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#1 Chrscool8

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:27 PM

Alright, so I'm making a momentum-based platformer, you know, like Sonic games or Fancy Pants (but entirely its own, not a fangame), and it's all fine to make the inside of a secret base or something have crazy jumps and floating platforms and whatnot, but I've gotten to a point in the story where I want the player to enter a building at ground floor and need to get to the roof.

The problem is... I cant design a level that looks like an at least semi-typical office building or something and also have it be more wacky than just flat floors and stairs. How do you suppose I might do something like this? What would make a building interior fun? There's things like jumping out a window from one building to another, using elevator shafts, and fire escapes. What more can I possibly add or do?

I've scoured the internet, and it seems the number of platformer games with building interiors is very near 0.

So, what say you?

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#2 ookami125

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:35 PM

well not sure if this will help but the only way i can think of a way to make an office building in a platforming is to make the building really old and falling apart or make more then one building (all falling apart)
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#3 Chrscool8

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

well not sure if this will help but the only way i can think of a way to make an office building in a platforming is to make the building really old and falling apart or make more then one building (all falling apart)


Holy crap. All my hours of Uncharted and I didn't even think of that. That's brilliant. Fallen roofs and floors can make up slopes and ramps. Awesome.
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#4 mach3000

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:51 PM

yeah, old building falling apart is cool

or maybe building is so old and ancient that trees and flowers are growing like wild in it making it a beautiful ancient old building
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#5 EdgeV

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 03:26 AM

I've scoured the internet, and it seems the number of platformer games with building interiors is very near 0.

So, what say you?

Chris

There are quite a few platform games out there that take place in building interiors.

Old Apogee games like BioMenace, for example.

http://sfprod.shikad...biomenacess.png

http://www.3drealms....ges/menace1.jpg

Or Castlevania.

http://guy.com/a/wp-...11/05/sotn6.jpg

Or try Iji if you want an actual GM game:

http://img96.imagesh...8501/iji700.png

Ventilation shafts and teleporters can also add an interesting twist.

Unusually shaped floors and ceilings also help. It doesn't need to be logical as long as it feels somewhat like a building. :tongue:

Edited by EdgeV, 06 February 2012 - 03:26 AM.

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#6 Chrscool8

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 03:43 AM

Thanks for the tips. And I totally blanked on Castlevania games.
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#7 xhawkeyex

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:56 AM

Jump over desks, swing on lights, jump over fallen parts of the floor and run through parts of floors fast enough before they fall, grind on railings and between buildings using christmas lights. Hope these ideas help
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#8 mach3000

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:54 PM

random idea, maybe for some reason the building or city is underwater and you got to the bottom of it somehow and now u gotta get to the roof cuz your oxygen tank is running out
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#9 Jster391

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:17 PM

Or, the opposite of what Mach3000 said. Perhaps the city is sinking into lava or boiling water/acid/hazardous liquid (or those said items are rising), and the main character has to climb to the top to live. So s/he started at the bottom floor or ground level, and then by using rubble, ramps, cars, windows, and other objects they get to the higher level. You could have it so it gradually gets harder and you have to climb more until you die (Sort of like the game Avalanche) or create objectives. For example, on the first building there is a helicopter that you escape too but the helicopter runs out of full and stranded you have to repeat etc until you find some sort of cruise ship with last survivors like 2012. You could throw in random, quirky, things like, ballons for a temporary boost, shoes with springs, mini-jetpacks, grapnels, climbing gloves, explosives to propel yourself higher, hoses to use as mini-jetpacks, etc. It could also be themed as a Tsunami like the one in Japan...

Just some ideas, I might write this down for a later game.
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#10 Adequate

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:23 PM

Big rooms, secret rooms - but big rooms are key
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#11 Jster391

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:46 AM

Big rooms, secret rooms - but big rooms are key


Exactly how big?
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#12 Adequate

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:16 AM

Big enough to suit your game.

For god's sake, use common sense. You know, game devs had to use initiative, creativity and a truckload of sneaky thinking to make games before "interweb forums" came about.
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#13 Yal

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

I cant design a level that looks like an at least semi-typical office building or something and also have it be more wacky than just flat floors and stairs

The first thing that comes to my mind when I read "office building" is "SMASH STUFF TO PIECES!". :P
You should have computers, drawers, coffee tables, coffee machines, and crates (all buildings has crates!) all over the place; all of these are possible to destroy by attacking them. Also the enemy can destroy such stuff.

You can sometimes use the stuff for cover, letting the enemy smash the stuff and then you kill them out of point-blank range when they're recharging their punches or just looking the other way. You can also break the stuff for bonus points, and sometimes there might be items inside.

