## BLUE REVOLVER [full ver released!]

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danbo
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### BLUE REVOLVER [full ver released!]

hi there! this is the manic shooter a few friends and i have been working on for 2 years now. it's finally fully released and on steam, itch.io, or direct from us through humble! you can check out the trailer here:

website | itch.io | steam | presskit (screenshots, art etc)

if you've played CAVE/Raizing games, you can probably see the influence. one of my design goals was to create something blending elements from tons of my favourite shmups, as well as help introduce them to beginners with a few extra features!

people seem to ask me all over the place what i used to make the game, and obviously its love2d. i love it! i love having huge amounts of control over everything in a language like lua - precision and polish is the name of the game when you're trying to make something like this, and i don't think we would have been able to do what we've done in another tool.

libraries used: HUMP, Simple Tiled Implementation, Tserial.lua, anim8, love-loader. all authors credited.

source release may be at some point once i can figure out how to do it reasonably, though you can probably look at it straight away if you're inclined. i've made no effort to obfuscate or hide the code in any way. though this being a first project that went kinda over time and had tons of work put into it, the code is a bit all over the place...

either way huge thanks to the love2d crew for making this game possible!
Last edited by danbo on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

Overall this is pretty good. The art is really really good (I'm a huge fan of woof's art) and the game works well for what you set out to do. There are a few things that would make it better, IMO:

1. more impact on certain interactions, like when the beam attack continually hits something for a long time there's no feedback that there's anything happening other than the part that's being hit being slightly highlighted. A bigger amount of feedback with particles coming out of the beam's end would improve things a lot. Adding a small amount of screen shake whenever the beam is hitting something wouldn't hurt either.

2. the missile attacks (the ones from the K key) look really good too but also lack a little impact whenever they hit something, especially when that something doesn't die immediately. Instead of just spawning the explosion animation spawn some particles and make things a bit flashier. This is an example of a really flashy explosion with multiple parts to it instead of just one explosion sprite http://kpulv.com/upload/files/140227explode.gif. The same applies for the bomb.

The only attack that feels actually good to use IMO is the L one because there's a lot of feedback happening (animation whenever one of the bullets hits something) at a fast rate. For the other attacks their either kill things too fast, or when they don't there's no proper hit feedback like with the L one.

And finally (you can just discard what I'm gonna say next though if you don't think it applies), the gameplay isn't that interesting. I'm biased because it takes a lot to make me like a shmup so I'm sort of wired to not think this is super amazing. I feel it'd be better if it had some more mechanics to play around with, either at an action-to-action level (like teleporting, destroying enemy bullets, activating shields, etc) or at a higher level (getting new attacks after each level, finding special items, skill trees, some RPG elements, roguelite elements, etc). Anything that makes the game more than a shmup.
danbo
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

we have to tread a really fine line with readability given the type of game it is - so outside of really exceptional circumstances i'm hesitant to put any screenshake in. as for your second point, i half want to remake them into something like "drill missiles" that more clearly burrow into the enemy or something similar... they do decelerate on hitting stuff, but i agree that it's not necessarily clear what they're hitting, especially if you're trying to destroy midboss/boss parts with it

we really really wanted to get good solid core gameplay down - no gimmicks. there's something i'm going to be working on soon which might appeal to you in that regard, though! i'm aware that people do want a bit of complexity/variety, and what i have in mind is hopefully something that can offer that in a daily challenge format while still being a rock-solid, consistent, authored experience. but that's for later!
s-ol
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

Need to wait till I get home to try it out but... Damn, this looks sexy!

s-ol.nu /blog  -  p.s-ol.be /st8.lua  -  g.s-ol.be /gtglg /curcur

Code: Select all

print( type(love) )
if false then
baby:hurt(me)
end
undef
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

Not very original gameplay, but I am stunned.
Very well excecuted, very polished, wonderful art, great music, and overall a very thrilling demo.
Can't wait to see more!

Some minor bugs:
- Sometimes in transitions (beginning of the level, or before boss) the ship shoots other projectiles than the ones I intend

Anyway, nicely done, you guys are awesome!

