Platform Game Ideas

I have a good collision detection engine in place (I think so anyway), and am working on the animation system now. My problem is I'm not sure of what theme to use. I like the feel of HappyLand, and am willing to use those gfx (until I can show an artist my game, and hopfully he can create some custom art for me), but don't want to copy that game. I have soooo many ideas about what the game should be, and points, and plots, that I can't really put them together.

I would like to know what would interest you in a platform game? This is kinda like market research.

I'm leaning towards a squirrel type character, or on the other hand maybe a contra type (I loved that game).

Tobias Dammers

Well, you already stated you want to make a platformer, so the basic idea should be: Find the exit and survive.
A good platformer, for me, needs jumping and running that feel "right". Jump speed and control are crucial. Then, good gfx. Very important. Platformers are somewhat limited in terms of storyline and character development (as compared to, say, rpg's), so you need good gameplay, nice graphics and interesting details. Enemy AI is somewhat less important, but I like many different styles of behaviour. I like levels that force you to think a bit. Hidden extra's are cool, too. The key is the right amount of hints - too little, and no-one will notice them; too many, and they'll be too obvious.
And, of course, a concept that fits together. Levels, artwork, menus, music, sound effects, it should all form one concept.

Hobbes Dammers said:

Platformers are somewhat limited in terms of storyline and character development (as compared to, say, rpg's)

Unless you do a "platform RPG" like Out of this / Another World or Flashback (two really good games BTW) :)

Torbjörn Josefsson

Hmm.. a Contra Squirrel.. heavily armed - swinging through the treetops.. sounds interesting :) - He could collect nuts of different kinds.. and maybe use different nuts as weapons - the cashew-nut can work as a boomerang, and coconuts can be bombs ;)

I guess a pretty central question is how fast the gameplay should be - do you want to make a Sonic/Superfrog game or a Mario/Kid Icarus one? - more speedy or more brain:y? How important do you want jump-skills (etc.) to be? What (if any) puzzle elements do you want?


I wanted to add some story line in with the jump and run. Some cut scenes and so forth.

I like the boomerang idea, didn't think of that. I also was going to have little seeds that act like a machine gun, and walnuts that are like shotguns.

I want a kindof Metal Gear Solid type story. Lot's on twists and turns. You guys know of any good storytellers on these forums. Maybe I'll ask that person when I have a little demo.


What about this:

Hero wakes up, town is empty, big bad evil guy (BBEG) is there.
Hero needs to rescue village.
Hero gathers some followers (which might be playable on some levels instead ofthe main character, or just give him something)
Hero gets some nice weapons
Hero kills BBEG


Yeah, break off storylines would be great. Then I could really add some twists and turns. These ideas are great. Please keep them coming.


more speedy or more brain:y?

I would love a combo of the 2. I like the idea of puzzles. You don't realy see puzzle that much in platform games do you? Like Silent Hill type puzzles.

Torbjörn Josefsson

With SnowDiggers I'm aiming for a 'puzzle deathmatch platformer'
Check it out to see what I mean :)

Brainstorming: the hero might be climbing upwards on some levels, like clinbing a veeeery big and tall tree, maybe that one from the nordic myths.. what was it's name again?

..and downwards on some (the scary underground root-system)

If you use the nordic (asa-god) tree thingie you might like to have the three 'norns' as big bosses; three witches (kinda) who guarded this tree of fate :)

Edit: Ah! The tree is called Yggdrasil, I actually remembered on my own - Without cheating :)


something that could be cool in this squirrel type of environment would be a "flying" move, where you can glide over dangerous obstacles for a short amount of time, kind of like the leaf powerup in SMB3. flying squirrels!

also, a ledge hang/climb move. you jump up to get on a ledge but don't quite make it, so your character hangs onto the edge, and can just hang there, or choose to drop down or climb up. imagine his long tail hanging down while he holds on, seems like a good place for a cool animation that really shows your character is a squirrel, and helps the atmosphere/feel of the game.

(speaking of squirrel games... remember Conker's Bad Fur Day on N64? brilliant game)

Michael Jensen

Unless you do a "platform RPG" like Out of this / Another World or Flashback (two really good games BTW)

wern't those more of adventure games?
rpg: castlevania symphony of the night/zelda 2: link's adventure...
which are great rpg platform games



You took the words out of my mouth. Those are great ideas. But now I have a problem. I love the squirrel ideas, but am leaning towards a fox. A female Fox called (what elese) Foxy. Give her a Lara Croft type look, and attitude. It's like everyday something else pops into my head. How do I choose?

