Working on an on-rails shooter or racing game

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Door Uninteresting

Master (167)

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13-05-2017, 19:38

I've been trying to write my first action game for MSX1 since last autumn, and I chose to attempt to make an on-rails shooter. A brief clip of the fastest speed I can get the background to update is at Youtube.

Still wondering if I should just drop the shooting part and make it a 'racing game' instead where the flying rat would drift in curves, but that would need the game to 1) run faster and 2) have longer view distance, so it'll probably stay a shooter.

Brief implementation description: the software renders 7 "frames" (24*20 bit sheets, each row represented as three runs of obstructions). The distance to the frame is displayed by using dithering (patterning). The further away the first visible sheet for the position is, the more background colour the character it has in it.

The "holes" on the borders exist because the revolving hole breaches the sheet boundaries. The missing top rows in one frame are probably a bug, though.

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Van Latok

msx guru (3785)

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14-05-2017, 01:26

Not so uninteresting! I hope to see this finished Smile

Van ARTRAG

Enlighted (6443)

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14-05-2017, 08:31

It would be the first railway shooter, this is interesting

Van Uninteresting

Master (167)

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14-05-2017, 08:57

Hardly the first -- Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom (MSX1) and Feedback (MSX2?) come first to mind. Penguin Adventure, too, if you stretch the definition a bit.

Van Manuel

Ascended (16951)

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14-05-2017, 10:17

OK, what is the definition of a "on-rail/railway shooter"?
I'd call Feedback a 3D-shooter.

Van ARTRAG

Enlighted (6443)

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14-05-2017, 10:37

Ah! I was thinking to something like this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5EguI1gUY

Van Uninteresting

Master (167)

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14-05-2017, 11:18

"On-rails shooter" means for me no true control over the camera's path (or usually even speed), like in horizontal/vertical-scrolling shmups, but the forward movement is along the Z-axis instead of X or Y. The camera moves "on rails".

So the difference between what I'd call *today* a "3D shooter" and "on-rails shooter" is the same difference between Time Pilot and Sky Jaguar. Or without analogues, the difference between games like Freelancer/X-Wing/Elite/Descent/Bang! Gunship Elite and Galaxy Force 2/Space Harrier/Thunderblade/Afterburner.

One youtuber I follow added the requirement of the player avatar being shown on screen to exclude lightgun games like Virtua Cop, House of the Dead, Dead Space Extraction and such from this, but I'm not so sure about that. I don't count Cabal as an on-rails shooter, since the camera doesn't move anywhere. Zaxxon doesn't have the viewpoint at or behind the player.

I admit I haven't played Feedback, just watched a Youtube longplay, but it looked like the camera kept moving onwards and the player could only move on leashed to the camera's rails.

Van Manuel

Ascended (16951)

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14-05-2017, 12:18

OK, I was first associated with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGRwiHoTcwY (but then with shooter elements?)

Van Hrothgar

Champion (479)

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14-05-2017, 16:36

Indeed, the term is completely new for me as well.
I was thinking about this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6ee5KzI9NA which seems more within reach for MSX capabilities.

Van syn

Paragon (1972)

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14-05-2017, 16:48

on-rails shooters don't need actual rails Wink

Van turbor

Champion (444)

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14-05-2017, 19:29

The virtua cop and area51 games were my first introduction to this genre. Smile
Wikipedia has an entire page with games that most people would qualify as on-rails shooters. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Rail_shooters
Although I personally wouldn't say that Feedback (a Space Harier clone) is a rail-shooter, the camera doesn't really "move" through the scene, and the Z-axis movement is nothing more than a gimmick IMHO.

Most people would say that you control the cursor/gunsight in the game and that you have no real control over the path you will follow through the game. An element of (pseudo) 3D seems to be necessary also, so no side-way scrolling Nemesis games.

A nice (adult themed) modern rail-shooter for PC is Blue Estate, which I highly recommend for the tongue-in-cheek humour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6DcmSno3hs

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