Saturday, February 07, 2015

Air Grab

On s'approche, on s'accroche ... Les travaux sur les zones de collisions contrôlées depuis l'éditeur d'animations portent enfin leur fruits. Il y a maintenant un état dédié dans le comportement de Bilou pour "je pirouette en l'air pour attraper quelque-chose".

At last, the track for controlling hitbox activation through animation is paying off. I have been able to give Bilou a dedicated state where he's checking three directions for something to pick or ride on. I intend to use that both to ease swinging on spongebops and allowing high-paced dumblador grabbing. In the "anniversary level", using spongebop to move along was planned as the hard path. The way that the skilled player would prefer because it leads to faster results as opposed to wandering on the ground. They still had that role when I added "*deline's level" as preliminary experience to the "true level" of the school zone, but the levels are definitely more fun to play when you mastered spongebop riding (left alone the 'sponge jump'). So I want to make more players try to use them.

  • Dedicated "grab-mid-air" animation and gameplay state makes it obvious to the player that something happen, and how it spans in space-time.
  • The animation itself is fun. J.l.n, my 2-year-old boy goes laughing when he realize he can press A/B buttons to make Bilou roll mid-air in a flash. And fun is important in a video game: that's our primary reward.
  • Moving from demanding hitbox (purple one on picture below) to welcoming hitbox (light-blue one) will make it more open to learning.
  • You'll still have to learn how your speed evolves with the swing if you want to reach high places or gain stupendous momentum. The potential for power-play is not lost.

Au-delà de la performance technique, l'idée est d'agrandir la marge de manoeuvre des joueurs qui veulent s'accrocher à une éponge. J'ai tenté de reporter sur l'image ci-contre la marge de manoeuvre avant (en mauve) et après (en bleu clair). En rendant le fait d'attraper l'éponge moins élitiste, j'espère -- selon les conseils de KirbyKid -- les rendre aussi plus amusantes.

Une chose, par contre, n'a pas changé: Bilou est toujours centré au-dessus de l'éponge quand il s'y accroche. Du coup, agripper une éponge alors qu'on arrive à côté d'elle produisait un décalage brusque de Bilou. Je tente donc un élément inédit dans le gameplay: une transition pendant laquelle Bilou, roulé en boule pirouette pour revenir par-dessus l'éponge mais dans une forme de pilotage automatique. Il est déjà lié à l'éponge et se dirige automatiquement vers elle, même si elle fait demi-tour et s'y accroche dès qu'il entre en contact avec elle.

I had one concern, though, about the immediate coordinates update that makes Bilou appear centered on top of the spongebop immediately after you hit its side with your hand. Piet and Pierrick, both co-author of the very first Bilou game, suggested that I should "cheat a bit with physics so that the game gets easier for the player", but I'm not confident with such approaches. Yet, it wouldn't be fun to get merely a bounce if you hit the spongebop from the side when trying to grab, so I give a try something new in Bilou's behaviour: temporary automatic control. When you'd expect Bilou to grab and climb the spongebop, he'll actually do it by a rolling bounce in the air where he'll mag(net)ically align to Spongebop position and start riding when reaching the proper position. Accelerations faster than what you could reach manually are tolerated in this state, and all you have to do is hold the (B) button down and hope for hitting no ceiling.

I'll submit that to the S-testing team tomorrow. That may be the biggest improvement since the release of "School Rush" game. Stay tuned.


Cyril said...

Vais-je enfin réussir à attraper les éponges ? :-D

PypeBros said...

Selon la S-Team, c'est effectivement plus facile et plus fun. Par contre, certains des "challenges" construits là-dessus restent des challenges, et ça, c'est bon aussi.