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rHornbek

Ever Notice: The Double Jump

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rHornbek    175
I am not sure when this thought first popped into my head, but I was curious about the "Double Jump". It is an immensely popular game mechanic that allows the player's character to jump a second time while in the air. Now this got me thinking; why is this mechanic in so many games and why does it, of all unrealistic elements, get past questioning? Of course if we ask too many question about the games we play we wouldn't be able to enjoy them, nevertheless the Double Jump appears to go under the radar. One might ask, "Why not just extend the distance of a single jump?" This is where I feel the mechanic really displays its purpose. Giving the player the challenge of jumping a second time adds an element to puzzles and overall gameplay variation. Speculation of course, that the Double Jump might be so effective because it does not give the player the full range of motion but rather allows them to reach their goals with good judgment and timing. Lets take a look at a few games that, while generally unrealistic, technically have no reason to have a Double Jump... or do they? God of War: Kratos is able to rip enemies in half with his bare hands, swing massive weapons of the gods and of course while in the air can somehow force his body to rise even higher. The Jak and Daxter Series: so Jak is not human, he can wield various forms of energy, has a semi-mutated sidekick and can also force his body to rise higher while in the air. I am not trying to expose a conspiracy nor am I trying to promote or demote the concept of a Double Jump... I just found myself taking the mechanic for granted and never really thought about its purpose or origins. Thoughts?

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paou    122
Well, we added the double jump mecanic when we wrote frogger...

There were platforms you could only reach if you double jumped right at the apex of the single jump, which takes a certain amount of skill to accomplish.

It added an extra dimension of designer control..both with the difficulty level of the game, as well as allowing "secret" areas or optional areas that can only be reached if you can perform a double jump with good timing.

Also later in the game I think there were areas you could only continue by using double jump... can't quite remember.

Interestingly, we also added a "third" level to the mechanic, a "float" mode, so when you were in the second jump, you could also tap again and hold to float down slower than normal, allowing further horizontal movement, and therefore adding another dimension to these "tweakables".

We didn't rationalise either of these things in the game, since as a cartoon universe theres a licence there to do stuff like that.



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sunandshadow    7426
From a story/mythic point of view, the idea that a maturing character gains the ability to make an impossible midair jump suggests that second jump symbolizes magic, divinity, or a spiritual type of sheer willpower. Quite different actually from the first jump which symbolizes athleticism and a more passionate or biological instinct type of spiritual energy. Given that most RPGs and some adventure/platformer games are about a character's maturation from child to adult and apotheosis from mundane ignorant person to magical/divine wise person, gaining a double jump ability during a game fits right in and probably helps the game feel meaningful to players.

Also from a player's point of view, hoving a jump with an optional second jump makes it easier to control the distance you want to jum than having one big jump would be.

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SnotBob    202
I suppose the double jump is kind of psychologically satisfying. You jump, but you miss your target; the double jump gives you a second chance. BTW, it's certainly not the only unrealistic thing about jumping. Nearly all games that allow jumping at all allow you to control the character mid-air, not to mention that jumps are almost invariably much too high.

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umbrae    308
Perhaps it adds extra control to jump height, if a single jump was twice as high the character wouldn't be able to manoeuvre small obstacles. With double jump the player can decide to increase their jump height.

Some games accomplish this in a similar way by increasing jump height with the length of time the player holds the jump button, but these jumps can seem unnatural. Not that double jumping is natural, but the physics seem to feel right. Analogue controls can also accomplish the same thing, altering jump height.

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SnotBob    202
Umbrae: Some games I've seen have both double jump and high jump on longer press. And then there's the charged jump, where you crouch first. I'm pretty sure there are games that have all of these.

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Kest    547
This is beside the point, but a double jump is possible. Humans can 'fly' under water because our physical abilities allow us to fight gravity with friction. The same would be true out of the water, if our abilities, in conjunction with air friction, were as impressive as our weight in the gravity up here.

Beyound all of that, a double jump is possible, outside of water, with normal human abilities. It just isn't typically very impressive. I bet there's a you-tube video out there of someone who can make it look impressive, though.

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NathanRunge    725
It has nothing to do with our ability, but rather to do with simple physics.

Human + Gravity > Air + Human + Friction

When you shrink down that equation you'll notice there's no human left either. :P

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by NathanRunge
It has nothing to do with our ability, but rather to do with simple physics.

Human + Gravity > Air + Human + Friction

You're missing the fact that friction, as in your equation, is relative to the number of times we can apply force against it before gravity does its thing. If we could move fast enough, we could swim through air by just taking advantage of simple aerodynamics.

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NathanRunge    725
I'm afraid we won't. Ignoring the fact that our bones and muscles cannot support such an action, we're missing a few key issues. Firstly, birds and aircraft use airfoils. This is where the shape of the wing creates a vacuum which lifts the wing. In addition to this, flapping actually doesn't use friction, it relies on a similar notion as pushing yourself off a the ground in a push-up. While obviously there is fiction in every action, friction is not the cause of lift.

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I love me some double jumping. UT2k4's got it, and all that fancy dodging adds a great deal to the game. Feels a lot tighter than, say, Halo, where you get the one jump, and if you're lucky a grenade will go off underneath you as you do it. Also, it's great for navigating 2d area. Smash Bros. benefits enormously from the jump controls.

