Beyond the Storm is a love-letter for the game Tyrian (By Eclipse, 1995; Published by XSIV Games/Epic Megagames).
It is a vertical shoot'em up (or, shmup) that contains:
The game itself has simple controls combined with the default play-style for a shmup, and allows a deepening of techniques within it's mechanics. Don't fool yourself: Beyond the Storm isn't a bullet-hell! It wasn't designed to make your victory be a "matter of honor". It just let you have a nice time and enjoy yourself, even after a stressful day at work! (I'm looking at you, Ross!)
Beyond the Storm delivers you a vast galaxy, full with planets and stations. Using your "warp cells", you can make a trip from one location to another (and even discover secret locations!), and revisit levels that already were played before, seeking for more money, data that weren't collected before or, just to buy a specific item or upgrade at a specific store that you didn't have the money for it before!
Always revisit locations, and look for additional info that you'll collect during the game. They'll guide you for your ending!
Beyond the Storm is directly inspired on Tyrian and, as it, there's 40 original soundtracks entirely inspired on it's Tyrian counter-parts!Hours and hours and hours (and years!) of dedication, along with a choppy soundcard has made possible for you to hear high quality music extremely faithful to the original game, mixing orchestration with electronic instruments, designed for you to enjoy opening your way, leaving a destruction path from your enemies!
From the beginning, Beyond the Storm used assets from Tyrian, which are freely distributed. This allowed that every single asset of it could be studied, replicated and remastered or, used as an inspiration to make the original art for it!
Beyond the Storm isn't a tiny game: It's story and mechanics allowed us to reunited more than 300 customization options, and more than 100 levels and 50 bosses. Be prepared to shoot A LOT, dodge A LOT and destroy A LOT!
This is a shmup: It didn't need one, BUT IT HAS (I'm looking at you again, Ross!). And with a lot of twists! Every location, ship, gun, quest has an enormous number of info available, which makes Beyond the Storm have it's own database, which will be your reference to know from where you came, where you need to go and IF you wants to go there!
Your ship has 4 types of weapons: Front, Rear, Special and Sidekicks. Your front and rear weapons have levels that amplify the power of your shots, in addition to allowing for an energy redirection, which also modifies the behavior of each one accordingly, making your ship a real war machine! Special weapons bring more "spices" to your weapons, creating incredible modifications for specific scenarios. Also, to put the finishing touch on your thirst for destruction, the sidekicks are systems and ships of their own, which help you to reach your ultimate goal!
Your 5 main systems are connected to power cells, which are recharged according to the power of your generator. Before flying, and even during flight, you can redirect power to the systems that are most critical to you:
By performing the right combinations, you will be able to correctly balance the energy in your ship! Just make sure your cells aren't damaged during your missions, and you'll be unstoppable!
For greater immersion, and help with what's happening in front of you, the game has dubbing provided by Replica Studios and real voice actors for critical reports during your flight, and also to wish you good luck at the start of your flight!
If you like the in-game music, take advantage of the in-game Jukebox to listen to each of the tracks as you travel through colorful starry fields, wondering what your next adventure will be like!
In 1994, Jason Emery, Daniel Cook and Alexander Brandon formed Eclipse Software, and did a shoot'em up called Tyrian. The game at the time was published by XSIV Games and gained worldwide notoriety, not only for the richness of its content but for its extremely fast engine, beautiful graphics and memorable soundtrack - which to this day pays tribute and is frequently remembered by its players.
Later, in 1995, the same team released Tyrian 2000, which added another episode and more content to the main game, this time published by Epic Megagames and reaching an even larger audience, making the game one of the main world references in shoot'em up that does not cover the "bullet-hell" area.
...And it was this game that, in the 90s, reached a Brazilian child named Leandro Gabriel.
That game for me was amazing, even playing only the demo version. Whenever the game ended, it gave the feeling that it could go further, sometimes bringing up a carrot-shaped spaceship that threw bananas!! It used each of the saved game slots to record a different setup for each of the ships: Proton ship, Vulcan ship, Missile ship, "green" ship... The list was huge, as far as the slots let go.
The sound of the game? I couldn't tell. Unfortunately, I had a pretty precarious sound card and, as neither me nor my brother didn't understand very well the setup commands to configure the sound, the most we got at that time was configuring the soundtrack... But it was enough. Those songs entered our heads like real symphonies, it even felt like the levels were synchronized with the music! It only took a few months to play it and, there you go: The songs were saved in the memory, it was even no longer necessary to play with the sound on. I was able to hear every little note without even having the game open. "Savara"... "Transon"... "One Must Fall"... Every song was magical! I don't know how many hours I invested in my life just watching the "Jukebox", playing each song. I saw the promotional images of the complete game and wondered which song belonged to that phase that I saw in the image. Alexander Brandon and Andreas Molnar, if you're reading this, know that your work helped shape my musical knowledge (and taste!)! Thank you!
The graphics were sublime. Something out of the standard of other games, even if pixelated. There was an unusual attention to detail, an extremely pleasing color harmony... I kept trying to pay attention to the big green "glass" spheres of Deliani's boss, trying to identify what was inside them... Likewise , I looked at the Mint-O-Ship, at the buildings, at the "heat wave" that Storm Blast was shooting... Everything was beautiful, I even tried to watch the game in slow motion, to see each frame of each animation.
The entire game was a veritable feast for me, and it easily became my favorite game, not just back then but even today.