The squirrel has possible good animations, where the fox doesn't, but as far as characters go, I think the Fox idea would stick better. The fox would make a better franchise then the squirrel. Damn these creative thoughts.

Torbjörn Josefsson

Sorry - now it's too late.. the squirrel stays!! :)


OK. I actually need that. I will stick with the squirrel. Thx.


The fox idea would've been a bit too... furry :P;)


make the squirrel the main character, and Foxy a character in the storyline, and possible NPC!


Yeah ,that leaves me with a spin off possiblity. Good idea.

Hanging is implemented. Kind of hackish but it works.

Torbjörn Josefsson

The squirrel could probably be a really good looking character.. maybe some kind of cross between those disney-squirrel guys ("arbuckle" and something..?) and a flying squirrel.

In sweden we have the ones with big tails - they look pretty cool too, as the scurry around and jump insanely from branch from branch :)

EDIT: A thing that is characteristic of squirrel motion is that they can stop on a 10th of a dime - they don't neccessarily go that Far in every one of their 'rushes' - but they're very quick once they do, and afterwards they stop to scope stuff out - not like Sonic-motion, you see - it should probably have pretty high speed when moving, but no annoying "accelleration" phase - just instant action --> instant stillnes :)


Mmm, a squirrel that can glide in air and pack ridicoulusly big weapons.
A squirrel would also be able to climb many vertical surfaces, or even upside down. But not if the surface is slippery etc.
A squirrel gives you lots of opportunities for tricky, fun and different levels.

[EDIT] I don't like having levels where you need to do really long jumps, like more than a screen or so. I want to have good control.
Though when gliding through the air that's a different matter, as long as you have full control over that too, but you can always put a secret somewhere along a glide so you have to drop down at the right time.

And a squrrel would look rather studip if it went very fast or slow, it needs to run or walk, but equally fast climbing aswell as on flat surfaces.

[EDIT 2]TJ and me seem to agree on the physics of a squirrel.
And I don't think I've seen a squirrel platformer before, this could be really interesting.


These are great ideas.
Today I'll put in gliding (flying squirrel). I'll have to think about the vertical wall climb. Maybe they can only climb tree sides. I'll make it so you have to hold down a key in order to climb on the side of the tree. And you can jump when climbing also. That could make for some interesting vertical levels.

Thomas Fjellstrom

Just don't do a drunk squirrel. Its been done. :)


No drunk squirrel. This character is going to be a girl squirrel (say that 10 times fast). I think I'll add a hang meter, and a glid meter, so you can only do it for so long before it goes back to normal.


Make that one meter for stamina, so if you hang for a while and the try to glide you don't have so much stamina left...


Good idea. And you will have to collect something to get your stamina up.

Michael Jensen

or the stamina could slowly replenish it self and occasionally you could have power ups...


I was thinking about that, but that's the way most stamina bars work. I would like to make the player work for the stamina. Instead of having to just wait for a time period. This way I can put secrects where you can get with only a hang or glid. Then not only do they have to find the secrets, but they need the stamina to get them.


this is getting to sound like a very enjoyable game. i can just imagine these play mechanics combined with fluid and responsive controls, and an equally fluid+responsive animation system.. it would be hard to stop playing it!

what kind of screen resolution are we talking here? 320x240, 640x, 800x etc?

Krzysztof Kluczek

Hanging and gliding sounds like cool addition to jumping (and sometimes sliding) every platform game uses. You could greatly improve gameplay by allowing player to hang and glide a lot (well not too much, but enough). I would go for self replenishing stamina. :)

Michael Jensen

requiring your players to pick up stamina, unless it's abundant, can become very frusterating, theres probably a reason most games do it that way ;) -- it is your game, however, and this is just a suggestion. If someone tells me to do something I dont like with one of my games I usually don't listen either.


OK self replenishing stamina it is.


what kind of screen resolution are we talking here? 320x240, 640x, 800x etc?

