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STG Developer Interview [2/3]

[Pattern or Random]

Sotoyama: I think it'd be ideal to program something which perfectly matches the person playing it, but, there are times where I escape to random (laughs).

Nakamura: There are times where I have random stages, but I don't think you should make the contents of the game random. But, I do think there should be an element of luck. Sometimes I think there should be something like where you can get the top [score?] for dodging through a tricky pattern.

Ikeda: I like having randomness. I think it's fun building something based on theory. But, if there's too much randomness, people will say your game solely depends on luck (laughs).

Iuchi: I like a game with strong patterns, but basically I think having a little randomness thrown into a pattern is a good balance.

Inoue: For me, I think of what I hate when I get killed in a game, and want to take that out. For example, I would be careful to put something in where "if you don't know it, it's over". Also, I don't really go to game centers day after day, so I don't really remember patterns from games I previously played. For me, I find games you can adapt to immediately fun. I think this is something that should be done in general.

[Difficulty]

Ikeda: I guess you'd never hear anyone say "I like this because it's easy". I try to make people say "it's hard, but I still like it". And, with Dodonpachi we had the idea of taking bullet dodging a step further, and really went crazy with the danmaku. You know, if i saw Dodonpachi during the time I hated all that bullet dodging, I probably wouldn't have tried it. I know quite well that feeling of looking at all those bullets and walking away. As such, I don't want to make [games] in such a way that suit strong players, and turn away the others. Our main target are those that will stare at the danmaku and say, "I'm in!", but we also cater to everyone else who might just give it a shot.

Kobayashi: For Giga[wing], we had talks with Capcom in which they said, "we won't mind if it's long". We went ahead with that, and the idea that recent games have a lot of bullets and are difficult.

Nishi: It's true that Giga is aimed at beginners, and Mars [Matrix] at maniacs.

Nakamura: Since we target the salaryman world, we can't really raise the difficulty that much. We make sure that even in a complex game, someone wearing a suit can come in, take a look, and say, "I can handle this". So, we can't make the earlier half difficult. For the latter half though, if you don't bully the strong players every now and again... (laughs). They really are something.

Sotoyama: We try to cover a wide area on the first three stages. Whether the results turn out that way is another story. We try... uh... we'll be more careful from now on (laughs).

[Hardships]

Inoue: I have trouble making things easy to see and understand. Like Iuchi-san said a moment ago, you have that problem with bitmaps where you don't know if [the character] shooting looks right. Also, I'm always told, "you need to see the ship". In Dodonpachi, the hitbox is in the ships center, so it's easy to figure out. When we tried other styles, like with ESPRade, where we put jackets on the characters, we thought "okay, the center is here, that's easy enough". Unfortunately, nobody has ever told me such is the case.

Kobayashi: Giga was made with a low difficulty, so it was hard to make each stage without boring the player. Personally, I don't think it turned out that well, which I still somewhat regret.

Sotoyama: For me as well, when making difficulty adjustments, the longer development takes, the more I require the player to be a zombie. This can be dangerous, so I'm careful to not fall into such a rut.

Nishi: Making incremental adjustments, one day you just say, "that's it". The feeling when that happens is important... the tempo. Also worth mentioning is the errors in the final debugging. Those are tough.

Iuchi: I guess what I'm most careful of when making games is the enemy placement. This is something I think Seibu and Psikyo are quite good at. Making a tempo that even beginners can handle; it is something that can make or break a game. Our games are different from those with bombs, as the game relies heavily on the system mechanics. If the enemy placement is off, it won't work. Even by 10 frames, it's ruined.

Ikeda: For me, it takes me a long time to get into the game. Once I've figured out the game's unique atmosphere and selling point I'll then use that to decide on things like enemies, but if you don't bring all of that together it will turn into something like Guwange (laughs).

Nakamura: I guess after making many games, making one that looks new is really hard.

Egawano: For me, the difficulty is deadlines, people, and budget (laughs).



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