13 More Tips for Making a Fun Platformer 23


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This article is a follow-up of a previous article I wrote, 11 Tips for making a fun platformer. Once again, this article focuses on platformers, but the philosophy behind each idea can be applied to any type of game, whether 2D or 3D. This time there are a few more practical tips.

1. Keep the camera simple

The most simple (and best) camera is the one that always keeps player in the middle of the screen. This gives the player equal time to react to objects appearing from the left and right edges of the screen. The camera stops moving when the player reaches the edge of the level. For example, if the player reaches the left edge of the level then the camera stops moving left. It will continue to follow the player horizontally when the player moves away from the left edge of the level.

An optional addition is to make the camera look ahead in the direction the player is moving. For example, when the player runs right then the camera shows more of the level on the right side of the player, so he can see ahead. When he stops moving then the camera slowly moves to position the player in the middle of the screen.

Ideally, the player should not be aware of the camera.

2. Allow the player to move in the air when jumping

The player should have at least the same manoeuvrability when he is jumping through the air, as he has when he is running on the ground.

This means that he should move left or right at the same speed, and be able to shoot or use items with the same ease as when he is running.

3. Make it easy to climb ladders

 

03_01 The player can grab onto the ladder when he is in the green rectangle, even if he is in the air. The character grabs onto the ladder when the player presses up*. The rectangle is slightly bigger than the ladder to make it easier to grab onto the ladder.
The player should be able to move up, down, left, right and diagonal when he is on a ladder. 03_02
03_03 When the player moves up and bangs his head against collision (red rectangles), automatically move him towards the middle of the ladder (while he is pressing up). This will make it easier to get through narrow gaps.

 

Allow the player to be able to shoot or use items while he is on a ladder.

At any time the player should be able to jump off the ladder by pressing the jump button. He can also fall off the ladder when he moves all the way to the left or right and no longer touches the ladder.

* To start climbing the player can press up, jump or a grab button, depending on the other mechanics of the game. Generally, pressing the up button to start climbing is the easiest and most intuitive. But it may not be ideal if your character has a gun which can aim up, so pressing up will aim the gun up to shoot upwards. In this case the jump button or an extra grab button can be used to start climbing up. Prototype it to find what is the easiest and most fun. (This also applies to vines and swinging ropes. See below.)

4. Make it easy to climb vines on the side of a wall

Ideally, climbing ladders and climbing vines will use the same code. Therefore climbing vines will be the same as climbing ladders, except, usually vines are wider and encourages more horizontal movement.

5. Make it easy to swing on ropes

05 The player can grab onto the rope when he is within the green rectangles and he presses up. Like the ladder earlier on, the green rectangles are slightly bigger than the rope to make it easier to grab onto the rope.

When the player is swinging on the rope, allow him to move up or down the rope when he presses up or down, no matter what angle the rope is swinging at. For example, if the rope is swinging at a 45 degree angle, pressing up still moves the player up the rope.

Allow the player to be able to shoot or use items while he is swinging on a rope.

At any time the player should be able to jump off the rope by pressing the jump button.

6. Let the player double jump whenever

Usually the player is only allowed to do the second jump of a double jump when the first jump reaches a certain state (for example, specific height, within a certain time limit, or when she is moving up).

Allow the player to do the second jump at any time while he is in the air. It makes the game feel more responsive and fun. The only limit should be that he has to release the jump button and press it again to do the second jump.

7. Avoid using inertia

When the player stops pressing left or right