You can also make the items more interactable. For instance, you can have pot plants in the background, only that some plants are Venus Fly Traps that try to eat you when you get close enough. Also, a pile of documents kinda works as ice: if you run into the pile, you start to send documents flying with your feet, and you're stationary! Unless you jump off the pile. Also, if you run at the pile of paper for a long enough time, you'll send the entire pile flying and end up on the table/desk they lay on and suddenly get a rocket-boost because you worked up full running speed.

Place a pile of paper just in front of a really steep sloop to let the player boost up it, for instance?


Also, offices always has aquariums in the background. Have a bunch of big aquariums with pirahnas inside. They should be smaller than one screen in size, but still be so big that you risk drowning in them.
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#14 Chrscool8

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:51 PM

Alright, even more good stuff! You guys are awesome. :)
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#15 IKSB

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:10 PM

I don't know what the situation is in the game... but would it be possible to have the building falling apart as you run through it? I mean like a building literally tilting over as you run through it, you leap out of a window into the next building. Then something explodes one the floor above and a support beam falls through the ceiling, creating a slanted platform to the next floor in the building. One building fell to the side and is now leaning on another building, letting you run slanted up the elevator shaft, but the elevator just broke loose and then falls down the shaft, forcing you to leap out of the way.....



So many possibilities, but it's limited by what your game engine is capable of. (Can the player run on slants? Can the terrain change under your feet, like a building falling down with you inside it.... etc)
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#16 Jster391

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:00 PM

Big enough to suit your game.

For god's sake, use common sense. You know, game devs had to use initiative, creativity and a truckload of sneaky thinking to make games before "interweb forums" came about.


geez man calm down. I wasn't being serious but I would be interested in the size of this game. And by that I mean will the player by 32 or 64 pixels or just like 16.
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#17 Chrscool8

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:42 PM

Again, more great stuff. Thanks everyone.

Here's a shot by the way: (secret lair)
Posted Image

Crazy slopes aren't a problem here.
Posted Image

Edited by chrscool8, 07 February 2012 - 09:51 PM.

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#18 EdgeV

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:52 PM

The level design sure looks nice. The security camera is certainly an interesting thing.

And a texture for the walls would make it look even nicer. :smile:

Edited by EdgeV, 07 February 2012 - 10:52 PM.

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#19 Chrscool8

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:53 PM

The level design sure looks nice. The security camera is certainly an interesting thing.

And a texture for the walls would make it look even nicer. :smile:


Thanks. :)

There's some brushed aluminum texture for ya. :P
Posted Image

Edited by chrscool8, 08 February 2012 - 12:28 AM.

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#20 Yal

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:33 AM

Just out of curiosity, have you made that slope engine yourself? Also, what version of Game Maker are you using?

If you draw SHAPES or just can't be bothered with making one sprite for every slope for every stage tileset, here's one way you can texture stuff nicely (assuming you don't use the free version of Game Maker):

- create a surface the size of the view
- set the drawing target to this surface
- draw_clear_alpha() the surface to complete transparency
- tell the slopes [that are inside the view] to draw themselves on the surface
- create a new surface the size of the view, set the drawing target to this surface, and use a for loop to tile it with the texture you want to texture the slopes with. (Translate the image with view_xview mod width_of_image, view_yview mod hieght_of_image to make it look that the texture is "stuck to the slopes" instead of moving around with the view)
- There should be a function surface_set_alpha_from_surface(); use that to erase alpha from the tiled surface using the slope surface
- draw the background (you seriously need a texture there too!)
- draw the tiled surface which has now its alpha erased so that it's only visible where there are solid ground
- draw all other sprites
- delete the two surfaces to free memory


You seriously should do that. It'd look a lot nicer than ugly plain gray everywhere.



Also, judging by the screenshot, you've based all characters from the same template... that's a bit bad. You gotta have more variety; for instance, make the bad guys a bit taller (user right-click to quick-copy a selection in the image editor; then just drag it upward at e.g. legs, waist to easily make a character taller). You should also give characters multiple skin and hair color; my post-apocalypse platformer Final Columbus features characters with pink, purple and green hair and a range of different skin colors. Also using different eye colors is easy to underestimate.

For instance, make the common ninja enemies brown-black in skin color and have dark green hair and perhaps sunglasses. The next tier of stronger ninjas could be blue-white-blonde asians, they should also have some cool 5x5 pixel red symbol on their suits' left chestplate, like a tiger head, a katana silhouette or a swastika. Heck, just blotch a bunch of pixels in a red color that doesn't seem blood red, and leave what it is up to the player's imagination.





