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MECHANICAL STAR ASTRA

Action-packed cube-collecting excitement! · By boghog

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A topic by boghog created Oct 31, 2020 Views: 305 Replies: 25
Viewing posts 1 to 10
Developer

Want to share some of your thoughts about the game? Do it here!

(+1)

You delivered the good!! I'll make a more elaborate report (and won't miss the chance to talk about it on our discord and our podcast at Shmup'em All), but I wanted to tell you how good the game felt (I'm eager to try it without my little personal framerate problem).
It's exciting as hell! 

Congratulations for living up to the hype ;-) !!!

Developer

Happy to hear it! Time to bust out my speech to text and translator

Don't hesitate to come spread the word to our discord (there's a brand new english only thread, for the strange people who can't speak french^^). 

And as a former english almost-teacher (I flunked university when I discovered heavy partying but there are still a few fragments of knowledge floating in that old brain o'mine^^), if you need a french translation, I even might be of use! 

Developer(+1)

I'll have to check it out! The French scene seems quite stronk from what I've seen. And yeah a french translation would be awesome later down the line once I set things up for convenient translating

(+1)

This is shaping up into something really special! I’m still getting to grips with the cube-converting and medalling but the system quickly got its hooks into me, and it’s clear there’s a lot of depth to be wrung from it. It’s visually stunning and the soundtrack reminds me of a lot of Naomi-era belters in places, especially YACK's. The whole thing is just terrifyingly accomplished already. Wishing you all the best for the rest of the project!

Developer

Aw shucks, thank you a lot! Really happy to hear that the scoring's clicking with you, it's something I put a disproportionate amount of effort into

Game's looking spicy! It feels great to play even in this Demo stage, and I absolutely love the style and the ships! So here be my feedback:

  • I won't mention stuff like UI, HUD, and similar because you're probably aware and already working on it. I do want to ask for a blinking hitbox on every ship. My eyesight isn't 100% so that greatly helps people like me!
  • Have the cursor remember my previous selections. It's a tad annoying having to select my ship every time I restart.
  • Add an indicator showing the minimum amount of energy required to fire special weapons.
  • Add a target indicator to Magnet Crasher's focus fire. It would really help to know what my little options are locked-on to!

That's all I can think of for now. Again, fantastic stuff, and I can't wait to play the final version.

PS: Will you release the game on Steam/Consoles as well?

Developer(+1)

Glad you enjoyed it! Steam's 100% guaranteed (will most likely sell on itch and include steam keys), consoles are very possible too but I don't wanna make promises too early. Also gotcha & will sort out since that's either already on my list or really easy to fix

I’m enjoying the release so far, but wanted to ask joystick support will be added soon or did I miss it somehow? Thanks and I’m looking forward to the full release! 

Developer

Happy that you're liking it! Directinput joysticks aren't directly supported because game maker's dinput functions are buggy (at least in 1.4), you can bypass it with software like x360ce though. A joystick that uses xinput should work though

This looks really cool.

The first-start menu controls made me give up on trying to play though.

The config screen allowed me to assign ESC ("27" I think) as UP by accident

We're forced to enter a name and we have to guess that we have to press enter to confirm confirm confirm

I know why you're forcing us to see the overwhelming controls config screen.


But in the end it doesn't matter much unless you want to appeal to non-shmup players (I'm not one). I'll try to find a video to figure out why itch really wants to promote this game to me then.

Developer

Wait, what's the issue with the config, couldn't you just rebind? Menus are quite iffy across the board though sorry about that one, will definitely fix that down the line.

Please don't worry about me too much, I'm just one of those bad-behaved impatient players who aren't willing to think about what controls they *might* need in the game before having tried the game first. *shrug*. I'm guessing that people who are actually SHMUP fans might be more willing to prepare?...

I was able to rebind ESC back if that's what you mean. It's just that I was so unprepared to not be in a main menu but instead be forced into a config screen that I mashed buttons hoping to just get to the game asap

Just spent a happy couple of hours with this, it's great. Mind officially blown, well done and good luck with the next steps.

Some initial thoughts from moving about in it. These are really small things but I wrote them down in case it helps:

- Some 'Read Me' notes in the folder would be helpful. Took me a while to realise I needed to use JoyToKey for my joysick inputs, and had to look in the 'Feedback' forum to solve framerate slowness by changing the config. Alt+Enter for fullscreen was also helpful once I'd read it.

- 'B' to exit menus rather than navigate to exit?

- Hold direction to scroll through letters at name input, rather than tap?

- Options menu (for eg. screen, controls) at Pause screen?

- Indicate where the score you just got is located in the score table after input?

