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<  Pathways/Tracks
Jasoco
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:50 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Posts: 301

I have an idea that would be EXTREMELY useful in our games.

Tracks. Also known as Paths. Tracks are, well, they're tracks comprised of 1 or more paths for objects (Platforms or enemies) to follow.

Bear with me. THis is a long post and I hope I don't confuse anyone. I am only using Mario as an example in the screenshots below. Other games like Sonic have used these methods for years too. Implementation isn't as hard as it might seem from my detailed ramblings.

Why would this be useful?

As it stands, elevators in PGF are just clunky. You need to specify X and Y coordinates and set soo many parameters just to get an elevator that moves.

With Tracks, you'd set out the track's path, then attach an object (Platform or enemy) to it. Set some options (Like if it's one way or bounces back and forth, etc) and whether it's initially active (Turned on), activates when the player lands on it or whatever.

When a "character" is attached to it, it behaves differently depending on if it's an enemy or not. If it's a "platform" object, it will snap to the track (So when placing it in the editor, move it as close to where you want the platform to start as possible) and will use that as a starting point. If using an enemy, the enemy will follow its own rules of gravity. If it is a ground enemy, it will move along the track, but only as close as possible. But it will still be on the ground. So when placing tracks for them, make sure you place it as close to the ground as possible. If it's a flying enemy that has no gravity, (Think Koopa Paratroopa) it will float along the track like a platform would, but of course would still be an enemy attacking you like normal.

The creation system in PGF's level editor could be simple.

Click the Path creation button and click in the editor like normal.
This would create a starting point. A single path track with a start and end. The start and end points (As well as any other hinges on the track) are independent of each other. Move them anywhere you want WITH YOUR MOUSE. Give it a name.

There would be a dropdown for behavior and one for appearance.

Under behavior:
One Way - The platform will move from start to end and stay there until moved back via routines or whatever. But default it would just stay.
Two Way - The platform would move to the end. Then bounce back.
Two Way Special - Platform moves to end and stays until the player jumps back on. Then it will go back to the start until the player jumps on again.

Appearance:
Circular - This would be like a ferris wheel. You see these all the time in every single platformer since the late 80's. They move constantly in a circle.
Straight - This would be normal pathways.
Loop - This would have a pathway with movable axis' but there would be no less than 3 (Triangle is the least you need for a shape) straight paths that would be connected to each other in a loop. The difference between Circular and Loop of course is Circular is a circle. Loop allows any shape.

Radius - Available for Circular only. Specifies how far from the center axis the track is to be located.

Number of Lines - Available for Straight and Loop only. This allows you to set how many paths you want to have in a single track.

Drop Off? - A check box specifies whether a platform will be disconnected when it hits the end point. Only available for One Way of course.

Speed - Obvious of course. Set the speed of the track. If Jesse were inclined he could set it so each secton (path) of the track could have its own speed. Like it could start out slow, then move faster then slow and fast.

Show Track? - Another check box allows you to either show the track in game as a black (Or whatever color) line like demonstrated in the first two screens, or invisible so you don't see it or know where the platform is going.

Wait Time - When the platform reaches the end of a two way track how long should it wait before going back?

Warp to Start? - A check box to allow the platform to disappear from the end and move back to the start. Would be used for constantly moving upward or downward elevators like those found all over Mario Bros 1. Only available in One Way mode.

Pauses at axis points? - A check box that specifies if the object should pause when it hits an axis (Could be used for stops on a train route). Though this could be applied to each axis independently if you want. Would be better actually.

Activity Mode - A dropdown:
Inactive until activated (Requires a routine to turn it on. Like a switch or hot zone)
Active from start (The object will be moving from the beginning. Can be deactivated through routines if needed)
Active when player touches (For platforms that wait for your player to land on them)


1 Two way platform bouncing infinitely between two ends. It has two axis' with three paths.
2 We have a one way path with a drop off. The platform starts at the end of the Track and moves to the other. When it hits the other, it is discarded.. i.e. it falls off the screen whether the player is riding it or not.
3 Your classic ferris wheel platform. This one has 3 platforms with one center point and a certain radius.
4 A "power up" that moves up and down for the player to collect. In this case, the level end tape. This could be a switch activated when the player walks in front of it, but attached so it can go up and down. Of course, that's just an example. I don't mean for people to start ripping off Mario World. LOL
5 This is where we get clever. Remember the castles where bricks came out of the walls and moved back and forth? Well, in this case, all the bricks would be platforms relatively attached to a single Track that goes back and forth.
6 Remember the "Warp to Start" option? This is where it would come in handy. There are 2 elevators in this shot. They constantly move upward. When they hit the top of the screen (The end) they warp back to the start again.
7 The ball is an enemy. It swings around the center axis infinitely and indefinitely. Same concept as a ferris wheel, but with an enemy.
8 A flying enemy that follows an up and down pattern. Koopa Paratroopa. Same method would be used for ground versions that walk back and forth on a platform.


Where would Tracks be useful?
For putting a "boat" across a lake of lava or water or slime.
Elevators.
Ferris wheels.
Enemies movement patterns. (As it stands, enemy behaviors are just not good. Sorry, but they need to be spruced up a bit. I tried to make an enemy just walk straight but when the player came close it turned and ran. But I didn't even have "Avoids player" turned on!)
Power ups. (Attach a powerup to a track and have your player have to catch it.)
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Cheese-Seven
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:48 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 May 2008
Posts: 110
Location: Ohio

Wow. That is genius. Even if that would be hard to implement, I think
it would be worth it because as you said, it is used ALL THE TIME! Very Happy

This would be a major feature because the games could seem more professional. Smile
Definitely should be a feature, and great post, that was well written.
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Mixel
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:47 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 932
Location: Leeds, UK

Paths are something I'd love too..

I'd want the ability to make paths in certain standard line shapes (circle, waves, triangle etc) - but also make them manually with a point/bezier tool. Save out a list of these paths and have them assignable to absolutely everything, from "what happens when a particular enemy jumps" (so it can have a canned forward leap), to projectile paths so we can make weapons like in most modern 90s+ shooters. I'm talking swirling, waving projectiles.

The absense of paths is also the only thing (really!) stopping PGF being the ultimate 2d scrolling space-shooter creation kit too.. If you think about it, almost everything else is in place, but attack patterns and super interesting weapons are impossible currently. Sad
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Cheese-Seven
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:26 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 May 2008
Posts: 110
Location: Ohio

Mixel wrote:
The absense of paths is also the only thing (really!) stopping PGF being the ultimate 2d scrolling space-shooter creation kit too.. If you think about it, almost everything else is in place, but attack patterns and super interesting weapons are impossible currently. Sad


True! This would be a MAJOR feature that could be a major selling point as well! Very Happy
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Jasoco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:37 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Posts: 301

I'd love to get Jesse's input on this.

It would make automating and scripting and everything else so much easier. Enemy behaviors would be the biggest benefit really. Especially with bosses. Maybe there could be Routine commands for attaching enemies to different paths at different points so you could have a bunch of different tracks for different stages of a battle then script it so the boss changes tracks depending on the battle stage.

I just want elevators and moving platforms without having to jump through hoops and set silly variables that aren't precise unless you get it juuuuust right.

This is 2008. Let's have an object oriented track designing system with a GUI. Very Happy
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