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Danmaku Design Guides

Welcome to my Danmaku Design Studio. Here I will cover fundamentals of danmaku pattern design independent of engine. These guides ALL assume that you have enough experience with your preferred danmaku engine to generate all the patterns described here from pure pseudocode, notation, and/or algorithmic definitions. We will cover both danmaku design from a purely aesthetic point of view (Danmaku Theory) as well as a gameplay perspective (Practical Danmaku). Note that these guides aim to provide ideas for independent innovations, so it is HIGHLY encouraged to experiment as much as possible - if you can imagine the danmaku in your head, go and try making it.

Most of the work here is subjective and incomplete. All opinions expressed here reflect my personal understanding, not the ground truth.

All of the guides in this part of the website heavily depend on Danmakanvas for all visualizations. As a result, it is necessary to use a modern browser and have JavaScript enabled.

Please feel free to suggest topics on my Discord Server or via PM.

Mandatory Reading

Guide 0Introduction to Danmaku Theory
     • Danmaku Theory Overview
     • Guide Overview
     • Danmakanvas Overview
     • Terminology Overview

Guide List - Basics

Guide A1The Humble Bullet - The Fundamental Unit of Danmaku
     • Bullet Components and Characteristics
     • Bullets and Spawners
     • Spawn Rate vs Speed

Guide A2Danmaku and the Player - Aesthetics and Gameplay
     • Directed Bullets
     • Usage of angles
     • Bullet Hell (Danmaku) vs. other shmups
     • Mental Filtering - Bullets designed to NOT hit you

Guide A3The Ring, The Spread, and The Stack - Combinations with You
     • Groups and Subpatterns
     • Rings and their usage
     • N-way notation
     • Bullet Spreads and Walls
     • N-stack notation
     • Stacks and their usage

Guide A4Bullet Density - Putting the 'Hell' in 'Bullet Hell'
     • Micrododging vs Macrododging - Variations in Subpattern Interaction and Design
     • Spacial and Temporal Density - Creating Patterns from Fundamentals
     • Controlled Density - Fewer Bullets != Lower Difficulty
     • Negative Space - Organizing Chaos into Beauty

Guide A5 • Variations in Time and Space - Spirals and other Fancy Rings
     • Border of Wave and Particle
     • Spirals - Rings with Delay and Angle Variation

Guide A6 • The Power of the Nudge - Small Changes with Big Effects
     • Acceleration, including the Negative Kind
     • Angular Velocity - Or how Curvy Lasers actually work
     • The Flower Petal - Variations on Speed
     • The Power of Sine - Petals both Round and Sharp

Guide List - Intermediates

Potential Topics: Subpattern Timing - The Art of Telling Subpatterns Apart; Multi-Phase Danmaku - Making Subpatterns Complement both Temporally and Spacially; Lasers - AKA Really Long Bullets (TM); Controllers and Bullet Commands - Making Bullets do Interesting Things; Telegraphing and Delay for both Visuals and Gameplay - How Not to Instakill your Player; Spawning Away From a Spawner - The Power of Symmetry; Moving Spawners - Preventing Accidental Murder by Timing Boss & Familiar Movement; Colors - Some of these don't go well together

Guide List - Advanced

Potential Topics: The Art of Survival - A Multi-Act Dance focused around the Player; Bullets along Bullets - Trails and Residues; Warning: Bullets from the Bottom of the Screen - Avoiding Unfair Danmaku

Other Resources

Yuke - Learn with Cirno: Touhou Danmaku Course - Part 1 Part 2 Extra Edition