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Platformer Controls: Jake (Need input, Demo below!)
Posted: Posted August 9th
Edited August 12th by mariomguy

My favorite game of the 90s was Super Mario 64. It truly felt like a game where you could do anything, and the controls had everything to do with it. You could sideways-jump into a wall jump and reach high cliffs in no time at all! You could double jump, triple jump, backwards and even long jump, and even string combos. You could ground pound, punch, or slide on your belly. You could even run into a sliding kick!

I miss platform games that made you felt free like that. Sure, Super Mario Galaxy more or less has the same moves, but everything was so controlled. The levels could really only be run one way, and the jumping felt so constricted.

So, I'm making a platform game, Jake, that lets you do just that. More or less, this is going to be my spin on Mario's moveset with more physicality to the jumping and momentum. You can double jump, but the higher you fall to perform the jump, the more you'll bounce back. You can perform a floaty mid-air jump, but you can't change your direction much in mid-air, so you'll need to wall jump to safety. Wall jumping feels smooth and slick and painless: no sticking to walls, no weird timings to get right: if you're on or near a wall, you'll be reflected off, according to your angle. Running down a slope increases your speed while running up slows you down. And double jumping on a steeper slope will send you careening laterally as if bouncing off a ramp. Here is a list of controls:

Jump - Jump.
Jump, in mid-air - Mid-air jump (1 more follows)
Jump, after mid-air - Glide (stops a fast descent, converting it to a glide. You cannot gain altitude from here)
Jump, after glide - Sudden fall.
Jump after performing a jump - Double Jump (bounces off the surface. Angled surfaces will make you bounce toward the downslope, not straight up. Jumping from a higher location makes your double jump stronger)
Jump off a wall - Wall Jump (mostly a deflection that slightly increases verticality. Resets your mid-air jumps as well).

LMB Click - Quick Fall (increases gravity and makes you fall faster).
Jump after Fall - Increases Double Jump strength.

I tried adding moves that improved forward momentum, but they didn't work that well. I think a move where you dive down in front of you could be interesting, especially if you can perform a Double Jump afterward. But I need more ideas for moves that can work. Right now I only have two buttons: one to jump, and one to fall down.

Perhaps I'll post a video of the jumping mechanics. So far, it's actually really fun!

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There are 23 Replies

Speaking from playing Mario 64 I used the forward momentum moves all the time. I was constantly diving and long jumping everywhere I went lol. I think the interesting thing is if you add some kind of move that passive or actively increases the forward movement of the character then people will use it a lot. Not only is it very satisfying to do it but mentally people just want to go faster :P

Often in DK64 I would actually swap to Donkey or Lanky if I knew I was going to be moving a long distance and didn't need a specific Kong. Donkey because his attack while moving actually propels him forward a bit and Lanky because of the arm walk being faster. I often hated having to go any kind of distance with the others.

So my opinion would definitely be try to include something :)

LMB Click - Quick Fall (increases gravity and makes you fall faster).


You've probably already thought of this, but I'll mention it anyway. Is your character going to have attacks and if so will they be tied to LMB? If the answer is yes then if you want them to attack in the air you'd have to reconsider this keybind.

But I need more ideas for moves that can work. Right now I only have two buttons: one to jump, and one to fall down.


If you can't get a forward momentum ability in there then definitely consider adding something that just speeds you up for any sections of the game where the player is asked to move somewhere. It would probably need a new keybind separate from the rest.

Also since we are currently talking PC keyboard controls, I suppose you'd want a way to allow the player to move slower so that if you have any "tight rope" areas of platforming you can give the player the opportunity to take it slower and having tighter control when they want it. Obviously on phone & console this is easier to handle because of the joystick/virtual joystick.

Posted August 10th by Moonray
Moonray
 

I do have some programmed physics that make you feel like your moving faster the longer you keep your momentum going. The slope-based walking interpolates your current speed with your new slope, and if you continue running/jumping/whatever on a flat or declining surface it will continue to increase your speed. It does the opposite effect going uphill, but it's biased so you gain speed more readily and it takes a while to lose it. It feels very natural. I think people will be doing the mid-air jumps and double-jumps a lot. They don't take any planning to do and feel very nice.