CandyFace
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

it feels really solid, and it was quite a lot of fun to play through. Completed after fifth try
I agree that the game needs a bit more *BANG* when there is impact, especially on tougher and bigger enemies.
Readability is important but a bit of screenshake when you destroy tougher enemies should not hurt, and after completing a boss battle could also IMO make the screen go crazy, till new enemies appear.

I would also like to say that I was playing the mac build with a PS3 Controller and it worked flawlessly, though when i remapped the buttons (by mistake) the analog stick stopped working.

Great work!
ki
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

Wow, this is great!
adnzzzzZ wrote:Anything that makes the game more than a shmup.
Yes, there are already a lot of classic Arcade Shoot 'em ups one can play anytime (via MAME, and various ports). I'd also like some other motivation than the usual <beat the challenge because "it's there">. I'm a bit drained of playing classic Arcade Shmups and now prefer to play Hydorah, which has a bit of a progression system and very diversified level design.

I'd add the suggestion of a shop like in Xenon 2. I always liked to try to collect as much cash as possible during the levels (more motivating to me than scoring points for a highscore) and then decide which weapons and powerups to buy in the shop. Ideally, it should be interesting to find powerful configurations of weapons and powerups and maybe ship types too. They could enable slightly different playstyles, for example with a flamethrower you'd need to get close to the enemies.

If you keep the pure Arcade gameplay, I'll still play it, though.

By the way, when reading "top-down shooter" I expected a game where you can run and fire in all directions, like Nuclear Throne. I think the term is usually used for those kind of games, and using it for Shmups too makes things confusing.

Edit: I've read some articles on your two blogs and I guess a shop, which is a kind of unlocking/progression system, is exactly opposite to your tastes. As an alternative suggestion, I wonder if it's possible to design a miniature progression system that plays out in the space of 2 minutes, similar to how a score-combo plays out in the space of 10 seconds.

Regarding your thoughts about scoring systems, I'm afraid to say that the scoring system already made me go a bit "oof, I'm checking out", even though it's not actually that complicated. I never liked the abstract scoring systems in bullet hell games. It might be possible to make it more appealing to players like me who are not completely hardcore Shmup fans by making it visually understandable (aside from the "8-hit" text in the HUD), for example like this: when 8 enemies are destroyed in quick succession, a little alarm clock item appears where the last enemy was destroyed, which, when shot with the special weapon, gives the special weapon projectiles a different and more powerful looking color, signifying that these projectiles now give higher scores. This suggestion isn't really thought out and has its problems, but something in that direction might work.

Other stuff:
- It's currently possible to fire the standard weapon at the same time as the special weapon. It feels a bit messy to me. Are there situations in the game where this makes good sense? If not, it might be better to disable the standard weapon while firing the special weapon.

- The operating system's mouse cursor should be hidden when playing in fullscreen mode.
danbo
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

undef wrote:Not very original gameplay, but I am stunned.
Very well excecuted, very polished, wonderful art, great music, and overall a very thrilling demo.
Can't wait to see more!

Some minor bugs:
- Sometimes in transitions (beginning of the level, or before boss) the ship shoots other projectiles than the ones I intend

Anyway, nicely done, you guys are awesome!
both noted, glad to hear you like it!
CandyFace wrote:it feels really solid, and it was quite a lot of fun to play through. Completed after fifth try
I agree that the game needs a bit more *BANG* when there is impact, especially on tougher and bigger enemies.
Readability is important but a bit of screenshake when you destroy tougher enemies should not hurt, and after completing a boss battle could also IMO make the screen go crazy, till new enemies appear.

I would also like to say that I was playing the mac build with a PS3 Controller and it worked flawlessly, though when i remapped the buttons (by mistake) the analog stick stopped working.

