The joy of side-scrollers

Griggs
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Post: #1
or, where have all the platform jumpers gone?

I am really quite disappointed by the fact that there have been very few Mac side-scrolling "Sonic the Hedgehog" type games, sure we had Ferazels Wand, but even that didn't hit the full potential.

In the heyday of scrollers there were some quite amazing games, despite the fact that I have never owned a console I have played Donkey Kong, Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog. Some at friends houses, some on emulators (don't tell Nintendo!) and the genre, when done right, really offers some great gameplay.

Donkey Kong especially impressed me with the new things they though up (or, new to me anyway) such as riding in ore carts, ice slopes, etc. It proved that side-scrollers can move beyond the tired cliches of blocky terrain and pixelated badguys.

Unfortunately now that we have the computing power to do some really fantastic things with such a game there doesn't seem to be anyone exploiting it.

Imagine a fully modern side-scroller; you hop on top of a bus motoring down the road, avoiding bad-guys flying past. At the end the bus blows up in a shower of sparks, you leap onto a pair of skis and cruise down a slope, jumping over obstacles and ducking under others. You find yourself on a path with a giant monster behind you, thinking fast and knowing this world obeys the laws of physics you run across a rickety bridge, when the badguy steps on it creaks and breaks, plummeting him into the chasm below. Or there's a dam above a badguy encampment, using the C4 explosive you found earlier you blow the dam, the water cascades down, drowning the encampment below.

Everything above is possible today, but it needs to be tried. I'm working on an OpenGL side-scroller, when it's presentable enough I will make builds and complete source available on a regular basis, in the hope that someone will find it useful or even want to work with me on the next great scroller.

But until then, what ideas do you have for revitalizing this genre?
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ededed
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Post: #2
Freazels wand was fantastic is was an arcade platformer RPG (a bit). Is it out for Mac OS X?
Ambrosia software I think.
Jazz jackrabbit was a good one.
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Griggs
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Post: #3
Yes, Jazz Jackrabbit was impressive. It really had a lot of special effects and just overall slickness. And it still ran quite smoothly.
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Post: #4
I dont know why, but I've never liked Jazz Jackrabbit that much... The first one was OK, the second one was just... rubbish(this is just my opinion, and I dont really know why).
But yes, a modern side scroller would be great... I just fear it might be made to complex(from what I read from Griggs), and scrollers should(IMO) be kept pretty simple.

"Gameplay Uber Alles. And if you can make it psychedelic too, great!" - Jeff Minter
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Post: #5
I agree, Griggs. We have all this technology and we're using it mostly to create Doom III. Doom III is great and wonderful and all, but there should also be more people who are taking advantage of all the possibilities brought about by this technology for "old style" games like sidescrollers. Think about what would have been a great idea back then (and it would STILL be a great idea!) and then actually be able to create it without the limitations that would have existed back then.
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Post: #6
Macs (and PC's to some extent) aside, side-scrollers are still alive and well on console platforms. Modern side-scrolling games are typically "2.5 d," typically meaning the character control is on a 2d plane, while the world itself is 3d. Some of my favorites using this formula are the old Nights game for the Sega Saturn, and the somewhat more recent Mischief Makers game for the n64. (There are some even newer ones, but I haven't played too many of them.)

I'm curious to hear if you're taking this route (if you're trying to utilize the newest technology we have, this is definitely the way) or going with old skool 2d sprites (or, of course, you could do a combination, having billboarded characters or something.)

I think the reason there aren't a lot of new platformer games on the PC/Mac is that the idea was cloned to death at some point or other, which gives the genre a bad name. (remember when Warcraft got popular and a crapload of garbage RTS games came out? The exact same thing happened with platform games some years before.)
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Post: #7
Anybody ever play the Commander Keen (I think that's what its called) games? From ID Software, I believe.... originally a DOS game.... I remember having lots of fun playing it at my friends house a long time ago.

I still have fun playing Prince of Persia.

What about that one with the little green iguana? Wink

Yes, its time for a modern side-scroller/platform game for the Mac.

