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w32

Need opinion on 360 degree shooting

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Hey there,

 

I am working on a shmup like game and have struggle with the decision, whether to give the player free directional shooting movement (360 degree) or not, and how much this decision will impact game balance. The game is designed to support the xb 360 controller and will likely have some RPG elements, character progression, skills and so on...

 

I know that alot shumps were designed for only one shooting direction, forward, or maybe 3 if you add the diagonales.

 

On the one hand I don't want to constrain the player.

On the other I think the player will have to deal with an additional control which he has to take care of which leads to more distraction from the enemies. (trying to K.I.S.S. here)

I am also concerned that if I change the prior decision in late stage of development, I would have reprogram the balance alot. I don't know.

 

Any opinions?

Edited by w32

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If the ship can go on the whole screen (move all over it) and the targeting line can go behind it, you've already implemented it; or that should be easy to do.

 

Your other option is the lots of forward fire (3, 5, 26, etc. shots forward) and light fire (1,2,3 shots back ward).

 

Not sure how detailed the game is from that clip.  You might be able to use hard point system where you can equip a specific number of weapons and one or more of these could be mounted to fire the opposite of the targeting direction.

 

Last option I can think of is "seeker" ammo, usually missiles that can track things behind the ship.

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I think shooting in every direction makes more sense in a game where enemies approach from every direction. In a game where enemies are always moving coming from the right, I'm not sure it adds much to the game to be able to control the angle of your shot.

 

I recommend working on the enemies a bit to get a better feel for how the game will play. Shooting forward probably didn't feel very good for you because the enemies fly straight across the screen really fast. When you only shoot forward, it doesn't feel worthwhile for the player to shoot enemies down when they do that, because you're putting yourself in harms way for nothing. When enemies have more interesting movement patterns and attacks, you can get interesting combinations of threats where it's worth while for the player to put themselves in a dangerous spot to take out an even more dangerous threat. Once some of these are in place, you may have a better idea of how you want the gun to shoot.

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If the ship can go on the whole screen (move all over it) and the targeting line can go behind it, you've already implemented it; or that should be easy to do.

 

Your other option is the lots of forward fire (3, 5, 26, etc. shots forward) and light fire (1,2,3 shots back ward).

 

Not sure how detailed the game is from that clip.  You might be able to use hard point system where you can equip a specific number of weapons and one or more of these could be mounted to fire the opposite of the targeting direction.

 

Last option I can think of is "seeker" ammo, usually missiles that can track things behind the ship.

 

A hard point system is definitely somthing I need to think about. Something where you choose the shooting direction for every mount before entering stage could be possible.

But I have limited the maximum weapons to 3 since I want to implement an energy system, where you have to care what weapon to fire, whether to expend energy or not.

So this will be maybe tricky to implement.

 

 

I think shooting in every direction makes more sense in a game where enemies approach from every direction. In a game where enemies are always moving coming from the right, I'm not sure it adds much to the game to be able to control the angle of your shot.

 

I recommend working on the enemies a bit to get a better feel for how the game will play. Shooting forward probably didn't feel very good for you because the enemies fly straight across the screen really fast. When you only shoot forward, it doesn't feel worthwhile for the player to shoot enemies down when they do that, because you're putting yourself in harms way for nothing. When enemies have more interesting movement patterns and attacks, you can get interesting combinations of threats where it's worth while for the player to put themselves in a dangerous spot to take out an even more dangerous threat. Once some of these are in place, you may have a better idea of how you want the gun to shoot.

 

Good point, I think I will implement better and more enemy wave patterns, see what I can use, then maybe adapt player weapons/shooting angles based on that.

 

 

I thank you guys alot for insight.

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The thing is, there are a lot of space sidescrolling spaceship shooter games like this. But honestly, I didn't see anyone with a 360 degree shooting yet.

This could be your difference, standing out and going a path none of the others didn't go yet!

 

Another idea would be, that the shooting is by default straight forward, so if you aim updwards, its gonna shoot updwards. The moment you stop pressin upwards, it falls back on straight forward.

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I recommend primary and secondary fire modes:

have the bulk of the firepower in front so that positioning matters more, but grant them turret 360 secondary fire mode so they can also target enemies out of their arc which gives them something to keep track of and opportunities to destroy enemies out of arc. At least, this was my solution.

 

Note: both fire modes are simultaneous.

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Thank you guys for the feedback,

I have decided to use this as a mod ability, so the player can decide if he wants directional shooting with slightly lower damage or default forward shooting.

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There are two interacting aspects: player-controlled movement and player-controlled weapon aiming, leading to many different possibilities:

  • Free movement, fixed ship facing, fixed weapon bearings (not necessarily forward). The typical scrolling or "gallery" shooter setup.
  • Free movement, fixed ship facing, self-aimed weapons (on a very varied spectrum ranging from slightly tilting forward weapons according to transverse movement, to automatically acquiring targets, to agile guided missiles). Still a typical scrolling shooter setup, traditionally with reduced damage to compensate the reduction of wasted shots.
  • Free movement, fixed or irrelevant ship facing, explicit weapon aiming. Rare in scrolling shooters (e.g. Tyrian 2 players mode) because it requires two directional controls rather than one (i.e. keyboard and mouse, or a gamepad, or two cooperating players, not an arcade controller's single joystick) and possibly too much attention; common in console arena shooters (e.g. Grid Wars) with unconstrained aiming (weapons can shoot in any direction regardless of movement and facing)
  • Explicit facing control, movement constrained by facing (possibly forward at a fixed speed without being able to stop), fixed weapon bearings. Typical of side-view dogfight simulators (Luftrausers is a recent example, but the genre is very old) and less common top-down dogfight simulators (e.g. the recent, turn-based Steambirds Survival). Taking care of movement paths, with longer term planning, rather than position (with much less demanding dodging) is the main difference with arbitrary movement. Actually hitting enemies tends to be the reward for a good maneuver rather than the default, due to the use of realistically small weapons that need proper aiming to work. In a bad game of this kind, turning around in place distributing suppressive fire is a valid strategy (and a very boring one),
  • Explicit facing control, movement constrained by facing, self-aimed weapons. A tool to make constrained movement more forgiving (if badly aligned strafing becomes somewhat effective due to mild automatic aiming corrections) or more difficult (if weapons swerve in unwanted directions or automatic target selection needs to be controlled by managing the ship's position). 
  • Explicit facing control, movement constrained by facing, explicit weapon aiming. "Realistic" only in unusual contexts (tanks, large ships), and likely to be too easy because hitting enemies is easy regardless of movement. Difficulty could come from a combination of serious obstacles (both movement hazards and cover) requiring clever movement anyway and demanding targets (fast-moving relative to bullet speed) requiring good aiming.

It goes without saying that a game can combine different weapon and movement control styles, including unusual ones (automatically aiming for, or strafing around, a boss, following rails, activating special-purpose weapons, etc.)

Edited by LorenzoGatti

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The real issue here is balancing the game around whichever shooting method you choose.  Controls, enemies, upgrades, and level design all have to conform to either choice.  Personally, I prefer being stuck shooting one direction and having unique patterns throughout the game.  You could have specific temporary upgrades that allow the player to shoot in other directions or even have a "super mode" that charges up over time and allows the player to shoot in 360 degrees for a short time.

 

EDIT : I will say that fixed-direction shooting requires less from the game controls.

Edited by NemesisLeon

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