Thyria Devlog 05: Origins / by Raymond Schlitter


long time no see. The fact I haven't published a devlog in a few months might indicate stagnation in the dev cycle. Rest assured, it is quite the contrary. We've actually been so busy and engrossed in development that time has just flown by. Also, we don't want to completely pull back the curtain before release and spoil a profound gaming experience ;)


Thyria, a glorious galaxy to shmup in. 

Thyria, a glorious galaxy to shmup in. 

The name 'Thyria' was discovered from a google search of ancient city names. While we were still developing a yet unnamed platformer, 'Thyria' was the name given to the hub city. After several months went on, we still didn't have a name for the game, but we had grown very fond of 'Thyria,' both in phonetics and visual balance of the letters. After some googling we were sufficiently satisfied with the obscurity of the word, as it wasn't being used for any other game title or prominent works of fiction. Thus, we eventually adopted 'Thyria' as the name of the fictional galaxy the game is set in, and therefore, the name of the franchise. The city once called Thyria was then changed to Thalor. When we shifted over to developing a shmup, 'Thyrian Defenders,' came naturally.


We're big fans of shmups, and have played a lot of them. I'm most fond and familiar with Japanese fare from the 90's. For example, R-Type, Gradius, Darius, Raiden, Raystorm, Axeley, Thunder Force, Silpheed, Aero Fighters, U.N. Squadron, Sky Shark, 1942, Strikers 1945, and the list goes on. I grew up button mashing my sweaty little boy fingers and screaming into CRT displays trying to conquer these difficult games. Classic shmups are in my blood and I get a nostalgic itchy trigger finger just listing them. Some of them I still frequently revisit to keep the skills sharp and pull inspiration from sweet 90's pixel art. Furthermore, some of the aesthetics and the enemy behaviors of TD are definitely inspired by this pool of games. 

Just to clear the air, you may have noticed I didn't mention a game called 'Tyrian.' Despite a similar looking name, we had never even heard of this game until about 6 months into development of TD. Now it seems every week someone will reference this game in relation to TD, likely due to the name. However, any similarities both in name and spirit are purely coincidental. Nothing against Tyrian, I'm sure it's a fine game if it shares any qualities with TD. It just feels a bit odd to be under the implication that you are heavily referencing a game you weren't even aware existed. Although, I understand it's not hard to draw similarities between any two titles within the genre, and that's part of the charm. Shmups are like comfort food, and we want to reinvigorate the old beloved recipe with our own take.

Not all our inspiration comes from the retro library. In order to adapt the shmup to a modern free to play model that keeps the player engaged we had to analyze more current entries in the genre. As far as the game's structure and progression system, we started with the superb model presented in the mobile versions of Sky Force. However, at every design decision we pushed ourselves to innovate and come up with our own unique twist on the model, while removing any of the free to play aspects we felt had a negative impact on the experience. You can still see Sky Force in the roots of the UI and basic progression system, but the actual feel and moment to moment gameplay completely stands on its own. 

Outside of games, several other inspirations have found there way into TD. Working in the sci-fi genre post 1977 makes it impossible to escape some influence from one of the most heavily referenced icons of pop culture. You guessed it, Star Wars. However, I'm also greatly inspired by nature in all my art. It may not be so apparent, but many of the enemy designs are loosely based off plants, insects, and animals. While the precise and mechanical aspect of my art likely stems from my upbringing. Due to my father's business, I grew up surrounded by airplanes and intricately machined parts. My baby playpen was literally in an airplane assembly shop at one point. 


I have many actual game updates to talk about, but I told myself I would try to keep it short and on point. No worries, the next devlog will come along without great delay, full of juicy details about the new content we've been cooking. In the meantime keep up with the latest on social media. Cheers!