Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

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Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby loempiavreter » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:40 pm

There's plenty of belt scroll fans around on this forum, so that's why i call the likeminded to arms :

I've joined the Dragon Arm project from Frozen Utopia as a sprite artist an character designer, the Pc-Engine developer of Myserious Song. Dragon Arm is one of their upcoming Pc-Engine projects, to add some belt scroll coop goodness on a system that's kinda lacking them. Being a fan of the genre, I joined up of course! I've done several attempts to start my own, but I never could get the coders to back me up.

Of course there's quite some limitations with the Pc-Engine CD hardware, it's not up par with most belt scroll classics that the arcade gave us. For example it cannot generate as much grunts as we would like to see, but there's a little trick that Streets of Rage/Bare Knuckle taught that could bypass this limitation, let's see if it will work!

But other then this, is there any suggestion or tips you could give me, that this project should include?

I've already thought on a Vendetta-like use of weaponary, juggle-friendly physics (and possibility to do coop combo's similar, which is possible on Pc-Engine by tweaking the FallDown state apprently, makes me screech in joy) and watching a ton of kung fu and other martial arts movies to look for cool moves to add.

Before the folk @Frozen Utopia had already thought up a fighting system based on the characters elemental based dragon tattoo. Providing a similar special power gauge as Denjin Makai, with the option to refill by picking up the same coloured ink jar as your tattoo (I guess I'd suggest them for others to pick up the wrong ink jar will fill up less power to your special power bar then picking up the right one, so that you are never void of filling up your power).

Any other suggestion, wishes you've never seen done in a belt scroll title?

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Shou » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:38 am

From a gameplay perspective, there will need to be a balance with how many enemy characters can be displayed on screen, which has always been the limit with the 16-bit consoles.

Some things to think of
- some kind of item system like in D&D or KOV if appropriate
- crowd control mechanisms
- multiple grappling options, something that is very much unexplored in fighters and beat'em ups, see Tobal for the best implementation
- multi-player special moves like the double spin kick in Double Dragon II
- reversals like in SFC Double Dragon but needs to be balanced to not be uber strong
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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Ganelon » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:57 am

Macaw will have a field day with this topic. :)

First, I'll copy over the description from the Frozen Utopia website:

A side-scrolling beat-em-up in the vein of Final Fight. Choose from several different characters, each with their own unique skills and special talents.


First, is the setting in the modern day like Final Fight? The word "dragon" often suggests a medieval fantasy setting.

I don't think you'll be able to satisfy everyone. If you allow juggles and want balance, then boss HP needs to be lengthened to account for that. Otherwise, experts will breeze through the game. But if you do all that, then beginners will have a hard time. Arcade beat-em-ups have focused on expert players (e.g. if you don't know solid juggles, there's 0 chance to 1CC a Knights of Valour game). That puts me off personally (hence why I don't play any other fighting game except SF2 seriously), but perhaps I'm in the minority. If you must, consider a custom combo option that uses the super gauge. That way, the system is more segmented: new folks can super and experts can custom combo to do even more damage.

My suggestion is to not over-complicate the game. There's a reason there are 0 English language beat-em-up forums. Diehard fans are few, much less those who actually understand strategy to 1CC these games. Although I would like nothing more than another game to take advantage of my 6-button PCE controllers, risking alienating all the 2-button players with obtuse button combinations won't work. I like simplicity myself, although having special move inputs and perhaps even a super bar wouldn't be bad ideas.

I actually think you have one of the toughest jobs. A lot about a beat-em-up is the visuals. Ideally, you'll be able to make the sprites as large as in Anesan. One of my least favorite art styles is Violent Storm, which made every character look really ugly. It's also dangerous to get too cartoony; I don't think anyone really likes beat-em-ups for kids. Meanwhile, games like Bare Knuckle II and III have great sprites. Remember also that enemy variety is critical. I imagine that not enough enemies is the #1 reason people find beat-em-ups repetitive.

Mechanics-wise, having at least one jump attack that doesn't knock down is a great way to make those moves useful. Innovative pickups is a weak point in the genre; something that adds a move or temporarily transforms you would be interesting. I've always liked the concept of plot choices in a beat-em-up leading to vastly different endings. BKIII and Guardian Heroes (not exactly a belt scroll) touched upon this.

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Macaw » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:59 am

Ganelon wrote:Macaw will have a field day with this topic. :)


Haha, well there isn't much to say really at this stage of development, it depends what style your going for. Either you go with a straight final fight style brawler or you add in an item system and stuff like D&D. Then its a matter of whether you want basic fighting mechanics like most of the earlier brawlers, or elaborate combo systems. Either way can work depending on how you do it, just look at King of Dragons which only has a single type of attack, but works because of the stage variety, leveling up hack and slash feel, and most of all the huge number of varied bosses.

Bosses are actually quite an interesting point in this genre. Usually they consist of just some dude to fight, but the fantasy titles tended to have more large bosses that don't fit normally into the game mechanics, for example the dragons in D&D and such. You cant have huge sprites like that walk around as normal characters and be combo'd and thrown around normally because if they stood in front of you they would block your character, hence the various methods of displaying them (in the background or whatever) to still get the message across, and save having to do excessive animation in the process.

Once again there really isn't any best case, it just depends what you wanna do. Personally I think the huge bosses in belt action games are some of the most visually exciting in any 2d action games, though at the same time stuff like final fight is cool too with the 80's action style movie atmospheres and 'all human' cast of enemies so to speak.