Oh, also, investigate putting some BACKGROUND DECORATIONS to your levels. Like computers, desks, chairs, flags with the bad guys' symbol on it, eerie tubes with organs and animals preserved in green liquid, posters, pot plants, places where the wall coating has fallen off so that you can see the bricks beneath it, windows where the sunlight fall in (draw a slanted yellow polygon below the window with an alpha of around 128-64).

Nothing makes a game seem as bland as filling it with interactables only, especially if they're flat non-textured stuff. You really should work on getting some eye-candy into the game, your current screenshots aren't making me willing to play it at all (and I'm one of those people who don't judge games by their graphics, mind you!).


EDIT: Heck, we aren't talking getting some eye candy here, we're talking getting some eye food into your game. ;)

Edited by Yal, 08 February 2012 - 08:45 AM.

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#21 Chrscool8

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:01 PM

Just out of curiosity, have you made that slope engine yourself? Also, what version of Game Maker are you using?

Yep. A few years ago, I made a sonic game with Damizien's but I've always wanted a smooth "parkour" engine. So over the last few months I played through all the 2d Sonics again and did a lot of reading on the Sonic Physics Guide. My previous game, Suh Burb, was meant to be my step into the engine, but it never kicked off (in that respect). Thus, here we have it. This new engine that feels a little like Sonic, with tricks, adventure, storyline, etc. :P
Oh, and 8.1 Pro. :)

If you draw SHAPES or just can't be bothered with making one sprite for every slope for every stage tileset, here's one way you can texture stuff nicely (assuming you don't use the free version of Game Maker):

- create a surface the size of the view
- set the drawing target to this surface
- draw_clear_alpha() the surface to complete transparency
- tell the slopes [that are inside the view] to draw themselves on the surface
- create a new surface the size of the view, set the drawing target to this surface, and use a for loop to tile it with the texture you want to texture the slopes with. (Translate the image with view_xview mod width_of_image, view_yview mod hieght_of_image to make it look that the texture is "stuck to the slopes" instead of moving around with the view)
- There should be a function surface_set_alpha_from_surface(); use that to erase alpha from the tiled surface using the slope surface
- draw the background (you seriously need a texture there too!)
- draw the tiled surface which has now its alpha erased so that it's only visible where there are solid ground
- draw all other sprites
- delete the two surfaces to free memory


You seriously should do that. It'd look a lot nicer than ugly plain gray everywhere.


I was never really that good with surfaces, but this is a nice guide, thank you. The levels are actually built of huge Photoshop images. (Around or greater than 5000x2500)
Obviously since GM (and lesser graphics cards) cant handle such huge things, I have it automatically split up and streamed in when necessary. (I was quite proud. ;) )

Posted Image


Also, judging by the screenshot, you've based all characters from the same template... that's a bit bad. You gotta have more variety; for instance, make the bad guys a bit taller (user right-click to quick-copy a selection in the image editor; then just drag it upward at e.g. legs, waist to easily make a character taller). You should also give characters multiple skin and hair color; my post-apocalypse platformer Final Columbus features characters with pink, purple and green hair and a range of different skin colors. Also using different eye colors is easy to underestimate.

For instance, make the common ninja enemies brown-black in skin color and have dark green hair and perhaps sunglasses. The next tier of stronger ninjas could be blue-white-blonde asians, they should also have some cool 5x5 pixel red symbol on their suits' left chestplate, like a tiger head, a katana silhouette or a swastika. Heck, just blotch a bunch of pixels in a red color that doesn't seem blood red, and leave what it is up to the player's imagination.


Good tips. Right now I'm using a lot of the resources from Suh Burb (as linked earlier) since it's a kind of sequel, but I'm really hoping to at some point update all the character sprites. Unfortunately for me, I'm not exactly the best character artist. :|


Oh, also, investigate putting some BACKGROUND DECORATIONS to your levels. Like computers, desks, chairs, flags with the bad guys' symbol on it, eerie tubes with organs and animals preserved in green liquid, posters, pot plants, places where the wall coating has fallen off so that you can see the bricks beneath it, windows where the sunlight fall in (draw a slanted yellow polygon below the window with an alpha of around 128-64).

Nothing makes a game seem as bland as filling it with interactables only, especially if they're flat non-textured stuff. You really should work on getting some eye-candy into the game, your current screenshots aren't making me willing to play it at all (and I'm one of those people who don't judge games by their graphics, mind you!).