Right now I have it in 640x480x16. With 32x32 tiles, which works good. I'm using Toadstool (?) from mario 2 as the character, with no animation at the moment. All collision is perfect. Jumping is perfect. Screen scrolls left/right only at the moment. He can hang on edge tiles only. When you jump and collide with an edge tile while holding the space bar down he stays there. If you let go of space he falls, if you press up, he
climbs up. That hanging is very primitive at the moment. Once I get a hanging animation I can make it more fluid. Controls are LEFT/RIGHT to move, LCONTROL to jump. SPACE to hang. I'm thinking about making SPACE glid also. So if you're in the air and you hit SPACE, and there isn't a collision with edge tile, you will grid as long as you hold space down, and as long as you have stamina. You can let go and press again to fall faster and catch yourself. This can give you time for some extra stamina. Could have a really tall map where that comes into play.

Squirrely (I need a name) will make a grunt sound when she graps onto the ledge. And more grunting as she climbs up. Not sure about the gliding sound? A windy sound maybe?

Michael Jensen, I'm very open to suggestions. That's why I put this post here. I want to her what people like.

I'm hoping to have a Demo (early version) within the next few weeks, demonstrating these features, to get some feel feedback from you guys. Once I get the feel down, I'll start on the Level Editor so I can add features and make a real game from it.

Torbjörn Josefsson

Name: Lorna, strikes me for some reason.. maybe it's just a nice name
If she's Going to have a name - it would be nice it it wasn't 'gimmicky' or.. 'smart' :) - like "Nutella", or something

Mission: She could be chasing her lazy hubby who doesn't want to work gathering nuts :)

Gliding-sound: You might find something you can edit and use from some 'parachute opening' sound - there should be some sound like that around..


I want her to have the tuff girl attitude, but still a lady, like Lara Croft (exploror type), so Lorna is to close to Lara. I agree a gimmicky name would be bad.

I like the idea of a parachute opening sound. I'll see how that works.

Not to thrilled on the mission. I really want the game to be a story, where twists and turns happen. I want her to be an explorer who is always looking for the next treasure. I want her to struggle, and have her personality come out. I want people to relate to her. Feel sorry for her and kick butt with her. I don't want a mindless jump and run platform game. In my editor I plan on having still frame cutscences, that I can put in, like in Max Paine, to feed the storyline.

Torbjörn Josefsson
As I sped down that rotten old oak-tree; still with the
smell of cordite in my twitchy nose, I could feel a hundred
invisible eyes fastening upon my like dirt onto an honest cop.
I paid them no heed - this was My forest, and at least in This
corner of it, I was the uncontested ruler.. something that 
someone was trying to change.. which was something that this someone was 
going to regret very dearly; like that time they mixed tequila 
with strawberry cream, and then with some more tequila

As I sank my hungry claws into the bark for slowdown, I pictured my gun
a vengeful God, screaming for revenge with its flaming maw

Heh - just imagining the Max Paine:ish monologue - could be really spiffy ;)


like that time they mixed tequila
with cashew cream, and then with some more tequila

...or some other kind of nut. not strawberry, they don't eat that! :)
And if she is going to have a name similar to Lara, she must have big boobs! ;D


A character similar to Lara, not the name. And yes, she will have a nice bust. Along with hiking type shorts and hiking shoes with gray scrunched up socks. Her shirt will be tank tops mostly. She will have tight abs and a tight butt. This will all add to the apeal of the character. Still thinking if she should have a french bread or not, like Lara. That might be getting to similar, for her to be her own character. Maybe slicked back wet looking hair. Nice big fluffy tail. Light brown fur, with white on the chest.


the parachute opening sound is exactly what i was thinking. a suggestion for the gliding however... don't allow the player to glide up, or move upward by "flapping" or whatever. it should just be: get up high enough, or jump, then hold the glide button and you will glide forward and down. this isn't a bird, it's a squirrel.

EDIT: i'm very interested in this game ;). i'll follow it all the way through


Yeah I was thinking the same thing IonBlade. But I have a question. Once they release the glid button, should they be able to press it again and glid again as long as they didn't hit the ground?


i'm very interested in this game . i'll follow it all the way through

Thx, that's cool. I think I'm going to start a journal thread about the game. Let everyone know what I'm implementing and so forth. Also asking what people think about certain ideas. If they sound fun or a pain.


