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buskerdog

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buskerdog last won the day on December 8

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  1. It's about time. Since it is once more my turn to host, I am once again going against the tradition of naming the thread after a Star Wars reference, although this time you still get a Spielberg reference, so I'm kind of following the tradition?... We're gonna run out of Star Wars references soon, anyway To anyone who has no clue what this is I'm going on about, the remix tournament is a recurring forum game we run on this here site. The idea is to share Touhou remixes and then rate and rank them in a very non-competitive nature. Each participant will PM me three Touhou remixes, and then when everyone's ready I will drip feed them 3 at a time into this thread, keeping each submission anonymous to the person who submitted it, and everyone will rate the songs in the post. Repeat until I've posted all songs, and then I average together all the scores and that's the remix tournament! If you want to participate, simply state your interest in this thread, and then PM me your three remixes of choice. Try to avoid something that has appeared in a past tournament. Sign-ups will be open for about a week, then we can get started. The objective of the remix tournament is to share cool music, so don't take it too seriously! However, do try to show up to each round to leave your ratings and opinions. I think that's summarised it neatly. Any questions, just ask here!
  2. It may have been to be fair, I skipped on VD and still haven't played ISC. I acknowledge that my experience with the genre is limited, but I have yet to find one I enjoy. On paper I understand why roguelikes are popular - in fact, I like a lot of ideas in their design. However, I am convinced the genre is just not for me. Even games that have just a sprinkling a roguelike mechanics frustrate me easily - take how Minecraft, for example, makes you drop your stuff when you die. I really like Minecraft, and I don't think anyone would call it a roguelike game, but having my hard earned stuff just taken away from me - that's not something I like. Procedurally generated levels aren't my thing either, because if I die (which will not only send me back to the beginning, but also discard most of my accumulated valuables), I can't learn that section and try again to overcome it. Furthermore, I'd take a hand-crafted, carefully designed experience any day over something that's replayable but inconsistent. And then there's the matter of runs often feeling like they come more down to luck than skill - if you don't get the right items on a given run, it could essentially be a doomed mission from the start. I can see how that can be entertaining, doing your best to improvise with what you've got. I'm not against that idea, but it just makes it feel bad when you have the knowledge that you could be playing with something better. Permanent upgrade systems don't alleviate my pain much either. At that point, it just feels like the objective of the game is to keep playing from the start up to that point where you're stuck over and over again until the game just lets you be strong enough to overcome it. Which ties back in to one of my previous points as well, about not being able to retry - when it comes to more consistent elements, such as bosses, if I want to put the time into challenging them until I learn their patterns I simply can't, not without playing through an entire game to return to that point. (I suppose Touhou can be a bit like this too, but the difference is that the randomness in roguelikes turns this into a struggle). Oh, and this is more a problem I have with the roguelike community than roguelikes themselves, but don't get me started on the term roguelite. If a game has roguelike mechanics in a significant capacity, it is a roguelike to me. I don't like this subgenre that's been invented because certain roguelikes aren't similar enough to rogue, or aren't hardcore enough, or have a strange gimmick... Maybe I just haven't found the right game for me, but roguelikes that I have completed felt like a hollow victory.
