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Badgerigar

Growing/Shrinking in games

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I came up with a random idea of a platform game where you could grow and shrink at will. My question is, how can you stop players from storming the game? I mean, if they can choose to be small enough to sneak past the guards or big enough to crush them, where's the challenge? (Just an example btw)

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Limiting the amount of time the person has to stay in that form is one way. Also being large makes you a bigger target, and being small means you might get stepped on. So those are several ways things can balance out.

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Don't rely on the guards to provide the challenge. Provide other obstacles like puzzles that will challenge the player. Design the game so it takes into consideration the fact that the player can be of any size at any time, or however you choose to limit this ability.

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Interesting concept. I can see a few situation where thinking could take you to the next level.

An example (albeit a bad one): the passage you must take is filled with rats. Shrinking to their size to fit in the passage would put your life at risk. To avoid this you become a giant and punch a water reservoir which breaks it and floods the tunnel. After waiting a few seconds the tunnel is completely drained and the rats were all washed out.

So like the others have mentioned, make it more like a puzzler than a simple platformer.

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I think that's a fantastic idea, and I'd hate to see it mangled with stuff like "a time limit for how long you can be big".

You stop players from storming the game through quality level design. Limit the amount of space a player has to work in if you want them to remain small, while creating large open spaces to encourage players to remain big. Make guards that are different sizes (from tiny ant-guards to giant dinosaur-guards), and consider areas that can be played very differently depending on which size you choose (allowing the player to improvise and play it their own way).

I once had a concept for a tag-team platformer (change characters at will) where you play as both a huge hulking giant and a small sidekick that rides on the giants shoulder. If you jumped little-guy to the giants shoulder and then switched to controlling the giant, you'd ride him around. While this was interesting to me, your idea gives me the impression that you can be any size, from tiny to huge and all sizes in-between... I think this is fantastic and could lead to some very unique levels.

I hope you follow this idea a bit further, possibly with a prototype, because I'd love to see it in action! [smile]

Good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by JBourrie
I think that's a fantastic idea, and I'd hate to see it mangled with stuff like "a time limit for how long you can be big".

You stop players from storming the game through quality level design. Limit the amount of space a player has to work in if you want them to remain small, while creating large open spaces to encourage players to remain big. Make guards that are different sizes (from tiny ant-guards to giant dinosaur-guards), and consider areas that can be played very differently depending on which size you choose (allowing the player to improvise and play it their own way).



That's be a much better route to go, and would give the player more options.

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I love games with size changes. A long time ago, I made a Duke Nukem level once where it was a miniature city that looked normal size when you got hit with the shrink gun.

Do you really have the will to change size at any time, or do you go the Alice in Wonderland route with consumables? (Potions, mushrooms, cakes, and so on.) There is probably a lot of different puzzle situations that would require a size change, like being small enough to fit through a pipe or big enough to step over something.

I too would like to see this game if you decide to make it.

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I imagine that 7-Meter Mario will be able to jump to higher places than 2-Inch Mario.

That being said, you could make some really interesting situations in which the player may have to change sizes in mid-jump... how about a high-up space that can only be reached when large, but once your feet are above it you must shrink to fit the space.

Or a tiny hole situated above a second tiny hole, under both is a lava pit. You have to shrink to fall through the first one but then grow while falling to avoid falling through the second hole and into the pit.

Lots of fun situations, if you let them change sizes at any time. [grin]

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This sounds like a great idea.

Quote:
Limiting the amount of time the person has to stay in that form is one way.

I don't agree with this. Just putting a timer on it removes a choice form the player (I advocate not taking away choices from players unless it is necessary).

What you need to do is to make each size have disadvantages and advantages. As a simple one, the large character could defeat enemies but be unable to fit through many gaps, where as the small character could fit through the gaps but they are vulnerable to enemies.

It means a lot more though has to go into level design, but good level designs should be aimed for anyway.

Quote:
So like the others have mentioned, make it more like a puzzler than a simple platformer.

Don't neglect that puzzles in games can have multiple solutions. Maybe there is a way to solve the puzzle as the large characer, but there might also be a solution for the puzzle as a small characters.

Example: There is an enemy guarding a section of the level. As the large character you could just stomp him into goo, but there might be a small passage that lets you by pass the enemy altogether without fighing but as the large character you can't fit into the space.

This give the player a choice as to how they solve the puzzle.

Another puzzle aspect could be that when you are large you weigh more. You might then include weighted floors that crumble when you are large but if you are small you can cross them. Sometimes this might be necessary to solve the level and sometime it might eb a trap (but make sure that the player can see it is a trap, don't just have random kill zones/traps - that frustrates players).

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what if there were other dynamics, such as switching between being armour plated and very slow, and being fast but unarmoured? or, being fire resistant but vulnerable to water, or vice versa. then, require that the player jump from one platform to another, whereby one platform passed through a waterfall, and the next through a fireball, etc.

Quote:

Another puzzle aspect could be that when you are large you weigh more. You might then include weighted floors that crumble when you are large but if you are small you can cross them.


Or, some platforms are chained to the roof, and can sustain a lot of weight, whereas others have ropes that are visibly frayed, and will break. or oyu could have sleeping giants who you could fight as a large player, or sneak past as a small player.

the possibilities are endless, especially when you combine different armours, different classical elements, and different weights.

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