Author Topic: Touhou Sky Arena  (Read 3041 times)

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Offline bjblack

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Touhou Sky Arena
« on: August 08, 2013, 05:04:40 pm »
This is my personal sales pitch for Touhou Sky Arena to make it into the Video Gaming Room this year. I'll explain all about the game over the next few weeks, and answer any questions.

Official Demo Movie: http://youtu.be/8psD_XJSmk4

First I'll explain the nature of the game. It started out as Sky Arena, which had an expansion, Hayate. Then the stand-alone game Sky Arena Kurenai came out, with functionality to run linked with Hayate as a single game, called Sky Arena Matsuri.

To get the final product, Matsuri, running originally took a bit of work (and there was some confusion in English-speaking circles as to the procedure), but this May the designers released a combination installation, at about a 30% discount off the two halves. It's download-only (no physical product), but it is seriously easy to get running; it actually has no installation required. Unzip, and run.

If you get the two halves instead, you need to update both to the same version number- at the moment, version 1.58 (usually labelled, respectively, Hayate 1.58 and Kurenai 1.58). Then you need to make sure they can find each other. If you did a standard installation and didn't move the game directories, it'll happen automatically.

(Come to think of it, that might not be entirely true... install and update the original to Hayate before installing Kurenai, to be safe. I'll test the reverse here shortly.)

You have the option, when you do it this way, to forgo running them together, if you ever have the urge to play one without the other (and you can navigate the options GUI, all in Japanese). If you get the download version, they will only ever play together.

Offline bjblack

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Re: Touhou Sky Arena
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 07:53:07 pm »
(I've tested installation order between Kurenai and Hayate, and determined it makes no difference.)

Having installed the game, you can play! Be aware that it takes a long time to load- about a minute on my box. Now we can go over the basic controls.

There are keyboard controls and controller controls. You can fiddle with them in the config UI if you want, but I'll describe the defaults.

Keyboard:
Arrow keys- Forward/Up, Backward/Down, Left and Right
Z key- Slide/Confirm
V key- Guard/Cancel
X key- Shot
C key- Melee
S key- Up
D key- Down
Q key- Lock-on
A key- Alt
W key- Camera-forward
Space key- Orders
Return key- Menu/Start

Controller (XBox 360):
Left Analog Stick- Forward/Up, Backward/Down, Left and Right
(I have encountered an instance where the above got mapped onto the digital pad instead, but usually it's the left analog stick.)
A button- Slide/Confirm
B button- Guard/Cancel
X button- Shot
Y button- Melee
Left Trigger- Up
Right Trigger- Down
Left Bumper- Lock-on
Right Bumper- Alt
Left Analog Stick (pressed as a button)- Camera-forward
Back button- Orders
Start button- Menu/Start

You'll note the two Ups and two Downs. The arrow keys/analog stick can move you up and down in menus, but the S and D keys/left and right triggers fly you upward and downward during play.

Once you watch the intro movie (there are two, one for Hayate and one for Kurenai), you can start a single-player game easily from the main menu by Confirming on Arcade (the first option), on Sky Adventure (the second option- only available in Matsuri), or on Survival (the fifth option), then Confirming through whatever options you select.

For the moment, I'll just let you button-mash, with only this instruction- you'll need to Lock-on to an enemy to be particularly effective.

Offline bjblack

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Re: Touhou Sky Arena
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 06:39:46 pm »
Well, let's figure out how to play properly.

Once you're in the game proper, your job is to fly around and attack your opponents until they fall down. You've got a decent arsenal, and a few defensive techniques. In describing them, I'll be using the input names from above.

Lock-on: Focus on an opponent. Do this first, it helps a lot!
Forward/Backward/Left/Right/Up/Down: Fly around; try to dodge the enemy's attacks. Left and right are easiest to dodge with, but don't let your opponent trick you into a corner!
Shot: Release a simple ranged attack. Pretty weak, but you've got a lot to fire. Charge it for a second or two (fill the shot gauge with orange) for a stronger attack, called a Charged Shot.
Alt + Shot: Attack with a spell card! These are stronger ranged attacks, and vary a lot from character to character. You can charge this up to use a Charged Spell Card as well.
Melee: Lash out with your sword, broom, umbrella, or hat with eyes! You can hit with a combo of three to seven hits, depending on your Tension (more on Tension in a future post).
Slide: Dash for a short distance. Hit slide again at the right time for a Double Slide. You're invulnerable for part of both. Hit Melee during either for a Slide Attack, which sets up combos well.
Guard: You can guard yourself from anything- but the protection only faces forward, and when your Guard gauge depletes, you'll need another way to avoid damage. Fun fact: if you Guard a Melee attack or Slide Attack right, you'll stun the attacker- but your timing has to be just right, which is why the technique is called the Just Guard.
Alt + Guard: Your EX Spell Card. You don't get many of these (some characters get only one every 60 seconds!), but they're your character's signature ability- use it well!