Yes they should be able to continue gliding, but since they are falling when they do it, some sort of downward velocity penalty should be added at the beginning of the glide, and then it evens out overtime if they manage to keep gliding (fairly quickly).


Now my big question is falling distance. Should there be a max safe distance they can fall, and anything over that distance they die, or at least loose a heart. I think this might add a sense of caution on higher up levels. What do you all think?


Assuming the squirrel stands up on two feet...

it should take a variable amount of health away depending on the distance fallen. However the distance at which damage starts should be pretty high, since the squirrel can fly and is obviously comfortable in vertigo situations.

[EDIT] when the squirrel lands on the ground from a normal distance, play the standard "foot landing" sound and act as normal.

when the squirrel lands from a high up distance, but still a safe one, it should make an "oomph" sound, and maybe play a "harder" landing animation, and be forced to stand still for about half a second before being able to run again.

when it lands from a very high, damaging distance, it makes a bone crunch (or similar) sound effect, an amount of health is lost, and plays an "extremely hard" landing animation (like a cringing pain movement, maybe flashing red to show damage) and stops the character for a second and a half.


Gliding is in place. Surprisingly simple to implement. So now I have jump, run, hanging, & gliding. I'll be putting in stamina bar sometime this weekend, along with game timing, and improve the ledge climbing with the timing. Right now when I'm hanging and I push up, it just sets the player y to the edges y+player.height, and x over a little to put her on the platform. I'll use the game timing to slowly change the value of y and x to make it feel more real.

I will then create a small demo with no animation, so I can give it to an artist and see if he wants to work on the project. Once I get the running, jumping, hanging, and gliding animations, I'll give out a demo here.


When landing at high speed you could let the squirrel automatically activate gliding before hitting the ground to land safely, or at least have that as an option for players that don't want to do it manually.


I think I'll make players do it manually. If you're falling to your death, I want you to have to do something to save yourself. ;)


I'm dumb!... and make sure they have to plan it carefully, so if they "brake" too late, they still hit the ground at high speed.

Glenn Prince

Lorna Stone: Acorn Raider ?

Michael Jensen

I like the sound of Acorn Raider, but Lorna just sounds like an ugly name to me... it's sounds like you're doing a take-off style of tomb raider, I think it's almost required that the name be a rip off of tombraider only slightly modified, sorta like myst, and pyst, altho I never played either -- and thinking about this game now, I really don't think seeing a chipmonk babe with big boobs is going to make me not want to play as it's kind of gross and disturbing...

also if you're going to be doing a tomb raider style take off on the character, you really need to go that way with level themes/feeling too, it needs to be an indoors type thing for a lot of the play if this is what you want to do -- inside of the tree maybe? perhaps owl like holes that you can go into...

Torbjörn Josefsson

I'm agreeing on nixing the big boobs - or you might as well call it "Furry Fantasie" ... of course; that would probably sell very well ;) I'm wishing for 'cute but mean' instead

You are thinking about a Tomb-raider kind of feel?.. How would that work in a normal platformer? A lot of the attraction of Tomb Raider was the impressive and moody scenes in 3D.. do you want to try and give it a cinematic feel? In that case Another World and Flashback might be good inspirations; but I don't know how well that 'cinematic' feeling would work with a scurrying squirrel :)

Check this squirrel-lady out :)

-An old Amiga demo-scene character


Nice squirrels there, but remember that those are not glidersquirrels!
This lady needs skin from arms to legs to form a kind of wings.
That makes it a little bit trickier to make an attractive look, but it shouldn't be a problem.
I'd like to see one with some muscles, but not bodybuilder!


Check this squirrel-lady out

The bigger bust pictures look better than the flat chested pictures.


I really don't think seeing a chipmonk babe with big boobs is going to make me not want to play as it's kind of gross and disturbing...

It's a squirrel with very human like characteristics, so there's no need to feel gross. Let's say she won't have huge boobs, but you'll be able to notice them, so gender is obvious.


That makes it a little bit trickier to make an attractive look, but it shouldn't be a problem

This was the main problem when I put the gliding idea in. I was thinking about not making a flying squirrel and have her use a tail spin to glide.


How would that work in a normal platformer?

