (excellent) post!
yours and KSub's
(my insights here have gone unnoticed in the noise. But I'm cool with that for the greater good of the thread getting back on track ;) )

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Shmups

Post by KSubzero1000 »

I'll co-sign pretty much everything Stan just wrote. I think the two of us are approaching these games in a very similar fashion.

clippa wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 8:46 am
I didn't think that was an argument.
It's all right, man. The jokes aren't inherently a problem. But sometimes it feels like my point is falling on deaf ears and I find that really frustrating to deal with.

We're cool.

hazeredmist wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 9:00 am
my insights here have gone unnoticed in the noise.
YOLO strat: duly noted!

In all seriousness: Clearly you're having fun and are accomplishing your goals, so to each his own. If it works, it works. :)

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Stanshall
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Re: Shmups

Post by Stanshall »

Haha, absolutely @Suits. Maybe I'll compile my thoughts and write the last word on ethics and morality in Cave shmups.
clippa wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 8:46 am
I want to engage with stan too, but he's a cold fish and holds me at arms length just like you do! :lol:
Haha! To be honest, I am a bit distant online. It's probably down to one particularly mad experience. Maybe I mentioned it on here before.

To be brief, I was once threatened with decapitation by a genuine sword-wielding ex-Marine when I was in China after we'd been 'having a laugh' on some expat forum - I had thought. It ended fine when he was deported to face charges back home for assaulting people with a samurai sword (!) after he also battered the Chinese guy who'd sorted out his visa when he asked him to pay (!). I found all this out after he turned up at my work and I told him to get to fuck (!). Had I known, I would have been hiding in the air vents. Anyway, I definitely learned to take a step back online afterwards, so please don't take offence. It's just what I'm like these days.

Edit: "Users browsing: 17 guests". Who knows which one of those deranged bastards might turn up to Arcade Club with a samurai sword next time I'm on DOJ, know what I mean? :lol:

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Re: Shmups

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Oof. That's rough, man. I've noticed how distant you can sometimes be in the past, but I had absolutely no idea there was such a tragic reason for it. Very sorry to hear you had to go through that. You're among friends here, mate. :)


...Would it be okay if some deranged bastard were to secretly download MAME, spend years fine-tuning his DOJ skills, hop on a plane, sneak into Arcade Club in the middle of the night, break all your scores, hop on a plane back home immediately afterwards and leave you to stare at his unmistakable three-letter signature in utter confusion and disbelief, however? :lol:
Spoiler: show
SPC

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hazeredmist
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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

Wow Stan. You met a real life Keyboard Dynasty Warrior. Sounds like you were lucky to escape uninjured! We've all had our scrapes over the years I'm sure but that has to be one insanely rare exception when online meets IRL.

To highlight positives, I've had so many positive experiences with people I've chatted to online or from eBay or something, it's crazy (not to mention here which has been all very positive!):

- eBay guy I bought records from a couple of times many years go, convo got struck up in messages about music. Long story short he became a lifelong friend, co-founded our record label Red Mist with me, and we set up a blind date with his now-wife. They have two kids.

- Chats with guy who ran a record label. Become another lifelong friend. Lives in the states now but we still keep in touch. Helped me a lot over the years, vice versa. Released his music on our own record label many times.

- Dude in Bournmouth, chats on forums. Another lifelong friend. Visited IRL several times while on business trips down his way, always a good laugh

- Chats on an old music forum with a couple of artists, ended up booking them for an event up in Newcastle, incredible days. Many reciprocal things down their way.

- Sound engineer became a good friend after chats elsewhere, ended up mastering albums for us. I went down and DJ'd at his clubnight in Reading.

...the list goes on and on. I've met many others I've conversed with on forums while doing events and things too. I don't think I've actually had a single bad online > IRL experience come to think of it!

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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

:lol:

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Michiel K
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Re: Shmups

Post by Michiel K »

Wow, that sword story.

Just came back from my trip to Nepal and, at my son's recommendation ("daddy, they have a shoot 'em up on here!") on the way there, I played a bit of this Space Invaders clone called INVASION on the Qatar Airways flight back. Kind of amusing to try out. It features bosses that spit out a surprising amount of bullets and a tiered super attack system where one of the tiered supers is a DDP laser beam.

The controls via the stringed on remote were super laggy, though. And the game kept crashing after the second boss, even though it had automatically created a reloadable save state of my score and standing in the game up until then.