Chris Burkhardt
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Griggs
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Post: #8
Quote:Originally posted by phydeaux
Macs (and PC's to some extent) aside, side-scrollers are still alive and well on console platforms. Modern side-scrolling games are typically "2.5 d," typically meaning the character control is on a 2d plane, while the world itself is 3d. Some of my favorites using this formula are the old Nights game for the Sega Saturn, and the somewhat more recent Mischief Makers game for the n64. (There are some even newer ones, but I haven't played too many of them.)
I don't have much exposure to consoles, but even when I went looking for newer PC side-scrollers (just to see what's new in the genre) I couldn't find many at all. I think that the time is right for a new one. (and using OpenGL the cross-platform possibilities are increased too)

Quote:I'm curious to hear if you're taking this route (if you're trying to utilize the newest technology we have, this is definitely the way) or going with old skool 2d sprites (or, of course, you could do a combination, having billboarded characters or something.)
I'm using good old fashioned 2D sprites. Though with OpenGL I can do rotations, scaling, and more with nice filtering. In terms of graphics it seems kind of a waste to develop a 3D world and then only use two axis movement. A lot of my plans involve new gameplay elements, not necessarily super-flashy graphics.
Quote:I think the reason there aren't a lot of new platformer games on the PC/Mac is that the idea was cloned to death at some point or other, which gives the genre a bad name. (remember when Warcraft got popular and a crapload of garbage RTS games came out? The exact same thing happened with platform games some years before.)
Yes, you're quite right, for a while every Mario, Hedgehog, Kong and Kazooie were getting into the act. But it's certainly cooled off since then, especially on the Mac (which was never anywhere near as hard hit as the consoles)

Quote:Anybody ever play the Commander Keen (I think that's what its called) games? From ID Software, I believe.... originally a DOS game.... I remember having lots of fun playing it at my friends house a long time ago.

I still have fun playing Prince of Persia.

What about that one with the little green iguana?

Yes, its time for a modern side-scroller/platform game for the Mac.
Quite so. BTW, I still think the Iguana was a unique character (even if the game itself was pretty pathetic Smile )
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Nibbie
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Post: #9
i guess thats more motivation for me Smile
im working on a very haloish sidescroller, hopefully due in January latest. believe it or not, it has a form of bump mapping.
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w_reade
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Post: #10
heh, the next thing I'm planning to do is an Abuse-style game with 3d graphicsÖ when I've done everything I'm doing now, that is. So expect it sometime in 2006 Grin.

Looks like the side-scroller renaissance is gathering momentum, though. A Very Good Thing.
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furballphat
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Post: #11
The platformers I always loved were the Mario and Donkey Kong ones. Super Marion World was incredible. I spent hours searching but I've still only found about half the secret things. Donkey Kong was good in the way that every level had some sort of twist, wether it was oil drums that spontaneously burst into flames or gusts to push you over that big jump. The snes days were definitely the best for platformers.
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Founder
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Post: #12
Good point Griggs. I recall after Sonic was shown at the Expo, Genesis just blasted forward. Going back, remember the BEAST series on the Amiga. There were 100s of platform games on the Amiga, but Beast had super nice scrolling. Sonic was also one of the first scrollers that went at break neck speed. Somewhat in this character was Golden Axe. I really really moved that game. It was one of the few games me and my wife played together.

I have some side-scroller tiles here, but no one has really used them. I am in the middle of moving them all to PNG format. It would be good to see someone write a tutorial for this genre. Like controlling the character and scrolling. Physics, etc...

Cheers

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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w_reade
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Post: #13
Super Marion World - best typo ever?
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Griggs
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Post: #14
Quote:i guess thats more motivation for me
im working on a very haloish sidescroller, hopefully due in January latest. believe it or not, it has a form of bump mapping.
Cool, how far along are you?
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Chrome
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Post: #15
I'm also a pretty big fan of 2d games, and lately, I've been thinking of what kind of game I should get started on once I decide on the computer I'm getting.

(Speaking of which, anyone here use an iBook often? I'm thinking of getting the 12" 700Mhz model...wondering how it performs with OSX...not sure if the rumored new PowerBooks will be in my price range or not)

Anyways, back on topic Smile

I've been trying to come up with ideas on how to implement an overhead 2d vertical scrolling shooter, something along the lines of great games such as Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga (minus of course all the eye candy ^^)

Anyone here worked on such a project, or know where I could get some direction? I've heard people talk about using tiles, which makes sense, but I've got lots of other questions about stuff after that Smile

I think some of the principles must be similar to a side scrolling game, or at least a horizontal scrolling shooter.

Any guidance (books/tutorials/articles/sites) would be much appreciated Smile

Thanks!
Mike
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