It is currently Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:29 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:07 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:21 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Central Illinois, USA
As some of you might be aware, Frankengraphics and I are developing a Blaster Master-inspired side-scrolling adventure game.

I'm thinking about controls for alternate weapons, and wanted to get opinions. When in the tank, the game will feature a primary gun (not unlike Blaster Master) and a handful of alternate/secondary weapons (directional shots, homing missiles, bombs, things of that nature, which all have limited ammunition)

There are two primary ways of switching guns in most games: either a subscreen (Blaster Master, Mega Man, Journey to Silius), or by cycling through them (Batman)

Then, some games (like Mega Man, Batman, and Journey to Silius) replace your primary fire with the alternate gun when you press B. Others (Blaster Master) require a modifier (down+B, or up+B in many other games)

There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to each method, which also depends on the nature of the game (how often do you use the alternate guns, how much ammo do they have, how much do you want to switch back and forth). That said, I'm curious about opinions, comments, and suggestions that anyone has about what they like and don't like about the various methods in games that you have played.

A few things of note:
- The main gun might be able to fire upwards (or at least at an angle upwards), which would prevent UP+B from being used as a modifier.
- I'm considering one of the optional weapons to be aimed in 8 directions, which would make things lean toward a non-modifier approach, but nothing is set in stone.
- I'm planning to also support the SNES controller, which will provide an alternative control scheme that might be more flexible.

Anyway, I appreciate any discussion or thoughts.

_________________
My games: http://www.bitethechili.com


Last edited by gauauu on Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Posts: 4208
Location: A world gone mad
Random thoughts:

I was always fond of Blaster Master's Down+B method of firing alternate weapons. Very rarely, if ever, did I accidentally press this button combo. Considering the general vehicle feel and mode of operation, it felt like Down+B was an excellent good choice.

As for Blaster Master's alternate weapons selection screen via Select: I felt this was kind of a double-edged sword. If I had to change between alt weapons regularly (sometimes necessary in later stages), it became tedious (but only slightly). I often wished Select just paused the gameplay + had an on-screen weapon selection (vs. transitioning to a whole new screen), though I understand technically why a separate screen was a lot more feasible (read: limited pattern table, not wanting to deal with HBlank CHR-ROM swapping, etc.). Just pressing Select by itself to rapidly change between weapons would work (lot of games do this), but in Blaster Master something memorable would have been lost in the process:

What made the Select screen so memorable for me was the fact that you could see your vehicle upgrades as you found them, plus see a wireframe version of your vehicle. This was a very cool/neat addition that I always look back fondly on. I have always been a **huge** fan of games where things you obtain are visually reflected somewhere in the game, either on the character directly (e.g. armour/weapons) or in a sort of "status screen" (like in Blaster Master, which just shows names of the upgrades).

What really set Blaster Master apart from the rest of the games out there was the worlds felt enormous -- but still small enough to memorise -- and the glaring feature: the ability to get in/out of your vehicle (and your character had separate health that would auto-refill when re-entering). The whole premise is awesome and original.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:11 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:21 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Central Illinois, USA
koitsu wrote:

What made the Select screen so memorable for me was the fact that you could see your vehicle upgrades as you found them, plus see a wireframe version of your vehicle. This was a very cool/neat addition that I always look back fondly on. I have always been a **huge** fan of games where things you obtain are visually reflected somewhere in the game, either on the character directly (e.g. armour/weapons) or in a sort of "status screen" (like in Blaster Master, which just shows names of the upgrades).

I'm considering a combination -- I'm definitely planning to have a status screen (I also really like the "upgrade" view, and there will be a map that gets filled in as you go, like Super Metroid), so I may let you switch weapons from the status screen, as well as being able to toggle through them by pressing select during the action. (I did this combined method in my GBA game Anguna and it worked reasonably well, although the GBA had more buttons than the NES)

Quote:
What really set Blaster Master apart from the rest of the games out there was the worlds felt enormous -- but still small enough to memorise -- and the glaring feature: the ability to get in/out of your vehicle (and your character had separate health that would auto-refill when re-entering). The whole premise is awesome and original.


