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Agurzil

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#1
...how would you want it to look and play?

There are now quite a few "copies" of the souls genre from several indie developers, Salt & Sanctuary, Eitr, Blasphemous, Gloom, ... the list goes on. Metroid and Castlevania being some of the oldest "originals" are quite good examples too. So I am currently playing around with the idea of writing a game like this myself in my free time and am currently learning OpenGL to write graphic code, but I'm kind of wondering how people see these kind of games nowadays, the old 16bit Pixel Art found in some of the (in my mind, greatest) classics have aged very well.

I was wondering how would you like it to look? There is the old sidescrolling 2d found in Metroid, Castlevania, Metal Slugs, the new S&S, Blasphemous, Gloom, etc., then there's Legend of Zelda's path with a top down right angle view, also found in games like secret of mana and the old final fantasies, or the isometric top down view being reviewed by games like Eitr (I don't have any other games coming to mind right now, but there were some). A variant of the sidescrolling 2d would be the concept found in the streets of rage series, were you'd basically be walking on a flat surface in one direction with the possibility of changing your depth position, visible as walking upwards and downwards, giving a sort of 2.5d feeling.

Basically, I'm wondering what would your perfect Pixel Souls look like?

And how would it play? Simple hack and slash with dodging and that's it for the soulsness? An intricate leveling and upgrading system? Covenants? What would you expect and what would you wish such a game would have?
Man takes up the sword to protect the small injuries that burdened his heart, on a distant day beyond his memories.
Man wields the sword to die with a smile on his face, on a distant day beyond his dreams.
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eremHaNeoN

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#2
Have you ever played the Mega Drive game Alien Solider? It's a game made by Treasure that came out at the end of that system's lifespan, fetched high prices in Japan and PAL regions where it was released (was never released in North America except to play on the Sega Channel). Now you can buy it on Steam, the Virtual Console, PS Store, the like. It's a great-looking, great-playing Treasure action game that plays like a boss rush, seeing how most of the game is bosses with small segments dealing with enemies and picking up health/power-ups in between.

Besides the cool, varied and inspired boss designs it had some fairly elaborate mechanics. You could jump, press it again, and stay mid-air, walk on ceilings, switch between four weapons of your choosing which have limited power/ammo (that you can give temporary upgrades to with power-ups you find along the way). At full ammo the weapons unless some big attacks but get smaller as you run out and just kind of weakly sputter out at short range when you're completely out Some enemies were weaker/most resistant to certain kinds of weapons than others (organic enemies/bosses get shredded by fire attacks, more robotic/mechanistic ones are weak to laser-type weapons). You could switch between firing modes, whether attacking while standing still (makes things like firing diagonally much easier) or attack while being able to move. More interesting is this sort of "force" ability you have where you press the attack button twice rapidly. Time it right as projectiles come your way those bullets/bullet-type things turn into health pick-ups which are very helpful as you do take a lot of damage going from area to area. Best yet, a dash ability, called a "teleport" where you can dash back and forth straight through enemies and attacks like you're i-framing through them. A very critical ability to utilize if you want to actually survive the game. At full power you can do a "burning dash" maneuver that can do a megaton of damage to a boss, sometimes one-shotting them. Managing to stay at full health/power long enough by the time you reach a boss fight is the tricky part.

I don't know what this has to do with a 16-bit Souls-type game, save maybe the way it utilizes its dash/teleport (which I guess is more BB-like, if you want to stretch it that way?). Perhaps because it's a great example of an authentic 16-bit game of the era that pulled all stops when it came to utilizing the system's hardware and provided a great challenge and super-smooth gameplay while also having surprisingly complex mechanics to master as well.

It's a game I highly recommend. I don't know how much it would inspire a 16-bit Souls "demake" project, as it's not necessarily a "proto-Souls" game really. But again there's just some interesting and cool things about it that would/SHOULD be inspiring to anyone looking to do 16-bit-style games. Maybe you'll find a few sparks light up in you as you play that make you go "ah yes this would fit very well in a 16-bit Souls-type of game!" maybe. Just...just, well, it's a game well worth playing even if you don't end up using it as an inspiration for any game projects of any kind.
Through Dark Souls of futures past. The speed runner longs to see. One boosts between a pair of binos. Parry Walk with Me.
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eremHaNeoN

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#3
Agurzil wrote: or the isometric top down view being reviewed by games like Eitr (I don't have any other games coming to mind right now, but there were some).


There's the Genesis/Mega Drive classic Landstalker, the obscure sequel to the NES game Solstice, Equinox and of course the one, the only, Super Mario RPG. Oh and speaking of Treasure again, the same year they released Alien Soldier they also made a somewhat lukewarm-received RPG-ish game, Light Crusader. Just so you have some things to reference.

So to finally answer your question, a 16-bit "Souls" I myself would like to see in side-scroller form. And if we're going all the way with it being genuinely "16-bit" then what needs to be taken into consideration is how to simplify the controls enough so that you could play it with a SNES or Genesis controller and get the same relative "Souls" feel? If a Genesis/Mega Drive/whatever game obviously the six-button controller will be mandatory.

So...

Image

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How to map the controls? What mechanics to remove/simplify? Some actions might need to be done through combinations (like directional pad + button). I sort of had been thinking about how something like this would go before, less the Souls games and more Bloodborne, which I think would adapt the best to a 16-bit environment. The games with "Souls" in the title could too of course but I guess I just like BB too much, heh.

I don't have this totally thought-through, just a few ideas: strong attacks may have to go. Instead you have one button for attack, but can do a "strong" attack of sorts by holding it down to do a charged attack of sorts. Shields should have the ability to block, bash and parry at once. Hold the shield button down and you, well, hold it like a regular shield. Letting go would put it away. Pressing it would let out a "bash" of sorts to knock an enemy and if you time the "bash" correctly against an enemy attack you parry them.

For a 16-bit BB, well let's take a SNES version for instance. Part of my idea for the control scheme would be: B button to jump (if we're side-scrolling you damn well bet there should be a jump button), Y to attack, R to transform the weapon (you could still do transformation attacks too), holding down Y to do a charged attack (as mentioned before), L to let off a firearm. Switching between weapons, items, healing, dashing, rolling, dodging, inventory, all that I still have no idea what to do with.
Through Dark Souls of futures past. The speed runner longs to see. One boosts between a pair of binos. Parry Walk with Me.
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Bonaduce80

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#4
I wouldn't know where to start in the sense of gameplay (S&S is quite a DS in 2D and as fun as the game is it feels quite a bit derivative; maybe a experience that feels genuine and entertaining while reminding one of DS would be the better option).

Atmosphere wise, something like Chakan the Forever Man would be interesting. 2D platformer, maybe not that great to control but it oozes atmosphere through all its pores.