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Moomin    332
Quote:
Original post by Kest
You're missing the fact that friction, as in your equation, is relative to the number of times we can apply force against it before gravity does its thing. If we could move fast enough, we could swim through air by just taking advantage of simple aerodynamics.

Air is neither boyant enough (to support/provide upthrust to us as water does) nor viscous enough (to allow us to provide upthrust from 'kicking' - resistance to motion.)

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by Moomin
Quote:
Original post by Kest
You're missing the fact that friction, as in your equation, is relative to the number of times we can apply force against it before gravity does its thing. If we could move fast enough, we could swim through air by just taking advantage of simple aerodynamics.

Air is neither boyant enough (to support/provide upthrust to us as water does) nor viscous enough (to allow us to provide upthrust from 'kicking' - resistance to motion.)

It's extremely simple. Gravity is applied over time. If there is any type of motion that can provide any amount of lift, then given enough speed, flight is possible.

I'm not saying flight is naturally feasible for humans. I'm saying it's physically possible to achieve flight with amplified physical abilities.

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Nypyren    12073
Quote:
Original post by Dasubermechen
why is this mechanic in so many games and why does it, of all unrealistic elements, get past questioning?


People don't care about breaking realism if it's more fun that way!

Team Fortress 2's Scout has a double-jump, and there's no legitimate explanation. He can even alter his direction instantaneously in mid-air. I don't care if it's impossible; it's still fun.

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Sulphix    168
Looking at it as purely a gameplay mechanic and nothing more, the double jump is typically preferred over a massive jump because it allows for more precision. A player can jump a great distance, and then on the second jump, refine their position to be sure they land. And, in cases of games similar to Metroid, the double jump itself can become an item to be collected, adding a sense of growth and empowerment.

As for whether or not it's physically possible, I think that's kind of a moot point. In the games it is used in, reality is hardly the basis for what is happening. And the need for character growth and the gameplay benefits associated with the double jump far outweigh the "but this is impossible" reaction.

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pothb    102
Easier error correction = more fun. If you miss by some sort of margin, you're second jump can fix that. Also makes mobility alot better; imagine fighting like DMC, you jump and an enemy ends up below you with his stupid vine thing wavy around, you don't want to land on it and need to get out of the way, a double jump will enable that, whereas a long/higher jump wouldn't.

Not to mention, its proven to be well accepted.

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rHornbek    175
I am thrilled by many of your responses, great points and good speculation.

At no point however was my intention to get people to debate whether or not its achievable in real life.

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FlaiseSaffron    216
I sort of agree with Kest on this one. The difference in real life is that if we could somehow bend the physics involved to our will (air dense enough, body sparse enough, bones/muscles strong enough) then we'd be swimming in the air, rather than jumping off of it, because we can simply put ourselves at whatever altitude we want and stay there, like we can in water. If it were a jump, we'd have to return to the ground eventually.

Rationalizations aside, the purpose of the double jump is to allow the player to change his/her vertical velocity (and sometimes horizontal velocity if the game gives you little air control) in mid-air. This lets you cross underneath obstacles that float above the void, or like pothb said, to correct a mistake like landing in a bad place or falling into the void.

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by Dasubermechen
At no point however was my intention to get people to debate whether or not its achievable in real life.

It wasn't my intention to start one either, so I apologize.

Still, any concept worth debating as being possible is less likely to make players question it, so it is related to the question at hand [smile]

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Way Walker    745
Quote:
Original post by Sulphix
in cases of games similar to Metroid, the double jump itself can become an item to be collected, adding a sense of growth and empowerment.


Metroid is an interesting case to bring up here since it had (I haven't played past Super Metroid) both "extend the distance of a single jump" and "double jump" (or "multiple jump").

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Double jump makes more sense than having significant control over directional momentum while in the air (as opposed to rotational momentum). Neither are realistic. But...

...It's fun, more interesting, and doesn't break immersion as we don't notice it as such. At least, most of us don't.

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Schrompf    1035
I'd like to see that even extended. UT2k4 was a good example: Directly used it justed added a tiny bit of skill control to jumping, but in combination with wall dogde it allowed you to make sudden changes to your route in mid-air, cover quite some ground and suprise whatever tried to shoot at you at this moment. I enjoyed it... I even got into some sort of "mental zone" where I was flying through the map like on a railway, blasting everything out of my way. It was a great enhancement to the movement, something worth to be learned when you were already proficient with the basic game mechanics.

Too bad they ditched it all in UT3. Maybe it was just a move to cater for newbies, but to me it looked like they simply cut some of the "hard to master" part of the game. Too bad the game lacked the polishment so that the "easy to learn" part was also lost in the translation.

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by Captain Griffen
Double jump makes more sense than having significant control over directional momentum while in the air (as opposed to rotational momentum).

I don't understand. A double jump is having significant control over directional momentum while in the air.

Quote:
...It's fun, more interesting, and doesn't break immersion as we don't notice it as such. At least, most of us don't.

Here's a question for everyone. When is the last time you experienced something that was fun that broke immersion? I don't think anyone cares about immersion as long as they're having fun. It's only when things start to get dull that we start noticing cracks in the skybox. In support of this theory is Nintendo's success. Nintendo doesn't mind throwing out realism to add fun, and it obviously works for them.

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Chocolate Milk    145
the midair jump is usually just like the grounded jump, so the player is already completely familiar with how his character will move... except he gets to learn how to do a jump in midair, a timed puzzle in itself.

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