  3. Black Market of Bulletphilia ~ 100th Black Market is a game made by ZUN. It is a game I personally enjoyed extremely. It is not without its flaws, given the exploitable nature that comes with the ability card system, but nonetheless ability cards are still a fun mechanic and I like what this game in particular did with them. Some people were disappointed by this game due to expecting a greater emphasis on roguelike mechanics - I'm not one of those people, and as a matter of fact roguelikes are the game genre I dislike most, so I'm happy that 100th Black Market is the game that it is and isn't a roguelike. However, that's not what this topic is about. What this topic is about is how 100th Black Market, despite being a ZUN game, is the most un-ZUN like thing he has ever made. And that's something that brings me a lot of excitement. Game Structure Being a spinoff, this game is laid out in a much different way to the traditional Touhou experience, using what is essentially a level select instead of the usual linear path Touhou has. This is far from the first time ZUN has implemented this sort of thing in a spinoff game, but what sets Touhou 18.5 apart is the randomisation of patterns you encounter throughout a stage. This random attack waves are structured in a pretty simple manner - there is a pool of possible attacks you go up against, and then a difficulty modifier for all of them that increases towards the end of the level (not forgetting a random boss to cap off the level). Some levels also make "new" patterns out of facing you with two easier patterns, but stacked simultaneously. It's not the most sophisticated procedural generation you've ever seen, but it works for a Touhou game. And that variety in how a stage plays is important here, because the other thing this game is built on is repetition - repeating levels to collect as many cards as you can, earn cash to buy those cards, and defeat all the bosses to get each of their unique cards and to power up Marisa's starting equipment capabilities. This kind of macro progression system, alongside the random generation, are two things we don't normally get to see from ZUN... Screen Real Estate There's another way this game deviates from ZUN's usual design, too. In fact, it's something absolutely massive that jumped out at me right as I started playing, and that's the UI. The right-hand side of the screen that is usually reserved for a flashy life and bomb counter, alongside other information like your power, and of course very importantly a stylized logo, is instead completely barren in this game. Most of the things you'd usually expect to see on Touhou's UI simply aren't in this spinoff, but even lives, which are still present, have instead been moved to small icons occupying a corner of the play area. So, what gives? This area instead serves as a tab of all your character stats. As you collect cards that effect things such as power level, damage multiplier, cooldown reductions, and so forth, all of it gets tracked here, with actual numerical values to boot, so you know exactly how much a given effect is helping you. It's a UI that gives you a very tactical presentation of what you're doing. But that's not even the most unusual thing about this Touhou game's UI. There's something missing among this game's mechanics that is incredibly uncharacteristic of ZUN - and that's the score. This game has no scoring system. We know ZUN likes his old-school way of making games, and a good old fashioned high score mechanic is the one thing that has tied every one of ZUN's creations together up to this point (well, apart from the kickass music and oops, all bullets). The complete absence of a score is something so unexpected it that is took me a good moment to take it in once I realised it. It shows that ZUN knew this was a very different kind of game he was making, and that things ought to be done differently. Story? A problem I've stated in the past with Touhou games is how the context of the story's beginning is never well communicated to the player. You pretty much always have to look in the game's manual to find out what's going on, or figure it out along the way after a few dialogues. 100th Black Market seems to address this directly as if ZUN himself has read my comment. When you hit start game for the first time, before even being taken to a level select you are thrown straight into a tutorial level that introduces the spinoff mechanics to you, and right at the start of it is a prologue that explains what is currently happening and why Marisa is here. It's just a few boxes of text across the middle of the screen, certainly not the most elegant way of conveying this information, but the point is, it's there. And I appreciated it a lot. It's not what ZUN usually does, but now it is something I want him to do more. I think that Touhou 18.5 does a lot of other interesting things a spinoff, which I could certainly talk about. However, these are the things I want to bring attention to as particularly un-ZUN things to do. Now, I don't think this means ZUN is going to start drastically changing the way he makes his games. Future mainline Touhou games are sure to stay very traditional, just the way ZUN likes it. However, the changes demonstrated here do make me excited for how Touhou will evolve in the future. I'm sure he's not throwing away scores in mainline Touhou anytime soon, but that doesn't mean that Touhou doesn't have any space to grow - or that ZUN is completely unwilling to take a new direction. Now, I've got another thread I need make tomorrow. Something that's been a long time coming...