Even though there isn't a move that's like "move forward," there are plenty of global mechanics that make you feel like your increasing momentum, and the more you push these extra moves the more that happens. It feels kind of God-like right now because it's all VERY forgiving. But I like that.

I'm not sure if I want an attack because I haven't decided on how enemies should behave, or even what kind of game this is, really. Collectathon? Adventure? My biggest inspirations are Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Tak and The Power of Juju. But it's all open world, there's no level select. Right now I'm just focusing on getting that movement right, and I think I've hit something that works really well. But it's not perfect yet.

Posted August 10th by mariomguy

BTW, it will support gamepads for sure. But I'm currently testing everything with a mouse. You have better control over the camera with a mouse.

Posted August 10th by mariomguy

Here is a video of the current control scheme. Please let me know what you think! @Moonray

http://www.youtube.com/v/8MI3PJRKd_0
Posted August 10th by mariomguy

Cool, I'll look later when I'm on my PC.

Posted August 11th by Moonray
Moonray
 

as feedback goes, would it be plausible to release some kind of sandbox-y movement demo at some point? Just an open playground like in the video to play with movement, no need for story or objectives (possibly some test enemies if you reach that point).

you can get some idea out of a video, but actual hands-on familiarity does a lot more. Like, of course you can do what you wish and know how it handles and all that, but what about someone else picking it up for the first time? I can see you showcasing the MC's ability to do what you want, and it looks like you've got a nice degree of freedom, but I can't necessarily tell how it'd respond to what I might want if I'm only watching, y'know?

Posted August 11th by Pirate_Ninja

Hmm, when I tried to go to that address it doesn't work fr me. Also GTX0 doesn't seem to have turned it into a proper link either.

I would agree with PN though, if you didn't mind releasing a basic demo that'd be a lot better to provide feedback on

Posted August 11th by Moonray
Moonray
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MI3PJRKd_0&index=22&list=PLw5kmciG49ZWw4y15g7IETTjD5BiCUIBV&t=0s
I'll try to export an EXE that doesn't contain the entire game. At this point, there's a lot of extra content that doesn't need to be there.

Posted August 11th by mariomguy

neat, it'd be interesting (and hopefully helpful to you) if you can manage that


Hmm, when I tried to go to that address it doesn't work fr me. Also GTX0 doesn't seem to have turned it into a proper link either.
from what I can tell it's a direct link to the video (the kind that tells your browser "hey, download this video")

I just took the part after /v/ and plugged it in at the end of a normal url after watch?v= in order to see it. The new one mguy posted should work too - it just has the added shit to make it part of a playlist.

Posted August 11th by Pirate_Ninja

OK, I have a functioning test map! Some things to note:

  • Swimming animations not included yet!
  • Stamina meter not functional yet (the swirling icon above Jake's head)!

    WASD - Move
    Space - Jump
    Left Click - Fast Drop
    Right Click - Open Menu
    Escape - Quit

    To install, just extract the folder and double-click Jake_Project420.exe. If the game doesn't run smoothly, open the menu and change the graphics settings. Dynamic resolution doesn't work yet, but all other settings do. The game defaults to desktop res @ Ultra, so if it already runs smoothly don't mess with it. Just opening the menu will knock back most of the settings to high and try to maintain a max resolution. From there, reduce the resolution until the game functions well. Only people with integrated graphics should really fret about this.

    Let me know what you think!
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/4tyec0v0u0z4vbv/JakeTest.zip?dl=0

  • Posted August 11th by mariomguy

    @Moonray
    @Pirate_Ninja

    I posted the demo! Hope you guys get the notification.

    Posted August 12th by mariomguy

    I did. Sorry my PC is unplugged at the moment while we have some work done in that room. Probably wont be able to get back on it until Friday.

    Posted August 13th by Moonray
    Moonray
     

    and I didn't get it, but I did already have your demo downloaded. Just wanted to spend a fair amount of time playing with it before offering feedback, so I can try different stuff and get a bit more comfortable-ish with it. I'll hopefully get back to you tonight with something.

