Jetboard Joust Devlog #7 – Control, Camera, Action!

This has been a bit of a tidying up session – sorting out a few things that had been niggling at me.

Firstly – the controls. The directional control work I’ve been doing on ‘Attack Of Giant Jumping Man’ made me rethink how I’m going to approach the control system somewhat. I thought I’d trying bolting on some of the experimental ‘touch controllers’ I did and see how they played as I’d really like to get a left, right, thrust and fire in there if possible.

The ‘elastic’ control system seemed to work pretty good so I’ve modified this a bit and this is what I think I’m going to go with. Basically it’s a two-handed control system with two buttons on the right for thrust and fire and a directional control on the left. On the directional control a drag left or right orientates the player and accelerates whilst held whereas a long touch with no movement simply accelerates in the direction the player is currently facing.

On the right the ‘collision’ area for the buttons takes up the entire right hand side of the screen divided as per the illustration. This makes it really easy to hit either button and the control system seems to work really well, at least for the moment.

Next up – camera. I misjudged what a pain in the arse this was going to be. previously in 2D scrolling games I’ve done very simple camera tracking whereby the screen simply scrolls at a fixed rate whenever the player leaves a certain area and enters a ‘buffer zone’ towards the edges of the screen. Occasionally I’d get a bit more fancy and scroll to position the player so they gain a longer ‘lookahead’ depending on what direction they were facing.

A fixed camera rate looked crap in this game because the movement was very fast and there were too many abrupt stops or changes in direction which became very jarring to look at. I’ve added a certain amount of acceleration and decceleration to the way the camera moves to make the motion smoother. What was hard was to get the motion smooth whilst keeping up with the pace at which the player will move and change direction. I think it’s pretty much there now but no doubt I will have to go back and rethink certain aspects yet again.

Lastly – collision detection. One scenario was bugging me whereby if you accelerated into the side of a floating block, then continued to accelerate whilst dropping, the board would fly off from beneath you when it dropped below the edge of the block. Whilst technically ‘correct’ this just felt too harsh in practice. Despite this, I still wanted the player to be knocked off if an attempt is made to fly beneath a floating block and the player clips the block but the board doesn’t.

These two scenarios are the same as far as the collision detection algorithms are concerned and it’s pretty hard to differentiate between them. What I’ve done as a compromise is only have the player knocked off in this scenario if the board is travelling at a certain velocity. So far this seems to do the trick!

Dev Time: 0.5 days
Total Dev Time: approx 10 days

previous | next

Screen Division For Touchscreen Controls

Trying To Get A Smooth Tracking Camera

This No Longer Sends You Flying…

…Whereas This Still Does!

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