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need ideas for '1945' clone

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Hi. I've been working on a '1945' clone, and the base framework for the game is up and running perfectly. It is designed in such a way I can easily add all kinds of new content to the game. All I have as of now is your basic bullet and one kind of enemy plane that flies in a random direction and randomly shoots a bullet. Enemy planes also drop health and fuel containers that the player can pick up to replenish their health or fuel meters, respectively. I was just wondering if any of you wonderful programmers here at GameDev.net have any ideas for new enemy plane types, or anything at all I could add to the game. Thanks in advance! [EDIT: I made a typo. I think the game I'm copying was called '1942', not '1945', and was on the NES.] [Edited by - spunkybuttockszc on February 13, 2005 3:29:26 PM]

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Its hard to help you add content, we need to know more about your game (style, setting, storyline, target audience ect).

And when you say "enemy plane types", what are you looking for? art, behavioural ideas, historic plane names/information?

PS: When i fisrt saw this, i thought it was another "I have no experience but I want to make a Battlefield 1942 clone but better with the unreal engine" threads :P.

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Well, the planes in 1942 would usually come in patterns... like 10 blue planes that can be killed in one shot would swoop in, all going in the same pattern one after the other. You could work on the timing for them to show up. Then I believe about 4 red planes that would take about 2 hits would come in slower and dropped powerups.

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*cracks knuckles*

Multiple planes (should be first)

Make the planes smart to only shoot somewhat towards players(some math required)

Flying formations.

Random Formations (out of formations above, don't choose one, let rand go for it)

progressing formats (you can only see two or three formations at first, then 4, then 5 and keep add more formations as the levels progress)

Planes that can come up behind you.

Different size planes.

Super large planes (flying same direction with rear gunner)

Damage shown for biggere planes,

Special weapons (beams are always cool)

hmm need more? :)

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In advanced stages, make it so that the enemy planes are (sometimes) covered in clouds, as they come for the player. That's difficult to shoot at!

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I was thinking of making a game like this. My idea for making enemies was to have each enemy have an x speed and a y speed. All enemies will reverse x velocity when they hit a wall. To add different enemy types, just tweak these speeds.

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Thanks for the input!

Here's the things I'm planning on implementing as of now:

* Special moves. The player moves with the familiar ASWD key combination. I was thinking, maybe if the player hits Q, the player plane starts shooting bullets automatically at a faster rate whilst spinning counter-clockwise. The same would happen if the player hits E, except the plane would spin clockwise. Of course, the player could cancel out of this action at any time by simply trying to move the plane in one of the cardinal directions (i.e. ASWD). The catch to this would be it would drain the player's fuel storage at an increased rate, thus requiring the player to be wise in his usage of the special moves if he wishes to survive long.

* Enemy plane formations and "attack waves". Basically just like what alien3456 mentioned.

* Exploding bullets. These would acquired via a power-up dropped by an enemy plane. When the player picks up the powerup, for the next, say, 5 seconds, all the bullets he shoots will travel a little bit, and then explode, releasing lots of other bullets flying everywhere in random directions.

* Lasers. Like what kinglink mentioned. This too would be acquired via a powerup, but wouldn't have a timer on it. The player would basically, instead of shooting bullets, shoot a laser that incinerates anything it touches.

Whew! That's all I've got so far. What do you guys think of this stuff? If you have any other ideas for cool stuff I could add to the game, please tell me! I want the game to be feature-rich, and I figure since these forums reach people all over the world, surely somebody out there will have some innovative idea I couldn't think of myself.

BTW: When I said in my original post 'new enemy plane types', I was mainly referring to their behavioral patterns, sorry if I wasn't clear enough. But suggestions of other natures are by all means welcome!

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Darklaga is closer to Psyvariar than to 1942, for a good 1942 rip-off you could look at Skyforce.

The first thing when creating a shooter is deciding on the advanced gameplay type (the basic gameplay type always consists in dodging shots and killing enemies). Some games do not have advanced gameplay, and 1942 is an example: no matter how good you are at the game, you still only have to dodge shots and kill enemies. Other games are better at it by introducing advanced elements to the game. This can be:

- Picking up certain items : in DoDonPachi, you have to stop shooting, then start shooting and hit a "hidden hornet" item with the first shot in a row, then pick that item up. In Blazing Star, you have to kill four lined up enemies in a row, the last one releases a "lucky panel" item, and if you pick up all five panels in a level, you get a score boost.

- Using modules : this is a special form of playing, where people have a module around their ship that they can use as a shield against bullets. See for instance Blazing Star, Pulstar, Last Resort and many others.

- Grazing : actually means increasing your power by only dodging enemy shots by a few pixels. This is only made possible in manic shooters (where the collision hull of the player is only one pixel wide, such as Darklaga or DoDonPachi). Games that use graze are Psyvariar, Perfect Cherry Blossom and of course Darklaga.

- Others, for instance Ikaruga has color-coded enemies and shots: shots of your color don't hurt you, and killing enemies of the opposite color add more score. You can change the color of your ship at will.

As you might have guessed, your game ends up in the first category, as it appears that the player will have to spend a lot of time hunting fuel barrels. An excellent idea would then be to build upon this.

