Obstacle Mechanics Discussion

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Obstacle Mechanics Discussion

Postby Guest_xD » 20 Jul 2014 16:07

This is the third thread for the mechanics discussion.

Reasons for this and the other threads can be found in the original Player Mechanics Discussion thread.

Let's get straight to it:

Here's a list of things I feel this game can improve on with the way obstacles work:
-Barely any interactable obstacles (destructable, movable, scalable, rotatable)
-There isn't enough complexity with the current obstacles to create a wide variety of puzzles
-There aren't a lot of good ways to hint bonuses/exits to the player without directly allowing access to them

Lets note down Maryos movement abilities, as they severely influence the use of obstacles:
With a power-jump, the farthes jump Maryo can do at any point in the map he can stand on, he can jump ~320 pixels up and ~480 pixels wide. This is about 2/3rds of the screens height and width.
Since the camera is horizontally centered on Maryo, this basically means he can jump farther than he can look, and he can also reach everything but the top of the screen from where hes standing.

To put this in perspective:
Maryo can jump both, across the huge gap (of which while playing the level you can *just* very closely see the tip of the ground to its right) and onto the high up platform.

But this isn't all, if he gets a star, he can jump yet a tad higher and yet a tad farther.
Since while designing a level you have to consider many angles the player could jump from, the insane jumping distances can become a headache really quickly, and it gets hard to hint the player toward puzzles or areas without him being able to instantly get there.

While the jumping mechanics is more a discussion for this thread every movement the player can do ties into what obstacles make sense to add and which do not, so I feel it's valid to point that out.

Interactable objects are self-explanatory for the most part:
They can be blocks that you can destroy only if you have a certain powerup (ice mushroom, fire plant, star, armadillo shells), blocks that you can push around (crates, more on these, later), blocks that you can stretch by falling onto them repeatedly or blocks that you can either manually turn in some way, or that automatically turn around in some way (a glimpse of 3D may be useful here)

Adding interactable objects is just one step to being able to create more complex puzzles.
It'll also help a lot to have objects that you can only pass under certain circumstances, from certain directions, etc.

As the last thing, a word on Crates:
The way they currently behave feels icky to me, you basically "punch" them over the ground, if they fall on top of you, you instantly get crushed and die, they get blocked by enemies and they are somewhat small.
Considering the ridiculous distances Maryo can cover with jumps, they don't make all that much of a difference if it's about trying to reach certain spots. You also cannot have more than one crate and expect them to work well together.
There is also no way to have bigger crates or heavier crates, etc.
Suggestions I would like to make about these are the following:
1) Have them pushable, instead of punchable (ie they should move smoothly alongside maryo)
2) Consider allowing to set different sizes and masses (mass would influence the speed at which you could push them along) for each crate
3) Make sure crates work together in multiples (as this has great potential for puzzles and the likes)
4) Maybe create variants that have spikes on top or on the sides to kill off enemies who touch the spikes or the player (could potentially be done via scripting, seems like something that would be messy to do though)
5) Maybe create values that indicate whether the crate can be destroyed by: Fire, Ice, Lava
6) Maybe have a flag that indicates whether the player can pick up the crate like an armadillo shell
7) Maybe have crates contain items that are released upon destruction

I think these are all the points I want to add here.
Objects of the types I described above are found in virtually all platformers, so just looking left and right on platforming games may be a good idea to figure out certain ways to design these objects.

Best Regards
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Re: Obstacle Mechanics Discussion

Postby datahead » 21 Jul 2014 06:02

Changing the jumping distances (left to right) or height of jumps is probably at the top of the list of things that will break old levels. This is a decision not to be taken lightly. You are correct that the jumping distance can cause difficulty in some places, if the level design doesn't account for it (This is a problem with some spike ball enemies: https://github.com/Quintus/SMC/issues/82). Would it be possible to "zoom out a bit" and make Maryo and everything in the level a little smaller? This would prevent levels from being broken while making jumps fit within the screen. I think it's a little confusing to let Maryo jump higher when using a star, but that's just me.

We definitely do need more interactable objects in order to create more interesting level designs. New enemies should still be pursued in parallel, though.

It is possible to hint bonuses by putting stray coins/waffles in special places. I did this in my Desert Break level. Having new ways to hint bonuses would be a plus, though.
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