Dragon based bullet hell game

35 posts

Flag Post

I’ve just started my second year of college, and for my Computing subject, I’ve been told that I need to choose a challenging (for our level) project that is also useful. And as a gamer, my mind went instantly to trying to make a game. Now I need feedback as to whether anyone would want to play this game or not.

This is my first game, so I’m not really sure where to start with it yet, I’ve only been given a few days to find out if it’d have any end users and I have a knowledge of C# and Actionscript. I’d like to make a bullet hell game where the character you use is a dragon, in either a medieval (though I’m unsure how I could make that bullet hell) or a futuristic environment searching for its stolen egg.

I would like maybe a small slideshow type display of the storyline between levels, with around 3 different frames each. But only if people think it would be worth adding in.

How many levels are appropriate for a bullet hell game?
What type of enemies and bosses would you like to see in the game?
What do you think is the best method of collecting powerups? I think that between more dangerous “minibosses” there would be popcorn that drops a powerup based on how fast or how many were killed at the end of the sequence.
Should there be a kind of skill tree and experience element to it, to make it easier for new players, but can be completely ignored by seasoned gamers? Such as the ability to strengthen your dragon to take more damage than others?
And how do you feel about a health system? Just to make a difference between big and small bullets, with larger ones dealing larger damage or just outright killing you.

 
Flag Post

In general these are the sort of questions you won’t have to deal with until you actually got a working game rather than just an idea in your head. Stuff like “how many levels should I have” are largely irrelevant at this point of time for you, just focus on the technical aspects of how you will make your game run instead.

After that I would recommend playing a few bullet hell games and finding what sort of elements you find favorable and what sort of things you dislike. For instance, I am personally not a fan of health systems, preferring a single hit deaths instead, but that’s just me.

 
Flag Post

You should be asking questions like:

What graphics API am I using?
How am I going to implement a fast collision detection?
What control scheme am I using?
How do I make enemies aim at the player (possibly with prediction AI)?
How to I make enemies travel along a path?

 
Flag Post

Read this. It will make things a lot easier.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:

Read this. It will make things a lot easier.

Very interesting product, teaches us about the depth of game design, a sample article from it and one of my favorites


It’s the small tips like these that really help developers polish their product into a finalized masterpiece.

If that isn’t enough the book goes in depth about areas that will really aid students and programmers and developers like you and me complete and work on a game project

http://www.artofgamedesign.com/book/AGD%20-%20Chapter%2009.pdf

I think it really promotes ideas and thinking and inspires aspiring developers to create a well planned and well produced game!

All together only ~$70! Please purchase to support our friends!

 
Flag Post

Haha, very funny.


Originally posted by qwerber:

All together only ~$70! Please purchase to support our friends!

I was able to get the book from the library.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:

Haha, very funny.


Originally posted by qwerber:

All together only ~$70! Please purchase to support our friends!

I was able to get the book from the library.

You need to have some confidence in this product, my words are honest! After reading through a couple of the chapters, I got hooked! I don’t have the money to invest in a purchase yet, do you know if there exists a PDF version on e-library of some sort? Thanks for the quick reply!

 
Flag Post

Thanks for the derail guys, can you take that discussion to PM?

Qwerber’s questions about the technical aspect of things in his first post were very salient, but you were also right to ask yourself questions about the end product OP, because you need to know what you’re trying to build before you figure out how.

I have also considered making a bullet hell game featuring a dragon in the past, and it has been done before even if only as part of a larger game (skip to 0:33 if you’re impatient). In a medieval setting it would probably be more of an “arrow hell” than a bullet hell, but the main differences would likely be three things:

1) The ability to breathe fire at the ground or in the air.
2) The limited duration of fire breath before the dragon needs to catch his breath.
3) The very short range of dragon breath compared to the usual whole screen range of a space ship.

Keep also in mind that one of the things that make a dragon a dragon is its majestic size. A small dragon is just a glorified lizard, but bullet hells in which you have no hope of avoiding projectiles due to the large hitbox of your avatar are no fun. So there’s a conflict here. You need to think about how you are going to resolve it.

Once you know what you want and you have simplified it as much as you can, then you can think about the technical aspects.

Edit: Before you get too caught up in your ideas, also check that “challenging but useful” and “video game” overlap in your instructor’s mind. Assuming they have been teaching (both in the general sense and to you specifically) for a while they would be the best person to know how ambitious your project should be. Listen to them, it’s very easy to bite more than you can chew when designing a game.