- Make fuel barrels explosive: if you shoot them, they explode, killing nearby enemies but preventing you from shooting in a given area of the screen if you ever need to pick it up (in which case you can't afford to blow it up).

- Have planes drop fuel barrels in a deterministic manner: instead of randomly deciding if a barrel should be dropped, edit it manually in the level editor. You might even have a special "refueler" enemy that is the only one who can drop fuel barrels, and has a distinctive look so the player goes running after it.

- Add in a very stressful "low fuel" alarm.

- Instead of having fuel barrels drop to the bottom vertically, have them bounce around the sides of the screen.

Now, for controls, the "preferred" controls I have encountered in every doujin shoot'em up game so far is: arrows for controlling, w/x or Ctrl/Alt for shooting/bomb. you might want to be aware that this is the most used control scheme for shoot'em ups. Also, I'd rather have five possible special attacks (in five different directions), that could be activated using x + direction.

As for enemy types, there are three categories of enemies in shooting games (globally): weak enemies, strong enemies, and bosses.

- Weak enemies should attack in numbers and from as many places as possible. A weal enemy is usually not expected to even live long enough to shoot a bullet. Where it gets interesting is that there are so many that at least one will shoot before you kill it.

- Strong enemies should only appear rarely. They will take a lot of hits and return fire using (often) multiple gun turrets. In some rare cases, they will not serve as attack forces (so they won't fire) but will instead serve as shields for weaker but more dangerous enemies.

- Bosses, very strong, with a visible health bar being highly preferrable as fights can get lengthy, and alone on the screen (usually no other enemies).

Watch out for the amount and speed of shots on the screen. The speed at which the bullets fly in manic games (DoDonPachi, Perfect Cherry Blossom, Darklaga) is a lot higher than the speed of bullets in a normal shooter game because, as I have stated earlier, the size of the collision hull in a manic shooter is only one pixel wide. In Darklaga it is two pixel wide and the game is harder! ;)

If you really want to have more than 10 bullets on the screen and going faster than one pixel per frame, make a manic shooter.

Also be wary of what is often called the Pulstar syndrome: in that game, your ship started with a deeply crappy one-shot weapon, and it quickly upgraded to 3+ modules with heat-seeking rockets and lasers and ninjas and wizards and... which were the only way a player could survive. Upon being killed, weaponry was lost and the player found himself against enemies with only the initial gun, resulting in the almost immediate loss of his remaining lives and credits. Every game in which losing a life means losing powerups (and losing the game except for a miracle) is said to have this syndrome and it's a very annoying thing to have in a game. If you want the player to lose something upon death, gave him lose useful but not necessary bonuses. DoDonPachi, upon death, removes the player weapons, but they keep flying around on the screen so you only have to pick them up. However, if you lose a life, you loose approximately 100.000 + 100.000 points per level, along with any bonuses picked so far (which can amount to much more points being lost).

As for the aspect, shake the screen when things blow up! :)

You might want to take a look at Doujin À Roni, the «offical» website of the Darklaga (and soon, Shogun Project) artist, it's a showcase for doujin games (freeware japanese games, mainly shoot'em ups and fighting games). All the games are free. You might want to check out Warning Forever, Perfect Cherry Blossom, Urban Uprising, Imperishable Night (Perfect Cherry Blossom 2), and if you have time, just everything available on the site :)

[Edited by - ToohrVyk on February 15, 2005 4:03:52 AM]

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Wow! Thanks for the long post, ToohrVyk! You've been very insightful, and all your ideas are excellent. I love the idea of making fuel barrels explosive. That seems as if it would really add a whole new layer of depth to the gameplay. Also the idea of having special planes whose sole purpose is to carry said fuel barrels. You have definately influenced be to make the game better than it ever would have been had you not posted!

If anybody has any other interesting/fun/innovative ideas not already mentioned, please by all means say them!

I don't think it will be much longer until the game is complete. When that time comes, I'll hopefully post it here on GameDev so you guys can actually test it out.

Until then, happy programming!

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There was a game called TigerHeli for the NES Which was a slower moving 1942 (your in a helicopter) The reason I bring this up is that in tiger heli, you flew over enemy areas, and there was a lot of buildings that you could blow up (you could make them guard towers if you want them to fire back) But the thing is you can fly into the buildings sometimes and die (I don't remember all of them being able to be flown into, but you could do some Small ones to blow up and some large ones to avoid/destroy) Or just have Ground emplacements that shoot at you.

Ok Finally two more ideas. A MASSIVE boss or Large mini boss. Start with a huge destoryer/tanker with tons of small emplacements firing at you, then after you blow it up you progress further up and you meet the bridge with two rocket launchers, basically the ship is as big as the screen, and it's the only thing around (though you could toss in more ships if your bored)

And the second idea. A large plane or floating fortress (not the B-49 but an actual fortress) for a whole level you fly through the fortress, it's be faster but less enemies. This of course comes after beating the fortress/plane (or the door) as a boss. Just something cool that makes the player go "wow"

And with the fuel stuff, It reminds me of a little Activision game for Atari, check out River Raid. Great little shooter and suprisingly has taken more then a couple hours of my life (definatly worth checking out)

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