Great work!
the sound is probably the most WIP thing about this demo, i would like to implement something like "side chaining" where big explosions muffle other sounds or make them quiet - something subtle. i would rather beef up the sounds, particle effects etc than introduce screenshake in most scenarios still, though
ki wrote:Wow, this is great!
adnzzzzZ wrote:Anything that makes the game more than a shmup.
Yes, there are already a lot of classic Arcade Shoot 'em ups one can play anytime (via MAME, and various ports). I'd also like some other motivation than the usual <beat the challenge because "it's there">. I'm a bit drained of playing classic Arcade Shmups and now prefer to play Hydorah, which has a bit of a progression system and very diversified level design.

I'd add the suggestion of a shop like in Xenon 2. I always liked to try to collect as much cash as possible during the levels (more motivating to me than scoring points for a highscore) and then decide which weapons and powerups to buy in the shop. Ideally, it should be interesting to find powerful configurations of weapons and powerups and maybe ship types too. They could enable slightly different playstyles, for example with a flamethrower you'd need to get close to the enemies.

If you keep the pure Arcade gameplay, I'll still play it, though.

By the way, when reading "top-down shooter" I expected a game where you can run and fire in all directions, like Nuclear Throne. I think the term is usually used for those kind of games, and using it for Shmups too makes things confusing.

Edit: I've read some articles on your two blogs and I guess a shop, which is a kind of unlocking/progression system, is exactly opposite to your tastes. As an alternative suggestion, I wonder if it's possible to design a miniature progression system that plays out in the space of 2 minutes, similar to how a score-combo plays out in the space of 10 seconds.

Regarding your thoughts about scoring systems, I'm afraid to say that the scoring system already made me go a bit "oof, I'm checking out", even though it's not actually that complicated. I never liked the abstract scoring systems in bullet hell games. It might be possible to make it more appealing to players like me who are not completely hardcore Shmup fans by making it visually understandable (aside from the "8-hit" text in the HUD), for example like this: when 8 enemies are destroyed in quick succession, a little alarm clock item appears where the last enemy was destroyed, which, when shot with the special weapon, gives the special weapon projectiles a different and more powerful looking color, signifying that these projectiles now give higher scores. This suggestion isn't really thought out and has its problems, but something in that direction might work.

Other stuff:
- It's currently possible to fire the standard weapon at the same time as the special weapon. It feels a bit messy to me. Are there situations in the game where this makes good sense? If not, it might be better to disable the standard weapon while firing the special weapon.

- The operating system's mouse cursor should be hidden when playing in fullscreen mode.
yeah i'm very much against adding a shop or progression like that, though there'll be a lot of ship configurations to choose from (alternate special weapons, main gun, speed, bomb type etc) - i'm just simply not a fan of the design and would rather focus on core gameplay. you say there are a lot of classic arcade shooters you can play anytime but i can think of a lot of upgrade/shop-based shooters that i can play anytime, too! it's an "oversubscribed" genre that i don't feel has been properly done well in a very very long time and i want to drill right down to the core of that.

(haha i don't really like the term "shmup" so much these days but yeah top down shooter is the wrong term. i do want to make a nuclear throne clone someday though...)

one thing we'll have in v1.0 is a "daily challenge" system which might make the scoring system a bit more interesting for you. keep an eye on the blog for more info. i do like the notion of having the special weapon look a little different at 8x though it might be misleading since it won't do any more damage... might have a play around with it

will fix both of those other issues too. standard weapon + special weapon is not intended, just something i forgot to fix!
ki
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER

danbo wrote:yeah i'm very much against adding a shop or progression like that, though there'll be a lot of ship configurations to choose from (alternate special weapons, main gun, speed, bomb type etc) - i'm just simply not a fan of the design and would rather focus on core gameplay.
By all means design the game according to your own taste. Though I think that Arcade Shoot 'em ups and Bullet Hell Shooters are a smaller niche than they need to be because they elicit a single type of emotion ("hard fun"/"fiero") during playing, like a meal that consists of only one flavour. I still love the basic gameplay of Shmups, but there's not much motivation for me to keep playing anymore.

