Topic: Experienced danmakufu scripters, how do you come up with your patterns?  (Read 497 times)

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Vinnyeon

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First things first, i'm not usually a forum guy. I'm a new danmakufu scripter who's quite confident in his ability to script due to being an ICT student. This is the first ever forum i've joined and will (attempt to) actively participate in as i really intend to put myself out there as a well known scripter, given enough time to get that far.

Introductions out of the way, the point of my question. I find myself greatly having issues with what in my opinion makes a script the most fun of all: the pattern. I feel like this is a subject that can not be thought in the way scripting itself can. Creating patterns, or games for that matter, need to be experienced, something that i have not. I've played plenty of Danmakufu games and each time i'm stunned by the creations you guys are able to come up with. I currently have no clue where to start. Please understand that this issue differs from not knowing what patterns to make. I'm not looking for patterns to recreate, that would once again contribute to scripting skills, not in designing patterns.

To keep this post to a single topic, i'd like for this post to kind of act as a place where new scripters like me can find a source of inspiration to solve the problem i currently have. Any form of answer would be welcome, from personal experiences with creating patterns to hints or tips you'd like to pass on.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 08:05:49 pm by Vinnyeon »

Sparen

  • Danmakufu Artist
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Personally I find it useful to have some kind of theme or restriction. For example, if danmaku is being made for a specific character, what are that character's characteristics? What's their ability? Personality? Are they the kind of character that uses a certain type of danmaku? Are their attacks straightforward or tactical? etc etc etc.

Part of the reason why contests are popular is because contests with interesting restrictions force scripters to think creatively. Of course, trying to brute force ideas doesn't always work, but a large part of scripting patterns is taking basic components (rings, lines, etc) and transforming them into a pattern that works. A lot of the time designing patterns is not spent on implementing them but on tweaking them countless times so that they're just the way we want them.

Sometimes inspiration comes from daily life. Sometimes it comes from others. Take note of inspiration when it hits.

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A general note on pattern structure: A lot of attacks are combinations of constant attacks, phases, and the like. For example, you might have a constant stream of bullet rings accompanied by occasional bursts. Or perhaps the boss will switch between two patterns within the same attack such that the two patterns, when overlapping slightly, complement one another. A lot of it comes down to experimentation and seeing what combinations of sub patterns make the overarching pattern work.

Finally, in regards to experience. I'm experienced to the point where it's actually gotten difficult to think outside of the box - there's a growth phase for new scripters soon after they start where a lot of creativity comes through, and I'm long past it. You'll want experience playing these types of games and working with the engine so that you can unleash whatever creative potential you have, but beyond that experience doesn't help as much as being exposed to all kinds of potential ideas.

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TalosMistake

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Recreating existing danmaku pattern (whether it be official's, or fangame's pattern) is actually a good way to "come up" with new danmaku idea, at least for me.

Vinnyeon

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  • Gender: Male
Personally I find it useful to have some kind of theme or restriction. For example, if danmaku is being made for a specific character, what are that character's characteristics? What's their ability? Personality? Are they the kind of character that uses a certain type of danmaku? Are their attacks straightforward or tactical? etc etc etc.

I have started practicing with limiting myself to the style of a single character, but i've never looked further into them like you're suggesting. I can definitely see how their ability can be used, especially when the ability in question is obvious, like with Sakuya's time stop. But how would i go about this with less obvious abilities? Let's take Yuyuko, whose ability is to manipulate death. Other than potentially ressurecting herself like in touhou 7, i don't exactly see how to work around these kinds of abilities. The only thing they got going for them would be the specific danmaku and patterns they use. These two factors alone haven't however been enough to spark enough inspiration in me to come up with more than one or two spells for these characters (taking in mind that these were the only two factors i looked into for them. Looking into their personallity and tactics should help.)

Infy♫

  • Demonic★Moe
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I try to come up with unique concepts that can be used as a building block in a pattern.

ZUN uses this all the time; look at youmu's time slowing effect, familiars in imperishable night, bullet-stars in sanae's fight.

Once I've come up with a concept that has not been used before (or is underused) I try making patterns out of it and usually something fun comes out.

This usually requires 2 full days of programming, per pattern. It's a ton of work, so don't be discouraged if a quickly made pattern isn't fun or interesting.

GenoCraft

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Incidentally, the most recent SCoOW had an Interview where ZUN talks about various things involving how he makes spell cards, it's a good read for danmakufu scripters.
tl;dr most of the time he comes up with the name first, then thinks about how to represent that in danmaku.
I have started practicing with limiting myself to the style of a single character, but i've never looked further into them like you're suggesting. I can definitely see how their ability can be used, especially when the ability in question is obvious, like with Sakuya's time stop. But how would i go about this with less obvious abilities? Let's take Yuyuko, whose ability is to manipulate death. Other than potentially ressurecting herself like in touhou 7, i don't exactly see how to work around these kinds of abilities. The only thing they got going for them would be the specific danmaku and patterns they use. These two factors alone haven't however been enough to spark enough inspiration in me to come up with more than one or two spells for these characters (taking in mind that these were the only two factors i looked into for them. Looking into their personallity and tactics should help.)
For that, research concepts related to the character in question, not only their ability, but also things like their species or origin, for example how Miko's spells reference her real-life counterpart Prince Shoutoku, or how Kanako's last spell in MoF is shaped after the Crest of the Suwa Shrine.

Badz

  • Nickname: -Badz
Thinking of a character's abilities and how they can be applied to danmaku is particularly useful when coming up with an entirely new style for an OC; you probably won't be doing that for a while still, but keep it in mind if you wander into that territory.

Anyway, I often come up with patterns by figuring out some basic aspect I want to work with (be it a theme or a simple gameplay element) and thinking of it in terms of gameplay: what am I making the player do with this? It could be streaming through some other pattern, following some lanes formed by the attack, focusing on shooting down a familiar or enemy, etc. *
You can't know how well the idea actually works until it exists in playable form, though, and it's perfectly normal for things not to work out the way you expected them to.

Also, danmaku gets easier with practice. The more of it you make, the simpler it'll be both to materialize ideas and come up with new ones. Don't be afraid to try making any random experimental concepts you come up with; you never know when the experience or pattern could be useful later.

*Some examples: Saga's Revengeance Contract represents an equal exchange between the player and boss, which then acts as a quirky streaming pattern; GML's enemy formation 7 takes the common Len'en stage design element of Playstation shapes and makes them into macrododging where you have to avoid getting pushed down
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 02:29:30 am by Badz »

Helepolis

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To answer Vinnyeon's question, playing the original games is a good start to get a grasp of how ZUN at least approaches if you wish to stay close to Touhou. Otherwise any shmup with patterns will do.

Personally I elicited all my inspiration from the original series. I sometimes bluntly duplicated or remade patterns because I personally found them great and fitting. A brief summary how I brainstormed my patterns for Treasured Dance Performance.
- Verify and confirm theme of the stage and boss
- Verify and confirm history and style of the boss (appearance and such)
- Brainstorm typical spell cards
- Brainstorm non spell card

For me it is a "feeling". I keep playing, looking until I think it is right. Looking is activating god mode and then just watching the entire sequence you programmed.
 

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