Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Platformer Primer

Little Big Planet will turn everyone into a platform game designer - however, it might not make them a good game designer.

So here is a primer on platform games I've put together for anyone who wants to make their game a little better or, more importantly, a little fairer. Enjoy!


Josh said...

Amazing article! I hope people appreciate these gems!

Scott Rogers said...

I'm glad you liked it. Please tell your friends and send 'em to the design lair!

Jeremy Deveraturda said...

This is so good. Thank you for writing all this up.

I'm not a developer (I'm an illustrator), but even reading this is just so insightful to the games I play.

... plus I just got LittleBigPlanet! :)

Løffe said...

Excellent stuff, and very lovely drawings :-))

Being a level designer myself I'd love, love, looove to see a similar primer on building levels - wish I could've been at GDC to hear your Disneyland talk.

Thanks again :-)

Thomas, Denmark

Scott Rogers said...


Let me know how your LBP levels are coming!

Glad you enjoyed the platform primer! As you might now know, the Disneyland slides are now posted. Take a look!

Troy said...

Very cool article. It would have been nice to see this before I released my Dirk Dashing platformer in 2005, but it is nice to see that I did a bunch of things right. I'm working on a sequel right now, so I'll have to revisit some of the other things you discussed - like adding some more definitive and fun moves, a shadow, and the ability to grab onto ledges. Thanks for writing this up!

Peter said...

Sorry for necroing this comment section, but I always seem to forget to post my question to this one...

I was wondering if you could expand on some of the thoughts behind character screen metrics. Namely:

- How tall the character is in relation to the screen height (e.g., the average for SNES-era games seems to be about 1/5th to 1/6th of the screen height)

- Where the character is placed (center of screen? Bottom half and back third? Etc...)

What are some general rules of thumb to use when finalizing these metrics? And are there any gotchas to look out for? Right now we are just basing it on the enemy count and attack vectors for the typical encounter, but I'm worried we might be overlooking something.


AriesT said...

Funny thing is:
Walking CAN be gameplay. If it is made interesting. Like Jon Blow's (Braid) new game The Witness could provide, when looking at the official images (Jan 2012).

Franz Josef Kaiser said...

One of the funniest and best reads I've ever had - and the first one that was hand drawn! Thanks for this post and please don't stop such posts! :)

J Windar said...

Hey Scott

You just blew my mind wide open! I am attempting my fist big venture, a platformer driven by children characters. Two questions:

Should there be a relation to the environment (cave, forest, sky) and to the platforms themselves? I.E. If in a cave, the platforms are rocky: in the sky, clouds.

Any thought on making your highly reccomended book Level Up into an ebook?

Thank you again for sending me back to the drawing board