    Posted August 13th by Pirate_Ninja

    @mariomguy you have to either put a colon after the user your are tagging or use [@] tags around the name to show up in someone's notifications.

    Posted August 13th by Vandy

    Let me try:

    @Vandy@
    [@]Vandy[@]
    @Vandy:

    Which one works?

    Posted August 13th by mariomguy

    The bottom one worked.

    The second will work if you change the end tag to [/@].

    Edited August 13th by Vandy

    Cool!

    ...So, did anyone actually try the demo?

    Posted August 13th by mariomguy

    ya dode I wasn't kidding

    thought of one more important thing I want to try, though, and I can't do that until tomorrow morning. I'll have feedback then - just trying to make it as accurate as I can.

    Posted August 14th by Pirate_Ninja

    ok so here are some thoughts - for convenience, I'll treat them like responses to the topic post

    You can double jump, but the higher you fall to perform the jump, the more you'll bounce back.
    yup, made sense to me and worked fairly well. I wasn't totally consistent in doing it right, but pretty comfortable and I think it's probably largely just a personal preference thing based on the spacebar being the jump button.

    also I swear it happened but I'm not sure how and I was unable to duplicate it - one time while fooling around with doublejump and fastfall, I got a really high jump that seemed unintentional. Like...you know that spot where you have two walls of blue/white blocks, which looks like it's meant to test walljumps? I was between those walls, jumping/doublejumping/airjumping and fastfalling in place, and one time I managed to launch myself off the ground all the way up to the top of those walls in a single doublejump. As in, I cleared the top of the wall and was able to steer myself sideways a little and land on top of it, having started on the ground. I'm guessing I did something that made the game think I hit the ground with a ton of momentum worthy of a huge doublejump, but I couldn't get it to happen again. Seemed odd, figured it wasn't meant to be.


    You can perform a floaty mid-air jump, but you can't change your direction much in mid-air, so you'll need to wall jump to safety.
    midair jumps are a Big Thing for me, loved 'em ever since my friend brought over a copy of Super Ghouls n' Ghosts (where the jump controls are super stiff and unforgiving, but the fact that you have a midair jump gives you some weird added control/maneuverability that's kinda fascinating). Carry that forward to 2018 where I play Ribbon Girl in ARMS (cutest character + 3-4 midair jumps, obvious choice of main ever since the first demo) and light up like a Christmas tree when I find the Feather in La-Mulana 2.

    as such, I was doing it constantly in your demo, and I liked it. Part of the reason for that, though, is that the jump height honestly felt too low on its own and I constantly needed that added height. Maybe it feels that way partly because of the demo landscape - those big blue/white blocks are sitting around like big stairs, but they felt a little awkward to use that way because it took both jumps just to get up one. I think I'd test increasing the height of the first jump, but keeping the airjump as a smaller boost/correction tool (as opposed to making it just as strong as the initial jump).


    Wall jumping feels smooth and slick and painless: no sticking to walls, no weird timings to get right: if you're on or near a wall, you'll be reflected off, according to your angle.
    ok, this is where I was lost. At first, I thought the demo didn't have walljumping for whatever reason because I couldn't get it to happen. But then I started accidentally ricocheting off walls every so often, so I figured it must be there. But I still can't get a feel for how it works or do it consistently. I assume I'm doing something wrong, since I don't actually know the mechanics or w/e - could you briefly explain what I should be doing? When I can and can't do it, how to do it, that sort of thing. Maybe I'm expecting something different than what you planned, based on other games I've played. I want to go back and try it.


    also the free camera is generally nice and works well (an option to zoom out a bit would be nice), but it does a bit of obnoxious autopiloting in some circumstances. For instance, when I was trying to work out walljumping between those two walls, I turned the camera for a side view so the walls are on the left/right of the screen and I just moved left and right between them - but colliding with a wall would typically spin the camera around 90 degrees and zoom in close (a really bad angle for what I was trying). It'd be good for it to...not do that, whatever it seems to be compensating/correcting for.


    going to think a bit about your question of a "forward momentum move" type thing, but wanted to give you that much now. I'm p sure there was another thing or two I had in mind that I forgot while typing, so if it comes to me I'll be back with it. Let me know if you had any specific questions I could try to answer.

