Game Development Reference
In the process of deciding what game I should walk through the crea-
tion of in this chapter, I asked a lot of my developer friends what they
would find most useful. I even posted a public survey for people to cast
votes on a variety of game types. I was impressed that by a huge margin
(the runner-up had about half as many votes), the winner was a
platformer-style game. When I asked other developers why they
thought this was the case; the answer was simple, albeit daunting: the
platformer is an example of many different game design and develop-
ment principles all working together at once: level design, animation,
keyboard input, physics, collision detection, and basic AI. So, in the
name of democracy, that
s the type of game we will create in this
The Platformer Genre
ve played very many games in your life, particularly on a con-
sole, odds are you
ve probably played a platformer game at one point.
In fact, if you
ve played almost any of Nintendo
s popular line of
Mario games, you
ve played a platformer. Although that famous Ita-
lian plumber tends to be the iconic representation of platformer
games, this subgenre of action/adventure games is actually much
broader than squashing enemies from above and collecting oversized
mushrooms. Some might take place in a single screen, whereas others
scroll horizontally and/or vertically. Some might focus on solving a
puzzle by moving objects around, collecting keys, or manipulating the
game environment to allow the player to escape.
Despite all the variations and possible styles of platformer
games, they all tend to follow a few core tenets:
The user controls some kind of protagonist, generally, just
referred to as a player.
The player can move left and right and can almost always jump
or use ladders.
Some basic rules of physics, such as gravity and basic collisions with
solid objects, usually apply; some games use other forces like wind,
buoyancy, or rubbery surfaces that cause the player to bounce.
Gameplay is level-based; each level has a start and an endpoint,
or ends based on accomplishing a particular objective
(collecting certain items, destroying all enemies, and so on).
There is a backstory, however brief, explaining what the player
is doing and why.
ll define the rule set for our game based on these fun-
s important to outline the responsibilities of the different compo-
nents of the game before going any further.