  4. It's a prickly situation and there's so much I could say that I don't know whether I'd be helping or not, or how best to convey it to you. But to keep things short let me just say that I echo a lot of what's already been said above. As for what I can say to you that's more specific to me... well, I'm the same age as you. And I suppose I've been through some similar (in a loose sense) experiences. I think the best way I can construct this is to respond to each of your numbered points respectively. Addressing point 1) I actually used to be in a position of being purely convinced I wanted to follow programming. But come the end of my A-level courses, having studied both computer science and games development, I took a year out to figure out what I wanted to do next (and wait out the covid pandemic). You'd think that sticking with programming would make sense - it's something I like, and there's no shortage of jobs - or pay - for programmers... I am now going into crippling debt to learn the funny anime language with little to no plan for what I'm going to do with it. And I'm absolutely loving it. I don't want to waste time going into details of what motivated this sudden change, but there's two points I'm trying to make with this analogy. Firstly, taking a complete U-turn on what you're studying is OK. In my situation it does help that I made that turn in-between stages of education rather than in the middle, but it's still possible. And if you don't have to pay soul-destroying tuition fees like I do, then you won't even have lost anything from starting again on a new course! Secondly, there's no problem with being unsure what you're going to do with your degree. In fact, I'd argue that not knowing is a better outlook. If you have one really specific thing you want to do with your degree and you don't get it, then you're going to feel like you've wasted yourself. But if you keep open minded about your possibilities, then one day you could stumble into your perfect job by accident. Or maybe something not so perfect. But either way, you'll be getting paid. Addressing point 2) I know people on my course who transferred over from another university to start again, albeit to study the same thing rather than take an entirely new subject. I think you need to ask yourself this: Is the subject the problem? Or is the course the problem? If the problem is that you don't like the subject itself, then you should maybe consider starting on a new course to pursue something that you want to learn. I'm not qualified to give employment advice. But I will say that having a degree helps. Even if the degree isn't relevant. Focus on getting a degree while simultaneously learning the knowledge and skills that you personally want to have. That way you grow yourself into the person you want to be, and at the end of it you also come it with a degree. That degree might get you a job that is completely unrelated and random. But the point is, it's a degree, and having it says something about you as a worker. If the problem is that you like the subject, but the course itself sucks ass, then you gotta move somewhere the teaching is better. This was the case for my above mentioned coursemates. Addressing point 3) Do it. Be ambitious. I too am someone who dreams big. But you also need to swallow your pride. There's no shame in starting small. And even if you don't ultimately make it where you originally thought you wanted to be, there's joy to be had in the journey. You might end up somewhere else that you actually realise you prefer. Having a well-paid job is not important, as long as you have a little money you can get by. However, you should aim to have something. If you end up in a small-time job that you find embarrassing, you shouldn't feel bad about it; you don't have to stay in that job forever, and it's fine as long as you live a fulfilling life outside of work. And if you're still trying to figure out that thing you really enjoy, then broaden your horizons, both metaphorically and literally! Others have pointed out both these things: you have some great skills and interests that might point you to some other field of work/study you hadn't considered before, and also you can speak English, which means you can go abroad. Going to another country can literally unlock a whole new world of opportunities for you! Addressing point 0) My guy, it's literally a historical re-enactment club. Stop overthinking it. Anyway Von, I'd be very happy to have a more free-form conversation with you, so if you like feel free to chat with me on discord.
  5. Idk how applicable this is to ZUN's music, but I'm sure it must be relevant to many doujin circle songs. I dug this up recently to show it to a friend, and realised that I never posted it here.
  6. You... you don't have anything to cook with in your student accommodation? I couldn't imagine not being able to cook my own meals. Oh uh also, I usually just have toast at the moment, since it's quick and I've got places to be. But regardless of what I have, I will always drink tea. *British Intensifies*
  7. oh yeah, I'm meant to be hosting that Also, heck yeah I really like your style of videos! We've all seen the conversations here about needing better Touhou Youtube content, it makes me happy to see someone actually took the plunge and gave it a shot. It's also quite strange to hear someone's voice for the first time when you already knew them but didn't know what they sound like! But you seem to be a great speaker, so well done! And nice to you see you around here after a while! I am now subscribed to your content
  8. @CountVonNumenor apologies for bringing this thread back from the dead, but I wanted to link this new article in a relevant discussion and didn't really want to create an entire new thread for it. Megapig's thoughts on the Western Touhou Youtube landscape: https://en.touhougarakuta.com/column-en/touhou-youtubers-perception-of-western-touhou-youtube
  9. The thing about trying to categorise Touhou as easy or hard is that we're talking about a series with 18 core entries + a lot of spinoffs, and counting. The difficulty of these games relative to each other is very diverse, you have games like UM and EoSD on one end of the scale and SA or UFO at the other. So, trying to make an exact statement on Touhou's difficulty is an impossibility, made doubly impossible by the fact that difficulty isn't something that can actually be measured. However, what I can do is break the argument down into smaller points that are common across most if not all core entries and summarise my opinions on why they cause the game to be perceived as hard or not hard. I'll try to avoid retreading points you already covered. All stages back to back. Outside of spinoffs and LoLK, there is no "save game" in Touhou. You have to run through the entire thing with a limited room for error, and if that room for error runs