The story line was the most impressive thing about Tomb Raider for me. That and wondering where she would go next. (The big chest helped a little too I guess ;D) That's kinda what I want to put in. Travel to jungles, tombs, artic areas, caves, deserts, etc... I plan on having rain,snow, and dust part of the game as well to add to the level effect. I mean I don't want to copy Tomb Raider, I just want to get as close to the feel as a platformer permits.

Torbjörn Josefsson

In the vein of TA; have her make small sexy grunts whenever she bumps into something, or falls down ;)

Have you got anythin try:able ready? It would be fun to check out, just to see how you're thinking :)


And whenever she jumps. Because as everyone knows, that little constipated sound is the only way to tell whether your character is jumping or just decided to float off the ground.


sexy grunts

That's a good idea. Sexy grunts when, hanging, climbing up from hang, jumping, & falling a long distance.

It's playable (kinda). No animation. I use toadstool(?) for the character, and use Sprite Lib stuff for the tiles. Just left_ground, right_ground, and middle_ground tiles. All gravity works, and collision is good (i think anyway). He can hang, glide, and jump. I'm going to try and put in the stamina meter on Sunday, so if I get the stamina code in on Sunday, I'll post a link to the code, and binary.

Torbjörn Josefsson

Cool idea?!: You might want to ask the maker of that girl-squirrel if you can use Her in your game? - there are also animations where she starrs; all made by that guy mentioned on the site I gave a link to - maybe he'd even be interested in helping realizing the graphics?! -Who knows :D

Better have something pretty Good to show him before asking, though - I have a feeling he's listened to a Lot of hairbrained schemes that people want him to help with :)


What I was thinking was giving that link on pixelation(?) and asking for something close to those pictures. But I'll ask him first. I'll get the animation system in and get a nice level created before I ask.

This is the farthest I've come with a game. Keeping a diary of sort (on the forums here), and having input really keeps you going. Once I get the animation system in, the grunt of the work is level design, and story. Never gotten to that stage before. This is cool. :) I love the input from everyone.

Torbjörn Josefsson

Yup - it helps a lot with ideas, advice and motivation - but you have to keep things rolling so people will stay interested! - Have a productive weekend! ;)


Thinking about putting in a Duck feature as well. You would be able to duck while you walk and jump, but not glide. This way I could have enemies shoot at a certain height where the player can duck to get out of harms way.

Michael Jensen

will she be able to run while ducking? (squirrel crawlish?) also will she be able to walk on vertical platforms? (squirrels can climb them in this crawling motion but i've never seen one stand on two feet while climbing -- probably cause of that gravity thing or something but i have seen them stand on the ground) also didn't chip and dale have like a girlfriend or something?? -- on uhhh -- rescue rangers? you could go for that look but I dont remember at all what she looked like so you'd have to find a fan site or so.


Were they able to duck and run, or duck and jump in any of the mario bros.? I don't really like the idea of being able to walk up platforms. It seems to give the player to many ways to do something. If I did, it would be part of the stamina category. Although I could see a jump back and forth between vertical platforms. That would be kinda cool. Could have a whole maze level on that. OK, I'll implement vertical walking and jumping when vertical. I talked myself into it.

Michael Jensen

cool -- i think using up stamina when climbing walls would be a good idea, but remeber squirrels can climb pretty fast...
and it shouldn't be able to climb on two feet it should be hugging the wall (duck running) while it climbs, at least that's my opinion, good luck.


The duck button should activate climb, run and glide mode. If not held she "walks" (read runs on two feet), can't climb and freefall in air.
One control, three actions.

Maybe you shouldn't drain any stamina while being still, only drain when running, climbing and gliding. And she should regenerate stamina while ducking and falling but not when hanging since it takes some effort to cling to a tree, I think the stamina meter should be still when you're just hangin, or drained slower than when climbing.


Stamina Meter is in place. Glide is the only thing that reacts to it as of now. Had problems with hanging responding to running out of stamina. I'll be working on that tonight. It's a pretty cool feature I must say.

Camera y value now follows the player vertically. Will also be working on creating the background part of the map. Clouds, trees, plants, etc...

I will have a demo this weekend for anyone interested. It won't have the correct character sprites, but it will give the general gameplay idea. I'll post a link sometime this weekend.

Torbjörn Josefsson

YAY!! :)

Way to go!

