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rHornbek

Ever Notice: The Double Jump

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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