Some art refs for you (the Animation is now what I am working on!)
More (fresh) materials coming very soon! Don’t forget to follow us on twitter or post comments, I love reading what you say.
The best (most helpful) scrolling in my opinion is the godlike Super Mario World on super nintendo.
Replicating this meant a surprising amount of rules. For a start, whenever you fall, it matches your falling speed, however if you jump up too high, it gently scrolls to meet the player, although this can be pushed if you raise fast enough.
Not only this, the horizontal scrolling has a different rule set. It has to allow for being helpful enough to scroll past the player when standing still, to give more view ahead, as well as match the pace of the player should he already be moving.
On top of this, there has to be a zone where you can move around in without scrolling, and although this was easiest to get right, mixing it with the other rules proved tricky. But… I’ve nailed it.
One of the challenges of scrolling in a platformer is to figure out a way to do it that does not induce motion sickness. Super Mario World solves this with deadzones and a combination of push scrolling with constant speed, and variable speed when pushing against it.
There will be tweaking to do, and some great screenshots of the integration of this new scrolling + feel into the main game branch. You’ll be able to get a feel for how things play soon. Watch this space!
I’ve been working on the ultimate “feel” for TOB. I’ve been programming for over 25 years, and playing games longer, so I think I’ve got a good idea how a game should feel.
Some of the important considerations are about how responsive it is, on analogue sticks and touch screens. We want the on-screen character to do the opposite of mario:
Instead of slowing down sharply when the player moves the other direction, we slow down sharply when you reach the deadzone of the touch input or analogue stick, or when the finger has been lifted from the screen. This works naturally with the time it takes to slide a typical finger across.
The result is on-screen you see a seamless and charming little devil rushing around with sharpness and no lag to the inertia – it’s crisp and yet not stiff.
For jumping, we have some funky raycasts that help us pass through platforms. If you fall off the edge of a platform and just hit jump then, the game gives you few precious milliseconds grace and lets you take the jump. This is not something you normally notice, but it sure is appreciated on touch screens.
Another element was that we wanted it to speed up quickly, but not travel very far if the player just edges towards something. We wanted that nippy feel. Likewise, it should not accelerate too slow overall when changing direction. To do this, we use 3 different curves of tweened motion together for different times, which give the character specific rules in how it behaves with physics, and focusses on playability.
That’s all for now… the next time I post will be about the scrolling!
Back at the start of the year I caught wind of a project called ‘The Other Brothers’, I was blown away by the art quality and fell in love with it instantly. I can now announce that Thomas and Bjorn, the guys behind it have brought Simian Squared onboard to develop the title!
Our friendly neighbourhood ape (Rob) will be programming the game with myself joining Björn on the art side. It is a very exciting time for us and a pleasure to work with such talented people.
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