Michael Jensen

The duck button should activate climb, run and glide mode. If not held she "walks" (read runs on two feet), can't climb and freefall in air.

what I mean is that the player shouldn't be able to stand sideways on the wall with only the two back feet touching -- i.e walking upright sideways up the wall, should not be allowed -- should be crawling up the wall/climbing


I see what you mean. Let's put the senarios out.

If on 2 legs (standing)

If on all 4 legs
Climb (can only climb wood tiles. cannot climb steel, concrete, etc..)

The advantage of being on 2 legs would be it gives the player more precision on movement. Do you think the "duck" should be a hold the button down, of toggle?

Johan Halmén said:

Saskatchewan Catch
Timon and Pumbaa help a female flying squirrel snare the love of her life, in return for her fetching some tree beetles for them to eat.

I've seen that episode. There you have a sexy one.

Torbjörn Josefsson



(sorry Rick, I just read the whole thread...)

I remarked that some guys do not agree with you, for example for the character style, or for the background landscape...

When i make games, i try to make them as generic as they can be. To do so, i feature some extra directories, containing wav sounds, graphics, etc (instead of a datafile).
Advantage : This gives me more freedom with dev. When i replace a wav with too low sound volume, or when i replace a graphic, it is taken into account immediately, as i is caught on execution.
Drawback : This involves more discipline (load gfx and then destroy them at end), and more error management. But they are always the same (ie: if graphic not found then give a standart ugly black rectangle allocated on the fly, in order not to crash the game, but make it work in 'reduced' mode)

Therefore i'd like to make a suggestion:
I saw that many people are most interested by your project, Rick, and are likely to help you.
So why don't you put online a 'very reduced' binary version with absolutely no graphics. So that people could test a very simple demo level.
Thus encouraging people to give you graphics, sounds, and levels(if they're formated in a nice text file) examples.

What i mean is:
1) A platform game involve a lot of work when talking about extra-engine stuff (ie: gfx, sound, level design)
2) YOU(Rick) are the best person to do your code, so do it! ;)
3) If you are willing to feature your gfx, do it too, but you will realize as well that's a long & hard work. In this case put some gfx examples with the reduced demo.
4) Last but not least : allow people to give you gfx files; so specify sprites dimensions and other technical data you need to meet.

That's only a suggestion, you are not forced to do so, but as platforms are good but (very) long to design, what i can offer you is a little help on some gfx or sound. who knows..

Johan Halmén

Here's my contribution. Made it in 30 seconds. At least it is a better placeholder than a black bitmap. Squirly Pine


Stamina now effects hanging. This created a bug which I haven't found yet. When I'm on a non edge tile, and slowly walk off edge and hold the hang button down, the players velocity get's set to 0, which causes a steady (slow) rate of falling.

Today I'll be working on the background & foreground tile map. I'll also be restructuring some of the code.

Johan Halmén
Squirrel needs arms. :)

As of now, the GFX on the demo will be in .bmp form. So anyone can alter them if they wish. The problem is the look and feel of having 10 different artists work on a game. I need the look to flow together. That's why when I have a good DEMO level created, I'm taking it over to Pixelation and asking an artist for some help. Hopefully I will get a bite. Anyway, I'll have a screenshot put up tonight, so all can see what it looks like. Right now I use spritelib for the GFX, so it looks like Happy Land kinda.


One thing that would be cool, is to be able to jump off of walls, like in super metroid. For control you make it kinda hard to do, make the player jump into the wall then press away and hit jump again. This could be used when the stamina meter is empty or in cases when you cannot climb or something like that.

Torbjörn Josefsson

Idea: How about making some kind of diagram over the planned movement-states and their transitions? - it sounds like it might get pretty advanced, and then I think one of the most important things is knowing Exactly what y'all be wantin' to be fixin' :)

EDIT: HAH!!! Here's an online squirrel game for you! - might be interesting to look at/pick placeholder graphics from (I haven't had time to try it yet myself)


I agree that would be cool. But these features are really adding up. I will put that in when I create the 2nd adventure of squirrely.

Torbjörn Josefsson
I agree. I already have this done. I'll post it when I get home.


TJ: I'm dumb!!

Just got another idea. What if there would be several different characters to choose from... Maybe even with different stats on stamina, agility etc. Perhaps something for the sequel though.