 
Flag Post

Aww, no one remembers my game?

 
Flag Post

oh this is easy. have dragons be your minibosses/bosses in your level, and blast them to hell with your player characters.
have them wizards on giant eagles or some harry potter stuff like that. This way you can preserve your theme, while trying to make it playable. Lets face it. Everyone wants to fight a dragon.

On a completely different subject I do remember playing Godzilla for NES, and that it sucked. Reading this thread about controlling a giant dragon reminded me of that game for some reason…

oh and here http://www.kongregate.com/games/barniel/heroin-hero

 
Flag Post

@greydragon412:

1) Ideal number of levels: That depends on how long each level is. I did 15 (+10 normal @ 3-5 min each, +3 bonus, +1 survival, +1 boss rush) and the general consensus is that it wasn’t enough. I’d suggest 20 normal levels at the very least. In bullet hell games, it’s generally considered okay to reuse the same background and enemies (just arrange them in harder/denser groupings) across several levels, so twice as many levels really wouldn’t be that much extra development time.

2) Types of enemies: That depends on the theme of your game. They can be whatever you want; what really matters is that their bullet patterns and AI are interesting enough to make each individual enemy feel like an encounter with something new.

3) Collecting Powerups: Don’t overdo it on these, and try to avoid RNG. In my bullet hell game, because I used RNG to determine powerup drops, it was possible to trivialize the first phase of a boss by getting a lucky shield drop on the last wave of enemies. Don’t do that. Maybe have your miniboss drop a pre-determined power up, or grant mercy on the player by dropping a pre-determined power up right before a really difficult boss.

4) Skill tree, experience, etc: That’s actually up to you. Realize that “gold to buy upgrades” and “experience to progress through your skill tree” are basically the same thing. You definitely want some sort of upgrade or level up system, though.

5) Health system: Most bullet hell games these days use something like that already, so it’s pretty standard. However, I wouldn’t suggest making the size the determining factor for the damage they deal; that should be determined by the object firing the shot. Big bullets offer enough additional challenge by taking up more space on the screen as it is.

The questions qwerber lists are worth looking at (his first post, not the other nonsense about that ridiculous book). Bullet hell games are all about running smoothly, so 1) make sure you’re using AS3 instead of AS2, and 2) fast collision detection is important. Fast everything is important, because the hallmark of bullet hell games is having a ton of shit on the screen, each doing its own thing. Tons of things on the screen can mean lag, even if you optimize like a boss.

@Draco18s: Neat, that’s the first I actually saw of it. The character is awfully wide, though. :O

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by qwerber:

So basically, it must have…the Precious…to make good gameses.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Aesica:
Originally posted by qwerber:

So basically, it must have…the Precious…to make good gameses.

LOL, never thought of it like that before. Gollum is my favorite LotR character.

 
Flag Post

Oops, I apologize for not responding here, I assumed that Kongregate would notify me of responses to my threads.

@Qwerber For the moment, I’m not quite at actually designing or making the game, that’s what I’ll be starting a few months from now. At the moment I need to get market research done to prove that making the game is actually worth doing, otherwise it doesn’t matter how good the game is, I’d still get 0%.

@Ace_Blue I was thinking of also adding wizards into it, considering the magical side of dragons. That way there can be the arrows and trebuchets (Probably on fire so they’re easier to see) as well as actual bullets like the genre suggests.

It’ll be a 2D game, so the flame direction on the z axis isn’t an issue.
The fire wouldn’t be a constant, more like fireballs so that they will also travel up the full length of the screen. There may also have to be a timer on rest periods in which it breathes every so often though, or would that just disrupt gameplay?

One of the largest parts of the dragon would be its wings, but I don’t think that they should be within the hit box, which would prevent it being too difficult, but wouldn’t exactly make sense. I could allow for tilting of the dragon so that there’s a much smaller hitbox, but then any spread of fireballs from powerups etc. would be nullified as it’s all in a line. So then the player has to decide if they can squeeze through gaps with the wings, or just shoot a single fireball.

And yes, apparently I can do a video game for it as long as it is “marketable”, which just means will people play it?

