Using sprites to enhance the background
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Author:  SecretServiceDude [ Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:54 pm ]
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strangenesfreak wrote:
IMO, I don't think the Start button is very convenient to use the bionic arm, especially on an NES controller, where it's usually harder to press that the B or A buttons. Most emulator control setups also isolate the start button from the A and B buttons; for example, I use the Enter key for the Start button and Z and X for B and A, respectively. I do think the switching between the gun and bionic arm is better if the arm's a weapon. But if it's used mainly for navigation, as is the purpose of jumping in platformers, it seems to me to be more appropriate to map it with the jump button.

When developers implemented control schemes for NES games back in the day, they didn't concern themselves with emulator users and their keyboard configurations. I don't intend to either. For one thing, I have no control over how people configure their emulators. That's their business, not mine.

I dislike the idea of jumping before using the bionic arm because 1) it's an artificial contrivance, and 2) I intend to make extensive use of the bionic arm while on the ground, crouching, etc. Using the START button may not be completely ideal, but something's gotta give somewhere.

Out of curiosity, have you ever played Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!? The START button is an integral gameplay button in that game, and I don't find it inconvenient. Would you have done it differently?

Author:  BMF54123 [ Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:31 am ]
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Hrm. Both options are a bit awkward, but I think using Start as a toggle is the least awkward of the two. Batman uses Start to select weapons, and it works pretty well.

Author:  Celius [ Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:47 am ]
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I actually was thinking the same thing about not planning based on what people will use as their emulator settings, even though I think most people will play this on an emulator. One major thing is that I'll be supporting a left-handed controller setup where the player can actually flip the controller upside down to have the D-Pad on the right and the buttons on the left. Though I may just allow for fully customizable controls, where if you want, up can be walk right, and B can be "access menu" instead of jump or attack, etc.

Author:  Bregalad [ Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:46 am ]
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Programmers should absolutely avoid using start and select during gameplay if possible. It is extremely difficult to reach those buttons while playing on a real controller.
Select for pausing is a real lame. Start was the button meant for pausing in 95% of games, and still is today on modern PS2 and DS games (probably other modern consoles I don't have as well).
I hate how Batman have Start for switching weapons and Select to pause. They really should have made it the other way arround : "Start" is to pause and start the game, as the name implies, and "Select" is to select between different modes, in this particular case weapons (altough many games, including the one I'm programming, doesn't use that button at all).

Only A and B should be used for gameplay features. If that's not enough programm for another console, or make a special controller for the NES with more buttons that is included in your game pack (will be hard to emulate).

So in conclusion, I'd consider select for toggling between arm and gun may be allright, but will still be ackward. I'd recommand just B for gun and up+B for the arm. This should work the best.
Of course if up is reserved to climb ladders, this will make it impossible to use the arm close to a ladder, just like it's impossible to throw a special weapon near a stair in NES Castlevania games.

Author:  Banshaku [ Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:53 am ]
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One idea I had but didn't know how well it would have bode is when you press select, you would activate the "bionic boots" (... kept the bionic commando theme in mind). When the boots are activated, the colors of the boots changes to tell the user that you're now in jump mode. In that mode, you can use the bionic arm and jump. If you need more precision, you just deactivate the boots.

It all depends how you would use the arm in the end thought.

Author:  strangenesfreak [ Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:26 am ]
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SecretServiceDude wrote:
Out of curiosity, have you ever played Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!? The START button is an integral gameplay button in that game, and I don't find it inconvenient. Would you have done it differently?

Yes, I have played that game; the Start button isn't too inconvenient because you can't pause the game, and the star punch itself is kind of slow anyway, so the awkwardness to press the Start button itself isn't much of a problem there. If you were able to pause, however, then I'd think the star punch should be mapped to the Select button, and pause should be mapped to the Start button. I think the convention to use the Start button to pause overrides the nearness of that button to the B and A buttons.

Now that you've mentioned that you'd need the bionic arm when crouching, I think toggling between the gun and arm with the Select button does seem ideal overall, but I still think mapping the arm to the A button would be much faster for the player if you're jumping and swinging. Earthworm Jim 2 doesn't have this crouching problem because the Snott Swing is only supposed to be used in the air.

Author:  FranMichaels [ Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:44 pm ]
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I'm just wondering how your game is progressing.

I stumbled upon this thread, and I have a suggestion for the control scheme. I'd say take a page from the kunio games.

B = shoot
A = bionic arm

B + A = Jump

I think it would make the gameplay a lot sweeter to be able to do this on the fly without the need of a toggle...

Author:  blargg [ Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:33 pm ]
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Except you'd need to delay shooting/bionic arm by a few frames, or interrupt them if the other button is pressed shortly after the first.

Author:  tepples [ Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:54 am ]
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Or in a platformer, you could have Up to jump like in Street Fighter and Smash Bros. Or neutral+B to shoot gun and direction+B to shoot hookshot. If you have a Wii, try some Brawl to see how it makes the most of the sideways Wii Remote, which behaves a lot like an NES controller.

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