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TimSarbin

Mario style or Metroid style?

5 posts in this topic

OK guys, I've been working on a platformer in Java using (and abusing) Box2D. I've got a very clean design engine-wise and everything has progressed smoothly. I'm currently adding in logic for enemies and adding more art (and fixing trees.. guh) but I've hit a branch and I'm not sure what path to take. I'm not sure if I should go for the stage approach (ala mario) or the open world approach (metroid/SOTN). Either way I can handle but wanted to know if there were any opinions or ideas floating around of which type of design is more fun. I'm leaning towards open world but I'm worried that I will run into issues designing a game of that type and it maintain fun-ness; equally I'm worried a stage approach will cause the game to be short and un-inspired. Any thoughts?

 

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You could optionally go for a mix: open-world with portals leading into stages (think Mario 64).

You could even have stages have entrances into other stages, or two stages connect together with a tunnel between them.

 

Example:

selfcontainedstagesinan.png

 

The benefits of this is that the world feels interconnected and larger, while each area remains self-contained for easier development management and easier theming. Each stage can have goals and tasks and quests, but then also there can be a few goals and quests the cross the boundaries between stages. 'Banjo and Tooie' for N64 did this to some extant, though I'd personally take it a bit farther in the interconnections, and go a bit lighter on the drastic theme shifts: going from ice stages to volcanoes and such sorta breaks immersion for me, and makes it feel less like one world and more like a dozen self-contained worlds. I prefer one world with different interconnected but self-contained areas.

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That's a really good 3rd choice! I think that would work out much better for me. I will think on it for a bit and see what kind of design I can come up with. The game is sarcastic in nature so I may figure out a way to have the 'hub' area somewhat small - but traversing it requiring completion of the entire game.

 

[edit]

 

OK so what I'm thinking is the hub area is a town. From the get-go the player doesn't want to be there - thankfully he is told he can simply leave the town. The problem is to exit the town he has to cross a body of water (you can't swim) that he can't cross because the bridge is out - so the entire game he's trying to find pieces to put the bridge back together. Each 'house' is a map of its own (stages will take place in these 'houses') and will have a set of objects to meet (get to the end in X time, collect X coins, find X item) - and when all prerequisite objectives are completed, the final objective of finding the bridge piece is revealed (ala mario 64 I guess?). 

 

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Edited by Tim Sarbin
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I personally like stages, but I don't know how much of that is due to the fact that I have almost no sense of direction and get lost easily within games.  I'm not sure why stages would cause a game to be short and uninspired, since I've played lots of games with that sort of linear progression which were neither of those things.

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This is an excellent dissection of Super Metroid's game design The Invisible Hand of Super Metroid

Designing an open world game is a fascinating challenge, if you're up for it.

 

You win. This is some amazing stuff here. I'm reading through it right now. I've ironed out the leaks and added enough features where I'm doing my maps now so your timing is perfect. I'll read this at least twice over - the first 10 minutes of it is great so far.

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