@FlashGrenade Yes, that’s a very good idea! I’m not sure about giant eagles, but Wizards would definitely make a great boss, as they can generate bullet streams anywhere on the screen.
Fighting dragons? Nope, I hate fighting them, that’s one of the reasons I want to be a dragon on this, because I want to be the dragon, not fight them xD However, the final boss may well end up being a larger dragon/wyvern or Wizard on one of them.

@Aesica Hmm, I never thought about re-using things, that’s a very good point, thank you!

Yeah, RNG overall doesn’t sound like a very good idea when you put it that way. But how about just weapon powerups dropped over time that have an RNG to determine if it upgrades spread, power or speed and then these values stack up over time?

I figured experience would make more sense, as a dragon wouldn’t waste its gold. And would the make sense to have as a separate thing? Such as having a level map with the option to go back and grind for more exp for people that can’t beat harder levels?

 
Flag Post

Definitely have a level map that allows people to backtrack. Practically every bullet hell game I’ve seen on Kong has that feature, and since it’s easy enough to do, there’s really no reason not to include it. The backtracking/grinding serves as a sort of soft difficulty cap of sorts—the skilled players won’t need to backtrack and might be able to finish the game without fully upgrading everything.

Randomized weapon upgrades in set locations: That might work, but just make sure the power ups are all relatively equal. If the spread shot powerup is like, ridiculously better than the speed shot powerup, getting a lucky drop could be make or break. When doing anything with randomized powerups, ask yourself this: “Would getting a certain power up over another by sheer luck be make or break for the upcoming fight?”

Oh, and if you really do plan on making it a bullet hell game, keep the hit box as 1 pixel in the center of the character (and show it with a dot or something so players know where it is). First, play Draco18s’s shooter and notice how easy it is to get hit by taking a shot to the wing, head, tail, etc. That’s fine, because while a shooter, his isn’t a bullet hell game. In bullet hell games, giving the player a larger-than-1-pixel hitbox would mean…well just look at all the bullet spam in each screenshot and decide for yourself: [1 2 3]

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Aesica:

Oh, and if you really do plan on making it a bullet hell game, keep the hit box as 1 pixel in the center of the character (and show it with a dot or something so players know where it is). First, play Draco18s’s shooter and notice how easy it is to get hit by taking a shot to the wing, head, tail, etc. That’s fine, because while a shooter, his isn’t a bullet hell game. In bullet hell games, giving the player a larger-than-1-pixel hitbox would mean…well just look at all the bullet spam in each screenshot and decide for yourself: [1 2 3]

Like…Flash Beryllium ;)

 
Flag Post

Exactly. And hey, that’s pretty damned cool. :D

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Aesica:

if you really do plan on making it a bullet hell game, keep the hit box as 1 pixel in the center of the character

Yes, very important.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by Aesica:

if you really do plan on making it a bullet hell game, keep the hit box as 1 pixel in the center of the character

Yes, very important.

I concur, when a game is heavily based on avoiding it would be frustrating if the exact hitpoint is not displayed!

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Aesica:

Exactly. And hey, that’s pretty damned cool. :D

I freely admit that I stole a lot of the concept.
It was my entry into the Scion Driving Creativity contest (that the shootorials came from) and I was mostly just reskinning the core shooter to a clever theme I’d seen in another game. And yoinked most of the mechanics. :P

I did some stuff really poorly (coding-wise) though, and will never forgive myself.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Draco18s:

I did some stuff really poorly (coding-wise) though, and will never forgive myself.

I did notice that there was some pretty hefty lag when lots of things were on the screen. Made fighting (surviving?) the black hole boss a cakewalk. :D

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Aesica:
Originally posted by Draco18s:

I did some stuff really poorly (coding-wise) though, and will never forgive myself.

I did notice that there was some pretty hefty lag when lots of things were on the screen. Made fighting (surviving?) the black hole boss a cakewalk. :D

Yeah. Because:
a) AS2
b) Not good coding. You have no idea how much timeline code I have in there D:

 
Flag Post

Post it in the horrible code thread! ;p

 
Flag Post

In a way, it felt scientifically accurate. Nothing escapes the gravity of a black hole—not even time itself. Hence the lag. :D

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by Ace_Blue:

Post it in the horrible code thread! ;p

Heh. I’m not sure I have the source code any more.

Originally posted by Aesica:

In a way, it felt scientifically accurate. Nothing escapes the gravity of a black hole—not even time itself. Hence the lag. :D

Hehe.