out, you start again from the very beginning. People familiar with Shmups are probably used to this; it wouldn't have any impact on whether the game is seen as easier or harder. For people used to having permanent checkpoints though, this undoubtedly makes the game harder as it essentially allows for "backward progression". This can obviously be difficult in the sense that it can feel frustrating and time consuming, but the real tangible element of how this increases difficulty is that it demands mastery of the game through forcing content to be retreaded. You can't win against a boss by a fluke. Something else will kill you later, and then you'll be pushed back to your previous "wall". That wall doesn't crumble until you know exactly how to break it. Precision movements. When exactly this happens varies by game, but all of them will eventually at some point force you to evade in such a way that minimalist movements are required. This is a major test of hand-eye coordination and motor skills, as it's not just about how fast you get moving, but how fast you can stop moving as well, coupled with precise timing. The timing issue may not be such a struggle for any players accustomed to games with elements of action, but precision definitely can be. Thankfully, focus mode exists to make micro movements easier. I'm not an expert of any shmups outside Touhou, but I don't think focus is a universal feature of the genre, so for shmup enthusiasts, focus mode is an element that makes Touhou easy. Know thy enemy. In Touhou, your offensive power is important, but your defensive skills are moreso. Touhou is ultimately a game about defence. And in order to do that most effectively, you need to actually pay attention to what it is coming at you, since lives can be lost very quickly, and there is no such thing as becoming "tanky". Understanding what enemies do, and how you can manipulate their behaviour to best reduce the risk to you, is key to survival - take "bullet streaming" for example, one of the most simple bullet hell techniques that involves slowly moving while bullets aimed directly at you are shot, so that they clutter less of the screen and don't push you to an edge. The more your reflexes improve, the less you have to rely on this kind of manipulation, but there is always going to be an element of using these strategies. So, players who's go-to approach to combat-centric games is to win with overwhelming offence quickly find themselves is deep water. Of course, Touhou is hardly the only game where you analyse enemy behaviour, but due being a niche genre, it's not necessarily as easy to pick up on - when you fight a big boss in an action game, of course you study the way it moves, attacks, defends, and leaves itself open - it's simple intuition to watch what the big (or small) scary thing is doing. In the context of a bullet hell, however, your first thought probably isn't to consider what angles the bullets are coming at you from. Negative feedback loop. I just talked about defence, but offense is also a key element of Touhou. To do high damage and therefore defeat threats faster, you need the resource known as power. Power is usually earned at a fairly slow rate. If you get hit, you lose power. If you lose power, it becomes harder to finish off the thing that just hit you. So then you get hit again, and lose more power along with another life. If you make one slip up in Touhou, it's easy to fall into a negative spiral, this is a challenge for any player to overcome, regardless of experience, but of course the problem is exasperated for newbies. It should be noted, however, that getting hit also refills your stock of bombs AKA spells, which, in contrast, is a comeback mechanic. Foresight. When it comes to the series' more difficult patterns, you have to take initiative. You can't simply just "move out the way" of bullets coming towards you, you have to see where the gaps are forming on the screen and get into them before the opportunity closes off. The ability to identify things before they happen and take according initiative will make improve someone's skill at any game, but in Touhou, it becomes a requirement, at least if you want to be able to dodge everything. The existence of bombs can make skipping these hard sections an option, however. Speaking of which... Bombs. Bombs, also called spells in more recent titles, are unquestionably an element that makes Touhou easier. You always start with some, and you always get them back if you get hit. They provide invincibility, high burst damage, and bullet destruction. It's a generous resource no matter how you look at it, and an important one, too: after all, this game expects you to dodge a lot of different patterns. Even the drunken madlad ZUN doesn't reasonably expect everyone to be able to dodge everything, which is why he gives you these. And since you only get more if you die with your bombs used up, the system even encourages you to actively use them. People who are really good at bullet hells will find this trivialises the game, but then the simple solution for them is to simply not use them. Noob trap: bottom hugging. This last one is more of a sidenote, but it's a habit a lot of new Touhou players fall into. It's easy to think that the bottom of the screen is the safest place to be, because it gives you the most time to react to bullets coming from the top. And for some patterns, the very bottom is legitimately the safest place to be. However, doing it all the time is not good, as staying at the bottom is essentially the same as removing an entire direction is which you can move. So, new players unfortunately can make things harder on themselves by retreating to a comfort zone that is impractical for clearing an entire game. Well, I dropped many thoughts here so I hope you will find them useful in some way. Like you, I do not play for score and can therefore offer no insight in that regard, except that it is common to hear among Touhou players the opinion that Touhou "is a game you play for score".
  10. a slight but significant correction here: she didn't just leave heaven in SWR, she was expelled from it for her behaviour. However, in future appearances it does seem that she travels to and from heaven on her own accord.
