I have no experience with game development or coding, just a desire to make a Shoot ‘Em Up. Imagine my surprise when the Shmup Creator landed on my desk! Will this let me fulfill my desire?
Shmup Creator is a program created by Shmup enthusiasts Bulo Studios. It aims to give creative minds somewhere to build a Shmup with limited to no coding knowledge, much like the highly successful RPG Maker series.
Now as mentioned, I have zero coding knowledge. This is despite once as a “youth” having the urge to learn C++ and dabbling in a bit of dubious technical activity to assist with a certain unnamed fan translation. Digression aside, there has always been a creative desire there to “do it myself” when a flash of an idea about games comes to mind.
Reading is Essential
Shmup Creator starts with a brief tutorial to show you the very basics of enemy placement, game style, and how to make a start. It provides you with a couple of example games to play, take inspiration from and even tweak to give you a place to jump in and mess around with a fairly well-built game.
While the tutorial looks a little rough around the edges, it does leave you with a fair understanding of how to use the program. When you’re feeling a little braver and more creative, there is also a webpage with more tutorials to read. This is mainly around the more complex stuff like importing assets and the like.
Another helpful feature is that everything you hover your cursor over in Shmup Creator gives you a handy description of what it does. This helps you not be completely lost when it comes to stuff like Camera transitions and effects. You’ll be impressed with what options this package offers even for the basic user. After a few hours, I’d managed to string something together that vaguely resembled the introduction of a stage!
Alongside the above, there is also a handy Discord. The developer spends time here actively assisting in answering any issues you may have. Any bugs or errors that may arise can be addressed there too.
Make and Play
While you’re tinkering with your game or any of the premade titles you can hit the space bar and directly play your creation. This is a fantastic way of seeing what you’ve added, and if you need to tweak it in any way. You can also scroll across the game if you want to change something earlier or later in the stage too.
You’re not limited by what style of Shmup you can create either, aside from choosing if it’s vertical or horizontal. Once you’ve set the engine up, it’s up to you how it performs. You can try to create the very next R-Type style game or the next CAVE style bullet hell shmup like Mushihimesama. Heck, you could even get to work on a new cute ‘em up in the style of Cotton Fantasy.
So yes, the product is user-friendly. Spend enough time digging around with its features and you’ll start to piece together what could potentially be a Shmup title worth sharing around the world. Fortunately, anything made with Shmup Creator can be shared and/or sold. The developer only asks that you mention the tool used within the description as a way of thanks.
Show and Tell
But what exactly is this program capable of creating? I was hoping by the time I’d written this to have a playable example, but unfortunately due to life, reviewing, and my own compulsion to create my “dream” Shmups, it’s still in a work-in-progress. I’m currently jumping between 2 titles where I’ve done a fair bit of work but nothing I’m ready to put out yet.
Fortunately, there has been a recent showcase of titles made using Shmup Creator and the results are quite astounding. If you’d like to see some people doing a much better job than I have, you can check out some examples in the video below.
SHMUP Creator is currently priced at £54.99 on Steam which actually makes it cheaper than RPG Maker MZ which is as of the time of writing £62.99. It’s a little on the pricey side if you just want to dabble in a little bit of creation, but as you can see from the showcase above, the title is more than capable of putting out quality-looking SHMUPS. It wouldn’t surprise me if we start to see an influx of them made in SHMUP Creator over the next year or two.
I do recommend SHMUP Creator to anyone who fancies creating a SHMUP. The only issue is that it’s a niche product in an already niche genre, so I can imagine it getting overlooked somewhat. While it may never get highlighted much, it’s a robust creative tool that not only allows you to freely distribute your product but has so much help on hand that it’s hard not to recommend this to any budding game developer.
SHMUP CREATOR IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to bulo studio for a PC review code for this title.
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Pride of utopia & greatest thing ever, I found the One Piece, Collected the Dragon Balls & won the Mortal Kombat Tournament in one night, it was quiet for me that night! Follow me on Twitter @powahdunk