How to Make Your Own Interactive Bullet Hell Videos
I remember reading somewhere that someone wanted a tutorial on how I created the Interactive Bullet Hell series. (It might've been a Youtube comment). So I figured I might as well give a quick rundown of how it's done.
Step 1: Find a cool song.
This step is relatively simple. Find a song that you would like to attempt to make in the IBH style. For this post, we'll use Towards the Horizon as an example.
Towards the Horizon was chosen due to the idea of making an upbeat song, with different instruments accomponying the piece to give it a playful tone.
NOTE: If you want to make an Interactive Bullet Hell, stick to songs that aren't repetitive. Also, to save yourself from trouble, look for songs under 3 minutes long. Finally, make sure copyright won't screw you over when you finish it. A good way to tell if the song is copyrighted is if the song name, artist, and music company is listed at the bottom of the description.
Step 2: Visualize how you want the game to go.
Selecting the song is the easy part. Visualizing what happens in the game is also easy. It's the creation itself that's a pain.
The first time you listen to the song, feel free to rock out if it's an amazing song. The SECOND+ time(s) you listen to it, pay attention to the beat of the song. Knowing the beat of the song can help you know the difference between whether a fast-sounding song is actually slow or faster than normal.
Once you listen to the song multiple times, try to imagine obstacles on a screen that the mosue has to avoid. The obstacles need to synchronize with the beats of the song, since an out-of-time obstacle can throw your players off.
For those who aren't sure what an obstacle looks like, an obstacle is usually a colored shape that the mouse can't touch, like this circle.
One thing to know about obstacles is that there is a limit to how you can use obstacles. In a nutshell, this means DON'T COVER THE ENTIRE SCREEN WITH OBSTACLES!!!!! You want the player to avoid the obstacles, not to make them suffer.
A bad example of this is in the Towards the Horizon Bullet Hell, with the section of the bullet wave pattern. While an obstacle can look cool, it doesn't mean it should be impossible to pass.
Step 3: Create the Bullet Hell
This part is easier said than done. With the Interactive Bullet Hell series, not everything is going to work well in your favor. You could have a complicated setup made in order to build one obstacle, or you could have an obstacle that lasts over a long time.
I myself use Premiere Pro for the creation of the IBHs, but you can technically use whatever animation software is compatible for creating this type of game.
And before you say that Premiere Pro is not meant for animation, I'm aware of that. But then again, both Amnéhilesie and Towards the Horizon were created with Premiere Pro ONLY (except for the audio waveform in Towards the Horizon).
Over on the right are the timelines for both the Amnéhilesie IBH (top) and the Towards the Horizon IBH (bottom) . Purple boxes represent the individual shapes, and green boxes represent different timelines that were used to build complex obstacles.
(IF YOU ARE VIEWING ON MOBILE, IT APPEARS UNDER THE NEXT PARAGRAPH)
The blue boxes represent completely different things. In Amnéhilesie, the blue boxes were used for green screen footage and audio manipulation. In Towards the Horizon, the blue boxes were the audio waveform playing in the background.
Step 4: Exporting and Final Touches
Once you finish creating the bullet hell, you are ready to export. Before exporting, give it a test run, and see if you can beat it yourself. If you can properly beat your creation without cheating or failing, you are free to export. You may have to wait a long time, due to the number of objects on screen at the time.
Once you finish exporting, be sure to check copyright one more time, just in case the copyright had changed. If everything looks good, upload it to Youtube. Congratulations! You just made an Interactive Bullet Hell.
Tips and Tricks when creating your IBH
KEYFRAMES ARE YOUR FRIENDS/OBJECTS THAT YOU CAN MANIPULATE INTO YOUR BIDDING
Always use keyframes when moving obstacles. Even if you use a static obstacle, you can use keyframes to change the size or rotation. And please, PLEASE don't make an individual shape for each part of movement for an obstacle.
When starting out on making Interactive Bullet Hell games, start with something simple, then work your way up from there.
You may have to learn multiple parts of the animation program to maximize its capabilities.
Always test your creation, even if it's not done yet. You want to make sure that if you can pass the part you just worked on, others will too.
When testing your creation, remember that there will be some gimmicks that the others won't know about.
Try to prevent players from dodging obstacles by staying near the sides, but rewards players for taking risks and moving towards the obstacles.
Remember, you want to create a game that's challenging and fun at the same time, NOT brutal and unforgiving.