Thyria Devlog 02: Get to Know Thyrian Defenders - Part 1 / by Raymond Schlitter

 The heroes from left to right: Thexter, T-Rex, Taz, and Redwing

The heroes from left to right: Thexter, T-Rex, Taz, and Redwing

WELL, HEY AGAIN 

Hey all, here again with another devlog update. Last month I gave a general summary of the formation of our team and an overview of our 2 projects in development. If you missed it get caught up here. Look, I know you’re all excited about our action rpg platformer, Thyria: Hunt for Kroohx, but I’m not going to talk about that today. This time around I’m going to tell you that you should be hyped for Thyrian Defenders, and not just because it’s first in line for release.

Since August 2016, we’ve pushed TD to the forefront of our development efforts and we’ve been in high stride these past few months. In just the past month we’ve completed another level along with dozens of improvements all around the board. But before I go into those details let’s talk about the gameplay and features. 

TD has enough unique gameplay and aesthetic to stand out, and just the right difficulty balance to attract the hardcore and casual.

Sure, it’s a vertical shooter; a genre with countless titles and very few known for innovation. However, if you’re a fan that’s no problem at all. And if you narrow down the list of truly great ones you’ll feel there’s always room for more. Of course we’re big fans and think the simple ‘pew pew’ action of a good shmup never gets old. But this game has the potential to be much more than a love letter to a classic genre that no longer receives the attention like it once did in the 1990’s. We believe TD has enough unique gameplay and aesthetic to stand out, and just the right difficulty balance to attract the hardcore and casual. 

BASIC CONTROLS

The initial release of TD is going to be for mobile so we're talking touch controls here. I tell myself I'm not a fan of touch controls but I must admit when it works, it works well. Moreover, shmups are one of those genres that works great on a touch screen. So much in fact, they've earned their own name as the 'finger shooter.' TD controls pretty much how you would expect. Your ship tracks your finger movement while it constantly shoots and that is the core control. The position of the ship sits slightly above your touch point so that your finger doesn't cover the ship. This is important, because it makes you feel like you are flying the ship, not just shooting out of your finger. If you lift your finger the game drastically slows down and you are presented with 3 special options. Cyclone Bomb heavily damages everything around you ship. Shield gives you temporary invulnerability. Focus slows everything down except for your ship, empowering you with a master of the matrix feeling. 

...you feel like you are flying the ship, not just shooting out of your finger.

MORE THAN SHOOTING STUFF

TD follows tradition by including hand made levels that are each capped off with a unique boss fight. However, it’s how you play the game that makes it feel more modern and replayable. In order to make it to the next level you must do more than survive. Each level has four objectives that earn you a medal, plus 4 difficulty tiers resulting in a total of 16 possible medals for each level. You must acquire so many of these medals to unlock more levels and difficulty tiers. 

In order to make it to the next level you must do more than survive.

• Destroy 100% of enemies - Going for this medal leads to a pretty straight forward strategy, kill everything! This is naturally what most players want to do in these games, especially if they are concerned with score. However, there are often times you will think the better of it and choose an evasive stance when the risk is obvious. Hehe, but you better hold your ground if you want to get that medal.

 Cyclone Bomb is especially useful when you're trying to destroy 100% of the enemies. (Umbrella icon is only part of temporary debug UI) 

Cyclone Bomb is especially useful when you're trying to destroy 100% of the enemies. (Umbrella icon is only part of temporary debug UI) 

• Remain Unharmed - So much as a scratch in the paint and you can say goodbye to this medal. Going for this one leads to a much more passive strategy where you don’t want to get too bullish, but you still gotta keep your finger on the trigger or those lingering baddies will cause you trouble.

 Strategically timed shield usage can go a long way towards the 'Unharmed' objective.

Strategically timed shield usage can go a long way towards the 'Unharmed' objective.

• Collect all 10 Plasma containers - In every level there are 10 plasma containers the are spawned by destroying crystals, and also absorbed from Space Kraken. Getting them from crystals is easy to understand. Shoot it until it cracks open and wolla, out pops a plasma container. To get them from Space Kraken you must fly nearby the squishy critters for a set amount of time until they relinquish a container. The trick is, they’re always on the move and often flying through crossfire. Patience and timing is the key to earning this medal. Slowing time with the Focus special can be a great help with this one. 

• Special Objective - Every level has one unique objective. These include slaying a rare monster, collecting a high percentage of gold parts, bravely riding wind currents, preserving ancient ice formations, and more. These usually incorporate a unique level mechanic, or simply bring more personality to the level. 

 Hey, you missed one! That's not gonna cut it if you want that special objective medal. 

Hey, you missed one! That's not gonna cut it if you want that special objective medal. 

Time to pick up the pace

The trade off for this methodical objective based gameplay is a need to keep the pace of the levels a touch slow, as far as scrolling is concerned. In order to contrast this and pump up the player's adrenaline we plan on including Hyperspace levels. These are very fast paced levels that must be cleared within a certain time limit. To keep up your speed you'll need to stay on a highlighted path and avoid obstacles. Baddies will be there to harass you as well but shooting is not the main focus of the gameplay in Hyperspace. That's the idea anyway, as we have yet to create a tangible mock up. Look forward to that in a forthcoming devlog. 

In order to pump up the player’s adrenaline we plan on including Hyperspace levels. These are very fast paced levels that must be cleared within a certain time limit.

RECENT UPDATES

Our biggest update since the last devlog is the addition of a new level. Introducing planet Crypto, a strange world made of bumpy rock formations intersected by rivers of bright green liquid. Shrouded in perpetual mist this humid environment provides an ideal spawning ground for the Space Kraken. Unfortunately, the Exodon invasion extends to this vital habitat. Strap up lad, those Kraken need your help!

Not only is the environment drastically different than the previous 'Asteroids' level, but several new enemies are introduced. Homing turrets shoot spinning stars that aggressively track you down. Skimmers dash along the surface of liquid and shoot packets of cluster bullets. Swarmers are small and weak but always come in groups, hence the name 'Swarmer.' To kill a Twin Shooter you must dangerously fly in between the bullets firing from its dual canons. 

In addition to this new level we've also made some small graphic improvements. Most notable is the addition of fully animated drop shadows for flying objects including your ship! 

We've also done significant balancing tweaks to the gameplay and controls. Enemies and projectiles have been made faster while your ship has slightly slower movement but a faster fire rate. This all amounts to an intense feeling of action and a much more fun challenge. Before these changes the Titan felt overpowered and the challenge was lacking. 

This all amounts to an intense feeling of action and a much more fun challenge.

NOW WE'RE ROCKIN'

Alas, I'm elated to announce a new member to the Thyria team. Alan Monteiro is a super talented musician/composer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. After looking into several potential composers, and even considering doing the music ourselves, it was Alan's natural musical talent and friendly approach that won us over. He's going to be ripping out some amazing tunes for Thyrian Defenders. You don't have to take my word for it, just take a listen to this sample track for the Asteroids level.

Now, imagine shooting up some Exodon while jamming to this, pretty sweet huh? Well hopefully you won't have to imagine for much longer, as things are still going really smooth. 

BYE BYE

That's it for this Devlog. There are still many features to cover. Next time I plan on detailing your ship's arsenal and the upgrades system. I'm also excited to describe the colorful cast of characters and how they are incorporated into the story and gameplay. Until then, keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for juicy appetizers.