Game Development Reference
applications start out with a basic feature set and are modular
enough to add feature sets over time. Take any given professional
level app, even Flash itself; we are now on version 10, and it still
does not have all the features we might want it to have. Instead,
Adobe has chosen to focus on certain feature sets and fine tune
them so that they work reliably and consistently. We must remem-
ber to give ourselves this same breathing room. No one developer
is going to create the next World of Warcraft by himself/herself; it
takes hundreds of people and thousands of hours of work.
For the purposes of this topic and learning the mechanics of a plat-
former, we don
t really need a backstory. Suffice it to say that for
this game, the player will be exploring dungeon-like mazes, avoid-
ing enemies, and collecting treasure for points. Although this may
sound simple and familiar, that is intentional. Ultimately, we want
to create a generic engine that can be reused for any number of
implementations and environments.
The Level Design and Walls
The levels for this platformer will be based around a grid design of
squares. This helps to simplify level creation and enforces a stan-
dard for asset artwork. Any given grid square can be either solid or
empty, either blocking the player or allowing them to pass through
it. Going forward, we will refer to solid grid squares as walls. We
will examine how a sample level layout will look on paper,
momentarily. If there are no walls along the bottom of the level, it
will be possible for the player to fall off the map. This would cause
the level to end and the player to lose a life.
Every level will have an exit point that will signify completion of the
level, when the player passes through it. We
ll call this exit a portal,
as it transports the player somewhere else. You may be wondering
re not simply calling it an exit. While this implementation
of the game and engine may only ever have one exit, future itera-
tions might span a level over a series of screens and these portals
would actually be a means of moving between them.
The Player Character
In this game, the arrow keys will control the player. The Left and Right
arrow keys will move him or her in those directions, respectively.
The Up arrow will make the player jump, and the Down arrow will be