I'll introduce some characters in this episode, and then on other episodes make them playable.

Working on the map editor. Should be done with it on Friday. Then I'll throw a nicer map together.

Yves Rizoud

I wonder how you plan to have a platformer character which is both very detailed (human-like) and still playable onscreen.
Most platformers use a funny, stout, comic-like character, because the big head allows more recognisable features: Sonic has his head bigger than his body.
When a platformer uses a detailed human as character, the 'sprite' must be small enough so the player can see enough around him. facial features, in particular, become almost impossible to detail. (like in Jill of jungle, Contra, Castlevania, Metroid...)
In your game, if you want a detailed humanoid character, expect it to be very big onscreen, and animation art will take a lot of work to do.

Torbjörn Josefsson


Once again I foil you, caster of spells, by already having posted this link - albeit in a less auspiscious form :)

No, I'm not entirely sure what "auspiscious" is either, or if its really spelled that way


I must admit, I haven't actually read the thread.
But it seems to be pretty obvious, that you're way superior.

*spellcaster bows

An Ly

Okay, here is some design comments.

1. You need a hook. Sonic runs fast, Mario can headbutt bricks and jump on guys, Happyland Dog picks up friends and brings them home. What is your hook? What is the focus of the game? What sets it apart? Having a squirrel which can be replaced by anything isn't good enough. Think of a FEATURE.

2. Level design. If you think that gliding is the feature then make it prominent in the level design. Make sure you need the feature and make sure that it is FUN to use.

3. Keep it simple! Not too many controls, that pisses most people off. Platformers are generally pick up and play games, too make moves to perform can be a negative. Some ideas can be discarded. eg. Hanging off ledges. do you really need it? Just make the guy jump futher (or bring the platform closer). If you do decide on a new action for your character make it relevant. Make the character NEED it and make it fun to use.


1) The hook is she's a good looking explorer chick squirrel. She can shoot acorns and has a boomberang cashew.

2) Copy that

3) This is something that I am trying to do. I know some of the features won't make it into the final game. I'm testing them out to see how fun they are, and how easy they are to use.

Thanks for the input.

Status - still working on the level designer.

Johan Halmén

Squirrels can change the direction in the air with their long tail. Lots of sidescroll/platform characters can do that without an obvious connection to reality*), but Squirly/Lorna had this feature, it would relate to the real world.

*) Anyone ever played Monkey Shines on a Mac? It is old but a great platformer with a level editor. Bonzo, the hero gorilla, makes these funny jumps. While in the air, he can move sideways just by that. Without a tail.

Torbjörn Josefsson

I think she IS a pretty special 'hero', in that she is able to climb Most (I guess) things - sometimes also upside-down, and in having the power to glide short distances

Yves Rizoud

Yes the hook is important.
> explorer < chick squirrel
You can focus on "complex" levels with a lot of things to discover. What about digging for secrets, or hitting switches / collecting bonuses with the boomerang ? (I'm thinking of Megaman's "boomerang cutter")


Hitting switches is a good idea.


TMS has a hook; all his moves look "accidental". :) Or at least, as many as possible ...


Small delay on the early demo. Problem loading the map from the editor. I have found the problem this morning, but am at work and will have to fix it tonight.


are there not any TRUE miner willy games under development? :)
with THAT graphic and sound as BEFORE ;)


You better get that demo out soon, I'm getting nervous...

Torbjörn Josefsson



Problem Loading levels is fixed.

I then ran into a problem with slow drawing. I will change the way I store my tiles today in the game today, as well as getting my scroll bars to work on my VB Level Editor.

The old way:
My editor in VB uses a 2D array for the map. When I save to file I first write all tilesets used. Then for each tile in the 2D array that has a tile I write the location of the square, the location of the tile in the tileset, and the tileset filename.

Then in the game, I read in all tilesets and load them into my tileset manager. Then instead of a 2D array (that could have emtpy slots) I use a array for each object. The tilemanager takes each tiles tileset filename and retrieves the actual BITMAP*, and blits that at the tile location. This is apparently slow.

The new way:
Each tile will have it's own 32x32 BITMAP* that gets created and blitted to on level load. That way each tile can easily draw it's BITMAP*. This should speed up drawing.

I'll do all this today. :))

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