The above are available at all times, but depending on your tension, you can use the following as well:

Hold Slide: The Boost Dash. You blast off at high speed! You're vulnerable both beginning and ending this, so use with care. It's well suited to getting away from opponents that are teaming up on you. You can't use this during Low Tension.
Alt + Up or Down: The Mirage Slide. This is the fastest movement available in the game, makes you invulnerable, and goes straight for your opponent! Hit Melee to throw a Mirage Slide Attack; this can be used even when your Melee gauge is recharging and you can't use other Melee attacks. It's expensive, though, and you can't use it during Low Tension.

Alt + Melee: High Tension Spell Card. This is a powerful attack that hits a broad area. Most characters are substantially the same, but there are a few that are anomalous. You can only use this during High Tension and Climax Tension.

Alt + Slide: Climax Spell Card. Your most powerful attack- but it only hits one target. This is only available during Climax Tension.

That's the basics! In case you're curious about those other two inputs:

Camera-forward: Point the camera in the direction your character is facing. Be aware this cancels targeting, so you'll need to Lock-on again to attack effectively! You can also Camera-forward by holding Lock-on down for a second.
Orders: Change the orders to your allied AI players. If you're playing with allied AI players, this can be useful. The current orders are shown on the GUI; they're "Attack My Target", "Attack Another Target", "Run Like Hell", and "Whatever" (these translations are descriptive rather than literal- the literal meanings are... cryptic).

Offline bjblack

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Re: Touhou Sky Arena
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 09:06:12 pm »
I thought for a while I'd talk about Tension today, but I'm going for one of Touhou's selling points: the characters. Touhou characters in general are full of personality and entertaining as hell. Sky Arena serves up classic favorites as well as a few dark horses.

Hakurei Reimu is the shrine maiden at Hakurei Shrine, and the Designated Hero of the Touhou games in general. Far from heroic, however, she's pretty lazy, and while she has a sense of duty somewhere in her, she doesn't take it too seriously. In this game, she's pretty well balanced and features a teleport EX Spell Card.

Kirisame Marisa is a hard-working and energetic magician. To say it one way, she's got a flexible sense of property- to say it another, she's a thief. In particular, she steals books for study. Her two shot types are very different- to the point she almost plays like two separate characters.

Cirno is an Ice Fairy, known to be the smartest and strongest of all fairies. In human terms, however, she's pretty dumb. Famously dumb, in fact. Since she's nevertheless upbeat, outgoing, and confident, she garners the largest fandom of the Touhou series. Her High Tension Spell Card can freeze projectiles and opponents (and allies).

Izayoi Sakuya is the chief maid at the Scarlet Mansion. She attends her duties scrupulously and conducts herself maturely (a rarity around Gensoukyou). Don't get her mad, though- she can stop time, and carries a seemingly-limitless number of knifes. Her EX Spell Card stops everything around her for several seconds.

Konpaku Youmu is a swordsman who attends the gardens at Hakugyokurou. She's half-human and half-ghost- meaning, she's got a human body and a ghost body. She tends to take what she's doing seriously, and doesn't let her guard down easily. Underneath that exterior, she's quite kind and innocently straightforward. Her High Tension Spell Card is a dashing slice that is hard to counter.

Alice Margatroid is a youkai magician. She uses puppets to attack, and while she tends to use them like suicide bombers, her favorite pastime is making and using them. She's quite kind to them, and to her friends, though she doesn't make many. Alice's EX Spell Card is a teleport move that leaves behind three dolls that explode at her previous location.

Moriya Suwako is a (fairly) major god; her domain is Earth and she has affinity with frogs. She's playful and a bit childish- she doesn't use much foresight, as she's by disposition almost incapable of worrying about potential problems she might cause. She, thus, tends to cause a lot of problems. Her EX Spell can heal her life, but she needs to trick her opponent into attacking at the right time.

Reiuji Utsuho is a Hell Raven who manages the heat in the Hell of Blazing Fires. She's simple-minded and has a short attention span. She planned to take over Gensoukyou mostly because she couldn't think of anything else to do with her powers, and didn't realize how flat-out malevolent that is (see again, simple-minded and short attention span). Her High Tension Spell sucks in enemies and allies to blow up in a huge explosion.