    Posted August 15th by Pirate_Ninja

    also I swear it happened but I'm not sure how and I was unable to duplicate it - one time while fooling around with doublejump and fastfall, I got a really high jump that seemed unintentional.

    I think this happens because the wall jump adds to your current velocity. Current jump velocity is 750 (725 base +1 Jump stat default clothing), so adding the wall jump to that gets you close to a velocity of 1500 vertically!

    but the fact that you have a midair jump gives you some weird added control/maneuverability that's kinda fascinating

    as such, I was doing it constantly in your demo, and I liked it. Part of the reason for that, though, is that the jump height honestly felt too low on its own and I constantly needed that added height.

    The more I demoed with it the nicer it felt to not have to worry about my first jump. Personally I like the strong second jump, but I still need to figure out ways to balance it more so the first jump is not completely pointless. Any way I tried, though, making the first jump better will make the second jump weaker, unless we break the game and make both incredibly strong.

    I assume I'm doing something wrong, since I don't actually know the mechanics or w/e - could you briefly explain what I should be doing?

    Jump towards a wall at an angle, and when you're touching it, jump off. Think of it like parkour. Right now I have it so the wall jump doesn't occur if you head into it straight on so the wall jump doesn't happen when you're trying to climb up blocks in front of you. But that has the side effect of the wall jump not happening at all when you're facing it head on.

    also the free camera is generally nice and works well (an option to zoom out a bit would be nice)

    Scroll wheel ;)

    but colliding with a wall would typically spin the camera around 90 degrees and zoom in close (a really bad angle for what I was trying). It'd be good for it to...not do that, whatever it seems to be compensating/correcting for.

    Ugh, the camera boom. The camera does a trace with objects around the world and it quickly zooms in on anything with the camera trace checked. I don't think I'll build anything in the game where you have to go into a tight space like that, but the blue blocks are kind of testing grounds for worst-case-scenario. I'll need some alternate camera modes in the game.

    going to think a bit about your question of a "forward momentum move" type thing

    Please do! I have an interesting idea: throw a magical object that opens a portal, then instantly teleport to it, deflecting your velocity as well! There can be limits to how often the effect can be used, but stuff like that is easy to program and works wonders.

    Let me know if you had any specific questions I could try to answer.

  • First of all, how do you like the movement overall? Walking, running, jumping, does moving around feel comfortable?
  • Do the different jump maneuvers feel natural to flow into and out of?
  • Do the different jump maneuvers feel balanced? Good enough that they feel nice, but not so good that they feel game-breaking?
  • There's going to be a lot of open, flat space in the game. What would you do to make running in a flat open field fun? Super Mario 64 had the long jump, but I'd like to do something else.

  • Posted August 15th by mariomguy

    just posting to acknowledge that I saw your reply - haven't had the chance to do anything with it yet, but just so you know that much

    Posted August 17th by Pirate_Ninja

    @mariomguy: yeah that took ages, been busier than expected sorry c:

    I think this happens because the wall jump adds to your current velocity. Current jump velocity is 750 (725 base +1 Jump stat default clothing), so adding the wall jump to that gets you close to a velocity of 1500 vertically!
    thing is, I'm almost positive I was jumping straight up and down, so there shouldn've have been anywhere to trigger a walljump. Unless you're saying that you think I might've somehow tricked the game into thinking I was walljumping off the floor? That seems like it'd explain it, if there's some way that could've happened. Interesting thought, in any case.


