A new idea!

February 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I enjoy a good platformer. I especially enjoy a good platformer with a unique gimmick that doesn’t feel like a gimmick! I think I have an idea. It probably feels like a gimmick, though.

All right, so the AMAZING FEATURE here is that instead of relying on jumping or wall jumping or double jumping or – heaven forbid! – triple jumping to get around, I’ve got a different sort of mechanic for extreme air movement. There’s an object that you can knock around via the equivalent of punches or kicks, and at the press of a button, you can propel yourself in that object’s direction. So, for example,  to get over a large pit of spikes, you might knock the object (which I’ll call a magnet henceforth) across the pit, and then activate the magnet to pull yourself over the gap too large to jump with your weak legs. If you fail to knock the object far enough on the first try, you could theoretically propel yourself in its direction and knock it around in midair, allowing you to adjust your air movement on the fly. It sounds sort of complicated, but is pretty simple in practice!

Well, anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far! The controls pretty straightforward. Arrow Keys to walk around. Z to jump. X+Arrow Keys to “punch”, knocking the object in any of eight directions. Z while in air to activate the magnet. What I have here is just a little playground to show off the idea. I think it works pretty well if you allow some wiggle room for lack of polish!


February 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


That whole “can’t think of how to make this fun” thing sort of ruined my motivation for a while. I had made some changes back then that I never actually talked about or posted anywhere, but that’s being resolved AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Well, the changes aren’t huge. The explosion animation is finally done – looks great! – and there are some tweaks in how the ships interact and bounce around. Most notably, the smaller ships bounce off of walls, instead of exploding on contact. I think this does a lot to make things feel more… chain-reactiony, so any theoretical chain won’t end on first contact with an obstacle.

There are still a few obvious interaction issues that I’d like to resolve, but those solutions are sort of inhibited by some characteristics of Box2D. Said issues are still the same as before: kinematic triggers don’t interact as I’d like them to. I want big ships to break on first contact with each other and with small ships. Right now they phase through each other and just kind of bounce off of small ships. This is the best I can do under the circumstances. It’s enough for experimenting, but not what I wanted when I first envisioned this aspect of the greater idea at hand, here. Were I to return to using 3D physics, I could make it work as I desired, but I’d rather not! Fortunately, I spotted a comment on one of the Unity feature requests that implied this may be fixed in a future release. Excellent!

But there’s one other big issue that makes itself painfully evident fairly frequently in my little prototype… Bounciness. Or a lack thereof. If objects approach a wall at too small a velocity, they stick. This is bad! We want full bounciness at all times! There are obviously workarounds for this, but none of them ideal. Apparently, this is again an issue inherent to Box2D; there is a bounciness threshold that can only be modified at build time. The Unity devs seem a bit uncertain as to whether they can gracefully expose the variable to us without repercussions. It’s a fair enough concern, but very annoying. Anyone who wants to make a game with a bouncing object is going to experience this problem inevitably. Even a simple Breakout clone is impossible without hacking around the threshold.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ll continue working on this idea or not. I guess we’ll see. I’ve been playing around with another idea, too, recently…

Where am I?

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