ID:110674
 
I might as well face it: I'm addicted to making sidescrollers.

This might be a way of justifying the time spent on my library, but I've also come to realize some interesting aspects of game design that are only possible in action-platform games. I've found that designing maps for sidescrolling games is just more interesting than making maps for top-down games, and I'd like to share some of this with you to hopefully generate some more interest in the library and in action-platform games.

A sidescroller (or platformer, or action-platform game) is a type of 2D game you can make with BYOND. The world is still tile-based, but we're not using the typical top-down view you see in most BYOND games. The player isn't free to move in 4 directions (up, down, left, right), they have gravity pulling them downwards, limiting how they can move. It seems like a small difference, but it can have a big impact on how you can design environments.

Let's consider this problem. The player needs to get to the X:



How can we design the map to make it more difficult to reach the X?

In a top-down game, we can put some walls in the way:



But we can do that in a sidescroller too:



We could put a locked door in the way. That way the player can only get to the X if they have the key:



But we can also do that in a sidescroller:



Almost anything you can do in a top-down game can be done in a sidescroller. The fact that a sidescroller has gravity is something extra which lets you create different types of obstacles.

Let's look at a different situation. Here's a different map where the player needs to get to the X:



In a top-down game this isn't a problem. The player just moves up, then left.



In a sidescroller we can create many different ways for the player to get to the X. We could make a ladder:



Or a moving platform:



Or a series of tricky jumps:



You could make a rope that the player can use to swing across a large gap. You can make a trampoline that bounces the player high into the air. You could make the player fly or climb walls. Or, maybe the player has no way to get to the X and needs to unlock new abilities first.

The map is always part of the game, but with the standard top-down view the map is often inconsequential. Imagine an RPG where the player walks into a room and sees the boss. The player approaches the boss and initiates the fight. The map shows you what the room looks like but it doesn't impact the gameplay. Whether the boss is on the left side of the room or the right, it's still the same to the player (approach boss, start fight). In a sidescroller the map is better integrated into the gameplay. You can create more interesting obstacles so the map is much more than just something pretty to look at.

I've often thought that making maps for BYOND games was one of the most boring tasks. You want to restrict access to an area? Put a locked door in the players way. It's boring. In an action-platform game the player has gravity to contend with. Your maps can create different, more elaborate types of obstacles.

If you feel inspired, try developing a sidescroller of your own!
Thanks, but my hope is that my library will make DM feel a little less restricting =)
It's all so true. I love side-scrollers. I've never had as much fun making the content of a game as I have when working on a side-scroller. It really is easy to get very creative.

And nowadays it's great that BYOND can handle them so well too!
While screwing around with your sidescroller demo I ran into a weird bug where I ran into a wall corner diagonally and it caused the character to snap over a tile. Haven't been able to reproduce it since then.
What shape was the wall corner? I can try brute forcing possible situations to see if I can reproduce it.


I was moving southwest. It kinda looked like I might have stepped into the wall, then snapped back out. My speed was 3 pixels per step.
I've run some tests and haven't seen anything strange. Did you make any changes to the demo? I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the demos can cause you to have a velocity or position that's not an integer. The library should support decimal positions and velocities, but I wouldn't be surprised if they caused some problems.
The only change I made was removing the momentum. Rather than gradually speeding up and slowing down the speed swaps from 3 to -3 if the player changes direction. Goes back to 0 if they aren't moving.
That explains how you'd know that the mob was moving at 3 pixels per second =)
http://img848.imageshack.us/i/52723232.png/

An action platformer a few months in the making:) its just about ready for release except for some issues im having with the background.Its a small project that ive been working on to get something original out since the new site update.
One thing I've never known how to do though was how do I make a mob move with a moving platform if it keeps moving?
Have the platform check for anything standing on it when it moves. If it does, move that thing in whatever direction at the same velocity as the platform.
One thing I've never known how to do though was how do I make a mob move with a moving platform if it keeps moving?

The library has some of the code that handles this too, but it's mostly contained in game-demo\platforms.dm. Mobs of type /mob/platform have a list (called "riders") of the mobs that are standing on them. When the platform moves, it moves all of the mobs in the list of riders.

Zane444 wrote:
http://img848.imageshack.us/i/52723232.png/

Looks neat! I see you didn't stick with the gray walls and blue box that come with the demo. Probably a good choice.
While I love sidescrollers, I would like to point out one thing: If the developer(s) meant to have the map as an aspect of important gameplay and it isn't, then that is the developers shortcoming, not the viewmode. Attributing it as a limitation of the camera view is a bit odd.
Alathon wrote:
While I love sidescrollers, I would like to point out one thing: If the developer(s) meant to have the map as an aspect of important gameplay and it isn't, then that is the developers shortcoming, not the viewmode. Attributing it as a limitation of the camera view is a bit odd.

It's a shortcoming of the movement scheme. With the top-down view the player can generally move freely in the x and y directions. As important as you want the map to be, the player can freely move around any obstacle you place. Pressing up, up, left, left or up, up, right, right to move around different obstacles doesn't really change the gameplay experience. There are things you can do to limit this. Chess and checkers have a top-down view but restrict how pieces can move and use the threat of capture to limit how you move - the problem is that this can't be applied to most games.