    Jump towards a wall at an angle, and when you're touching it, jump off. Think of it like parkour. Right now I have it so the wall jump doesn't occur if you head into it straight on so the wall jump doesn't happen when you're trying to climb up blocks in front of you. But that has the side effect of the wall jump not happening at all when you're facing it head on.
    that explains a lot, actually, because imo that's pretty counterintuitive. Typically you'd want to be perpendicular to the wall--or close to it--when walljumping in a game, so that's what I was doing (and it explains why I was really only getting it by accident when not trying to).

    so it did work reliably once I knew to approach from an angle, and the increased velocity you mentioned above is neat (especially if you're able to chain them together). Thing is, it didn't feel very oractical. Deflecting off at a trajectory determined by how I'm hitting the wall is relatively complicated, and I don't feel like I can use it very effectively to get where I want to go. Really, making it work in this way just means that I can't actually use the walljump to do the things I'd normally want to use it for, like scaling the space between parallel walls or getting some extra jump height in a corner. Instead I usually end up flinging myself away somewhere else.

    facing a wall head-on is really the time when I want to be walljumping - so it's a clean trajectory I can plan for and work with. If you're worried about it triggering when you're climbing blocks in front of you, maybe require a minimum forward momentum (a running start, basically) or something, if you're against having any sort of wall slide or momentary "stickiness" (like a wall cling, but only for a split second - during which you could walljump away).


    also the free camera is generally nice and works well (an option to zoom out a bit would be nice)

    Scroll wheel ;)
    that let me zoom in, but no further out than the starting point. It's not a huge deal, but I'd personally like the ability to back it up a bit. Maybe even more so if I were in an actual "level" or game area with an objective.


    I have an interesting idea: throw a magical object that opens a portal, then instantly teleport to it, deflecting your velocity as well! There can be limits to how often the effect can be used, but stuff like that is easy to program and works wonders.
    I...think I get what you mean. Sounds like something you could do some interesting stuff with, but it could make things really easy if there's too much freedom. Potentially a fun and useful toy.


    First of all, how do you like the movement overall? Walking, running, jumping, does moving around feel comfortable?
    mostly content with it, aside from the things I mentioned about the first jump (kinda underwhelming in a movement/platforming environment) and walljump (see above).


    Do the different jump maneuvers feel natural to flow into and out of?
    the single, double, and airjumps all work nicely, and while I now understand how to actually use the walljump, it just doesn't seem like something I'd ever want to use outside of fooling around.


    Do the different jump maneuvers feel balanced? Good enough that they feel nice, but not so good that they feel game-breaking?
    first jump felt kinda underpowered as I mentioned, nothing really felt "too good." Though I did notice you could launch yourself a pretty stupid distance if you managed to find somewhere to chain a couple walljumps - I think the velocity increase it part of what makes that feel so hard to control effectively.


    There's going to be a lot of open, flat space in the game. What would you do to make running in a flat open field fun? Super Mario 64 had the long jump, but I'd like to do something else.
    first ideas that came to mind:

  • a quick forward dash of some kind. Dashing around is often fun, especially if you can jump out of it with increased forward velocity or dash in midair. Probably something with a short cooldown (enough that I can't just hammer on the button and be all dash-dash-dash-dash (like a gold mushroom in Mario Kart) as opposed to run-dash-run-dash.

  • an improved level of run speed. Like, if I run for a couple second and build some speed, I gain movement similar to rollerblades or ice skates - easy distance travel, but with less fine control (think how Luigi skids to a stop when running in games like Smash 4 - increased stopping distance, can't turn corners as tightly, that sort of thing).

  • a forward dive, kinda like Mario 64 has when you attack in midair while traveling forward with enough speed (whether it can be used as some sort of attack is up to you). To make it more movement-focused (possibly as an upgrade to the ability, if you're doing that kind of thing), have the dive end by tucking into a forward roll (which should be a vulnerable state, if the dive is an attack) that can be chained into another forward dive. It forces you to commit to a direction with the diving motion as a tradeoff to letting you move forward quicker.

    if that didn't really get across what I meant, have this shitty stick figure illustration:



    ...also after I spent the time describing/scribbling that, I just realized that I think you could do basically that in Super Mario Odyssey (where you could also go into that cartoonish high-speed roll instead of another dive)

  • Posted August 24th by Pirate_Ninja

    Unless you're saying that you think I might've somehow tricked the game into thinking I was walljumping off the floor? That seems like it'd explain it, if there's some way that could've happened.

