Vourbot is back with a review of Tall Studio's "Shoot'em Up Kit" ...it beckon's the first creaks of the door opening up  on the modern age.

Ever since I saw my first Atari image on the screen when I was a child, I didn't have the vocabulary to describe it, but I recognized that a new artistic medium had arrived. Then I didn't really dare to get into it until I was in Jr. High School, playing the Nintendo. The VERY next thing I did was draw and make lists in my notebook, imagining the perfect game. I'd dream about expressing myself with this new medium. I'd think about how I could influence Nintendo to utilize my game ideas.

That was 1989. Skip forward twenty eight years, and it's still the same.

THERE IS NO PROGRAM THAT GIVES THE LAYPERSON ACCESS TO THIS MEDIUM. That's an exaggeration, as you may know, or will see in this article, but it is 99.99999 percent solid truth. I just want this to sink in for a minute-- the first programs that gave access to manipulation of words came right away. The first programs that gave access to sound and recording came later, with expensive Pro-tools and now free (buy a license) Reaper. Access to images came with Paint, Photoshop and Gimp. But access to images with attached behavior and composition over time and with user interaction never came.

I know that last one is an exaggeration-- I made games in basic, I made games with Flash, and I experimented with Game Maker-- but you have to understand: it is 2017. I want a program that handles art with the ease of Photoshop, lets me compose them on the screen, and describe what they are going to do. And I want to use common tongue. And I want to compose this artistically, that is all. Not technically. I firmly believe that in 2017, there should be 10 solid programs that do this, and there are none. And I resent that deeply. And I'm left feeling like I have somehow missed the ball, and am the only who recognizes "video games" as a common artistic medium that I should be allowed to express myself with if I want, without technical road blocks and without overwhelming labor. And I do mean "overwhelming", to those who have never given the medium a try.

Anyways, in comes Tall Studios and the program that they've been working on behind my back for the last TWELVE YEARS!! Tall Studios is an indie development 2 person team in Manchester (I believe), who have been ramping up their development steadily, gaining increasing traction, and carrying the torch for all mankind in this area. And their Early Access beta (not presented as a beta, but yes is very beta-- defined not only by the rough edges of the program, which is incredibly difficult to learn and use ((also incredibly easy, depending on just what your faced with)), but by the incredibly quick development going on within the program), is available to buy now on Steam.

As a side note- in my research, I've also spoken with Bulo Studio about their kit "Shmup Creator: Build & Blast", which has skipped the beta phase and seems to be aiming for an Alpha release at the end of the summer (according to their blog). http://bulostudio.com/2014/07/04/shmup-creator-build-blast/

But I'll believe it when I see it, and look very much forward to seeing it-- This article is about the amazing Tall Studios.

Here is a snippet from Tall Studio's blog:

"The concept for the Shoot ‘Em Up Kit dates back way before Little Big Planet and other games with user generated content.  The Shoot ‘Em Up Kit was created in response to some friends whose kids enjoyed designing games on paper but had no way of making those games.  There was plenty of software which allowed you to program your own game, but that's no good to a 9 year old.  When I was a teenager there was the Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit, created by Sensible Software for the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers, but there had not really been anything since.

User generated content has since become quite a popular feature within games.  We extend the simple level building by allowing anyone to create their own artwork, music, sound effects or shader effects to give an unprecedented amount of possibilities for creating games without programming.  People can use the same tools as the professionals, their cheaper or freeware equivalents, or a pen, paper and scanner.

It was great to see the ideas my friends kids had drawn on paper, but I can't wait to see them playing on-screen."

-Tall John

(internet name. Tall John and Tall Karen are the two).

Anyways, he’s describing me. I am the 9 year old.

An interview with them is coming soon, but first I'm going to drop my review:

I've been working on my shmup masterpiece for the last nine months. It will be finished within another month. I consider it to be made by me and them. Everything finished on the program is amazing. Everything unfinished within the program is a total game-destroying roadblock, and they have cleared, personally, quickly, nicely, every roadblock of mine thus far. They respond to cries of help almost... well, just immediately. They are amazing. The program is going to be amazing.

But that is all beside the point, really. They are passionately carrying the torch that will light an enormous and pitch-black void of artistic expression in our culture.

And, my real review: I think that eventually, and probably very soon with their continued work on the program, anyone as stupid as me could complete my nine-month labors in about a month. -Which is the right amount of labor! The game is awesome! Check this link www.rest30.com but don't try the link there, that's MY extreme beta! I'm not as punctual as Tall Studios!





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