To clarify, it's not just the act of buying upgrades that I meant. It's also the additional motivation to play well, aside from increasing one's highscore, which is not sufficient motivation for lots of people. In Xenon 2, when an enemy formation swoops into the screen, the player ideally destroys the whole formation, because that results in a little cash bubble. So the game steers the player towards a playstyle that is fun and impressive. Also, sometimes the player will recklessly lose a life because he paid too much attention to collecting a cash bubble before it floats off the screen. Which is always fun. "Why was I so greedy? Aargh!... Let's play again!!" I wouldn't risk so much merely for a score increase.

At least for me, this motivation would already be there even if the upgrades were small. For example, if each of the weapon types has 3 upgrades that slightly increase their damage from 10 to 11, 12 and 13. And lots of classic Arcade Shmups have power-ups, it's just that the act of picking them up isn't designed in such a way that it motivates the player towards consistently playing with an enjoyable, impressive playstyle. Or if there are games like that, I don't know them.

Actually, will there be any power-ups in Blue Revolver?
danbo wrote:you say there are a lot of classic arcade shooters you can play anytime but i can think of a lot of upgrade/shop-based shooters that i can play anytime, too!
Off-topic, but could you recommend me good Shmups with shops? Xenon 2 has somewhat sluggish controls, I don't like Tyrian and Raptor, haven't tried Jets ‘n’ Guns but dislike its graphics. A game like Raiden, Strikers 1945, or maybe DoDonPachi (but slightly less extreme) plus a little shop would be nice.

A completely different additional motivation would be: trying to find secrets. Like in Doom and Quake. For example, shooting at a certain section of a midboss breaks off its wing, and if the player times it just right that the wing crashes down into a specific spot on the landscape below, let's say a gas tank, the resulting explosion opens up a cave. The player can hover over the cave to enter it, which opens a short secret level. When he exits this level, he returns to the main level.
Regrettably, this is a lot more work per secret than in Doom or Quake. It would be easier if the level is not completely without obstacles, but has walls or buildings that the player ship collides with. Then some sections of these walls might be destructible, allowing the player to fly into a small room in the building to pick up a secret bonus item. Maybe you have a better idea.
This kind of feature might be very antithetic to a score attack Shmup. But that's what I'm getting at, the Shmup genre has been reduced to a too small palette. Well, I should try to make such a game myself rather than griping to you.

Some more issues after playing a bit more:
- I have overlooked the ammo pickups for the special weapon until now. They should be more visible, and they should be presented in the "How to play" section.
- When the special weapon ammo is full, the ammo pickups can't be picked up. In the situation shortly before the boss battle where a ship drops lots of ammo, I thought at first that the ammo pickups fell down to the background and couldn't be picked up anymore. How about letting the player always pick them up, giving some bonus points when the ammo is full?
- The numbers font is difficult to read.
- The game should remember across sessions that the player chose "No" on the "Post to Twitter?" prompt and pre-select it.
danbo wrote:i do want to make a nuclear throne clone someday though...
I'd very much like to play that, and that genre is not as overrun yet...

Edit: I've read your post about the Daily Challenges. It's a promising feature, though I personally would maybe not be motivated by it, because it's still only a highscore-run. I don't care about unlocking cosmetic stuff like ship colours or art galleries either. But it might work very well for other players.
Suggestion: you could call them "2-Minute Challenges" and design them such that they can't last more than 2.5 minutes. By setting the player's expectations this way, he might be more eager to play the challenges, because each try is bite-sized, like a single level in Super Meat Boy, and the player already knows that he can give the challenge 5 tries in 15 minutes.

After playing some more, trying to play in the way the scoring system intends, I notice that I have to constantly remind myself to switch to the special weapon after each 8-hit chain, and to collect special weapon ammo afterwards. It doesn't come natural.
danbo wrote:i do like the notion of having the special weapon look a little different at 8x though it might be misleading since it won't do any more damage... might have a play around with it
What if the special weapon actually is more powerful after an 8-hit chain? For example by adding splash damage. Then the playstyle that returns the most points is also the most powerful, and the player will try to play like that even if he doesn't care much about points.
danbo
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### Re: BLUE REVOLVER [full ver released!]

and about 2 years later i have updated the op... game is fully released, though we've got a few patches and updates ahead of us!

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