Although it’s been rather quiet for a while, the Japanese company Cave has long been known as one of the best developers of modern shoot ’em ups out there.
With most of their titles falling into the danmaku (“bullet hell”) subgenre, their titles have a reputation for being challenging and punishing but highly polished, combining solid mechanics with absolutely beautiful presentation and a delightful blend of “old and new”.
Deathsmiles is one of the company’s most well-regarded recent works, and is a great example of what “frantic shooting” is all about — not to mention a fine showcase for Cave’s mastery of game mechanics that go far beyond simply “shoot everything and don’t die”.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Deathsmiles
Any self-respecting gamer knows that if you really want to impress someone with your dexterity and prowess, you don’t fire up a Souls game, you fire up a bullet hell shmup.
Notorious for their screen-filling bullet patterns that seemingly demand superhuman reflexes to navigate, bullet hell (or, to give them their more “proper” name, danmaku) shoot ’em ups are a frightening prospect to get involved with. But you might be surprised at quite how approachable some of them are.
One such example of a danmaku shmup that is both accepting to genre newcomers and monstrously challenging to veterans is Gundemonium Recollection from Japanese doujin circle Platine Dispositif, originally localised for PS3 and PC by Rockin’ Android. It’s a game that isn’t afraid to slap you about a bit, but also a good place to familiarise yourself with some conventions of the genre.
And, well, it’s just a really good game to boot, too.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Gundemonium Recollection
There’s an assumption among certain parts of the gaming community that you need a big budget and a massive team to make something that looks amazing.
This is nonsense, of course, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the output of Japanese doujin circle Edelweiss, who have, to date, put out three exceptional (and exceptionally beautiful) games, each of which demonstrates a clear understanding of how to produce something that both looks spectacular and plays incredibly fluidly, in the grand tradition of arcade games.
Edelweiss’ most recent release is Astebreed, a shoot ’em up that began its life on PC but was subsequently ported to (and enhanced for) PlayStation 4. And it’s one hell of a game that any shmup fan should be proud to have in their library.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Astebreed
It’s time to breathe some life into our world!
In RPG Maker, you add interactivity through Events. These are lists of commands that are attached to an object on a map, coupled with a trigger of some sort, be it the player walking up to an NPC and pressing the action button, or the number of flatulent wombles the player is carrying in their bag being greater than 13.
Events are essentially a simple form of programming, but don’t run away screaming — you don’t have to memorise lots of different commands, define functions or anything complicated like that. All you need is an ability to think things through in a logical manner and an awareness of the options you have available to you.
Continue reading RPG Maker MV: Getting Started with Events
Let’s make a game!
Well, part of one anyway. Over the course of the next three articles, I’ll introduce you to how RPG Maker MV does business: how you create maps, fill them with things to do and, in the final part, how to go beyond the constraints of the basic engine.
Today we’re going to take a look at the most basic skill you will need to get an RPG Maker MV game up and running: mapping. Like any creative tool, if you don’t master this essential first, there’s little point in going further. Learn to walk before you run before you fly, and all that.
The aim for today is to make a small town and the beginning of a dungeon beneath it. Not the most ambitious or sprawling game, sure, but more than enough to give you a look at how to create both maps. In the next article, we’ll add some life to these locations with Events.
If you’re ready, then, let’s get going! If you want to follow along but don’t have a copy of MV, you can download a trial version from the official website.
Continue reading RPG Maker MV: Basic Mapping
Have you ever thought about making your own games? I bet you have, even if it was only briefly when you were twelve years old and didn’t know any better about how much work was involved in producing them.
Over the years, there have been a number of solutions for aspiring game designers to put together at the very least convincing prototypes of the things they want to share with the world, and in many cases fully-realised projects, assembled without any need to delve into the complexities of programming a computer from the ground up.
One such solution that has remained enduringly popular over the years is the RPG Maker series, initially developed by ASCII and subsequently handed over to Enterbrain, a subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, for the more recent installments.
So what, exactly, has made this series such a firm fixture in the amateur development landscape for so many years now? Arm your chipsets, ready your battlers and cue up your BGM; we’re going in.
Continue reading RPG Maker MV: Introduction and History