platform game mechanics
Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:18 AM
Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:59 PM
Ah, the ultimate question! Haha.
^Search for topics like this, there's a lot of good answers out there.
thanks man that was so helpfull!
Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:05 AM
"Use gimmicks for each stage, but never use gimmicks that changes the main game physics"
For instance, jump-tru platforms are pretty good, and they can be varied a lot. For instance, the old Sonic games featured jump-tru platforms that moved or broke down. There's also a bunch of interesting moving platforms you might want to check out in the Genesis games: for instance the stairfall platforms in Starlight Zone that moves if hit by an impact (spindashing or jumping into them makes them fall down so you can use them as stairs) or the bomb bridges in Death Egg Zone (S3&K). Death Egg also featured platforms that was made of magnetic fields, so they only lasted a short time and could only be used as platforms if you had the electric shield.
The 3 shields in S3 is also a fun idea: each one of them gives you a double jump/jump attack that is good for different things, for instance the fire bash lets you accelerate to run speed at once, and you can bash trough walls with it, sometimes walls you can't destroy normally since there's no space to charge up a Spindash in front of them. Also you're immune to fireball and lava damage. The electric shield gives you a normal plain double jump, but it magnets rings towards you and blocks electric and energy ball attacks, the two most common types.
The least useful shield is the Bubble Shield, which has a double jump that is very high, but require you to recoil against the ground, so it can't be used to get into passages high up in the air. On the other hand, it provides you with air underwater, making you immune to drowning. Underwater it's the only choice!
Oh, and electric and fire shields get destroyed the moment you get wet, too.
So basically, try to steal those shields. They add a lot of variety and a little bit of strategy. Also, don't be afraid to overpower enemies or bosses as long as you give the player powerful abilities to use against them. Using the S3 shields, for instance, the player can get immune to one of the boss' attacks - this lets him attack the boss more carelessly trying to beat if fast for a time bonus, or maybe it just gives him some breathing room in the middle of a difficult battle.
Suggestion: make two sorts of projectiles that more or less all enemy projectiles are: either Electric/Energy or Fire. Both of those goes well along with cool enemy robot bosses and immense chemical plants and evil robotic fortresses, and having a red/yellow color scheme will look snazzy. The main gameplay idea would be that you can get those shields to get immune to one of the elements.
Another idea: make the game Shinobi/Castlevania like, so that you can get subweapons to use on the enemy. Subweapons drain ammo, but may be more useful than your normal attack (for instance the Hammers fly in an arc, so they're better on hitting flying enemies than your sword attack).
Another idea: the ammo used to use subweapons are Hearts, just like in Castlevania, but the hearts also double as your life: when you get hit, all your hearts are sent flying (just like in Sonic), and if you get hit with 0 hearts, you die, so you gotta collect the hearts before they disappear. Using a subweapon drains 1 heart and using a Super Attack drains 10 hearts. So if you have lots of hearts you can spam your special attacks, or you can just rely on being able to get your hearts back when they are sent flying and get trough difficult bosses by repeatedly losing and getting back a single heart (hoping that it flies away in an arc that lets you catch it).
As for gimmicks, you might want to check out my (VERY OLD, pretty aged) SMB3 remakes (featuring characters from that manga I drew back in the days):
http://sandbox.yoyog...ure-origial-fmv (if you want a laugh)
I basically remade all worlds for the better remake (3902) so many level design ideas come back in it, such as the first level of the sea kingdom featuring invisible blocks at inconvenient places, or the auto-scrolling levels with big jumping enemies you can't kill. No carbon copies though, both games are completely different.
Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:53 PM
Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:09 PM
#1 -- Platforms
- The obvious element of the genre are the titular platforms ... However, rather than simply static platforms you should have a whole assortment of different platforms:
- Horizontally moving
- Vertically moving
- Orbiting (all kinds of orbits)
- Crumble upon impact
- Slippery (adjust friction)
- Sticky (restrict movement)
#2 -- Timed sequences
There's nothing more difficult than moving through a platformer game, apart from having to do so at high speeds where you don't have time to properly think. Timed sequences could be anything from escaping a lethal force (rising toxic waste, rolling boulder, polar bear etc.) to performing actions before your light source runs out.
#3 -- Optional paths
Platformer games are notoriously linear, but you can still allow the player to go off the beaten track to discover secrets and rewards. These optional paths should offer a different challenge to the player and essentially act as a means of upping the "difficulty level" that is absent from platformers.
... I'll write more later (probably).
Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:27 AM
There were also enemies following such paths: Fuzzies, who were pretty small but compensated by being quite fast. Also fuzzies always moved the opposite direction on the platforms, so on a circular path you had to be really careful with them. There were also "saws" that followed the paths. Basically they were spiky poles that were attacked to a little engine wagon and moved around on the paths slowly. They would start to move towards you when they spawned, so they could go in both directions. Their top was harmless, though, so you could actually ride on top of them if you just timed your jump correctly.
One of the Special World levels, I think it was named "Awesome", actually was a closed/open path puzzle where all paths would move in a circle and drop you off at the start point again, unless you made your path move to a certain path that passed by a small island with a warp pipe. After that, intensive survival madness ensued.
Another fun idea seen in Mario games are stacked jump-through platforms. Basically, since you can only pass them in one direction, by jumping, you can give the player some pretty interesting challenges. For instance, if you bundle this with enemies that walk left or right and place some items the player want to collect, he got to time his jumps carefully to get all the items, otherwise he might have to jump to avoid an enemy, lands on top of one of the platforms, and can't get back down. Example from Doki Doki Panic:
This can be made incredibly fun if you also have normal solid blocks (for instance like walls enclosing areas with jump-through stacks) accompanying the stacks, and also some holes to let the player drop down to the bottom of the stack and try again (or accidentally fall in / get pushed into and then HAVE to climb the whole thing again)
Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:25 PM
One of the biggest aids to a game is proper variation. Consider MHOD's quick discourse on timing, and the variation he posited; you can be run away from something, running toward something, or running along with something. In each case, the game play is identical, but it doesn't feel like it. There's a different feeling from If I don't move fast enough, the swarm of killer nanobots will devour me to If I don't move fast enough, that pesky thief will get away! And both of those feel different from simply running along with an arbitrary clock keeping you apace.
Another fun way to add variation is to focus on only one or two of the character's abilities at a time, and come up with fun ways to challenge only those skills. If a character has abilities A B C and D, levels designed to challenge DBAC, BDAC or CBAD all start to feel the same, but levels challenging AACA or BDDD feel different, unique and memorable. Players are bound to remember that one level where you have to duck under and jump over a bunch of oncoming barrels, or that one level where you have to make a bunch of precision jumps over gaps in a rotting, icy bridge, or that one level with all the careful sidestepping of explosives.
Make the enemies significantly different. I love me some Castlevania, but those games have a hard-on for making way too many different enemies. The enemies in that game mostly don't challenge you differently from each other. Some are more affected by certain weapon types than others, but it all eventually boils down to "hit the enemy enough times." It's far more gratifying to have different enemies that have to be attacked differently, such as the mook who can be jumped on but not hit with a melee attack, or the one that can be hit with a low attack but not a high attack, or the one that can only be attacked from behind, or the one that has intermittent vulnerability, maybe switching between weak spots.
Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:01 AM
As outlined by JAk HAk, combinational variety is a fairly easy, fairly useful form of variety. Basically, don't ever give the player everything in every single level (a mistake done in for instance Castle of Elite by Ultimortal) but rather let each level use only a certain type of challenges and introduce other ones as you go along, perhaps sometimes removing a certain challenge for multiple levels before starting to use it again.
Also, different combinations will feel a lot different even if both use the same elements: for instance jump-tru platforms with enemies that move/shoot vertically (or in arcs) is something completely different than jump-tru platforms with enemies that move/shoot horizontally, so if you're smart you can even use the same level (more or less) twice with different enemies and make it FEEL different.
Graphical variety is also VERY important, I think that's why the second level of Super Mario Bros.1 is an underground level with different music and graphical style (but with the same enemies, more or less) - it sorta tells the players "You'll NEVER know what comes next in this game!", so it gives them the feeling that "if I keep going, I'll see more fun stuff I have no idea about right now".
Posted 13 June 2012 - 03:13 AM
That's what a platformer needs to be fun and memorable.
Sure, some of you are probably like, "Well, duh." Tell that Koji Igarashi. He's the guy that produced the handheld Castlevania games after Symphony of the Night (and worked a little on SOTN too). There is very little platforming, mostly just long corridors leading to more long corridors. Once in a while you get to a section with platforming elements. You mess up and fall... and wind up back in a long corridor having to backtrack and attempt the platforms again. And again. And again. A platformer should punish you for messing up on a platform section. In Mario or Mega Man games you typically died. In Rondo of Blood you either died or were forced to take an alternate route toward Dracula's Castle that you didn't want to take. Oh sure, sometimes there's acid to make you wish you didn't miss that jump, but that's nowhere near as punishing as instant-death pits.
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