~Hakurei Shrine~ > Rika and Nitori's Garage Experiments

[PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING] RaNGE: The Official Readme – Rules, Info, and FAQ


Hello there, welcome to RaNGE!  This section of the forum is dedicated to talking about touhou fan games you created, be it with Danmakufu or otherwise.  We typically focus on shmups, but all genres are welcome!  So long as it is related to Touhou, it is welcome here.

If you have a translation patch, mod, or mutation of an existing official game or fangame, the Touhou Projects subforum is where you want to be!

Rules for this section are as follows:

* As usual, follow the general forum rules.
* Please treat each other’s work with respect.
* No drama, whatsoever.  If you have a problem with a user, sort it out in PMs or bring it to me if it gets out of hand.
This is not a hard and fast rule, but it is something to take note of:  if you have an idea for a fangame but not the experience to program or create content for it, I advise that you do not specifically seek programmers/artists/musicians for your project here – many of the people here have their own projects to worry about already, and a lot of times an idea is simply too ambitious without testing it out first.  If you do still need the help, the best thing to do is try to learn Danmakufu or whatever engine you need to get the game afloat – even a small tech demo could be enough to show your dedication to your project.

Here’s some links to some very important places:
Locale Emulator for games outside your region – this is the one I personally use and recommend.
Bulletforge – The best place to share and upload your Danmakufu scripts!
ZUN’s fan doujin guidelines – before starting a full fangame, you should most definitely read this.
The FAQ – If you’ve got a question, it’s likely to be answered here first. 

Danmakufu Versions:
Danmakufu ph3sx - Newest version of Danmakufu with better scripting features.
Danmakufu Woo Edition – Danmakufu ph3, but with better performance.
Danmakufu ph3 – Compatible with most original scripts.
Danmakufu 0.12m – Older games require this version, requires Applocale/Locale Emulator if not JP locale.

Resource Links:
Free To Use Touhou Assets
(Will be posted as accumulated.)


What is Danmakufu and where can I get it?
Danmakufu is an engine built for shmup fangames that works well for making individual boss patterns, whole fights, stages, and whole games if you want to.  Danmakufu is used for games like Hollow Song of Birds (and other Kaisendo titles) as well as many Western fangames.  Danmakufu has no interface – it’s just writing code.  This may seem like a steep learning curve at first, but start small and work your way up – nobody got to where they are now without starting at the bottom.  We’re here to answer questions should you need the help.

Please refer to the Danmakufu links section above for acquiring Danmakufu – I’ll give you an extra tip and say use ph3sx.  It's much newer and relevant.  It’s going to work out a lot smoother, trust me.

What if I don’t want to use Danmakufu to make shmups?
A few years ago I would’ve said that you would have to make your own engine (which is still a very viable option, if you’re tech savvy) but there actually is an alternative: LuaSTG.  Personal opinion aside, it has been used to make a lot of the Chinese fangames we are now seeing, and it’s pretty powerful.  There’s even a graphical interface if the straight code is a bit too intimidating for you.  The biggest problem is that it’s very unexplored and the original Chinese documentation is still being translated, so our side of the world hasn’t had the best experience with it yet.  Should you still want to try it, here’s the wiki which has a section for how to get started: http://en.luastg.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page

What if I don’t want to make shmups at all?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy answer for you.  Use whichever tool you feel comfortable with!  I started with GameMaker:Studio and that’s an easy recommendation for any kind of 2D adventure – it’s easy to learn too!  If you want to make RPGs, RPG Maker is probably your best bet.  If you want to go the visual novel style, I’ve heard RenPy is probably the easiest way to do that.  If going for 3D is what you need, I don’t think there’s much better than Unity for that.  You don’t have to follow my recommendation to the letter though – use whatever framework/tool you feel comfortable with.  That’s the biggest takeaway here.

How do you make your own stages using ZUN’s engine (like custom Phantasm stages, etc.)?
While it has been previously stated that it is not supported in this community, I’m pleased to state that after a long process of reverse engineering, some very awesome people broke down the whole ECL scripting format that ZUN uses for stages and enemies and there’s an ongoing effort to reverse engineer the rest of the custom formats.
I would like to stress that this counts as a mod (unless using all-new assets) and should accordingly go in the Touhou Projects subforum – make sure it goes in the right place.  That said, it is very welcome here.

What’s up with Woo?  What happened to ph3?
Mkm, the original Danmakufu creator, left the source code to ph3 on his website for people to tinker around with.  I took up the mantle alongside a couple others to modify the source code and try to optimize it a bit and potentially add new features, and that ultimately became Woo.  It’s looking like mkm has left the engine in our hands, so I don’t think we’ll be getting a ph3 update any time soon.

Are there other ways of getting help with my game besides the Q/A thread?
While I personally don’t use the IRC chat to know how active it is, so feel free to give that a try!
Server: irc.ppirc.net
Channel: #danmakufu
Main MotK channel: #shrinemaiden

Should you need more focused help or with another framework that isn’t Danmakufu, I have no better recommendation than the Bullet Hell Engines Discord server - https://discord.gg/bhengines

How do I install other scripters’ creations for Danmakufu?
Some scripts will come with a standalone version of Danmakufu, so you can have it in its own folder.  If you just see a bunch of folders and scripts, unzip the package it came in into the script folder in your Danmakufu installation.
If that script is a custom player, be sure to put that in the player folder instead.