Image

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hazeredmist
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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

Fired up Dodonpachi Resurrection duing an ill-advised late night, and had a go on Black Label.

Christ. Exciting as hell but man it is tough! I played through 4 stages I think (using quite a few continues) and it's baffling to be how you'd survive without using credits. I think it was on Novice mode but damn if that's novice I'd hate to see Expert :D I think I will complete the playthrough first then go back to the regular Novice mode which may end up feeling easier. Hard as nails this stuff (to me at least) but very enjoyable.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Shmups

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hazeredmist wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:45 am
I think it was on Novice mode but damn if that's novice I'd hate to see Expert :D
I think it's important to note that DDP handles difficulty a bit differently than other games. I don't think there is any dedicated "Expert" mode but there are noticeable changes in enemy / bullet patterns depending on the ship and fire mode you're using. So depending on those factor you might have made the game harder on yourself without realizing it. ;)

But yeah, DDP in general can be pretty tough, even BL Novice. I would recommend sticking to regular Novice for now until you've gotten used to the controls and various mechanics.

There is an absolute treasure trove of game design quality to be discovered here, but it's probably very easy to burn oneself out on the difficulty curve...

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Re: Shmups

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clippa wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:54 am
Make sure you're playing "strong" mode when you choose your ship. That's like autobomb mode.
Bomb Style has auto-bomb too, though. And even Power Style has the option if you can find and keep a bomb in storage.

More here: http://www.slateman.net/faqs/ddp4.txt

And here: https://cavedb.com/reviews/dodonpachi-daifukkatsu/
Speaking of autobombing, this is a controversial element found throughout the game, in all three styles. However, it works better than you might assume. In Bomb and Strong styles, when you get hit and release an autobomb, it kills your chain just as a death would, and the bomb only lasts 2 seconds (and does little to no damage).

It's a bit difficult to find any concrete information on this, but the reason I'm hesitant to recommend Strong Style is because I think it may actually make the enemies more aggressive and the bullets faster. It makes the player ship very powerful, but I think there is a trade-off. Strong Style isn't necessarily the best option for survival.

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hazeredmist
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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

I can't rememeber exactly what I picked but I know I went for something that said Autobomb :D
KSubzero1000 wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:53 am
I think it's important to note that DDP handles difficulty a bit differently than other games. I don't think there is any dedicated "Expert" mode but there are noticeable changes in enemy / bullet patterns depending on the ship and fire mode you're using. So depending on those factor you might have made the game harder on yourself without realizing it. ;)
^ this sounds plausible...

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Re: Shmups

Post by KSubzero1000 »

clippa wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 11:46 am
I'll have to experiment the next time I fire it up.
Please do. I'd be interested to hear a second opinion on whether or not the fire style influences the enemy behavior / aggressiveness or not. And btw, I think the in-game flavor text specifically describes Bomb Style as being "good for beginners" or something, so I wouldn't write it off just yet. I also hear that Power Style might be the best for scoring.

Not sure why the idea that "Strong Style is the only one worth using" is so pervasive, but I don't think it really holds up under scrutiny, to be honest.

clippa wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 11:46 am
Which mode do you use, owly? What's your score, what's your score?
Original - 49,364,750. For now, that is. :P

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Stanshall
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Re: Shmups

Post by Stanshall »

Haha. I would welcome the competition! :twisted:

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Re: Shmups

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clippa wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 12:04 pm
Sorry, I meant what style? Or have you not decided yet?
...That was my way of very subtly suggesting we stay on BWRP for now, because that's the exact score you were proudly declaring was going to "get smashed" two weeks ago. :P

After that, we'll both go see what DDPR has in store for us. Deal? :?:

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Re: Shmups

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clippa wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 12:53 pm
When we play DDPR, can we do that ketsuipachi mode? We'd both be fresh to that and I'd like to get into it.
Image

Totally cool with me, that mode looks dope and I'd like to try it out myself at some point.

Have fun with DOJ! And good luck! :)

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hazeredmist
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Re: Shmups

Post by hazeredmist »

clippa wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 12:53 pm
ketsuipachi mode?
Is that "black label arrange" mode?
the blurb on Steam's page for DDP Res wrote:Control the Tiger Schwert from KETSUI in the first international release for this mode!
(don't worry I'm just curious, I won't join in - it would be like a kid on a BMX with stabilisers trying to keep up in the Tour De France)

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