Tameshi - Vertical Shmup

Tameshi (working title) is a high-energy vertical scrolling shooter inspired by (mostly Japanese) arcade style shooters of the 90s. These can be characterised by:

  • Fast, frenetic action
  • Overwhelming bullet hell scenarios
  • Very large scale bosses and huge hi scores
  • Staged levels and power-ups
  • Wide variety of enemies

There’s usually some sort of special mechanic unique to the particular game. That is yet to be decided for this project. I’ve only been working on it a few days so here’s a clip of what it looks and plays like so far:


Please please please work with someone good at sfx and music to make you some custom sounds and music for this. Good audio is so important to game feel and there are many talented sound guys who love SHMUPs.


This is insane !!! I LOVE IT !!!


I’m officially requesting a Switch version with 2 player support! :slight_smile:


You’ll need to wait quite a while for that. Knowing Ben, we’re talking something like… 2-3 hours. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


This week I’ve worked on various aspects of Tameshi:

  • More enemies. Whilst it’s good to have a wide variety of enemy in a shooter, those enemies need to behave in interesting and unique ways. So, each type has it’s own script rather than a generic script with different variables.

  • Mini bosses. Mid-level bosses are good fun and puntuate the blasting with, well, more blasting but in a more focused manner. Each level will have it’s own unique mini boss which appears alone at first then in pairs later on.

  • Backgrounds. Each level has it’s own ‘look’ . This helps keep things interesting and gives the player a sense of progression through the game.

  • Juice. A popular term nowadays but classic shooters have always been liberal with the juice. Tameshi is no acception and I’ll be making generous use of particle effects and animations throughout.

It’s been a fun week! Although early days, I already feel this game will be good enough to go on Steam. I’d love to get someone to do the sound and music but, as ever, this is a zero budget project!


Don’t hold back on the juice!

On a more serious note: I can’t really think of any other genre where this is more important. To me it is such an integral part of a shoot’em up!


I curious to know how you’re handling waves of enemies and their patterns.
Do you have a custom editor for that? I remember AJirenius in one of his videos actually build those waves in game.


At the risk of exposing my janky methods, I’ll try and explain.

I actually use the Defold tilemap editor to script waves of enemies. Arranging the data into columns, with each column containing: enemy type, duration of wave and number of enemies to spawn in that time.

It’s very simple and easy to tweak though has some limitations, such as only allowing one type of enemy at a time. I may add a secondary type to each wave to mitigate this.

I feel the ‘normal’ way to do this would be to just use a Lua table, but I found that to be less readable.


This week I have mostly been drawing spaceships.

Further work has also been done on power-ups, bosses, level structure and the like. I’ve also split the generic enemy handling code into a separate lua module to minimise duplicate code in the different enemy scripts.

I’m also considering how to add further variety to levels and prompt the player to switch up their play style back and forth. Keep things more interesting. I feel this can be achieved by careful design of how enemy waves enter the play area, from the sides or even the bottom of the screen, not just the top.

Next week I will be developing the ‘special’ function of the player’s craft. A smart bomb, basically, though more visually spectacular. Gotta keep that juice level up.

A short demo level for your perusal…



Love it! Your weapons look really juicy and satisfying.

I’ve seen this recently and it might interest you as well :slight_smile:


A few notable advances this week:

  • Refactoring. This was always going to happen sooner or later. Once a project’s size reaches critical mass, it’s time to step back and organise things appropriately. My usual ‘quick ‘n’ dirty’ approach might work well for small game-jam efforts, but for a larger game things can start to become unmanageable. Lua modules are my new favourite thing for compartmentalising different systems in a neat manner.

  • From the screenshot below you may notice the new panels either side of the game area. You may also notice there are two of them which raises the spectre of a co-op mode, suggested by @jhonny.goransson a while back. Whilst this is no trivial matter to implement (not really looking forward to it), I feel it’s worth doing as it can greatly increase the enjoyment of the game for some people.

  • Spaceships. From now on it’s safe to assume on any given day I’m drawing spaceships at some point. I’ve also spent a bit of time creating unique patterns of movement, firing sequences and that sort of thing. Enemy behaviours, basically.

Next week I shall be tackling the aforementioned co-op mode and probably a bit more tidying up. Get this right, and the rest of the project will go much more smoothly.


I’ve just started a sound production company. I handle engineering and sound design, I have a composer who has a masters in musical composition from Wesleyan college here in the States. And 3 voice over actors (two male and one female). Feel free to contact me on here as I have followed and enjoyed many of your games @benjames171. I would enjoy the experience working on a project with you.


You are kind to offer! Alas, being a one-man band, I have zero budget for outsourcing stuff. I’ll be limited to stock music as usual.


Co-op, yes!! I’m definately buying this once it gets released on a switch :+1:

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Setup some crowd funding. Indiegogo is good for smaller goals.

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A week of refactoring, tinkering and also:

  • Localisation hooks have been put in. All text in the game is now taken from a language specific table and can easily be swapped out.

  • In addition, text in the game has all been arranged in a way that will allow flexibility in the length of words and phrases in different languages.

  • Co-op mode is more complex than first thought and will require further thought before beginning implementation.

  • The overall structure of levels and the whole game is becoming more solid. Each level will have unique enemies, bosses and power-ups. There will be 7 stages in all.

  • Further content added, more enemies, backgrounds, power-ups and such. Also some large, dreadnought type ships have been added (see screenshot).

  • I’m continually developing the ui, menus and such and am starting to feel happy with those.

Next week I will be looking at motivating bosses. Right now they’re just one sprite that shoots at the player – not that interesting. They will be broken down into components that can move independently and facilitate different stages of the boss. There will be 7 of these, one for each stage.


I like this! The modular boss types that are usually found in shoot’em ups are fun!

Have you updated the graphics of the player ship and enemies? Looks good!

What is your current thinking? The second player is another identical ship to the first? Or is the second player another ship type? Or a squadron of smaller ships? Or something connected to p1 ship?

So far all enemies I’ve seen from the videos shared on Twitter have been enemy ships. Are you also planning for static enemies such as gun turrets?

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Everything is subject to change at this point! All graphics will also be reviewed later to ensure consistency.

Another similar ship, though a different design and colour so the 2 players can tell them apart. Hadn’t thought of connecting something to the main ship for a second player to control - I like that idea!

This is really a secondary goal and something I imagine will be quite involved. Currently the background is just for show but there could be a third layer at the top with gun turrets and other stuff on.


A lot of peripheral work has been done this week:

  • Co-op mode added. Less tricky than originally thought – I made certain design decisions to simplify the implementation for this. Players can use a keyboard or gamepads in any combination. I’ve yet to scale the difficulty of the game to compensate for the additional player.

  • Addition of player avatars, 16 to choose from to add a bit of character to the game. Avatars make occasion quips throughout the game depending on the context.

  • Chain mechanic added. We shump players like big scores and we cannot lie. The chain mechanic presents the possibility for huge end-of-level bonuses. Destroy as many enemies as you can without taking a hit and the chain bonus will grow.

  • Stage Clear screen added. A summary of the just completed level and bonus points added to the main score. I elected to have a collective score for co-op rather than individual scores as it can often be difficult to determine which player gets the points for a particular achievement.

Next week, I’ll be looking at enemy scripting and further content for the main game.