Heres some screenshots of awesome non-standard beat em up bosses to maybe give you ideas anyway:

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Ara Ararauna, Blue and Gold Macaw, 32-34 inches
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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby loempiavreter » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:35 pm

I love Violent Storm sprites, their big and colourful (and Sledge the Ninja Turtle parody boss who uses a wok as weapon)! But our sprites cannot exceed 64x64 pixel. Of course there's a big grappler playable character available but also a character/style something not seen very often in belt scroll games.

Setting is modern day Hong Kong, the title references the dragon tattoo each playable character (whichare vigilantes) has, there's a terrorist group involved (which in turn make use of a mercenary group, with all kinds of bosses). What we have now is multiple route system, they wanted shop system (river city ransom influence). I'd like to see something arcade-like version of this as shown in forgotten worlds and planet harriers, limited choice, with big icons.

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I'm gonna try to have Bosses feature as much as possible in the game, so I was thinking multiple bosses in one stage (maybe even a double pairing of bosses like in the KOV games). As long as the Pc-Engine hardware can handle it, although the CD gives us tons of space for sprites.

I also came up with the idea of an boss that uses poison gas (and kinda like Scarecrow from Batman does), transforms the enviroment. Kinda like NMK's also Riot does (although have 1 phase transform the boss into a giant in the background like the dragons from D&D and more stuff), to make this sorta stuff happen in a modern setting.

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Pretas » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:53 am

One of my least favorite art styles is Violent Storm, which made every character look really ugly.

Completely and utterly disagree.

I'd like to see a Bare Knuckle 3-like vertical dodge move, as long as it has enough delay to not be abuseable. I also like the idea of a meter used both for performing super moves, and activating a custom combo mode like SFZ3's V-ISM.
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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby loempiavreter » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:36 am

I'm a bit stuck an creativily empty when it comes designing enemy grunts at the moment, does anyone a suggestion of a type of enemy grunt-type (the kind of attack, the kind of AI, the role they play in a crowd of enemies) or maybe suggest looking at a particular grunt from a game?

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Macaw » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:02 am

Basic grunts should usually just tread randomly around the player occasionally coming in for a jab. In the standard Final Fight model they're pretty much just used as support for actually threatening enemies, and to give the player a sense of fun from bashing groups of dudes without getting obliterated straight away.
Ara Ararauna, Blue and Gold Macaw, 32-34 inches


They are adaptable, and enjoy being in social situations. They readily become adept at performing tricks, and seem to love doing so. Cost:$900-1400

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby loempiavreter » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:40 pm

The game is still on :) I'm also excited of course about Project Y, but also about our own game of course :)

Here's a mock up, we are not that far down when it comes to assets mostly because of my fault :P No backgrounds are made yet so I've used a SOR1 just to show sprite size on screen and such.
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(Forum doesn't show complete image, right click to see more)

We've opted for SOR1, Zero Team and maybe Vendetta-like sprite sizes because of technical limitations of Pc-Engine. So no fancy Violent Storm size sprites I'm afraid. As it is now we can generate 6 character sprites on screen. Although I'm looking if I can trick it by making small enemies like dogs. Although the problem for flickr is not height but sprite width that matters the most :/

The Dreamcast-button colored characters are the playable characters, their fighting styles resembling: Jeet Kune Do (Yellow), Eagle Claw (Red), Drunken Master (Green) and Chinese Wrestling (Blue).

Programming for the basic framework is mostly done, as we basically remade Golden Axe for Pc-Engine. We gonna build further upon this of course adding stuff like more juggle opportunity (also for coop) and combo variations :)

:)

Oh yeah I'm also exited about this boss chick:
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She is the one gonna do battle in the psychic/mental state and grow large and basically play like this:
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Also i'm thinking of suggesting to the team to do something like God Hand with random spawning demons (in our case... random ultra TUFF grunts). Base on well you play? Or something like Defender where the whole world goes to mutant hell if you fail to rescue the humans. Anyone got a good idea in this direction?

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Gaijin Punch » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:09 am

Exciting... makes me glad to hang on to 2D games. ;)
So what's the timeline looking like?
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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Macaw » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:23 am

Looks great, love the Chinese wrestling guy lol.
Ara Ararauna, Blue and Gold Macaw, 32-34 inches


They are adaptable, and enjoy being in social situations. They readily become adept at performing tricks, and seem to love doing so. Cost:$900-1400

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby JoshF » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:03 pm

If you can only have 6 characters on the screen, I would recommend that you specifically program the single-player for 5 enemies instead of 4 with 2P opt-in. Low enemy count is what ruined virtually all console belt-scrollers except for the Bare Knuckle games.

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Macaw » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:26 am

Holy shit its JoshF and Megashock is looking sexy Image
Ara Ararauna, Blue and Gold Macaw, 32-34 inches


They are adaptable, and enjoy being in social situations. They readily become adept at performing tricks, and seem to love doing so. Cost:$900-1400

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby zinger » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:57 am

Oh yea, looks fantastic Josh. How ya doin?

Game looks ace, too, loem!

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Re: Belt scroll fans unite, please give me some advice

Postby Imhotep » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:19 pm

crowd control is crucial to the genre.

other than attacking foes in bulks, this can be done via throwing and finishers.

Zero Team for instance offers safer short distance and riskier long distance finishers, this already does spice up things nicely.

As for throwing, Arabian Magic does the job nicely, as it allows you to grab your opponent out of a jab and throw him in both directions. This is part of the basic moveset for all characters.

Personally, I tend to like characters that can jump when holding an enemy, and slam them into the ground, ideally to hit other foes.
Examples are the bear guy in Metamorphic Force and the guy wearing suspenders in Violent Storm.
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