Mine is definitely not very original (as I'm purposefully making a game that very much tries to act like Blaster Master -- originally I envisioned it as an unofficial sequel, although the backstory has changed enough that that's no longer the case). I'm swapping the level-based world of Blaster Master for a more non-linear and secret-based world like Metroid. I'm keeping the ability to get out of the vehicle, but dropping the overhead areas (those always felt lower quality than the rest of the game to me).

Thanks for your two cents.

_________________
My games: http://www.bitethechili.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:14 am 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
If going the "one button for all attacks" route, one option doesn't need to exclude the other:

-Press select to enter status screen / map.
-hold select and tap a or b to cycle left/right through your inventory of actions/weapons.

having a subweapon hold-modifier could actually be used in addition to this scheme, so that it is easy to switch between normal and energy using weapons in a flash. I always preferred the castlevania way of doing it vs menu digging in an action game, but the menu can still be there. I definitely want to make it look something like blaster master / super metroid.

If you plan on SNES controller support, it might make sense to do a modifier for normal controls that don't have the extra buttons; both being available at the same time. But you'd need to make sure doing pressing the nes combination for attack + pressing the special button at the same time doesn't result firing twice.


but - we might need an update to our HUD if you're able to switch subweapons on the fly! Not much of a problem but i think we might need to upload it on the fly since so much of the tilespace is used already.

For others reading, this is our sprite based hud:
Image

Here's an experiment with tilting the cannon to a slightly angled shot without adding (edit:) too many sprites to the tileset, namely just 2. Showing to demonstrate that angled shots via up+b *might* be a possibility for the normal gun.
Image


A difference between the tank and the player avatar is that the player object is able to crawl; for example through tight spots. Being in a crawling/prone state is thought to modify how the main weapon for the player works (roll little bombs/grenades instead of throwing them) on the same latched basis as the crawling state.
Image


Some other stray thoughts:
-metroid lets the player hold attack for a charged shot. could be used identically or for other powerful subweapons.
-or we could use it like differentiate two sets of max velocity, similarly to how mario runs if shot is being held.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:22 am 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
for action modifiers, i'd say down+b for the tank, but up+b for the player. They should be one and the same on the SNES controller though.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:28 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:21 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Thanks for the comments. I should have mentioned that I was working with you in the original post (edited now!)

FrankenGraphics wrote:
but - we might need an update to our HUD if you're able to switch subweapons on the fly! Not much of a problem but i think we might need to upload it on the fly since so much of the tilespace is used already.

Yeah, if we can reserve just enough tile space for the icon (1-4 tiles maybe?) we have time to update the chr for whatever item is selected. We'll probably also need to reserve another few tiles for special projectiles that can be rewritten depending on what item is selected, but we can discuss that later.

_________________
My games: http://www.bitethechili.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:21 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Central Illinois, USA
FrankenGraphics wrote:
for action modifiers, i'd say down+b for the tank, but up+b for the player. They should be one and the same on the SNES controller though.


I'm not sure we'll need them on the player -- I think we'll just keep the player's weapon as the grenades? (I dislike the idea of having different modifiers)

_________________
My games: http://www.bitethechili.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:56 am 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
I'm not sure we'll need them on the player
I would agree! And maybe it's best. But there's a bit of context i forgot to add. I was toying with adding a sort of signal/flash gun-like player animation (would be a cheap addition to the current animation set) + sparkling bullet (also reusing particles already present) that would soar straight up and stop/hover before going out, so hardcoding up+b for that would make material sense, i think.

It'd make for some world interactions the tank currently cannot do. (signal gun bullets might attract the scavenger blobs for example, using your chase routine for yet another thing, and you can destroy blocks right above like you wanted in ways ordinary grenades or angled cannons might not. there could be other interactions but we'll get to that eventually i suppose if i get to actually finishing the addition and if you think it's all good).