The first example in the article shows that with a top-down game, if you want to restrict access to part of the map you put a locked door in the way. That's about all you can do, and you can do that in a sidescroller too. The second set of examples shows that a trivial situation in a top-down game isn't trivial in a sidescroller - there are many ways you can "spice it up".

I don't mind that you're disagreeing only for the sake of disagreeing with me, but it'd help if you could come up with some examples of more interesting ways to restrict a player's access in a top-down map.
Forum_account wrote:
I don't mind that you're disagreeing only for the sake of disagreeing with me, but it'd help if you could come up with some examples of more interesting ways to restrict a player's access in a top-down map.

I'll ignore that snarky comment for a moment to answer you. There are lots of ways:

Ice/polished surface that 'slides' you - All of a sudden you can be sliding in 4 directions, instead of just left-and-right - See the NEStalgia ice-skate puzzle for an example of this.

Slimy/slowing surface that slows you - Slowing movement rate can have an impact on a boss fight, as an example.

'Hidden' potholes/puzzles that involve stepping on a sequence of tiles to lock/change other tiles.

Any fight where movement is important. Yes, you can move in 4 directions - So up the challenge level.

Let me provide you with an example combining all of the above theories (The top two are really the same, and these 4 are a hugely minor subset of what you can do):

You fight a boss in a room where he periodically changes between different phases. In the first, he will periodically pause to cast a ring of fire out from his center that ranges far enough to hit everything in the room except the 4 corners. However, each corner periodically shifts between being a hole of bottomless doom and floor-tiles. They do so in a systematic manner, so that you can predict which 'corner' you sort of want to get near in time to run there when he casts the ring of fire.

During a second phase, he jumps onto a balcony and most of the floor floods with lava. During this phase (which is timed, say 45 seconds until it ends), lava surges either from the left (in which case it fills the top half of the room) or the right (In which case it fills the bottom half of the room). The idea is that you should stay near the middle and go up or down depending on the side the lava surge comes from. As an added incentive to be dodging a little, the boss will throw fireballs at the place you're standing, so you must move from that spot and it'll stay aflame until the phase ends. Vary the duration of the flame/phase/size of lava flood to increase/decrease difficulty/possibility.

This is just a minor example of using terrain for a boss fight. There are endless other ways to do it. Some of these are impossible or impractical for a side-scroller, just as the same goes the other way around.

Really, it should be common sense that side-scrollers don't somehow magically have monopoly on using the map. Gravity and up/down for side-scrollers can be almost directly mapped to the left/right side for a top-down view. Heck, add gravity if you want, thats just a wind pushing you to the left or right - Another thing the game can do to make the map more interesting.

To be honest, I find that there are in fact *more* ways to use the map with a top-down view, but that was never really my point to begin with. Merely that you can't blame a general lack of imagination on the view-mode.

By chance, can the side-scroller library be used for a top-down game? :) A 'top down' side-scroller action game could be pretty cool on BYOND. Similar to Zelda, but more action-paced.
Alathon wrote:
Ice/polished surface that 'slides' you
Slimy/slowing surface that slows you
puzzles that involve stepping on a sequence of tiles to lock/change other tiles

All are possible in a sidescroller.

The boss fight example is very specific, but in general you're just saying "at some point in time, this part of the screen is hazardous, at other times, other parts are hazardous." What creates the hazard is irrelevant, there are ways to create hazards in top-down games and sidescrollers.

It's somewhat logical to think that 2D is 2D, so whether you're viewing things top-down or from the side, things don't really change. I understand why you'd say this:

Really, it should be common sense that side-scrollers don't somehow magically have monopoly on using the map.

But then have no idea why you'd say this:

I find that there are in fact *more* ways to use the map with a top-down view

It's common sense that sidescrollers can't magically make better use of the map... because top-down games make better use? I don't follow you there.

Part of it is that sidescrollers tend to be action games, and action games tend to put greater importance on the intricacies of the maps. But part of it is also that having gravity puts more limitations on what the player can do, so the developer has more ways to let the player overcome those limitations.
Alathon wrote:
By chance, can the side-scroller library be used for a top-down game? :) A 'top down' side-scroller action game could be pretty cool on BYOND. Similar to Zelda, but more action-paced.

No, but the Pixel Movement library can. It supports movement and jumping for top-down and isometric maps. Its development lags behind the Sidescroller library so it could use a little fixing up.
Forum_account wrote:
It's somewhat logical to think that 2D is 2D, so whether you're viewing things top-down or from the side, things don't really change. I understand why you'd say this:

Really, it should be common sense that side-scrollers don't somehow magically have monopoly on using the map.

But then have no idea why you'd say this:

I find that there are in fact *more* ways to use the map with a top-down view

Sorry, I worded myself badly there. I should've said: 'I tend to like the ways in which the map can be used in a top-down view, more-so than in side-scrollers'.

My bad.


I made this with your Library,its a tiny side project i'm making because i'm a big Megaman fan! =D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbrbksnV6hs
Page: 1 2