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Moving Like Fixbot

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toddbluhm

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Post by Zak, Design Director at Demergo,

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So, if you've been keeping up with our past entries you've gathered that our game messes with the normal thought of gravity in a platformer. Fixbot is a repair bot on a spaceship. The spaceship has no gravity. To move around, Fixbot has a large magnet on his butt. He uses it to repel himself with from one surface then attract himself to his destination surface. So basically he can only move away from a surface. He has no lateral movement. If he wants to slide over, he has to repel from the floor, attach to the ceiling, then repel from the ceiling, and attach back to the floor.

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This makes designing the levels a bit of a challenge because if I'm having the player rethink conventional movement I need to have totally mastered our new style myself. I have to think like Fixbot. Here are two things that helped... (Yes, I am giving you hints on how to beat our game).

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Step one on mastering Fixbot's movement: stop thinking laterally. Ever since you started walking you've been moving laterally. You move forward, backwards, left and right. To move up you go forwards on stairs and that takes you up. It only makes sense that you naturally think that way. Fixbot can't move that way, because he can only move 'up'. So when bullets are flying at him and he has to dodge, his only course of action is to move up. When I make levels I need to make sure that he always has somewhere above him to go to.

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Step two on mastering Fixbot movement: there is no down. Fixbot is in space, which I think I've mentioned. There is no down in space. Whatever Fixbot is attached to is down. It's the floor. He has no qualms about sitting on the 'ceiling', and he'll sit there happily because to him, it's the floor. When I design levels I need to make sure that I think of all the surfaces, the floor, the walls, and the ceiling as just one thing: the floor.

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There are other things I use to 'move' like Fixbot, but if I told you those you wouldn't play my game.

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Reposted from Fixbot Blog

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