In 2004, at the age of 13, I was introduced to the world of game development with Game Maker 4.2 (by Mark Overmars!). It didn't take me long to realize that a game needed music, graphics, programming... And so, I decided to venture into areas that allowed me to gain more knowledge for this. It's obvious that in 2007 (approximately) Tyrian came back to the surface and this time the idea came up: "Oh boy! I'm going to do a remake of Tyrian called Supreme Tyrian. What could go wrong!?"
It was normal at that time for me to develop my little projects to just share with friends so, don't be surprised if you've never heard of it, just because this project never existed outside my computer (thank God).
The "Supreme Tyrian" was to be - as the name itself implied - a "Supreme Tyrian"! Do you know when new game developers decide to make "a new GTA but better"? In my case, I had already accepted that I couldn't do this, but that I was going to make "a new Tyrian but better". It's obvious that the idea failed miserably, starting with the graphics that were "vectorized" in Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 (Really, did anyone uses PowerPoint to make sprites?) but based on the original graphics. The result was... disgraceful.
The music? Remember I said that I "was able to hear every little note without even having the game open"? So...
Sorry, Alexander. I screwed up your music trying to recreate it. :(
But the project was not entirely in vain. One of the mechanics I was able to explore was precisely that of creating "customizable" weapons: You could control the amount of projectiles, their angle of dispersion, their size and speed, all during the game. There were only 3 weapons, but the possibility of modifying them already gave the feeling that there was an entire arsenal available.
The idea sounded good, but terribly poorly executed. For example, if I were to try to redo it today, a lot of things would be changed, obviously. Still, I can say that there was a knowledge advance there in that project, which would pave the way for something much more ambitious in the future: Beyond the Storm.
Informally, we started to imagine what a Tyrian remake would look like, and what it would be and how it could be executed. And so, on August 17, 2020, Leandro and Cezar began working on what would one day become Beyond the Storm, a true love letter to the Tyrian game.
There was an idea: I always liked the mechanics of the power generator that Tyrian had. And I found it fascinating, too, the idea of, while watching Star Trek: TNG, Lieutenant Commander La Forge perform an "energy redirection" to overload a particular Enterprise system. And so we imagined, putting these two ideas together: Take the Tyrian's power generator and, instead of it taking the energy directly to the systems, it took the energy to "energy cells", that these would actually be connected to one or more systems, allowing overloads, according to the power of the power generator to charge such "cells". And so came the prototype.
In this prototype, the question arose: How to make the player to redirect energy during the game? And then we remember that, in some games, as the player selects the next weapon to use, time slows down. And I implemented this too, and the result was better than we had planned.
Before long, I decided to try to extract the Tyrian sprites to use as a placeholder, so that we could have more tangible results. To my surprise, Daniel Cook made available on his blog practically all the sprites from the original game, under a Creative Commons license, and so we started using them, not only for placeholders but also as references to create new sprites. Gradually, USP Talon gave rise to IICD TAI NN (A very suggestive name, of course).
To create the levels, I confess that I'm still not a big fan of Game Maker Studio 2's tile editor and I needed something that could be faster: And then, Tiled Map Editor joins the game, making the creation of the levels (a lot!) easier. There was a small problem (which has already been solved, thank God): The Tiled Map Editor didn't have, at the time, a tool that could export your maps to Game Maker Studio 2... And so, I decided to create my own tool for do this, called TiledToStudio2 (https://leo150250.gitlab.io/tiledtostudio2/). The tool met the need for the maps very well (albeit with some minor bugs, but it did!), and in a short time we had all the maps READY, all that remained was to program the behavior of the enemies.
As my brother works in the voiceover/sound design business, I asked him about his interest in the project and he agreed without asking any great details, and soon helped with the sound part, looking for the ideal sounds, mixing and DUBBING, which ensured that the game became more and more sonically interesting, obviously! For some other voiceovers, we're taking advantage of the features of the Replica Studios online service, but still doing an edit here and there. For sure, the dubbing is already guaranteeing a much greater immersion, with a good dose of nostalgia, listening to that "Good luck" when starting a level!
Speaking of sound, I had the brilliant idea of trying to recreate Tyrian's original songs, this time with my own identity. Since 2014 I've been writing arrangements for orchestras and I've even composed an entire musical, recorded in 2019 with the Shekiná Orchestra, with me conducting at that time, I can say that today I have more musical knowledge and skill than when I was 16 years old. Thus, I decided to venture trying to remake the songs but with my identity. I'm suspicious to speak but, in my opinion, the result was very interesting!
The part of coding the main mechanics of the game I confess that it was the one that took the longest. For me, every little detail mattered, the game needed to have the Tyrian feel, without being unfair or with chaotic bugs (like the player's ship position being mysteriously divided by 0 and going to who-knows-where). Months and months dedicated to inserts and corrections. Fortunately, 18 years of experience with the Game Maker engine helped a lot in that, but I was still very concerned about the end result.
For me, creating "Beyond the Storm" was more than just a hobby. It was my way of not only thanking Jason Emery, Daniel Cook and Alexander Brandon for making such a difference in my childhood, but mainly showing the world how much fun I had with their game, allowing others to have a similar experience of mine!
So, rest assured: The adventure awaits you BEYOND THE STORM! It really was an adventure for me to create Beyond the Storm, and I hope it will be an adventure for you too!
Oh and, "Return Me To Savara" now got a tribute that works! :)