Luxury stuff:

- Slowdown feature in replays?

- Scanlines filter, a bit like in Cho Ren Sha? Would look amazing with these graphics.

Cheers!

Developer

Thank you! I'll make sure to write down some notes for that QOL stuff, all very handy and shouldn't take too long to implement. Though, why did you have to use JoyToKey? Does your joystick only use direct input without xinput support? I had to remove dinput because it was buggy, but software like x360ce should be sort out dinput compatibility.

My joystick is a Qanba Q4Raf. Acording to JoyToKey the stick is set up as the right stick on a pad, rather than the left stick. Not sure if that makes a diff, but either way it wasn't being picked up by the game.

Couple more thoughts from last night's session: Pause replays (to write notes!), stay in replays menu after Delete (and maybe Y/N for delete?), reset hi score table. Luxury: save states, or step into replays (as in Akai Katana).

Developer

Gotcha. I actually haven't added analog stick support yet so that would explain it, is there maybe a stick-to-dpad mode you could toggle?

Also good suggestions, most of it is on the list, besides savestates which while awesome would require a ton of work. Though I do plan on having "practice mode presets" of sorts that will serve a similar function.

(1 edit)

I'm using a custom-made joystick (made by me) and uses direct input so I too had to use JoyToKey. It took me a bit to realize that it was the controller after testing with my xbox controller which worked. A readme would be nice for those having trouble, then giving up.

+1 on the scanlines filter

It's good.

I'm not a shmup expert and generally find complicated score mechanics to be off-putting.  I almost never play for a high score.  But I think the score mechanics were presented pretty well in this case and aren't too crazy, in that they reward aggressive play and aren't too fiddly (compared with something like Ikaruga, for example).  Once I realized the secondary weapon's similarity to Mars Matrix, the mechanics started to make more sense.

I really like the tutorials.  I don't think I've ever seen shmup techniques explained like that in-game before.  I think that helped make the game more accessible, because otherwise it "feels" like an expert shmup for expert shmup players.

The one piece of feedback I had was that I wasn't able to tell the difference between the purple medals and the silver/gold medals in the heat of battle and just collected all of them.  More distinct shapes / colors might be nice.  Also is there actually a point in the silver and gold medals being different?  They seem to do the same thing score wise.

I'm looking forward to the full release.

Developer

Awww yeah, good to hear! Fundamentals tutorials are quite important for me, still figuring out how to make them feel less tutorial-ish, and there's a lot more to come. Having those missions be available to new players helps me not worry about the arcade mode's difficulty very much.

The silver/gold medals are functionally the same, but since it's a cycle of 3 medals I wanted to distinguish each medal in the cycle visually a bit, probably needs some work. I'll definitely fix visibility though, common complaint.

From my meager experience with shumps and bullet hell shooters, I can say that this is shaping up as a really good game. 
You guys could add some border art to cover up the black bars that flanks the gameplay area for people who can't or don't have a display that they can easily turn vertically, maybe move some of the ui over there too, add some high scores to beat with the clear times listed too, along with a run timer.
Additionally, maybe you can add a graze mechanic to incentivize a more aggressive playstyle as demonstrated by the mech suit. Though that begs the question: what is the ship's hitbox? That is one of the parts where I gets me damaged most of the time besides my clear lack of skill.
Finally, how about a demo stage where we can try out the ships for a spin if you won't have some sort of codex for us to read to know what each ship's abilities are, maybe some enemy info would be good too. 

Developer

Thanks! Border art/gadgets, visible hitbox, ship tutorials/missoons are planned. The run timer seems unnecessary since it's an autoscroller, but a dedicated speedrunning mode/set of missions is something I'd love to add. I think there's enough incentives for aggression as is though since you get more energy, extra enemy spawns and higher damage. Grazing tends to do the opposite and encourage herding bullets while sitting somewhere safe, unless it's Psyvariar style grazing that is.

Hey thanks for the reply, good to know that you have alot more planned. If the game is golden would you consider adding a p2p online coop mode with good netcode? 

Great game , love the old style schmups shame nobody makes em like this no more, except you! works fine in Wine on my old Mac with xbox controller.

I didn't realise you could shoot with the green ship and thought it was really fun to play just trying to get close and swipe the enemies to death,  I will play that way from now on...

Developer (1 edit)

Glad to hear it! And there's actually a decent number of good ones still being made, like GG Aleste 3, Natsuki Chronicles, Rolling Gunner, Aka To Blue, Zero Ranger, Crimson Clover, Sisters Royale, Super XYX. And even more awesome ones still in development, like Aleste Branch and Senjin Aleste