    I thought of another explanation: a lot of games want to stop stuff like this from happening, so instead of adding your speed together they cancel it out and override it: that's what makes Super Mario Galaxy feel so rigid. I want my game to feel more fluid, though, so everything is added and never canceled. It's also possible, aside from accidentally screwing with the wall jump system, this is just a combination of the wall jump velocity adding together with the fast-fall-double-jump velocity and making you go really high. I can simply place a timer on the wall jump so after jumping in mid-air you need to wait a second before being able to wall jump again.

    It's not a huge deal, but I'd personally like the ability to back it up a bit.

    Currently, the camera boom has some nasty effects when walking next to a wall. I really don't like the boom system: it doesn't allow me to walk freely without worrying about the camera swinging in. If I can fix this, I'll let you zoom out to your heart's content. But as of right now that will cause massive headaches when running between buildings.

    Deflecting off at a trajectory determined by how I'm hitting the wall is relatively complicated, and I don't feel like I can use it very effectively to get where I want to go. Really, making it work in this way just means that I can't actually use the walljump to do the things I'd normally want to use it for, like scaling the space between parallel walls or getting some extra jump height in a corner. Instead I usually end up flinging myself away somewhere else.

    Hmm... if I can fix the wall jump while trying to climb up issue, then yes, that won't be a problem to make you wall jump across facing walls. But I know for a fact that won't be happening in my game, by choice. This is a very counter-intuitive way to design something: face two walls together. All you can do with that is wall jump. I very much preferred Super Mario 64's wall jumping: it felt more natural to do than Galaxy. Here, the wall jumping is effortless. All you need are places to jump to and walls nearby to do it.

    I...think I get what you mean. Sounds like something you could do some interesting stuff with, but it could make things really easy if there's too much freedom. Potentially a fun and useful toy.

    Think of it like throwing a rock. You can't teleport farther than you can throw, but if you do a lot of good jumps and time it right you can get it a little farther, and then give yourself an extra boost to make it over an edge. This also works nicely with the whole wall-jump-flinging-me-off issue.

    mostly content with it, aside from the things I mentioned about the first jump (kinda underwhelming in a movement/platforming environment) and walljump (see above).

    Funny thing is, I boosted the first jump and made the mid-air jump weaker. People in my game dev group suggested making both jumps stronger :)

    Though I did notice you could launch yourself a pretty stupid distance if you managed to find somewhere to chain a couple walljumps

    That's... what I like in the game, though! Yay, God-tier wall jumps! I really want the player to play with jumping on and over the environment, so keep in mind there will be MORE STUFF in the actual game to jump off of and on, not just a few buildings. Empty areas should be fun too, but I am counting on this effortless wall jump to feel great and do great things. Did you find that enjoyable?

    a quick forward dash of some kind.

    The fast fall now also does a speed boost while you're holding it. It burns your stamina quickly, but it helps.

    an improved level of run speed. Like, if I run for a couple second and build some speed, I gain movement similar to rollerblades or ice skates

    Reminds me of SA2:B! I have slope working, now. Would definitely love to build the new map properly and have you test that, but the actual map is huge, like 10 minutes to walk across.

    a forward dive, kinda like Mario 64

    I LOVED this move! Unfortunately, it seems like this might be a tad bit difficult to program. I'm depending on the fast fall to achieve the same, if not a similar effect.

    if that didn't really get across what I meant, have this shitty stick figure illustration:

    I love your illustration! I'll have to figure out how I can do that, but I love it! If you jump while rolling, you should totally jump with a different trajectory, like, more forward.

    ...also after I spent the time describing/scribbling that, I just realized that I think you could do basically that in Super Mario Odyssey (where you could also go into that cartoonish high-speed roll instead of another dive)

    Also like Sonic. I never liked this move because it was so hard to maintain control when you jump. This might make players go out of control, and it's too easy to abuse, so I don't want that. But I do like the idea of diving into a roll, then long-jumping into a high double-jump. More interplay, there!

    Posted August 24th by mariomguy
    Reply to: Platformer Controls: Jake (Need input, Demo below!)
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