That covers the characters in the original Sky Arena. Next up I'll introduce the cast of Kurenai.

Offline bjblack

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Re: Touhou Sky Arena
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 09:07:27 pm »
I've been silent for nearly a week, working on a beginner's orientation poster. I've got it done, but it's huge. Let's see if I can get some image uploader to accept it.

The big benefit of this thing is that it can break down the game interface, which would take forever with text alone. There's a lot of information crammed onto the game screen. Particularly, it has a small tension diagram to explain that gauge at the top of the GUI- a very important game mechanic.

Here goes nothing:


Offline bjblack

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Re: Touhou Sky Arena
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 08:39:59 pm »
Time to belatedly introduce the remainder of the game cast! This time we'll hit the characters from Kurenai.

Flandre Scarlet is the little sister of Remilia Scarlet, mistress of the Scarlet Mansion. Flandre (Flan for short) isn't technically allowed to go outside, on account of her extreme destructive power and childish playfulness- with said extreme destructive power. Her EX Spell powers up her attack, but she can only use it once a minute.

Ibuki Suika is an Oni who likes partying, drinking, and fighting. It's said she hasn't been sober in centuries. On account of debuting in the first fighting game, she's got quite the reputation as a tough little brawler. Her A-type (Suiki) has a Spell Card and Charged Spell Card which cannot be knocked down by any other attack (as near as I've been able to ascertain).

Reisen Udongein Inaba is a moon rabbit living in Eientei. She's a serious sort, and doesn't fool around much. Because of her attitude, she gets pranked a lot. Her EX Spell enforces Low Tension in the player it hits for ten seconds, crippling them.

Fujiwara no Mokou is a human born centuries ago in Japan who gained immortality from an elixir. Her theme is the phoenix, and accordingly she uses fire-based abilities, and resurrects after she dies. She's serious most of the time, especially with strangers, but she'll relax that with her friends. Her EX Spell leaves the target burning, taking damage over time.

Shameimaru Aya is a crow tengu who manages a newspaper. She can always be seen with her camera in hand. To sensationalize her paper, she's known as a paparazzi, taking embarrassing photos for publication. Her High Tension Spell hits all around her- it doesn't draw in other players like Utsuho, but its area of effect is bigger.

Kochiya Sanae is the Shrine Maiden at Moriya Shrine. She's a human originally from our time who got into Gensoukyou. She's a knockover for anime, games, and other pop culture. Her EX Spell heals her for a few seconds- but it also tells her opponents, "Smack me, now!"

Komeiji Koishi is another little sister, this time of Komeiji Satori, the mistress of Chireiden. Due to her powers, she is hard for layman to discern- she only registers to their subconscious minds. Spiritually powerful mediums and people frequently exposed to her can detect her normally. Despite her pool of acquaintances being badly limited, she's quite innocent and playful. Her High Tension Spell is another in which she rushes through a large hit area.

Hinanai Tenshi is a celestial living in a paradise atop a mountain. She isn't so keen on paradise, though, so she causes trouble in the world below when she gets bored. The fun, for her, isn't the trouble, but the people who come up the mountain to beat her up for it. Some even say she's a straight-up masochist. Her EX Spell gives her super armor for ten seconds, but she can only use it once a minute.

Tatara Kogasa is a monster umbrella (no, really!). She likes to go around surprising people, but isn't very good at it. In fact, she tends to get surprised more often than she surprises! Her EX Spell blocks anything thrown at it, for a second or so; supposedly it yields an offensive hit, but honestly, I've never seen it connect.

Houjuu Nue is a shape-shifter whose true form is unknown. She gets off on scaring people, and got sealed underground for her success. Since she was freed, her true form has been revealed, and her scariness went down as a result. Her EX Spell will hide her player data from other players, so they can't see her health, tension, spark gauge, team, or spirit gems (those last two don't change over the course of a match, but the EX Spell still hides them).

So that's Kurenai. Ten more characters, for a total of eighteen.

Offline Shin Star

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Re: Touhou Sky Arena
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 10:55:07 pm »
I just wanted to say thanks for bringing this game and taking the time to have such a nice set up. Unfortunately, I didn't get time to try it over there, but I saw a handful of people trying out the game. Heck, there was even a tournament and had more sign ups than Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch! (which sadly got canceled.)
If at first you don't succeed, give up.