3D Platformer Research

By: Matt Lopez (Level Designer)

Game References and Notes

  • A first-person slasher
  • Very fluid parkour system with a peculiar control scheme
  • Zombies that chase after you are a good, intense motivator to get the player moving
  • Promotes split second traversal decisions
  • Graffiti gangs trying to takeover Tokyo and fight oppression
  • Very fun rollerblading platforming
    • Wheels make stops delayed and landings finnicky at times
  • Big focuses on flourishes (tricks)and verticality through grinding
  • Multitask while platforming (spraying graffiti on walls and stuff)
  • Simple platforming with grinding akin to Jet Set Radio Future
  • Multitask while grinding: shoot and grind
  • Super hard action game with minor platforming sections
  • A lot of arenas and areas with fixed cameras
  • A near flawless platformer
  • Free and fixed cameras depending on the sequence, but the camera stays mostly behind Mario
  • Platforms for the most part are designed to give clear direction to where the player should go, but also rewards exploration.
  • Specifically, the 2nd entry
  • This game’s free run system was solid as it maintained a fixed, distanced camera from the player as they ran through the streets.
  • When it came to climbing and platforming, the camera remains freeform mostly unless they were in a special area such as the Vatican or a cave.
  • Although not a platformer, there are sections useful for crawling area ideas
  • A lot of vents and logs to crawl through to avoid detection
  • In later games, it is preferable to go into first person view when in confined spaces.

Summary and Findings

            The purpose of this research was to consult and play several different types of platformers, action games and stealth games to see how other studios handled platforming, cameras in the scene and direction for the player. Most games I played on this list had fast, fluid gameplay to keep the player entertained and consistently exploring and doing something. All games rewarded the player for not following the linear path through exploration. Metal Gear games gave player alternative routes to go through to avoid detection such as a hidden vent or a pipeline. Assassin’s creed, Jet Set Radio and Mario rewarded players with precious collectibles on the other hand. In regards to the design of platforms themselves, the designers of each game make it clear what the player can land, climb and jump on. In Assassin’s creed, usually buildings have windows and displaced bricks lining the walls to encourage and signify climbing for example. Furthermore, in both Dying Light and Assassin’s Creed line the streets with debris and miscellaneous items that are shaped in a stair formation to show a possible escape route if they are being chased or need to find a way to the upper architecture. Verticality is prominent in both games as well which adds to the significance of these sort of designs. Moving on to crawling, Metal Gear Solid provides the player with many entrances to enter an enemy base. The riskier ways are by climbing over walls or gunning through the main entrance. However, there are safer, but longer ways in such as crawling through a waterway or circumnavigating the base to find a whole in a wall or fence. To emphasize stealth and patience, the game rewards players with collectibles and a higher grade at the end of the mission for being both stealthy and non-lethal.

            In regards to what can be taken away and added to The Shadow Pervades. Verticality can definitely be utilized especially since we have the climbing volumes in the game currently. In a city landscape it would be interesting to juxtapose a small dog on top of colossal building, and it is also a slight nod to many free running games that utilize rooftops for progression and traversal. What comes up must also come down, so we also would have to be aware of how to handle Rose being up there. Do we have fall damage or is there a sort of blocking volume preventing the player from jumping deliberately off the building? Opposite of verticality, we can also utilize the idea of creating crawling areas to encourage the player to explore and find alternative routes beside platforming. To reinforce exploration, do we add collectibles or a sort of reward for the player finding an area that is not part of the linear path. Perhaps a secret quest or cosmetic to change Rose’s fur?

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