EDIT: Heck, we aren't talking getting some eye candy here, we're talking getting some eye food into your game. ;)


Hey, I hear ya. Suh Burb was the God of that kind of stuff. :P I put individual blades of grass, interactive objects (boxes and trash cans), birds, planes, a day/night cycle, and so many tiny things that nobody would notice (and my friend and playtester told me to leave out until I was done with the game itself). For all intents and purposes, we can probably assume that this is still in engine demo mode and not in it for the graphics quite yet, but hey, it's not like I'm not trying yet.

Here's just outside the lair's exit:
Posted Image
(dynamic lens flare and 3d moving water I made myself in after effects. ;D)



Thanks for taking the time for all of this, Yal, I really appreciate it.
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#22 Yal

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

(dynamic lens flare and 3d moving water I made myself in after effects. ;D)

Cool! You're much much much better on making textures than making sprites! ;]

I have it automatically split up and streamed in when necessary

That's quite awesome! I'm not fond of that system myself, but as long as you like it...

Heck, I don't think you'll be needing surfaces for the textures in that case, you could likely just "mark all" the gray pixels and paste/paint some texture so that it only affects the wall pixels and not the empty pixels. But anyway, some texture would be nice for that. (If you place some cool flashing lights and stuff on the walls, it'll look even neater, and so on)


But your game will look a bit bland without improving the spritework, I'm afraid. There's a bunch of good tutorials at The Spriters' Resource Community, find the pixel art subforum and look around. You might learn a bunch of useful stuff (I did!), you might even find a graphic artist you want to work with.




A few things I want to say:
  • Some more variation in enemy size would make your game a lot better! Apart from humans the same size, you should have mook enemies that's only half as tall, tank enemies that's twice as tall and twice as wide, floor enemies that's half as tall and twice as wide as the hero, and so on. Some suggestions:
    • For the mook enemy, you could use big rats that only hurt you via contact damage (perhaps with a biting animation when they get near you). They should die in like a single hit, but come in big numbers. If it's possible to launch the mook as a projectile (like in Soldexus) that splashes-dies when it hits a corner and deals damage when it hits another enemy by e.g. kicking it from a certain angle, it's a big plus.
    • For the tank enemy, you could have a gorilla with some random clothing stuff (e.g. sunglasses, a bandana, and an ammo belt). It moves slowly or is even stationary, but it has strong projectile attacks (e.g. a machine gun) and don't hestitate to use them when it spots you. The good thing is, they have really slow reactions, so it's pretty easy to avoid their attacks as long as you use the terrain properly and time your jumps. Also, the tank takes multiple hits to kill, so most of the time you're better off just hitting it once to stun it and then hurry out of its attack range before it's able to move again.
    • For the wide enemy, just take a spike trap and make a moving robot out of it.
  • As said before, add variation to human enemies.
    • Gender equality - while you don't really need a 50-50 balance, having a few female enemies will - sadly - make your game stand out from the crowd and would be one of the things the player will remember. Some enemy patterns you might use:
      • Dark-clad kuniochi (aka girl ninjas) that walk on the ceiling, then drop down very near you and slash you with a silenced chainsaw or hurl really fast daggers at you. Also, if one of these are on the ceiling, they will kill you if you try to run in the ceiling at that place. You could have puzzles where the only way to pass a room is to first get the kuniochi in the ceiling to drop down to the floor, evade their attacks, and then kill them, and only then will you be able to run on the ceiling to reach the exit (because they'll jump back up if you run away).
  • Also, as said before, having lots of skin colors on your enemy characters not only make your game more equal and being more realistic (it's not like all people are white!), it's also a real convenient way to make stronger repalettes of the enemies seem visually different from their weaker counterparts. For instance, instead of making the Lv2 ninja just having a different colored scarf than the Lv 1 ninja, making him a different skin color will make him seem a lot different from the Lv 1 ninja. Hair does about the same thing, so experiment a bit with grayish green, blue and pink shades that's pretty near real hair colors.
  • Finally, you should use age differences when possible too - making fat bearded men enemies (looking like Pokémon's Hiker trainers), for instance, gives you a fun visual difference, plus the player instantly knows that this enemy will have more HP, move slowly, and have strong attacks, just like a single glance on a rat will tell them "this enemy dies in one hit, and moves around like it's overcaffeinated" and a glance on a bald guy with oversized forehead tells them "Oh shit! That dude will use telekinesis on me!"

Edited by Yal, 09 February 2012 - 12:05 PM.

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#23 Chrscool8

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:39 PM

That's an awesome ending sentence there. :P
Again, thanks for all of this. It's super helpful.

And you're right, I'm more of a video special effects guy than a spriter. ;)
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