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- "Indie STG Production Diary #2: The Story of 'The STG Dilemma'"
- written by Shigatake, translated by nobody important, taken from https://www.pixiv.net/fanbox/creator/3930/post/123102
- ※Before you read this post, please understand that it's a purely subjective analysis based on my own tastes, and I don't mean to disparage any of the STG series out there.
- ●"THE STG DILEMMA"
- I'm an enthusiastic (and enthusiastically awful) STG diehard, but as a player I often feel "the dilemma of STG proficiency".
- Because these are fundamentally simple games, there are many elements that rely heavily on player skill; as such, many of the fine details tailored towards experienced players can prove to be huge hurdles for inexperienced players, and it can be difficult for both audiences to enjoy a particular game.
- ●SPECIFIC EXAMPLES
- --Games with a heavy emphasis on power-ups (Raiden, Darius, Gradius, etc)
- While the feeling of steadily becoming more powerful is always fun, on-the-fly recovery from death can be very difficult and is a common point of frustration for new players.
- --Games with "gotcha" traps that require a certain amount of memorization (Thunder Force series, etc)
- Experienced players can quickly adapt and enjoy the challenge of devising patterns, but beginner players are easily susceptible to unavoidable traps and they can tend to take a long time to figure out how to negotiate them.
- --Games anchored around unique systems (R-Type's Force, Radiant Silvergun's mandatory chaining system, Ikaruga's polarity system, etc)
- While these games can offer very deep gameplay, the stage design is so heavily predicated on players knowing and understanding these systems that players who don't grasp the systems are at a huge disadvantage.
- ●PC version "Devil Blade" concept
- With those problems in mind, I tried designing the PC version of Devil Blade with "an STG that's easy for beginners but deep enough for veterans" as the core concept:
- (Beginner guidelines)
- ・Designed with the premise that beginners can clear the game
- ・"Shoot, dodge & destroy" are the fundamental tenets of STG; minimize or excise other elements wherever possible and focus on simple game rules
- ・playing for score is completely optional (crucial)
- ・it's possible to clear the game even if the player doesn't fully grasp or utilize each shot type
- ・no power-up system (painless recovery)
- ・use bombs to replenish shields (encourages use of bombs)
- ・make sure enemies have obvious tells for their special attacks so that they're easy to avoid
- ・the bosses will lose a set amount of HP whenever the player is hit
- ＋the boss's HP will gradually decrease over time in order to eliminate prolonged boss battles
- (Veteran guidelines)
- ・an involved scoring system for veteran players
- ・proximity-based score multiplier system (high-risk/high-reward)
- ・point-blanking enemies in quick succession triggers a "berzerk" state (tough!)
- ・constant point-blank destruction required to maintain and increase the berzerk rate (even tougher!)
- ・different scoring potential for each shot type (technique = higher score)
- ・additional bonuses based on bomb stock (discourages players from bombing through challenging sections)
- ・disable the boss' automatic HP reduction* (stops the player from accidentally gimping the difficulty)
- [TL note: it's not stated, but I think he specifically means when the berzerk state is active]
- The feedback and opinions I received after releasing the demo make me think my guidelines are working as intended.
- demo play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBKvyaItQCY
- download link: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AhgfiTdPXcRighvZATe1xvBtpl6c
- postscript: Devil Blade - Dezaemon version
- I didn't really expect anyone else to ever play it, so I balanced the game around what I felt was fun, and as I repeatedly tested the game the difficulty level crept higher and higher.
- As a result, many players have told me it's quite a tough game; that being said, it was very well-received by players of a certain skill level, so I suppose that's natural selection at work.
- Incidentally, I didn't really think about the scoring system too much, but a few players praised the game for its score-attack elements, so one of my core goals for the PC version was to more consciously design something that's fun to play for score.
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