I want to create my own stuff, how can I learn?
I’m glad to hear you say that!  Make sure you have what you need before continuing – for Danmakufu, all you’ll need is Danmakufu itself and a text editor (I heavily recommend Notepad++ or Sublime Text, but Notepad, Mousepad, or your OS equivalent still works).  For other programs, make sure you have whatever tools you need to work in them.  There are some tutorials that exist for Danmakufu and ECL, and the LuaSTG community is in the process of creating some tutorials.  I’ll be linking as many resources I can under the resource links above.  If you need help, be sure to try the Q/A thread or one of the other resources in the above question!

My script keeps giving me an error/crashing!  What do I do??
Odds are, you made a typo somewhere.  Danmakufu isn’t the best when it comes to telling you exactly where your errors are, but it will tell you the majority of the time what the error is.  Be sure to triple check all your lines and be on the lookout for misplaced braces, parentheses, semicolons, etc.  If it still doesn’t run right, we have a Q&A thread for Danmakufu and the like.

How do I release my fan creations?
If it’s Danmakufu, it’s certainly welcome on Bulletforge!  (See the link above.)  That’s the main hub for new scripts.
Otherwise feel free to upload it to whatever site you typically use!  The most common upload destinations are Dropbox, Google Drive, and Mediafire.  Bear in mind that our community is not in any form responsible for you or your work.

More questions will be added as necessary.

ZUN's Fan Doujin Guidelines

ZUN's doujin guidelines have undergone some changes since the last time a thread like this was created.  As such, I plan to update this post as needed when they are revised.
I will provide a basic summary here, but it is not all encompassing.  I highly suggest if you plan on making fan works larger than a simple script (especially a full fangame) that you review them and ensure you aren't breaking them.  (I will provide links to as many resources as I can find.  Feel free to DM me here or ping me on the MotK Discord in the appropriate channel should you have other information and I will update.

* Using ZUN's own assets is forbidden.1  Particularly sprites, backgrounds, music, etc.  You should be making these assets yourself.  ZUN has said previously that this does not include screenshots.
* Please attribute Team Shanghai Alice in your game, including contact info if possible.
* Do not mistake the names of the games or characters.
* Content that includes inflammatory material towards us or other copyright owners is forbidden. (Quoted from Touhou Wiki's translation, see link below.)
* Do not distribute your game, especially for a price, in channels that ZUN has not used before.2  (This means games for mobile devices4 or consoles is off the table, provided you don't get permission from ZUN himself.)  If you wish to distribute your game for sale in an online channel that ZUN has used or otherwise, you must go through ZUN and his distribution channels.
* To go along with the rule above, do not use services like crowdfunding (GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.) or other online stores (GOG, itch.io, etc.)3 that ZUN hasn't used to distribute your game or raise money for your game's development.  It's been tried before and doesn't work.
* If you did something that isn't in line with these guidelines, but have been given ZUN's permission to do so, you must let it be known that you have received that permission.
1Some assets, particularly sound effects, have found free-to-use sources that ZUN sampled to create his sound effects.  Using ZUN's sound effects themselves appears to be a grey area, but to be safe, you should use your own sound effects too - if you want a similar sound, the sources are available to mix on your own.  See the Free to Use Touhou Assets link under Resources.)

2You may see fan games on Steam, PS4, or Switch and be confused.  Steam has a process that allows you to mark your fan game as a Touhou doujin through contacting ZUN in some way.  As Steam is now a channel that ZUN has used, it is on the table for distribution, but there is a small process.  I do not know this process currently but I will update when I do.  PS4 and Switch specifically go through ZUN's publishing channels for those platforms, and has a much more rigorous process for distribution.  These consoles are explicitly not on the table to publish to without contacting this publishing channel.

EDIT 5/21/2020: As of what I currently know, Steam does not require any special process other than paying for Steamworks like any other creator to put your game on the platform.  You should definitely specify that you do not own the rights to Touhou and that rights belong to Team Shanghai Alice though (see a page like for Ephemeral Unnatural Balance for an example, under the Specs section).  So long as there's no problems, it seems that ZUN won't take it down.  If I get more specific information or something else occurs, I will update again.

3Sites like GOG and itch.io (priced higher than $0) have not been used before - it is unknown whether they are allowed to be used, as it has not been attempted before.  That said, I include them to be safe and not put anyone's project in danger.  Should you use these services, be prepared for potential consequences.
EDIT 10/25/2021: There has been enough precedent at this point to say that using itch.io with the free option is about as safe as a site like Bulletforge, i.e. safe until proven otherwise, so if you plan to upload your scripts there, you should be generally good.  I would still be obviously wary about attaching a price tag and/or accepting payment in general.

4As of November 20, 2020, the officially hosted site touhou-project.news details some newer guidelines, which includes more specific rules for content and distribution, including allowing the use of mobile games (as free to play exclusively, with potential for monetization via ads and ad removal).  While some of the rules are a bit shakily worded in English and may require clarification in the future, mobile games are now fair game with little dispute and Steam is no longer something under remote question.  This whole guidelines section is starting to get a bit messy, and likely deserves a re-write, but I'd rather wait until some points are clarified, like the use of sites like Bulletforge, Freem, and itch.io where free to play game/script downloads are available with regularity.

If you are looking for other resources to research, here's what I could find.  This will be updated as new information arises.
MotK V2 guidelines information thread
Touhou Wiki's translation of ZUN's Terms of Use
ZUN's Terms of Use (MoF era, untranslated)
Article on Steam and Touhou fangames (untranslated)


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