So, it occurred to me recently that the development of my game is pretty much just the story of that one Batman movie (or something.) Because there are a few ground rules for my game that contradict each other…
A. The main character can NEVER stop moving forward. (Important for many reasons… it’s a runner, certain things sync with the soundtrack thus have to happen at specific times, etc.)
B. Many objects cannot be moved through. (Important because uh… self-explanatory? Human beings can’t pass through everything in the world? Or they would just be ghosts or something?)
So what do you do when the player can’t stop moving forward but also can’t pass through certain objects?
Most runners that I have played have a simple solution to this… you hit a wall, you die, and start the stage over again. Well, that’s fine I guess, but I didn’t want that in my game, which is not a one hit kill runner but a runner with an actual life bar.
So my main solution to this issue from the start has just been to have slopes and bumpers everywhere, so when the player needs to go from a more open-ended area to a tighter area they essentially get funneled into it without having to slow down. The problem with slopes though is it kind of makes no sense to be running up a slope and keep the same forward momentum… so I use them minimally and have broad slopes such that the player (maybe?) doesn’t notice this inconsistency if they are on a slope. Bumpers are both more consistent physics-wise and more fun, but then it kind of breaks up the feeling of a semi-logical world having random bumpers all over the place. Of course, this is a world with ghosts and birds carrying power-ups and clones of yourself and… point is, it probably doesn’t need to make sense based on the real life human world. Still, putting bumpers all over makes me feel a bit uncomfortable from a design standpoint.
So I’ve tried to think up other solutions to mix things up. One stage is in the sky and it has no ground… just a LOT of wind that will push you back up if you fall off of the cloud platforms. Another stage (in planning) has a bit of a wacky creepy fun house part, so I plan to use mirrors as warps to instantly transport the player elsewhere. Etcetera. A lot of these ideas have stemmed from trying to solve that fundamental issue in a way that doesn’t rely on bumpers everywhere.
Whether or not I’m going to successfully solve this in a fun, consistent way throughout the entire game… we’ll see.