  11. Although I don't have much time for pleasure reading now, I was definitely an avid reader earlier in my life, able to get engrossed in a variety of fantasy (and other genre) novels, ranging from easy to very difficult in how hard they are to read (the hardest in my experience being the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I tackled at the age of something like 11 or 12 and was ultimately defeated by. And I was so close to the end too! But I had become completely mentally drained by it and was no longer absorbing anything on the pages. I did manage The Hobbit, though!). A potential helper in why I read so much may be that many of the books I read were part of a series, and sometimes a pretty long series at that. So after I finished one book, there would always be the next to move on to, and when the whole series was done, I would look for the next series to get engrossed in. The popularity of Harry Potter (context: I'm British) may also have been a contributor in this regard - I haven't seen all the films, but I've read every book. As I got older, more mature fantasy novels also opened up to me as a thing that was appealing, so my options were expanded - as were what I got out of reading them. As an aside, my favourite author is Phillip Pullman, notable for the trilogy His Dark Materials. I think he writes great stuff, although if you're going into his books, it should also be noted that he is very anti-religion, and his views extend to his writing. This isn't a sentiment I agree with; as a matter of fact, I consider myself pro-religion despite not being religious myself - yet it's in that context that I can find his work very interesting (it also helps that I just find his style of writing enjoyable - and it's not like everything he writes has to be read into at a deeper level). In his fantasy novels this is usually expressed - I won't say subtly - but unintrusively in a way that doesn't take away from the excitement of a fantasy adventure, however I have also read a short book by him that is more adult and expresses his views much more strongly - and it's the most thought-provoking thing I've ever read. My favourite book by him, and my favourite novel in general, is La Belle Sauvage, which is the first book in a trilogy of sequels to His Dark Materials, although La Belle Sauvage specifically is a prequel. This novel works well as a standalone episode that doesn't need the following book to continue its flow, and in a nice change of pace, it doesn't even have any important themes of religion in it. Interestingly I started reading the second book in this trilogy but stopped - it feels very different in its pacing and structure, and I just can't get into it at all. So, you could say it's on the opposite end of the spectrum. I don't know if he's written the third book in this trilogy yet, if he has then maybe I ought to get back to finishing. I would say my enjoyment of reading did and still does extend outside of books, too - when I play a videogame, I'm the sort of person who likes to read all the flavour text, no matter how pointless an endeavour it is. I will also never, ever skip through dialogue unless it's something I've read already. Any time I get for pleasure reading nowadays, other than occasionally going towards Touhou manga and Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks, seriously those can be engrossing, usually goes towards books on Japanese legends, folk tales, mythology, etc. You can see the youkai have clearly rubbed off on me, lol. So these tend to be more like collections of short stories, although I have also recently began reading a translation of The Kojiki, Japan's oldest surviving narrative that chronicles such legends as the Japanese creation myth and the origin of the emperor's connection to Amaterasu, amongst other myths important to Shintoism, although I haven't had enough time to properly get into it yet (I literally only read the translator's preface so I've not even properly started yet, haha). Oh, did I also mention that I studied The Odyssey for one of my GCSEs? Mythology is cool. So, to answer your original question - doing lots of reading does, undoubtedly, improve your writing (just look at all I've written above here, lol). However I don't know if that's really the case for explaining why we don't have many essay-style videos on Touhou Project. After all, there's something - several things, actually - stopping me from producing video essays. The fact of the matter is, getting into the video-essay making scene is just very hard. Writing about the topic is one thing, but there are several other barriers to entry - for one, you have to be very knowledgeable on what you're talking about. Then you also need to have a good environment and equipment for recording yourself speak, and then you have to actually be good at speaking when you do it, and then you need to make an actual video for people to watch, and then you need to edit your recordings into the video, and so on... I agree, it is unfortunate we don't have more essay-like videos analysing Touhou, and perhaps also surprising given the talent we come to expect from this fandom. But it's a hard thing to make, and although Touhou does have a large fanbase it is also quite niche, so we should be glad we at least have some people who create content like this such Surnist, even if uploads are infrequent.
  12. As far as the wiki pages go, the alternative titles don't seem to be present on the Japanese side, so I don't know where they come from. Without a physical copy of an album, I don't have a way to tell if they come from an official source or not.
  13. OK so returning to this thread after my somewhat memey response I feel like I actually ought to say something more intellectual since it's a really interesting topic. However, I'm having trouble formulating my response, so I think I'll have to come back to it later. But I have loads of different things I'd like to cover that I'm not sure how to link together concisely into one post - tried writing it earlier and it turned into a post about religion instead.
  14. NKZ's compositions and remixes are a large contributor to why I love IaMP's soundtrack so much. Idk why he only did music for this one game; however I think he stayed on the Tasofro team as a sound effect engineer for future games? Do you mind clarifying what you mean by this?
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