I'm all for limiting the arsenal of the tank-less player though. Besides, grenades should already be pretty versatile since the player case acts as a modifier.

Quote:
We'll probably also need to reserve another few tiles for special projectiles

Agreed.

Quote:
Yeah, if we can reserve just enough tile space for the icon (1-4 tiles maybe?) we have time to update the chr for whatever item is selected.

I was thinking of switching out the tiles of the "energy" readout for a subaction mnemonic or symbol. Right now "energy" was meant to flash once the tank was at current max capacity but i don't think it has any significance beyond that unless we decide to tie some feature to having full energy. It/the symbol in its place might just as well light up when there's enough energy to be using it.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:06 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:21 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Central Illinois, USA
FrankenGraphics wrote:
Quote:
Yeah, if we can reserve just enough tile space for the icon (1-4 tiles maybe?) we have time to update the chr for whatever item is selected.

I was thinking of switching out the tiles of the "energy" readout for a subaction mnemonic or symbol. Right now "energy" was meant to flash once the tank was at current max capacity but i don't think it has any significance beyond that unless we decide to tie some feature to having full energy. It/the symbol in its place might just as well light up when there's enough energy to be using it.


That's probably a good idea. The "Ener" text looks cool but isn't very information-dense.

_________________
My games: http://www.bitethechili.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:12 am 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
koitsu wrote:
I have always been a **huge** fan of games where things you obtain are visually reflected somewhere in the game, either on the character directly (e.g. armour/weapons) or in a sort of "status screen"

I feel the same.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:29 am
Posts: 903
Location: Denmark (PAL)
FrankenGraphics wrote:
for action modifiers, i'd say down+b for the tank, but up+b for the player. They should be one and the same on the SNES controller though.


I wouldn't want to have two different button assignments for roughly the same purpose in the same game. Switching between two ways of doing it will make it hard to ever adjust to either way.
In general I never really managed to mesh well with the games that do down+B for subweapons. It just doesn't feel intuitive to me, unless there's something about said weapon that makes it feel like it makes sense. Such as laying mines on the ground or something.
Meanwhile up+B is a gold standard in a lot of games, most people know it, and it feels intuitive to use. I actually prefer it to having two different attack buttons like most SNES games, as there's a more clear intuitive difference between the two types of attacks.

Of course, if you need to be able to fire upwards, there's no way around that. It's really a balance that needs to reflect very central design decisions. In Castlevania it makes sense to be able to both use the whip and your subweapon on the fly due to the way the two types of attack support eachother. In Mega Man, most weapons are just a different form of direct attack, so replacing your main weapon works out, but there are a few of the more utility-like ones that probably would have worked better as a subweapon.

One thing you have to keep in mind, that if you require the player to enter a menu to switch between different weapons, they will be much less likely to brazenly test out the various choices they have - especially if they also come with limited ammunition! Give them a good reason to switch and sticking to that weapon for a while, and don't ever require/reward constant switching back and forth.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:42 pm 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Thanks for your input, sumez. When i saw you online, i had a feeling the topic might interest you. :)

I sort of feel the same for the blaster master way of using ammoed subweapons, actually. It felt right for the lightning strike (going down), but the others felt unintuitive and weird to me and i never used them as much. Forcing a menu mode interaction for selecting a different power didn't help either, even if i loved the visuals. Edit: another difference is that blaster master kept individual ammo for each attack. We have a unified power meter, so basically like "mana".

Quote:
Of course, if you need to be able to fire upwards, there's no way around that.

Actually... One dead simple way to solve it so that it'd always be up+b and still keep angled shots is to treat the angled gun as an upgrade among others in your cycle-able inventory. You might even start with it for all i care (i guess that depends on if we want angled shots to open up new areas after a while or not), but that means you can cycle between using angled shots or one of your other upgrades when pressing up+b, but still always have access to normal shots. I like this idea the more i think about it, but there's the obvious tradeoff that you need to cycle to get back to be using angled shots at will for your next string of engagements - it becomes part of tactical preparation.

