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Thread: How do you make characters shift/tilt in platformers when walking up/down slopes etc.

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    How do you make characters shift/tilt in platformers when walking up/down slopes etc.

    I have been using CT products for nearly 2 decades (got my CnC from Corel ) but I have not created a platformer so far. It got me thinking - how do you make your characters walking uphill/downhill, especially if they are four-legged and hence quite wide? Rotation? Dedicated animation? Because without that it would look awful, the character would just levitate with most of its body.
    With rotation it would require some kind of mapping to tell the character when and how much should it rotate.
    platf.png

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    https://youtu.be/HVtKGUN1HJM

    There is a part 2 as well

    You might have to watch it on pc to auto translate to english as its in Portuguese
    any more advanced than this and you'll have to get into inverse kinematics

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    Without looking too much into that video, I can tell you that one method, which I believe is also the one used in the video, is to use invisible objects to detect the angle of the slope. You place one object a little bit to the left of the character's center, and another object to the right. Then you run fastloops to move the objects down until they reach ground. Then you compare the angle between the two objects. You should be comfortable with how fastloops works before attempting this

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blizna View Post
    I have been using CT products for nearly 2 decades (got my CnC from Corel ) but I have not created a platformer so far. It got me thinking - how do you make your characters walking uphill/downhill, especially if they are four-legged and hence quite wide? Rotation? Dedicated animation? Because without that it would look awful, the character would just levitate with most of its body.
    With rotation it would require some kind of mapping to tell the character when and how much should it rotate.
    platf.png
    Here's a great example courtesy of Sonic Worlds and @maxx : sonic worlds angles_1.mfa

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    Take a look at the fox in that video. Upon first impression, the movement looks really fluid and responsive, and very impressive (and very cute and nicely-made graphic style btw). But actually, tilting like this is totally unnatural.



    In case you have any doubt, find a hill near your house and walk up it. You'll immediately notice that your body stays purely vertical pretty much the whole time, rather than rotating with the slope. It's just physics: if your body remained perpendicular to the slope, you'd fall over. Rather, your body needs to remain perpendicular to the centre of gravity (ie. the core of the Earth). This applies even for many four-legged creatures on extreme slopes, as these mountain goats can attest:



    I guess there are exceptions to this rule too, such as animals with very short legs, like lizards for example.

    And of course, even while an animal's body remains vertical when climbing a slope, its legs and muscles all adjust accordingly, so the most 'perfect' solution would be to make custom animations for different inclines, or use some sort of dynamic inverse kinematic system, as fnkycoldmadeanr suggested. Both approaches would be very time-consuming, and the latter would probably be prohibitively difficult unless you're using animation system like Spriter or something like that.

    But if you're using pre-rendered animations, then rotating the player with the slope looks kind of goofy in my opinion. Which is perhaps what you want: Rayman Legends does it this way, for example, and it works because it adds to the general wackyness of that game:



    . Though even in Rayman, when the player jumps from a slope, the jump still goes straight up, rather than perpendicularly away from the slope, which suggests that even the Rayman devs felt that being perpendicular to a slope wasn't actually a very natural thing. I tried the rotational approach myself in Spryke, but I found that it detracted from the feel of the movement rather than added to it. It didn't look right, and it felt disorienting to be constantly swaying this way and that, like a ship on stormy seas.

    Also, a major factor is the visual platform style that you choose to use. If you use a purely side-on view then these problems are much less forgiving, like you showed in your attachment:

    .

    But if you use a slightly isometric perspective, then it can look just fine. In Commander Keen 4, the slug, the ball, and the boy all remain vertical when on a slope, and it looks fine (though the slug is the least convincing, and your 4-legged creatures from the previous pic would still look pretty bad here).



    This is the approach I take in Spryke, and I think it looks ok:



    Though I've purposely limited the inclines a bit so that they aren't too steep (though I also have very steep inclines, which Spryke traverses by using a stick-to-the-wall mechanic rather than a 'walk' mechanic). Several traits of the Spryke character work in my favour here: Spryke is small, doesn't have straight lines or sharp angles on her body, and has no legs. All of which make any geometric inconsistencies with the surface appear more forgiving.

    Which leads me to probably the main advice I would give in this area: design your characters around your mechanics, not the other way around. I think this is one of the best decisions I ever made with Spryke. Before even thinking about my character, I first designed a game engine that felt really fun to me. I quickly realised that my gameplay was at its most fun when the player spent as much time travelling along ceilings and walls as on the ground. And for this ceiling and wall traversal to feel good, I realised that the general player shape had to be basically symmetrical on both axes (ie. a circle or a square) and that the legs of the body of the character musn't feature too heavily, since legs imply a need to be on the ground all the time.

    So my character design sprung out of that, and Spryke ended up being essentially like a little squishy ball. If I had started with the character design first, then I probably would have done what most people do and created a humanoid character with a tall rectangle profile, and I ultimately would have ended up with a different, more ground-focused gameplay style.


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