Also we need a way to step in/out of the vehicle. Maybe that's down+b or down+a, since start and select are tied up plenty already.


If both quick-cycling and a deeper menu were available at the same time, would you prefer:

a) being able cycling in both directions (sel + a or b for either direction) & just sel tap for getting to the menu or
b) tap sel to step through in just one direction, but still eventually coming full circle with a succession of presses, and hiding deep menus in a sel + action button combination (sel+b for inventory, sel+a for map for example)
c) something else i haven't thought about

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:21 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Central Illinois, USA
FrankenGraphics wrote:

Actually... One dead simple way to solve it so that it'd always be up+b and still keep angled shots is to treat the angled gun as an upgrade among others in your cycle-able inventory. You might even start with it for all i care (i guess that depends on if we want angled shots to open up new areas after a while or not), but that means you can cycle between using angled shots or one of your other upgrades when pressing up+b, but still always have access to normal shots. I like this idea the more i think about it, but there's the obvious tradeoff that you need to cycle to get back to be using angled shots at will for your next string of engagements - it becomes part of tactical preparation.


That's pretty interesting. I hadn't thought about it, but it certainly could make sense. But unless angled shots take ammo/energy like optional weapons do, it might be a little unintuitive that the angled gun is a special case.

Quote:
Also we need a way to step in/out of the vehicle. Maybe that's down+b or down+a, since start and select are tied up plenty already.

Yep, I really think down+a is the best option here. It's fairly intuitive, and doesn't conflict with other things you might want to do (there's no one-way platforms to jump downward through)

_________________
My games: http://www.bitethechili.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:14 pm 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
Yep, I really think down+a is the best option here. It's fairly intuitive, and doesn't conflict with other things you might want to do (there's no one-way platforms to jump downward through

Makes for a nice semantic thing; A (in some form) for jump / hop in / hop out.

I still haven't solved an animation for getting in/out the tank, but if we lock in down+a that helps inform the transition a bit.

Quote:
That's pretty interesting. I hadn't thought about it, but it certainly could make sense. But unless angled shots take ammo/energy like optional weapons do, it might be a little unintuitive that the angled gun is a special case.

I don't think it's any worse than when different attacks cost different amounts of power or none at all in Batman (i think we're actually slightly better off by presenting power/ammo it as a pie chart instead of digits). I guess with angled shots, the mnemonic/symbol would always be lit since you can always afford it. A deeper status screen could also serve the purpose of detailing things like cost.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:29 am
Posts: 903
Location: Denmark (PAL)
FrankenGraphics wrote:
Actually... One dead simple way to solve it so that it'd always be up+b and still keep angled shots is to treat the angled gun as an upgrade among others in your cycle-able inventory. You might even start with it for all i care (i guess that depends on if we want angled shots to open up new areas after a while or not), but that means you can cycle between using angled shots or one of your other upgrades when pressing up+b, but still always have access to normal shots.

Personally I would love this approach, but I can't tell you whether that decision is good for your game. :)

Quote:
Also we need a way to step in/out of the vehicle. Maybe that's down+b or down+a, since start and select are tied up plenty already.

Either up+A or down+A feels intuitive to me.
Down+B not so much.

Quote:
a) being able cycling in both directions (sel + a or b for either direction) & just sel tap for getting to the menu or
b) tap sel to step through in just one direction, but still eventually coming full circle with a succession of presses, and hiding deep menus in a sel + action button combination (sel+b for inventory, sel+a for map for example)
c) something else i haven't thought about

Select + A or B would be really good I think. It would allow you to go backwards if you "cycle too far". But like you suggested, an interface need to react the moment you hold down (or even tap) Select, so that the mechanic doesn't come across as obscure.

I think just tapping Select to cycle through a selection is good only if you have 3 different options to cycle through at most. And for anything that requires opening a menu Mega Man-style, that menu needs to be super snappy, and preferably not replace the entire gameplay view.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group